Tuesday, January 27, 2009
A few observations on the corporate move that I'll manage to piece together before giving in to sleep:
Something I did not know/truly understand until today - men will come to your home and build a custom-sized crate to hold highly breakable objects. If you pay them enough, that is. And I don't even know how much that set P-dub back, but my LCD TV is definitely riding in style to D.C. I wish I had thought to snap some pictures of this process. When they said "crate my TV"....that's exactly what it meant. I don't know what I thought it meant, but it's pretty straightforward. CAVEAT: if TV shows up with a large crack gracing its screen, I will forever be a disbeliever in the power of crates.
I often feel that I should do things myself....no help needed, I've got it under control, thanks for checking but I'm fine...you know, those kinds of thoughts. This happens to apply to things like packing stemware - it's mine, let me do it, if I control what happens to it then it definitely won't break. I let go of my anal tendencies today and, fascinated and slightly in awe, witnessed the magic of three packing/loading men with a combined fifty years of experience (yes, we got to know each other a little bit today). They have boxes for everything. Different kinds of boxes for everything. Like...lamps. And mattresses. My massive pillow-top mattress is in a ginormous box with protective plastic snugly holding everything together. Paper wrapped everything remotely breakable...and everything already in a smaller box...and pretty much everything not even remotely breakable...and lined the top and bottom of every box. I think I single-handedly decimated a small forest today (sorry, environment - good thing I got those reusable grocery bags!). My kitchen guy was just as conscientious as I would have been - and about eight times faster. It can be great to just let people do things for you sometimes! CAVEAT: if everything shows up shattered, the above paragraph is retracted in its entirety. I'm a bit of a pessimist.
It takes a village to raise a child? No, no....it takes a village with citizens who specialize in precisely one area to coordinate a corporate move. Seriously. I have (1) relocation coordinator at PwC, (2) expense specialist at third-party reimbursement company + (3) her assistant + (4) additional specialist when above specialist is out of office, (5) HR contact at PwC D.C., (6) move coordinator with van line, (7) separate company contact for shipping car + (8) actual human who came to get the car, (9) pet carrier contact, through yet another company, + (10) person who physically deals with pet in Dallas + (11) person who physically deals with pet in D.C., (12) pre-move survey guy who determines poundage of my stuff, (13) contact for yet ANOTHER separate company that crates the TV + (14) & (15) two actual humans who crate TV, (16) driver of stuff across the country (who also happens to be a packer/loader - now HE has skill sets!), (17) magical packer/loader #2, and last in this list but certainly not least, (18) magical packer/loader #3. Please bear in mind that moving also entails interaction with apartment people on both ends. And plenty of others. Oh, and two of the above numbered people both happen to be named Lisa and have quite similar phone voices.
Never underestimate the power of lists and excessive organization. I have an inventory sheet that lists every single box (with a general description of contents), padded item, crated item, and speck of Dallas dirt (ok, stretching on that last one) that went onto that truck. Every box is numbered. Everything remotely cardboard has my last name prominently scribbled on it in fat permanent marker, along with the room it belongs in and at least an inkling of what's inside. CAVEAT (last one, I promise): if anything that went out the Dallas door doesn't come in the D.C. door, I might have to seriously reconsider my life views on the virtues of being organized.
I forgot how an empty apartment echoes.
Friday, January 23, 2009
And yes, they're also showing episodes on Animal Planet, and I'm watching it right now. I'm avoiding the adult things I need to do, such as changing my address in eight million places and sorting goods into come with me/go in peace to Goodwill/what can I get for you at Half Price Books piles. It's for the sake of knowledge, though! And never-before-seen footage of adorable baby animals!!
Monday, January 19, 2009
However, wedged in amongst the cleaning supplies in pretty much every available nook and cranny....plastic bags. From everywhere. Grocery store, Target, assorted merchandisers scattered throughout the DFW area, even some that have journeyed back with me from West Texas. I mean, Double T Bookstore has the really durable kind of plastic bags, but what compelled me to keep that? I am absolutely shocked by the sheer number of plastic bags that were residing underneath my sink. I knew I shoved them down there from time to time, but little did I realize I would pull out a veritable mountain of plastic that could contain virtually every item in my apartment. What compels me to keep them? They rarely serve a second purpose in my home, even the handy Target ones that provide a list of ten possible re-uses.
Appalled by own hoarding of plastic, and in an effort to be a little more green, I did invest in some cool reusable Central Market bags the last time I was there. I have to admit that the "oh my gosh, those are so cute!" factor may have motivated me a little more than my wish to save the environment by not sending plastic bags into the ocean. They are really cute - brown and blue stripes, totally adorable. I figure they'll come in handy when I'm walking my groceries home through the D.C. streets and need a somewhat-reliable receptacle that can handle a decent amount of food.
Needless to say, I'm now even more frightened of my closet. God only knows what might be lurking in there.
See how cute they are? A little piece of Texas that can come to D.C. with me!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Queso. Not cheese dip as it is referred to in other parts of the country (thanks to my sister currently residing in North Carolina and discovering odd facts such as these, I have begun to develop an even deeper appreciation for these foods), but queso. What better way to start a meal than by taking a crisp, lightly salted chip and dunking it into a melted pool of cheesy deliciousness? While I am not opposed to add-ins (please see Bob Armstrong dip as perfect example), I believe queso is often best enjoyed in its purest form. I readily admit to eating this as a meal, not just an appetizer. Oh, the art of tortillas - also delicious when dipped in queso. While these circular carbs often play a supporting role in Tex-Mex (cut and fried into chips, structural support for enchiladas, etc.), a homemade tortilla just can't be beat. Flour vs. corn, you might ask? Both delicious in their own right. Mesquite-grilled anything stuffed inside anything else is usually pretty tasty - allow me to present the chicken fajita taco as evidence. Oh yum. I think I could go on forever, so I'm going to try to rein this in.
Sour cream chicken enchiladas! Brisket tacos! Chilaquiles! Mesquite-grilled fajitas! I'm overwhelmed with deliciousness. Fellow Texans, I will soon find myself on a quest for these flavors outside of my native land, and I assure you I will give it my all. No crispy taco left uncrunched, no queso left undipped, no enchilada left behind. I'm going to make use of my current representation in Washington and write to Senators Hutchison and Cornyn and Representative Johnson to get their take on the food situation. Seriously, I am - I'm curious to see what comes back.
Chips and salsa can also serve as a good judge of character.
Chuy's deluxe tomatillo sauce. Put it on anything.
Some might benchmark restaurant performance in terms of dollars, but I use cheese enchiladas.
It may not be pretty, but you know it's good.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Friday night/Saturday morning, please.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It was fantastic to have so many of my friends in the same place at the same time - it just never happens! I'm starting to get hit with small waves of nostalgia, I'm afraid. I'm going to make the most of the next two-and-a-half-ish/three weeks, though, before I embark on my East Coast adventure! A big thank you to everyone who journeyed to Lewisville last weekend, and I'm going to miss all of you tremendously.
Some of my best work gals, plus one former work gal and her wonderful husband, who has the worst time keeping his eyes open in pictures
You know how I feel about baked goods, and now especially baked goods in the shape of my home state - thanks, Trin!
Diana, you're the best!! Trinity, you're the better half of the best, so you're also the best (and really the best on your own merit, not just because you happened to marry my friend)...but you missed your photo op here.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Anyway, I'd just like to state for the record, even though I'm certain most of us know, that moving creates an inordinate amount of life admin. Finding new place to live with appropriate dimensions, minimal neighborhood crime, and less-than-astronomical-when-considering-cost-of-living-adjustment rent - check (thank goodness). Attempting to coordinate move dates with packing folks, shipping folks (different shipping folks for stuff and vehicle, of course), leasing office personnel, place of employment, hotel for temporary housing while stuff journeys across the country, all while dealing with airline travel of self and feline - only kinda checked. Harrison has some pretty serious thoughts to share with me about getting on a plane. To be checked: changing addresses absolutely everywhere, getting quotes for car insurance, transferring/cancelling/initiating utility service, getting new driver's license, finding person who can cut my hair the way Drew does...we haven't even started talking about the unpacking and reshuffling of the stuff. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty excited about the new place and exploring the city and changing directions at work, but there's a lot of busy work that goes into all of that. Phew. Hey, at least I'm moving within the country!
That said, I'm accepting applications for the position of life admin assistant for the next six weeks or so. Hours are reasonable and pretty flexible (as long as you don't have other employment, a family, friends, or social obligations or any kind), and your pay, while not necessarily considered commonly accepted U.S. tender, will be delicious...baked goods! Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- accustoming cat to air travel receptacle and common travel noises;
- coordinating weather from Dallas to Washington D.C. to ensure that moving truck's 1,331 mile journey is not impeded by acts of nature;
- taking my place while on hold with any number of service providers while ensuring that they do not hang up on me;
- convincing the PwC powers-that-be that a firm-provided happy hour is not an unnecessary expense during these cost-cutting, tough economic times (maybe scratch that one...most of my friends can afford to buy themselves a beverage or two if needed, and should try not to offend bosses);
- pretty much everything, actually...that would be great!
Please include references and soonest date of availability...preferably yesterday.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Scene: Earlier than usual bedtime
NyQuil. Finish book. Out.
Post-production note to accompany initial posting of above production: Apparently soup can't entirely cure what ails you. Same symptoms on Monday morning. Sleep excessive hours on Monday, enjoy more soup, and hope for improved results on Tuesday morning.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
1) Public transportation in Dallas does work. I don't know if it works on a regular, day-to-day basis, but when we took a chance and opted for the DART shuttle bus service between the Pearl Street station and a Fair Park parking lot, we were incredibly impressed with DART's efficiency. Minimal wait time, quick trip through the ghetto to and from downtown...I was pleasantly surprised. No sitting in traffic for indeterminate amounts of time!
2) Appropriate gameday attire varies by school. When I tried to semi-discreetly capture the wardrobe of assorted Ole Miss fans, my camera angles unfortunately didn't quite cooperate. Let me just say that in my book, flats and a t-shirt knock heels and a tight dress out of the park any day. The males may disagree...but I was comfortable.
3) Texas weather is, was, and always will be unpredictable and often unseasonable. Seats on the sunny side of the stadium on January 2nd led to several comments of "umm...it's hot!" and "where's that breeze?" Please see demonstrated shots of shade-seeking:
Diana seeks shade from her own hand...
...and from those around us. Thanks, tall-ish frat boys!
4) Beverage sales can be unpredictable. In the spirit of all that is festive and college-oriented, Diana and I figured that we would need to throw back a beer before entering the stadium, so we grabbed the overpriced generic lights in plastic bottles and made a circle around the stadium to soak up some gameday atmosphere before heading to our seats. Little did we know that during our struggle to enter the stadium (please see #5), we could have been enjoying same said overpriced generic light beers FROM THE COMFORT OF OUR OWN METAL BENCH SEATS! I was amazed...but as a side note, due to the draining effects of sunlight mentioned in #3, we stuck to water for the duration of the game.
5) Logistics fascinate me. Especially when the logistics concern the entry of 88,175 fans into a behemoth concrete structure that typically facilitates entry through ten, count 'em, TEN, gates. Why they decided to drive these fans through a total of TWO gates for the largest Cotton Bowl crowd in history remains a mystery to me. See large crowd below:
We made kickoff, but only because it happened a little bit later than we thought it would. Get with the program, Cotton Bowl organizers!
Pre-game...and yes, that's coffee in my hand to get me going, courtesy of my wonderful friend. I don't do mornings particularly well.
Get your guns up!
A note on the title of said blog - I'm self-confessed sticky-note obsessed. My desk at work tends to be covered with them, I frequently stick them on the front door as reminders, and friends bring them back to me when they go on vacation. Nothing kitschy for me, thanks, just some highly practical sticky notes. They show up in my Christmas stocking every year, and if you open up any desk drawer of mine, your jaw might drop at the sheer number and variety. Anyway, I find them to be a practical and often amusing mechanism for everything from lists to reminders to bookmarks to smiley faces for friends. This blog will serve as my sort of (enlarged) sticky note to you, recording these random thoughts and moments in slightly more permanent format.
Happy new year to everyone!