Monday, January 31, 2011

One snow day, please!

The weather report is suggesting that we have a big snowstorm on the way, with a good foot of snow potentially being dumped upon our fair region.

If we’re going to get all of this snow, I would prefer we get so much that everything is shut down. I want to be forced to stay at home: no work, no gym, no trips to visit my family, no runs to Starbucks or the grocery store. Trap me inside, storm. Force me to slow down for an entire day. I dare you.

It probably won’t happen – we don’t get snow days here in the real world. Instead of staying inside all day, I’ll be expected to grit my teeth and soldier through a long, treacherous drive to the office. I’ll sit at my desk and go through the motions. I’ll interact with my coworkers (discussing the storm and nothing but the storm), but won’t have any contact with anyone outside of my office. Because nobody else will be working.

However unlikely it may be, I love the idea. I love the idea of being trapped inside of my little apartment for an entire day. I’ll be forced to finish cleaning out my closet. I’ll take a nap. I’ll break out those Dexter DVDs that have been sitting, unopened, on my entertainment center. I will drink tea and dust my bookshelves. I will wear my favorite pair of sweats and fleece socks and tie my hair up in a floppy, messy bun.

Give me that foot of snow. Give me that foot of snow and every cold-fingered, slippery-driving, wet-boot inconvenience that comes with it. Just give me a day like that which I cannot give myself: slow and solitary.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The incredible, amazing, everlasting headache

I’ve had a headache every day for the last week and a half and it is AWESOME.

I may be slightly exaggerating. I can’t remember having a day where my head wasn’t pounding, but maybe there was one?

It is obviously time to start keeping track. Which pisses me off. A couple of years ago, I went through a stretch when I had awful, awful headaches for a few months straight. (Unrelated: the problem with having a blog is that you can look back and see that, what seemed like a few years ago was actually FIVE. OMG.) After a few months of tracking my sleeping and my eating and my headaches, a handful of doctor’s appointments and a CT scan and other assorted medical bullshit, the headaches randomly stopped and I got on with my life.

I’m going to be so bitter if I’m going to go through that crap again.

Because, first of all, I totally don’t have time for a bunch of doctor’s appointments. I was out of the office for three hours on Wednesday for my job interview and I barely squeezed in my 40 hours for the week. (I go in early and leave late most days to make up for the hours I’m out of the office when I’m working at the library.)

Secondly, I do not want to go for days on end feeling crappy. Nor do my coworkers, because I was a raging bitch yesterday.

Initially, I thought that I might have injured my neck at yoga. Because the first headache came on last Wednesday right after I finished yoga class.

And then I thought that it might be all of the tension I have built up in my shoulders. So I got a massage on Tuesday night. Which was glorious and did nothing for my headache.

I thought that it might a sinus/weather/changing pressure situation. But my headaches certainly aren’t responding to the Aleve Cold and Sinus that I’ve been taking.

My new hockey helmet is pretty tight, but I doubt that my brain is compressed enough to cause headaches that last for days.

I did cut back on the caffeine at the beginning of the month. I can’t see how my body is just coming to the realization that what was once 3+ cups/day is now 1-2 cups/day.

Whatever the cause, I do not like this.

And I am thankful that it isn’t worse. I can function. I can work and I can run and I can blog and I can do exactly what I’d do if I didn’t have a headache. Nothing is quite as fun as it would be without a headache, however, and that is exactly why I would like these headaches to stop. Like, yesterday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

At the moment, I know better

My dirty former coworker is back at it again.

Have I told you about him? Let me tell you about him.

We worked together for about two years. Not in the same building or on the same projects or anything. He dealt with my boss a lot, though, in addition to working in the same office as my very, very good friend Ashley and my has-since-fallen-off-the-face-of-the-earth former coworker and buddy, Darren. In a company that very much consists of youngsters and the middle aged and hardly anyone in between, he was on Team Youngester with me and Ashley and Darren and others. We were the cool kids. And I’m the only one who is left, damnit, and it is not the same.

He left right around the same time as Ashley did. He landed a dream job. And, because of that dream job, I will no longer call him my dirty former coworker. I will call him The Coach because that is more fun than calling him by his name (which is John). From his official blog nickname, you may be able to discern what he does for a living.

(Yes, I totally have a thing for athletes. And former athletes.)

The Coach is adorable. Tall. Cute smile. Great laugh. In fantastic shape. His hair is that sandy brown color that you just know means that he was a blonde baby. He’s four years older than me. He grew up maybe 15 miles away from where I was raised. He’s a good guy.

You may remember The Coach from around Christmastime, when he randomly started sending me text messages suggesting that we get together. Translation: hook up. Translation: get naked.

I was, surprisingly, not entirely opposed to the idea.

But it was not meant to be. I never happened. I didn’t see him. And he went back to being three hours away. That was that.

I didn’t even bother programming his number into my phone.

But I recognized it when I saw it flashed across the illuminated screen of my phone.
The Coach was the last person I expected to be receiving a text from, as I reached to retrieve my phone from my nightstand last Wednesday night. I was in bed, wide awake courtesy of a combination of the yoga class I had taken earlier in the evening and a vicious headache. It was late. Normally, I would be sleeping.

Serendipitously, I was not.

I got a few dozen text messages from him that night. And text after text after text over the course of the weekend.

I don’t even know what to think of it.

Maybe he’s bored.

Maybe it is just a game.

He is three hours away. I don’t believe that any of this is real.

Not now, anyway. Remind me of this in two weeks, when I’m gushing about how cute our kids will be.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Made it through another interview

I interviewed today.

I interviewed today and I feel that it went well. I seemed to build a pretty decent rapport with the three women who interviewed me. I thought that I answered their questions well: no answer I gave felt too rambly or too all over the place. I certainly didn’t answer any of their questions incorrectly.

The last question they asked me was: tell us why you’re the most qualified for this job. I could have drawn that out a little further. I could have bragged a little more. I gave them a couple of good points. I could have given them a couple more. Oh well. Can’t go back and fix it.

They asked only 7 questions and they’re asking the same 7 to all of the interviewees. They didn’t have the typical what-is-your-reference-philosophy-what-collections-have-you-selected-for-how-do-you-handle-problem-patrons that, in my experience, are asked of us ‘brary types. It was more tilted towards the supervisory aspects of the position which, thankfully, I have some pretty solid experience with.

I asked some good questions at the end. When I interview, that’s usually where I feel that I fall short. For some reason, that part of the interview process always psyches me out. Not today. The questions that I asked were thoughtful and relevant.
They told me that they’d received over 100 applications for the position. They selected 14 people to interview. I suppose that I should be pleased and honored that I even landed an interview. But fuck that. I’m over being happy with second place. I want this job.

And I’m going to get this job.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Memory and details

Meg and I witnessed an attempted robbery back in May. I know that I mentioned it, but I also know that I never wrote a full post about it.

Do you know why I know that I never wrote a full post about it?

Because today, when the county prosecutor's office called to ask me a few questions, I was completely unhelpful. Shockingly so. I pride myself on a good memory. And I was basically useless.

I know that, if I had written a post about it, I would have remembered it more clearly.

I'm absolutely certain of it.

What I'm not absolutely certain of, unfortunately, was what I saw. I know the basics of what happened - we were leaving the mall, there was a loud noise, two teenagers came flying past us and out the door, followed closely behind by an employee of the store that they attempted to rob - but I can't recall details. What they were wearing. What I heard. What I saw when I left the mall and went to the parking lot with the sole intention of being a damn witness to the cars that were leaving.

It's unbelievable, really. I'm shocked by how few details that I recall.

The prosecutor's office called Meg, too. I spoke with them first. Because I was so unhelpful and because there were other witnesses who saw more than I did, they told me that it wasn't likely that I would be called to court. I sent Meg a text message telling her to return the call, answer the questions and be grateful that we didn't see more than we did.

Except she did.

Meg saw more - or remembered more, anyway - than I did. She'll likely be subpoenaed to show up in court. I, unless the defense attorney requests it, will not.

I can't believe what she remembers. The color of their clothes. How they were laughing as they ran by. I can't believe that she remembers it and, at the same time, I can't believe that I don't.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A day for losing

This morning, I went to the rink to watch Meg coach her team. They lost.

This afternoon, Meg and I had back-to-back hockey games.

I lost mine.

And then I sat in the stands and watched her team lose, too.

Then I went and played two soccer games (yes, I know I'm insane) for a friend's team because they were really short and needed some extra players.

We lost the first game.

And then we lost the second game.

No worries. I don't put a lot of importance in winning what are, when it comes right down to it, just for fun. (Competitive league or not, we're not getting paid for this. We're not obligated to do it. We do it because we like it.)

And, I figure it's good to get all of this losing out of my system prior to Wednesday's job interview.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hoarder

Because I love and adore each and every one of you so much, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Should we ever reach a point where there is a shortage on this valuable item, you will thank me. Because I will share. That is how much I care for all of you.

I own a foolish amount of body lotion.

I am essentially a hoarder of body lotion. Tubes and bottles and tubs. Every size you can think of. Every scent you can think of. Every brand you can think of. I probably own it.

Technically, this hoarding problem is not of my own doing. I don’t know that I have ever once bought myself a bottle of body lotion. I just happen to have friends and family members and acquaintances who are very concerned about my skin. And, thus, I have received many gifts of lotion. Far, far more lotion that I could ever slather on all 5’2” of me within the span of a year. ...or two years. Even if I became a passionate lotion putter-onner (which, other than in the cold of winter, I am not).

When I open my linen closet and I see my lotions all lined up like little soldiers, I am reminded of my shameful, shameful secret.

I don’t want to hide it anymore.

I am a lotion hoarder. With really, really soft elbows.

(Who else has far too much of a certain product in your house? Fess up! Make me feel better about this lotion situation!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Thoughts for a Thursday

Thursday Thought #1: I am amazed by what people can and will say about what you’re wearing. I happen to be sporting a very, very adorable skirt today. And my new nude heels. Yes, I look adorable.

Consequently: one coworker said “you look nice! ...were you at a job interview?” The most charming part about this exchange was that, of course, he was the one who got the full-time job over me. Fucker.

And then another, who speaks English as her second language and is just as cute as can be said “oh, you look so...you look so...you look so beautiful today!” Which was very sweet.

Just a few minutes ago, a volunteer said to me “that skirt makes you look older. Whatever you were wearing last week...you looked like a teenager!” I was wearing black flats. Tights. A black skirt. And a red cardigan. I’m not really sure what about that screams teenager.

This must be a magical skirt because, while I do look adorable, I simply do not believe that I look any more adorable than I do on a daily basis. I swear that I don’t wear sweatpants to work every day (I’m usually on the more formal side here, just because I’m generally coming straight from my full-time job) – but, goodness, listen to my coworkers and I’m not sure that’s the impression that you’d get.
Not that I’m complaining. Compliments? I’ll take ‘em.

Thursday Thought #2: My really cute, really pervy former coworker is texting me again. Dirty, dirty texts. And, while I don’t know where this came from (we worked together for a least two years without he giving me so much as a second glance), I like it. I like the text that came just as I was falling asleep last night. The one that left me giggling, pressing my face into my pillow as though I was afraid of waking up a roommate (a roommate that I do not have). It’s fun. I’m not opposed to a little fun.

Thursday Thought #3: I was applying for a job yesterday and I pulled up the cover letter that I had written for the I’ll-apply-for-this-just-in-case job that I applied for while waiting to hear about the job that wasn’t meant to be. Well, I found a mistake. A little one that felt huge. I wanted to punch myself in the face.

And then, today, I got a call to interview for that job. Sometime next week.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Graceful

I just got home from yoga class.

Whenever I'm away from yoga for an extended period - this time it's been since October (a casualty of the fall's family drama) - I'm always relieved to find my way back to the mat.

The room felt cold today and, because of that, I never took off the extra layer that I threw on just before I left my house. It was a soccer warmup jacket - Brazil, if you must know - and it was just the right thickness that it kept me warm but comfortable.

"Are you a soccer player?" A guy sitting behind me in class asked. I confirmed yes, of course.... practically my entire life, buddy. And he said that he thought that was very cool, said something that made it clear that he knew nothing about soccer, and then told me "I was watching you during class, and you move very gracefully for a soccer player."

Kinda creepy. I think he was just trying to be nice. While wearing an obscenely tight pair of burgundy spandex pants. (Today's life lesson: everything you say while wearing burgundy spandex pants is going to be construed as creepy.)

I was slightly flattered, so I thanked him. And I was slightly creeped out, so I didn't bother to explain that my gracefulness comes from my figure skating background. I did not want to go there. Answering what is The Most Irritating Question to Ask a Skater, "can you do a triple Axel?" Yeah, no thanks.

But, the comment on my gracefulness made me think about skating. And made me miss skating. I haven't been on the ice since August. It sucks.

While I was interviewing for that job, I let myself think of all of the awesome things that getting that job would bring to my life. One was the ability to start skating again. My schedule would be such that I could fit in 2-3 sessions a week. Much better than the terribly unsatisfying once per week that, until the end August, I had been skating.

I got excited about that. And a few other things, too. The only working 40 hours/week, of course. Having a little time to volunteer (I had my heart set on a hospital). Having a new professional challenge.

Wishing and hoping things turned out differently is such a waste of time and energy, I know.

I just really wanted to start skating again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm over it

I called home yesterday to talk to my mom, but I got roped in to talking to my dad, too. It isn't like I'm holding a grudge against him or anything - I just...well, it isn't the same. Our relationship isn't the same as it was before I caught him cheating on my mother.

I don't imagine the comes as much of a surprise.

My parents are working it out (which is great) and everything is mostly back to normal (which is also great). He just isn't the same guy that he was before. Not in my eyes.

The two of them had an appointment with their therapists (a husband and wife team: the world's most awkward double date) yesterday, and they must have been talking about me and Meg.

Because, when I called home, Dad was all "I would like to sit down and talk to you and Meg," in his serious your-father-is-a-cheater voice that I'd never heard until this fall. "You know, I love your mother very much and we're going to make it." He loved repeating that phrase, over and over and over again, when this all broke. I imagine that he got it from his therapist. It annoys me.

I don't want to sit down and talk to him. Things are fine between he and I. His relationship is strained with Meg, so talk to Meg. Leave me out of this. I don't want to be subjected to another stupid chat about his shameful behavior. I don't want to talk about my feelings. I don't want to rip open this wound.

What I want is not relevant, of course. It is what is best for the family. For the unit. I get that. I've practiced that. But it doesn't mean I have to be enthusiastic about it.

And I think that is perfectly fair.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another blurry weekend

I fit this weekend together like a puzzle. Which is a good thing (because I got a lot accomplished) and a bad thing (feeling rested after a relaxing weekend? Ha!).

I feel compelled to live my life this way. I’m just wired to cram as much as possible into every single day, regardless of how exhausted it leaves me.

On Friday, I went straight from work to Mom and Dad’s; my dad was at a work event and so I was visiting with Mom. I picked us up Chinese food. We watched the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy and that Extreme Couponing show that TLC aired a few weeks ago. I stayed until around 10:00 pm and headed back to my place, where I should have gone straight to bed, but spent a little time cleaning up and reading before finally getting to sleep.

Saturday morning brought another workday. While I normally work on Saturdays until 3:00 pm, this week I committed to working until 5:00 pm. And that was fine, even though being at work just pisses me off after what happened last Tuesday. (I do a great job of smiling and faking it, though.)

At 5:00 pm, I get in my car and go straight to Bed, Bath and Beyond. That store annoys me. But I needed an essential supply for that evening, which I (thankfully and surprisingly) found without too much hassle. Following my brief shopping trip, I went to the gym and kicked out a few miles on the treadmill. From the gym, I was over to Lucy and Chet’s house. ...after stopping at Qdoba for a burrito. Lucy and I spent Saturday night knocking an item off of our 2011 list (you’ll have to wait to see what item it was), and drinking tea and watching a bit of the Miss America pageant and dancing to random music videos we found on YouTube.

On Sunday morning, I had a hockey game. Which turned out to be an embarrassingly pathetic loss. From hockey, I went to Mom and Dad’s. After an hour, I packed up Ellie and Blue in my car – we had a date at the dog park with Lucy and her dog, Wolf. Back at Mom and Dad’s house a couple of hours later, I showered and parked on the couch next to Meg while I had a cup of coffee.

As Mom and Dad made dinner, I did my hair and my makeup. We ate, I got dressed and left: I had to go to a visitation at a funeral home – a coworker’s mom passed away. After the visitation, I went to Meg’s hockey game. Then I headed home. And realized that my damn internet and cable was out. At 9:30 pm, I decided that it was too late to deal with calling for service. So, instead of blogging (which is what I had planned to do), I went to bed. And finished the book that I was reading. And then went to sleep.

I didn’t have two consecutive unscheduled hours all weekend.

And, if I’m being honest, I sort of liked it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Invisibility

I’m reading Elizabeth Berg’s The Last Time I Saw You, about a high school reunion, and now I’m thinking about my own.

It was just a few weeks ago. I skipped the reunion to go to the theatre with my mom and my sister; I don’t regret it. According to Heather, the girls who were bitches are still bitches. (Least shocking news ever.) And the boys were far more interesting and fun to talk to than any of the girls, bitchy or not. (Also not surprising.)

Neither Lucy nor Heather had any good gossip or any interesting stories. The girl who just moved back from Japan is alarmingly skinny. The boy who we’d run into on my birthday was on fewer controlled substances and, thus, could hold a conversation. One girl stood in the corner with her arms crossed, scowling the entire night. The guy who was always electrically energetic has become a bore.

“I would like to report that you have a suitor,” Lucy told me, her voice a mixture of amusement and mystery. “There was someone asking about you.”

I laughed, immediately dismissing whatever or whomever she was leading me towards. A suitor! I could only imagine that she was leading me on, about to drop the name of the most corrosive, obnoxious classmate who she could think of, just to make me laugh.

But she didn’t.

“Bobby Brown* came up and asked me how I was doing and whatever and, then, he’s like ‘so, are you here with any of your good friends?’ And I sort of waiver, not exactly sure what he’s asking me, and then he asks ‘aren’t you good friends with Aly?’”

“He totally had a thing for you,” Lucy gushed. “He was so nice. He lives in Washington, D.C. now and has a really good job in PR. He’s gotten really good looking. His hairline is receding a little bit, but, you know...”

It was such a strange little tidbit of information to receive. I guess those sorts of things come out at reunions.

I had no idea. Not the slightest clue – in high school or beyond – that Bobby Brown* had ever harbored a fondness for me.

Which makes me a little sad.

(Not because I think that, had Bobby Brown* said something, that I would be married to him and having his babies. I’m not that delusional.)

It is just that, as a high school student, I felt invisible. I wasn’t particularly well known. I had friends who were popular. I had friends who weren’t. I was smart but I was not brilliant. I wasn’t anyone’s girlfriend. Or anyone’s enemy. Or anyone’s anything, really. I wrapped my own identity up in my soccer team; I was the captain and the strongest player, but we didn’t win games or the support of our student body. And so I often felt as I was just there, invisible and unknown to nearly everyone but a few special teachers, my closest friends and my soccer coach.

I cannot recall ever seriously thinking that a boy might have a crush on me. I’m not sure that I even considered it to be possible. After all, how could a boy like you if he never saw you?

In your eyes, you paint yourself a certain way. And invisible is always how I painted myself as a high schooler: through four years of high school, and the 10 years that have followed.

It was slightly rattling to get the news that Lucy delivered. Nice, sweet, inconsequential news, certainly, but news that questioned what I always considered to be fact.

Maybe I wasn’t as invisible as I always assumed. Maybe I was so caught up in feeling invisible that I never picked my head up long enough to see the boy who was looking right at me.

*Sadly, Bobby Brown is not his name. But he does have a same-as-celebrity name that is just as, if not more, amusing. Trust me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Work drama: it keeps getting better

My boss's boss calls me at 5:45 pm.

I'm still at my real job. (The one I'm at 40/week.
The job that I was planning on leaving had the job that I was just rejected from worked out. Confused?) I sneak off and take the call, hoping that we're not going to continue the bullshit from yesterday.

We didn't.

She starts off with, "as you know, we're doing a bit of restructuring here" and tells me that she's filling my coworker's part-time job (obviously, since she just hired him into the full-time job) and that of another part-timer, who is retiring.

They both worked 20 hours a work. And I add 20 and 20, I get 40. 40 = full time. I let myself get hopeful.

Then I snap back to reality and start listening again. "So, I can do this for you," she says.

And then she offers me more hours.

And by more hours I mean three.

THREE.

Three hours. Just few enough to keep under the 20 hours a week that I'd need to get any benefits.

Oh, and there's a catch.

The new job is at a lower hourly rate. So, should I be interested in working another three hours a week, they can reward me with shaving over $1/hour off of my pay.

Um, what?

It makes no sense.

So, yesterday you fuck me over big time.

And today you offer me more hours. In exchange for paying me less.

This does not compute.

Yes: I'd be there more hours a week and that would probably look good to some potential employer, somewhere.
Yes: I'd end up making more money per year. Even though it is, pre-taxes, only $2,000 or so.
Yes: This job really isn't about the money, it is about the experience.
Yes: I do like working there. Or I did, anyway, up until yesterday's embarrassing debacle.
Yes: I could probably just work a longer Saturday (go in an hour early, stay two hours later) and fit the three hours into my life without too much of a hassle.
Yes: Refusing this will hurt my reputation with the higher-ups.
No: I'm not really in the mood for doing them any favors.
No: Taking a consensual pay cut is an ugly prescient to set.
No: I feel like I'm being taken advantage of because of my ambition.

This feels like one of those tricky word problems that would always trip me up in fifth grade math. Or one of those silly ethical case studies that I tackled in graduate school.

Whatever this question is, I'm scared of getting the answer wrong.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I didn't get the job: the long version

Here’s how it all went down.

I’m at the public desk, doing my thing. I help a woman choose a title for her book discussion group. I search around for materials on diverticulitis. Put a few things on hold. It was a very, very routine Tuesday morning.

And a clerk (a position that is essentially at the bottom of the organizational food chain) – a clerk who I happen to think the world of, don’t get me wrong – comes up to me and says “oh, I’m so sorry you didn’t get the job. I was sending you all of that good karma and it didn’t work, so I want to give you a hug, instead.”

I am completely shocked. I stand up to give her the hug, say something generic about the position not being meant to be, and turn back to my work. For about two seconds. Because, in those two seconds, I flash from shocked to sad to pissed. I was the traffic light of emotions. Stopping on red. Red fucking hot.

Okay, so I didn’t get the job. I instantly assume that my coworker did, and that is fine. He is more experienced than me. He’s been there longer than me. From the time that I found out that he was applying for the job, too, I knew that there was a strong possibility that he would get it over me. Especially since he’s a guy and they just lost their token man on the full-time staff. (Yeah, I just went there.)

I am sad that I did not get the job. I am sad but I am not pissed.

I was – I am – pissed because of how I found out. That is not the way you do things. That is not the way you treat people.

Just before 1:00, after I’ve had two hours to stew about how disrespected I feel, my boss and my boss’s boss come over to where I’m working. They’re all “oh, we want to talk to you for just a second, but we should wait here until someone can cover your spot here at the desk,” so we’re standing there awkwardly, just waiting. And I’m fuming. And they’re clueless. And my boss’s boss decides that she’ll just give me a hint that they’re going to give me bad news. “You know, the two of us just think the world of you and our hearts are just breaking that we have to do...”

I interrupt. “I already know,” I say, raising my eyebrows at her. “I got to hear it from someone else. Since it was announced in the staff meeting this morning.”

I look from her to my boss. They both look like The Scream.

“It is ridiculous that I had to find out from someone else,” I continued. I kept my voice low; we were still in a public area. “It is completely classless.” They both stammer on about how they were waiting to tell me in person, when they could both be there and it wasn’t supposed to be announced today and blah, blah, blah.

I walked away from them.

No, it wasn’t professional. But we were in a public area of the building. If I stood there any longer, with those two looking at me as though they’d just seen a ghost, I was either going to start yelling or start crying. I was interested in doing neither. Especially out in public.

I went to my office, instead. I logged in to my computer and I dug my cell phone out of my purse. I was midway into a text message to Lucy when my boss’s boss came in, still stammering on and on about how it wasn’t supposed to be announced at the staff meeting and how sorry she was and then she starts explaining why they chose the other guy over me.

“I don’t care,” I told her. Because I don’t. I don’t care why they picked him over me. I understand why they chose him over me. I’m pissed because of how they did it. “I get it. It happened. And now it is over.”

But was it really over? No.

First the director comes in and blabbers on and on about how she’s really sorry and this “isn’t the way they do business.” (I disagree with that statement, but I didn’t tell her that.) I thanked her for her apology. Coolly.

Then my boss comes in and is all “I know that you’re angry, but when you’re ready to talk about this, we can talk about this.” THERE IS NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT, LADY. YOU DID IT. WE CANNOT REWIND TIME. IT IS OVER. (Which is what I basically told her. Minus the yelling.)

I was there for another hour. During which two of my coworkers find out and tell me, making their best sympathetic faces, that they were so sorry that I wasn’t picked and that they feel terrible about how I found out. Which was really sweet of them; I appreciate the gesture. I am less than enthused about how now the entire f’ing staff is going to know that, not only did I apply for this job and not get it (which is sort of embarrassing), but I got completely burned in the process (which is legitimately embarrassing). The place is a gossip mill and I’m today’s headline. Fuck.

So, today has not been all that much fun. I am disappointed. I’m proud that I stood up for myself. I’m really, really glad that I decided to apply for a job with another municipality just last week. Which pays more. And is closer to my house. And maybe even has a management staff that isn’t an embarrassing clusterfuck.

I didn't get the job. Nobody has bothered to tell me.

I am very angry.

I just got a "oh, I'm sorry you didn't get the job" hug from a clerk.

Let me translate that for you: THEY ANNOUNCED WHO GOT THE JOB AT TODAY'S STAFF MEETING.

It was not me.

(I don't even know who got it.)

And nobody had the common decency to call me to let me know before they told the entire staff in a meeting that occurred 60 minutes before I was scheduled to work.

Or to pull me aside as soon as I got in, so that I could be told in person.

Or send me an email.

Or something else.

Something, SOMETHING so that I didn't have to hear it from a clerk and smile and pretend that, not only am I okay with the decision, but that it is something that I knew about.

That is so incredibly fucking classless.

I feel humiliated.

I am very, very angry.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Morning routine

When I first started working, I didn't have to be at work at the same time every day. As nice as it was to start the occasional workday at 11:00 am or noon, it was brutal on my sense of routine.

I love routine.

And, while I'll be giving it up if I get my new job (your fingers are still crossed, right?), my current morning routine works pretty well for me.


5:45 am: alarm clock. Just like every day.
5:46 am: stumble to turn on my Keurig and the television.
5:50 am: shower.
6:03 am: curse the cold air as I am getting out of the shower.
6:05 am: slather on ridiculous amounts of lotion onto my forever dry winter skin
6:15 am: make a cup of tea.
6:20 am: sit down at laptop, just for a minute. Just a quick check of Facebook and Twitter.
6:35 am: realize the time. Curse myself for sitting down at the laptop.
6:36 am: stare blankly into closet.
6:38 am: plug in iron. Only shirt I want to wear needs ironing.
6:46 am: preparing self to be in public: makeup, brushing of teeth, application of deodorant.
6:58 am: haphazardly throw gym clothes into my bag.
6:59 am: remember gym socks. Feel proud.
7:02 am: throw together lunch and snacks.
7:06 am: slice of bread into the toaster.
7:07 am: run down the hallway to use my remote start, which I can't do from my apartment because it doesn't face the parking lot.
7:08 am: generate another cup of hot water from the Keurig for another cup of tea. Black mango. A dash of sugar and skim milk.
7:11 am: smear toast with peanut butter, rasperry jelly.
7:13 am: gear up in my scarf, boots, coat.
7:14 am: gather up my tote bag (inside of which I stuff my shoes, my lunch and the book I'm reading), my tea and my toast.
7:15 am: turn off the television, turn down the thermostat.
7:17 am: in my car and on my way.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

And - don't be ashamed to admit it - how many of you love routine like I do?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

One Week of Resolutions: Day 7

I must be the only writer left in the blogosphere still yammering on about my 2011 resolutions. Breathe a sigh a relief, friends: today marks the end of my resolutions.

Well, the part where I set them, anyway.

The part where I let you know how they're coming along? I'll check in monthly. It keeps me accountable.

I'm feeling really good about this year. And really good about my resolutions. I would even go so far as to say that I'd bet on my going 7 for 7 on my 2011 resolutions.

But, when I say bet I don't mean for money.

It isn't in the budget.

2011 Resolution #7: get my finances in order and keep my finances in order.

When it comes to money, I am lazy. It is embarrassing, really. And inexcusable. And uncalled for. I am much, much smarter and much, much more motivated than I am with my finances.

That's why this resolution has to be so vague. I have historically been very lazy with my money and, thus, I have a lot to do. More than any specific, measurable, really-long-run-on-sentence-of-a-goal could highlight. So, vague it must be.

I need to revamp my attitude towards money and build from there.

My biggest problem isn't that I don't have any money, it is that I'm lackadaisical towards my money. I don't make it a priority and I should.

And, in 2011, I will. Simple as that.

I'm not going to bore you all with details and budgets and figures and the revelation that, yes, I should occasionally look at my bank statements and my pay stubs and the balance student loans.

Yes, the situation is that remedial. I am a preschooler with a salary and a Roth IRA.

We're taking this from the beginning.

I'm building my financial house and I'm starting with the foundation.

Better late than never, eh?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

One Week of Resolutions: Day 6

I love blogging. I love the routine that it gives to my life. I love recording all of the big and the little and the funny and the frustrating and the wonderful things that happen in my life. I’ve never once considered stopping. For me, blogging has become more than just a hobby: it is an critical component of who I am. I’m a girl who writes about her day: it’s a simple as that.

Recognizing that blogging is such an essential part of my life, I feel that it is only natural to want to do it better. If I’m going to do it, I’d like to do it well.

2011 Resolution #6: be a better blogger.

I think I’m pretty good in terms of blogging frequently and consistently, but I will focus on being aware of how often that I’m writing. Four times a week will be the minimum, which is a very achievable goal.

As a blogger, I’ve always been lax towards comments. I have no idea why. I love getting comments. And then I don’t respond to them. Which is foolish and rude. I’m resolving to change that this year. I will respond to blog comments at least once per blog post. I like reading everything that you all have to say: it is silly not to respond in some way. Let’s create a bit of dialogue in 2011! It’ll be fun.

To truly be a blogger, I I believe that you have to also be a blog reader. Blogging is a community. You're not on stage, shouting to the audience, you're standing amongst your audience. There's a give and take, where you're invested in the writing of others just as they're invested in yours. And so, as I strive to be a better blogger in 2011, I'm also striving to be a better blog reader.

To be a better blog reader, I want to leave more comments. I want bloggers to know that I was there. To know that I read their work and appreciated it! There are some times when what I read is so interesting or so good or so thought-provoking that I feel like I don’t have anything to say right then. And I close the window, thinking that I’ll come back later and leave a really thoughtful and intelligent thesis on whatever it was that I just read. And then I don’t ever go back and leave another comment. Or I do and it is just as lame as it would have been in the first place. I think that it is safe to say that bloggers all love receiving comments. Well, this blogger is going to learn to love leaving comments, too.

No, I won't be making any drastic changes to my blog. No, none of my resolutions will result in big changes. I don't expect the next year to bring 5,000 hits a day and putting advertising on my blog and quitting my jobs to become a full-time food/book/knitting/David Beckham fan blogger. That isn't even on my radar. I'm just going to keep being me, blogging like I always have, just doing it a little better.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Friday, January 07, 2011

One Week of Resolutions: Day 5

2011 Resolution #5: be more positive.

I make it no secret that the past 15 months of my life have been exceptionally challenging. Writing through each of my struggles (and it sometimes seems like there has been no end to that stream of struggles) has helped me tremendously, but I think it is time for a new outlook. I’m not pledging to be naïve or refusing to acknowledge the less than perfect aspects of my life – this is still my blog and, if my blog is anything, it is an accurate representation of my life – but I will be more positive.

I’ve been giving this whole positive outlook thing a try for the past few weeks and, honestly, it hasn’t been all that bad. I’m just a little more conscious of what I say and how I think. And it feels pretty good. I like refraining from adding “but that probably won’t happen” at the end of a daydream. I like putting good thoughts out into the universe. I like looking at the bright side instead of the dark. I like how this new attitude fits on me. I really want to keep it up for the year. And beyond.

It is not a resolution that I can measure. There really isn’t a way for me to quantify my outlook, so I suppose that I’ll just need to be aware of it. And get a little written kick in the pants from you kids if/when I slip back to the doom and gloom side. Promise to keep me in check?

2011 is going to be a great year. Framed by a great outlook.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 8

So, that trip I took 6 months ago? Still recapping it! Hahaha.

Day 8 in South Africa was, for us, a pretty quiet one. We bummed around at our hotel (breakfast, showers, Meg did homework, I blogged) until we left for the 4:00 pm game. Our shuttle driver had someone to pick up at the airport, so he made our run to the stadium reeeeeeeeeeally, reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally, early.

Like, we got there at 1:30 pm or 2:00 pm for the 4:00 pm game. The match was at Ellis Park Stadium which, unlike the Soccer City stadium which is located in the middle of nowhere, sort of sits in a neighborhood. A neighborhood that isn’t very great, from what I understood, so it wasn’t like we had free reign to wander around and explore a bit until we went into the stadium. Not an ideal situation, but we made it work. We walked around in the plaza outside of the stadium, checking out the merchandise and watching the various corny acts that World Cup sponsors were putting on at their respective stages.

It was a sunny day and, for the first time since we’d arrived in South Africa, felt warm enough that it made sense to indulge in an ice cream bar at the stadium. Until then, we’d been so cold at the matches that we simply laughed at the inclusion of ice cream on the menus. Ice cream when you’re wearing a scarf and long johns underneath your jeans? Please!



The game in itself was sort of a bummer. Italy completely stunk up the place, losing to Slovakia and failing to advance beyond the group stage. Which was a big f’ing deal because they were the defending World Cup champion.

As you may imagine, the Italian fans far outnumbered Slovakia’s fans. They were a sad, sad bunch when they filed out of Ellis Park.

We met our shuttle driver on the same block we met him at after the USA/Slovenia match. We walked the same slightly-too-dark street, past the same slightly-too-aggressive dogs housed behind slightly-too-rickety fences, to the same corner where he was parked before.

And he wasn’t there.

And then some guys walked past us and said “ooooooh! Twins!” (Which, as you all know, we are not. I'm always amused when people think that we are.)



And then I looked around and he wasn’t on and of the corners. Or down the street at all. Or anywhere within sight. And I was nervous. Because, as I said before, we weren’t in the best area. And it was dark.

It was probably the only time that we were in South Africa that I was legitimately concerned about our safety. We crossed the street, to where a police car was parked, and waited there for our shuttle. Which came just a few minutes later.



We talked our shuttle driver into taking us to Nelson Mandela Square, so that we could have dinner, instead of back to our hotel. We ate at an upscale Greek restaurant – we didn’t have a lot of choice that night – and I ended up ordering oxtail casserole. Which sucked, despite the menu proclaiming it the best item in the restaurant. It tasted okay but the meat was not my thing: a little too much like chewing on cartilage. Definitely my worst meal of the trip. I topped the meal off with a bowl of chocolate mousse, which made me forget my less-than-ideal main course. Chocolate heals all.

After dinner, and a little bit of shopping, we headed back to the hotel. We got to bed that night the earliest we got to sleep over the entire trip. And for good reason! Our alarm clock was set for 6:00 the next morning. We were going on an adventure. A safari!

One Week of Resolutions: Day 4

Our high school friend, Lacy, was in town for the holidays and she and Lucy thought it would be a good idea to go to a psychic. Lucy sits down with the psychic, who says something along the lines of “I am not excited to be working with you,” before proceeding to tell Lucy a bunch of horrific things.

Lucy seems a little rattled by it, which sort of surprises me and sort of doesn’t. She is usually quite resilient, but the last month wasn’t great for her. I’m sure that some random psychic telling her that her life wasn’t going to get better wasn’t exactly what she wanted to hear.

“We should make a list of fun things we want to do in 2011,” she told me on New Years Eve. “I think it will make me feel a little better about the upcoming year.”

Following a little bit of brainstorming at the dog park and a rapid-fire email exchange, we created our list. And my resolution, of course, is to complete it.

2011 Resolution #4: complete the list of fun that Lucy and I created in early January.

Lucy and Aly’s Ambitiously Grand List of 2011 Fun and Fabulousness
1. Attend a dog show
2. Make Valentine's Day sugar cookies, make them fancy
3. Go on a road trip somewhere (even if it is only to somewhere in northern Michigan or Toledo or Toronto)
4. Learn how to make crème brûlée and eat the shit out of it
5. Venture across the border and go to Windsor for dinner
6. Eat at a sushi place restaurant with a conveyor belt
7. Volunteer at either one of the local Ronald McDonald Houses or at a doggy event! (Resist adopting 100 dogs at doggy event)
8. Attend a weird/random festival (i.e. the Cherry Festival, Sausage Fest, the Melon Festival, etc.)
9. Eat at Café Zola
10. See Water for Elephants
11. See a musical, opera, ballet or play

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

One Week of Resolutions: Day 3

2011 Resolution #3: make one big meal every week.

By big I don’t mean fancy or complex: I mean a meal that will feed me a few times.

I’m in this really bad rut where I’m relying way too much on the frozen section at Trader Joe’s, putting absolutely no thought into my meals, leaving myself with no leftovers to pack up for lunch and feeling generally bored with what I eat, what I buy and what I halfheartedly cook.

When I get home from work and the gym, I am basically on functioning on autopilot. After 10 or so hours at work and a few miles on the treadmill, I’m not feeling very picky. I can usually put together something from my kitchen that satisfies me. It is the next morning – another rushed morning when I can’t find anything that I want to pack up for my workday – when I find myself really annoyed.

I’m single. I live by myself. I don’t mind leftovers in the slightest. I can very easily make a recipe and eat off of it for a few days and there is really no excuse not to do that. It is better for me. It is better for my taste buds. It is better for my pocketbook. It just makes sense. One meal per week is totally reasonable, even with my current 60-hour workweeks.

Plus, it is a fantastic excuse to try a few new recipes.

And the end result of each week’s meal will be me, eating and, therefore, happy. I love eating. I’m pretty fired up about this resolution.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

One Week of Resolutions: Day 2

2011 Resolution #2: run a half marathon in under 2:00.

I don't consider myself obsessed with running. Or obsessed with improving my running. Or obsessed with anything associated with running. Except maybe for my quest to find the perfect sports bra for someone who barely needs a bra but, um, what was I writing about?

I finished my first half marathon, which I ran in October, in 2:07. I really fell apart in the last two or three miles. Really, really fell apart. And so my goal, in running a half marathon in under two hours, is to avoid that. Or to run the majority of the race so quickly that it makes up for the fact that I totally tank it at the end. I'll take it either way. (I'd just be bummed about the last stretch. Again. Ugh. So annoying.)

If all goes as planned, I'll have two tries in 2011 to reach my sub-two-hour goal. Meg and I are want to run two half marathons this year: one in the springtime and one in the fall.

I work well with measurable goals, and this is a completely reasonable one. I can do this.

And, if I can't, I will still have ran two half marathons and that is rather fabulous in itself.

Monday, January 03, 2011

One Week of Resolutions: Day 1

I'm all for setting goals for my 2011, but I'm not all for an overwhelming brainstorming session followed by a stressful attempt at writing them all down. Instead, you get seven days of my resolutions and how I plan to achieve them.

2011 Resolution #1: drink more water and less coffee.
My coffee drinking has gotten totally out of hand. Time to reel myself in and set my limit to two cups per day. Two cups is a completely reasonable amount.

My water consumption is pathetic. I don't even have a good reason, except that our lunchroom is down one floor from my office and that is apparently too far for me to travel in search of proper hydration. (Unless it is for my seventh cup of coffee for the day. I'll make the effort for that.) Or because I'm too busy to be running to the bathroom every 30 minutes. (Which I don't see as a problem when it is coffee running straight through me.)

To keep it simple, I'm going to shoot for a daily water consumption of 64 ounces, which is my favorite water bottle filled up twice.

I'm a big fan of accountability, so there will definitely be some fun stickers going in my planner when I take in my 64 ounces and when I keep myself to two cups of coffee.

I'm pretty much motivated by the same rewards as a kindergartner. Take from that what you will.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Snapshot from New Year's Eve

We had just arrived at the martini bar.

The one song that never fails to make Lucy and me squeal with joy started playing just as we stepped inside. Shedding our coats as we made our way, we headed straight for the dance floor, where we danced and sang with abandon. My coat was handing over my forearm. I was still wearing my scarf.

The sound wound down just before midnight. The band started the countdown. I looked around - at Meg, at Lucy, at Chet, at an alarming number of creepy old people and a really drunk, really short guy who appeared to be no older than 15 - and my eyes filled with tears.

I took a deep breath, took in the moment and willed the tears not to fall.

I have never been so happy to see a year end. I have never been so happy for a symbolic fresh start.

Happy New Year!
 
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