Why not to check your email in the morning.

I usually check my email first thing in the morning because I work for a large multinational corporation. It woudl be much more convenient if the multiple nations were in my time zone, but as far as I know the only countries in my time zone are the US and Canada. In any case, I checked my email this morning and I saw a message asking me to visit a customer in Santa Clara in the afternoon. I booked a flight and went down on short notice.

Short notice also meant I got a funny looking, funny smelling, funny driving rental car. I saw one guy drive off with a Prius and I got this thing:

Funny looking rental car.

I got into Santa Clara fairly early, and certainly before “afternoon”. I figured this time there was no way I was letting anyone keep me from something I dream about.

In-N-Out Burger near Great America.

That’s right, a Double-Double, animal style!

A double-double animal style!

I made it to the customer site with time to spare. In fact, the customer didn’t know I was going to show up today. That’s some fine work by our sales team right there.

I caught a flight back and made it home about the same time I would have if I had gone to the gym, but I was much more tired and probably a bit fatter. There was also a giant hole where a chimney used to be, gritty dust all over the floors, and a gas meter on the side of the house. The furnace work is progressing!

Where's the chimney?

Guess who didn’t show up?

After all that effort, nobody showed up to do any work today. It’s not that big a deal, since I never would have been able to do anything today anyway, and I had to get everything done during the weekend. It’s especially not a big deal since everything has been properly rescheduled and the furnace is still supposed to go in at the same time.

The worst part of it is how tired I was today. It was a combination of the poor sleep the night before and staying up later than I should. Today was a constant balance between drinking enough coffee to stay awake without drinking so much that I wanted to throw up. Unsurprisingly, I made it to the gym and felt better after warming up. I certainly didn’t set any land-speed records and I was there with some of the faster people in the gym, but I didn’t do all that bad. Now if I had any sense, I’d be asleep instead of paying the bills I’ve been putting off and compulsively writing in this blog thingy.

Finally finished: 10:45PM.

So all the remaining crap in the basement is now in the corners and there’s a space around the chimney upstairs so the demolition can begin. I probably lost a couple of hours to being a little hung over, but I got a lot moved out. There are chairs and tables in the backyard (not especially good chairs or tables, mind you) and a lot more stuff is going to Goodwill. Thank goodness my brother-in-law has a pickup truck I can use.

Tomorrow is asbestos abatement and Tuesday the furnace chimney comes down. I’m kind of excited.

Best of all, I didn’t seem to hurt my back that much. I did notice that the dust mask I started using yesterday is visibly turning brown. I should have started using it much earlier. I guess you live and learn.

Skipping the gym.

So I got a lot of grief for skipping a benchmark workout at the gym today, but I’m almost finished cleaning out the basement. I even had my sister come over to “help” which just meant she came over to have me tell her she was useless. It actually made me feel better and got me to work harder, and she did go through some boxes of books I found stashed downstairs. And I found out that wearing a dust mask made me feel a lot better. Genius.

It’s funny the things you find. When I was in high school, I went into the basement looking for my dad’s old kendo equipment. I just found it today, 30 years later. Now what do I do with it?

I got close enough to finishing that I went to the gym’s “Customer Appreciation Party.” I drank enough beer to wonder if I’ll be sober enough to finish the basement tomorrow. We’ll find out then!

Skipping the Fight Gone Bad.

I’ve been moving crap around for a week now, and I still haven’t gotten very far. I cleared out enough space in the upstairs bedroom for the chimney removal people and the basement is starting to look better, but at the rate I’m going I still have a full weekend’s worth of work to do to get things ready for all the mayhem happening next week.

I’m supposed to be at the gym for a benchmark workout, “Fight Gone Bad,” tomorrow, but I’m going to skip it. That should give me back at least two hours and I’ll have more energy for the incredibly enjoyable task of packing up the basement. If I’m really smart, I’ll get some masks so I’m not breathing in dust all day, and I’ll also pick up some stuff to keep the downspouts from clogging, since Jay the contractor and I discovered that was another problem I had to address. Good thing I have a motorized snake.

So my “vacation” and “weekend” are still looking to be awfully fun. Hooray.

Not quite as tired, but just as screwed.

I spent all day moving things around and I did get some things accomplished. I moved the “server” out of the basement so it wouldn’t be down for a week-and-a-half and the people who look at my sister’s silly blog that doesn’t even update all that often won’t get their panties in a bunch. I sorted out several more boxes of books. I cut some holes in the wall to see exactly where the old chimney was. And I discovered that I didn’t get all that much done and that I probably have a lot more to move than I thought.

There’s a benchmark workout at the gym on Saturday and I may just have to miss it. Maybe. I have so much crap to move around. The problem is that I’m trying to sort things into pile of keeping or giving away and that takes time. I also have to figure out who to give things to.

I felt a lot less tired today than yesterday, but I probably did worse time-wise at the workout than I did yesterday. I never do that well on Thursdays.

My mom noticed one of our old family friends had passed away. That family has had some issues with inheritances and my mom said it’s a good thing that we don’t have those sorts of issues. Hah. To prove her wrong, I called my sister and asked if she wanted any more of my dad’s crap. She said, “Hell no,” and even tried to give me back the trunk that my brother-in-law fished out of my garage a few weeks ago. It was a steamer trunk that was probably made in the 40’s. Turns out he thinks it’s moldy and he thinks he’s allergic to it. I guess we have the reverse issues as most people who fight over the inheritance.

Tomorrow, Jay the Contractor is coming over to tell me how much crap I really need to clear out. Then I’m going to the Carton Store and buying way too many boxes and I’m going to stop sorting and just start pitching shit into the boxes, just like movers do. It’s going to be glorious.

Day off.

Tomorrow (and the next day) I have the days off of works because I’ll be moving things around the house for the furnace replacement. Usually I stay up until close to midnight on school nights, but I may have to go to bed early tonight. Is it the weather? Is it the workouts at the gym? I dunno.

I did win another race at the gym. It was me against a trainer two decades younger than me, pulling tires down the driveway and back. I suppose it was kind of an uneven race: I was at the end of my workout and tired. But a fourth of the way into the race the eyelet pulled out of the tire I was using and the harness I was using to pull the tire detached. My opponent kept going but the “judges” decided the race had to be re-run because of equipment failure. I won because my opponent blew the turn-around and stopped too early. The trick with the tire drag is momentum. Once you stop it’s kind of hard to get started again. (Did I mention my opponent was Tiffany the 24YO nurse? At least I had a heavier tire than she did.)

Really, I’m lucky to have even finished the race. After the post-workout stretching I barely made it up off the floor to walk outside to drag the tire around.

My mom and friends from Japan are planning parts of our trip. One of the places we’re going is Sado Island in the Japan sea near Niigata. It’s a large island where people were exiled in the past. I was stuck there the last time I went because of a storm that suddenly came up and I almost missed my friend’s wedding! They were joking that I was exiled and luckily one of the proprietors of the inns found me waiting for my canceled ferry and I had a nice stay with a dinner of more fish than a normal person should eat. My mom has wanted to go there for years, so this should be fun.

Slacking at a rapid pace.

I wish I were slacking at a much higher pace because I had a bunch more work show up in my inbox. However I didn’t do any packing today. My back kind of hurts and I’m fairly sure it’s because I have to drag boxes out of a crowded room and that requires me to pick up heavy things while standing in strange positions. I’m still scheduled to take off Thursday and Friday so I can pack up more crap, and I hope I can still do that. The email I just got makes it sound unlikely, but I suppose I could work every day of the week if I wanted to.

Just thinking about the multiple customers and the multiple rooms to pack and the cutting of the shrubs for the heat exchanger and the waiting for the gas company to install a gas meter and it just makes me kind of anxious. I figure the packing shouldn’t be THAT bad. At some point I can stop sorting through stuff and just buy a lot of cardboard boxes and just start pitching shit in. The problem with that is that the boxes often stay packed full of crap forever. I still have some things in the boxes that I moved back from Japan. I keep thinking that was just a couple of years ago, but that was November of 1991. Some of the yoots at the gym probably can’t remember 1991 because they were too little.

Crap, that reminds me I have to install an electrical outlet and also order contacts. And it’s way past my bedtime already and my day’s so packed tomorrow that I only have 1/2 an hour for lunch. Hooray.

Nighttime is not always the right time.

After I go to the gym I’d rather just sit around. But, because of the impending demolition, I had to do some more moving around of boxes. Tired at night is not the way to get me to do the sort of sorting and heavy lifting that moving requires.

And now I’ve breathed in enough dust that I can’t think of whatever else it was I was supposed to be doing. That is besides sneezing.

I am so screwed.

I didn’t get all that far on packing up my bedroom because there’s A LOT OF SHIT packed in there. I can’t believe some of the crap my dad was saving in there. Old sleeping pads, three Boy Scout Handbooks, old copies of a magazine called, California Bonsai, congressional transcripts of the Japanese internment, books on Asian religions, books on gardening, and books on prejudice. I’m recycling a lot of paper, including old paintings my dad did for a correspondence art course. I’m not halfway done at this point.

My sister was here but is very little help. She was going through stuff to take, but she didn’t take much and really just got in the way. I asked her to take a carload of stuff to Goodwill since her husband was talking about going later today, and she flat out told me no. Our friend Megan was here as well and she took more stuff and also distracted me with beer.

I also called the contractor and asked him just how much I had to clear out of the room and he didn’t call me back. His wife told me that his usual mantra is, “Throw everything away.” At least that’s what he tells her all the time and she doesn’t listen to that advice. If I’m lucky I’m already close to getting enough stuff out of the room and I can start to work on the basement. If I’m unlucky then I have to move a lot of furniture.

Oh, and the second least favorite thing about the bird people: their garbage.

Trash left by the birdwatchers of 9/20.

Genius plans for the weekend.

I went and bought some boxes for packing up my crap, moving it out of the way for the chimney demolition. I really need to get a move on, because not only do I have to empty out a bedroom that was used as a storage space but most of my basement as well. I should have gotten started earlier.

Today I walked a mile-and-a-half to buy some cardboard boxes under the mistaken theory that I’d be helping to save the environment, etc, etc, when really it was all about not trying to find a parking space in the Pearl District. After I walked the 15 boxes all the way back home, it turned out that I didn’t have any packing tape. It was too late to drive back down to buy some tape because the bird people had started to arrive and if I’d left I’d have never found a parking space.

Birdwatchers 9/20.

So I’m a bit behind.

Was there something I was supposed to do tonight?

Because of the birds, I’ve had to leave work on the early side to get a parking spot in front of the house. It’s the weekend now, so I got home around 4:30 and I almost was too late. I just have to hope it all ends soon.

I think I have my tickets for Japan now. I have to figure out what to do about being in cell phone range again. Last year we rented a cell phone because what kind of Neanderthal doesn’t have a cell phone? We even had a US number you could call that would ring through to Japan. As I recall, the only real phone calls we got were from my brother-in-law, but I’m sure there were other calls as well. I wish there was a way to just get my iPhone to work in Japan for an amount of money that didn’t rival replacing my furnace, but I don’t think that’s an option.

Since my sister isn’t coming along, I have to stock up on paperbacks and I probably have to shop for lip balm for her. I don’t know why, but it’s an obsession for her. I’ll probably end up text messaging her about her lip balm enough times that it would have just made sense to buy her a ticket so she could buy her own lip balm. I offered to buy her a ticket already and she declined, so I’m destined to be her personal shopper. Oh, well.