Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April is gonna be a busy one

Temp job is crankin' along just fine. I will have a 2-page spread of Adorable Easter Photos this week, along with a couple other articles.

My annual Chamber of Commerce thing starts this week. Usually that is my Big Thing, as it means 11 articles in about a month.These days doesn't sound like much, but coordinating a meeting with the Chamber president has been a bear.

I have an article to write for Maryland Life--I have done my research, just need to sit down and write it sometime before early May. No biggie.

And I just got a call from the Census Bureau, offering me a temporary position as an Enumerator, starting on April 27.

The Census job is for 8 weeks or less, and they encourage you to work evenings and weekends since that is when people are home. I only have to put in 20 hours/week there. So, yeah, that kinda books my weekends and CWS Fridays for May and June, I guess.

It is always possible that by the time the Census job opens I will be out of a job at the Navy base, but for now it just looks like I will have 2 months of lonnnnnnnng days, this spring. But, hey, good for the bank account AND the resume.

And since the Sons helped make dinner tonight, and have not really trashed the house so far this Easter break, I have some hope that things will not go to hell in a handbasket during that time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another job hunter is working for me

When I first started the temporary job, my boss spoke often about the woman I am covering for. She was "the best," he said, just like everyone else did.

Then I started turning in work and, not to brag, but he shut up about her.

Last week he asked if I would be willing to join him for some freelance work he does, on occasion. Hell, yes, I would.

This past Friday, he said the magic words I knew were coming. "I wish I could keep you here, instead of her. You get stuff done, and you're fun to have around."

But of course she is only gone for her medical leave, and he is only Boss until mid-May anyway. Neither one of us can do a thing to stop this train, or even slow it down. But it felt good to hear.

He keeps repeating that she probably won't return. Or if she does, it will be a lot later than she has said. I don't know why he thinks this, or what he's basing it on, but all in all what it says to me is, he is happy to have me here for as long as that works. That gives me a little breathing room--time to keep looking for a job, slowly, while bringing in a little money and improving my resume.

Every day I am there, I learn something new about how the Navy works, or about publishing, or something else like that, that I never would have learned as a freelancer. Basically, I am floating on a river of gratitude, all day.

Today, he came to work with a classified ad for a job which would suit me. He then called two different public affairs offices, to tell them that if they had a slot open in the near future they should keep me in mind.

"She's here until --- returns, but if she is offered something better, she'll take it," he said. "You should find a spot for her. She does good work, fast, and I don't have to do much to it."

Then he gave me a fruit cup, as it was snack time.

God bless him, you know? May he find a fantastic job, himself.

Friday, March 26, 2010

This bathroom needs a disco ball.

I've been watching something at work, and it is getting weirder.

The ladies' room has a long mirror on one wall, and below it a table. There are hand lotions and hair spray on there. Nice touch. But there is always also something else.

One week, a pair of baby dolls, dressed in sailor suits. Odd, but, OK, goes with the Navy theme.

For about 2 weeks or so, there have been a stack of inspirational cassette tapes. Joel Osteen. The Power of Positive Thinking. Something with a pyramid on the front of the case. That kind of thing. Odd, and who even has a cassette player anymore, but OK. Maybe all that positive thinking is good for the Navy. Right? We shall become upbeat warfighters.

This week, though: Cheezballs.

There is a giant jar of cheezballs, and another of pretzels, and a pretty decent sized container of salted peanuts, sitting on a table inside the public ladies' restroom.

Have we not heard of atomization, people?

If they had little individual packages of snack foods in there I might be tempted to take one. But the idea of reaching my hand into a giant jar of cheezballs, left in the bathroom...ugh. No.

Do people grab a fistful as they enter the restroom? You know, to kill time while they're in there? Or are they making big cones out of the paper towels and bringing them back to their desk? I just want to look at all the women's fingers, to find the one with orange dust. THAT woman has a cleanliness standard I cannot share.

I think we should hang a disco ball in there, and tell the men they can join us if they bring cold beer.

I asked my boss if the men's room has a similar selection of oddities, and he said, no. He suggests that people are leaving things in the ladies' room as a sort of de facto Freecycle. And that makes sense. And I did see those cheezballs on a shelf in someone's office, before.

I'm still not taking them home.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Educational quote of the day

From Son #3:

"I think my English teacher knows more about football than he does about English."

Bathroom, the second

Ok, so I have half a gallon of Killz and half a gallon of the same shiny white stuff I used on the hall bathroom left over. I also have a master bathroom with peeling paint on the ceiling.

You guessed it, yesterday I scraped and scrubbed and spackled and removed old caulk. This morning I am putting on the primer coat, and recaulking the shower. Should have a fully functional and actually attractive master bathroom by tomorrow, I think.

I also bought some silicone sealant stuff to use around the shower door glass. Have never done that before but hopefully it is not really different from caulking, because caulking I know I can do.

On the work front (because I know you are all curious) things have taken on a bit of a gallows humor vibe. I have a little over a month left there, at best, and my boss will most likely lose his job this spring, too.

He's the "Acting" PAO, and has been running this newspaper since 2006, but his "acting" status will lapse in May, and the Navy has to hire someone on a permanent basis.

Hiring the guy who has been doing the job for the past 3 years would make sense, right? But he has 34 "blocking veterans" ahead of him in line. Two of whom are currently living in the desert. All 34 of them would have to turn down the job, for him to be offered it.

Oh, yeah, and the job ad does not require the person who gets the job to have any experience in photography or layout, so none of those 34 blocking veterans have to be anywhere near as qualified as my boss, to take his job.

And yes, he is also 62.

We have decided that if both of us are employed in that building, come June, we are going out for a beer.

As an aside, last night as I was spackling the bathroom ceiling, Hubby came by to ask me what he should wear for his night out. He showed me several options, and I gave the thumb's up and thumb's down as I kept half an eye on my tub of joint compound.

I think I have become a man.

Friday, March 12, 2010

CWS Friday

Had off today, so I:
Finished painting the bathroom
Hung the new shower curtain rod and towel rack
Did 7 loads of laundry (folded 5)
Cleaned 3 cat boxes
Did 3 loads of dishes and wiped down the kitchen
Took out 3 bags of trash
and snuck in an hour's nap.

The house is not clean, but it doesn't look like I've run off to join the circus, either, and at this point that is good. Got the whole weekend ahead of me and who knows where things will go?

Oh, yeah, you know it. I'll be looking for work.

Monday, March 08, 2010

You know what you can't do at work?

When things get slow because you've finished everything they assigned you, and you've called about 10 people for future stuff and gotten voicemail, so you're just sitting there waiting for the phone to ring like the ugly girl on Prom night, you can't run downstairs and pop in a load of laundry.

This is something of a revelation, to me, as for the past 9 years of working from home I did that all the time----work as long as I can, hit a wall, and fill the time while I wait with other productive stuff.

Today, though, I just kinda fidgeted, and made work for myself. Which is good. Coming up with new stuff to do is good, and studying the style guides (we use 3, they conflict, and I am learning who wins) is good, and trying to understand those numbers and letters and crap tacked on to people's names is good. Because you can't really go through life calling everyone...well, not having any idea what to call anyone.

It's just weird to be desperately trying to come up with useful stuff to do, when I know that at home I could be sanding my bathroom or walking the dog or going through my email to find a Permanent Job That Pays Well. Interesting.

Oh, and today my boss called my blimp photos "artistic". Sounds like he's going to use a bunch of them for the big photo spread on Page 2. Ooooh, yay for me!

The best thing, though, was that it was finally actually kinda warm today. I think it hit 61 degrees.

Awesome sauce.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'm almost Jared, from the Subway commercials

...because today I realized: McDonald's is walking distance from my office. I can walk over there, have a cheeseburger & a side salad, walk back, all within half an hour. Easy peasy.

Plus, today they were playing funky, bass-heavy, instrumental jazz music in there.

Mostly, though, it's just nice to have the weather warm enough to be able to walk outside without cursing the bitter wind.

My boss keeps asking me pointed questions. Why do I take so many shots? Why am I using the Navy style guide instead of AP? Why do I insist on wearing high heels?

Baby, you can have my stilettos when you pry them off my cold, dead feet.

He's nice about it, though, and a very genial guy, and I think I am going to become a much more disciplined writer because of him. I'm glad.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sorry about the FOD, Gentlemen

Hubby has warned me about Foreign Object Damage (FOD) on the Navy base's flight line for years. Walk near the airplanes and you are a de facto inspector, looking for small objects which might get sucked into a jet engine and cause a crash.

Today, let me just say I really, really hope I did not create FOD.

I had to interview some Search And Rescue helicopter pilots about their new helicopters. They were fun to talk to, inside the SAR shack, but then of course I needed photos of the helicopters, so we walked out into the wind and mist so they could pose.

My hair whipped around, and a piece wrapped around my earring (an adorable little opal stud I could wear even while talking on the phone) and pulled it out of my ear.

"I've lost an earring!"

And 6 men in uniform dropped to the ground, sweeping the wet concrete with their hands. They didn't find it, I didn't find it, but they assured me that the FOD rules are a lot less strict, that far from the jets.

Mostly, they were looking for my sake, so I could keep my earring. But also, as one said, "We're Search And Rescue! It's what we do!"

They assure me that if they find my earring they'll email me about it.

There's a new sheriff in town, and she says

"These days, hon, I have less time than you."

"We need to be in the car by 7:30. Not 7:34. If we get in the car at 7:34, I am late for work."

"Throwing a towel down on the spot where the cat peed doesn't clean it up. All it does is say, 'Mom, clean that up!'"

I have no idea if any of this is getting through to anyone, but at least I am saying it, as kindly and firmly as I can. To paraphrase Johnny Tremain, a woman can stand up.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thoughts on the office

Pantyhose is not nearly as heinous as I remember, but you need to have an emergency replacement pair at your desk. Sheila, the housekeeper, suggested I just remove them for the afternoon.

When I told her I couldn't, because all I had on was pantyhose, she smiled and said, "No underwear? You're a baaaaad girl."

I like Sheila.

Every time Sheila walks by to empty a trash can or vacuum something or scrub a bathroom, I think "When I go home, I am doing all that, myself. God, it is nice to have someone else do it for me, here."

I mean, think about it: I put trash in the trash can and it disappears. I am spending my days in a bubble of effortless cleanliness, a place where I can sit and think and write. When I'm in the bathroom, I don't stop to polish the mirror or pick up something someone else dropped. I just reapply my lipstick and stride on back to my desk. It is surreal.

Heck, I think I love Sheila.

Using 2 colors of eyebrow pencil really does give a more realistic effect. Shoot me, I sound like a maniac.

This week, I am interviewing all sorts of interesting people. I am covering a wide range of events. I've written an obituary. I also will visit a blimp and the new search and rescue helicopters. And if I time it just right, they play the national anthem as I walk across the parking lot on my way in to work.

I am having a blast.

And I don't really mind that it's only temporary.

Not yet, anyway.