U.C.S.

Feb. 9th, 2006 07:10 pm
fearlesstemp: (cary and baby)
Date: February 9, 2006

Time: 6:00 PM

Event: Unidentified Cat Sighting

So, I was sitting there in the recliner, eating frozen yogurt out of the cardboard pint container, as I have been known to do, thoroughly enjoying the last five minutes of a particularly excellent episode of Seinfeld ("A George divided against itself CANNOT stand!"), when what do I see mosey across the kitchen, not twenty feet away from my spot in the recliner?

A HUGE BLACK CAT!

Now, you may be asking yourself, why is this significant? After all, my LJ formula would probably be something like:

40% Complaints About School/Work
25% Cat Talk
20% Random Family Stories
14% Jibbering About TV/Movies
1% Actual Insight

I talk about my cats a lot. But! THIS WAS NOT ONE OF OUR CATS! This was (is!) a totally random, additional, heretofore UNKNOWN member of our household!

He ran into the basement before I could catch him, and I found myself standing at the top of the stairs, staring into the darkness of the basement, wondering: Did this really just happen? Did it? WTF?

Within about ninety seconds, I had completely convinced myself that I was hallucinating (I so would not stand up under any of those psychological tests where they show a group of people a square, and everyone says it's a circle, and they measure how long it takes the lone non-experiment-participant to cave in and say it's a circle too. I am nothing like Jean Luc "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!" Picard, in other words). I called my father on his private line just in case, and had the following conversation:

Dad Unit: HELLO.

Self: Uh, hi, Dad. Can you talk?

DU: YES.

Self: Did you, say, let any cats in the house today? Any additional cats? Say, a black cat?

DU: A black cat?

Self: I could swear I just saw him in the kitchen, but I thought maybe I was just imagining -

DU: A black cat.

Self: Yes, a black cat.

DU: ...You know, I think I might have seen him too.

Self: Really? Today?

DU: Not today, a couple of days ago. In the morning. I thought I was seeing things. Also, it was dark.

Self: Oh my God, how long has he BEEN here?

DU: I don't know!

Self: They have been eating a lot of food lately.

A random black cat! Hiding out in our house! Right now, in our basement! I should go catch him, I guess, but I don't know! What if he has rabies? I know I am obsessed with rabies. Also, I don't know what to do with him! I don't want to kick him out. It's cold out there! Obviously he needs someplace warm to be!

RANDOM BLACK CAT! How long have you been here? Where are you going? Are you rabid? How the hell will I find you again? Is there an unknown point of entry to our house for cats? Is there an unknown cat army in the basement? Do they have demands? Will I be able to meet them? So many questions. So few answers.

More news as it develops. Right now: HOMEWORK!
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: (Default)
The highlight of my Christmas has to be - it HAS to be - the moment when I found myself on my knees, head under the dining room table next to the bare chicken legs of one of our dinner guests, doing my best to unbuckle her velcro sneakers so that she could change into a pair of my mother's sweatpants because, as she had said several times by that point, her words slurred by the Chardonnay I'd given her (one lesson I learned today: ninety-pound nonagenarians generally can't hold their liquor), the other pants were "too TIGHT. I don't know why they gave them to me! Ha! Haha! My pants! They're too TIGHT!"

And then she farted, which was the cherry on the sundae of the whole experience. She was in good company, though; my grandfather, who was seated next to her in the dining room (but had had his wheelchair turned around so that Julia could have her privacy while I stripped her down and stuffed her into another pair of sweatpants), has become a champion gas passer. In the middle of Christmas dinner tonight, long after Julia had been tucked into her new gray sweatpants, Grandpa leaned forward, gripped the table, and let out a fart so loud that I heard it at the other end of the room. It took everything in me not to burst into audible laughter. I did burst into silent laughter, hidden behind my glass of coke, because I am (as we all know) thirteen at heart.

Ours was a wild and crazy Christmas. The guests were:

-My 89-year-old grandfather, who yelled about abortion during appetizers, slept through dinner, and yelled about abortion again during dessert;

-the aforementioned Julia, my grandfather's old friend and neighbor at the nursing home, who has a niece who took her car but doesn't take her in on holidays (maybe it's the farting?);

-Gerry and Joanne, my father's cousin and his wife, who are both nice, lovely people, who can be best characterized by the fact that they always drive the speed limit (always!), even in the fast lane, and do not understand why people tailgate them. They are two contenders for the coveted Most Boring People I Know Award; and

-Barb and Mike, my aunt and her husband. Mike was just diagnosed with colon cancer and had surgery to have a section of his colon removed just this past Monday. I was positive he was going to keel over into his green bean casserole halfway through dinner - when I had my appendix out when I was seventeen, I was completely done for for about ten days. He's been out and about since he got out of the hospital on Friday.

It was a wild and crazy evening, let me tell you. I would tell you more about it right now, but my brother and I are about to run out to see King Kong. More later - Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and a very happy Sunday to all others. Happy Hanukkah too!

P.S. I owe a bunch of people e-mails and thanks, and I will get to it soon - promise! You are all lovely people.
fearlesstemp: (bucky)
A fun fact about me: I am very paranoid about being smelly. When in the company of friends, I will often, and repeatedly, ask for reassurance that I am not olfactorily offensive. When I oversleep and can't wash my hair in the morning, I have been known to make people smell my hair.

Unlike many of my random worries, there is a good, concrete reason for this obsession!

When I was in middle school, probably around thirteen, my cat Molly got sprayed by a skunk. Now this is the surprising thing about skunk-sprayed animals, at least for my family: it is not immediately apparent that the stench has been laid. If, for example, you are letting the cat in at the end of the night, and head up to bed right afterwards, you might not immediately recognize the horrible fact. And if you fall asleep before the smell registers - or, if, for example, you're thirteen years old and asleep in bed already - you will get used to the horrid smell in your sleep.

You will oversleep and get dressed as usual. You will stumble sleepily toward the bus stop, wander sullenly to your locker, and meander toward first period class, chorus, where you are stationed in the back with all the other mediocre altos. Even after everyone around you starts asking each other, "Do you smell something?" and "What the hell is that?" and "Who farted?" - still you will think they're just imagining things, or overreacting to something.

When you turn to your friend and ask her to smell your shirt just in case (eleven years later you will still remember the shirt - off white, long-sleeved, baggy), you definitely don't expect her to visibly blanch and stifle her gag reflex before saying, "Oh, Jess. I think it's you."

NIGHTMARE. LIVING NIGHTMARE. I'm probably still Skunk Girl to some of the people I knew only in Middle School.

(Though I think some of my notoriety was lost a couple months later, when one of the sopranos vomited in the auditorium during rehearsal for the class concert.)

So I always worry about smelling.

About a half hour ago I was on my second long phone call of the night when I felt Dusty come up and snake around my legs. Aw, cuteness, I thought, and absently patted him on the head. Ten minutes later, I started wondering what on earth my father was making for himself as a late-evening snack. So heinously smelly.

A few minutes later, Dusty appeared again, looking up at me from the floor, all adorable big brown eyes and unbearable stench. "Oh my God, I have to go," I said to my friend, put down the phone, and snatched him up. I stuck my face in his torso region and ran for the living room, where my father was watching TV.

"DAD!" I said, holding Dusty out in front of me as if he were a live weapon.

"You know, I was about to say something," he said.

Dusty is now sequestered in the garage with food, drink, and litter. I have just finished running through the house with air freshener and am now at a loss. The smell has obviously infected our house and all of us and WHAT ARE WE TO DO? I have visions of showering, running out the door with wet hair, and rubbing dryer sheets all over my clothes while driving to school tomorrow.

Because yes, I have started my observation for school this week. And what am I observing? A middle school. Tomorrow I have to follow a student through his/her entire day. Reliving the most awful experience of the most awful period of my academic life - eighth grade as a skunk-smelly Jess.

More details as the situation develops.

I owe replies to comments and e-mails to people and I swear - SWEAR - I will get to them tomorrow. Hate me if you must. It is very likely justified.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
I am happy to report that my stint housesitting did not end in death-by-hatchet as I'd feared. Why am I so insane about things like this? I watched a lot of Rescue 911 as a kid - could that be it? Or all that City Confidential on A&E in the years since? Whatever their cause, my irrational fears led to many a sleepless night out at my aunt's house, and I blame this sleeplessness for some, but not all, events of the week.

kind of lengthy, involving disliking dogs, getting yelled at at work, hunting cats, crashing funerals - basically, all you need to read is this cut tag )
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
So last month I went on a big fun trip to Europe with my friends, and it was awesome. I'm hoping to post some pictures in a few days, and eventually write up all of the trip, but for now, I'll just post this summary of our traveling (primarily plane and airport) adventures.

::traveling:: )
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
I did not sign off on this snowstorm! W-T-F, people? SERIOUSLY. I was supposed to ! I was supposed to make foolish, last-minute, anxiety purchases at a box store today! I was supposed to get TRAVELER'S CHECKS (at the bank, not the aforementioned box store). Instead I was trapped inside the house, incapable of accomplishing anything, save watching Ed and annoying my friends on the phone! I capped it all off with a solid hour or so of snow-blowing and shoveling, followed by stressed-out last-minute packing, which is the best way to spend your last evening before a trip, in my humble opinion.

Anyway, I have packed, I have written explicit instructions for my parents so that I can tape General Hospital for the next two weeks (I kind of resent GH for becoming interesting and watchable to me right before I'm going on a trip), I have called trusted friend to ramble on about fear of flying and fear of what the relaxy-pills I've been given will do to me (what if I vomit? Or drunkenly approach an attractive fellow flyer? What if I vomit while drunkenly approaching an attractive fellow flyer? HORRORS). I have also found out what movies are showing on the plane (FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is one of them! ARE THEY MAD?), and have left ample room in my personal bag for the candy and other comfort foods I will need to get me through the flight.

I must stop talking about my flying anxiety (anxiety about flying, not anxiety that flies about under its own power - though, come to think of it, that's kind of an apt figurative description) before I freak myself out further. Subject change!

The other day my mother was telling me about one of her coworkers, who is having trouble getting a promotion, possibly because she's married to the big boss's wife's ex-husband. This prompted me to ask if there were more than thirty people in our tri-county area, or if it just seems that way.

Another example of this arose from my grandfather's visit to the dentist. The dentist in question was:

(a) the son of a couple my maternal grandparents used to socialize with;

(b) my dentist since I was a little girl;

(c) the brother of a girl I went to high school with;

(d) the father of a girl I once baby-sat at a Montessori fundraiser my aunt threw; or

(e) all of the above.

If you chose (e), you're probably one of our area's thirty residents!

Anyway, my grandfather insisted that I accompany him into the examining room with him, where I watched him have impressions done for dentures and made small talk with the dentist about items (c) and (d), mainly. During the conversation he said something about how people are always asking why he hasn't had another child (he has one daughter). He said that having one of her is like having seven, and that he couldn't handle that.

I chuckled in a polite way and my grandfather sat there silent, goo from the impressions pooling at the corners of his mouth. I did not realize at that moment how fortunate his temporary inability to speak was because, later, when I was in the nursing home van with him and the driver, and, in a vain attempt to make bland small-talk, told my grandfather that I could understand what the dentist meant when he said that - I baby-sat his daughter once, and she was a handful - he said (and I quote), in his most booming voice,

"That isn't his decision! That's God's decision! CONTRACEPTION IS WRONG!"

(I wish I was exaggerating with that emphasis there, but I swear I am not.)

I almost died of embarrassment. After coming back from the brink, I asked him to table the conversation for later and responded pleasantly to the van driver's comment on the weather thirty seconds later - the usual social niceties one must be familiar with if one wishes to spend time with the Grandpa Unit.

Now it is late! I must away to bed. I am leaving tomorrow and won't be back until the 24th, and that evening I'm going to a young alumni mixer for a bunch of area colleges. SO LAME and I can't resist. I'm making my friend Jo go and the only reason my friend Andrea is escaping is because she's leaving the state.

It's actually pretty great because since it takes place the day after I get back from Europe, I can start all of my conversations with that fact, instead of my usual opener: "Well, I'm unemployed at the moment, but I've been temping for the past few years, living with the parents. And oh! I just got a new cat! Want to see a picture?"

Those of you who have my cell number can leave messages there if you need to reach me (I will be checking the voicemail while I'm away), and my internet access will be sporadic at best. If anyone needs to get in touch with me, my AOL address still works but I do have another gmail one - fearlesstemp@gmail.com.

And that's it! I'm outta here!
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!

two items

Feb. 18th, 2005 12:33 am
fearlesstemp: (dusty sleeping)
There are actually a bunch of things I want to torture you with, including (but not limited to) recent tutoring, my most recent parking ticket, the latest annoying job, how I forgot my wallet today, the generalized self-loathing that accompanies any personal essay, how late my Proactiv is, and my cat's worrying ability to chew on his own collar - but there is not sufficient time for me to ramble on about these things at the moment. I have to go to bed.

I have time for two things!

First, because I am a sucker for memes - Lurkers! Are there lurkers out there? If there are, hi! It would be cool to hear from you, possibly via a comment to this post. Posting anonymously is okay. I swear I'm not scary. I use my cute cat icon to demonstrate my lack of scariness.

[SPEAKING of the cute cat - he totally just crawled into my work bag and sat there for a few minutes, quite content, until it started to tip over veeeeery sloooowly, at which point he did not get out of the bag, but just sat there looking kind of desperate and terrified. I rescued him! Oh, if only I had a digital camera. The cuteness was off the charts. Moving on!]

Second, am I the only person who really disliked Sideways? It has, like, a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and I feel like I must have been shown a different cut of the movie than other people. Or maybe I just have pedestrian taste. I am, for example, kind of looking forward to that ABC Family TV movie starring Ryan Reynolds, who starred in one of my favorite mediocre sitcoms of the recent past, Two Guys and a Girl.

And that is all.
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: (fred and ginger pick self up)
I'm sure lots of people had wild weekends full of debauchery, but I ask you – did anyone else get to ride on an old school fire truck with Santa on Sunday?

I was out at a festival with an assortment of female relatives, including my seven year old cousin Emma, who insisted that I ride on the fire truck with her and her mother. I felt kind of assholish because there was a looooong line of kids behind me waiting to ride in the truck with Santa, but I couldn't let The Emster down, and so I followed her up onto the back of the truck pretended to act like I was nobly suffering for the sake of the child, when really I was excited. It was totally fun.

Anyway, before the winter festival, Emma stopped by my house and met our new kitten Dusty, and today she sent me the cutest E-card ever - the text was:

hi jess i loved your new kitten dusty he is so cute i could just eat him up .

Oh, the cuteness! It threatens to overwhelm!

On the not so cute side, I went to visit my grandfather tonight. I've been trying to ask him more about his life, since he's done a lot of interesting things. Tonight I asked him about my grandmother, how they met, etc. The highlights:

-The way he said he first got connected with her: "My beloved sister Eleanor was down at college and got to know Paula, your grandmother's sister, when they exchanged certain feminine hygeine products women need at certain times of the month."

-How he asked her out: "I called and said I was a Hollywood producer looking for Lois M. She was out with another guy, Jimmy Something, but I didn't think he was competition since I was just home from the war and very confident about myself."

-Their dating adventures, which included running out of gas in the snow a mile from my grandmother's house in the country. My grandmother was wearing an evening gown but didn't complain.

-A too-long foray into TMIville: "And there was no funny business," he said. "It was all on the up and up. It was better that way. All we did was hold hands, or the equivalent of that – necking, really, which was mostly –"

At that point I started waving my hands around wildly to distract him.

Right before I left, the American Legion stopped by and dropped off a decoration for him. My grandfather trotted out his usual army joke ("I only served four years but I did save one German in the war, you know. I shot at him and missed.").

After they left, I opened up the card they dropped off and realized that they were from our ARCH RIVAL AMERICAN LEGION POST! My brother played American Legion baseball for years and this post totally kicked his team's ass regularly and without mercy. They were always super-organized and had players that looked like they'd walked out of a Yankees training camp instead of the dregs of the area's JV squads (our team).

The inspirational way to close this would be to tell you about how my brother's team eventually toppled their arch rival in the quest for the state championship, but I can offer no such inspiration. The best I can muster is my brother saying, "I think we beat them once. Maybe."

And now, to bed.
fearlesstemp: (john doe mike)
I love Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for a lot of things, too many to name, but if I had to give a brief list: my health, my family, and my friends, including all of you.

notes from today's turkey day )
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
Q: What phrase do I dread more than all others?

A: Maybe you can help me.

Because I almost never can.

The following are the instances in which I can help people:

-If they need to know our fax number
-If they need to know our physical address
-If they need to know if an attorney is associated with the firm

Other than that, nope!

The best part is that most of the time, people don't believe me. Perhaps they think I have low self-esteem, or am modest or something, and that if they just encourage and believe in me, if they're dogged enough in their determination not to just go to friggin' voicemail, I will reveal some heretofore undiscovered wealth of legal knowledge.

It goes like this:

Fearless Temp: Random Attorney is away from his desk/on the phone/in a meeting. Would you like to leave a message in his voicemail?

Annoying Caller: Maybe you can help me.

FT: Actually, I'm not familiar with RA's cases at –

AC: Well, you see, it's not that complicated – we're buying a house out of state, and there's an outstanding judgment against it blah blah blah

FT: I really wouldn't –

AC: But it's just one question – do we have to contact the sellers if blah blah blah lien blah blah blah

FT: Could I just get --

AC: Blah blah blah

FT: – your number –

AC: Blah blah blah blah, and so we were just wondering, does the third page have to be notarized?

FT: I DON'T KNOW! I'M A TEMP! A DUMB TEMP! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, GO TO VOICEMAIL! VOICEMAIL! VOOOOOOOOIIIIIICEMAAAAAAAAAAAIL!

AC: Well, I never.

Ahem. There may have been some dramatic license there. Okay. So really, it usually ends like this.

AC: Blah blah blah blah, and so we were just wondering, does the third page have to be notarized?

FT: I don't know, actually.

AC: Oh.

FT: Would you like me to take a message, or leave one in voicemail?

AC: I'll just call back.

This is another frustration of my work existence: The Call Backers. Call Backers never want to leave a number, or a message, or a voicemail, or any sign that they once called. They want to call back. And when they do call back, they become actively annoyed should the attorney not be available at that time either, as if the attorney is committing a personal slight by not sitting by the phone waiting for a call they did not know was coming! Because the Call Backer didn't want to leave a message letting the attorney know they had called before!

And this doesn't even take into account the people who are calling back for attorneys who are ducking their calls. People. Leave a message. Always leave a message. Are you someplace where you can't be reached? Still leave a message saying that you called, what you called about, and when you will be calling again. Please. I'm saying this FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. Honest, I am!

Two other phone conversations I have several times a day:

Conversation One:

Fearless Temp: All Irish Law Firm?

Annoying Caller: Hi, yeah, an attorney called me? I'm calling him back.

FT: You're returning his call?

AC: Yes.

FT: Do you happen to know his name?

AC: No.

FT: Awesome.

Conversation Two:

Fearless Temp: I'm sorry, Random Attorney is on the phone, can I take a message?

Annoying Caller: I'll hold.

Internal FT: Goddammit.

External FT: All right.

[One minute later]

FT: He's still on his line, do you want to continue to hold?

AC: [heavy sigh of extreme frustration] Do you know when he'll be off?

Internal FT: Well, let me put on my handy FutureVision Goggles . . . yes, yes, I see him hanging up in precisely . . . eight minutes and forty-five seconds.

External FT: No. No, I don't.

~fin~
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.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
1. It is snowing out today, tons of tiny flakes that won't stick. It kind of looks like God's sifting flour or something. Because of this, everyone in the office is obligated to engage in the following conversation at least three times today:

Person A: Hey, it's snowing.

Person B: I know, can you believe it? It's too early!

Person A: And it's only the beginning.

Person C: Hey, it's snowing.

And so on and so forth.

What do people in the south talk about? I wonder if one could do a study: Is the desire to engage in meaningless, excruciatingly boring and predictable banter about the weather related at all to the severity of the weather changes in a particular region? If I lived in a more temperate place, would there be fewer of these torturous conversations going on by my desk? Or would people's desire to engage in excruciatingly boring and predictable banter about the weather transcend climates?

Something to ponder.

2. Another conversation that recently took place.

Fearless Temp: Holy crap, this transcript cost over a thousand dollars! That's, like -- more than five dollars a page!

Secretary: $6.50, actually.

FT: Wow.

S: I could've been a stenographer. (heavy sigh) I screwed it up. Well, that's what happens when you're a drug addict.

FT: [no idea how to respond]

S: But it wasn't really the drugs, it was the alcohol.

FT: [still at a loss]

S: Just generally screwing up my life.

[Awkward pause, during which I worried that she thought I was judging her, which I wasn't, and so thusly felt the need to say something comforting to create common ground. Something like --

FT: I used to drink a lot. Well, a few times. Okay, twice in college with my friends, but one of those times we got SO drunk that we got naked and ran around the memorial in the middle of campus. That sounds weird -- I mean, it was a thing, people did it before they graduated, it wasn't like we just decided to run around naked for no reason.

-- but did not have to, because a nanosecond before the silence got so awkward Fearless Temp would open her mouth, Secretary shrugged and put on her coat.]

Secretary: I'm going to go have a smoke.

FT: Have fun with that!

3. I'm taking the GREs next week (I know, soso late in the year, but what can I say? I'm a poor planner), and have been doing practice tests the last few nights. Horrifying. I think my father is right -- bad TV does rot your brain. It's the only explanation! I used to rock the standardized tests, man, and now I keep coming across words that I remember knowing, but cannot remember now, and find myself resorting to the old, "Hmm...well, there hasn't been a 'D' in a REALLY long time" method of test-taking.

Part of the problem is that I find the tests so boring that I have been doing the practice tests while watching bad TV. Maybe that's it.

4. Speaking of watching TV, on The OC last night, Ryan said, spoiler of the minorest sort, which I really don't think reveals anything, but better safe than sorry )

5. There are no words to fully express how excited I am about the new Bridget Jones coming out today. Have plans with Jo to go see it after work, and today when I was flipping through radio stations I came across a radio interview with Colin Firth, which caused me to clap my hands and shriek "OH MY GOD! COLIN FIRTH!" at the top of my lungs, almost swerving into another lane.

Am concerned about shrieking "OH MY GOD! COLIN FIRTH!" in the theater upon his first appearance. Almost as concerned as I am about shrieking "OH MY GOD! MATT DAMON!" should there be an Ocean's 12 preview before the movie (pleasepleaseplease).

And that is all.
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith and saunders)
Signs your hometown roots might go a little too deep: you find yourself chatting up an interesting guy, thinking, "hmm...he seems nice, and he's a Democrat...maybe..." only to realize later, after doing the mental gymnastics required to figure out why you and he are at the same victory celebration, that yes, he is your cousin. Distantly, but still. When in doubt, just say no to cousin lovin'. Words to live by, I think.

We were not celebrating the national results, of course, but the local ones, which put our candidate for City Court Judge on the bench. I shook hands with a bunch of politicians I'd known only by seeing their name in the papers before, and had lots of awkward mingling moments where I stood within spitting distance of people I recognized vaguely but could not place, because I have a horrible memory for faces and after all this time temping in my relatively small area there's a scary amount of people out there I should recognize but really can't.

Speaking of my flakiness: I dragged my ass twenty miles out past my house to meet with R. for our tutoring session, only to realize upon pulling up the library that it was closed. Closed! Super fab tutor that I am, I totally just assumed that the library closed every night at 7PM, as it had last Wednesday (the night of our first meeting), but I was completely wrong. It closes at 5PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is aggressively annoying because those were the two nights I'd scheduled our regular tutoring sessions to be on.

I tried frantically to call R. and catch him before he got in the car, but no luck. I ended up sitting alone in the dark in my car on the side of the road, positive I was going to be sideswiped by one of the many trucks whizzing by at 50 mph (but should not have been worried – my electric blue station wagon, hidden as it might have been in the shadows on the side of the road, still was a smidge more visible and avoidable than the sprightly deer these drivers are trained to avoid).

Note: Watch my car get nailed next time.

R. was gracious and understanding and willing to reschedule for tonight, and after chatting a bit, we both got in our Ford vehicles and took off in opposite directions, he to the country, me to the city, where I sat in an office and annoyed random people in my hometown via phone in an attempt to get them to the polls.

I was just getting to the O section at a little after eight, less than an hour before the polls closed, when my father poked his head in and told me to come upstairs with him to make calls from the office he was using. I gathered up my list with its careful notes and my half-full bottle of Diet Pepsi, ready to continue the fight from a different vantage point, but when my father led the way into the hallway, he turned right instead of left.

"But the stairs are there," I said, pointing vaguely but still following him.

"Do you think it'd be less obvious if we took the stairs?" he asked.

"Less obvious?" I said, and watched him hit the down arrow on the elevator panel. "Wait, isn't the office –"

And just as he said, "We're bailing," I realized that was what he was doing, and stood there open-mouthed in shock.

Became more open-mouthed with shock when my father announced we were going to his Upstate Independent Filmmakers Meeting (one of my father's many random activities). We arrived just in time for the last film, which was a ten-minute commercial spot for the – and yes, this actually exists, and I would direct you to the website, but it appears to have suffered a catastrophic website failure. I can't tell you how hard it was not to laugh at the stock footage from the 1970s of people paddling across a lake, set to synthesizer music so cheesy I thought it wasn't used for anything but parodies anymore. I felt evil and awful and wrong, but then after the lights came up the guy who made it confessed that he hated the music too.

There followed a lengthy, excruciatingly boring discussion of cameras which I won't go into here because I will not spread my suffering. This is the same reason I won't say more about that thing that's about to happen at 1PM.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
When last we left today's Totally Awesome Temp Moment, I was mid-sentence. To pick up the story: An attorney asked me to put together a coffee tray for him.

Defining Characteristics of Yours Truly:

-I am always late.
-I am very forgetful.
-I hate bringing people beverages at work.

Which is why though I smiled politely and said, "Of course!" in a chipper way, inwardly I was thinking mean thoughts full of expletives.

The coffeemaker in the kitchen is basically a Coffeemaker for Dummies, which is good because I'm quite dumb when it comes to coffee (as I am when it comes to higher math and poetry).

Complicated Coffee-Making Steps:

1. Pull out Thing Holding Filter and Grounds.
2. Dump out Thing Holding Filter and Grounds.
3. Put new filter and grounds (which are stored in convenient one-batch-bags) into Thing Holding Filter and Grounds.
4. Put Thing Holding Filter and Grounds back in its original location.
5. Press big orange button marked "BREW"

It's so easy. And I've totally mastered that part of the whole deal, so that the coffee itself was prepared to perfection. Not prepared to perfection? The carafe to hold it.

I will preface this by saying that this is TOTALLY not my fault, and in fact the fault of faulty labeling, to the point that if I could sue my coworkers or manufacturers for Embarrassment (the way one can tack on Pain and Suffering to lawsuits [which I do support]), I would be putting together paperwork right now.

Okay, so. The carafes are these tall cylindrical things with an indicator on the side showing how much coffee is left. One showed five cups, the other (marked Decaf) indicated it was bone-dry. I had a long lazy debate over whether I should just give the meeting people the five cups or go to the extraordinary trouble of making another batch (see details of proposed extraordinary trouble above).

And then I decided to go the extra mile and make them a new batch. Let this be a lesson to all of you: Never go the extra mile.

I switched the carafes, hit brew, and stepped back to start preparing the rest the tray. Halfway through the preparations (which involved, mainly, dumping some cream and sugar into a bowl and staring at the box of cookies in the middle of the table, wondering if they were the same cookies that were there last week, and if they were edible, and if they were edible, whether I should have one), I turned to see if enough coffee had been prepared for me to snag a cup, and saw COFFEE EVERYWHERE! OVERFLOWING! ON THE FLOOR! ALL OVER THE COUNTER!

COFFEE EVERYWHERE!

I realized immediately that the carafe had not been empty, and that the indicator was broken and either (a) it had just happened or (b)it has been broken for a while and no one had told me about it, which is unacceptable if I am going to be asked to make people beverages! Because an uninformed coffeemaker is a cofeemaker who ends up staring open-mouthed in horror at a volcano of French Roast in the office kitchen!

And then I went all Indiana Jones on the thing. Remember in Raiders of the Lost Ark, at the very beginning when he has to get the Random Priceless Artifact and switches it with a bag of coins? I felt very Harrison Ford today, standing there with a cheap paper coffee cup (company mugs are on order) and paper towels, preparing to put the cup under the flow while moving the overflowing carafe to a secure location, and then replacing it with the half-full carafe..

It was a totally excellent plan, except the part where the flow of the coffee was too powerful and sent the paper cup on its side, spraying cofee even more, creating a bigger mess. But it was a good plan!

The best part was spending five minutes wiping down everything, including parts of the floor, for renegade coffee. And then having to deliver the crap ten minutes later, to a group of people who were probably wondering what kind of idiot takes a half hour to make a pot of coffee.

Whatever! And now it's five, and I have to go, and I am posting without editing.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
First, an announcement: It is I, scoutmol, now fearlesstemp. Am unsure about the name but could not think of anything else. Also, I did the no-redirect thing because of work concerns. Which makes me feel bad because I was so grateful for the redirect thing when other people changed their LJ names. Am callous bitch! My apologies, though!

Second, this entry is so GD long and boring. Must break out the cut tags.

on monday i ran into a childhood friend )

on tuesday i watched a fab old movie )

on wednesday i was given too much responsibility )

on thursday i got my hair cut )

on friday i hated my job )

on saturday i walked too much )

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fearlesstemp

February 2009

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