Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Do You Know About Moving Companies?

The only thing holding me here was the job and that's gone, so I will be as well before too much longer. My lease went to month to month well over a year ago, so I don't have to worry about breaking the lease.

I am currently in a 12 room house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The guest room is essentially empty as the bed in there is inflatable, but the smallest bedroom is the equivalent to a basement and is stuffed with all manner of crap - luggage, tools, files, holiday decorations, you name it. My current plan is to move home, where my grandmother's house is standing empty. Her bungalow is MUCH smaller, but it has a basement and a garage.

I'll be downsizing a bit, but this is my stuff and I'm not willing to lose most of it. So, right now I'm thinking that it makes no sense for me to rent a truck myself. I don't really have friends here, so I'd have to hire someone to load the truck and I'm not sure a truck that I could drive would be big enough. Also, have to buy boxes, paper, tape, etc to get everything packed.

Update (before I even published...): I've talked to several different moving companies, and packaging places and any number of other things. It's looking like my best bet, financially and mentally, is to pay to have professionals come in, pack it all, load it all and drop it off in Ohio. I'll be out of North Carolina, all going according to plan, before the end of August. Right now, I'm thinking that I'll try to organize things by long term, mid-term and need it now since Grams' house may be a pit stop on my way to a job somewhere else.

And, I filed for unemployment today. As it happens, NC has a form for "I resigned so they wouldn't fire me" and that goes to arbitration. Now I wait for two to nine weeks, and I can appeal if they say no.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Baby Steps

I file for unemployment tomorrow. My uncle is a very high ranking person at a very large company and he's given me some good tips on how to fight if my company tries to deny the claim. He's going to get a couple of names of lawyers for me, from his HR people - the ones that they hate going up against, just in case.

I'm helped in this in that the organizational announcement went out today that they are not replacing me. I'd heard that the idiot was on the new plant manager's cost cutting team, and I was the highest paid person in the department so there's that.

Wish me luck with the bureaucracy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I got fired today.

Actually, I put in my resignation to save them the trouble of firing me.

This has never happened to me before and right now, I'm wandering around my house cleaning. I don't know what else to do. My brother tried, via text, to get me to get back the resignation letter in time but it was too late. I was totally gobsmacked and didn't even think about unemployment, so the idiot managed to fuck me again.

There's been political BS going on, and I knew the idiot had an agenda, but in his typical two-faced swine kinda way, he told me in our last one on one that I was a top performer. This was pretty much completely unexpected.

I have no idea what I'm going to do. I was not prepared for this, and money is going to rear its ugly head soon.

I'm going to go cry now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Delicious Weekend

This weekend has been wonderful!

A while ago, I watched one of those "Treasures in America" shows on the Travel Channel, and mentioned to P that I'd like to try digging my own. Next thing I knew, she'd planned the entire weekend, right down to pricing hotels on the internet. Clearly this was something she was interested in as well! (This is some interesting stuff on the local North Carolina gems that I found online.)

So, P and I left work early on Friday and were at her house before 4:00 pm. We loaded my stuff into her truck and then she and I and her partner J hit the road! After a brief stop at an Army Navy surplus shop for a camp shovel and a pit stop for dinner, we checked into the Microtel in Stateville, NC. I was quite impressed with the Microtel - it was clean and the rooms were really well designed.

Hibiscus at the IHOP

Saturday, we were up WAY too early in the morning. We checked out of the hotel, had breakfast at a convenient IHOP, ran through the drivethrough at Dunkin' Donuts for my coffee fix and were on our way again. By 8:45 AM(!), we had arrived at Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, NC.

The Greeting Committee


Once you are there, you have three choices. For $5, you can sluice. This comes with one complimentary bucket of dirt. You can buy additional buckets for $2 each. For $8, you can add the creek to your adventure and for $15, you get the "combo pack" which also includes hiking up the hill to "mine" your own dirt. You can bring your own equipment or rent theirs. We chose the combo pack for all three of us, rented equipment and we were off. First we chose our shovel from the barrel, grabbed a bucket and headed up the hill. We found a spot, filled the bucket with dirt and then lugged the MUCH heavier bucket back down the hill to the sluice.

That early, they weren't too busy so all three of us were able to sit together and sift through our bucket and we found... nothing. Discouraged but not ready to give up, we cashed in our tickets and claimed our complimentary buckets. We each found different shiny things and were well satisfied with our "free" buckets. J was content to remain at the sluice, so she bought another bucket and P and I went back up the hill. (In addition to the $2 buckets, there are buckets for sale for $5, $10, $25, $50 and $100. The more expensive the bucket, the better the haul. I'm still not sure if they seeded the buckets or if they just took the dirt from active veins.)

While sluicing, P noticed that the color of the dirt in the complimentary buckets was a different color than the first bucket that we'd hauled down the hill. On our next trip, we scouted around for that color of dirt and found a large bare spot on the top of the hill. Just walking around, we found a number of gems on the ground and snatched them up. This time WE seeded the bucket before heading back down the hill. We sluiced through that, and were glad of the roof over the sluice as it POURED briefly. They made fun of my flashlight, but I was the only one that could see what was in my screen while the thunder was booming! Then we snacked on food we'd brought with us and decided to explore the creek.

To get to the creek, we hiked down the hill through the picnic area. There were LOTS of people and the creek was very stirred up. Basically, we tromped into the water, shoveled a bunch of the bottom into our screens and then tried to find a perch on shore to sift through it. I wasn't as into this - there were too many people and you couldn't see what you were doing under the water at all. I caught more snails than anything else.

It didn't take long before I had abandoned the water and was chasing the local fauna around. The dragonflies were beautiful! They had irridescent green/blue bodies and jet black wings... and they were fairly friendly.

Once P & J had also tired of the creek, we went back up to the sluice. We were all getting pretty tired by that point, but P and I really wanted to go back up the hill and see how "our" bare spot had fared from the hard rain. We went up and found more shiny rocks but the thunder started booming again. We scurried back down the hill, loaded up with truck and were just climbing in when the rain started pouring down again.

The worst part of the whole weekend was the drive from the mine to the hotel. OMG, I CRAVED a shower. I looked like I'd rolled down the hill. It rained harder than I think I've ever had to drive through before and made it even more fun. We finally got to the hotel in Charlotte near the airport and finally, FINALLY, I got to jump into the shower. All of us were starving, so after we were clean, we met my aunt, uncle and cousin at the Hickory Tavern in Concord. The food was pretty awful, but we were starving and the company was good. From the restaurant, we went to my aunt and uncle's house, met their puppy and chatted for a while. It was good to see them but I was exhausted. We headed back to the hotel, and I was asleep before 11:00.

This morning, we checked out of the hotel, ate at Shoney's, stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and then drove down past Gaffney, SC to Chesnee to Strawberry Hill Peach Shed. We loaded the truck down with seven baskets of peaches - four for them and three for me - and headed home.

Gaffney's claim to fame:

The weekend's haul:

A Bucket of This

And Three Baskets of This

I'm sleepy, mildly sunburned, full of peaches and quite happy with my weekend. Hope yours was wonderful too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Hello, World!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Well, not really. But I'm home, and REALLY happy to be here.

I packed up and left on Saturday. My original thought was to leave on Friday, after work, but that never works out and I'm just sick of rushing around and making myself crazy trying to leave now now now. Screw that. I'm on vacation, I'll go when I'm good and ready. Of course, if that were totally true, I'd have probably stayed home. The cabins aren't very clean, they don't have air conditioning or decent lighting or comfortable seating, you have to bring EVERYTHING with you... The woods are FULL of poison ivy, mosquitoes and ticks... It is HOT... The water is HOT and really dirty... I don't care for fishing, I enjoy skiing for about 20 minutes, I can't park myself in the sun for hours on end... This is just not my idea of a good time.

That being said, I really needed a vacation from here, and I REALLY needed some family time. So I packed up everything (including the kitchen sink) and away I went.

I have no idea what this bug is, but I found it on the hood of my jeep when I stopped for gas. I pried it off as gently as possible and put it in a bush by the gas station.

I arrived about 5:00 am on Sunday morning, the kid at the gate had no idea what was going on but there was a ranger still around who gave me my key and off I went to the cabin. Usually, to unload into that particular cabin, we back the vehicle down the gravel hill almost to the door but I was pretty convinced that I wasn't going to be able to do that quietly and there was no point in waking up the whole cabin area that early so I just hoofed it up and down that darn hill four hundred million times. *pant* *gasp*

Here's some perspective what everything looks like. It's about a mile from the gatehouse at the entrance of the park to the cabin area.

My cabin:

My brother's cabin and the cabins that the Amish were staying in:

From my cabin down toward the lake:

The dock, in its current configuration:

The lake, from the dock:

We do swim from the "beach" by the cabins but typically, we take a boat to the swimmers beach, where there's sand and a gentle slope.

I have no idea what kind of bush this is, but the butterflies LOVED it. So did the bees, and there were enough ball-like blooms to keep everyone friends.

Note the bee sipping from one side, and the butterfly on the other.

It doesn't show really well here, but this butterfly had a dual set of wings, and could hover like a hummingbird. Really neat!

I tromped about a foot from the path to get these pictures, and found a tick on my thigh when I was finished. Not venturing from the path puts a damper on my adventuring!

The shore is all rocks - the best skipping stones you've ever seen in your life. I am by no means a champion stone skipper, but even I can manage 7 or 8 hops with these flat, thin, smooth rocks!

A wander along the shore uncovered treasure... Blackberries! These weren't ready, but I found some further on that were quite yummy.

Anyone home? I didn't find the spider, but the web was interesting.

Continuing my trend, I found some interesting remains to poke at as well.

And, of course, the most prolific native flora.

This is the third year that we shared the cabin area with Amish on vacation. They arrive in (as my brother calls them) "Yoder toters" - the huge conversion vans that they hire to get around, towing sizable trailers. There are several related families and they stay in two cabins. They fascinate me 'cause hey, they're normal people! Who'd have thunk it, right? And watching an Amish gentleman sit in a camp chair, drink a beer out of a can and chatter on a cell phone is the trippiest thing ever. They bring two fishing boats with them, with all of the bells and whistles. And then we have the Amish electricity - they run extension cords from the cabins down to the dock to charge the fish finder, the troll motor and other electronic goodies on the boat. This nearly gives my dad (the master electrician) a stroke every year.

In addition to the butterflies, mosquitoes and ticks, there other bugs. MANY MANY other bugs. Some were cool, like the cicada that hatched on the wall of my porch and the imperial moth that was on the door another evening. (It was larger than my hand and while it looks dull in the dim security light, a flashlight showed that it was yellow with pink and cream markings - really beautiful!)

I did not take pictures of the millions of white bugs. (They look like mosquitoes, but they're fuzzy and white and don't bite. They do, however, die by the THOUSANDS and coat every surface under a light. This is why the bedspread stays on the bed - to catch them and keep them off the sheets.) Or the ants. Or the beetles, silverfish, roaches, house flies, earwigs, etc.

Some quality time was spent on my brother's boat, lounging, skiing, tubing, sunburning the living crap out of myself...

My new best friend:

Friends drove down on Friday, and we managed to get into the water for about 10 minutes before the storm rolled in... And then it poured for several hours so they took their cranky toddler and went home but I enjoyed the thunder and the relief from the heat and humidity! The storm made quite an entrance.

It was clear for Saturday, when we packed up and headed out. This picture doesn't do it justice - you could see the sun sparkling on the water through the trees.

Check out is 10:00 on Saturday. I got up at 8:30, and was completely packed and ready to go by 9:20. My parents took HOURS. We were supposed to have brunch on the way out. I sat and waited for them (because they kept insisting that they were done except for odds and ends) until we finally left the cabin area at 10:30, and they still had to get the boat on the trailer. So, the plan was to meet at the marina. At 12:15, I called them because the cook was putting away the breakfast stuff. My mother decided that she wanted to take a nature walk and that we would wait. Gah! So it was after 2 pm before I managed to get on the road to come back here.

But, after several years, Mom has finally figured out that it's her and not the rest of us. She told me that she remembered things perfectly but that she was wrong. No shit, Sherlock. On July 3, she decided that Dad and my brother were going to come down and swim instead of Dad showering and getting ready to go out for their wedding anniversary. So she sat down on the dock and waited for them until after 6:30 - when they were supposed to leave for dinner at 6:00. If dad says anything to her, she gets really snappish and bitchy and he's just given up, so instead of going down and getting her, he just made a sandwich and waited for her. She went up to the cabin, all pissed off 'cause they never came back down and she didn't believe him until she went and checked with my brother and got the same story - no swimming, you were supposed to go up and get ready to leave. She's been doing stuff like this for YEARS - usually to me - and she is always absolutely convinced that she is right. There's a quote somewhere about a woman who is frequently wrong but never uncertain and I'd swear that person knows my mother. Anyway, she's got a doctor's appointment next week and she's said that she'll ask the doctor about it.

All in all, I came back here more on edge than when I left. We had more than one talk about this place not being someplace I'd ever go on my own and why my parents are so insistent on coming back year after year after year after... So we'll see if we come back next year. If we do, I'm going to do what my brother and my parents did this year and bring an air conditioner down with me. I'm also going to bring down lamps. And maybe a chair. Or maybe I'll retreat back to the comfortable cabin a mile down the road. But this is the only real vacation I get in a year and I'm not going to subject myself to this again.