Friday, January 11, 2019

Kindness Just Kills Me

Again, quickly, because I seem to have turned into a responsible person who goes to bed at a reasonable hour every evening. Amazing what a job will do for a person, huh?

I've gone to work 5 days in a row now. I thought it would wear me out, but it's actually almost relaxing - after 27 years of structuring my own day, every single day - to have someone else structure my time for me. I got home this evening at 5:00 and had the energy to chop veggies and make dinner, which is bizarre, because (for the last 3 decades) the absolutely LAST thing I could do was start dinner prep at the late hour of 5 PM. I was too exhausted by that point.

Seriously, people, I used to prep dinner in the morning, just because I knew I'd be a zombie by 4.

So, yeah, I'm liking this new lifestyle.

Wednesday's dinner - but, hey, I baked the cornbread!
On Day 2 of My New Life, I received a free laptop and a nifty backpack to carry it in. I was trying to play it cool when the training guy handed me and the other newbies these items, but the other new editor felt no such compunction. "Oh, wow!" she said. "What a cool backpack! Look at all the pockets!"

She's totally my people.

So, yeah, an exciting week, marred only slightly by Larry's insisting that I max out my 401K contributions (translation: I don't get to fritter away all my earnings on yarn and Nando's). I'm going to be pissed off if I drop dead early and don't get to use that money, though.

And can I give a shout-out to my friends, who have stepped up to make sure Susie isn't left alone at home doing workbooks (or not) all day? In a month or two, I'll be allowed to telework; but until then, I have to go into the office every day. I was worrying and worrying about Susie, and somehow not thinking to, oh, I don't know, ask people for help. They came riding to the rescue anyway, thank goodness. So many of them...

Really, I've made pretty good friends over the years, and I get sort of weepy thinking about it. These people are inconveniencing themselves, repeatedly, just so I can start something new at age 55, which is...I can't even find the right words, they're all inadequate...such an incredible gift. An incredible, undeserved gift.

Dammit, this is making me cry. I love you, guys, you're amazing. And Susie loves all the food you feed her. But she lets you know that, I'm guessing...

Monday, January 07, 2019

Working Girl

Bye, Christmas! 

Just quickly, because I'm tired and I have to go to work in the morning...

[Pause while I giggle softly to myself]

My first day of full-time work in 27 years was today and it was just orientation, but hey - I got a water bottle with the company logo on it! I felt irrationally pleased by that. Also, my ID photo did not suck, which is a big plus. Now if I could just do something about that driver's license photo...

The entire day, I felt as though I were Rip Van Winkle-ing it. The last time I had a job, my ID was just a picture. Were magnetic strips even a thing back then? This time - well, I don't even know yet what that card can do.

Last time I had a job, I didn't have to sit through a half-hour presentation about cellphones and social media use at work, because social media didn't exist and cellphones were rudimentary at best. I mean, picture it - you couldn't do anything on your work computer back then but work. I know, quaint!

Last time I had a job? I wasn't pleased as punch to be in a room full of grown-ups, because I hadn't been deprived of that particular experience for, oh, 27 years. Today? I was downright giddy.

And on and on and on...

So I was sitting on the couch this evening, trying to catch up on some reading, when the thought hit me: I'm going back in tomorrow. Like, that's 2 days in a row. Weird. It's as if it's my job or something.

No, I don't know what's wrong with me, either.

During orientation, we all had to hand in some identification for employment purposes, and then I watched as the admin aide came back in the room later and returned the passport to the guy next to me, and then the woman next to him, and so on. I waited patiently, but sometime after she had left, I raised my hand and asked the nice HR lady when I would be getting my passport back.

Passports are important, you know. You have to keep your eye on them. Especially if, like me, you're trying to impersonate an organized person with a full-time job...

The HR lady looked puzzled and said she thought that all the IDs had been returned. "I didn't get mine back yet," I insisted, in front of all those other grown-ups I was thrilled to be around, and then (and only then) I checked my purse. Wherein lay my passport. "Oh, uh, never mind!" I told her. "Ha, ha, it's right here, just forgot..."

No, really, you made the right choice hiring me. No worries!

In other news, we got rid of our Christmas tree yesterday; and, judging from this news item, that was not a moment too soon. Next year? We're going artificial, for sure.

Happy New Year! (Legos by Susie)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Not Bored, That's For Sure

Here it is, New Year's Eve. I've spent the last week doing I don't know what, but it's been BUSY. We ran out of Christmas dinner leftovers after 2 days and I had to start cooking again (the horror!); there were doctor's appointments for a recurrence of vertigo (and the first person to recommend the Eppley Maneuver will get blocked, if I can figure out how to do that); there was baking and more baking for our New Year's neighborhood open house tomorrow...

I swear, I am so done with lemon bars. DONE.

Happily, David doesn't mind helping. In fact, he baked 8 dozen snickerdoodles today. He helped with dinner the other night, too:

Engineers cook tater tots very precisely

There were out-of-town guests, and there was helping Anna get ready to go to Tunisia, and there were movies to see, and yes, vacation time is surprisingly exhausting. Normally I would be looking forward to a nice, slow boring January, because remember? It's my absolutely favorite month. But on January 7th I start my first full-time employment in 27 years, so the days preceding that will be filled with looking for office-type clothes and making sure Susie isn't simply abandoned for the 2 or 3 months until I can telework and generally getting ready for a pretty major lifestyle change.

So, yeah, not exactly relaxing, right? But still, exciting - I'll give it that. I'm thinking I should prepare by watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - you know, to get pointers on how to function in a totally new, real-world environment. Do you think I'll get my own desk? I'd like that.

Me, going to work the first day

Do people have desks anymore? A lot's changed in 30 years, I'm guessing.

[Kimmy Schmidt image credit: Vanity Fair]

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I didn't go to sleep until 2 AM this morning, because we ate Christmas Eve dinner late (Rachel and Brian worked until 6:30 at Best Buy) and then Susie wanted to watch Scrooged and nearly everyone wanted to watch with us, which is beyond rare in a family of grown and almost-grown kids, so we had to do that, and then I came upstairs at 11 and realized I had never prepped the baked apple French toast for Christmas breakfast. So I did that, and then I neatened up the kitchen so we could hit the ground running (as it were) in the morning, and I had to start a load of laundry so our Christmas place mats would be clean for the big day and....well, if you've never seen a woman practically weeping with exhaustion past midnight on Christmas Eve, you're probably just not paying attention.

Yes, we're using paper plates - sue me
Since it was 1 AM already, I decided to clean the crap off the dining room table and set it for Christmas dinner. I know, it sounds crazy, but the boost this gave me when I came downstairs this morning was worth the lost sleep. Every time I feel overwhelmed, I gaze at my set table and pretend that I am an organized, competent person.

This morning we opened presents. Now, I like to think we don't go overboard in this family when it comes to Christmas gifting: we just do candy in the stockings (plus Moose Munch under the tree), and Larry and I give each kid (or "kid") 3 items. But when you have 8 people in a family, and everyone is giving everyone else a present, the math, okay?

That's 8 x 7 plus 2 x 6, approximately

If you hear that Amazon earnings went up this month, you can thank me.

[Apologies to my neighbor who owns the independent bookstore. Mostly not books, though...]

So, yeah, up until 2 AM, up again at 7, opened presents, cooked the French toast, threw the place mats in the dryer, bitched at the offspring to put the wrapping paper and recycling out back, ran the dishwasher (ALREADY), and made the kids take charge of the mashed potatoes. I'm taking a nap now, and NO ONE can stop me.

That's the theory, anyway...

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Lit Christmas

This month is speeding by (hello, all those Christmas presents I haven't bought yet!), so I thought I'd just slap some pictures up here, with brief descriptions of what I've been doing, and then I looked at the photos on my phone and, uh, I haven't even taken any in the past week. Things are THAT hectic.

First off, there are 4 of my offspring living here, which means I'm expected to cook again. I've been churning out the chicken salad, the mashed potatoes, the beef stew, and I don't know what all. I ran the dishwasher THREE TIMES on Sunday (Theo came to dinner). How did I do this all those years when the kids were younger? Beats me.

Brian is home now, so I had to spend some time cleaning up my yarn studio so he would have a place to sleep. David arrives tomorrow, which means Susie and I need to turn the couch downstairs into a bed, since Anna has claimed the guest room until the 31st. Thank goodness Theo has his own place now and doesn't need a bed.

A bit of holiday baking has been happening - lemon bars, pizzelles - but you wouldn't know it, because we ate all of them. I mean, except for a few pizzelles that aren't long for this world:

These will be gone by noon tomorrow

I don't get how people bake batches of Christmas cookies and the cookies are all still around for Christmas. Could someone enlighten me on that one? I grew up Jewish, and we didn't save cookies. Actually, we didn't bake, come to think of it. Why bake, when an Entenmann's outlet is only a couple of miles away?

I've been to 2 parties already. The first one was full of couples just like me and Larry, who only get to go out in December, so we all had a lot of catching up to do. The second was the annual ornament exchange at my friend's house. I ended up with a very nice set of chopsticks, which - if you think about it - is the perfect thing for a Jewish person to get at a Christmas ornament exchange. If you don't understand why, ask someone of the Hebrew persuasion.

Perfect for Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve

I've also spent every spare minute informing every single person I know that I have a job, starting in January. I need to keep repeating it, because I don't really believe it myself.

I have a job.

Larry was happy for me, until he realized that I am using "I have a job" as an excuse to spend money this month like a drunken sailor. Maybe his epiphany came when Susie and I brought home a light-up deer for our front yard. Or maybe it was this purchase of mine from Aldi's:

When you're rich, they let you buy yard ornaments

"Hey," Larry said the other day, studiously ignoring the Knitcrate box that had just arrived on our doorstep, "we need to figure out how much of your paycheck is going into a 401K. And don't forget, we'll need to buy a car in a few years."

You know, I'm beginning to suspect Larry doesn't want me to spend my entire paycheck on yarn and eating out. I mean, he's all retirement this and transportation that. It's as if he doesn't even CARE about my Nando's fetish, people. What can you do with a man like that?