Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas day was uneventful. RO and I went to his family.

They are very competative. At least three times over Christmas, we all put money in a pot and bet on a competion... 1st when his oldest sister would arrive. She is always late. 2nd, we played musical chairs for money. 3rd was the outcome of a football game.

It's very different than my family. My family never gambles. When we play games, it's only for fun.

On the 26th we opened the store and put on a big sale. So far it seems to be working. I always get nervous about sales. It costs a couple thousand dollars to promote a sale, so it would hurt if the sale wasn't successfull.

On the 27th I flew back to Ontario to spend a week with my family and old friends. It was the first time I've flown first class. I liked it-- short lines and big chairs.

I spend the first night at Liam's. We had a great dinner together and went out for a couple of drinks. Liam is doing well despite his responsibilites. His sister had a child. then started using drugs and got caught. Child Services took the boy away from her. Rather than let his seven year old nephew be left to Child Services or adopted by a stranger (Not many good parents want seven year old boys) Liam adopted his nephew. It's been a lot of work and money and Liam has given up much to raise his nephew well. I'm proud of him for it. He's got guts.

I'm at my parents now. It's very different here. Very quiet. Peaceful. But, I know I will get bored in a day or so.

Thankfully my parents have Internet and Satelite TV.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve at the store. We've had a good December. Not as great as we had hoped, but more than enough to keep us out of trouble.

It's actually quiet today. For some reasons weekends at the store have been more quiet than week days. Maybe it's because we are not in a mall.

RO and I have been working hard. I'm looking forward to a day off.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We have power again. Finally. That cat's were a bit weirded out and much of the food in the fridge has gone bad. But, other than that nothing is wrong that a good cleaning won't take care of.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Some of the old buildings in downtown Kent have gone up in flames. Rumor has it that the roof was being re-tarred, something caught on fire.
Four days and still no power!

At first living in a log cabin without power was kind of charming. But it's starting to get old. We can't cook. We have to hang out at friends or go to restaurants.

It's cold. Last night two of the cats snuggled up with us in bed. One has learnt to crawl under the sheets for more heat.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I still don't have power, but the storm only did minor damage. Everyone is ok.

Wind gusts were up to 80 miles per hour. A few trees fell around our house, but they missed the homes. I feel like I've dodged a bullet. Some of the braches that fell were big but nothing big fell on the house or our vehicles.
As I said, we still don't have power. We do have hot water though. At least we can take warm showers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

RO and I just got back from a couple of days on Orcas Island. We stayed at a nice resort that was felt like it was run by enviromentalists, aging hippies and lesbians.

Monday night was open mic night. The restaurant chef got up and did a "Tofu Rap." He rapped about the joys of tofu and the evils of eating meat.

We also soked in the hot tubs and lounged around the sauna.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For the first time in a long time, the store's finances don't scare me. Christmas sales are going good. They are not as great as we had hoped, but they are still strong enough that we can pay our bills and have some money left over for a few special projects.

Another plus is that the store has been open for a year. We can now look back a year to see how much we've grown and estimate how much we will sell in a given month-- it makes budgeting much easier.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Last night we saw "V for Vendetta" It's a good movie about a man, known only as V, who attacks future totalitarian England. It's marred by a few inconcistencies-- V can do a little too much for a man on the lam, but other than that it's a fun couple of hours.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another ThanksGiving has come and gone. RO and I had dinner at Matt and Sandy's.

On Sunday I made split pea soup with the ham left over from Thanks giving. We didn't do much on Sunday. It felt good to rest.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

And Dolly the cat is back again.

Yesterday was RO's birthday. He basically had two birthday parties. One at the Store on Saturday, and a smaller party last night at our place. Both were fun. Though he drank more at the Saturday party and was very hung over on Sunday.

We all so started a batch of beer on Sunday. We haven't made beer in a long time. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dolly the cat has left us again. Hopefully she will come back.

Last weekend the store had a big sale. It went very well which is a big relief for RO and I. Money has been tight and we had to spend a couple thousand to advertise. Things would have been bad if no one showed up.

But, they are not bad. They are very good. We had our 2nd best day ever.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Last night RO and I went to see the Pet Shop Boys. It was an unexpected gift from Matt and Sandy. They had four tickets, two of them were free because a friend of Sandy can sometimes gives him free tickets.

We had a lot of fun. It was the first time we really went out in a long time. RO drank too much, so he's a bit hung over this morning.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

That cat came back...

Dolly returned home. Earin said Dolly wasn't fixed, so there is a possibility that Dolly is pregnant. I hope not.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I lost Earin's cat. I feel a little bad. Earin doesn't hold it against me-- she wasn't that attached to the cat.

The cat, Dolly, was very skittish. I rarely saw her. Occasionally she would race out to the middle of the room, look around, and then run away.

Friday evening while I was cooking, I left the back door open. Dolly saw me and then fled through the open door. We haven't seen her since.

Earin wasn't very attached to Dolly. She never intended to get her in the first place. Earin was at a pet store, a mother and daughter where also there, trying to sell their kittens. The store didn't want them because the kittens were too young. One of the kittens, Dolly, escaped. Earin helped recapture Dolly, but when she turned around the mother and daughter were gone. And thus Dolly moved in with Earin.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

At my day job, I have just become a middle manager. It's a different challege. The people who report to me are good, smart and hard working, so the change shouldn't bee to difficult.

At the store RO is stressing out. Christmas is arriving. We put up much money for Christmas, so that's kind of stressfull.

Friday, October 20, 2006

C2 is back from Iraq for a week. Things seem to be going well for him. He's trying to get a job in Baghdad-- more money.

Things appear to be going well for him.

We are having dinner tonight.

C2 mentioned that almost nothing has changed in Seattle. I wonder what he was expecting?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Eavan is good for RO and I. She's forcing us to clean and organize. She said the house doesn't feel like a home and she's going to change that.

Sunday afternoon we cleaned out the bar (Yes, the house has a bar room) We moved the crap out, dusted everything, turned on the neon and celebrated with bloody mary's

After that, RO and went out and bought house plants.

Side trip... on the way back from Home Depot, we drove past a new winery-- Castle Bridge. It was a nice little winery. Very small. I hope they make it. They have their work cut out for them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Earin has moved in. It's kind of nice. I think she's more clean than RO or I, so she should be a good influence on us.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My blog is six years old. Happy Birthday Blog!

Over the weekend, RO and I cleaned. For the first time in months the house smells fresh. Every surface in the house used to be covered with a layer of brick-a-brack and dust. We now have space.

Earin is moving in this week. We still have to clean her rooms.

Last night RO and I had dinner with T, who is an old friend of RO's. T is dating Portelo, who, years ago, I used to have lunch with. It was weird seeing Portelo again. I didn't recognize him at first.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I got tested for HIV today-- it came back negative.

The test only takes 20 minutes. That suprized me. Five years ago it took a week. I had mentally prepared myself for getting tested, then waiting a week and then hearing the results. So when the counselor said "This will only take 20 minutes" my heart skipped a beat. It was good that I would know so soon, but I just wasn't prepared to know then. I know RO and I have been good, but I haven't been tested in a long time and I just couldn't remove those small doubts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Last night the Seattle Times took RO and I on a dinner cruise around Seattle. They do this to thank their advertisers.

I kind of like be schmoozed by a large company. The dinner was ok. A very corny magician was the entertrainment. He had a few great tricks, but his stage talk was tire some.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Every day RO checks for a reply from his daughter. MySpace says she has read his letter. She still hasn't replied.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sunday night RO and I went to a March Of Dimes fund raiser. It was a silent auction plus a dinner.

I've been to these sort of events before. The food is always good, and no one checks for tickets at the door. I've got this eurge to look up another such event and go to it without paying, just to see what happens.
RO found his daughter on MySpace.

RO is divorced and has two children. The divorce was very ugly. The end result was that he hasn't been able to talk to his kids in years. His wife has completly cut off contact between RO and the children.

Last Sunday he googled the names of his daughter and son and he stumbled upon his daugther's MySpace site.

He sent her an email message. No word back yet.

Monday, September 11, 2006

RO and I worked all weekend-- our two best employees both had Sunday off and we always work Saturdays since that's the busiest day.

At the end of Sunday RO remarked that he was tired. We have both grown fond of taking Sundays off.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

We had a relaxing weekend.

Friday night was a party at Matt & Sandy's. I think RO had a bit much to drink-- he was very chatty the whole night.

Saturday night Matt, RO and I watched Posidon at our place. I don't really recommend the new Posidon. It had good special effects, but I just didn't care. You could just tell that characters were going to die, or live, according to what the writer wanted to make you feel. So the whole movie felt forced.

Sunday night we watch Night Watch. A weird horror/action flick from Russia. I didn't really enjoy it either. I will say the cinematography was great. However it tried to do to much and ended up not excelling at anything.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I've been under the weather this week-- bloated, nausia and tired. So, I haven't got as much done this week as I wanted. I hate that.

RO and I got XBox Live. So, most every night we've been playing Halo against people from around the world. We've learnt that we suck. I mentioned that to a co-worker who plays lots of Halo. He said that Halo 2 has been out for a year and a half, so most everyone on XBox live is very experienced.

Oh well. I should be doing something more productive anyways.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

August is a tight month for the store. Sales are way down-- about half of what they need to be. I'm not too woried yet. I know many people are away on vacation. On top of that, the Christmas season starts soon.

But, the store doesn't have a lot of cash at exactly the time when we need cash. Christmas Merchandise starts arriving in late september, and we wonn't get it unless we pay for it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

At work (my day job, not the store) we have free coffee, milk, chocolate milk, juice and pop. We also have access to a refrigerator and a microwave. This has prompted us to invent free, office-gourmet beverages.

First the basics...

Office-Gourmet Espresso: Brew one cup of triple strenght coffee.

Office-Gourmet Steamed Milk: Microwave a cup of milk for one or two minutes, depending on how crappy your office microwave is.

Now we can combine the basics to create a variety of wonderful free beverages...

Office-Gourmet Latte: Combine three quarters of a cup of steamed milk with one quarter cup of espresso.

Office-Gourmet Mocha: Same as a Latte, but substitute chocolate milk for regular milk.

Office-Gourmet Iced Latte: Make a cup of Office-Gourmet Espresso and put it in the freezer for an hour. Make sure you put lots of napikns under the cup because people tend to rummage around the freezer and knock things over. Pour over ice with regular milk.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Over the weekend, RO and I shopped for the store. I don't enjoy buying. RO is good at it.

Buying is a lot of work. We spent two days walking up and down the isles. We had sore feet and backs at the end of both days.

I'm a little worried-- several vendors mentioned that the show was much more quiet than usual. It's possible the economy is softening. It's also possible that the Seattle show is dieing and the vendors are putting more effort into the Las Vegas show.
We had a "Gays-of-Renton" progressive potluck. Drinks and appatizers at the guys next door, salad and main course at our place, desserts and liquors at the guys on the top of the hill.

It was very fun, though having to move from house to house made the evening a bit more structured that I'd like.

The other problem was that we had a drink or two at everyone's house. Normally I limit my self to one or two, total, a night. Everyone was tipsy by the end of the night. I had a hangover the next day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So, Boone is moving out. There were some tensions between RO and he. Quite frankly they spend too much time together and the transition from RO as boss at the store to RO as friend at home didn't always work well.

My agreement with Boone was that he would pay rent, or do a lot of cleaning. Well, mostly he didn't pay rent and only did a half assed job at cleaning. Well, yesterday I came home and the house was clean! Very clean! Boone did a great job of cleaning!

I have mixed feelings about this. I am very happy that Boone cleaned the house. I am also annoyed at him for doing so many half assed cleaning jobs over the past year.

At lease my home is clean.

Eavan, an old friend of RO's is moving in. I'm looking forward to it. She will provide a nice balance to our house.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I've had an ear infection all week. I probably got it from swimming last weekend. It's getting better, but I'm tired of aching.


Monday, August 07, 2006

For the first time in weeks, RO and I took Sunday off to just veg.

In the morning we had breakfast with Mac and Joe. It was good to see them.

Lincon Park was nearby, so RO and I went there after breakfast.

We layed in the grass and walked along the water front. Matt and Sandy joined us later on. It was just what the doctor ordered. We chatted, drank, ate and walked around the park.

Matt and Sandy have two very cute toy dogs. They attracted lots of attention.

Lincon Park has a heated salt water pool-- they take in salt water from the Sound, filter, clorinate and then heat it. Next time I go to Lincon park, I'm going to swim.

Friday, August 04, 2006

At work we are near the end of a 3 year project. Hopefully we will be done by November. I remember two and a half year ago when I was in one of the first planning meetings. A sister team to mine was in the same meeting. They had detailed plans with specific schedules, performances and tolerances. It went on for pages. The had put a lot of thought into their plans and had very lofty goals and a very concrete schedule.

My goals and schedule were fluffy and filled about half a page. When I compared the two plans I felt ill. If the sister team could fufill half of of their goals, then they would be way ahead. I thought I'd have to work my ass off just to not fail by comparison.

Of course, three years later my project is almost done. Their project has serious problems and I'm helping out.
Mailing money to Iraq.

Every now and then C2 will mail me a check for a couple thousand dollars along with instructions-- cash the check into $100.00 bills. Not $20.00's. They have to be $100.00 bills. Then I'm to take the money, place it in the pages of a magazine and mail the magazine to him via regular mail.

I'm not sure of the legality of this. I don't think anything is wrong, but at the same time it feels weird. He uses the cash to buy things in Iraq saying that Iraqis don't take cheque or credit card and that the dinar is so untrusted that you can get much better deals using $100.00 bills.

Usually it only takes a week for my magazine to get to Iraq.

This last time, I mailed the magazine at the end of June. By mid July the magainze still hadn't arrived. We were both feeling nervous. Did someone steal it? Was C2 out two thousand dollars? Did I write the wrong address on the envelope? It makes you feel ill. Our emails began with "Did you get it yet?" or "It's not here yet. Are you sure it was mailed correctly?" Unintentionally we emailing each other less often.

Today, thankfully, more than a month later, the magazine arrived. I'm not sure I'll do this for him again.

C2 is fond of discussing hypothetical how-much-of-a-friend-are-you questions. Things like "Would you give me a kidney if I needed it?" or "If my car broke down 100 miles away, would you pick me up? How about 500 or 1000 miles?" I think he has a new question... "What would you do if you mailed me some cash and the envelope never arrived?" What if it was $20.00? Or $100.00? Or $1000.00?
RO and I bought some board games so that we have something to do in the evening other than watching TV.

The Chinese Checkers board is terrible. The colours are wrong. The pieces are two shades of red, two shades of green and two shades of blue. Under medium light it's hard to tell which house a piece belongs to. Was that a dark red piece? Or a light red piece with some shadow on it?

On top of that, the house colours, yellow, purple, red, green, blue and white, don't match the colours of the pieces.

RO and I were frustrated before the game even started. So we put the game away and watched TV.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Last night RO and I went over to Matt and Sandy's for dinner and a movie. We watched Virus. What a bad movie. It wasn't even fun-bad.

Monday, July 24, 2006

RO and I went on a wine tour of Eastern WA. It was a bus tour with 40 others, including Matt.

We did stop at one great winery-- Apex Cellars. The others were nice, but not exceptional.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My parents left this morning. They have a wedding in Winnipeg this Saturday so they are off RVing across half the continent.

I actually enjoyed their visit. I wish I could have spent more time with them, but that didn't work out. Oh well. I'll see them at Christmas.

Monday, July 17, 2006

My parents really like the store.

Over the weekend it was Kent Cornucopia Days-- a large street fair. The fair ran right past our store. It created a lot of traffic for us. We doubled our usual weekend sales.

There were some problems though. The midway attracted lots off teenagers till late in the night. Saturday night a bunch of teenagers were walking behind our store when two of them started fighting. RO and I were just pulling in and saw it all happen. RO started honking his horn and I got out and shouted at them. They quickly disbursted. One of them grabbed a fountain pump that was laying behind the store. I shouted for him to drop it. He did and walked off.

We went out of dinner. When we came back more teenagers were hanging out behind the store. They weren't doing anything wrong, but we got them to leave. I don't want dozens of people hanging out behind the store. There is no reason to be there.

RO and I spent Saturday night at the store. Nothing happened during the night.

Friday, July 14, 2006

My parents are in town. I love my parents very much, but we are very different people. In their hearts they are good tolerant people, but I know they are uncomortable around gay people, so I wonder how they feel about staying at my house with three gay men.

I know my dad get's quiet when anything gayish pops up in the conversation.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Last night, our neighbour Ross came over for dinner. Ross and his partner live four houses down from RO and I, yet we rarely see them.

Ross is a train engineer. He told us that trains regularly run over people. We are in a bad stretch right now. In the last three months as many people of died from train accidents in our state as usually die in a year.

Many of them are suicides. Some of them are stupidity. If there are two sets tracks side by side people forget that trains don't always travel along the right track. He told us about a lady who put some pennies down on the right track, then stepped back to the left track where Ross promptly ran into her.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

So, RO couldn't take all of Sunday off. He had to to open up the store and to fix up some displays.

RO and I met up for lunch. You could see that he was tired. Lunch started off nice, but both of us ended up with the runs.

So, it was a crappy day off. And then Boone called from the store. They had just finished a very large sale-- as much as we normally sell in five days. Within seconds I could feel my stress and tension fade away. It was like an instant vacation.

I didn't think I was that motivated by money, but knowing that July will probably be a strong month for the store helps.

Friday, July 07, 2006

RO and I are getting mentally tired,

Originally we planned on taking Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off. Then a large vendor for the store shipped us three palates of furniture. We scheduled delivery for Wednesday, so that we could leave for our trip Wednesday afternoon.

Well, there were missed calls and miscommunication between the truck driver and our wharehouse. We didn't get the shipment. It took a day and a half of calling around to find out where our furniture was, and to reschedule delivery for Friday.

So, instead of a nice short vacation, RO and I had three days of stress.

We are going to take Sunday off.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Of course, the down side to owning a store is that there are quiet days. Very quiet days. The kind of days where you sell less than what you need to pay your bills. Although, we knew it would be quiet this week. Many people take vacation this week and we're not a vacation destination-- yet.

We did have three different couples from California drop by our store for a little gift shopping.

Monday, July 03, 2006

One of the fun parts of owning a store is that some of our customers are very interesting and I get to chat with them.

On Sunday a lady who is a medic for the U.S. Coast guard dropped in. She told us some of here tales of riding ice breakers up to the Arctic and down to the Antarctic. RO said he was jealous of her. The lady told him to not be. Yes, sometimes she experienced wonders that very few people will ever see. But, most of the time you are very bored. You can't get away from the ship or shipmates for weeks. And if there is an emergency, real help can be thousands of miles away.

Friday, June 30, 2006

I'm on vacation next week. Not a fully real vacation since I'll spend lots of time doing the books at the store. But, I'll get a few days off from my day job. Plus, RO and I can sneek away next Wed and Thurday-- two of our store's quieter days. We really need that. RO and I have only had a handful of days off since the store opened.

My mind is already leaving my job. I'm having problems focusing on anything but sunshine.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

One of my co-workers is working on his doctorate of theology. I asked him about the Landmark Forum and Sandy. This is how he responded...

Wow -- I looked at their "syllabus." That may be the oddest combination of self-help and poststructuralism that I've ever seen. (Actually, the only such combination that I've seen; but it's still pretty odd.)

At seminary they teach us to be wary of giving advice -- we're supposed to operate on the assumption that most people already know the answers to their problems, they just might need some help drawing it out. In that spirit, I think your statements that you can't make your friend "normal" again (and I would agree with that; you can't "fix" people, they have to fix themselves) and that you don't want to just cut him loose, imply your answer: the third option is to put up with it.

At the risk of slipping into advice-giving, my experience suggests that there's a decent chance he'll get over it -- it sounds like right now he has the fervor of a new convert; that usually fades over time. And who knows, he might actually retain something valuable from it -- most of these programs have some good insights buried in all of the hype. If you ride it out, I think there's a good chance you'll get your friend back again. And if not... it was his choice, not yours.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Matt and Sandy have plit up. Matt spent last night at my place.

A couple of weeks ago, Sandy attended the Landmark Forum, a cultish organization that's is a descendant of EST. The forum radicly changed his personality. Before he was laid back and sweet. Now he's obnoxious. He says whatever he wants, even if it's rude, and then dismisses it all with "But I don't mean that as a judgement" Then, if you don't respond with respect, he accuses you of judging him and cuts the conversation off. Of course, we just don't get it, but we could if we attended that Landmark Forum.

Bleah. I wonder where this will go.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Last night RO and I watched "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." What a strange movie. Mostly art for art's sake. RO called it "Pink Floyd for Children." Afterwards we came up with a morel-of-the-story; don't break the rules, if you do, make sure you can cover your ass. Otherwise you won't win the lotery.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

RO and I took Saturday off-- the first day we've had off in months. We went with Steven, Vic and some of their friends to the Freemont Solstice day parade. We had a blast. Freemont is an differnt place-- locals call Freemont the center of the universe. It's 60's hippy meets modern grunge, meets Seattle money.

Pics at rooktook

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm starting to get tired. Having two full time jobs is wearing me down.

The stress at my day job is increasing. This fall we hope to finish a three year project. My manager has let out subtle hints like "If you ever wanted to work over time, now is the time to do it."

Then there is the store. The cash the store goes through is unsettling. Advertising works, but is expensive. All of our income goes to paying bills. We'd be in big trouble if anything went wrong. Our fixed monthly costs have grown way beyond what I can support.

Don't get me wrong, the store isn't going under-- so far sales in June have been excellent. But as RO said after he sold a expensive chandelier, "Yea! We can pay our bills!" Its frustrating to sell so many luxury goods, yet have no cash left to show for it.

To calm my nerves I think about "Black Friday" the day after Thanksgiving when most stores (supposedly) become profitibale.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I am still stiff and sore.

The truck trailer was 60 feet long and full of furniture. We hired six guys to help us and got it all unpacked in about two hours. Then, we spent the rest of the day unpacking and stacking everything.

Friday, June 02, 2006

We got the warehouse keys this morning. On our way to pick up the keys, the truck driver called ans said "I'm in Seattle. Can I drop off early?"

This was cutting it too close.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's been a very stressful week. Last week, we thought we had a warehouse-- the landlord was going to finalize the lease all we had to do was sign and pay up. In anticipation of the warehouse, RO started the shipment on a transport truck full of furniture that had been waiting for the go ahead for about a month. The truck is going to arrive this Saturday.

Then the landlord just stopped talking to us.

So, Tuesday and Wednesday Mark and I busted our butts trying to find another warehouse before Saturday.

Fortunately, last night, the leasing agent called us and said he heard from the land lord-- death in the family. We are signing the lease today.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Weird nature moment... This morning while I was standing and peeing off the edge of the back deck a humming bird flew up to, well, my penis, and watched me pee. It felt weird to be stared down by a humming bird. Any other body part and that would have been a beautiful nature moment. After a few second the bird flew off.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Well, she quit. Or we helped her quit. Or something like that. On Saturday I met with her. She brought along a list of things that would allow her to continue working at the store. We talked for a while more and agreed to meet again on Sunday.

I took the list back to RO. The list was not outlandish, but not pratical either. We are a small company with a small budget. We can't bend over backwards to accomodate a part time employee. At the end of the day RO is the store. He is the best designer. He is the boss. He can be a hard-ass, but that's because he's the one responsible for the sucess of the store.

RO and I decide we could not give her that much flexibility. We also heard that she told some other employees that she was going to quit.

On Sunday I met with her again. I told her our decision and that I heard she was considering quiting. I said I supported that decision.

She asked for a letter of reference. I will give her one.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The other day I helped a guy who ran out of gas. A run down Bronko was stalled on the off ramp by my place.

I pulled over and asked the guy if he needed help. The driver was a big black guy. Yes, "Am I going to get mugged" thoughts ran through my brain. He told me he ran out of gas. I offered to drive him to the closest gas station.

The trip was uneventful. His name was Zak. He's a student from western washington. He thanked me a lot and then we parted ways.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We are having our first HR issues at the store. One of the employees is very senstative and takes everything personally. RO on the other hand, needs to get things done and he can't always handle the employees with kid gloves.

This is frustrating for RO and I. We both like her. But, we can't always and constatnly praise and reaffirm her. Sometimes we need the employees to do their job, and to not break out in tears if we try to correct a mistakes. (A $500.00 check wasn't signed. Candles which leave oil and fragrance were set on and stained an expensive wool rug. Medium sized vase left in the middle of walk way, where RO tripped on it.) I think we are dealing with her professionally, but I don't know how soft we need to go.

It's getting to the point where RO is uncomfortable around her, beause he's afraid that he's going to say something that will set her off.

Monday, May 15, 2006

May is turning into a tight month for the store. We half expected that-- tax returns are just starting to get back to people.

There has also been some construction outside the store. They blocked the street off on Saturday. Fortunatly the construction company was nice enough to put up a large reader lighted sign saying we were open.

Monday, May 01, 2006

It was a mixed weekend at the store.

The Good... On Saturday our employees showed us that they know the store better than we do... I was trying to find the price for some untagged merchandise. I asked SB if she know the price. She said "No, but we could look it up in the computer." When I went over to one of the computers SB said "Race Ya!" Within two seconds she found the price. I was still looking for the "Find Product" button.

The Good II. During the week, LP set aside some jewlery for a customer. LP had Saturday off. On Saturday, RO and Boone we trying to find the merchandise and couldn't. The followed LP's directions, but couldn't find the bag. RO and Boone started arguing with each other over who had misplaced the jewlery. SB got tired of their bickering so she took LP's directions and found the jewlery no problem. She opened up the cabinet and pulled a bag. She turned to RO and said "Is this it?" RO said no, but it was similar to that. SB turned back to the cabinet and pulled out another bag. "Is this it?" This time it was.

The Bad. On Sunday the closed the street in front of the store for repaving. It killed the day. You could only get to the store by parking far away and then walking. So, we closed early.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

b-anne came over for dinner last night. A couple weeks ago she visited India for a vacation. She brought photos of the trip.

The thing that struck me the most is how colourful India is-- People dress in bright saturated colours every day.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Recently Bush has called himself "the Decider" I find it kind of funny that "A Decider" is "a machine that always halts"

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tommy Boy came is in Seattle for work. Friday night and Saturday night RO and I had dinner with him. We had a great time. We spent way too much on food, but we still had a great time.

I'm going to write more about dinners and the small fortune we paid for them. That will be posted on Eats

It was interesting and awkward explaining Tommy to RO. I've known Tommy for years and have met him in person once. So, when I told RO about Tommy, his guard went up. RO wasn't sure he could trust me, or what my intentions were. Was I lying? Was I being honest? Fortunatly things worked out well. Tommy and RO hit it off. Now we are planning to spend next Mardi Gras in Louisiana with Tommy and M.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Last night we went to the Muckelshoot Casino. S goes there every year to comemorate her dad's death. Her dad used to gamble a lot at the Muckelshoot.

We had a good dinner. Afterwards RO played some blackjack and S played the slots. I guess S's dad was with us in spirit because they both won about $30.00
Last night we went to the Muckelshoot Casino. S goes there every year to comemorate her dad's death. Her dad used to gamble a lot at the Muckelshoot.

We had a good dinner. Afterwards RO played some blackjack and S played the slots. I guess S's dad was with us in spirit because they both won about $30.00
Last night we went to the Muckelshoot Casino. S goes there every year to comemorate her dad's death. Her dad used to gamble a lot at the Muckelshoot.

We had a good dinner. Afterwards RO played some blackjack and S played the slots. I guess S's dad was with us in spirit because they both won about $30.00
Last night we went to the Muckelshoot Casino. S goes there every year to comemorate her dad's death. Her dad used to gamble a lot at the Muckelshoot.

We had a good dinner. Afterwards RO played some blackjack and S played the slots. I guess S's dad was with us in spirit because they both won about $30.00

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's not that I want to remain anonymous. I know I don't have that. Google Analytics tells me where my visitors come from, down to about the zip code. From what I see, many of my friends drop in from time to time.

My problem is that search engines work. If say "Luscious Breasts", for the next week or so my hit count will double thanks to all the people looking for said body part.

One third of the people who find the store's website get their by searching for it. If I mention the store directly on this blog, then a good portion of those people will stumble upon this blog. And I'm not sure I want my customers reading my blog.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

> It would be good to know about ths shop in case I'd ever stop off in Canada on my
> way to .... the North Pole.

Lol. The store is South of Seattle. There is a link to off to the right, under the Links section. I don't like calling it out to much from this blog since people googling for the store would end up here.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I talked to Ryan today. He's burnt out of his job making video games. He's quit and is going to do some soul searching. He's thought about becomming a bartender, a mechanic, contractor and many other things.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

We took out an ad in a big local newspaper. We mulled over it for a long time. The annual contract with the newspaper is big bucks-- as big as a new car. Black and white ads once a month are like Kia's. Color ads every week are BMW's.

Well, the ad works. It came out today and today is very busy. We know it's working because several of the customers have mentioned it.

We still need more people. We have one new guy helping in the back room. For the most part he's working out well. With one catch-- he sometimes smells. RO is going to have a chat with him.

I've been catching up on the books. We have an automated payroll system that automatically writes cheques out to the employees. It adds a copy of my signature to each cheque. It's weird seeing my signature on dozens of cheques that I never wrote. If I died or went away, I would live on in computers.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Today is the first day in the past two weeks that I don't feel bloated. Yeah!

Spring has hit Seattle. The birds are birds everywhere. Every morning RO and I have breakfast outside. In the past few days the number of birds is noticably greater.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

All week RO and I have been a bit under the weather. We feel bloated and gassy. Bleah.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

RO and I spent a long weekend at the Chrysalis Inn & Spa. It was our first time off since New Years day.

It was very relaxing. We ate a lot, hiked the around the hills, ate some more, got massaged, drank and slept. An almost perfect weekend.

Almost perfect because Monday evening, we ate some bad raw oysters. Today RO and I are a bit under the weather. I just need to drink lots of water to flush it out of the system.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Matt's grandmother is getting better.

Other than that, it was a busy weekend. I did manage to do a lot of organizing in the office.

Sunday night RO and I had dinner with Mac and Joe. It's the first time we've seen them since last fall. We had dinenr at CI Shenanigans in Tacoma. It's a great restaurant. It's on the water front and it's built with stadium seating so every table has a good view.

Mac and Joe are doing fine. They've both just switched jobs. Since they moved, their commute was about 90 minutes one way. At their new jobs the commute is down to 15 or 20 minutes.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Matt's grandmother is very sick-- pneumonia. The last time I saw here, last summer, she was a fit, sprightly, intelligent, active, 90yo woman.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Another busy weekend. Whenever I work at the store, I always bring a list of things that I must do. I always get distracted by things are more important.

This past weekend I wanted to catch up on the book keeping. Instead we got a shipment of 25 rugs. Rugs are big and heavey so the girls can't easily hang them from the rug rack. RO was very busy working on some furniture he promised a customer a month ago. That left me to deal with the rugs.

We need a one more strong guy at the store. So far all our applicantes and employees have been thin women. I don't want to be sexist, but when you have to move a metal and granite wine cage a thin woman isn't the most helpful.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Today RO is in Dallas shopping. He found a vendor that he really likes, so he's flown to their warehouse in Texas.

One nice benefit of the store is that we are getting thousands of air miles every month since we do most of the store buying with credit cards.

Everyone loves credit cards. They are faster and easier than cheque. Much less paperwork; credit card transactions automatically appear in the accounting software and in our bank account, unlike cash or cheques which require manual entry.

Back to the airmiles-- the store earns about one free roundtrip ticket a month. Right now RO and I aren't taking money out of the store so this is the only benefit that we have.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

RO and I are trying to exercise again. We jogged this morning. We made it half as far as we used to before we needed to stop and walk.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I try to do the books for the store. Even though most of it is automated, book keeping is a lot of work. Fortunatly the most important expenses like pay roll and paying sales tax are completly automated.

The bank statments and credit cards are mostly automated. We can download import them into the Accounting Package. The hard part is matching the transactions up to receipts. That's a lot of tedious work.

The book keepers that we talked to wanted to charge us a couple thousand a month to keep our books. Now I understand why.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The robins are back. This morning while RO and I were in the hot tub, a robin was in a nearby tree calling out to others. It would whistle loudly. A few seconds later other nearby robins would whistle back. The calls sound fairly far away. One robin is accross the ravine and another is a few house down.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

How do you forget valentines day? Well, his argument is that he had a really elaborite valentines day gift planned. Then he got too busy to follow through.

He knows I don't want to receive flowers at work, so he was either going to have some roses sent to everyone around me, but not me. Then at a particular time, each of my co-workers would give me a rose.
Last night RO and I took Neu to see Dan Savages's Valentines Day Bash. At the Bash, you bring a momento of a failed relationship. Dan calls you up to the stage, you talk about the failed relationship in front of the audience, and then Dan destroys the momento-- burn, blend, smash, rip it up and flush it down a toilet and so on.

It was fun, though we left early. There were too many paper momentos. In past years people have destroyed wedding rings and other valuables. This year it was mostly photos and love letters.

When we got home, RO opened my valentine's day card to him. I opened my valentines day card and... RO didn't send the card to me! One of the store employees sent me the card. RO forgot valentines day! We argued over it for a bit and went to bed in a huff. At about 3am in the morning he apologized. That felt good.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The store's grand opening sale was on Saturday. Even though we've been soft open since mid December, we didn't start advertising till now.

RO created a big event for the sale. We rented hollywood search lights. We catered. We had a stagered sale. 10% off from 10am to 1pm. 20% of from 1pm to 5pm. 30% of from 5pm to 7pm, and 40% off after 7pm.

The customers worked hard to get things at 40% off. Before 7pm, one lady went around the store and hid the items she wanted under scarves.

It was very busy before 7pm. After that it was was a mad house. We were wrapping and ringing non-stop till 10pm. The small stuff was easy. Quickly packing the big stuff, chairs, book shelves, paintings and other art, was back breaking work.

That night I could only dream of bubble wrap and price checking.

It's a big load off my chest that the store will be successful. Still, this isn't easy money We are working hard for our dollars.

Friday, February 10, 2006

So, for four days the kitchen drain was blocked. Every evening RO and I would go to Home Depot and buy another drain clearing tool. We poured chemicals and hot water down it. We plunged it so vigorously that the seals broke and the joints started leaking. We shoved a twenty five foot drain snake down it. We spent hours on it. No luck.

RO finally let me call Roto-Router. At 8:30am the plumber showed up. By 9am he had cleared the clog and rebuilt the plumbing that we had destroyed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We are having bad drain karma. The kitchen drain has been plugged for the past three days. Every night we buy another drain clearning gadget and spend an hour trying to free things up. If we don't clear it up tonight, then I'm going to call the plumber.

I wanted to call the plumber yesterday. RO is too stubborn. I know he wants to save a some bucks. But there is something to be said about having a working dishwasher and sink.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I just heard from Bib for the first time since he got back from Australia. He said he had a great time down under.

On the way back, the jet tire blew out. He said they heard the bang at the tail end of the take off. So, the pilot didn't abort.

They made an emergency stop in SFO. Fortunatly they landed safely.
Last night, Matt, Sandy, Steven, RO and I had dinner at the Blackbird Bistro. Nice restaurant.

We spent most of the evening mulling over Steven and Vic's situation. They are very much in love (and married) but they live 5 hours apart. It's difficult for Vic to move to the U.S. and Steven would take a big pay cut if he moved to Canada.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Last night RO and I went over to Matt and Sandy's and watched Die Mommei Die! It's a bad movie-- they tried hard to make it bad. Some of the dialog is so awful you know the writers worked hard to go there.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

C2 has now spent almost a year in Iraq. I got this note from him...

How are you doing? Things here are fine, but sorta the same-ole-same-sole. I think I've topped out here at Tallil and need to move to Baghdad to find the next round of adventure/change. How do you like doing the work thing and store thing? Is it too much? Have you started paying yourself back yet? Ok, chat you soon.

C2 is in no hurry to come back to Seattle. He has many alergies when he's in Seattle. They clear up in Iraq. In Iraq he has a full time job that he kind of likes and earns him some respect. Back in Seattle he wasn't doing much more than temping.

I'm glad he's found something he likes. It's just too bad that our paths are diverging.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Over the weekend, RO and I went to a trade show, the Seattle Gift Show, to buy for the store. It was a lot of work. There were acres and acres of pottery vendors, art vendors, furniture vendors, jewelry vendors, candle vendors, clothing vendors. It went on and on and on. We spend two days there.

I am not a buyer at heart. My eyes glazed over by the time I saw my one hundredth vase. Thankfully RO knows what he's looking for, so I handled the paper work while he was shopping.

We met a rug importer who later stopped by the store to check us out. This vendor sells $10,000.00 rugs. He was impressed by our store and has offered to sell rugs through us on consignment, which is very nice because we can't afford to keep many $10,000.00 rugs in stock.

RO and Boone are now headed down to Las Vegas for a furniture show. I kind of wish I was there. Although the thought of another two days of buying kind of bores me.

I'll stick with running the store.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The store is next to a tourist area. Near by there are many little boutiques and gifts shops. Our store having an effect on the neighborhood.

The restaurants and the stores with different merchandise like us. We are the biggest and splashiest place on the block so they benefit by the extra foot traffic.

One boutique, unfortunately, carries similar merchandise as our store. They are suffering. The owner hates us-- she said so to some of our vendors. I really don't want to brush it off with "It's just business and in business you compete." But, at the same time there is little else I can do. Our store is probably five times larger than her's, with ten times the selection. She has a narrow alley, while we have a 5000 square foot building.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Last night we had dinner at Sally's.

Sally and her husband built my house back in the 1950's. They lived there for decades. After her husband died, she bought a smaller house 4 lots over.

Well, Sally is 80 now. And she doens't look a day older than 60. She's fit, smart, active and attractive. I hope I'm half as alive as she is when I turn 70.

We try to have dinner with Sally regularly. She loves the company and likes to keep tabs on her old home. Last night she gave us 4 old photos of my place, dating back to the 50's.

I think I'll blow them up, frame them and give Sally a copy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The sewer at the store is all fixed up.

Saturday night, RO, Steven and I went out for dinner at Blu Sea Sushi. It's a fun conveyer belt sushi restaurant with a nice martini bar.

Steven really liked the bartender. So, RO looked at the bartender and shouted "Hey! Are you straight?" Steven and I broke out laughing. When RO gets tipsy, he gets loud.

After Sushi, we went to C.C.'s for a couple of more drinks. RO got even more obnoxious. I decided to just let him get it out of his system. We've been working so hard, that he needs to blow off some steam.

Next day, no hangovers!

Sunday night we had dinner at Matt and Sandy's. It was a great dinner. It was nice to site down with friends.

The store is doing fine. Over the weekend, we composed our first newspaper ad. We'll see how it looks in print.

Friday, January 20, 2006

It's one of those days. The sewer line at the store is blocked up. The plumber can't find the blockage. Right now they are flushing the sewer line out so they can push a small video camera into it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Last night RO and I saw The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's a good movie, though I have some complaints with the story-- too much magic. Magic and the kids are in trouble. Some more magic and the kids are safe. Bad magic and someone dies. Good magic-- he comes back to life. More magic and the day is saved.

The magic feels like C.S. Lewis cheated with the story, which is disappointing because the rest of the movie (and book) are so well put together.

After the movie I got to meet Randy Hansen Randy is a friend of RO's who has had some success as a professional guitarist and a Jimmy Hendrix impersonator.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Last night Steven came over and joined us for our first machine dinner. Between the store and my job, we don't have enough time or energy to make good dinners. So, we got a crock pot and a bread machine. By 7pm both were finished, so all we had to do was sit down and enjoy our meal.

Steven is still overwhelmed with work. What is it about workoholism and my friends? I guess it's better than hanging out with slackers.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The store is going well. January may be a better month than December.

Over the weekend, I spent most of my time in the back room cleaning and organizing. I bought half a dozen rolling racks and we got all the crap off the floor and onto the shelves.

For the first time since we opened, our garbage is under control. I did three garbage runs. Much of the cardboard in our garbage area had started to rot away. I used a fork and shovel to get it into the truck bed.

The thing I miss most of my life before the store is the absence of enough. I used to be able to read, or watch TV, or sit in the hot tub, or hang out with friends until I had enough. There was still time left over for house work. Now my days are full. I still have my old full time job. The store takes up whatever free time is left over.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I think we have enough employees a the store that RO and Boone can start taking days off. In fact, Boone took Sunday off. We are going to try and schedule things so that RO can take Monday or Tuesday off, however I'm not sure he will. He'll probably do the buying or consulting on those days.

Me... Well Between my fulltime job and the store, I'm working seven days a week.

Although, Saturday night RO and I saw Brokeback Mountain with Steven and Vic. Brokemback Mountain is a good movie, but not the great movie I'd heard it was. I enjoyed it, but I'm in no hurry to see it again.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm back in Seattle and working hard. Between my day job and the store, I don't get much free time. We need to hire another full time person for the store-- RO is stretched very thin. But, that's a big commitment.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

It's 3am in the morning. I am still in Phily. There is no one at the airport but the clean staff and a few straglers like me.

The cleaning staff spends most of their time joy riding the electric cars or sitting around and gabbing.

I want to sleep but can't. The one man who is actually working is running a loud floor buffer near me.

I still haven't found my camera.

The bank of pay phones next to me has started ringing randomly. It's kind of wierd. I picked up one of the ringing phones and no one was there. Then, the phone next to me started ringing.
I am stuck in Philidelphia. I was flying back from Toronto with a connecting flight in Phili. The flight from TO was delayed and I missed the connector. Right now they have me booked on the next flight to Seattle. That's not till the morning.

To make matters worse, while I was rushing around the airport I lost my camera. It had all my XMas pics on it. I feel bad about that.