Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stuff and Things

someone has gotten a case of the busies. i’ll give you one guess who that someone could be. that someone has been doing a lot of shit, some of it bullshit, but all of it is shit that needs to be done. a summary of the shit includes:

  • work has been nuts lately. my day job has me juggling three projects in various stages of completion in addition to the day-to-day tasks that need attention. seems like every moment of the day is occupied by my coworkers calling, emailing and messaging me with the same burning question, “Can you look at this? Can you look at this? CAN YOU LOOK AT THIS?” look at this, people. it’s my middle finger. i only have two eyeballs.

  • then comes the freelance work. i’m just finishing up a proofread of an 850-page high school health textbook that has occupied my weeknights and weekends for many months now, first with the student edition of the book and then with the teacher edition. i’m happy to have done it, though, as i learned a few things and also opened the door to more projects with this publisher. in fact, they have already offered me a new project proofing a vocational book on carpentry. fancy that, me reading a carpentry manual. that’ll make me super cool, just like Jesus!

  • on the home front, my landlord decided to remove the tacky track lighting that rules every room in my house, prompting every last person who enters my home for the first time to ask, “what’s with all the track lighting?” i usually say it was big in the nineties when my gay landlord remodeled the guest house. but seriously, my living room alone has 18 track lights controlled by 6 different dimmer switches. i’m happy to see them go and to also have my ceiling painted, but dang, what a mess it’s created. the dogs are all kinds of nervous with the spike in foot traffic, the smell of paint is suffocating, and i’m tripping over ladders and brushes at every turn. but once it’s done in another day or two, those lights will be as distant a memory as perms and leg warmers. now i just need to buy a lamp.

  • social calendar has also been overflowing. beyond the longstanding weekly dinner with the girls, there’s now the weekly hike at runyon with Chad, and dinners with grad school friend Grace and college friend Elisha, both of whom i recently reconnected with. add to this phone calls to New York to keep up with JD, John John, Zahra, Als and Allison. plus, i’ve begun attending open houses with Dee on weekends. (apologies to Zee and Wade whom i’ve yet to schedule a meal with.) so yes, lots of social activities with lots of positive people who are way cooler than i am. and no, still manless.

  • because my summer of bronchitis originated in my workplace i’ve had to file workers compensation paperwork. this isn’t quite as big a deal as one would think. i basically need to fill out some forms, provide some receipts and doctors notes, and then my case is recorded as having happened and my claim is considered resolved. it should be no big deal, but the bureaucracy surrounding something like this as documents are misplaced and phone calls go unreturned and files are incomplete and whoops, we got your date of birth wrong. headache.

  • speaking of sick, the bronchitis has finally left the building that is my body, but stayed in the building that is my workplace. (ok, lame. sorry.) i’m not coughing much anymore, but i’m still allergic as hell to the construction dust. one day last week i spent about three hours on the toxic floor for assorted meetings and greetings with coworkers, and by the end of the day i felt fairly crummy. it felt as though the water level rose in my body, starting in my lungs with some wheezing and shortness of breath; then it moved through my head with my nose and sinuses clogging up; and by the time i left the floor in the afternoon, my eyes were burning and i could feel a hive developing on my eyelid. i came home and promptly bathed in hydrogen peroxide and have sworn to myself that i will not step foot on that floor again unless i’m wearing an astronaut suit. yeah, just like bubble girl.

poor me, right? i need a break, right? my thoughts exactly, which is why i’m taking this friday off to engage in a bit of retail therapy. my only objective that day will be to sleep late and then hit the mall to spend my hard-earned money. after all, everyone knows that the only way to cure the stress of having bronchitis, visiting with friends and getting my house redone is by buying many pairs of cute shoes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Single Life

three months ago i blogged that my two-year relationship ended and i’m again a single woman. it went something like, “we broke up. the end.” i didn’t feel like talking about it much then and i still don’t. perhaps i’ve finally learned enough to know better than to be consumed by the melodramatic sadness a breakup brings, or maybe the fact that i saw it coming this time cushioned the fall.

whatever the reason, i’ve been surprisingly at peace with singledom. i have zero desire to jump into anything serious anytime soon. it’s been liberating not to be waiting on anyone’s call or dealing with the stress that comes from entangling my personal well-being with someone else’s. i cannot remember the last time i found myself in this enviable position, where my heart is neither swelling nor aching.

and i like it. life is so calm lately, so full of the simple pleasures — the smelling of the roses, the easy like sunday morning. my emotions look like clear blue skies. and the thought of anything coming in to disrupt this rare internal equilibrium and my happy home life with the pups is repulsive to me. for now.

for now.

i know me and y’all likely also know that time and restlessness will create an itch that only a ravishing man can scratch. and given my history i’m sure he’ll be tall and dark-haired and wrong for me. and i’ll blog about it with a conclusion that will go something like, “we broke up. the end.”

there are times nowadays when i’ve felt that tug. it always arrives with the witching hour, around the twilight, after i’ve finished my work for the day, have had my dinner, read my book, cleaned my house and catered to the dogs. then will follow a moment of stillness when i look around, largely pleased with what i see: the safety and stability, abundance and comfort, and the unyielding warmth from the cuties. it'll absorb me and evoke a wide smile.

then something will bubble up, as much as i’d like to deny it, the feeling will rise up and wash over the moment — the desire to share it all, to sit on the couch with someone who’ll hold my hand while we watch TV.

for now it’s just a flash that disappears as quickly as it comes, but i know it will grow into a primal need as it has before, with the maddening loneliness that grows with it. i’m not there yet, and i sense i still have a ways to go. but when i do get there, i hope i’ll have the fortitude to bypass the hunt altogether and allow things to happen organically.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The House-Hunting Chronicles: The Prequalification

as i tell friends that i’m interested in buying a place, i’m often met with a look that seems to say, “damn, girl, i didn’t realize you made THAT much money!” truth is i don’t make THAT much money. in fact, i barely make THIS much money. and, as counterintuitive as it may seem, my lack of money is the one thing that will make homeownership affordable for me.

pretty much all the first-time homebuyer guides i read through in preparation for this quest said the same thing: check with your state’s housing authority, which provides great incentives for first-timers, to find your mortgage. so i checked and wow — down-payment assistance, gap financing, deferred junior loans and, the deal-sealant, a 40-year fixed mortgage at a below-market rate. and in this ridiculously wealthy county of Los Angeles, my salary places me in the low/moderate income bracket, meaning i qualify.

though that’s not the same as prequalifying for the loan, which can only be achieved through mondo paperwork and a thorough credit check. for my appointment with the mortgage broker specializing in these ghetto loans, i came equipped with documents galore: three years worth of W-2s, tax documents filed with the IRS, pay stubs, IRA account statements, quarterly statements for my investments, checking and savings account documentation, my passport and any other outstanding loan or asset documentation i could provide. then came a blood test, a urine test and a hearing exam, followed by the inner-ear culture, pap smear and rectal swab — concluding with a quiz on Rorschach inkblots.

and then something weird happened. “uh oh,” said the mortgage broker while looking at her computer screen. immediately i froze because nothing is more frightening than hearing “uh oh” from someone about to loan you a bunch of money. “uh oh?” i asked cautiously while trying to clear the quiver out of my throat.

“well,” she began, “part of your mortgage is provided by the state of California and the other part is taken care of by the city of Los Angeles, and it looks like the city ran out of money.” ghetto indeed.

of course the city-sponsored part of my mortgage is the good part — the zero-interest, deferred junior loan, gap financing portion that i only need to repay once the principal mortgage supplied by the state is paid off (in 40 years!), meaning i need that city money BAD. that’s the part that really gives me “purchasing power,” mortgage broker said.

she also said the fund would be replenished by the government, eventually, and that i would need to wait. ok, so now i wait through a subprime mortgage meltdown for the government to pour money into a depleted fund set aside for low-income homebuyers. yeah, i’m sure that’s a real high priority right now.

but wait i will, as i simply have no other choice. mortgage broker assures me it won’t take more than a few months for the new funding to come in, despite her admission that she’s never known this to happen before. in the meantime, i would be put on the wait list, which, yes, is already lengthy.