Thursday, September 27, 2007

Needed: One Kevlar vest

Or at least some duct tape for my mouth.

So, it's about 4 pm and I'm down on West Howett. You locals know where I am. For youse that don't, let's just say it's not a nice part of town and leave it at that, ok?

I find the right house and the person I'm supposed to meet. She's sittin out on her front porch and made no move to invite me inside.

Ok, so we'll talk right here. On the front porch. On West Howett. At 4 pm. And everybody else is out on their front porch, too. Or on the sidewalk. Or in the middle of the street. And...well...they all belong there. And I don't.

Gettin the picture?

Just across the street, there are three or four teeny little kids playin in the yard...maybe 3-5 years old. And when I pull up, they start hollerin at me...

"Heeeeeey, biiiitch....yo biiitch!"


Through the whole interview, I'm hearin this, but ignorin it.

I get done and head out to the car. I throw my bag in...and can't stand it anymore.

I know. I'm in a bad place. I'm all by myself. But I can't help it.

I'm standin at my open car door, (better to make a fast getaway, doncha know?) look straight at the petite gang, (who all happen to be cute as hell) put my hand on my hip, grin (which mighta saved my fat ass) and say...

"Who you callin a biiitch?"

They all exploded in giggles.

I look back at the gal I'd come to see and she's laughin her ass off. (Thank gawd)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My mind is like a steel trap...

Old and rusted

So I had a late afternoon appointment in Princeville today. Rather than driving all the way back to Peoria, (I wouldn't have made it back to the office in time to clock out, anyway) I decided I'd cut cross-country to Chilli and home. Though I don't have a county map in the car, (something I intend to rectify, post haste)I'd done it before and was sure I remembered how to go.

I'm driving and driving and driving. Ooops. Paved road turned into gravel. Don't think that happened before. Must be a bit turned around. Find a paved road that looks like it should head the right way. Ummmm....nope. Not that way, either.

Ok, I'll just head back towards 40. At least, where I think 40 was.

Now, the whole time I'm traveling, I'm lookin for landmarks. But all I can far as the eye can corn. Lots of corn. And grain bins. And more corn. County road signs that mean absolutely nothing to me.

Stop. Look at the sun. Where is it? It's late afternoon, so it should be somewhere in the West. I need to head East. I think.

AhhhHAH! By some harmonic convergence, I stumble upon Route 40. Hot damn! I know where I am. I think.

Driving. Driving. Driving. Uh. Nothing familiar. Shouldn't I be coming up on Dunlap any time, now?

Driving. Driving. Driving. Maybe I should ask for a GPS for Christmas?

Driving. Driving. Driving. Still no familiar landmarks.

But....wait....what's that in the distance? Squinting. Slowing down. What is that?

Uh. That would be the windfarm. In Tiskilwa. Which is in the opposite direction I needed to go.

I ain't even in friggin Peoria County anymore, Toto.

Yea. A GPS might be a good idea.

Friday, September 14, 2007


That'd be content...not content.

Wanna little peek into my evening? Or into my head?

I'm looking out the window. The twilight is chilly and windy and the river looks cold, dark and angry.

But I'm inside where it's cozy. The lamp in the corner is throwing a warm light across the honey-colored knotty pine ceiling, making it glow like amber. There's a pot of spicy chili, simmering on the stove. The scent of a pumpkin-spice candle is infusing the air with a sweet/cinnamony scent and making an unusual, albeit pleasant, juxtaposition with the smell of the chili. Spicy/sweet. Nice.

To really set the stage, you'd think I'd have some nice classical music playing in the background, wouldn'tcha? Or maybe some cool jazz? Pachelbel or Miles Davis?

Nope. "The Return of the Pink Panther", circa 1975, is providing tonight's background noise. I've seen it more times than I can count, but Peter Sellers' bumbling French Inspector Closeau character never fails to make me laugh. And it makes me miss Ziggy. He does a great Closeau imitation.

"Do you have zee pro-pare liz-ance for zee munkee?"

They don't make comedy like that anymore. Sad.

It's supposed to frost tonight. It's too early. I love fall, but I'm not quite ready for summer to be over. I'll miss hangin out on the deck, listening to Buffett, watchin the pelicans and the gulls and the geese. I'll miss the flowers. But I can't wait to see the river, the surrounding woods and all their inhabitants change. Can't wait to see the trees change...I bet they're gorgeous around here. Can't wait to spot that first bald eagle...they tell us that they're thick in this area.

Ooooo...and Halloween. I love Halloween. I went and bought a shit-load of Halloween decorations the other day. We really never had the space or the inclination to decorate when we lived in the apartment. I's gonna see 'em? But's perfect. A witch and her cauldron and a couple of black cats will replace the hibiscus and the flamingos in the mulched area. A wicked-looking fake punkin with a light will replace the white, filmy outside lights and orange twinkle lights will replace the bamboo patio lights on the deck. BOO!

So, if it's nice Sunday, I'm thinkin Zig's got some "projects" to work on. Poor baby hasta work Saturday night. I hate that. I've finally finagled my way into the perfect job with perfect hours, but he's still stuck in that hell-hole with idiots for bosses. I'll hafta be especially nice to him Sunday. Wink-wink...nudge-nudge.

Awwww...who'm I' kiddin? I'm especially nice to him alla time. I kinda like him, ya know?

Ok. I'm gonna hit the shower. No more peeking.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Problem solved

Last post, I was kickin around the pros and cons of going full time. I'm not normally this wishy-washy about decisions...unless it's got something to do with the word "commitment." I'm kinda hinky about that word. But usually, I jump and look later.

Booooy, am I glad that I was wishy-washy about this one.

Yesterday, my boss calls me in to her office to talk about said pros and cons. She wants to tell me a little more about the benefits, etc.

Boss Lady: "I hope you don't think I'm pressuring you into this."

Me: "Nope. I don't feel pressured. I'm just tryin to decide if I really wanna give up my three and a half day weekends and my Friday afternoon naps."

Boss Lady: "Ya know...if you want to work more, but don't want to go the full-time route, you can just request to work extra days. You'll still have to work your regularly scheduled two and a half, but you pick whatever days and hours you want beyond those and believe me, I'll approve every request."

Me: "Uh. I can pick whatever extra days? It can be a different day every week?"

Boss Lady: "Yup. If you want to work a Monday one week and a Wednesday the next, that's fine. If you don't want to work any extra at all in a particular week, that's fine, too. And you're not committed to a full 8 hour can work anywhere from one to eight hours. Whatever you want. You just can't work over 40 hours in one week."

Me: I don't answer because I'm busy doin cartwheels across the office.

Remember when I asked if there could be a better schedule than the one I already have?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pros and Cons

For nearly a year now, I've been working half-time...and I love it. Tuesday, Thursday and until noon on Friday. Now tell me, could there be a better schedule than that? Well, except to not hafta work at all, I mean.

For the last several months, my boss has been gently cajoling me to go full time with phrases like, "I'd love to have you here all week", and "Just think...if you went full time, your vacation, sick and personal time would double."

So like I said, this has been going on for several months now. Even before we had any openings for a full time spot. Now we have an opening, so the cajoling has stepped up a little. And I finally caved.

Well, sorta.

I applied, but told my boss that I wouldn't really make up my mind until they formally offered me the spot. That buys me a little time. So I'm thinkin about the pros and cons....seriously.


1. Double the vacation, sick and personal time. (Nice.)
2. Double the salary. (Hmmm...that'd definitely be nice.)
3. Fully paid holidays instead of half-pay. (Ok. That'd be nice, too.)
4. Health insurance. (Already have that, but mine's a little cheaper than Zig's...for pretty much the same coverage.)
5. Learning a new, more intensive area of the job. (Eh...)


1. Double the rush hour traffic. (Ick!)
2. Double the gas consumption. (ICK!)
3. Double the work. (Aye. There's the rub.)
4. No more three and a half day weekends. (Ok, the scales are tilting.)
5. No more cheerfully walking out at noon on Friday while the rest of the drones toil on. (Damn, but that feels goooood.)
6. No more delicious Friday afternoon naps. (Ye gawds! Now we're talkin a serious con. I loved it I walked out, one of the IT guys was workin on a computer and I said "I think I'll go home and take a nap." He glared at me and said, "Go get bent." heh)

Pretty much everyone has told me I'm crazy for even considering it.

When I think about losin those Friday afternoon naps...well...I'm thinkin maybe they're right.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Whatta suprise!

Remember that "old friend" that I mentioned in the previous post?

Yup. It was the "Belle of the Night" - Port of Havana. Some of you locals might remember...she was the riverboat that was Pekin for a couple of years. Prior to that, she'd been a failed restaurant in Havana. She's now moored somewhere near Grafton, on the Missouri side. Unfortunately, she still looks like she's empty...deserted. Whatta complete shame. None of the locals seemed to know much about her, except that they'd heard that someone had bought her for $50,000. Methinks the owner took quite a bath on that little venture. When they first brought her to Havana and fixed her all up, we'd heard that they had in the neighborhood of a mil and a half in 'er. I know, for a fact, they hauled a buncha Amish in to do all the woodworkin...and Amish woodworkers don't come cheap.

And a few more photos from our Labor Day weekend...

Anybody ever tried any "Tequila Rose"? Ooooooo.....

Me and the "princess" at Kinder's.

The locale of where we were is really special. It's right on a slough of the Mississippi. It's also very private...very few people live there full time. See, when the area flooded in '93, FEMA came in and bought a few out. Some lost their homes, but chose to keep the property, so they've pulled in their RV's and set 'em up semi-permanently. And they use golf carts to get back and forth between the homes and RV's. It's really like a big, extended family. Everyone kinda looks out for the other. I like that.

I wish I'd have taken a picture of Jules' boyfriend's place. It's a great, three-level cedar home. The lower lever is sort of a 'service' area and huuuuuge covered patio, where we spent most of our time. The upper two levels both have large decks overlookin the river. It was just very cool.

I've got a couple more photos to post, but per usual, Blogger seems to have PMS this morning. The first few loaded just peachy, but now....nothin.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It felt like home

Ahhhh, gawd.

Beer. Sun. The river. Beer. Great food. Lotsa laughs. More sun. Nice people. More beer...and a "Banana Banger" thrown in for good measure.

That pretty much sums up our Labor Day weekend. It felt like home...except on a different river.

This is where the Illinois joins the Mississippi. Kinda boring, huh? There oughta be a sign or some neon lights...or somethin.

Nooooo, we didn't hafta get married. Zig is just brushin up on his "daddy" act. Been a long time, ya know?

Our host and hostess for the weekend. (We likey the new boyfriend!)

We made losta new friends, but perhaps the most memorable was Willie. Willie has CP...but he doesn't let that stop him for one minute. This guy goes snow skiing, water skiing, bungee jumping and get this...skydiving. The kid ain't got a damn thing wrong with him...except he's plumb crazy. heh

Sunday when we were out on the river, we made a pit stop at
  • Kinder's
  • in Golden Eagle, IL for one of those "Banana Bangers" I was talkin about. Oooooo! Awesome. They also make peach bangers when the peaches are in season and they tell us that they're delish, too. This sign was one of many hangin over the bar...I hadda take a photo 'cause I'm makin one for here. heh

    I know. It's just a barge. But I don't usually get this 'up close and personal' with 'em.

    Looks like he's in his element, huh?

    I'd have taken a lot more photos...but...uh...well...we were doin some wave runnin in the boat and the camera kinda...well...took a bath. heh It's dried out now, though, and seems to be workin ok. After it got swamped, I made Jules take a buncha extra photos, so as soon as she sends 'em, I'll post 'em.

    Oh, and we ran into an old friend while we were out on the river. I had Jules take a few photos, so we'll see if anyone else remembers her.

    Anywho, we're home, safe and sound and sunburned.

    Oh, and ya know all the hype about "a State Police officer posted every 10 miles on Labor Day weekend"? We didn't see one. single. cop. all the way down to St. Louis on Saturday. None. Nada. Zip. None on 74. None on 55. None on 270. Not even any on the secondary roads until we got to St. Charles...and then it was a city cop. Believe me...we were watchin for 'em, too.

    They were like flies on a dung pile today, though.