Thursday, September 28, 2017

There Were Two-Ton Kangaroos Before We Came on the Scene

It's been kind of a crappy week. I'll spare you the gory details, except to say that perimenopause is not for sissies and my already-dire iron levels are in danger of plunging even further. That coupled with the suffocating, enervating heat and humidity meant Monday and Tuesday were pretty much a write-off. Which was okay, I didn't miss anything important, Lucy and I spent some quality time in my reading chair in front of a fan with some pretty good books. The problem is always re-entry. I end up feeling like Rip Van Winkle, unsure about the customs and expressions in this world that's continued to rush by as I lay fallow.

I dragged myself out to book club last night with ill grace, after apologizing to my husband for snapping more than once (I know it only seems like the worse I feel the dumber his questions get). It was good. We had read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which was splendid. He does an amazing job of making centuries of human history comprehensible and digestible, while also doing a fairly poor job of concealing that he thinks we are a complicated and fascinating plague on the face of the earth who should probably all commit ritual suicide. The title may as well have been Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Sucking Hard at Nearly Every Opportunity. This naturally led to a spirited discussion between the idealists and misanthropes in the group. Also, there used to be marsupial lions in Australia. Marsupial. Lions.

It's meet the teacher night. Why do I hate meet the teacher night so very much? It's at a reasonable time. The set-up sounds logical and minimally chaotic. The weather is fine. Is it because going back to school stirs up all my old insecurities? I seriously would rather have a root canal right now and I really don't understand why. Of course, I actually do have to make long-overdue dentist appointments for myself and the kids and I'm not doing that either. I can't remember how to talk to people.

Eve and I had a really great week-end at a cottage with friends. This Sunday I'm going hiking in Gatineau Park. This is just a blip. I'll be okay. Well, not in the long run because clearly we're all doomed.

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.