Monday, October 24, 2011

Chef Ramsay

Say what you will about Gordon Ramsay- The fact remains that he knows his business. One of the practical applications of his knowledge is minimalize waste/control costs. I was particularly impressed with a challenge that he gave to contestants on Hell's Kitchen - to turn something into something else.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to do just that. The deli section of Urban Market had markdowns on Saturday. I picked up a ton of things (3 shopping bags) for $19.67. It included meat loaf (3 slices) , corn,mashed potatoes, salad mix in a bag, 2 cobblers- apple and blackberry, chicken fettacini, egg substitute, chicken breast-uncooked ...I turned some of the meatloaf and veggie sides into a skillet shepard's pie and had enough for 2 meals-for $1.21. Last night , I made a pan grilled chicken and vegetable  salad for dinner, cost was $1.30 and was wonderful. I intend to repeat that this evening. I haad cooked 2 chicken breasts last night ,knowing how I feel when I have worked all day. While you might not live around an HG Hills/Urban Market, check out the markdowns and cook them or freeze them when you get home. Its not only about what we earn but how much we keep.

Friday, October 21, 2011

We have arrived and are unpacking

The first two nights that Maxie and I spent here, I barely slept- it was too quiet. After 6 years of being awakened by some hoo-ha who was either just getting off of work or coming in from drinking- it felt really weird to be allowed to sleep as early as I wanted and sleep throught the night. I think that I like the experiance. I should have left years ago. The rent is higher- I should be able to offset that by continuing the practices such as Urban Market that I started months ago. Plus my utilities are included in my rent- for moderate months , I am paying $104 a month more. If utility costs continue as they did last winter, I will pay $58 less during the more severe months and be warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Allowing for 6 moderate months and 6 severe months- the actual difference works out to $23 more per month. Idealistic model - will see how it goes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Last night was the last night that I will sleep in this apartment

There are 2 days remaining today and tommorrow. I am coming along nicely  and after I finish this, will take down the computer until Monday night, I have already marked the wires and positions . Moving from 900 sq ft to 300 sq ft means cut,cut and cut again . Maxie is sitting in the patio doorway and why I could be moving the chair outside, I want her to enjoy her last hours here as well. She is already stressed with the move which got worse after I took out the couch. She does have windows in the new place . It won't be the same.

There is a line that Arina sayd to Henri ( married vampires in my work in progress) that sums up how I felt when I woke up this morning. " I don't want to get up, the minute my feet touch the floor , we belong to the world and all of this is real." So for some hard core evaluation :

I knew that the client was leaving even before they announced it- my employers did not want to hear it. Whatever caused the initial problem , had snowballed before I even felt it. That client is now totally reorganizing- managers with whom we had dealt for years are being moved away from liablity . In a normal economy , I might have looked for a new job. This is not a normal economy , at least not until now. We were told that our department was not to blame. It was our department that suffered. One woman was released from her job, I thankfully was moved to another dept., only one of the owner's moms is still working our old biz. Starting Tuesday, I have to up my game for being out, even though I took it as vacation time.

My employer although I was unhappy with them for refusing to look at the obvious- has been supportive . One can forgive alot when they put their money where their mouth is . I have 2 great clients and am determined to make them shine. I have a loan which has no particular paydate - asap- small but stopped the inevitable for awhile. It wasn't to be. Everytime we solved a problem - the players escalated the stakes. The stakes eventually got too high.

Two factors were major:

- Nashville Electric service added fees to offset any energy savings I effected. I cut my bill by over $30 , only to have them tack on an adminstrative fee of roughly the amount of the savings.

- I was never far behind on the rent- but it takes time when you work partly on commission. We had a change of management , and I thought that the guy who had been assistant twice seemed ok. I know him now for a liar. The last time that we spoke , we discussed what I could pay- I knew that I had a commission (small) and said I could come up with $1000 to be followed with $400 per month repay and the monthly rent. We would have been paid in 90 days. He said he could work with that- he took the money - and sent me to the attorney anyway. When I complained about the lie- he said not to worry that the attorney would take the plan. I spoke with the attorney- there had been no such accomodation . They wanted it all in 14 days which was not possible, So I took an agreed judgement and made arrangements to move. The landlord has stayed away from me- and I do not seek him out. I did get a smaller payment per month . Tempting as it sounds, I am not going to drag it out .

-Why this is a good thing:

They donot use bonded repair people but whoever- usually when you are not home.

Screening leaves a lot to be desired - as in they don't do stringently enough. We had an upstairs neighbor who brough critters (insects) and even though they were evicted, we battled them for months. There are many who have been to jail.

Along the same line, TN law requires 24 hours notice before they can enter an apartment. Management here did that about 65% of the time. My vet and I suspect its part of what killed my 13 year old cat, Daisybunny - they came in to spray unannounced, she was loose, was scared of strangers , hid and got sprayed. How do I know? They never locked my door properly invalidating my insurance and putting my goods at risk. I keep the dates on a calendar.

No consideration for the schedules of the tenants- one of my neighbors who works nights , found workmen wandering around her apartment while she was sleeping. She moved yesterday. There is more consideration for the service companies that the management co pays than the tenants who pay them . This seems skewed to me.

So see you on the other side later this week. Time to finish the packing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I had to go out this afternoon for cat food, another container for books , and trashbags. I decided in the middle of all of this to stop for a cup of coffee, I ran into a woman who used to take the bus with me from Metrocenter here in Nashville (Its the center of nowhere-its so distanced from downtown that its Roswell Southeast.)

She had been out of work since'09 and is about my age. She is living at the Salvation Army shelter. Cigna lost the contract for the area in which she worked-and she has been unable to find another job. My question is how can any religion or philosophical enity claim to honor their mothers and fathers - i.e. their elders and not only warehouse them in nursing homes but put them on the street? Does this strike anyone else as a paradox , maybe hypercritical? I am going to the Imperial Palace compared to that . This is a woman who worked hard all of her life- as have I and most of my friends- but there are days, like today , where it feels scarey and unappreciated . No American should be allowed to drop so far. Not when they are willing to work.

" I complained about having no shoes , then I met a man who had no feet..."

3 Days Remain

When I took my baby dragon lamp from my home office to work, I felt that the apartment was no longer mine. It feels happy at my job, so there it will stay . The art work , the bulletin boards, all gone. I am not doing storage this time- economic times being what they are - I am not comfortable committing beyond my hourly income.

Lori from work is getting the 3 bookcases. I also have 2 childrens books (she has grandkids) , a game and a rotissaire she can have - she doesn't know about that. When Amazon pays me for sold used books this week , I am also going to give her $20.00 for helping me move tomorrow. Goodwill comes on Monday for the rest of the usable furniture. I had been thinking about replacing the living room suite before this and am now glad that I did not. I still am taking alot of stuff with me for my smaller space. Much of it is books that I am selling on Amazon.

I went to the dollar store yesterday for frozen pizza- I had gone to get another plastic container for books to be sold. They were over priced at Home Depot - I think I paid 4 dollars for them last time  now they wanted 12 . No Sale. As I sat outside HD , a truck pulled up and the driver came over and spoke with me. He knew me from my job- but he knew me from when it paid more than it does now. He is a contractor and is very disgruntled with the Presidential policies regarding jobs. It should never had to wait. It should have been first. I think that Bill Maher ( to whom I have become addicted) said it best " It isn't that Obama did not recognize the problem but that he failed to treat it with the Urgency of Emergency that FDR had done ." I agree. His reelection looks like New Montgomery Street in SF after it crosses Broadway in North Beach. ( If you have never seen it, it is a large hill  almost straight up and down-bring oxygen and climbing gear. ) Many have tried , few have succeeded .

I was putting things out yesterday , as were some of my neighbors as there are 80 of us moving from here over the next 30 days - and the ragpicking vultures actually parked their cars and pawed through the trash . We are not allowed to have yard sales  in the complex. I just wanted to scream- People , have a little dignity and get out of the dumpster. I believe in working hard and being frugal but that is too much and is low. Its one thing to see me carrying something to the dumpster.  and ask if you can have it, but quite another to jump in the dumpster and pull it out. I believe that the energy changes once in the dumpster and becomes that of decomposition not composition. Like dragging a dead body home.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eight days remain

Maxie feels the impending move- and is stressing on it. I did the only logical thing yesterday and got my hair cut after work- it needed it, I usually am off work after they close, and was  the first step towards order once again. I got 9 books sold last week through Amazon and there are 2 more that have been sold since I shipped the orders. Monday is Columbus Day so there is no mail. I will ship those on Tuesday.

Saturday on the bus, a woman gave me a tip that HG Hills has included a flat of eggs in their pick 5 for 19.99 The rent is a little higher than I'de like at the new place but the security is better. I lived there 7 months last time. I told my friend Sheila where I was moving , and she was delighted. She lives in an apartment complex that also includes the electric service. So with the information from the bus, I am sure I can make it work. At least I won't be facing $300 electric bills in the winter- this is a good thing.

I picked up my mail from the laundry room this morning- lots of junk mail- but noticed that the new landlord is very group oriented. He is organizing things like field trips to credit seminars etc- maybe this is good- even hiring a bus. But I am not a group participant type of person even if I were still here.
He is also family oriented-I have noticed . He has a vision of what he wants this place to be and even without our disagreements, without his lies, my disatisfaction with the maintenance and security of the place which has deteriorated , I don't fit. Many of those moving are older, some with disablities. If this were CA , there would probably be a class action suit. I don't feel up to leading the charge- you have to care for that and all I care is that I get better from the arthritis . So , there probably won't be one - though I will sign on if there is- not to get rich because only the lawyers get rich from those but to make a point. I don't regret the move , but I have lived here, good or bad over 6 years and am leaving that part of my life behind. As much as I know that this is a good thing, it was the last place the Daisybunny lived with me. Maxie , who is sitting on my CPU , is supervising this blog today and is ready for the challenge. I view this as a return to the crossroads-we go forward from here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moving Day-15 days remain

I am thinking about positive things that deal with the move. Things that I will change after I move . Maxie and I will both have some changes in the smaller space but at least , it will give me a chance to gather my wits in peace without constant invasion by management. Three things I liked about where I live- large enough to be like a small house, close enough to the Dollar store that I don't have to always run to Madison Station by bus to pick up things, a few of my neighbors. Three things that I hate about where I live now:Lack of respect by management/management company - they are always in your face, have no respect for your schedule and frequently lie when caught. The below par care of the buildings. The poorly lit hill on which I was mugged a few years ago. I swear it gets higher and darker every year- there is a street light at the bottom and one at the top and nothing between. The rest of the neighbors. This is not a cohesive neighborhood. I had the neighbors from AR whose young men, 12 and 14 had concrete blocks surgerically grafted onto their feet- they knocked things off my walls as they moved, followed by Psychobitch and her crew. I got a brief respite when I got the sweetest little unwed mother upstairs- the only sound from there was the giggling race of the patter of her baby daughter. When she moved on, I got Dave and Mike , 2 prison guards from Riverbend. They were the greatest comedy team since Abbott and Costello. They were very light on their feet for men of their sizes ( about 300 lb each) . It was all about the women with them and I heard about every line in the book and a few that weren't from the porch over my bedroom. They made me laugh as I heard the women give in on the dumbest lines. Strictly , and you believed that? Then they  left and I got rotating Mexican construction worker crews, not all of which may have been legal- I don't know but the initials  INS made it get really quiet.
Now there is a nice Phillipino family and they are respectful. Sure , now they move in , just as I am leaving.

Older people are not encouraged to stay. There has been a real trend towards young families. Its an owners' market due to the deflated housing bubble. I have topped out on the rent here for three years and that might be part of the issue as well. But I have noticed the departure of anyone near 60 here.

I sold some books over to Amazon- and am thinking of opening a shop there as a sideline to my regular income. I will make that decision after the move. a little extra money is always welcome.

Urban Market had Bob Evans sausage for 1.09 each this week- so I got some.

Saw a wonderful film this am on Netflix- Love's Kitchen.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week.