This is inventory time at work, so I am trying to get the usual tasks completed while at the same time, having to figure out the inventory issues.

Since this is the US Government, they have to update/upgrade everything on an annual basis.  So, just as I got last year’s inventory process figure out, they change it to a new improved method, which requires learning the process all over again.  Very frustrating….  They do these improvements every year.

The Marine Ball will be a week from Saturday.  Nov. 18th.  It will be a bit strange without Terese, since we only went to these because she wanted to.  I will watch the people dance and jiggle to the music, then I will slip away.  The following day I will hop on a plane and head home for Thanksgiving and see my incredible 900 year-old mother.

I have befriended the little lady in the mail room.  When I get my mail several times a week, I visit with her a few minutes.  She confides in me when she is upset and I turn on my halo and convince her it is not as bad as she thinks.

The other day, she told me the Brazilians at the Consulate, specifically the Local Guard Force, has nicknamed me McGyver.  (spelling may be incorrect)  He is a TV character that has some sort of knack to get things done.

She told me the guards say I can open a door with a paperclip.  I don’t know where they get such nonsense, but I decided to have some fun with it.  Now, every time I work on something in their presence, be it an x-ray machine, door controls, video monitor, camera, etc., I will ask one of them for a paperclip.  Then when I get through, I will hand it back.  Sometimes, I will bend it out of shape first.

Sunday, I will go on a Consulate sponsored shopping trip.  It was planned last week, but cancelled because of the weather.  I will take some pictures and show you what the place looks like.

A couple of months ago, I hired a young woman to come in and clean my apartment once a week.  Her name is Camila.  She is probably in her mid-twenties and I am told her husband recently lost his job, so I give her a few extra Reals. (pronounced “hey-eyes”)

For some reason, she tends not to understand what I tell her.  Perhaps she just doesn’t want to.  I originally told her not to do any laundry.  Sounds simple, but she does it anyway, so I decided, Okay, let her do it.  But then I noticed she was putting the detergent into the bleach port, so as a result, my clothes tend to smell more like the detergent than what I want.  I specifically told her to use the extra rinse cycle to eliminate the smell, but she doesn’t.  I even put little green stickers on the washer settings so she will know which ones to use, which she doesn’t use. So last Wednesday when she came, I took her into the utility room and specifically pointed out the issues.  Maybe it will work okay.

I have two bath mats in my bathroom I have placed for when I step out of the shower, but every time, she places them in a different place, almost as if she is trying to tell me I had them wrong.  So, every week, I have to place them back where I want them.

I have several of the Amazon Echos in my apartment, and I think the one in the kitchen scared her when it started talking, because she always unplugs it.

But she does the things I don’t want to do, like cleaning the bathrooms, kitchen, floors and rugs and taking out the trash. (I never was a very good trash emptier – you can ask my mother) Camila changes the sheets and towels and washes them.  A bonus to this, it makes me do as much of my laundry as I can before she shows up, because if she washes any shirts, she will button every button after hanging them up.

I shouldn’t really complain, because I only pay her about $50 a week which includes her transportation.  I noticed she uses my coffee maker, so I always leave out a little bag of fresh coffee for her to use.  That is something Terese would have done (and much more).

I have been reading several of Bill O’Reilly’s books lately.  I read Killing Lincoln a few years ago, and finished reading Killing England last week.  Currently, I am reading Killing the Rising Sun.  These are extremely well written and the research by Martin Dugard is incredible.  Even the little footnotes are good.  These are books that are easy to read because they hold your attention.  I have several more waiting to be read.

Speaking of books, did I lend any of you my Les Miserable book?  It has been read by perhaps a dozen people.  Its pages are bent and dog-eared and it is dirty all over, because it was read by several men who ran the milling machines at the plant years ago.  The cover has been taped on, because the book got into the hands of a child of a friend who was reading it.  Needless to say, it is my favorite book, so I keep it in the china hutch.  But it is not there, and I don’t remember if I loaned it out.

… maybe Camila took it home to read, even though she doesn’t know English.