Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How YOU Doin'?

I'm sitting in my second week of six sigma green belt training, learning about 2^k full factorials. Whoot. Oddly, my head hurts.

So, I'm down to four months to go! Maybe I'll make it...

I'm actually becoming quite fond of my house, now that it is coming together. It's really quite nice. I'm sure I'll get it just the way I want it... in about four months.

My parents drove down the weekend before last. It was a great visit - they arrived Friday night and left on Monday. Probably any longer and I'd have been ready to kill them. It worked out really well - I had a couple of errands to run after work, so I left keys in the mailbox just in case they beat me to the house. They did, but only by about a minute - they hadn't even turned off the van. They got into nasty traffic around Raleigh (if you were one of the people trying to get around the blue conversion van with Ohio plates that was going 55 in the 70 mph zone, sorry about that - they need to put up more speed limit signs) so they were a bit frazzled. I threw dinner together at the house and we just relaxed. Saturday was much the same. Mom read. Dad doesn't idle well, so he put together my gossip bench for the entry and the media bookcase for the paperback books. Then he wandered around my house looking for things to fix. We went to a yummy Italian restaurant for dinner and stuffed ourselves. Sunday, we went to the aquarium. It's small but really nice. Mom nearly drowned herself playing in the touch tank with the stingrays. Somehow, she managed to get stingray poo on the sweater she borrowed from me. The woman is gifted. They also have boardwalks and such outside and we watched a crab hunting something in the grasses by the shore. It was neat. I wanted to take them to a really good local restaurant for dinner but I forgot the whole town-shuts-down-on-Sundays thing so we ended up at Applebees. At any rate, they left Monday morning and I was sad and the house felt empty, but I was kinda glad to have it to myself again.

A coworker sneezed on me and shared his disease. Yay. Of course, I managed to infect my dad, so he's been calling me "Typhoid Mary." But I'm much better now. I just need to get rid of the cough.

My brother's girlfriend, the one I've been calling the creampuff, ended up being as psycho as I feared. I listened to her version of her history, and it set my radar to beeping. I have friends whose lives have pretty much sucked so I know it happens, but something in her story made me think of that Despair.com saying - the one about the common factor in all of your dysfunctional relationships being you.

Her version: she was married, with a daughter, at a fairly young age. Then both her parents died and she caught her husband fooling around. They divorced, she rebounded and got pregnant. Then the cancer hit and she ended up having to have a complete hysterectomy. She went slightly unbalanced, left the kids with their respective fathers and moved to South Carolina to be near her sister. She moved back to be near her kids and her grandmother. Last spring, the cancer came back and she's now missing all of the lymph nodes above her waist, and her hair's really short. Then she met my brother when he went into the department store where she worked. (He's colorblind and has to get help when he goes clothes shopping.) They've been dating since summer, I met her at Labor Day. Then this fall, there was further drama because her grandmother died, and she found out because she lived a couple of blocks from the hospital and she saw her ex-husband leaving the hospital. She called him to see if all was well, and he told her to call her sister. The sister, who still lives in SC, was in town for several days 'cause her grandmother had had a serious stroke... and no one in her family called her. It just seemed odd to me.

Then my brother went to check his credit card limits, for the first time in months. (He'd locked 'em in a desk drawer this spring and got them almost completely paid off.) And the cards that he'd paid off were maxed out. One of the charges was for someone's electric bill. He called the electric company, and even though they wouldn't give him the name on the account, they gave him enough that, when he was talking to her about it, she thought that he had figured it out and she confessed. She took them two or three days after they got back from being at my parents' house for Labor Day. In two and a half months, she charged over $5000. And, she tried to tell him that she thought it was okay because he'd told her that he'd help her with the phone bill. He's reported it, and since the credit card companies have credited all of the charges, they are now the ones going after her.

Between putting together a timeline, and talking to her ex-husband, my brother has figured out that this is the way this woman lives her life. She didn't find out about her grandmother because she'd stolen money and credit cards from her grandmother. Her ex didn't cheat on her - some other guy knocked her up. She's had a string of men stretching back several years that she screwed, literally and figuratively. I'm still not sure how she can be that way. My brother related how once, when she was staying with him, he went back to the office to pay bills. She wandered back, and when she saw him getting ready to check his accounts online, performed a striptease and distracted him from the bills... and finding out what was happening to his credit cards. How can you look someone in the eyes when you're that close and lie like that? I don't understand.

So, my brother is single again and even more bitter about the female of the species than he was before. *sigh*

Added to the joy of this year, my cousin died at the beginning of October. My best friend (since we were 5) lost her dad, and I couldn't go to her because I was back in the wilds of Mexico for work.

I don't think I know anyone who won't be really glad to be rid of this year.