Thursday, November 30, 2006

Slicker than snot

The phone rang at 6 o'clock this morning. Thank God we don't have elderly parents or we would have had a heart attack. As it was, it was my teacher daughter screaming, "I HAVE A SNOW DAY." She lives 2 hours west of St. Louis and the rain, sleet, and ice had started early this morning so they cancelled school for today and tomorrow. All I kept thinking was that Leesa and Silent One and RMT Michael would laugh at us in Missouri panicking over a little (ok, a lot) of ice. It's coming down now pretty hard making for trecherous driving. Schools are closing all over the place. Stop laughing. We're wimps.

Now here's a puzzlement. When I got home from lunch, my STBX's car was in the driveway as he was getting ready to leave for a job interview (YAH!). I peered into the car and saw a pink gift bag in the backseat with Estee Lauder's Pleasures perfume in it. The girls would never wear Estee Lauder (I don't care if Gwyneth Paltrow is the spokesperson). And he's never bought me perfume ever. Ok, once, when the girls picked it out for him. And his mother's dead. And he hasn't seen his sisters since their dad dad 12 years ago. What do you think is up with that?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Gobble gobble and we zoom to Christmas

Wednesday was filled with car car car crap. My daughter's car died, literally, last week. She described her stick shift as a limp dick. For those of you with mechanical knowledge, that could be a bad transmission or a clutch problem. Either way, it's not good so we found her a new car. Well, a used car but new to her. Spent 5 hours on Wednesday getting the loan, insurance, license plates. ARGGGGH!!!! Done.

Drove back to St. Louis that evening and went to Turkey Day festivities, a 99-yr-old tradition in our little 'burb in St. Louis. Thanksgiving was a lot of fun with food and family. My sister had it catered this year so all we had to worry about was the traditional creamed peas. I don't want to hear any crap outta you. You've never had MY creamed peas. We laughed so much at dinner. My one sister reviews movies and was describing a movie she just reviewed where the PR people made an explicit plea for the reviewers not to tell the ending in their review. My niece mumble, "They said they same thing about "Titanic." I thought Dorothy and I would fall over laughing.

Then we talked about my new job. If you haven't figured it out, it has to do with sex, sort of. Since my oldest sister is a Southern Baptist, their Thanksgiving conversation would be nothing like what the rest of the family talked about. I mentioned my favorite interview question: So you're in a room of 4th graders. What do you say when one of the boys asks you if your masturbate? I told my niece that I bet she doesn't have that conversation when she goes to her parents for Thanksgiving dinner later this weekend. She guessed that no one else's Thanksgiving included this conversation we were having.

If you're interested, after I answered the interviewer's question, I asked the guy, "So what about the other question?" He said, "And that would be?" I said, "When the teenager girl asks me, 'Does size matter?'" He asked, "Well, does it?" And I answered, "Hell yes." It was an interview like none other. And we just laughed and laughed at Thanksgiving dinner.

And then we came back to the house and painted today to get ready to put it on the market. The family went to lunch, and I almost ran over an old lady at Home Depot... in my car. And we laughed and laughed. I didn't think I was that close, but the STBX and the girls tried to convince me that maybe she peed her pants when she saw me coming for her. (I swear, my foot slipped.) You would never guess we were getting divorced by how much we laughed while painting. I am so proud of how we are handling things.

And then my sister took me to see "Spamalot" for my Christmas present, and I laughed some more. If you're in the neighborhood, bring a paint brush and get to work. I am so thankful for all of you, my friends, near and far, in cold weather and warm, in the US and Texas and Canada, I adore you all madly.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Not one, but TWO job offers

Sorry folks. I’ve been away as long as Stacie, but I haven’t been in Hawaii. The only excuse I have is life is very hectic these days as most of you can imagine. Nothing like cleaning your house to get ready for sale, packing twenty years of crap, house and cat sitting for my sister back in St. Louis, interviews for not one BUT TWO jobs both 2 hours away from where I was at the time. I have been to both sides of the state. Glad it’s not Montana. Just plain ole’ Missouri. Four hours across from east to west.

So where do I begin? I was in St. Louis 2 days packing and cleaning (and trying to decide on a realtor) when my roommate called and told me the university called to set up an interview. My first. We knew that would happen. I should have left town weeks ago if that’s what it took. I was hoping she would say “Oh come back next week,” but she didn’t so I had to drive back to Columbia on Wednesday. I was up late Tuesday at an election party, and although my local candidate did not win, it was a great day nationwide, wasn’t it? (Ok, if you don’t agree with me, don’t answer that!) I was working on about 4 hours of sleep but kicked ass in my interview. She asked me back after lunch for a 2nd interview with more people in the department. Drove back to St. Louis.

Went to the house on Thursday to pack some more, but I will make a confession here. My STBX was working that day (a few days here and there for his old boss. Don't get excited.), and the minute he left the house, I took an hour-long bubble bath in my old bathtub which is wide and deep. Shhhhh, it will be our little secret. I was in the basement all day and cannot pick up a signal when I'm down there so I did not know I had a message on my phone until I emerged around 6. It was the university asking me to call back. Well, you don't call someone that quickly if you're not going to offer them a job so I pretty much knew I was being offered the position. Went to my sister's and played on the computer most of the night. Turned it off and went to bed. Couldn't sleep and was bored so I got up and got on the computer again. Because my sister is trying to sell her car, she had been on craigslist recently, so having read all my favorite blogs, I clicked on it and went throught the steps: state, city, fuck buddy. Just kidding. State, city, job, education. And there it was... my dream job. The one I blogged about back in August when I had that fabulous interview. I have been e-mailing and calling for weeks asking about the job, but no one has gotten back to me so I wrote it off as a done deal. I was furious. I assumed it was filled. After all, it had been 10 weeks. I shot off an angry e-mail to the general HR address and said that they already had my cover letter and resume, and that I had had an interview but had heard nothing. Then I e-mailed the person I interviewed with and told her that I assumed she was no longer with the company because I had not heard from her. I was that pissed. I was inches away from another job, and this had to happen?

On my way to my soon-to-be-sold house Friday morning I got a message (why isn't my cell ringing?) from the woman, and she apologized every which way about not getting back to me. She assured me the man in charge of hiring for this position would get back to me. I got to the house and called the university, and I was offered that position. But because I now heard back from this other job, I could put them on hold and ask to have the weekend to decide (which is good practice anyway, but I know I would have accepted right away if I had received the call Thursday afternoon). Got a call at lunch from the guy who wanted me to drive to Kansas City (left side of the state) on Tuesday for a second interview. Sorry, bud, I have a job offer on the table and have to get back to them on Monday. Wanna bump that up? He said, "How about Monday?" Smart move. Now I am pissed and pumped up, so I say, "I have another job offer and I am not driving 2 hours if I'm in line with 10 other applicants. I need to know I am in serious contention for this position." And he says, "You are the only one in contention." Yes, I wanted to scream, "Then why the heck didn't you call ME instead of making me find this position on craigslist and call you," but I didn't. He said I needed to come up with a 5-minute presentation and "sell" him something. Any topic. I wanted to vomit. I am one articulate seniorita, but I am not a salesperson. And now I have to narrow down a topic in 48 hours.

That evening I missed a second phone call from the woman who wanted to make sure the guy had called me. I called her back at 6:30 on my way to a bar to meet my first college roommate (who actually introduced me to my STBX 31 years ago) to leave a message, and she was still in the office. Who's in the office on a Friday at 6:30? We talked for a half an hour. I told her how pissed off I was, but I also told her how much I wanted this position and what a precarious position I was in with this other job offer. She was so excited to meet me on Monday. So I packed more on Saturday and spent the evening making Christmas wreaths with my sister and 2 of her friends. I was lamenting my options. Woe is me. I might have to make a choice. What am I going to do? My sister's friend said, "You have got to change your attitude and stop being so hard on yourself. Instead of thinking of the choices as 'good' and 'bad,' you need to think of them as 'better' and 'best.'" It was the best thing he could have said to me. Left for Columbia on Sunday and started working on my presentation. Wrote, edited, got my sister's feedback, took a bath and edited some more. (Can you tell I love hot baths?)

So today I drove to Kansas City. Yes, I have been through Kansas City as a passenger, but never driven. I think it's important to have a fear that outdoes another fear so you don't worry so much about the first fear. I practiced my presentation the whole way down the highway to the stares of others. Is she singing? they wondered. Who is she talking to? I found the place. The STBX left me a message to wish me good luck. (I told you he was a gentleman.) And can I just say I KICK BUTT during this interview. It was a toughie. Lots of "name a time" and "what would you do" and "how would you handle" questions. I kicked butt so much that the guy never asked for my 5-minute presentation. I think he already knew how I could handle tough situations and stay calm and be articulate. So I left that place and knew I did my best. If they didn't want me, it wouldn't be because of this interview. It would be because I had red hair or was almost 50 or wore black. Next I drove to an unknown part of town and had lunch with an old college friend. And then I drove through downtown KC out of town (which I have never done in St. Louis). I was on fire. I told this guy (as I had on the phone and in an e-mail) that I had to know his decision Monday after my interview or no later than Tuesday so I could call the university, and he agreed that he could do that.

I flew back to Columbia (Well, I didn't actually fly). When I got here, there was an e-mail from him that he was ready to offer me the job but needed to work out the details. Like calling my references. Hey, if I put your name down as a reference, please say nice things about me. (I only put down names of people who like me.) And they have to run a background check on me. (Hope those little indiscretions are behind me and expunged from my record.) I have the job I have always wanted. It does not pay a lot, but I will literally want to jump out of bed every morning and go to work (whereas the other job was as admin asst in a medical school office, not bad, but boring). It will start off as part time and then go to full time in January. It is flexible but will expect a lot from me. It will be creative, casual, exciting, motivating (thus, the selling part), and yes, there are benefits. And it hit me that I cannot tell you what it is. I mean, I could tell my individual bloggy friends if they want to know in an e-mail, but I really can't put it on here for all the world to google because it is also very controversial and political. (Thus, the exciting part.) Suffice it to say, I have never been so excited in my life. There are no coincidences. It was meant to happen this way. Sorry to tease. It's just the way it is for now. Try to guess what it could be!

While back home, I saw a lawyer which was scary and overwhelming. Sort of like when we went for the vasectomy and the doctor kept calling it "permanent sterilization" to get his point across. There are words like "petitioner" and "respondant" that make everything sound so legal and permanent. There were tears, but I got through it. And I was able to approach the STBX with the papers to fill out, and he was quite pleased with my choice of lawyers. (I told you, he was a nice guy.) Now we just have to decide on which realtor and get this house painted and cleaned and sold.

Things are moving along. Today marks one month in my new life. One month and 2 job offers. Better, best. And I chose best. Best for me.