fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
.i. cinderella complex

On my way into work today, my shoe came off as I was going up the outside cement steps to my building, which would be annoying anytime, but was made particularly wretched because (1) it was raining, (2) my forward momentum was unstoppable and so I stomped right down on the dirty concrete with my knee-highed foot, and (3) there were two people hot on my heels who saw it happen.

I am familiar with embarrassing moments like this one, and the truth is that most of the time other people are pretty cool about it. If you face up to your embarrassment with a rueful smile, like, "Not a foot in a puddle AGAIN!" then people are usually all "Ha ha! It happens to the best of us!"

Sadly, the people behind me were the kind who, in moments like this, respond with blank looks that say, "Wow. Lame explosion. So glad I'm nothing like her!"

And so that kind of stunk. And then. AND THEN. I made it worse by waving my hand in a dramatic way and announcing, "Don't worry, I've got it!" before hopping down a step to put my shoe back on. Why? Why did I say that? Did I expect one of them to snatch up my two-year-old Target brown flat and place it on my foot? DID I? Some small part of me must have!

.ii. tetanus tales

While I was at Target yesterday buying Enchanted on DVD (I tried to resist but lasted only one day), my brother called my cell phone. He told me this story that started with a night out at a bar and ended with him tripping over a bike rack while running across his yard, and was followed up by asking me when he'd last gotten a tetanus shot. I informed him that I do not carry his medical records on my person, and so he would be best off calling his doctor.

Tonight he called to check in at home and I ended up on the phone with him. He told me he'd found out that he was up do date on his tetanus shot, and I said, "Oh, so you talked to the doctor?"

My mother's ears, honed by her protective instincts, picked up this statement from across the room. "What? Is Jimmy okay? Is something wrong?"

"Is it okay if I tell her?" I asked him, because I had been under strict orders not to tell her the day before because he knew she would freak out.

"Yeah, go ahead," my brother said at the same time my mother said, "TELL ME WHAT?"

"Jimmy tripped over a bike rack and cut up his leg, and he called me yesterday to find out if he was up to date on his tetanus."

My mother said, "Well, I have no idea if he is!"

And then I said (and I feel kind of bad about this after the fact), "Well, he's been feeling kind of weird, like, when he bites into something, sometimes he can't open his mouth back up."

"Tell her I've been having muscle spasms," Jimmy piped in over the phone.

"And he's been having muscle spasms," I said.

"Oh my God!" my mother said.

"What's that, Jim?" I said into the phone, "And you've got a fever?"

"He needs to go to a doctor! Is there on call down there in Texas? He needs to go to on call!"

And then I told her that we were kidding, and she almost threw the meatloaf she was mixing together right at my head.

.iii. scout status

The last time I updated I think I was all in a tizzy over my little cat Scout. I am happy to report that she's doing better, though not fully recovered. We're giving her pain medication and her leg seems to be getting better by the day. So that's good!
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
Guys, it is summer, which means I'm not teaching, which means I have all sorts of time to Accomplish Things, yet all it seems I've been accomplishing so far is:

-developing an addiction to Junior Mints,
-reactivating my ABC Daytime addiction,
-reading piles of books I left around during the school year,
-watching tons of movies (both of the cinematic and awful LMN variety), and
-that's about it.

My room is only half-cleaned and my half of the office hasn't even been touched. I haven't updated my teaching portfolio, and to be honest, I'm not 100% I know where it is. Oh, I have applied for some jobs. So there's something.

One thing I did last week is visit my grandfather's grave for the first time. It was weird; I've driven past the cemetery where he's buried a huge number of times (in fact, every day on my way home from work - it's on one of the busiest roads in my hometown) and I've never gone. I've never been to the cemetery where my other grandfather has been buried since the day of his funeral, which was five years ago.

I kind of worry that this makes me an awful person, especially since it's not like this is being done as a symptom of a bad relationship I had with either of them. I had great relationships with both of them. I loved them very much - still love them. Still miss them. But the cemetery just doesn't seem like where they are, to me.

And so every day I drove past the cemetery and didn't think too much about it. For me, the physical place I visited to mourn my grandfather this year wasn't the cemetery but his house, which was successfully sold a couple of months ago. That's gone now - I can't exactly pop in on the new owners and ask to walk through the downstairs and stand in random rooms for long stretches of time for no particular reason, the way I did before the papers were signed. Maybe that's why recently I've had this flash when I drive past the cemetery lately, a quick burst of Ishouldgointhere. The first time I listened to it was last week.

My grandfather used to take me to the cemetery with him after my grandmother died. It was an important place to him, which is why I think I've been to his gravesite and not my other grandfather's. He would kneel on the ledge of the headstone in the middle and my brother and I would kneel on either side and we'd say prayers. I did the same thing when I went, and it was weird: familiar, but also strange, since I'm twenty-seven, not eleven, and so the proportions are all different. Also, I was alone. The back of the gravestone is different, too, my grandfather's date of death added in.

After that, I went and looked at some other headstones in the older part of the cemetery, which was down this short but steep hill. I ambled around for a while (is it morbid that I like to imagine the lives of the people whose names I see on the stones?), and then decided to go back. Walked over to the little hill, stepped up and just about face-planted. Flip flops + steep incline + wet grass = disaster. There was some dude about fifty feet away cutting the grass, looking right in my direction, so the whole time I was doing this awkward, wide-legged, arms-windmilling climb, I know he was watching. I felt pretty stupid.

Especially when I realized the solution: taking off the flip flops. Bare feet are perfect for such terrain. I scooted right up, hopped in my car, put on some Johnny Cash.

One thing of note: I didn't really cry while I was there. I got all scrunchy-faced and sniffly, but no real crying. It's strange; I rarely cry when I am sad over something in my own life, probably because if I feel the urge, the first impulse is to stifle it and move on. Wow, that sounds way more messed up than it feels! I cry all the time with sad movies, commercials, documentaries, TV shows, etc., though. Why is that? I suspect I am extremely dysfunctional. Yes, that sounds about right.

And okay, I got tagged to take part in some memes! [livejournal.com profile] callmesandy asked me five questions, and [livejournal.com profile] kaelie asked me about five songs I'm into!

two memes! )
fearlesstemp: (eggs basket oh)
Setting a good example is very important! Which is why it was so awesome this morning, when T., the guy my Dad hired to take over my responsibilities in the office so I could go down to half-time, walked over to my desk with a question, and found me:

(1) peeling off the top of a yogurt,

(2) with two romance novels on my desk,

(3) waiting for my internet connection to come live so I could attempt to check my e-mail on the slow-ass dialup my Dad still insists upon, and

(4) singing "Carry on my wayward soooo-oooon" under my breath.

GREATNESS.

I jumped out of my chair, stammering out, "You see, it was on the radio when I was driving in, and you know how songs produced by bands named after locations get in your head? Right?"

To which T. responded by giving me a blank stare and an eventual, "What?"

In my defense, the two books were not to be read, but to be packaged and mailed out to someone! And I had to eat yogurt because breakfast is the most important meal of the day (though not important enough to get me out of bed twenty minutes earlier so I could eat it at home).

Whatever! This week T. was an hour late because his battery died after leaving the hazards on his car all night, and last week my father had to sit at the office until almost 7PM because T. got to his front door before realizing he'd left his house/office keys in his desk at work. His spaciness fits in well with the office dynamic, though really we do need someone with a mind like a steel trap to watch over us all.

Sadly, no one has yet stepped up to the task. LJAGU's latest foray into spaciness happened last Friday, when he was in a minor car accident caused by "rain and leaves" (his explanation) or "jamming out to classic rock at insane volumes" (my suspicion). He ran into a curb and messed up a wheel and as a result, we are sharing a car! Sharing a car, sharing a job. Usually the car handoff isn't too complicated, but today I needed it while he was working so I could go to the dermatologist, and spent a good portion of today just carting his butt around. He owes me, man! Between this and filing his taxes, he owes me big! Assuming, of course, he doesn't get arrested for tax fraud due to me messing up his taxes, in which case I think we'll be just about even.

Speaking of the dermatologist! I totally should have gone into that line of work. My dermatologist spends approx. 12 minutes with me every time I go, and has a line of exam rooms in back full of patients - I have to figure he bills 5-6 patients and hour and must be making massive amounts of money. Those twelve minutes have cured my acne, though, which I hadn't thought possible a couple of months ago. I no longer look like a bumpy-faced mutant!

What I look like now is a spotted alien, due to the scarring. Dr. Speedy gave me these foil packets of bleach I'm supposed to use nightly on my skin - it's supposed to bleach out the redness gradually. For some reason, even though I bleach my mustache, this is kind of freaking me out. I keep having visions of the bleach, like, bleaching my skin copy-paper white, or burning through my skin while I'm sleeping and leaving gross gaping holes. I know this is crazy. I know it is!

Still, I'm waiting until tomorrow to get started on it. My special relationship with concealer can last one more day.

Aaaand, that's about it. The only other item of note is my obsession with Friday Night Lights, which is SO TOTALLY AWESOME, OMG. I suspect I may expand upon this in greater detail later. You are forewarned!

random

Jul. 15th, 2006 02:20 am
fearlesstemp: (elaine ugh)
Today eight people came in for a will consultation. Only one person called for an appointment, but she felt the need to bring her entourage of assorted relatives with her. They were so numerous that there weren't enough chairs in the waiting area, which led to a comical few minutes during which I ran to and fro with furniture from other parts of the office. There is no way to look graceful and professional while carrying a chair, there's just not. Once they were seated, I realized one of them had B.O., and I spent the next hour trying to do work while ignoring said stench and being stared at like an exhibit in a museum.

Speaking of! My father's office is on the first floor, and my part of the office is right by the entrance to the building, so whenever people take smoke breaks, they always stand right outside my window. I can hear the murmur of their conversation but not the words, and it's extremely irritating because part of me is always trying to figure out what they're saying (it's just instinct), and also, I feel like I'm on display at the zoo. I should put a title card right next to where they smoke.

Secretaria Bittercus:

This species is known for its excellent typing skills and ability to lie on command. In youth, members of the species begin the day with a sunny outlook and then undergo a daily transformation which leaves them with hunched shoulders, short tempers, and clenched teeth by nightfall. This progression becomes more rapid with age, until finally, a persistent disgruntled temperament is the norm, with occasional pleasant patches. Natural habitat: cubicles with fluorescent lighting.


Ah, I'm just bitter to be so close to people tasting freedom while I wither away, tethered to the dictation machine, with no nicotine addiction to justify regular breaks.

Okay, so some things need to happen tomorrow.

(1) R. NEEDS to cancel our tutoring session, because my current housesitting assignment is about an hour's drive from our tutoring meeting spot, and I really don't want to have to make that drive. I want to sleep and spend the late morning hours reading a romance novel! Is that so much to ask?

(2) I need to work on some additional cover letters, etc., because I feel that my father's office is destroying my spirit a little bit more every day.

(3) The cat needs to not wake me up at 6AM by pawing at my nose, as he did last weekend.

Randomly: Eating wise, I was so good for most of today. I had fruit for breakfast (mostly because I overslept and had to eat portable food), a salad and a handful of Chex Mix for lunch, but then I had to stay over an hour late at work, and found myself at the grocery store, RAVENOUS, getting supplies for the housesitting weekend. I was in such a foul mood from work that I cast aside all of my hard-fought healthy habits of the last few days, and bought brownie mix, Lucky Charms, eight pounds of shredded cheese for quesadillas, and other crap, which was exactly when I ran into one of the professors I housesit for regularly (but not this weekend). I know there's no reason to be embarrassed of my food - it's my life! I can eat what I want! - but when one is (hopefully) at the tail end of a period of expanding waistline brought on by stress, and has been attempting to do better only to suffer a sudden setback, it is frustrating to run into an acquaintance super-devoted to healthy just as one is squatting down to decide which brownie mix to buy. Grr argh frustration.

In other news: My skin has been so heinous lately that I am embarking on experimental treatment. I'm still on oral medication for it (am seeing Dr. on Wed. about this part of the routine), but I am casting aside ProActiv and beginning an Ivory Soap/Neutrogena Moisturizer regimen for the time being. Three days in and my skin feels noticeably better. More details as they develop.

I feel like this post is so vain and superficial. I'll go with it. To wrap it up: I am rapidly going gray (oh, the horror); I keep forgetting to touch up my toenail polish; I have been wearing glasses all the time because I know when I call to reorder contacts, they'll probably make me come in for an eye exam, but I really don't want to; and I have a mustache that resembles Seth Bullock's.

Today I actually went to the store in a gray sweatshirt, blue sweatpants, and black flats from my dressy work outfit of today. The Jess of the Past would have gasped in horror at this. I have also taken to going to work with wet hair, and putting on makeup in the bathroom mirror when I catch a quiet moment in the morning. I ALWAYS SAID I WOULD NEVER BE THIS PERSON. Are all of these symptoms of more generalized self-loathing? Am I just lazy? Why am I not in bed, since I have to get up tomorrow if R. doesn't cancel?

So many questions! So few answers!

briefly

Jul. 4th, 2006 11:59 pm
fearlesstemp: (ginger unimpressed)
Am just back from family vacation, and typical end-of-vacay crankiness has been exacerbated by:

(1) The journey, which was twice as long as expected (nine hours, each way, for a four-day trip), the bulk of it spent in the second row seat of my father's minivan, which meant that I was uncomfortably squished up against the person sharing the seat with me. By Hour Seven, I actually said that we needed to stop somewhere and buy supplies to build a cubicle between our seats. Sadly, no stop was made.

(2) My current task, which is to create a cover letter for a boring civil service job, since there are no social studies teaching jobs in the vicinity. The nearest one I found in my searches tonight is four hours away, and not an exciting four hours. Not like - ooh, Ithaca! I have friends there! Or - ooh, NYC! I could be all cultured and cosmopolitan while struggling to survive on a teacher's salary! More like - oh, I didn't know people had settled in that part of New York State!

(3) Tomorrow, when I get to go to work with the same people I vacationed with. We are so burned out on each other, I can't even tell you. There is no conversation left.

(4) The fact that Superman Returns supposedly didn't do too fabulously at the box office. Say it isn't so! I loved it! I am dying for a sequel! What if they don't make one? I WILL DIE. Okay, maybe not die. Actually, I'll probably forget all about how much I enjoyed it in a couple of weeks. But right now, I'm loving it, and despairing that more people weren't suckered in by the marketing campaign like I was. PotC is going to decimate it next week! What if it doesn't do as well as X-Men 3? Stress!

(5) The package of Oreos downstairs, which are for my grandfather, and which I therefore cannot eat. But I really want to. THEY ARE TAUNTING ME.

That is all for now. Happy Fourth, American peeps!
fearlesstemp: (the sea was angry that day)
I am about to wrap up terrifying cleaning task two of three (my half of the computer room), and seriously, people, NEVER AGAIN will I go through this. I've already invested six or seven hours in this GD computer room, I'm not done, and it's been sheer torture. I am going to turn over a new leaf. No more living in disarray and filth! I've kept my bedroom clean for a full week! I think I may be on to something.

Next up is my car, which, though smallest, has potential to be the grossest of the three terrifying cleaning tasks. Since I'm always running late, I tend to eat meals in there, and since I'm clumsy, food falls. I try to clean as I go, but stuff can get under the seat and out of sight and forgotten about. Every time I clean out my car, I fear reaching down and finding that a nest of squirrels have taken up residence under the driver's seat, subsisting on old PB&J crusts.

More news as it develops.

In other news: Did anyone else watch Broken Trail tonight? I keep wanting to call it Broken Arrow, and then I remember no, that's that terrible Christian Slater movie about a nuclear weapon, and then I think, Whatever happened to Christian Slater? And then I remember how much I loved Pump Up the Volume when I was in high school, and wonder whether I should watch the movie again, or will it have lost something? Probably.

But! The movie I meant to talk about is called Broken Trail, and it is a two-part western on American Movie Classics starring Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church, a.k.a. Lowell the dull-witted mechanic from Wings. Also, he was nominated for an Oscar last year for Sideways. But I liked Wings better, so that's what I choose to remember him from. The movie is about two cowboys trying trying to bring a bunch of horses across the frontier who run across five Chinese girls about to be sold into prostitution, and then take the girls under their protection. Drama ensues. Is anyone else out there watching it?

Okay, would say more, but it's late and I have to move some furniture before I toddle off to bed. And so off I go, to move furniture! Then sleep! Here's hoping I don't drop anything on my toe, like my father did last week in the office.
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
Have I mentioned that I stopped biting my nails? Well, I did, and MAN, life is so much easier. I think I understand what it must have been like for humans to discover the value of opposable thumbs. I can open things! I can find the beginning of a roll of scotch tape! I can tap my fingernails impatiently!

Exciting stuff.

In other news: I spent the evening at a board game party (totally lost! every game!), and now that I'm home, I'm goofing around on the internet and while wearing a sweet posture-correcting device*. I am the epitome of cool.

Tomorrow's Goals: Return obscenely overdue library books! Return Blockbuster DVD! Arrive on time to work!

I thought I had more of substance to say in this entry. I was wrong.

*This is not the precise posture-correcting harness I am wearing, but is a fair approximation.
fearlesstemp: (ginger unimpressed)
The last time I lost something like this, I made an LJ post about it and it turned up five minutes later. Am hoping the same magic will work twice.

In other news: Happy Mother's Day! My bud Anna pointed out that the holiday has its rootes in peace activism - I would link to the relevant information, but I'm too lazy. That's a nice thing to remember, though.

Also, good thoughts go out to anyone for whom this is a difficult day.

In yet other news: there is no other news.

Off to search some more...
fearlesstemp: (cary and baby)
Do you know what I hate? I hate when you discover you've been operating under a false assumption. For example, I assumed that the blue folder on the top shelf of my bookshelf was the blue folder I needed to complete my independent study writeup tonight (the blue folder I need has stuff in there like format, and structure, and notes about where I was going). Instead it turns out to be the blue folder for my job hunt, which is also necessary at some point, but NOT RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW I need the stupid independent study folder, so I can BS another eight pages before I go to bed and ENJOY MY MONDAY. Instead I have this stupid OTHER blue folder.

Why are they both blue folders? Because I am stupid.

GRR! ARGH! EXPLETIVE DELETED! I seriously don't even know where to begin looking for this. I hate losing things. And the thing is, I lose things a lot. There's a familiar pattern.

Step One: Realize something is lost. GRR! ARGH! EXPLETIVE DELETED!

Step Two: Wallow for at ten minutes in sadness over the item being misplaced.

Step Three: Engage in some intense self-loathing for being so disorganized (this can take anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours; I think I'm clocking in at fifty minutes right now).

Step Four: Compose a procrastinatory LJ entry.

Step Five: Start actively looking.

Look at how much time I would save if I just jumped right from Step One to Step Five. That's what a sensible, efficient person would do. But I bet sensible, efficient people don't lose things with the frequency that I do, and therefore don't have to engage in this kind of behavior. WHY AM I NOT SENSIBLE AND EFFICIENT? I know this is my fault. I would say that I have tried to change, but I haven't. I joined the get_a_handle LJ community, and I've watched Clean Sweep on TLC, and I totally watch Oprah every chance I get, but that's about as far as I go. And so I remain a defective model of human being. Le Sigh.

Off to search. Frustration vented.

ETA: This is totally random, but since I am going to be AMAZINGLY SUPER PRODUCTIVE after I find my GD folder, and therefore won't be writing any other LJ entries tonight, I wanted to share this. Last night I went out to dinner with my family and seated at the next table was this guy who was the spitting image of Dwight Schrute from The Office. He had the glasses, the hair, the vaguely creepy mannerisms - the whole nine. He was wearing an "I *heart* Me" T-shirt and was seated across from a woman whom he barely spoke to the entire evening, and sat the entire time turned almost sideways, staring at something behind me (or at least I hope that's what he was staring at, and not, you know, me).

Lest you think it was just me, halfway through dinner I leaned back so as to be out of his line of vision, and whispered to my brother, "Doesn't that guy look like Dwight from The Office?"

And my brother looked over all super-caj, and then said, "Dude. Totally."

Dwight lives!

ETA Part Deux: FOUND IT! It was literally in the first place I looked, and took approx. twelve seconds to find. Am so ridiculous. All that time wasted, all that stress, over nothing. Story of my life. Additional bonus: I think I have to write a lot less than I anticipated having to. Sweetness.

Really going now.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
In general, I think I take a slow tumble. And by that I mean: almost always when I fall down, there's a moment in the middle of it where I think something like, "Whoa, that was close! I'm sure lucky I'm coordinated enough to catch myself, because falling on my ass/faceplanting would really suck!" But of course I completely fall or faceplant, almost every time. This morning it happened in the shower, which was truly awful because I ended up on my back like a turtle in the bathtub, terrified that I'd broken my leg, because if I'd broken my leg, I wouldn't be able to get up, and if I wasn't able to get up, someone would have to come get me, if someone came and got me, they'd have to deal with my half-conditioned hair and all of my flab, and OH, THE HORROR! THE HORROR! Luckily, did not break my leg, but did seriously bruise my shin, and so I'm limping around pathetically here, showing all who will look (including the cats) the angry red line on my shin.

How did I hurt my shin? I'm not sure. My best guess is that it got caught on the underside of the faucet.

In other news: Hello, all. I have so much to do in the next two weeks that I feel an eerie sort of calm. Can it be done? Probably not. Oh well.

I could write more here, but really this entry was just an excuse for me to complain to another audience about my leg. Which hurts! Ow! I'm aware that there are people starving and debilitatingly ill, and my pain is nothing compared to theirs, but still! My shin!

Ow!

four items

Feb. 2nd, 2006 02:19 am
fearlesstemp: (Default)
1. I can't find my GD cell phone. I blame my subconscious self, who is, I believe, attempting to keep me within my alloted daytime minutes by refusing my conscious, too-chatty self access to the phone. Stupid subconscious.

2. Project Runway is awesome.

3. Somewhere in me there's a series of posts about Astaire/Rogers movies to go along with all those icons I uploaded ages ago, but here's something quick I thought of when I looked at my default icon in the corner of my Update Journal window here - in Swing Time, Ginger plays Penelope "Penny" Carroll and Fred plays John "Lucky" Garnett and it was only after I'd seen the movie at LEAST five times that I realized the pun. Isn't that sad?

4. You should all totally see Swing Time asap. It is awesome. I bet it's even more awesome if you're clever enough to get the punny jokes the first time around, as I'm confident all of you are.
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
I have somehow managed to lose my cell phone and my house keys, complicating my life and leading to sure disaster. The cell phone loss is particularly tragic because I lost it just after finding it; I had misplaced it earlier this week, couldn't find it for a day, then remembered where it was (in my father's car!) and called my number to find it wedged under a seat. I happily hoisted it in triumph in our smelly garage, and then shut it off so I could charge it in the kitchen - but somehow the phone never made it to the charger just ten feet from the garage. Where did the phone go? Where? Did it vaporize? I have already made my brother lift a lot of heavy furniture for me to look under, but no luck. I now fear having to enter the scariest place of all - my bedroom - to find it. I've been attempting to clean my room all week, but keep giving up after forty minutes or so, when I realize what a lost cause it is. I am destined to be messy and unorganized, I think.

How much do people really change? Will I ever regularly put things where I can find them? Will I ever know where all of my important life possessions are? The other day, I drove my brother to a car dealership to pick up my mother's car, and in the course of our journey, I made a lot of characteristic errors, like losing one of my brand new leather gloves at the gas station, accidentally running up on the curb (which caused me to lay on the horn, also by accident) outside a restaurant, and dropping my car keys into such a spot under the seat that I had to get out of the car and practically lie down in order to reach them. All of this done amidst the wreckage of the last few months of my life, handily symbolized by the interior of my car, which is littered with Diet Pepsi cans, candy wrappers, books, papers, and receipts.

My brother laughed, watched me fishing for my keys, and made a few choice comments on how gross my car was. To have a male college student who will readily admit to going days without showering call something of yours gross - now that is a moment that can stop a girl in her tracks. In my case, in my fishing.

"Shut up," I said.

He just laughed and watched me go back to picking through the disgusting mess under my seat to find my keys. After offering him a Chewy bar I found under there, which he turned down, I found the keys and got back in the car, put the keys in the ignition and looked at my brother in triumph.

"It must be exhausting being you," he said.

And you know, it kind of is. I really believe that my life would be so much easier, so much less taxing, if I threw things away and remembered where things were (like my cell phone and keys). I've spent much mental and physical energy (more mental than physical, because I am lazy) on this lost-keys-and-phone crisis, mental and physical energy that could have been better spent thinking through a solution to our problems in the middle east, or exercising off the eighty-three pounds of potatoes I ate over the holidays. But no, I had to spend them walking myself back through the past few days - could my keys be in my bathrobe? I have been spending a lot of time in my bathrobe this week. There's no earthly reason for my keys to be in my bathrobe, but it's never good to look for an earthly reason when one is trying to piece through my past actions.

Speaking of keys: Earlier this week, I was involved in another key-related crisis that led to my mother's car finding its way to the dealership. I was going out, again with my brother (we are the dream team; putting us together on a task is the best way to ensure disaster – example, The LeBra Incident), this time to the bookstore, and was well onto the highway when I realized my mother's car was running on fumes. Why were we in my mother's car? There's a good reason for that. The reason is: My brother and I were lazy. My mother's car lives in the garage, while my brother's car and my car live at the end of the driveway, which is steep and snow-covered. Also, neither of our cars has a CD player (though my brother's does have a CB radio, which is entertaining, but not the same). So we borrowed my mother’s car.

We ended up at a busy Sunoco, where I turned the car off and filled up the tank (almost fell while walking backwards from the pump to the car’s tank, but stayed upright). My brother washed the car’s windows with the squeegee. All good things. And then I got back into the car, put the key in the ignition and – nothing. It would not turn. It would not budge. I jiggled, I messed with the steering wheel, I messed with the gearshift, I swore, I hit things, I used brute force, I made my brother do all of these things, I begged the gas station attendant for help, and in the end, yes, we were towed. After an hour of sitting parked at Pump 4, after making phone calls to friends and family for advice, after a good old-fashioned shrieking fit from the mom unit, after all of that – the car was towed to the garage, where it would have $600 of work done on its steering column. Not that I’m happy about my car costing my mother that kind of money, but it was kind of gratifying to hear that it was a common problem on the part of Fords of that year, and not the result, as she initially accused, of my brute force when turning the car off.

Because really, if a car’s ignition is that sensitive – we’re not talking about Lou Ferigno here, we’re talking me, Jess Who Last Exercised In June 2005 – it’s faulty.

I could edit this rambling heap of junk into something worthy of human consumption, but that would require time, and right now my parents are offering me a free dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s. My 25-year-old social life is so exciting that this is probably my best offer for the evening, and so I am off. Will try to post before the new year, but if I don’t – happy new year to all, and to all, a good night.
fearlesstemp: (john doe mike)
I have LJ-Block. It's an issue. I keep trying to start entries and erasing the first paragraph, which is stupid, because this isn't the Great American Novel I'm trying to write here, it's a summary of my random recent life experiences and thoughts, and really, I don't have many of either and this shouldn't be that difficult to do. AND YET IT IS. I've decided that I'm not allowed to delete this opening paragraph, am only permitted to alter it so that it doesn't violate too many grammatical laws, in the hopes that I will write an actual entry.

Okay, actual entry. I haven't been updating my LJ lately, mostly because I've been busy and behind on everything in life, including my LJ. I wanted to write all of these posts about my trip in March, my experiences observing in schools last month - neither happened. Why can I write infinite entries about my boring temp jobs and how much I love my cats, but when I actually do noteworthy stuff, nothing happens? I think it's such a shock to my system that I don't know how to process worthy life experiences. There's a theory.

Anyway. On the topic of non-worthy life experiences: my current workplace is located on this super-busy four-lane road which is lined on both sides with a variety of strip malls and cheap eateries. Making a left turn out of the parking lot is a bitch, but I enjoy the fact that, if need be, I can scoot over to Mr. Subb's and get potato nuggets for lunch and still make it back before my paltry half-hour lunch runs out, and also there are interesting, non-traditional organizations taking up space in some of the strip malls.

Like Scientologists. Driving home from work the other day, I saw the same big sign I've seen lots of times before: DIANETICS on a blue background. For some reason my long-term memory kicked in and I remembered that that was one of Scientology's nicknames (or maybe it's their official name? I'm no good at this. I was in college before I realized that the Latter Day Saints were the same as Mormons), and I got to thinking: I bet that's the best way to meet Tom Cruise. Like, sign up for the church, get heavily involved, devote yourself to the way, go to a big conference, and who knows? You could be sitting next to him at the Sunday night social! Or Jenna Elfman. Maybe even John Travolta.

It's a possible plan. But I'm pretty sure you'd go to hell for it. I mean, even if L. Ron is right, I bet that's not how God (or is L. Ron God according to Scientology? I really don't know) would like you to discover the right path. I'm no religious scholar (though I did win the 12th grade Theology award at my Catholic high school, thankyouverymuch), but I'm pretty sure. Also, it's pretty disrespectful. As is this entry, most likely. My apologies to any and all Scientologists if this offends. You guys really do seem to have it together. I hear Jenna Elfman has a new show next fall and everything.

In other news: I have been in Extra Cringe Mode lately, to the point that my family can't stand me. Usually I've got a fair amount of Stealth Self Confidence going on, so that even if I may appear scattered and vulnerable, deep down I think I'm pretty awesome. Lately it's just scattered and vulnerable all the way down, and I keep finding myself having Apology Attacks and Over Capitalizing and asking people forty times if the outfit I'm wearing looks okay. I don't know when it started; I can note that when I did my first observation, the teacher handed me her evaluation of my performance instead of sending it into the school, and on it I got all 3s (satisfactory) and 4s (excellent), except for one category, where I got a 2 (needs improvement). That category was self confidence - since this sheet is supposed to help the program design my curriculum, does this mean I get to take a Seminar in How Awesome I Am? Because that would be cool.


I think the crisis of confidence it has something to do with my being worse-off financially than I've ever been (those observations, writing up the journals, preparing for and taking Ed Psych test, my recent Heyer novel addiction: all things that take up time that could be spent earning money) and going back to school - I'm excited about it, but also nervous, and I feel like all this stuff is changing. Also, I went onto Friendster the other day and so many of my former classmates are having such exciting lives, and all I can say about my development in the past seven years is that I've got a better haircut. Whoot.

Okay, I lied, I can say more, and yes, I do appreciate my life choices, blah blah blah, but I'm sorry, you're just not human if you don't suffer some paralyzing self-doubt after seeing what your high school classmates are doing. Some of them are living out the dreams they had in high school. Most of them look great. A lot of them are in relationships. I'm very happy for them. Really. I am.

No, really, I am - I didn't mind high school that much, mostly because I was oblivious to the horrors of it. I don't remember there being popular people or judgmental cliques or anything but my best friend from way back, The Infamous Annie who really needs to update her LJ more, tells me they were there, and I trust her opinion. I was too busy obsessing over Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Remember WENN to notice. How cool I was. Or maybe I was lucky.

One note about current high school girls: they carry purses to and from class. Purses! Not bookbags or messenger bags, but purses, some of them the tiny decorative kind that don't look to be useful at all. Have times changed? Is this an isolated event? Have girls always carried purses in school and my school was just an anomoly?

I would give you more Purse Thoughts, but I have to go pay bills with money I don't have and then go to bed. Sweet dreams, all.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
Why am I awake? WHY? Why am I self-destructive in the least interesting of ways? My designated bedtime is passing as I type this sentence, and I still have to finish cleaning my terrifying disaster of a bedroom - and I do have to finish it, because I left it in that half-done state where stuff is EVERYWHERE, to the point that it appears to be multiplying when I look away, and the only choice now is to finish it, if only to have a place to sleep for the night.

On Tuesday I overslept and, because of that, ended up running terribly late, and, because of that, wore the most convenient shoes, and, because of that, ended up face-planting into the snow after getting out of my car just before my financial aid meeting. AWESOME. I was in full view of approximately 456708 students, faculty, and staff, and took a good long while getting up because my most convenient shoes (black zip-up boots with big heels; they were right by the front door that morning) have no traction. When I walked back to my car an hour later, I said to myself (out loud, of course, because that's the kind of person I am), "Now, will I be able to get *in* this car without falling down?" Except I didn't quite get past the "without" in that sentence because I ended up in the snow again - this time on my ass, which was a nice change of pace. A nice change of pace, but also horrifying because I soon realized that this position didn't have bad traction - it had NO traction - and so I ended up scooting through the snow on my butt until I got next to the driver's side door and was able to unlock and open the door from a seated position. I had to crawl into the front seat, clutching the steering wheel for dear life, all the while wearing a happy-go-lucky, "Ha! Isn't this funny?" expression in case anyone should see me in my predicament.

But then I shut the door behind me, took a deep breath, and kept the smile on in case there were onlookers, but now I could say the words in my heart, which were, if I remember correctly, something along the lines of, "Fuck fucking fuckers fuck fuck FUCK! Ow."

Speaking of ow! I burned my arm! I was baking (yes, you read that right - I was baking) and stupidly leaned my forearm on the pan to get the Irish Soda Bread out (which came out okay, if maybe a little funny tasting. I worry the baking soda may have been outdated), and now there's this ugly, angry red mark with gross-looking blisters that are slowly subsiding, I think. I hope. I keep surfing webMD and really, I'm VERY ANGRY that they don't have models with my precise skin tone and location of injury to model the various levels of burn-ness and appropriate treatment. The illustrations are no good! Do I cover it? Do I leave it out? My father believes in leaving it uncovered because covering it up leads to infection - which does not make sense to me but, as he often reminds me, he is a physician.

He is not a physician, of course. He has a Juris Doctor, a degree he's been using for the same corny joke for almost thirty years, and every day I spend in his office is a reminder of why I didn't just amble into law school after college to get the same degree. I almost did. Sometimes I wonder if I made a mistake, and then I pitch in at his office and am reminded oh-so-forcefully of why I have spent the past three yeras doing pointless, often painfully boring clerical jobs instead of getting a J.D. I mean - he hates his job. HATES. It warrants all caps. HATES HIS JOB. Being there, I can understand why!

I came home last night all frustrated and annoyed and glad to be out of there, but also kind of guilty, wondering if I've been a selfish child by not following in his footsteps. If I became a lawyer, he could retire, or at the very least hand over a chunk of work to someone he trusts, but I haven't done that. I kind of expected to, and I think a lot of my extended family expected me to, but I didn't.

I was all angsty and tortured about it last night, but then I told my mother, and she said, "Well, my father hated his job and did I become a plumber? It didn't even cross my mind! Stop thinking about it, you're fine."

I will try to heed her advice. Right now, I should go clean. Before I do that, I would like to note the strange fact that I have been enjoying General Hospital lately. I mean, a lot of it is crap, but I actually want to watch a little bit every day! I'm kind of in love with Jason again, and I continue to believe he and Sam are the cutest ever. For the longest time I'd just been catching snippets out of habit. I had forgotten what actually wanting to watch felt like.
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
The only good thing I can say about my passport photo - the ONLY good thing - is that my right eyebrow looks pretty good. Well-groomed, appropriate (if slight) arch, good (also natural) color. Everything else? Horrible! Awful horrible terrible bad! Should be burned at the border!

The first thing that should be noted is my complexion which - as I have mentioned to several individuals - shines as if I rubbed vegetable oil on my face seconds before my photo. I look like one of those displays at the makeup counter for the T-Zone, where a perfectly normal girl has the forehead/nose/chin T-Line lit up in a different color, except in my case there has been no Photoshop or post-development touch up. This shine is all me, baby!

Also of note:

-my left eyebrow, which is both longer and more unruly than my right;

-the super-frizzy hair;

-my awkward, constipated expression (Not completely my fault! The post office photographer told me to smile when I'd read that you're not supposed to smile in passport photos anymore, and so we had this weird, "Smile!"/"But I'm not supposed to!"/"Sure you can!"/"But-"/"SMILE!" conversation with an entire post office full of people waiting and watching);

-the awesome double chin caused by my insane consumption of all edible things within arm's reach since Thanksgiving; and

-I think my right eye is bigger than my left, which I never noticed until now!

The moral of the story is that when one asks oneself, "Do I need to touch up my makeup before having this ID picture taken that will follow me around for a decade?" the answer is always - ALWAYS - yes.

If only one could travel back in time and apply loose power. IF ONLY.

This is a long introduction to this fact: I'm going to Europe! Soon! In 2.5 weeks! I am so totally, completely under-prepared! Today I decided to start preparing by going to Marshalls to look for new bras, because I desperately need new ones but am too cheap to pay full price. Right now I'm wearing these convertible ones, but I keep losing the straps. It's gotten bad, to the point that I kind of look like I'm making some kind of funky statement with my undergarments - wearing a tan bra with one pink strap, the the other black - when actually I just can't find all of the straps. I think the cats are stealing them.

(It's convenient having little critters around; you can blame them for losing things when really it's just your own carelessness.)

Anyway! No luck on the bra hunting. You may ask why I need new bras for Europe. The answer is, of course, just in case I run into my famous secret admirer while cavorting about the Continent. Also, my mother had a romance with a ski instructor when she went to Austria in her early twenties (she broke her ankle on the slopes and he quit his job to take her to the hospital! I KNOW!). Maybe it's in the blood!

Also, what if I'm in a terrible accident and become known as the American Girl With Mismatched Underwear and Horribly Unflattering ID? Oh, the HORROR!
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
You know those annoying free registration form thingies on the internet? Most of the time you don't really feel like sending your home address to some random company, so you just fill out the form with bogus information, right? I used to do this all the time. Did you know that there is someone sitting on the other end who has to sort out those bogus entries?

I AM THAT PERSON.

Temp jobs need to be measured by a variety of factors - someday I will draw up a weighted scale, which includes (but is not limited to) privacy of work zone, accessible & fun lunch locales, a benevolent policy concerning tardiness. But a key factor - probably the key factor - is just how many times you find yourself fantasizing about stabbing yourself in the hand with the nearest sharp instrument to get out of the rest of the day's work, because the sharp bleeding pain would be better than the slow soul death of whatever cruel task you've been assigned (on a tough day, this could be defined as liberally as being asked to pick up the phone, or speak civilly to anyone at all).

But this latest job! This latest job takes the cake, I think. I spend all day scanning 3500 free registration forms for fake ones - like Homer J. Simpson from Springfield, or Harry Potter from England. You may wonder: What if there are actual, non-fictional Homers and Harrys? Well, even so, they would still be booted for their obscenity-riddled company lines. The jokesters can never resist the obscenities! Homer@fuckoff.net? Genius!

Also, I am all by myself in a little cubby and while I can hear people having funny conversations around me, I cannot see them or participate in any way, and so I feel like a pathetic girl of the week on some episode of The X-Files or Touched By An Angel. In the former, some supernatural phenomena a la Buffy's Invisible Girl would cause me to disappear without a trace in between lunch and quittin' time. My new coworkers would know little about me, save the fact that I drink Diet Coke like it's water and have eaten a Three Musketeers bar at my desk both days. Were my strange eating habits a symptom of a larger, alien-caused problem? Or did I just disappear because NO ONE CARED? Scully would insist that I just left on my own when no one was looking, and then they'd go out and stand by my car in the blustery February cold and Scully would look vaguely distasteful but try not to be cruel about it, and Mulder would make an inappropriate joke, and one of them would say, "...I wonder how she got this way" just before they cut to commercial.

I am still undecided as to my ultimate fate.

In the Touched By An Angel version, Roma Downey would be a temp who starts after me and to whom I offer advice re: lunch locations (Panera's on Wednesdays - potato soup day! My life is so sad.). At the end, of course, the magic light of divine inspiration would appear, and she would deliver unto me my ultimate life path, and maybe I'd even run into an appropriate love interest at the Citgo station after I'd burned rubber out of the office complex with some inspirational, cheesy music blaring from my car, ready to start my new life.

(I was trying to figure out a way for John Dye to be there, because I LOVED him, but he was the Angel of Death, and I don't want anyone to die right now - but the show figured out a way to put him in every episode, so I guess I will too. He was there too.)

SPEAKING of ultimate life paths – tomorrow I have a meeting with the school where I'm hoping to get my MAT. I am supposed to bring to this meeting all of my transcripts, especially the ones from another local university that ran a foreign language program through the high school I attended – I took college level Spanish in high school and I need to find out if what I took meets the state requirements for a foreign language. (No, I never took any in college. I am an Ugly American. Foreign languages bore me to tears. I would love to know how to speak one – it would be awesome to be able to pronounce foreign locales or menu items at nice restaurants without sounding like you're trying to do a hick impression, but the actual act of learning a foreign language is so boring to me that when I think of hell or torture, I think of my high school Spanish classes.)

I submitted my request early last week, right after I made the appointment for tomorrow and – get this – I gave myself PLENTY of turnaround time. Okay, well just enough turnaround time. The max they say is standard plus one day, if you must know.

Today dawns, have no transcript, yada yada yada – I call them to see if I can pick it up in person.

"Oh," Registrar Lady says. "Yes, we've got it right here. We can't process it because there's a hold on you. Some library books were returned late?"

I have always wondered if someday, somehow, my abuse of the library system would come back to haunt me – but I have to say I was honestly surprised and shocked when it happened. I returned books late, and while I'm almost positive I paid the fine, we are talking about ME here, and it's entirely possible I didn't.

But. Even if I go and pay the fine tomorrow, even if they release the hold, even if I show up in person with cash in hand for the transcript – STILL they refuse to give me my transcript in fewer than three-to-five business days. I think I had a rage blackout a la Summer Roberts at this because if they had CONTACTED me when they first realized this, as I REQUESTED ON MY FORM if there were any problems, I could have handled this in plenty of time! Well, maybe not plenty of time! But probably by the skin of my teeth!

Now I have to go into the meeting tomorrow without it! And look like the flake I am!

That was only the beginning of my annoying bad day. Other events:

-THEY CANCELED AMERICAN DREAMS. Or at least that's what they're saying on the TWoP. I almost cried in the middle of Registration #1789 (approx) of the day.

-I arrived at my tutoring session at 5:30, thinking I was a half hour early, just enough time to throw together a lesson plan for the hour-long session we'd planned for six. Except my student was there. And had been there since 5, which was when he thought we were supposed to meet. I had to freestyle basic literacy for ninety minutes.

I must not be Nancy Negativity all the way through though, right? I seriously just typed Nancy Negativity there, didn't I. I'm leaving it there to remind myself how dangerous alliteration can be.

Non-Heinous Events:

-I may be able to leave the current wretched temp job in a couple of weeks – one of my old temp assignments (remember the Evil Republican Law Firm? It's looking shiny in comparison to my current digs) needs someone to fill in for a while and I may take it on if they will work with my schedule.

-I made a really good omelet for dinner.

-I bought new lipstick and I love it so much that I actually did a Before/After demonstration for my mother in the kitchen after work.

-In the quest to find any old records of my Spanish grade/credit, my mother went through her Drawer O' Motherly Pride and unearthed my VERY FIRST BOOK! The Lost Baby, by Jessica MyLastName. It was dedicated to my mother and featured a cute little plot and illustrations that look like they were done by an intoxicated bear. A family goes camping and leaves the baby behind! What to do, what to do! (For those of you stressing out – spoiler warning! – the baby is found and fine.) I don't know if any other elementary schools did this, but I thought this was an awesome thing – we made up these books, and got them typed up and drew pictures with markers and had them semi-bound and then PUT IN THE SCHOOL LIBRARY. You could take them out using your library card! There was an About the Author on the back and everything.

And now I must go stress about the interview and figure out what I'm going to WEAR. And also sleep.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
Question of the day:

How cold is it lately? So cold that:

(a) car locks freeze
(b) Diet Coke cans explode
(c) temps in knee-length skirts seriously consider immolation
(d) pleather car accessories cease to function
(e) all of the above

If you answered (e), give yourself a gold star! I'm guessing that you, too, have spent time in a cruel wintry climate, where the day sometimes greets you with a car whose lock won't turn and whose interior is coated - yes, coated - with frozen patches of Diet Coke. Perhaps you, too, are equally forgetful about checking the weather and doing your laundry so that you always end up wearing the worst possible clothes combination for the day (a knee length skirt and tights isn't really the best ensemble for crawling across one's Diet Coke encrusted front seat, trying desperately to jar open the driver's side door from within - but is there a best ensemble for that?).

As for the pleather car accessories: I will get to that later.

So, did you know that when someone says a soda can exploded they really, seriously meant that it exploded? Because I didn't! I know I once left a soda in the freezer and forgot about it, which annoyed my mother to no end because she ended up cleaning it up, but I didn't really grasp what it meant. I thought exploding meant bursting at the seams in the gentlest way, foaming up and over like a glass of soda poured too generously. I did not picture the carnage I found in my car this morning. My gearshift, the emergency brake, the dashboard - all coated with icy Diet Coke. I had to use my ice scraper to turn on the radio because the entire display was covered by one particularly stubborn patch.

Cans seriously explode! Like grenades! With aspartame! It's crazy!

I was, of course, already running heinously late for work, which meant I could undertake no real cleanup. I grabbed some napkins from the house before leaving and while driving to work, the heat on full-blast, I dabbed at frozen patches and threw napkins over places where I thought the stuff would melt or, as the case may be, drip from above.

The strange thing was that I got in my car at the end of the day expecting to see/smell the effects, huge stains and stale sweet stench, but nothing! Or just about nothing - only one or two places where puddles had formed. Other than that, the car looked the same, which begs the question: Is the car already so saturated by Diet Coke that one exploding can is but a drop in the bucket? This is possible. I've been drinking a can a day on my way to work for the past two and a half years. To think of the amount that's already evaporated and made its way into the upholstery - but does Diet Coke even evaporate? Is it part of the circle of life?

Either way, I certainly spill enough that the evaporation could be a non-issue.

And now we get to the pleather car accessories: My big gift from my Dad this year, if it can be called a gift since it was really owed to me anyway, was a car bra (or, to use the manufacturer's term, a "LeBra") to cover up the damage to my front end. I was crazy mega excited about this until about 7:45PM tonight, when my brother and I decided to try to put it on.

"Should we put the car in the garage?" Said I, Wise Elder Sister.

"Nah," said Jimmy, Somewhat-Less-Wise Younger Brother.

I chose not to fight him on this because while I am Wise Elder Sister, I am also Lazy Elder Sister and I didn't feel like playing musical chairs with the cars.

"Should we use the directions?" said I, Wise Elder Sister.

"Nah," said Jimmy. "There are pictures on the box. Just prop it open and we'll use that."

I again agreed. My Wise Elder Sister status grows shakier by each turn of this tale.

Ten minutes later I was kneeling in the snow, pulling as hard as I could to get the bra to stretch over the front end while my brother pulled and pulled on the end to secure the last set of clips. He pulled and pulled and pulled so hard, in fact, that the end of the Le Bra RIPPED OFF IN HIS HAND, propelling him backwards in a manner that would have been comical had he fallen over, but was in fact horrifying because he stayed on his feet and WE BROKE THE LEBRA.

"Oh," he said when he found his footing.

"Huh," I said when I saw the frayed edges.

"Maybe it'll still work," he said.

This prompted another ten desperate minutes of us trying to figure out a way to get the rest of the LeBra attached in a manner that would not lead to it flying off of the front end and blocking the windshield a la that really funny scene in Tommy Boy - and I know I'm not the only one out here who knows exactly to what I am referring.

(Or maybe I am.)

We would have been at it for longer, but a parental (Mom) came to inspect what was taking so long.

"Why is it all frayed like that?" she said.

"Uh," the brother said.

"Hmm," I said.

"Oh my God, YOU BROKE IT," she said.

After that, my mother kept poking her head outside, saying things like, "It says right here not to put it on unless it's 70 degrees or you're in an enclosed space!"

Which was very helpful at that point.

And then she poked her head out and said, "Your father says to grab the receipt - he left it in the box. You can see if you can bring it back tomorrow."

In the box. Which we propped open in the subfreezing wind to better see the pictures. My brother and I almost toppled each other racing for the box which was, of course, empty.

Oh, the awesomeness! It was SO AWESOME.

For the next five minutes we searched the snowy front lawn. For the five minutes after that we performed experiments, dropping receipts from our wallets at the spot where the receipt was last spotted, in the hopes of detecting some route it might have taken. This sounds clever but was not very helpful because my brother and I are - now this may come as a shock to you guys after hearing the preceding adventures - not the most attentive of individuals, and we would naturally take a moment while tracking the new receipt's irregular progress to talk to each other, only to look up and see oh my goodness! A receipt! Blowing in the distance! So exciting!

And then we'd run it down and realize it was the Sunoco receipt we'd dropped a minute before.

The best part was how this was all followed up with dinner, which was spent with both parents looking from one of us to the other, trying to figure out how they produced such wonders.

"The best part is, this was a team effort," I said. "It took two of us to do this."

Tomorrow: The exchange adventure. Will my brother be able to come up with a convincing enough lie? Or tell the truth sympathetically enough that we earn an exchange?

Stay tuned!
fearlesstemp: (Default)
Now, as justified as it may seem in the moment – even if, for example, it is nineteen cruel degrees out, the wind is blustering, and you're at the tail end of ten minutes spent looking for a purse that should, by all means, be sitting on the kitchen counter because you're 73% sure that's where you left it, only to find that it is most emphatically NOT there, nor is it in your mother's car, which was your last desperate hope of a place where it could be; even if all this happened after the four-month-old kitten you just adopted got loose in the garage, leading to a five-minute game of cat and mouse-like-toy-being-held-aloft-by-you that did, blessedly, end with the kitty safely in the kitchen; even if that happened after your mother announced that she accidentally dropped her address book in the recycling bin, causing you to have to lug the huge heavy thing up and down the driveway in the bitter cold with wet hair; even if all that happens -- hollering, "GOD! FUCKING! DAMMIT!" in your driveway at 8:23 in the morning is generally not advisable, as there exists the possibility that an elderly man out for his morning constitutional walk will amble by just at that moment, and give you a justified and deserved Look of Shock and Disappointment.

In other news: I pulled into the parking lot a half hour late this morning (only fifteen minutes later than I usually do, which gives you an idea of my record w/r/t punctuality), and went to reach for my polka-dot-bag of tutoring goodness only to discover it most emphatically NOT THERE. I left it home. The only response to this I could muster was a half-hearted, quiet, "fuck" because, really. I couldn't be that surprised. It was only a matter of time before this happened.

I must look on the bright side: There is a Winter Weather Advisory for tonight and the lesson may need to be canceled because of that regardless of my preparedness (or lack thereof). I am a brave Northeatern driver, but even I am leery of the long, two-lane, mostly-unlit country road I have to take for ten miles to reach R.'s local library. It's scary when there's no snow or ice already (the deer! THE DEER!), and adding in something more is just too much for fearful ole me.

In fifteen minutes I am meeting a fellow literacy volunteer for lunch. I was hoping to show her some of my notes and stuff, but this will not happen as, again, left all that at home. Also, I have suddenly realized that the restaurant she recommended we meet at, that I agreed to, is not in the location she described (I know the area right around the corner from this building and no, sir, there is no restaurant named Franklin's there), and so I anticipate a fun-filled hour of aimless wandering and/or awkward conversation.

Also, I only have ten dollars in my wallet and no time to go to the magic wall to get more. Oh, the joy!
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith with book)
Wednesday I met with my fellow literacy volunteers. We had to share our tutoring experiences and participate in lame group exercises. It was boring, but not excruciatingly so, even if I take into account the presence of Writer Girl, a decent enough individual who happens to annoy me. Three reasons:

1. She often introduces her insights on life and tutoring with the phrase, "Well, as a professional writer," which, though true, does not need to be stated on a weekly basis. I am going to start answering any questions posed to me with the phrase, "Well, as a professional temp."

2. When we had to take part in an exercise that involved discussing problems we have had with writing, she actually raised her hand and said that she might not be able to take part, being a Professional Writer and all.

3. Envy. I want to be a Professional Writer who annoyingly opens every sentence with the phrase, "Well, as a professional writer," dammit!

On Wednesday we had to share our "wow" tutoring moments. I talked about how in our last session, R read a sentence and I was so excited I clapped. She went on at length about how her "wow" moment had more to do with her eyes being opened to someone else's suffering and, as an extension of that, a deeper understanding of humanity. Everyone nodded sagely about How Wise That Is. I wanted to fling a pen at her head.

After a ridiculous group exercise that involved pinning behavior to potential learning disabilities, during which I totally made a stupid mistake that made me wonder whether I needed a tutor, the meeting broke up and I trotted out to my little blue car, determined to go home and study. I went home and watched TV for two hours instead, and then frantically skimmed the vocabulary section of my GRE prep book before falling into an exhausted, lovely sleep.

Woke up the next morning to the music of my mother hollering about charging my cell phone. I hollered back that I would charge it, and to please chill out because I'm not an idiot child. And then I went downstairs and realized that I couldn't charge my phone because my charger was in my purse, and I left my purse under the table at literacy volunteers headquarters the night before. AWESOME.

Hauled butt to the meeting location, a church in a bad part of town, and discovered my purse there (thank God). Realized had forgotten to eat breakfast and so I went to the corner store and bought granola bars and a Diet Pepsi (breakfast of champions). Spent the entire time I was being rung up doing my best not to stare at the packets next to the register that had names like "HORNY GOAT POWDER [Sexual Stimulant]" in huge, bold lettering.

(Did not purchase any.)

I finally hit the road and got ready to drive two and a half hours because for some unknown reason, the GREs were not given in my area for the entire month of November. Had to drive down to Wappingers Falls to take the test. Wappingers Falls is, in my opinion, one of the most awesome municipality names in New York State, right up there with Hicksville (it does exist).

Signs spotted on the Thruway:

-AIRCRAFT USED IN SPEED ENFORCEMENT, which made me imagine mega-helicopters hovering over the highways with huge supermagnets dangling from their undercarriage, ready to lift offending vehicles off of the highway the same way I did little plastic fish from my perch on the couch when I was a little kid (I loved that magnetic fishing set); and

-IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, DIAL 911 (FREE CELL PHONE CALL), which made me picture someone sitting off on the side of the road, smoke billowing under the hood of the car, perhaps pinned behind the wheel, staring at a cell phone and saying to him or herself, "But those overages just KILLED me last month."

I had a lot of time to think about these things because I don't have a CD player, and I couldn't find a good station for a good chunk of time on my drive down.

Mapquest directions in hand, I got predictably lost after getting off the highway and ended up at this run-down tiny grocery store/post office/deli where the people inside appeared to have been untouched by the last thirty years. It was bizarre. I went back outside to the parking lot and decided to call the testing location for directions, and after only getting a pre-recorded message, I responded in a mature, adult manner by hollering "GODDAMMIT!" in the middle of the parking lot. I also stomped my foot.

I was appropriately mortified when I realized there was someone standing ten feet away who had heard me, an older guy who looked like a local. I apologized and he kind of smiled, said, "You swearing at anyone in particular, or just the world in general?" and then gave me directions when he heard my predicament.

Thank you, kindly run-down tiny grocery store/post office/deli parking lot man!

The testing center was in this run-down building next to the loading dock for Home Depot, next door to a building that had huge signs advertising manicures and exotic fish sales. I really hope it was legit. Either way, there was testing, which involved having my picture taken (left house with wet hair and no makeup! Horrible!) and being brutally bored for three hours. But I finished, accepted my scores, did okay and left there feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders!

A weight I promptly replaced with more credit card debt, as I felt the need to reward myself with frivolous purchases like The Office Christmas Special and a polka-dot bag for my tutoring stuff, which I so almost shoplifted because I'd been carrying it around with the handle looped around my wrist, and I was halfway through the store's doors when I realized I hadn't paid for it.

But did not shoplift! Am still law-abiding member of society, with GRE scores to boot! And I would write more but I've suddenly made that turn from late night wired to truck hit me exhausted, and so I'm off to bed.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
I am at peak performance here. A few notes from the last couple of days.

-Monday I had another tutoring session with R., which went very well. I also spoke to his supervisor on my lunch break, which went as well as it could have given the circumstances – everywhere I eat lunch feels compelled to pump their establishments full of easy listening or classic rock music at top volume, which makes it challenging to have any kind of conversation. Add in a bunch of fellow lunch eaters and questionable cell phone reception, and you've got a recipe for fun!

The conversation actually went fine. She assured me they had realistic expectations, etc etc. "As I said to D., thirty sight words or so," she said.

Which kind of makes me want to kill D., the local literacy volunteer organizer, because when I talked to her last week and asked if she'd spoken to the company about expectations, she was all vague and brushed me off. She said, "Why don't you just call her?"

I was sitting on a park bench in sub-freezing temperatures at the time (the place where I'd been having lunch had awful reception for my phone, so I had to abandon my salad half-eaten to go outside and call her back), and it took everything in me not to snarl, "I don't know, maybe because you get paid for things like that?"

Okay, so it didn't take everything in me not to do that – I'm a wimp. I would never do anything like that. Also, you know, I signed up for this, etc etc. But I signed up for tutoring! Not navigating the dangerous waters of a strange company's HR office and employment policies!

And so I just said, "Sure! Fine! I'll get right on that!"

Tutoring itself went fabulous, which was good because last week was a tough one – he seemed to have forgotten everything we'd worked on. But this week, it all came back and more. He knew the "ch" sound. It was thrilling.

-File under Nightmares Do Come True: Yesterday I got into work, got my Mets Mug o' H2O, and settled in to check my e-mail (how I start every day). Was in the middle of typing in the web address for my e-mail when the phone rang and I answered, quite naturally, "Aolmail – dot – aol – dot - com." Five seconds of confused silence later I realized what I'd done and said, in my best I'm A Professional, No Really Voice, "I'm sorry, please excuse me. All Irish Law Firm, can I help you?"

I wanted to die.

-I almost cried in Target when they did not have The Office Christmas Special in stock. But then I bought popcorn and read an awesome story and felt better, which was good, because at my next stop (WalMart Supercenter; I was all about the big box stores last night), I had the following conversation with my mother, the one, the only, Peg of the Cautionary Tale.

Self: So, you want me to get you Turkey Tetrazinni?

Mom Unit: If they -- wait. It's dark out.

Self: …Yes.

MU: Don't go. Just come home. I'll have noodles with butter. There are crazy people out there! Remember, that girl --

Self: Mom, it's fine! There are a ton of people around, I'll be just fine.

MU: Be careful.

Self: Hmm, I was planning on wandering around aimlessly with my eyes closed, fists full of money, to the darkest areas of the parking lot, but if you –

MU: JESSICA

Self: I'll be careful!

MU: Don't get kidnapped!

Self: Right right, don't get kidnapped and bring home Turkey Tetrazinni.

So a few minutes later, when I was walking through the dark parking lot, remembering all of the scary stock footage I've seen of girls getting snatched from parking lots, and a big green SUV came to a sudden stop right next to me, I kind of had a heart attack.

Self: AAAH!

Michelle: Jess?

S: Oh! Hi! Michelle! And Meg! Hi!

Michelle and Meg: Hi! You all right?

S: Fine, fine, just, you know, thought you were a scary kidnapper.

MaM: . . . oh.

S: My mother – I was on the – never mind. Long story. Walk in together?

And we did. Meg had little Abigail with her, so I got to coo and poke at her little covered-in-winterwear-belly, and talk like an idiot. All that good stuff. We did the high-pitched-girltalk thing, argued over who had lost weight ("You!" "No, you!"), when most likely none of us had, and then parted ways in produce because I had to get to my next destination pretty quickly.

-Speaking of: My next destination was my grandfather's nursing home, where I came upon him already snoozing. The woman at the desk told me to wake him up, and he seemed happy that I did. It kind of blows my mind that anyone would be happy to be woken up, but I suppose this is one circumstance where even I would be glad.

We talked about exciting nursing home happenings (he's changed lunch tables, and the other day got sick at breakfast. "I flashed the hash," he said, and then, just to make sure I understood, added, "That means I vomited."), his recent doctor's appointment ("I am bigoted against the Jews," he said, in a reflective, kind of apologetic way. "Not that I'd ever admit it. But I liked him."), and Thanksgiving ("Where am I going, again?").

The last two times I've visited he's complimented my alabaster skin and dark hair, which was nice, but sufficiently romance-novel-sounding to feel kind of weird. I know he didn't mean it that way; he's just one of those people who won't say in three words what he can say in seven. This time, no such compliments. But he did, as always, call me Curlyhead.

-This morning I slept until exactly five minutes before I'm supposed to leave the house if I want to be on time for work. The awesome ending to this would be to reveal that I got here showered, well-coiffed, snazzily dressed, and on-time. There is no awesome ending. I didn't get to shower, threw some gel in my hair, put on a default easy outfit (complete with clunky clogs), and arrived fifteen minutes late. Note: I usually arrive ten minutes late. So to be just five minutes later after sleeping a half hour late? Not too bad!

And yes, you did that math right – I do get up a half hour before I'm supposed to leave for work. No, I can't get ready for work in a half hour. Yes, that is a problem.

Because of the oversleeping, all day I've felt kind of disconnected from the world. This has done wonders for my work performance. Ten bucks says I'm asked not to come back at the end of the day. I won't come back tomorrow, at the very least: it is the day of THE DREADED GREs. They warrant all caps.

It's a good thing I don't have a three-hour pointless literacy volunteers meeting tonight! Oh wait, I do. Oh well. I will do well or I will do poorly. All I can do is ride the rest of it out.

And possibly sneak glances at my GRE prep book during the meeting.

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fearlesstemp

February 2009

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