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2016-10-05 - 9:52 p.m.

The MCM is just weeks away! I am very excited about it. My latest fun runs have been exploring the area near where I work as its be great to leave early, beat the traffic and then go for a run before work. I easily then can get ready at work as there is a shower room, and I have found it works fantastic. If I were to run in the morning at home I would have to be up at 4AM OR I would have to leave for work after 6:30 and if I do that the commute can take twice as long as if I leave prior to 6:30 AM. So my normal routine has been to get up around 5:10 AM and leave by 5:30 or 6 at the latest. On occasion myself or my neighbor who I am giving a ride to do oversleep and we leave closer to 6. I am happy for the family next door as the fellow is doing really well at his job and it has been a real blessing to me to give him a ride in the morning. It gives me that extra incentive to get out the door early which makes my life so much easier. Its great to get home early and have time with the girls when they are here with me.
Work has been going very well. No new job, same salary but my contract has been extended until Dec 2017. I think the staffing agency was actually surprised when they got that contract. They were surprise I think when I chose to stay on with each extension that has come, as the guy who placed me in the position is very well aware that my skill set exceeds the requirements of the job I am in. He also knows that I should be able to land a job making about $10-20 more per hour without too much effort. Really, the hard part was getting back into the corporate world but once in and employed for a sustained period of time with a company that values me it would be MUCH easier to land a contract manager job now. I in fact have recruiters call me regularly for some of the other financial services gigs in the area. The thing is, they are in Gaithersburg, MD or Washington,DC so its a trade off that I work only 25 miles from home rather than 50. Its a trade off that I can work remotely once in a while whenever I need to. And its a trade off that I have the best boss in the world who is so understanding and just a person I REALLY LIKE WORKING WITH. She is smart and kind and patient and I kind of joke she is the good witch who *Poof* created and maintains a job for me!!
No joke there.. I think she finds work for me to do to keep me on!! I am actually not exaggerating. There is work to be done, but of course there are many ways to manage how it is done and by whom, and I am every so grateful that not only my boss but her boss and her boss' boss and even the guy who is on the rung in the pecking order above them all genuinely values me as an employee and actually all seem interested in finding out what my professional aspirations are and helping find a good fit for my skill set at the salary I really need long term in their company.

I trust they are sincere as they have said as much.

It is encouraging when an executive at your company comments " You do know that all the really good jobs are created for someone, don't you?"


I do know.

I have heard that is the way it works...

It is really nice to not have the constant worry that comes with a short term contract. That is the tradeoff. I am staying where I am as even though I know I could get more money I am in a really healthy work environment, doing work I can do well, which is interesting enough (heck I have the capacity to be engaged and interested in ANYTHING which is a gift!), and which frankly is truly stress free.

So its a really nice change of pace that I am going to enjoy for the next year.

It is so very strange to actually RELAX!

So I decided this is the year to relax. I am going to run this marathon then work on a new goal for next year. Its one I already started actually

I am writing music for a musical.
Its a family project, as I signed up for this with the intent of seeing if any of the girls were interested and I am delighted one of them has taken to it. One of my daughter and a friend of hers have already written three songs . I wrote part of one song as well. They are using computers and software whereas I am old school and listening to sounds and capturing what I hear by emulating what I want to re-create with the instruments I have around my house.

I always envisioned someone picking up these instruments and creating with them. I had the dream it would be the kids, but hey-- now that I have a bit more time since I am not studying fiendishly and obsessively or job hunting when not working three low wage jobs, I think I will have time to actually devote to the hobby of learning how to play at least one of the instruments and being creative.

My financial goal this year is to get rid of credit card usage. I will not run up any more debt but only pay it down.

In other news I have been very pleased to have found a guy who can fix the rotted wood that I hacked away with a chisel I bought in a delusional moment of thinking that I could somehow figure out how to replace my front door and re-build the trim.

Yeah that was a bit of an unrealistic dream...

I knew it was not likely I could get that done, but I also knew I could handle at least ripping out the rotted wood to FORCE myself to get it done! I knew if I took the chisel to the mess it was that then I would Have no choice BUT TO MAKE THAT REPAIR the #1 financial priority.

I am happy I did go buy the new door and Home Depot, and Sadie wanted to paint it. She did a fine job (despite the mess made by Alexy who insisted she wanted to help!) It was kinda funny in a way as I told Sadie, " Just let her help- let her paint the 2nd coat and then you can go back and do the third and final coat and finish anything that is messed up. Don't worry she won't ruin it- lets just let her help and graciously thank her" So we did that, and the funny part was that Sadie had carefully tapes so none of the paint got on the frame, but Alexy seemed to not notice the tape and that the frame was not being painted the same color as the door. So Alexy made a mess of it actually! It doesn't matter however as I told they guy I hired to remove the door from its prehung frame anyway and re-build the whole darn thing, transom frame and window frames and the door frame to the whole front entrance area with PVC rather than wood.

That wood was in such horrific shape- full of dry rot and ants! When I ripped out the front sill it was riddles with these small white eggs and small black ants. The thing was just FILLED with them! It was rather incredible. After I ripped all that dry rotted eaten wood out there was a swarm of ants coming from the house crawling on the walkway to my front door. I had disrupted their home and they were running all over the place trying to figure out where to go.

That was months ago as it took me some time to first of all figure out the right door to get, and secondly to find someone to do the work. I went to home depot envisioning someone could help me just cut the wood or pvc to the dimensions I gave and I could try to nail it in and rebuild the frame, but no one there seemed to be willing to assist me with that. They instead wanted to get my someone to do the work- I really just wanted to buy the wood and do it myself but they looked at me like I was from a different planet. I swear it was basic old fashioned gender bias, but not knowing what I was doing I kinda just gave up on the notion. I mean I couldn't even get them to tell me what was the standard metal door to sell it to me, so it was clear no sales person was going to be able to help me figure out what I needed to do that project. I finally did get someone out to give me an estimate who instead gave me the tip of which door to buy. He told me "Your door is a standard size metal one, and its $166 at Home Depot" That was all I needed to know to be able to go on line and order the door. It was a sight to see me go pick it up and haul it into my little car (IT FIT!) and then get it out of my car single handed, balance it on my back (no joke- I balanced the weight , centered using my shoulders and back while bending to lift it up and over my head and then very quickly in one full swoop carried it into my house. Its amazing what one can do with determination! It sat in my living room while I was trying to get some estimates for the job. Then we brought it out and put it on top of the picnic table on the porch in order to paint it.

So mission accomplished partway- Door has been bought and painted! I am pleased with having at least done that part (along with my demolition of the old rotted wood!).

I am also happy I hired a guy to paint my porch who did a nice job, and have now hired him to finish this job. He is just the nicest guy, which is why I am pleased. He is the Godfather to my neighbor's little boy and a good friend to them. He is the fishing buddy of the fellow I give a ride to each morning. I have heard about him for years (actually the neighbor has been wanting to set me up with him! I have said no but then was happy to meet him and happy to hire him!)

This fellow just happens to be from Buffalo, NY.

My neighbor was right , I have to say. We did hit if off when we met. I had been out sanding my porch ready to paint it when he came by to pick up my neighbor to go fishing. He was introduced and said hello and asked if I wanted help with the porch. I asked how much he would charge to just do the job.
For $100 we had a deal! I was so happy to not have to paint the porch that day and instead clean the house inside and get a run in, and I think he was happy to earn the $100 but moreso happy to have ongoing work as it was clear then that this house has more than one project that will need tending to! If he does the front entranceway well, the whole replacement of windows job is on my wish list. I hope we can find some windows and Re-Store and I can hire him to install those and rip out any of those rotted sills and re-build them with PVC (or a PVC wrapped wood composite) to just not have to worry about water damage again.

The back porch also is in need of power washing and painting. He already told me that when he is here he would be happy to tackle the infuriatingly, persistent Virginia Creeper that came from my one gutter and has invasively attacked my other next door neighbor's house with a vengeance. I thought I killed that Virginia Creeper with a good dose of bleach a couple of years ago, and even mourned the loss of the beautiful cover it had created over a trellis which I LOVED as it was a brilliant red and orange in the Fall. (I also REALLY enjoyed the privacy it created on my porch! I have to say I enjoyed at least one romantic evening out there looking at the stars back when there was the thick foliage of privacy!! My back yard abuts to a farm, and there was a really thick VA Creeper , dense cover so it went from being private to being exposed after I responded to the HOA's admonishing letters that the VA Creeper had to go!)

A couple of years ago I bought the most beautiful passion flower plant in hopes it would grow and spread over the trellis. It did for a season, but did not make it through the winter.

Well that is enough writing for now. More on my mind, but going to wait to write about my MOST Private innermost thoughts other than to posit the question:

Is it significant if you meet someone you really click with and then discover that they have picked many of the VERY SAME flowers to plant in their landscaped yard that you have picked in yours?? Blackeyed Susan, this really pretty filigree like white flower in a large clay pot (sitting in my front next to the walk; sitting on his back porch next to Denver Daisy's that actually are not Blackeyed Susan's really but close (and remind me of hiking Rocky Mountain National Park) and he did have the actual Blackeyed Susan's in the past,and then to have had a conversation where he talked about the really beautiful blue and purple flowers he was growing, not sure what they were (and before he even told me... this was prefaced by talk of the VA creeper, so he said he had this climbing plant and I tell you I KNEW BEFORE HE SAID IT That he was about to describe the passion flower...I mean I just Knew It and stopped myself from interrupting in anticipation) he said "So this really lovely climbing plant grew and it had these beautiful purple and blue flowers, and then one day I went outside and saw a small oval orange seed pod and was fascinated wonder 'What is this?" and realizing it was a fruit- I had no idea what kind, but it was clearly a fruit, and found out it was a passion fruit- so I cut it open and squeezed the juice and ate it, it wasn't much and it was only one but it was sweet and delicious and just so cool to find"

Now this fellow did not know I am a master gardener and that is my hobby, nor could he have known of my attempt to plant Dahlia's that failed this summer because my Zinnea are overbearing (his Dahlia's in the past were prolific and he was delighted he was asked to be on a Garden Tour because of them). OK so we don't have all the same flowers, he's got Dahlias and I have Zinnea, he is not familiar with Cosmos which are wildly overtaking my lawn just now... but it was kind of funny when I walked around and got a tour of the back porch area to see the few plants that were the same. (Ok maybe I am just being silly...)

In any case, it was a lovely garden tour and I really enjoyed it.

It reminded me that it is time for me to go visit my garden this weekend and dig up sweet potatoes and carrots if any of those survived! Something ate my sweet potatoes plants half way through the summer, but the tubers should have grown a bit and perhaps there are still some there?
It will be fun to find out.

I can also harvest more of the Jalapeños. That was my prolific producer this year: the Jalapeño pepper plants! Figures.. as although I do enjoy a little in my omlet and will add some to a strawberry dressing and a couple other things like Chili and fresh pico which I made this summer, I really use that pepper sparingly.

The neighbor last night ROASTED some of those and popped one into his mouth! I was giving my friend a ride to work (the lady works night so I sometimes let her borrow the car and I sometimes just drop her off) and the fellow had just eaten the pepper. He was boasting of the roasting saying " Check it out, these are fresh peppers from my sister's garden! I just roasted them" and then he popped one in his mouth and was promptly making this "HA HA HA HOOOTT HOOOT HAA HAA " bellowing of blowing out of his mouth in a quickly accelerating , blowing, almost moaning sound which I started laughing at as he got in the car making these noises which made my lady neighbor and I crack up as they sounded strangely orgasmic.

I mean really, if anyone heard that and did not know what was going....OH My!

I HAPPENED to be on the phone with the fellow who gave me the lovely tour of his garden, who I happen to truly like... when my neighbor hops in the car making this blowing noises and I said "I got to go as my friend I am giving a ride to is ready to go now"

And my lady friend started laughing, as her hubby is sitting in the back seat making these loud quick heavy breathing sounds trying to get the heat out of his mouth. He hops out of the car and starts spitting up (I think he puked a bit actually as he was so distressed from those hot peppers. I don't know if he ate one or two back to back, and I suspect he might have found a Habanero in the garden as well)
She looks at me, shaking her head in that sort of disbelief, partly mockery "will he ever grow up" kind of woman admonishment of the juvenile man acting childish, in a bit of "tsk TSK tsk" kind of motherly correction, and partly in humor of laughing with him thinking he is playing the fool/clown again... and I said "Ok, do you think I should call back? Does that require an explanation?"

She said "Yeah, that DOES require some explaining!!" and started laughing, then said " you better call back"

It was very bizarre... typical over the top neighbor. He really is one of those big personalities with a big heart but a bigger mouth who has to work really hard to navigate socially appropriately in part as he has a big need to seek attention.

It wasn't just me that thought that could have been misinterpreted! Sheesh....


Anyway. That was the oddness of last night. I did call back and when home after giving her the ride to work was glad I did return the call , as it was then I heard of the passion flower.

Hey that is my motto: Find your passion in life! It wonderful when that does happen when one least expects it. How fantastic to have heard that story of how my friend literally found his on his back porch, right in his back yard where he least expected it.

Life is indeed often like that. We have to be able to look carefully at the cracks and see the seed emerging within them. This guy dug up a plant that took root in a crack and it grew into this beautiful pot of pansies.

Those are one thing I Don't have in my yard.... yet. I do however have to dig up , clean up and plant Fall bulbs soon. Those might be nice as a Fall Cover after that is done as it has been more and more popular for the nurseries to stock those in recent years in the Fall.

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