Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Officer, someone puked in the fishtank

Mabel has tears running down her face from laughing so hard. She has a wicked sense of humor. I take credit for most of that.

It was reported that a sorority at Wash U reserved the City Museum for their spring formal. Some girls arrived at the start of the formal already drunk. CALL THE MEDIA. Mabel started laughing so hard, not because the girls were drunk, not because they puked and passed out in front of a Girl Scout troop, but because it was news in St. Louis. She said that this would not even be a blip in Columbia. The fact that the news is shocked that underage girls were drinking or that they were already drunk by 8 o'clock cracks her up. She figures the news reporters needed a spot to fill. To top it off, the student newspaper on Wash U's campus has been disappearing with this story as the lead article. Who could be stealing the stack of papers throughout campus? CALL THE POLICE. They did! Mabel continues to laugh hysterically. I bet that edition of the student paper is now a collectors' item. I don't think this would be news in a college town.

She did remark that there is no place like City Museum in Columbia. "We just rent Peachtree, which is a big room with carpet that absorbs puke." Big buses pick up Greek kids to go to their parties and formals, and, apparently, there is plenty of puking and even peeing on the buses while they are driving down the HIGHWAY. The peeing takes place in beer bottles, but when the bottles are full, the peeing must be done out the window which is a real feat while standing up in a moving bus. Now that's talent! And I thought my kid was going to college for an education.

She is telling me stories of places her sorority has been kicked out. They aren't allowed to go back to the retirement home that they rented for a formal because the girls stole centerpieces. (She claims it's always been the dates, but in the end, the girls are responsible for their behavior!) And they're not welcome back at the country club in town because some girl's date put fireworks in the toilet. Can you imagine what happens when a puke-filled toilet explodes? But neither of these incidents made the news. In a town where journalism reigns supreme, they know what is a news story and what isn't.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The FBI on speed dial

There's not a lot of time for this working girl (herein known as WG) to blog these days. I have not overslept and woke up twice to exercise last week! Yah, Redhead Editor! I slipped back into old habits Saturday and slept passed noon. Bad Redhead Editor.

Let me tell you a little something about my husband. Parts of him are great. After 25 years of marriage, he now does the laundry without provocation, folds it, and all while watching whatever sports is on. (Please don't call. The man cannot do THREE things at the same time.) He separates the clothes, uses the right water (cold, warm, hot) and the right amount of detergent and hasn't ruined anything since the early 80s. (We're not even counting the sweater of Mabel's that could fit her doll when he was done with it. She should have never put it in the laundry to begin with.) He does ALL the yard work without ever being asked. I hate the outdoors and the heat and am allergic to all things green. From spring to fall, he is out there mowing, trimming, sweeping, gathering. Now he doesn't grow things or cultivate beauty. He just maintains, but I have no complaints. He doesn't mind being married to a wife who doesn't cook and rarely has dinner ready. And when dinner is ready, we rarely... ok, we never eat at the table (which we refer to as the horizontal filing cabinet). Some men would absolutely go ballistic at that missing component in a marriage, but not my husband. He never notices when I lose weight or dress up, but I learned to live with that because he never notices (or says anything) when I gain weight and look frumpy.

But on the other hand, he can be so fucking strange. The older he gets the more he is like his father, but don't tell him that because he would be terribly offended. He is getting more curmudgeon like than ever. If you got to read my annual Christmas letter, you know that he called the cops when he discovered our ladder was stolen. It wasn't stolen! We had loaned it to friends, but he didn't remember. I can hardly remember what I wore to work today, so there are no hard feelings there. The funny part (or at least I thought it was funny) was that instead of calling me to find out where it was, he called the police to report it. He was incredulous that someone would steal into our backyard (gate latch) and steal away with a 25-foot ladder sight unseen. Glad the local police had a sense of humor.

So about 2 weeks ago, we were driving to Columbia to visit Mabel, and I was scrolling through the husband's phone in order to call a friend (who, coincidentally, was the same friend who borrowed the ladder). After asking if this friend was in his cell phone directory under the first initial or the last. He said last name. So I hit the "f's" and started scrolling. 2nd number up is The FBI. Of course, I start laughing my ass off. "Why do you need the FBI?" He does not answer. Perhaps the laughter intimidates him. "I can understand needing the local police (in case someone steals our ladder again) on speed dial. I can even understand why you might need the highway patrol? But please explain why you would possibly need the FBI??? Again, no answer. I try to make up scenarios. He still does not answer, does not justify, comes up with no explanation as to why he would have the FBI on speed dial. A grown man should not be that intimidated by his wife of 25 years over a simple question. WHY??

Yesterday he said, "You'll be happy to know I took the FBI speed dial. But I did have to call the Highway Patrol the other day." Oh, nice, why? He replied, "Someone was driving erratically on the highway. He was either drunk... re retarded." Again, I started laughing. Maybe he should stay home and do the laundry and not get on the highway any more.

Monday, March 07, 2005

My first day back at work after a long time away

Ok, let's be honest. No one would work if they didn't have to. I have always worked. I worked during high school even if it was babysitting. I had a work study job during college and went into work at 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays when many dorm friends were sleeping in. I worked during the summers. I taught summer school. I put my kids in day care when they were newborns so I could go back to work, not because I wanted to, but because I HAD to. But I told myself that I would work even if I didn't have to because it was who I was.

And then I was off work for almost 2 years, freelancing, of course, but doing so at my own pace, and I have to come to the realization, after only 1 day, that I really liked not waking up at a certain time, being some place at a certain time, not answering to anyone, not wearing shoes, having my hair in a pony tail, not wearing make-up, going to lunch when I wanted with whom I wanted, watching "Matlock" day after day after day. I managed to wake up this morning on time. Didn't make it to exercise, but I did wake up on time, but it sucks. Truly sucks. Who invented the concept of waking up at a decent hour and getting dressed to greet the world?

The job truly is perfect for me. Don't get me wrong. But it would have been more perfect had I started it a month after a respite from work, not 2 years. I am not convinced my brain can take in this much information. Sure, if I were 25, I would be at the top of my game, even 35. But 47 is a bit old to expect someone to except new information. New abbreviations, new ideas. Words escape me. I'm not even sure I am going to figure out how to answer the goddamn phone! When did they get so complicated? Did someone come in and complicate the phone system of American in 2004 while I was freelancing? Wireless this, wireless that. I felt like such an idiot. How do people do this?

Working in someone's home made me realize I can never take a dump during the 9 to 5 hours ever again.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Back in the Rat Race

After 97 weeks, I am waking up tomorrow to go to work. I think I'm going to vomit.

When I lost my job in April of 2003, I thought I would take the summer off, and then I would start looking for a job hard-core and be employed by September, October at the latest. I was shocked to discover that companies were not knocking on my door, scrambling for my skills. (I was also shocked to discover that someone high up in my company had black balled me from ever working there again.) For months prior to my lay-off, I had interviewed for several similar jobs at my company, always taken aback (Are people ever taken aback any more??) that I was not chosen. I always marked it up to the fact that after 18 years at this company, I cost too much. I took my lay-off (and my severance) with a good attitude and started taking a much-needed break. Twice I was called out for interviews at my old company because others had not figured out that they were not allowed to higher me. By the time we all figured it out, over a year had past, and nothing could be done about it. So I continued to freelance while looking for work.

Hundreds and hundreds of cover letters and resumes later, I finally had a few interviews here and there. I had 2 promising ones at St. Mary's Medical Center only to discover that they never even called my references. It took them 3 weeks to finally write me with their "thanks, but no thanks." In these 2 years, I never did hear from Wash U or Wash U Medical Center or St. Louis University. Or any institution of higher learning. I rarely, if ever, received thank you's or follow up responses to resumes. It's just not the way things are done in the 21st century. So I plugged along. Despite the lack of money, I secretly was getting very used to staying up late, sleeping late, working at my own pace. I loved lunches out and volunteering at church. And offering people any help and my time. I cannot hide it. I loved it.

And then one day I answered this tiny ad in the paper that has caused me to become one of the employed, and I'm about to choke. I have not filled out papers, insurance etc... for 20 years! I've only had 2 other jobs in my life, teacher and editor. I have not woken up in a timely fashion, gotten dressed for work, or driven in traffic in over 97 weeks. What am I going to do tomorrow? We did a practice run tonight, and I fell asleep in the car on the way home. Only someone's grandmother falls asleep in the car during a 20-minute car ride. I'm the woman who took my kids to day care when they were 8 and 12 weeks (respectively).

I keep thinking about the things I forgot to do while I was taking a break. I forgot to take a vacation. (Not that's irony when you have free time but no money for a vacation.) I meant to call the dentist and be able to go any time. I have a hundred projects that I have meant to do if I ever got the time, but I just never did them. If this job came a few weeks, even a few months after my job loss 2 years ago, I would be giddy with excitement. If I chose to change careers, I would be gleefully getting ready for my new job which starts tomorrow. As it is, I have not one ounce of excitement. Fear, maybe. Resentment. Exhaustion. I'm too old for this shit.

I hope the sun isn't in my eyes driving to work or home. And I hope I can fall asleep tonight at a decent time. Haven't done that in ...oh 97 weeks!