June 30, 2005
And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
So, I get to work this morning and my Not So Supervisor (NSS) has left a card for me on my keyboard (she is not here today). It’s got two cute little puppies on the outside and the inside reads as follows:
I wish you the best. Enjoy your time with your baby.
Not So Supervisor
What? No “I really enjoyed working with you!”? No “You were the best employee EVER!”? No “Cagey, you ROCK!”? It was sadly apparent that she made the barest of feeble efforts to maybe ensure I don’t burn her in my exit interview this afternoon. I really don’t intend to burn her and I have practiced my speech accordingly. “NSS is trying really hard but I think she is in over her head. She just doesn’t have the maturity or experience for the position that she is in. Frankly, I do feel sorry for her because I know the position is stressful and she has had a lot thrown at her.” Does that sound like constructive criticism? I really don’t want to completely rag her, because then it just sounds like a vendetta. However, I do think that HR needs to know that she is not up to task in terms of being an effective leader.
Tonight, we leave for Vegas and I am MUY excited. As I have mentioned before, I have friends and family there, so I have been going regularly since I was a kid. I like to get there at least once a year and as I went twice last fall, I am tracking ahead of schedule. I am slightly sad that this will be my final kid-free trip for a long while – the last chance to hover at the craps table until 3:00 am or whenever my toes go numb – whichever comes first. However, at least I can rest assured that it won’t be my last EVER trip. Indeed, I have so many nice, cozy memories from my childhood that I certainly hope to provide my own children with such memories as well. I am not certain I will sneak the little Freeloader into a gaming area so he can pull the slots handle and I seriously doubt I will slip him keno cards on the sly, but I certainly wouldn’t mind taking him to feed the fish at Lake Mead. Anyway, we are staying at the Wynn which adds even more to the excitement as we haven’t stayed at a resort since our honeymoon. We don’t really have many plans other than meeting some folks for dinner, taking in a show or two and RELAXING. Oh, and LOTSA CRAPS. And a visit to the Bellagio Art Museum. And a visit to Gail’s Knits ( and Lord have mercy, there are having a summer SALE). I am hoping since my craps strategy won’t be grasped in the hazy confines of alcohol that I can hone to perfection my latest move of betting on the Come line. I made a little money from that in December and can’t wait to try it out again.
Of course, X is bringing the Love of his Life (laptop), so I may have the chance to post while there, but otherwise, I may go dark for the first part of the week.
June 28, 2005
Doing the Hokey Pokey?
The other thing that happened last week is that the little Freeloader was a baby breakdancing machine ALL WEEK, ALL DAY. I suspect it was due to the stressful environment and that we were working in a huge room that was under construction. It was so loud, we spent most of the time shouting to communicate. Also, I was on my feet a lot and had to carry my chair around with me to even have a place to sit as I moved from machine to machine. Anyway, I quickly became spoiled by all the kicking around from the kid – this was proof that my own little Billy Elliott was ALIVE, after all. However, he was must have gotten exhausted because he didn’t move much over the entire weekend. Of course, that evil god of motherhood – Needless Paranoia - takes over at 10:00pm last night and I start convincing myself that he must be dead since I had thoughtlessly subjected him to low blood sugar and the whine of a construction worker’s drill. Thankfully, a big glass of orange juice and some firm pokes around the belly confirmed that while he was probably pissed off at me for waking him up, that he was at least alive. Little ingrate. Of course, according to his sonogram pic, the Skeletor Baby is at least a CUTE little ingrate.
June 23, 2005
What’s your sleep number?
However, last night, we did venture out to Seattle and made it to the waterfront to eat at a place called Elliott’s. Their tagline is “Elliott’s. Where Seattle goes for seafood”. While I was not entirely convinced that the masses of Seattle actually would endure the traffic, parking, freeway noise, and tourists to eat at this place, I will say the food and service was excellent. I was a little sad that I had to forgo the oysters, since that is their specialty (apparently, oysters are not an acceptable part of the little Freeloader’s food pyramid. Picky little guy.) We spent a little time walking along the waterfront and visited a place called the Ye Old Curiosity Shop which really DID house some old curiosities. They had freakin’ mummies in this place, which was quite cool. Cool enough that I felt compelled to spend a little money in a place that would offer me a glimpse of a 3-legged chicken, a 2-headed calf, an 8-legged pig and a mongoose wrapped up in a cobra’s coil as if in attack mode. Seriously – this stuff was worthy of Average Jane’s mantel! Surely the cost of a sweatshop sweatshirt was worth the price of admission?
The bad thing about this trip (or good thing, I guess) is that it has firmly driven home my decision to quit early and stay home during the summer. When I am bored senseless this summer from not working and no longer being so busy, I will use this trip as my touchstone back to reality. I am tired of being with negative people that do nothing but gripe about the “Fed this” and “the Fed that”. I am tired of the gossip. I am tired of spending 13 plus hours a day with someone who I have little in common with and makes comments on my eating habits. My goal this summer is to work in some optimism and simple happiness back into my life. I need to shed this shroud of negativity that has been draped over my shoulders for the past 22 months.
Finally, I am happy to report that I am actually a bit sleepless in Seattle (Come on! If you were here, you KNOW you would want to type those very words yourself.) The 2 hour time difference has really thrown me for a loop - I am sleepy when the sun is still up and am waking up while it is still dark. Furthermore, the pillows and the bed are a very mushy so I have been tossing and turning throughout the night. I can’t wait to get back to my firm bed and flat pillows. Ooooooo and the cats - the ultimate bedtime accessory for sleeping comfort.
June 22, 2005
What have I learned?
Anyway, when I think of how far we have come in 2 years, it is crazy how much has happened in so little time. The first year of marriage was so freakin’ hard! We didn’t live together before marriage, so it was quite a shock to our systems when we first lived together. Like, I had to COMPROMISE and SHARE which is just really not conducive to my personality. It’s a good thing that X is so calm and relaxed about most things. For the most part, he just lets me have my way, so that makes it easier for the occasions that I do compromise (give in). Would I still do it all over again (the not living together before marriage?) Yes. Definitely yes. Not living together created a clear demarcation for us. When we started living together, we were married and that was IT. There was no option of moving out, taking a break, or anything like that. In fact, one of my first impressions was the shock that after a fight, X had to stay - he couldn’t go back to HIS place. It forced me to WORK IT OUT and not be a big whiner. It also made me realize that fighting is usually a waste of energy and that getting along is so much easier (WHO KNEW THIS AND WHY WHERE THEY KEEPING IT A SECRET??). Given my personality, not living together before marriage really was the best situation for me. Now, it may seem that I have taken the responsibility for much of this arguing upon myself but truth be known, many of the disagreements are probably instigated by me.* X is very easy-going. Thankfully, X’’s mother was quite the feisty thing so he was well-trained for a wife like me.
Fortunately, the 2nd year was much better than the first, that’s for sure. We have hit a level of mellow expectations and are better at communicating. I think one of the #1 things that we practice is just common courtesy. Saying “please” and “thank you” can make all the difference. Also, I score a million more requests by asking ahead of time (POLITELY) and understanding that nagging really gets me nothing but an unhappy henpecked husband. Is it all roses? GOD no. But I have learned that it so freakin’ easy to get into an unhealthy mode of bickering and nitpicking – particularly if we are both stressed or sick. It is scary how quickly it can grow into an entire weekend full of nothing fun. I can understand how this mode of communication can easily grow into a Marriage of No Fun.
Finally, it sounds trite to say that “marriage takes work”, but it is true. It is far too easy to take for the granted the one person that I see the most and am closest to. I just try to keep an eye on the big picture and be happy that I got such a great husband. Score!
*This admission by me will never be known by X - that’s what he gets for not reading my blog, right? HA!
June 20, 2005
When is Tuesday?
Anyway, I couldn't compose anything entertaining for this morning because I spent a good portion on the phone with my insurance company (or rather, waiting on hold for my insurance company). Some idiot decided to ram into my car Saturday afternoon in the Target parking lot, then said idiot decided to up it a notch and be a JERK about it. I suspect it will be a game of "he said, she said" and that we will end up having to make the claim on our insurance. I don't normally handle these Life Injustices very well, but my fury is abating a bit with each passing day. Today, I think I have hit the 5 Year Rule point so it is not eating me as much. What's the 5 Year Rule? It's my own little mind game I play with myself. I try to convince myself that something won't matter in 5 years and that I should let it go because usually the very thing that I am obsessing over REALLY WON'T MATTER in 5 years. For example, a minor fender bender in the Target parking lot.
See, I feel better already!
Update: I am looking at my neatly clipped grass (the lawn service just left) and the fresh vacuum cleaner tracks in my office (the cleaning service just left). Gulp. What a nice (and timely) reminder as to how good I have it. Now THERE'S a little bit of perspective for my day.
June 16, 2005
Who is Big Al?
SO, today I gave my notice to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Yes, indeed. I was one of the many Drones marching around here that got sucked in by the illustrious sound of working for the Federal Reserve. Of course, as I head for the door, I can get philosophical NOW and talk myself into thinking it wasn’t that bad. I suppose it is for self-preservation or otherwise, I would have to face the fact that I completely wasted the past 22 months of my life. In the beginning, it didn’t appear to be that bad. I took a 15% pay cut and walked away from a five-figure bonus at HR Block to what was supposed to be a less-stress, 40 hour a week gig at the Fed. Within 2 months of starting, I quickly got roped into the Check 21* project. This resulted in TRAVEL, LONG HOURS, A COMPANY-ISSUED CELL PHONE and WEEKEND TRIPS. Yikes.
Okay, the philosophical part? As part of an information security implementation, I did get to travel to over 15 Fed sites (6 Banks, 9 branches) and really, that was pretty kick-ass. The offices I worked with were pretty cool and often, I was sad to go back to the Drones in Kansas City. In fact, I believe many of the issues I have complained about since starting this blog are specific to KC and in particular to the group I work for.
While I can’t WAIT for June 30th, my last day, to get here, I can’t help but feel sad that my career is coming to an end (temporarily?) on such a sour note. I worked my tail off in undergrad, then grad school, then sacrificed many a vacation day studying for the CPA exam for THIS?
I still can’t believe that I am walking away from the Working World – I have been stacking all my pre-pregnancy work clothes into a pile to be given for charity, but I am still leery about giving them away. After all, I have had a job steadily since 1987!
*I am electing to use that title for now because dammit, I AM a prize.
**What is Check 21, you say? Believe me, you don’t want to know - really. Huh? You do? You asked for it.
June 15, 2005
Have you had YOUR shots?
So, I went to a family reunion on Sunday. For the most part, I see the branch of the family tree that emanates from my great-grandpa quite frequently. What I don’t usually see is the other branches from my great-grandpa’s 4 siblings. This gathering was HUGE and I didn’t recognize quite a few of them. It struck me as odd to think of how many times I must pass relatives at my local Target never realizing that we are related.
At the reunion I got my first Pregnant Chick Buddha Belly rub, folks. It wasn’t that bad! Now, of course it came from someone I KNOW, so I suspect I won’t be as lackadaisical about it when a stranger tries to put the moves on me.** I also discovered that I have a better chance of winning the lottery than our kid having his own unique October birthday. October is freakin’ filled for this clan, that’s for sure. I don’t mind though – there a few birthdays that would be particularly special for the little Freeloader to share. In fact, I do have my hopes pinned on the 11th which is my great-aunt P’s birthday. Speaking of Aunt P, I also got my first glimpse into my upcoming new gig as Unemployed Pregnant Chick because I took her with me to the reunion.*** I love her, really, I do – she is my very favorite of all my great-aunts. But man oh man, she is slow as molasses. In case I was worried about not appreciating all that free time heading my way, a few trips to the grocery store with Aunt P will cure of me of that in no time.
*I have SO MANY friends that have names that begin with C! For example, this C mentioned today is a different C than the one who went to Columbus with me. I guess all my friends ala “C” have their anonymity virtually guaranteed! Too funny
**I think my standard response will be “Stand back!!! He doesn’t have all his shots yet!"
***In a continuing bid to score more points on MY Spouse Card than X has on HIS, I granted X a pass on this family gathering. Furthermore, he got to watch the game Sunday night with the volume all the way up on the GOOD TV. Score more for me! Sunday was a lucrative night, folks.
June 14, 2005
Who says you have to be all by yourself when alone?
Lately, I have not been able to schedule lunches with my friends because one of the Drones here has scheduled a 12:00 meeting for every day of the week except Mondays. These meetings will most likely continue long after I am gone. The bad thing is that the meetings last anywhere from 10 minutes to a full hour which makes it quite inconvenient to schedule anything with friends. For the most part, I was just grabbing a quickie meal from the cafeteria, but with the increasing dissatisfaction for my job and the Not So “Super”visor, I have found that I NEED to get out. So, I have been going out to lunch by myself, book in hand. Last week in this fashion, I finished an entire book and made significant progress on another.
Today, I showed up at the restaurant and there was no place for me to sit. A lady noticed my dilemma and gestured to the empty chair at her table. I then had a lovely lunch with my new TF. We spent the better part of an hour happily eating our meals and reading our books. Towards the end of the meal, we looked up from our books over dessert long enough to exchange brief life stories and found that we had a common employer in our mutual careers past. We also did a quick rundown of some of our favorite eclectic choices for lunches in the area. I left that meal very satisfied – not just with the meal, but with that cozy feeling of having connected with another human being in a positive way. Sometimes, a person just needs that, I suppose.
As I come to the end of this chapter in my working life, I am trying to keep tabs on the positive. It has been hard because this has certainly been the lowest point of my career and I am sad to be leaving the working world on such a sour note. However, today was a reminder that it wasn't all for naught. I am very appreciative now that I had the opportunity to travel so much and was forced to do most of it by myself with no co-workers to get me through the loneliness - particularly in the early years of my career. All that solo travel gave me the confidence and audacity to plunk myself all alone at a table for two (or even FOUR). It forced me to strike up conversations with random strangers on planes, shuttle buses, cafeterias. Before that, I was pretty shy and would shudder at the idea of eating alone in a restuarant. I wonder how many TFs I would have missed out on over the years, had I not been exposed to that sort of travel. I guess it's nice to be all grown up, after all.
June 13, 2005
Boy? Girl? Kung Fu Hamster?
Let the Name Games begin!
June 10, 2005
Was The Corrections corrected?
I feel much better today. It’s amazing what a bit of havarti and gouda cheese consumed while watching HGTV can do for one’s soul. Yes, you read that correctly. I come from a family of Cheese Obsessives, we have never been that into sweets. I suspect that a meal of cheese and crackers with pickles has the same affect for me as ice cream does for others. Interestingly enough, just blogging about my funk made me feel a good 10-15% better! In accordance with my blogging motto “Blogging is virtually free, therapy is not”, another psychotherapist should be ruing the blogging phenomenon* that surely has deprived them of potential clients.
I am a Re-Reader. Meaning, I will gladly re-read a book that I loved the first time around. As an official Re-Reader, I generally don’t re-read books that I did NOT like the first time around. This rule had to be bent recently because of a book club selection. I had read The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen quite a while ago and really, really did not enjoy it – I thought it was a sad, depressing, dark, dank read. However, for my Wino Book Club**, The Corrections was chosen. The choices for me were to re-read the book or not attend the meeting - it had simply been too long since I last read it to provide any meaningful input to the discussion otherwise. I was originally not happy to have to re-read it, but I wonder NOW – who was THAT girl that read The Corrections the first time around? Apparently, either the book has changed or I have changed because this book is the funniest darn thing I have read in awhile!
Anyway, Monday is my first ultrasound for the little Freeloader! I am holding out for a kung fu hamster, but suspect it will be a boy or a girl. We shall see. At a minimum, it will be nice to confirm that the little tyke is indeed a lonely little Freeloader and not joined by partner. I’ll post results as soon as I can. At a minimum, it should be a funny story because my mother and BOTH grandmothers will be in attendance.
*Notice, I did not say “fad". I believe blogging is here to stay – yes, the numbers may wane over time, but blogging is not going away anytime soon.
**A clever creation by my friend A that combines a wine tasting with a discussion of a book. Genius, I tell ya!
June 9, 2005
What is my problem?
So every night this week, I have been going home like a zombie and attempting to shake myself out of this gloom because it is SILLY. I hate feeling like an ingrate!
June 8, 2005
Is this where it begins?
When I thought about this even further, I realized with a rising panic that YES, YES - I MUST GET RID OF IT ALL. People, this is how it STARTS! Those of you with Pack Rat Relatives know EXACTLY what I am talking about -- the ubiquitous basement full of junk that one can’t bear to part with because it has some sort of perceived potential value. When I moved into this house last fall, I had made a goal for myself to not use the basement for excessive storage. I remembered the horror of seeing how the Previous Owners had things crammed in every nook and cranny when we had first looked at the house. So far, I have held true to my word – the basement currently holds an empty wine rack (BARE, I said - sniff, sniff), a not-so-empty kitty litter box, some borrowed baby equipment, Christmas decorations, and empty boxes we will need for the next time we move. I hesitate to have perfectly good stuff down there collecting dust.
Besides, this stuff is going to a basement where it will most likely be available for my own children when THEY go to college. So, all is not lost. There is something to be said for hoarding things in someone ELSE’s basement, don’t you think? (she said quite smugly).
June 2, 2005
What’s your paranoia?
The interesting thing is that these two particular phobias run directly counter to some of the things I love to do most. I LOVE to climb to high places. I eagerly climbed the 320 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Damn straight, climbing up and then back down a spiral staircase with only a rope hung down the center for a handrail was freaking scary, but it was SO worth the spectacular view and is something I will forever treasure. I also LOVE to explore different urban areas of Kansas City despite the scary nature of the some of those areas. Let’s face it – that’s where the coolest neighborhoods, bars and restaurants are located. Furthermore, I fully intend to take the little Freeloader to all my favorite haunts (okay, maybe NOT the bars) and I will have to endure my grandma completely freaking out every time I do so. However, I don’t want to raise a little ninny, right? I want the kid to have an adventuresome spirit and sometimes that includes facing a little perceived danger, I guess. They do make pointy umbrellas for babies, don’t they?