Coffee, tea or … oh wait. NYET!

Whenever I see lemon juice, I think of Fry’s supermarket.

(Fry’s Foods, a child of corporate Kroger.)

You might too if you knew the story.

I work for Fry’s. Not because I want to but have to. For numerous reasons but those aren’t today’s focus. Lemon juice and Fry’s are.

So recently a supervisor (J., female) calls employees in to the office one by one. Two other supervisors hover in the background, Inquisition-style.

In her hand is a clipboard with a sheet of paper bearing individual employee names and handwritten notations alongside each.

The conversation goes something like this:

J.: “We’re clarifying policies to get everyone on the same page.”

Me: “Okay.”

J: “I notice you chew gum.”

Me: “Yes. Like others.”

J.: “No more gum. And shirts must be tucked in.”

Me: “That’s contrary to what I was told by a bigwig at orientation. But OK.”

{Note: Who am I to question the inconsistencies and Tsunami of Stupidities — and I do mean tsunami! — at this place!! Kroger / Fry’s is Chaos on Crack. But those are many other posts for another day, perhaps.}

J.: “Also, your water bottle is clear, per company policy. But the liquid is cloudy.”

Me: “Yes. That’s lemon juice.”

J.: “No cloudy liquids are allowed in water bottles. Only water is allowed. Clear water.”

Me: “I add lemon juice for medicinal purposes.”

{Note: Lemon juice is an excellent all-around cleanser, especially for the liver. Plus it adds zip to water. In this dry Arizona climate, you can’t get enough of that H2O!}

J: “Then you will need a doctor’s permission.”

Me:  “Am I understanding correctly. I need a doctor’s permission to add lemon juice to water?”

J: “Yes.”

So you see, that’s how lemon juice and Fry’s / Kroger became eternally intertwined.

____

And how I became just another schmuck-peon … leave your brain at the door! … in a world of insanity that makes Alice’s Wonderland Behind the Looking Glass look positively sane, inviting, logical and rich with common sense!

Oh Alice, how I long to be ye!

Free to be!

And for you, m’lady, I ask thee

Shall it be coffee, lemon juice or tea?!

A swiveling pub chair, silicone and serious Germanic focus

Dammit! Gonna write a blog post if it kills me!

(Actually, not writing might kill me; alas, that’s another story, quite!)

There. That said.

Mobilizing Home Beautification

I’m 3 weeks into my adventure in a mobile home. Not so mobile, actually. It’s a rental parked in a mobile home park. To be clear.

It’s old. It’s dated. Circa 1970s. It’s not in baaad shape. Wouldn’t make Better Homes & Gardens though.

It’s in need of repairs and prettying up. And I’m the girl to do it. For no pay, by the way. Because it needs it. Because it needs to be done.

The reward is making a place the best it can be and leaving it better than I found it. It’s what I do. Places and spaces. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. The way some people are totally passionate about animals. Or teaching. Or sports. It’s their calling. Mine’s places and spaces.

I digress … though on a noteworthy mention.

The Gaps. Not the Stores.

The gaps around the swamp cooler in the kitchen window made of plexiglass are just one ailment. “Easily addressed” compared to others.

Moreover, needing immediate addressing. Winter’s fast approaching. The drafts around the swamp cooler are … well … lemme put it this way. Cool breezes are refreshing. In July. In autumn and winter, not so much.

Pencil pointing out plexiglass gaps

Pencil pointing out plexiglass gaps

 

Uh, an "unseamingly" sight

Uh, an “unseamingly” sight

 

Old silicone "sealant"

Old silicone “sealant” drooping away

 

How say can you see -- the useless sealant!

How say can you see — the useless sealant!

Danged Dominoes!

Ya start some easy Sunday project. Say, replacing weatherstripping in the kitchen. Next thing ya know, you’re paintin’ the shoe damn exterior of the house! It’s the Snowball Effect of Home Repairs. A Murphy’s Law. Or, as I call it, the Danged Dominoes.

Back to the breezy gaps around the swamp cooler.

 

I yank out the old silicone formerly “sealing” the unit. Here’s a start:

sucky old silicone

sucky old silicone

That actually isn’t in the original plan. Removing that much of the old sealant.

Neither is removing this pane of plexiglass, sitting in the middle this here chair:

There’s a lot of things I am. For better or worse. And a lot of things I’m not. And uber-high on that Not List is “Shoddy Crafter.” I do nothing half-assed or {gasp!} badly. It’s not in my nature. I’d need a lobotomy to even go a little bit there.

So buh-bye more-old-silicone-than-I-intend-to-strip-out! It’s necessary to do the job right. And well.

Silicone Secrets. Silicone Surprise.

I must pause to say: Clear silicone is not the same as regular caulking that you’ve probably put around a tub. Silicone is an animal of a different color. It is, I discover, both a blessing and a curse. You gotta know how to work with it.

It’s imperative to note: I did not go into silicone blindly. I did my homework. Read and researched — A LOT — online. (Again, it’s who I am, it’s what I do!)

I would never recommend using silicone sealant without knowing the very basics. (I may blog on those another time.) Otherwise, it’s a small disaster waiting to happen. An unsightly disaster.

Onward

I make no bones about it. I’m a silicone novice. In fact, before this project, I don’t recall using – or needing — before.

Like I said, I rip out all the old silicone “sealing” this here swamp cooler:

kinda high up there. for a short person.

kinda high up there. for a short person.

Gotta be done to do the job right. I also remove this plexiglass pane. Not in the original plan. For same reason.

Oh say can you see -- the pane?

Oh say can you see — the pane?

I then proceed to reset the pane. With silicone that I’ve never used before.

From atop a chair. Precisely this chair:

Have a seat. Or a ladder.

Have a seat. Or a ladder.

 

A pub chair. That spins.

Because I don’t have a ladder.

Is a spinning pub chair used to reach high places safe? Hell no!

But I do it for two reasons.

One, not gonna spend (can’t afford) the big bucks for a ladder for a one-time project.

Two, I’m small, light and agile. And nimble on my feet. Extraordinarily so. I was called “monkey” in school, a play on my last name, nonetheless highly fitting. In high school, I did the balance beam. I can STILL climb high up into trees like nobody’s business!

A swiveling pub chair does not a safe ladder make. But there are occasions for allowances and this is one.

Nimble is One Thing

Being short is another.

On the spinning pub stool, I can’t friggin’ reach even halfway across the swamp cooler! And I ain’t gonna buy an $80 ladder just to do so!

So I’m stuck. With silicone. Unable to go where I really want to go with it.

Yet where I MUST go, I can.

I reinsert the plexiglass pane. Gaps and all.

And carefully … mindfully … slowly squeeze the silicone from its tube. Note: Not using a caulking gun. At a most awkward angle. Not quite hanging upside down from a tree like a monkey.

Say … like trying to tie your left shoe flat on your back with the left knee pinned to the ground.

Awkward’s one word for it.

Painting. A picture.

Sorry. I don’t mean to ramble. Just painting a picture. Silicone demands above all adeptness. Or at least a willingness to learn. Attention. Focus. A bowl of soapy water and a rag.

And above all swiftness.

Sorta hard to accomplish on a swiveling bar stool with work areas fairly outta reach.

Yet I do it!

Yes. I do it.

With a bowl of soapy water  and plastic knife from fast-food joint set on the swamp cooler …  paper towels and a rag swollen in my back jeans pockets … my cell phone so to take these pics in the front … a prayer in my heart for safety atop the swiveling pub stool … everything I read about silicone-caulking in my brain … the focus of a laser light in my mind and German determination of a “crafty person”  … I lay the beads.

Bit by bit. Section by section.

Until the entire plexiglass pane is solidly reset and sealed with thick gooey silicone.

Am literally juuuuust able to stretch and reach — atop the spinning pub chair! — in under that upper aluminum frame to reattach plexi-pane. After having removed the old silicone first. Fact: You can’t apply new silicone on top of old. Won’t adhere. Not well. Or at all.

plexiglass back in place

plexiglass back in place

 

Yes! Sealed!

Yes! Sealed!

 

Suuuuper sealed!

Suuuuper sealed!

Ditto the pane on the other side of swamp cooler.

Get a grip! Awright!

Get a grip! Awright!

The Before Shot:

How say can you see -- the useless sealant!

How say can you see — the useless sealant!

Proud Puppy!

I am one! One proud puppy!

Is it the silicone of an amateur? Yes.

But given what I’m working with — or not, i.e., a proper ladder, a short stature, no assistance, first-time “silicone-er” — I gotta say, I’m pleased with the results.

I’m pleased and proud.

This project’s not entirely complete; another post, another day.

But I will say: Yesterday brought a test to my workmanship:

A powerful thunderstorm.

Not a drop leaked through my seals!

Silicone, She Said

Silicone, I said, is a different animal from regular caulking. A creature of its own.

Turns out, I discovered, that I’ve got a feel for it. An undiscovered knack. A natural / intuitive understanding and respect for the product.

Am I a practiced professional with it?! Hardly!!! Not. Even. Close!

But the (impending) northern winds no longer blow around my swamp cooler.

It withstood the test of the thunderstorm.

AND it doesn’t look like some novice just slapped in on stupidly willy-nilly and clueless about silicone’s nature.

A small pat on the back. Just no sticky silicone on the palm please. 🙂

Bring on the Beautification! Pretty please! With sugar — I mean silicone — on top.

It’s a rental, sure.

And a fixer-upper all the same.

My new digs — as of two weeks ago —  is a mobile home circa 1970s. And it shows, as you’ll discover! I’m undertaking home renovations and repairs within the confines of a rental.

This is certainly a new adventure! — both living in a mobile home and park and having some say in creating a pleasing environment.

Perhaps this blog should be named: Allycat Goes on the Prowl for Positivity and Prettying-Up.

As a point-of-interest: A LOT of people have passed through this space. Not all of them good. {I’m being polite.}

It shows in the space both visually and vibrationally. Take two recent tenants. One was a lush who spent all her days drinking and drunk. The one before her was a druggie who dealt from my space.

Yep, deep need for home beautification and healing and more (there’s a lot of stuff lurking in this space that requires daily cleansings; that’s another topic.)

Bring on the Beautification!

Let Us Begin

At my kitchen sink is a small view of the neighbor’s mobile home, sky and trees. Mostly my view’s of this:

A swamp cooler:

cooler1

Any time I stand at the sink, I notice this distinctive draft.

I’m thinking it’s coming through those vents since they open into the outdoors. And I’m thinking: How am I gonna seal this up for the winter fast approaching.

Then yesterday, I notice: Wow. That cool air’s really coming through!

So on tippy-toes I suss about the swamp cooler and discover:

Gaps!

Gasp! Along edges where the swamp cooler and a thin pane of plexiglass (= also, ugh, no insulation) meet.

At the sink, here’s the top of the cooler.

cooler2

I probe about with a pencil.

The silicone seal’s shot.

cooler3

cooler7

Along the side. You can see the corner of the pane jutting out. It’s supposed to be flush tight with the unit:

cooler5

And here:

cooler6

See the bright lateral line? That’s where two panes of plexiglass are supposed to be bonded by silicone. Clearly they’re not. Apparently like our bodies, silicone heads south as it ages!

I step out to further investigate and ascertain whether I can make the repairs myself. Fortunately the cooler is accessible with my new stepladder, making it a can-do:

cooler8

I find a red wire on the ground. A useful tool to ascertain just how much seal remains in that sealant.

cooler9

 

cooler10

Plus this is just a cool pic. Like one of those “identify what this is and win a prize” photos in the newspaper.

Repair of the swamp cooler {that btw I don’t even use} is the first order of the beautification business.

More precisely, the Brrrrr business.

Air briskly flowing in through gaps in summer is A-OK. In autumn and winter, neon.

So next up: Researching silicone sealants to ensure that I select the correct one — one that bonds on acrylics and can withstand the extremes of the Arizona sun, heat and cold

Like I said, it’s a rental, sure.

And a fixer-upper all the same.

Welcome to a new chapter. Whereupon Allycat Goes on the Prowl for Positivity and Prettying-Up.

Make that Purrty-ing Up.

Taking the express lane at the blogosphere’s supermarket

Has it really been eight days since I blogged?

Wow.

I’ve thought about it a thousand times! Told myself I should blog on this or that.

I mean, it’s not like I’m lacking content! Just made a major move! There’s tons I could write about.

About the new place. Projects under way. Accomplishments already achieved in the short time here. My relief in being out from under the neighbors at the last place.

My focus is somewhat all over the map right now.

Plus I’m holding two jobs (each PT), one of which I love and the other, a Lame Crap Job, ready to drop the microsecond a better one appears.

I’m ungrounded. That’s essentially the reason for the lapse in blogging and, too frequently I’m sad to say, journaling.

I’m trying to find my footing in healthful practices and positive habits.

But, I’ve discovered, I have a tendency to let the “good practices” go and return to old familiar “comforts” — though they’re not particularly healthy or truly comforting — when stresses and worse overtake.

I cling to a life raft that’s deflated when the tsunami hits. “Better a deflated raft than no raft at all” is my thinking.

Childhood experiences and traumas never go away I guess.

That’s all I got for now.

I gotta get going to my Lame Crap Job. Yes, that job that I began like two months ago — and still haven’t announced!

Then tonight I’ve got the shift at the radio station. As far from a Lame Crap Job as you I can get!

Being there is a joy. Being at the other (a throwaway Lame Crap Job) is, well, better than not working at all.

Yep, I lead a schizophrenic life! And I do it without the “help” of medications!

Pretty brave of me, no?

Pretty un-American too!

This has been the quickie check-in check-out. Like the express lane at the blogosphere’s supermarket.

{dang! forgot the radishes}

Toodles for now.

A Body in Motion Pauses to Rest

Sometimes ya stumble into something serendipitously.

Almost as if it’s a reward from above for relentless industry and hard work.

On the heels of the post prior, my one day off from work involved … what else … work! Errands and a drive to the laundromat with a bulky load including bedding and jeans that had taken a rugged beating with the move, lifting and cleaning.

Fun tasks on the one day off? Not exactly.

But completion left me with a sense of accomplishment.

Around 5 p.m. I stop at Panera cafe for a pick-me-up bite (having not eaten all day) and coffee. And I stumble onto this:

panerapic3

This duo playing its first gig, a trial run, on the outdoor patio!

May seem like a small pleasure, a simple thing, a silly thing, even a less-than-newsworthy event.

I don’t see it as such.

I see it as this great little thing, wholly unanticipated, a full-on pleasant surprise … music on an uncrowded patio on the hill in an early-autumn breeze …

God or the angels or my fellow human beings may not step forward to say:

“Your recent works are commendable. You are recognized for your true diligence, tirelessness in the face of depleting fatigue, exhaustion and dearth of support.”

Who am I kidding? No human will step forth and say such a thing!

Then … something like this happens … live music on an uncrowded patio on an early evening tinged by autumn … and you feel you are being recognized by someone(s) above whom you cannot see.

That good — in the form of right timing and serendipity — does flow your way, through no intent or design of your own … and somehow, I don’t know how, you just know it’s good returned to you for the good that you’ve done.

A good moment.

A good view.

panerapic1

A good cuppa coffee (this wasn’t).

A good seat in the house.

panerapic2

A friendly hello or smile from a stranger.

A favorite song.

This very moment: “The Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot being sung by the duo.

Something small. Innocuous. Something you might never notice normally.

You notice and appreciate the good moment, no matter how simple or everyday it appears, FOR the hard labors that have engaged you and demanded your all.

I don’t believe in a God benevolent.

But moments like this, I pause and want to believe … and wonder whether I ever truly could.

For this moment — this moment — it’s all good.

For me, that’s an accomplishment as worthy and satisfying as every bit of hard work of late gathered under my belt.

Where’s my 12-step program when I need it?!

Can’t stop moving! Can’t stop working!

Can’t stop achieving! Getting things done that need getting done!

I’m that classic overachiever trapped in an underachiever skin — career-wise.

Sandwiched between an overwhelming multitude of moving-related tasks and two PT jobs, I have one free day. One.

Today.

Rather than kick back and do nothing, as my body’s wanting and needing — or, horrors!, doing something fun & enjoyable, like maybe a movie — I’m gonna do the most fun of all fun tasks:

Haul a couple loads to the laundromat!

Then haul it back home to line-dry, hopefully before a predicted monsoon hits.

Laziness is not a word in my vocabulary.

I stand corrected. It’s a word to describe others — in particular, today’s generation of people and youths. I loathe laziness.

Laziness was verboten under my father’s reign. It wasn’t permitted. Not for even a moment. There was no rest for the weary.

I remember in the college dorms at UC Berkeley way back when. I’d seal myself in the room to study study study study — while everyone else on the coed dorm floor interacted, engaged, had some fun.

My boyfriend/partner at the time would often knock on the door to encourage me to come join them. “I have work to do,” I’d say — something to that effect. I had to be shown, through his constant invitations, how to put down the textbooks and engage playfully and socially.

I had to be exposed to the VALUE and PURPOSE of fun. Of play. Of simply Not Working.

Some 40 years later, I still have those teachings to learn!

Anywho:

Doing laundry — entailing driving some distance, waiting around doing “nothing,” hauling the loads back and hanging to dry — is, most would agree, not high on the Fun List.

And for someone who’s done NOTHING but work work work work work work and work for weeks, pulling off a big move, ya’d think taking ONE day off — that ONE rare day off for some serious R-n-R — would be a priority!

Not for me!

Someone unplug me! Please! I can’t stop moving! I can’t stop working! I can’t stop doing those things that legitimately and truly need to be done!!

I’m a workhorse. And I’m in Work Mode — because I’ve had to be — and I can’t turn it off!

I mean it. I can’t!

Help!!!

Like I’ve often said, I need a 12-step program. Not AA. Or NA {Narcotics Anonymous}

But WA.

Workaholics Anonymous

As unpacking proceeds, so goes the universe

Box by box … the contents come out to breathe.

Item by item … each has its place and finds its place. Perhaps not immediately but eventually.

Sometimes it takes living in a space to uncover an item’s natural place. It’s an organic process.

Everything has a place and everything in its place. As I’ve oft said, the adage I would’ve written had someone not beaten me to it.

I’m as organized in my packing as my unpacking. Organized, mindful, precise, meticulous. Things aren’t tossed willy-nilly into boxes. My packing reflects an orderliness, a logic, a thoughtfulness, a gift at creating systems. Dare I say a method to my madness?!

Good packing is an engineering feat.

I have the gifts.

The paternal grandfather I didn’t know was reportedly a civil engineer for the Navy. My father was also extremely skillful at crafting systems. My son’s a software engineering genius. It’s in the genes, this aptitude for engineering systems on foundations of intelligence, reason, logic and a capacity to see the whole as well as the details.

In a culture utterly lacking in critical thought anymore, these are gifts indeed!

Unlike my father and son, whose engineering strengths are in numbers, mine’s in geometry and spatial reasoning. In high school, I didn’t much care for algebra and trigonometry. But I looooooooved geometry! It came easily and naturally.

Of course I’ve forgotten everything I learned back then! But I harbor a secret hope of one day taking a geometry class again. Or physics.

Point is: You can take the girl outta geometry but you can’t take the geometry outta the girl.

It’s reflected in my packing and unpacking. Items having their place and finding their place — naturally.

In a sense, I let them tell me where they go.

Not to suggest I’m brainless through the process! Unpacking — setting up a new space — is an organic process. Very much so!

Things finding their place is the universe in motion. There’s an intrinsic harmony and flow between all elements. They seek and will find their natural order — if we don’t interfere, get in our own way or theirs!

I’ve got my work cut out today.

It’s my one fully free day. Tomorrow I resume my job/work routine. Boxes neatly stacked to my right need to be emptied or moved to their rightful place in my little storage shed.

Even if things aren’t immediately put in their right place, getting them into the ballpark’s a worthy accomplishment this early in the move. Not yet even 48 hours!

I’m between two worlds.

One foot’s in the old world with the bad neighbors — a story of dissonance and despair.

And one foot’s in this new world that has no storyline. No known storyline, that is.

It’s wonderful to sit at my laptop at my Caribbean blue bistro table with coffee and enjoy this moment: of being here (and not there) with a story, unknown, to unfold.

Kinda like the contents of these boxes! They’ll emerge and find their place like the words of that future story.

Nice.