Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Enumeratrix Rides

Yes, today I actually went out to enumerate part of my territory. All the homes are within a few minutes of where I live, so that was very convenient. And, somehow, I managed to encounter just about every situation we learned about in class this week. I think I did fairly well, and I know that my data is accurate, and I enjoyed it.

Next week, they need a temporary crew leader assistant, and I will be doing that, which means I will be putting in a few more hours than most enumerators. Can't complain about that.

Also next week, I have a phone interview for a very interesting job.

Right now, though, it is 8:30 p.m., and I have a ton of stuff to do, and my computer is acting wonky, and tomorrow the entire family is home from work and school EXCEPT for me. I will be putting in a super-long day, between class and enumerating and all that.

The house is a mess; they do not seem to care. I think I need to make sure I get some sleep.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

At least in my case it is not that hard to guess

Yesterday was my first day of Census training. Mostly it was filling out employment forms, getting fingerprinted (three times, in my case), and starting to go through the practice workbooks that explain all about what Census forms look like.

Not bad, but boy, is it dull.


You know those "gender and ethnicity" questionnaires everyone asks you to fill out these days? They are completely voluntary, right? Well, at Census training, they are also completely voluntary. However, if you choose not to self-identify, the crew leader/instructor is required to fill out the form for you, based on her observations.

When she explained that, I had to ask.

"You mean, I can fill out the form, if I want. But if I decide that my ethnic background is not the federal government's business, so I decline to fill out the form, they are going to make you guess?"


Ya just gotta love modern life, man.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gay wants to know...

Am I working? Am I blogging? Am I still alive, even?

Actually, yeah, mostly. Here's a recap--and so dull you'll understand why I have not bothered to blog, of late.

Friday night I went to the ballet.
No, really, Brick and I went, and it was lovely, although I must admit I did not feel like I understood it. Oh, well, one needn't understand to appreciate, I hope.

Saturday was my last day at the newspaper. I drove around the southern half of the county taking photos of Navy people donating their time to Christmas in April, an annual service day. People all over the country help those who cannot afford to maintain their homes. It's a good cause, but of course the motto for the paper is:

We Care About The World, As It Affects Pax River Naval Air Station.

So, ONLY Navy guys. Marines, maybe. Civilians with a tie to the base, OK. Everyone else, well, you will just have to gain satisfaction from some other source, because my photos of you were deleted as soon as I realized I could not use them.

On the cute side, one of the team captains was an older gentleman who said that he could only allow me on the work site if my Mom would sign me in.

Darn. So cute. This is the kind of thing you can say once you are Older. I shall keep that in mind.

Also Saturday was the Celtic Festival. I took Sons #1, 3 and 4. We had a good time, especially as we were making our way there.

Lemme set the scene.

We're walking towards the entrance, and of course my mind is swimming with images of poverty from the photos I'd taken hours earlier. I had also had only a normal person's ration of sleep, since I got home from the ballet at 1 a.m. and was on the road by 7:30.

Coming toward us was a family leaving the Festival. Big, harried mom and 4 or 5 rambunctious kids. They were all but brawling as Mom tried to herd them toward the car.

"Justin, slow down.
Justin, stop that.
Justin, be quiet.
Justin, leave your brother alone.
Justin, put that down."

At this point the child I can only assume was Justin lunged toward his brother, toy sword in hand, and faceplanted in the grass. Mom looked down, and without missing a step, said, "GOOD. I'm GLAD you fell down."

Son #3 looked over at the Mom, and said, "I'm glad you fell down?"

Sons #1 and 4 flipped. "Shut up. Shut UP. Geez, shut UP. Shut UP!"

Me, I just busted a gut laughing, and clearly I needed to. Made my whole day. Granted, I have 4 sons myself. I have had 4 small sons. And one of them is of the rambunctious, hassle-your-brother sort. I know for a fact that there have been times when I have seen Karma befall one or another of the Sons, and I have looked on and thought (and even said), "Yeah, well, you kinda earned that one, kid." It was just funny, though. Trust me. If you're not laughing, well, that's OK, too.

Sunday my parents & sister came down for dinner. Had a lovely time.

Today is Son #4's birthday. He is 14. Holy cow. He is right now calling friends to invite him to his birthday party next weekend, "So we can celebrate the inevitable tightening of the grip of death."

And tomorrow I start my new, part-time job as a Census Enumerator.

See? Lots going on, but not a lot that is really fascinating enough for all 30 of you who read.

Thanks for sticking with me, anyway...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I saw the Green Hornet today

And I am not sure what I think of it, but I also got to shake hands with an honest-to-God-real-live admiral, and I thought that was pretty cool.Although I kinda wish I had not met him on the one day over the past 2 months when I didn't have time to put on makeup or do my hair. Basically, I met the admiral and I looked like hell.

Tomorrow is my last full day. I'll work part of Saturday and that's it, because the woman is certain she is really coming back this Monday. Really.

I've really enjoyed my past 2 months working with the Navy, and hope I'll be back there soon. Either there, or SOMEwhere with a permanent slot. I got a call today from a trade magazine I applied to...we shall see.

But, hey, I am on to my next temp job on Tuesday: I'll be a Census enumerator. Maybe this is it: I'll keep taking temp jobs for 2 months at a time, and blog about them.

Anybody got suggestions on what my next temp stint should be?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reprieve: I get another week at work

Yeah, yeah, the rest of you think that is crazy, I am sure, but I was thrilled when, about 5 minutes after I posted, the office called to say she's waiting yet another week, and so I get to work for 5 more glorious days.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Ok, ok, so she did NOT come back on Monday. I worked a full week.

But this Thursday afternoon, she called again, to say that she will be back on this coming Monday, about 75% of the day, which means I am out of a job as of today.


I really was starting to like things over there.

I left work for an interview w/the local paper: they do not have an opening, but there is some possibility that they will in September, or thereabouts, and I am a candidate in that case, but I need to come by every 6 weeks or so to remind them of my existence, and if I got the job I would no longer be allowed to do any local freelance work, or keep the political bumper sticker on my car.

Not that I care about the bumper sticker all that much.Trust me, I want a job.

The Census work will start in 11 days, which gives me time to catch up on some freelance stuff I've been kinda ignoring, so that is good timing, anyway. And I can polish up the house to a fine sheen, and all that.

Still and all, I would rather be employed than not. It was pretty sweet, for as long as it lasted, and the prospect of another temporary job is a bit disheartening. What will I have, come July? Maybe I'll be jobless again. Or maybe, by then, I'll be Fully Employed Somewhere on a Basically Permanent Basis.

I could clean stuff, but right now I think I need to work on my manicure. Just for tonight, I don't want to think that I am back to hausfrauing it and squeezing in freelance stuff in fits and starts.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ah, Crap

Thursday morning I woke up and my newly painted Bordello Red nails had smudged during the night.

I was out of nylons.

I had to run back into the house to get my totebag, with all my work stuff in it.

And then my car stalled out, halfway to the school.

As I dropped the Sons off, #2 leaned in the window and said, "I hope your day improves, Mom."

And then just before lunch, I heard it.

Boss is on the phone, talking all chirpily about how Great I am, and how Artsy my photos are, and how Fast I am, and all that. And the call sounds fine, from my end. It's my ego-stroke of the day, something I hear now and then, as I know he is working hard to find me a permanent position. and then he hangs up.

"Shit. Christine, come here."

The sick woman wants to come back, half days, starting Monday. If her physical therapist signs off, that's what she'll do. She was supposed to call back on Friday to confirm, and did not, but that does not necessarily mean she won't be there on Monday when I show up.

Boss offered to take me to lunch--we have been going for a regular Thursday lunch together for the past few weeks. We got to Lone Star and he ordered us each a beer. Which we both kinda needed.

After lunch, I covered the annual Aircraft Washing at the museum next to the base. Fun, and I got some good shots, and the elderly retired guy who promotes all that stuff gave me a big hug, even though he had no idea what a crap morning I'd had.

Then I left for Northern Virginia, which is surprisingly far from Southern Maryland. I was covering a seminar for one of my freelance clients. On the way up, my car stalled out again.

On the way home, my car stalled out twice more, in the dark, in a heavy rainstorm, on the Beltway. The windshield wipers were not functioning at all, so I could not see the lane markings and could not read most street signs. So I was relying on my GPS, but it has 4-year-old maps, so it was worse than useless--it kept telling me to turn into Jersey wall, which I could not usually see until I was within a few inches of it.

I pulled off the Beltway about 75 minutes from home (and 20 minutes from the car dealership where I had already scheduled a service appointment for Friday) at the first hotel I could find. Explained to Hubby on the phone that I was not the least bit confident that my car would keep driving, and that even if I could guarantee it would not stop in the middle of traffic again, I could not see the road to navigate.

Then Son #1 called to tell me that my Dad had emailed him, Hubby, and me to say that Son #1 needs to quit his band. Great. Helicopter Grandparenting, anyone?

I spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express, and although I did not wake able to do brain surgery I did rest well.

Next morning, dropped the Powerful Mom 5 off at the dealership, hung out for a few hours, and then Boss picked me up to visit the printer he uses for his freelance work, which he is starting to teach me. I'm not sure I got all I should have out of it, but it was interesting and a useful trip.

Returned to pick up the car (bad cam sensor, among other things) and drove home. Went to sleep almost immediately. Woke up, went back to work, where the wife of the base CO flagged me down to tell me how Funky and Stylish I always look, compared to everyone else. "They're all so boring. I LOVE your suit!" So, you know, that was fun.

Came home and had to blog about it all.

Tonight, I'll be taking photos of Son #1's band. Should be interesting, and I am looking forward to it.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Fashion Victim?

I've been watching the Vera Bradley craze with something sorta like disgust. They are ugly, OK? They have been ugly ever since the first time I saw them.

I remember that first time, because I was there to interview the shop owner, and she wanted to make sure I promoted her line of Vera Bradley bags and shoes, and I did, but the whole time I thought, "You will drive people out of your store, with these ugly quilted things, but OK, what do I know?"

And they certainly are popular.

Quite a few women at work have them.

Quite a few women everywhere I go have them.

Every time I see one, I think, "My goodness, that is god-awful."

And I just got one for Easter.

So, now, I am looking at this hideous thing on my desk and wondering, can I return it? FOR CASH? Because in no way do I want anything Vera Bradley offers. It is all the same quilted ickiness. Very Grandma Goes to Florida in the 70s.

On the other hand, they ARE exceedingly popular, and my current purse is not in terrific shape. If you choose to use something fashionable simply because you have it, even though you don't like it, is that crazy? Cheap? Spineless? And if someone compliments me on it, will I be able to resist to urge to say, "I HATE THIS PURSE, IT WAS A GIFT" for more than 2 seconds? Probably not.

I think I will just have to return it to Vera Bradley, because if I use this thing I will hate it every day until it falls apart, which could be years from now.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!


Brick and I went dancing last night. Had a good time, even though we didn't stay out all that late, and saw some dear friends while we were there.

The bar was stocked with couples who REALLY knew how to dance. They had coordinated moves. Clearly they dance together, as couples, all the time. They'd sit down between songs and congratulate each other on their style.

I refused to cede the floor to those couples, though. Brick and I were there to have a good time, and we did. Broke a shoe, even, so midway through one song I danced back to my table, took off my shoes, danced back to Brick, finished the song in my nylons.

As I sat at the table, gulping water and catching my breath, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turned around, and some guy wanted a high five.

Yeah, I think Brick and I do OK up against the flashy dancers. Man, I want to do that again soon.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Mulch: it smells good

Hubby picked up about half a truck-bed-full of free mulch this afternoon, so I spread it in part of the garden beds. We need tons more, to make the whole yard look Done, but it's a start. The Sons helped me with some of the yard stuff, so it is in much better shape than it would have been had I been out there on my own for two hours.

It's not even 7:30 and I don't really fell like doing much of anything. Maybe I'll just go out there and look at the tulip poplar again, and smell the fresh mulch.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Tester: Christine Issue

Today's base paper has THREE articles w/my byline, AND a photo spread. I don't think the Pulitzer committee is going to call any time soon, but it is nice to see the stuff I'm working on actually go somewhere. Call me Queen of the Fishwrap if you like, I'm still having fun.

This week I've also been called a "world-class suck-up" by more than one person, but I am ok with that.

I had a meeting out at the airport this afternoon, and one of the men I was supposed to meet was delayed, so the rest of us stood out in the parking lot and soaked up the sun. Wow. Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, the air is warm and you can forget we ever had snow.

And just so you know, it is officially Frozen Mocha Season. I am sitting here with a mugful and it is fortifying me for a few more hours of productivity (then, of course, I will collapse, sleep the sleep of the dead, and rise at 5:30 to do it all over again).

For those of you who need my services as Social Director, this Saturday I am going to Falls Church to meet some friends and see my buddy Wave perform. Wave and Beach are almost in town, and I try not to miss that if I can avoid it. Anybody wanna join us?