Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In Which Defeat is Only the Tiniest Bit Agonizing

I have a friend who posted her engagement on Facebook a few years ago, and then confided that she felt stupid for having done so when it fell through. I told her she shouldn't feel that way at all, because her real friends wouldn't feel anything but sympathy and she had nothing to be embarrassed about. But I confess that I felt slightly the same way about broadcasting my first job interview attempt in twenty or so years in serene confidence that it would go positively and then.... well....

True, I could have slunk away and licked my wounds in private then. But in all honesty, people, is that ever how I roll? Let's see: depression posts; period posts; condom posts.... NOPE.

It's all very well to say that clearly I was overqualified and they were just afraid I wouldn't stay long. The bottom line is that I put myself out there and they said no thanks. And that stings a little. But it was still a good experience. Before I whipped that application together I was paralyzed at the thought of trying to put together a resumé after so much time. Now I know I can, and I can get a response, even if it's ultimately not the response I want.

Plus, now I can go to my friends' cottage this week-end instead of working. We all went to the bar last night (we do most Tuesdays, I wasn't deciding to chuck the employment idea and just become a barfly) and when they invited us to the cottage I said I would only come if I could get drunk and belligerent and tear up Indigo bookmarks. One of the hosts looked concerned and said I should bring my own because they don't have that many. (Silly. I wasn't really going to do it. One does not rip up a perfectly good bookmark even in the face of cruel rejection).

Also, I was going to have to call Zarah and say, in a good news/bad news kind of way, I can't do our girls' week-end this fall because I have a job. Now it's a bad news/ good news kind of thing. Which is good, because somehow circumstances have evolved to the point where I can only buy bras at this little shop in Barrie, and I need a new one. So, Zarah... call me.

A couple more things that happened this summer:

Zarah and the kids came for Bluesfest:

We all fell even more in love with Melissa Etheridge:

There was a lot of reading:

Oh, and Eve and Alex got haircuts.

Then we got ice cream. Obviously. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

In Which I Just Never Learn

I'm a helpful person. It's just how I'm built. I like to help if I can. People seem to sense it - in the grocery store, at parking machines, parked at intersections (I have given directions more than once through two open car windows, before the light turns green). It's mostly a good thing. Occasionally it's not the greatest.

Thursday afternoon I was at my group interview at Indigo. It was so much more fun than I thought it would be. It was a fun group of people and we all kind of clicked. The "team-building" exercises were silly rather than cheesy and made us all laugh and relax. The corporate schtick actually came across as fairly sincere. I thought it would all feel kind of fake and forced and it didn't.

In the second half, we were split into groups and a small group of us were out on the floor. Our first assignment was to take five minutes to grab two items, come back and describe why we liked them. On my way to the sci-fi and fantasy section, I apparently looked so much like I ALREADY worked there that an older gentleman asked me for help. 

It was a no-brainer. I was IN THE MIDDLE of a job interview. I could have easily just said "no, sorry, I don't work here". But I don't know, I spend a lot of time in that store, I know where a lot of things are, and he was older, with a nice face, and a bit of a tremor, and I'm apparently a bit of a moron. I said "sorry, I don't work here... but what are you looking for?" He was wondering if the "...for Dummies" series was all in one place or spread all over the store. 

Crap. Uh... I said "I assume they would be in different sections." There's, uh, a computer right over here". Did I then leave him to look it up in the computer? NO. I DID NOT. I typed "Cooking for Dummies" in. 

It said there was one in the store.

Double crap. Everybody who has ever worked retail knows this is the kiss of death. Six in the store? You're pretty much guaranteed to find a few on the shelf where they should be? Two in the store? Odds still in your favour. One in the store? Could be anywhere. Or nowhere.

Did I say that, and return to my assignment? NO. I DID NOT. I walked with him back to the cooking section and started looking at the shelves. 

FOUND IT. No. Wait. This is "Green Smoothies for Dummies". Probably not what he's looking for. Oh, FOUND IT. No. Wait. This is "Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies." I look up, realize I'm in all the cooking SUB-sections. The seconds are ticking away, but what am I going to do, say "sorry, sucks to be you" and bolt? I have locked myself into the most absurd situation. And there is no Cooking for Dummies book on this shelf.

Finally, he looks up and says "well, I really appreciate you trying to help me anyway." I race over to the sci-fi and fantasy section, fail utterly to find a Neil Gaiman book, grab a copy of Ready Player One and on my way back to the group grab a pair of fuzzy reading socks. I was last, but they didn't look like they were waiting impatiently or anything.

Clearly if I don't get the job it's because I'm just TOO GOOD AT IT already. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Some Things That Happened This Summer

I applied to Indigo and got an invitation to submit a video interview the next day. I keep trying to feel anxious about going back to work, but I keep realizing that I'm really looking forward to getting out of the house a few times a week, hanging out around books and contributing a little to the family finances. I think I'm really ready. One might argue that it's way past time for me to be ready, but one could then be cordially invited to take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. I refuse to get nervous about an interview, because I think they'd be daft not to hire me, so I'm willing to let things unfold as they may.

My reading mood was weird over the summer. I couldn't read anything dense or challenging, and I read overall much less than usual. A few weeks ago I did what I always say I never do and put a bunch of holds on at the library that all came in at once. Then I read eleven books in eight days, so I'm feeling better about that whole end of things. It's like the reset button has been hit on a few things, which gives me hope that last year wasn't actually the start of a giant downward slide ending in death.

The summer was good. Really good. One thing that happened was that we got one of those picnic blankets that's soft on the top and waterproof and slippery on the bottom and folds up neatly with built-in carrying straps. It comes in a perfect bundled-up package, and you bring it somewhere and unfold it and experience its lovely soft waterproofness:

Then you spend the rest of your life trying to get it back into that state of pristine perfection, (which is not helped by the fact that one side is insanely slippery),

....with very occasional success.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Small Frustrations, Tiny Satisfactions

I generally make it a habit of grabbing my apron from the hook and putting it on on my way into the kitchen no matter what I'm going in there for. I am not a neat and graceful person and I don't enjoy changing clothes several times a day. This was amply vindicated just now when, without an apron, I turned around from the counter and decided to take the lid off the slow-cooker to check the pulled pork and got splattered with hot meat juice, burning a tiny spot on my chest and leaving brown spots on my pink tank top (sorry if this made you gag a little, Nicole). This was annoying, but the pulled pork smelled delicious, which is a not bad little microcosm of this whole day.

Angus talked quite a bit with his guidance counsellor last year when he was offered a spot on the Team Canada's roster for the Oklahoma Junior Sunbelt Tournament, which meant he would be missing a week of school right before exams. The guidance counsellor liaised with his teachers and everybody was quite nice and helpful in making accommodations so he could go and not have his marks suffer too much (we also realized how much he sucks at blowing his own horn since a couple of his teachers were like, "he plays baseball?"). We realized that we'd kind of been underusing the guidance person as a resource too, since she mentioned she could have worked with us to have his first semester loaded with heavier courses since baseball always ramps up from January to June. She said she could help him with that this year, but today when he went down to guidance following the regular guidelines, the person he ended up with could not have been less helpful, and none of the changes he needed got made, and we have to go in again next week. Which is frustrating.

As for me, even just getting ready to look for a job is setting my anxiety on fire, which is stupid, because it's not like we're looking at getting evicted or becoming food insecure, I just want to be a productive member of society and contribute a little to the education fund. But while the decision to wait until after the summer to look was right, I should probably have gotten my ducks in a row in some fashion before now, and I feel kind of dumb and obscurely ashamed for no good reason. I'm also thinking of just applying to work part-time at Indigo until I find something related to my diploma, which would probably be fine, but I'm already stressing about what happens if Matt's away and Eve has basketball and I'm working and I don't even know if they'd hire me yet. Deep breaths need to be taken.

Angus and I both have trouble with uncertainty. The teachers that understood him best in early elementary school would write the day's schedule on the board so he wouldn't have to constantly be asking "what are we doing after this?" Every time I go to the doctor for reassurance that something isn't dire or life-threatening, I know that what I really want is to be told that I'm never going to get cancer or ALS or whatever, and life just doesn't work like that. A year or two ago I came across a phrase that went something like "if it can be helped, there's no sense in worrying. If it can't be helped, there's still no sense in worrying". I'd like to say it changed my life, but it didn't, not hugely, because my neuroses are entrenched and intractable. But I try to remember it.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that something (Lucy, probably) had left a mark on the cream-coloured carpet in the doorway of our bedroom. I took our Bissell Little Green Machine out of the closet. Then I realized that it was cleaning day the next day, and there were a couple of other stains on the upstairs hallway rug (Lucy definitely) and that Matt was about to go away for a week and when he's away Lucy has the distressing habit of crapping on the rug on the landing even when I let her out late and get up early to let her out again, so I probably didn't want to deep clean until after that. And I left the Green Machine on the floor of our bedroom instead of putting it away, and it stayed there for weeks as I kept missing my window and thinking I'd do it soon. Well, today I finally cleared the piles of outgrown clothes and empty shoe boxes off the landing and deep cleaned all the spots I've been meaning to clean, and put the Bissell back in the closet. I think when I closed the closet door I actually said "There!" out loud.

So. Many things are unsettled, but one or two things have been set right. For now, that will have to do.

(On the off chance that the dreary minutiae of my day didn't turn your crank, there are tortoises making love on the Queen of Mediocretia's blog. You're welcome. Or I'm sorry.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

In Which I Recommence Blogging

So what happened was I took an accidental break. Then I noticed the accidental break and decided to follow it up with an on-purpose break. Last year was pretty rocky for me mentally and emotionally, not for any good reason (wait, what would a GOOD reason be? Training for the Depression Olympics?), but it took virtually everything I had just to keep my family fed and in clean(ish) clothes and get everyone where they had to go. So I stopped blogging.

I will now un-stop blogging. Because I missed it a lot. Because when posts come up in my Facebook memories I often read them and think, goodness, I really am incredibly witty on occasion. Because stuff happens and I immediately start shaping it in my mind into blog-post form. Because my memory is absolute shit and this is one good way of remembering anything that happens to me ever.

Besides, Angus is driving now, so I suddenly have more spare time, even when Matt is in L.A. or Bulgaria or whatever. Guess where I'm not right now? Sitting in a gym parking lot in Kanata. Of course, this also means I'm not able to pick up the buttermilk I forgot earlier today at the Kanata Metro on the way home, but... hey, did I mention Angus is driving now?

How many posts can I get out of our summer, which included baseball, Bluesfest and babies? A goodly number, I'm betting. And it's okay if there's no one reading for a while. Like I said, my memory is crap, after a few days I can be my own reader.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Daughter-ish Stuff

A few days ago Eve texted me from school to say her BFF's mother had given her permission to go off school grounds during recess to Tim Horton's for an iced capp, so Eve wanted to know if I was okay with her going too, even thought they're not technically supposed to leave school property during recess until next year. I said yes. She then sent me this:


THEN once they got back to school she asked me to text her saying I'd dropped off their iced capps at the front desk, in case anyone asked where they got the iced capps. Then she deleted all the texts except the one I sent. Total badass, that girl.


She gave me this card for Mother's Day:


I was hanging out with her BFF's Mom after she took all the girls to Comic Con for BFF's birthday. They were talking about how girls still send nude pictures and the other mom and I were goggling and despairing. Then the BFF said "one guy asked me for pictures. So I sent him a picture of Jesus. Before I blocked him". We don't have to worry about these particular girls in that respect, at least.


On the week-end when the boys were away, Eve and I watched The Edge of Seventeen (AWESOME movie, totally awesome). In the movie, Hailee Steinfeld is a teen-ager who starts falling apart when her best and only friend starts dating her 'perfect' older brother.

Me: "Hey, I just thought of something." Eve: "What?" Me: "You have an older brother. This could totally happen to you." Eve: "Please don't." Me: "It's okay. You're nothing like her. You don't just have one friend. You have three." Eve: "...." Me: "Which one do you think it would be?" Eve: "STOP!"


On Tuesday nights, Matt and I go to a bar a block away with some friends for beer and wings. We used to have to be home by ten because Eve didn't like to go to bed alone. Now she's fine with us staying out as long as she can lock the door. Last week she sent me this text:

Having a daughter is fun. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

This Is Your Brain on Jet Lag

You get home from Hawaii on Sunday evening at four. You go straight to your mother's for Easter Dinner. You bring your kids home. You do four loads of laundry and go to bed.

On Monday your husband leaves the country again. You go to your mother's to pick up Easter dinner leftovers. You forget half of them but that's normal, you're a forgetful person. You go back for the mashed potatoes.

You also go grocery shopping and buy stuff for book club, which you just realized you're hosting at your house in two days. Shortly thereafter you look at the calendar and realize that book club is not until next week and wonder what you're going to do with twelve avocados.

On Tuesday you go to Shoppers Drug Mart and stand in line to pick up your prescription. You give your name and wonder why it's taking the girl so long to find it. You then realize that you're not actually there to pick up a prescription, you're there to buy cold medicine for your daughter. You apologize and slink away.

You go out into the parking lot and realize to your abject horror that you're parked in a handicapped spot. You look around wondering if anyone noticed and then realize that it's not, in fact, a handicapped spot but a former handicapped spot with no sign and the pavement symbol mostly painted out, just like you realized when you PARKED THERE TEN MINUTES AGO.

On Wednesday you drive out to Stittsville to discuss and sign your final evaluation from your work placement. It is glowing and wonderful, and you really hope you don't do anything jet laggish to screw things up. It goes pretty well, except you drive over a curb in the parking lot on your way out.

On Thursday you pick up your mother to go watch your daughter in the school play. You stop for gas on the way. You put in your credit card, follow the instructions, pick up the nozzle and stick it in the hole and wonder why nothing's happening. You're about to yell "THIS THING ISN'T WORKING" when you realize you just forgot to select the grade.

On Friday you almost scoop a half cup of uncooked rice into your dog's bowl instead of dog food.

On Saturday you watch funny half-naked men and have some drinks.

On Sunday you throw axes and feel thankful that you can blame anything wonky on the drinking.

On Monday you think you should be fully recovered, but you still feel the urge to yell "THIS THING ISN'T WORKING" at intervals, and the thing not working is your brain.

No wonder my husband is kinda dumb sometimes. This traveling business is hard on the thinking, y'all.