Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sometimes, Son, you just make me wanna cry.

Sons #2, 3, and 4 and I went to lunch at Wendy's today. Son #3 got some ketchup on his chin, and he didn't seem to notice. I mentioned it.

So he dragged a french fry across his chin, and ate it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Don't Worry, I Won't Be Here Long!

"None taken."

That is the phrase that pays, these days, for me.

A few days ago I got a call from a company that runs several newspapers. Would I be willing to work on a few stories while someone is out sick? Of course, I would.

Yesterday I reported to the office of the paper, where I discovered two things:
First, they don't want just a few stories. They want a full-time person.
Second, the woman I'm substituting for is gone because her brain cancer has returned.

Since I'm still job-hunting, a full-time slot which may last as little as three weeks or as long as two months or more is a perfect thing for me. I can add to my resume, learn a few things, and bring in some cash, all just a few minutes from home, in an interesting environment, without committing to anything permanent.

Because you know I have a few jobs for which I have applied which I would just LOVE to jump to. That one? Or that one? Or this one here? Yeah, I would be on that stuff like white on rice. So I am free to keep those options open, and that is good. It feels like a half-step to the real job I'll have, somewhere not too far down the road.

My office is about 10 minutes from the high school, and my work day starts at the same time as the oldest 3 Sons have to be there, so I can drop them off in the morning, earning them about 15 more minutes at home and a break from the rampant hooliganism of the school bus.

Of course, it is not really my office.

The cubicle is full of little decorative items, spare change, notes from articles she hasn't been able to finish, hand lotion, plaques honoring her efforts in the community, packets of oatmeal (she likes raisin & spice), and photographs of her sons.

I look past my computer monitor at those three boys and I say a quiet prayer for their mother, and for them. "Please, let her come back here. Let her heal. Let her have this job back, this life back, exactly the way she thought it would be. Those boys need their mom."

The work itself is fun. I'm already learning a lot of new stuff, and of course I am writing, which always makes me happy.

Everyone is pleasant, but about half the people I have met have wanted me, my boss, SOMEONE to reassure them that I am only temporary, that their friend will be fine soon and will be back in the office.

My cubicle shares a partial wall with the man in charge. When he gets a call about the woman whose desk I am using, I hear his side of it. Apparently when she had her brain surgery earlier this week, she had a stroke. I have never met her, and her rapid recovery puts me back outside the office, but...I can't help but wish she could catch a damn break.

My boss keeps mentioning that her health has been poor for quite some time, and of course he wants her back, and of course she needs to take care of herself, but if she decides not to return (nice sugar-coating, that) it would be good if I were available to stay on longer, or, you know, well, maybe permanently.

All I can think to say is, I'm happy to stay here until she is well, and then I will gladly give her back her office and move on to something else.

You can tell which people really love this woman, because they refuse to say she'll be gone 6 to 8 weeks. Three weeks, maybe. A month, at the most.

"No offense! No offense!" they say.

None taken. Really.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm not suicidal, I just want my phone

Hubby, Son #1 and I all have Verizon phones. We have 2 wall chargers and a car charger, all interchangeable.

Son #1 tends to move the chargers around when he uses them. It is annoying, but doesn't always affect me -- I plug my phone in to the car whenever I drive around, and if the phone dies between trips I find a charger and plug it in at home.

Not today.

My phone has nothing left on it, and both chargers are missing. So I am sitting in the car, with my laptop, so I can apply for jobs while my phone charges. The heated seat is pretty awesome, and I have remembered to back my car halfway out of the garage, so that I don't asphyxiate myself, but I still feel a bit ridiculous.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

If you need a lighter you can find it, don't set the house on fire.

My "office" is the corner of the living room. That means I have had 9 years to learn to tune out most activities not directed at me, so I can focus on whatever I'm doing, at least for a little while. I don't always succeed, and I regularly fantasize about having a Real Office with a Door on It, but it's what I have and it usually works.

This morning I was reading my traditional online stuff--keeping up with a lot of you is part of it. And out of the corner of my eye I saw Son #3 run to the kitchen, come back with a glass of water, and toss the water out the window.

Apparently he had set a piece of paper towel on fire, in the dining room not 10 feet from me. He threw the paper towel out into the snow, but it missed the snow (hard to believe this is possible) and landed on a pile of dry leaves. He saw the fire growing and put it out with the glass of water.

I am a bit mortified that all this could happen and I would notice only the splash at the end. He, however, is glad that rather than having a conniption like a decent mother, I just asked him to refrain from setting our house on fire, in future, as we still need it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wakey Wakey, Eggs & Bakey!

Saw this in the grocery store today. Not some fancy store, either. Clearly, if there are people out there convinced that their dog needs gourmet food intended only for morning consumption, our economy is in much better shape than I realized.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's hard to be a guy

February 13th is The Girl's birthday.

She's been dating Son #1 for a couple of weeks.

Pressure's on.

Son #1 woke me up, on the 13th, desperate for advice. As he was explaining that he needed to come up with a birthday gift AND a valentine's gift for the most amazing girl in the world, and it had to show that he cared about her and not look like some generic bullshit last minute gift (and it wasn't, he had been stewing and polling friends and generally freaking out), The Girl's friend texted him a reminder that Feb 14th was also their TWO WEEK ANNIVERSARY.

The pressure was ON, OK? "I'm not gonna give her some dumb teddy bear holding a heart, OK? I want her to know I really LIKE her."

We went to the bank and then shopping, where he bought her a big heart of chocolates for V-day (easy) and 3 CDs for her birthday--all carefully chosen to match up with her likes, her whims, the things she's said over the past couple of weeks. I showed him the magic of the Gift Bag And Tissue, so he didn't have to kill himself wrapping stuff. (Teach a boy to use a gift bag, and he'll give pretty presents the rest of his life).

He wanted to take her out after her birthday party, but her father doesn't trust guys, so instead he spent both days with her family, including her grandmother, who has no teeth but talks anyway, so he had no idea what she was saying most of the time.

He totally went the extra mile, as far as I could tell.

He came home with a teddy bear. I am assuming that was her gift to him. It is sitting on the pile of musical gear in the living room.

Yeah, guys, we suck. Sorry.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Burlap Power

Son #4 got braces today. He quickly discovered that he can't pronounce most words. He can say his first name. And Burlap. And Power. And that is it, so far.

Burlap Power, baby, it's the wave of the future.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The indignity of a wrist brace

My wrists have hurt ever since I helped the Sons shovel ice & snow off the driveway the other day. Finally decided to try bracing them, to see if it made a difference. Since I have 4 sons, I also have medical equipment for a variety of uses. I found a brace that fits my right wrist, and have been wearing it. It does help, but only because I'm willing to ignore the comments from the peanut gallery.

Son #1: "Your arm still hurts? Really? Wow."

Son #3: "You're not old. You're just not young. VERY not young."

Monday, February 08, 2010

You Disgust Meme!

Thanks, Rol. This gives me something to think about beyond the unbearable whiteness of the local landscape.

Foods which disgust me: Oysters. Most other things I can choke down.

TV shows I loathe: When you turn on the TV and there's a show on? Most of the time, I am going to hate that. Just, you know, assume.

Movie I loathe: Modern chick flicks. They bring out my inner snarkiness to a socially unacceptable degree.

Music genres I loathe: Anything that is mostly yelling and screaming.

Magazine which annoys me: Eh, the ones I read don't annoy me. But only Popular Mechanics makes me head directly to the couch to read it.

Makes me cranky at a restaurant: People who can't just order, eat, converse and pay. God, it's a meal you did not have to shop for, cook, or clean up after. Cut them a little slack for not making you feel like you're in Paradise for the entire experience.

Makes me cranky in public: Boorishness. Yes, Rol, you got that one.

Makes me cranky in general: Anything that wastes my time.

Pisses me off at home: Cleaning messes I did not create.

Pisses me off at work: Yeah, that would be the not having a job thing. I'm not pissed off so much as teetering on the edge of panicky despair.

Pisses me off in general: "Have you found a job yet?"

Celebrity I hate: Can I just not pay attention to them? I'm so out of touch w/celebrity culture I don't have a horse in that race. All the "celebrities" I have an opinion on are political figures.

Music artist I hate: Bono. Love "One", hate his self-righteous insistence that the middle class should pay for the charitable causes he values from the heights of wealth. Yeah, I've seen his hotel suite. The guy should shut up and be thankful.

I couldn't care less about: Most people's opinions on what the Sons should do with their lives. Their lives, their choices.

Movie star you despise: Steven Seagal. Cannot watch that man.

Politician you hate: All of the entrenched, government-expanding, tax-loving, self-serving, condescending left. See Bono.

Beverage you hate: Tequila. Sweet tea.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

It's (un)official

The snow stopped yesterday evening, and this morning I measured 17 inches on the deck. So, yeah, we got a lot of snow. We never lost power, though, and the 2 trees that went down under the weight of the snow didn't take anything with them. They kind of slumped along the side of the house, as if someone was pushing down on their shoulders.

Today is also the Superbowl, and we have friends coming over. Chili is in the crock pot, and they are bringing something, and I am sure we will all be glad just to see new faces. But of course that means we need to shovel the driveway, or at least part of it, so they can reach our house without snowshoes.

Come to think of it, they probably have snowshoes.

Friday, February 05, 2010

God Bless Sam Walton

We are expecting 16-24 inches of snow tonight, followed by heavy ice and high winds, and more snow on Tuesday. In other words, we are expecting to be snowed in for the next week. The storm has not even started, and school is canceled for the day. People are calling it "snowpocalypse".

Just, you know, shoot me now.

I just went to Wal-Mart (which was amazingly well-stocked, and packed at 6:30 am as if it were mid-day).

I bought snack foods, for people who are going to be cranky.
I bought soft foods, for Son #2 who still can't quite chew.
I bought healthy foods, so we don't all turn into Violet Beauregard.
I bought bottled water, should we lose use of the well.
I bought things that do not require cooking, should we lose electricity.

Basically, I bought everything. Want proof? Here ya go.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

"Ah fee supraseelee nah wha ou." *

Those were Son #2's first words upon leaving the oral surgeon's today. He had his wisdom teeth removed. He's now resting relatively comfortably, and eating mushy food. But not watching TV. Because,

"Ah dethpy telebisa." And I could not agree with him more.

*"I feel surprisingly not whacked out." He was slightly disappointed, as a girl in the waiting room told him she'd hallucinated rabbits inside her car on the ride home.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I love Turbo Tax

Took a day away from job hunty stuff, and prepared our tax return. It was a lot quicker this year, almost creepily so, so we are going to let it marinate a day before we e-file. But, yay, I think I am done with the taxes for the year.

Onward & upward, eh?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Job Hunt Emails

I hadn't been saving every last email about job stuff. Some of them, when it became clear I was out of the running, I just deleted from my machine. But here are the emails I have saved, so far, and printed out. The 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke is there for scale as well as caffeine. I feel kinda like Stephen King, when as a young writer he would slap every rejection notice on a nail sticking out of the wall above his desk. Except I am not sure they make nails this thick. I'll go with "stack", instead.

All hail the mighty stack.