Four months later and what have I done?

Sometimes I wonder what I’ve been doing with myself since November 28, 2017. That was the day my boss called and told me my job was over. I didn’t even finish my shift that day.

Originally, I thought I’d have time to clean out my home office, sort through books, organize files and drawers and really get my whole entire life alphabetized, once and for all.

Then I thought maybe I should sleep in every day and see as many movies as possible and read a lot and live a life of complete leisure.

But I had jury duty for two days.

Then I applied for a job I really wanted.

Then Christmas came and I had to shop and bake and decorate. I caught a cold.

The New Year arrived and I thought I might start working any minute. So I filled up my days with some part-time free lance gigs and regular mom-stuff like driving kids around and figuring out what to cook for dinner. My husband caught a cold, then left the country for ten days and while he was gone, I suffered with the cold.

So I was sick for three weeks with a stupid cold.

My birthday came and went. February arrived. I thought I might be working at any moment. I caught another cold. March came. I caught another cold.

Every month, I’d take another baby step toward getting the job I really wanted. I applied. I went to an initial meeting, then took a computerized skills test called CritiCall which took 3 hours.  I had an oral interview. And finally, I was “selected” which meant I entered the long and arduous background check. I had a polygraph test. I was fingerprinted.

And finally, Saturday morning, I received an email telling me the date and time to appear at the Department to get my job offer.

That’s tomorrow.

And so I wonder what I’ve been doing these four months.  I haven’t organized every detail of my life. I still have stacks of books and unnecessary paperwork and a pile of unclaimed clothing in the laundry room and unmatched socks in a basket. There are embarrassing cupboards in my kitchen.

I did watch all the movies nominated for an Academy Award this year.

I kid you not–I alphabetized my spices.

I emptied a giant file drawer and gave away a Barney (the dinosaur!) DVD, among other things that I emptied from a moving box directly into that drawer in 2011.

I went to Disneyland a few times.

I watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad and then listened to an entire podcast about it.

I did my taxes, my son’s taxes, my other son’s taxes and my mother’s taxes.

I cleaned out my closet and took five bags of clothes and shoes to Goodwill.

I’ve read a couple of books.

I finally filled two Legacyboxes with old prints and videos. I had those boxes sitting around for years and years, waiting for me to finally take action.

Now I can pop in a DVD and see myself thirty years ago, holding the arm of my dad as he walks me down the aisle. I can pop in a different DVD and see myself five months pregnant fifteen years ago. I can see my 15-year old daughter on the very day she was born. I can see my 20-year old son sitting on his brothers’ bed playing Nintendo when he was four years old.  He’s wearing cotton pajamas and rubber boots and a backpack like Zelda.

This blog and those DVDs are like pulling on a pair of backwards glasses that allow me to see all the yesterdays that I had forgotten.  That’s why I’m writing this blog again, even though this mundane details may seem boring to anyone else who stumbles across it.

The words I write today are a gift to my future self.

I write so I can remember.

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Four months later and what have I done?

In case you wondered: a follow-up post

After I wrote that last blog post, I went back upstairs to bed, only to have my dumb dog wake me again.

So then I pulled on my fleece robe and fell down the stairs.

By “stairs” I mean one stair or maybe two. It was dark and late. And shocking.

I missed the step somehow. I landed solidly on my right knee but luckily enough, went back to bed with only a stinging rug-burn type pain and no broken ankle or fractured pelvis or shattered kneecap.

When morning came, I woke up early and drove down to San Diego for my appointment.  I arrived in the parking lot a full thirty minutes before my appointment, then waited fifteen minutes after my appointment time for the man to lead me to his office whereupon I realized that I had failed mightily.

I had completed the 30-something pages of information but did not get a particular form notarized as I had been instructed.  He said, “I can’t touch any of the packet until that form is notarized.”

And then he sent me on my way with instructions to call back to make another appointment after I have the form notarized.

All in all, I wasted his time and mine. That was one week ago. I still don’t have the form notarized.

*

Yesterday, I was hiking the nearby trail at about 8:30 AM and a phone call interrupted the podcast in my ears.  I answered the call and it was the detective I have been working with for a different job. He was calling to tell me that the background investigation was complete and that I should expect to receive a job offer.

There’s still an in-person meeting (where I’ll receive the actual offer) and a psych evaluation and a medical examination but I do believe that I’m actually going to be hired.  It’s been almost four months since I originally applied for the position.

(I wish I knew what I’ve been doing with all that leisure time since I was laid off other than watching the entire five seasons of Breaking Bad. How can an unemployed person be so busy?)

The end.

(That’s how you end a blog post when you are tired and you can’t think of a nice way to wrap up what is essentially a diary entry.)

UPDATE:  I remembered how I meant to end this post.  I was going to end it by telling you that after I got that phone call at 8:30 AM while hiking, I realized that the reason my pants felt weird was that I was wearing them backwards.  Ha.

In case you wondered: a follow-up post

Dumb dog

It’s 11:21 PM and I’m reclining in the dark of our family room on our hand-me-down sectional with its unsupportive old cushions.

The back door is open so I can hear the soothing gurgling of our outdoor fountain but I also hear the lip-smacking mouth noises my dumb dog is making because she has yet another upset tummy.

Maybe this is weird, but for years now this dog has had a sensitive stomach and whenever it’s bad, she runs into the back yard and chews leaves until she vomits. Then she feels better and life goes on.

The vet recommended an antacid which I gave the dog earlier but alas, it didn’t do the trick.

What’s especially maddening is that these episodes–which have no rhyme or reason–happen late at night when I really (REALLY) need sleep. (For instance, tomorrow I have a job-related meeting in San Diego at 10 AM. I need to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and in my Fiat by 8:30 or so.)

I had just settled into bed tonight, in fact, when the dog tapped on our bedroom door, asking to be let out.

She ran down the stairs and into the dark of the yard, did whatever voodoo she does and came inside where she . . . seems to have quieted down.

Now I have a choice:

1) Go back to bed and sleep soundly until morning.

2) Go back to bed and have the dog rouse me again causing me to fly into a murderous rage. (Just kidding. No murder here. No rage. Just exasperation and sorrow.)

3) Stay put on this horrible sectional until my back aches and my arms grow numb. Wait.

Choices, choices.

*

(In other news, I spent a very pleasant day today with my daughter in Palm Springs where we mostly thrift-shopped. I just might survive her adolescence. Stay tuned.)

Dumb dog

Merging is hard

Listen. I’m almost entirely self-taught when it comes to computer stuff. I know how to use Microsoft Word, more or less.  Sometimes much less.

For the purpose of context, let me mention a few things.

  1. Today was my mom’s 75th birthday. We went to Blaze Pizza for lunch and then to Baskin Robbins for her freebie birthday scoop. I had a very busy birthday-related day.
  2. Today I had a polygraph test scheduled. It was the next step in my quest to become a Public Safety Dispatcher in a nearby city. I applied on December 11 for this job and I’m nearing the end of the process (I hope, please God, let it be).
  3. I’m also in the application process to become a dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Department. I’m currently filling out a very long and detailed questionnaire about my background. It’s due tomorrow.
  4. The polygraph test took a full two and a half hours. I thought I’d be out of there in an hour.  No.  I didn’t get home–with dinner–until about 7:15 PM.

After frosting the chocolate cake I baked this morning and finishing dinner, it was about 8 PM and I still had to finish up the questionnaire.  Mainly, I had to figure out to print out mailing labels that included all the addresses I had to include in the questionnaire.

There were less than fifty addresses and I was instructed to have them print “going down the column, not across.”

Before I could even get to that point, I had to create the list of addresses and then figure out how to “mail merge” them into the correct form so I could print them on the labels provided.  This entire process took me almost three hours.  And I never did figure out how to print them “going down” and not across.

Merging is hard, you guys!

So, my half-hearted labels will have to be good enough.  I doubt they’ll actually get to the point of sending out reference forms anyway since (please God, let it be) I will get the other job first. The Sheriff’s Department is about a month behind the city.

Have you ever had a polygraph test?  It was more stressful than I anticipated.

First, the examiner sat and talked with me for awhile. He asked me to tell him about myself. Then we went over a lot of the answers I had already disclosed in the course of my application process. We may have gone over everything, actually. It all blurs together.

After an hour and a half, we took a break and then I realized that my armpits were sweaty.  And that was before I was hooked up for the actual test.

Then he explained how the polygraph test would go.

I was told to sit very still. Monitors clipped onto two fingers. Straps went around my body, under my armpits and around my stomach. A blood pressure cuff was fastened around my calf.

Then he told me what questions I’d be asked. He told me to lie to two particular questions (in each of the four blocks of questions). Then he asked questions and I had to answer “yes” or “no” without moving.  Each block of questions took about five minutes.

Honestly, while you are being asked questions, your mind starts to wander and turn your answers over in your mind during the thirty silent seconds between questions. You start to wonder things like, “What if it looks like I’m lying even though I’m telling the truth?” and you think, “Do courts accept lie detector tests as evidence?” and, really, it’s just stressful even if you are telling the absolute truth.

I thought about how much this test was like some monitoring I had done for a research study I was involved in. I thought how much the chair looked like an electric chair. I felt sleepy, like I was being hypnotized because I was practicing slow breathing techniques to stay calm.

But he said my preliminary results looked good–no guarantees, he said–and that I could tell the investigator that I’m ready to move to the next step.

Tomorrow, I get fingerprinted for a LiveScan test.

Then I call the detective from the Sheriff’s Department to tell him the background packet has been completed.

This limbo between jobs is its own unique kind of stress. I’m really ready for my future to solidify. Not knowing exactly when and where and how and who and what makes me uneasy.

Merging is hard

The closet

(This cat finds March Madness unimpressive.)

***

I did not go on a hike today, but still, I walked more than 10,000 steps cleaning out my closet. I had to try on almost everything and so I’d grab an item and put it on while walking over to the mirror for a look.

I’m exhausted.

I gathered five big bags of clothes to drop off at the thrift store.

I still have too many clothes (and nothing to wear), but that’s a problem for another day.

Now that I have finished that task, I must face taxes (and death) as they are inevitable. The taxes this week–or next (let’s not rush into things) and death, hopefully in 50 years after I’ve lived long enough to get revenge on my kids.

(I’m just kidding.)

(Or am I? I’ll let you know in 49 years.)

The closet

The sky is (not) falling (though the patio cover is)

And today, a second termite extermination company guy came over to inspect my house. He also confirmed termite activity and a rotting patio covering.

“It’s not an emergency,” he said.

It’s not an emergency.

My across-the-street neighbor told me the other day that his dad told him that a problem that can be fixed with money is not really a problem.  (Or something like that.)

Really, anything that can be solved with money is not the end of the world.  A rebellious child, a fatal disease, a killer mudslide, a vicious avalanche, a broken heart . . . none of these things can be prevented with money.  (Can they?)  Those are Problems.

So it’s all perspective, right?

I’m just trying to do the right thing and make the right choices–which is pretty much the story of my life. It’s disorienting, though, to have your actions as a parent questioned by the very people you are doing your best to raise and protect. (I’m so tired of this.)

Having your intentions misunderstood or misinterpreted by your kids is a special type of pain that you can’t really imagine before you have kids.  (Utterly exhausted.)

Balancing freedom and safety . . . granting permission or just saying no . . . it’s just exhausting some days, isn’t it?  (I need a vacation.)

*

Today, one of my sons texted me to let me know he forgot to tell me he was going out of town for a conference and that he needed to pack business-casual clothes and could I help him?  And, by the way, some of the clothes were dirty.  So, I helped him out because I’m nice like that. I also bought him two new pairs of pants at Costco because college students don’t usually have enough “business casual” outfits to last four days.  At least my college students don’t.

Between that, the termite inspector, giving a different child bad news (“you can’t go”) and having that child furious with me . . . and then making an appearance in a class my husband was teaching . . . I had another one of those crazy busy days. I did get my walk in and I did clean up my kitchen, so there’s that.

And so far, the sky is not falling, nor is the deck cover.  (But there’s always tomorrow.)

The sky is (not) falling (though the patio cover is)

A nibble here and rot there

I started my day dropping Lola off for a bath, brush and nail trim. Lola is my Bernese Mountain dog. That info is for those of you who haven’t been following along at home.

By 9:30 AM, I was on the phone with the insurance company (twice) trying to figure out who failed me this time. Bureaucracy is fun, am I right?

Then at 10:20 I was walking the muddy trail with my husband. He accompanies me on my daily hour-long hike a few times a week. I had to break it to him that my podcasts are more entertaining than he was today, but I think that was just my Daylight Savings fatigue being rude.

I was barely out of the shower at 11:54 AM when my twelve o’clock appointment showed up. A nice guy from a termite extermination company inspected my house and informed me he didn’t find anything scary in my attic, “only termite droppings.”

I said, “Um, that sounds scary to me!” And he said, “Well, I thought you meant something scary like rat droppings.”

He checked out my patio covering and let he know that the wood is not falling apart because of termites but just because it’s rotting due to age. Well, great. If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is. Ha.

He left at 1:20 PM and I went and picked up Lola from the groomer. I had a half an hour before it was time to pick up my daughter from school, so I watched part of a episode of Breaking Bad. I’m ten years behind the times. Please, no spoilers.

I dropped my daughter off at her friend’s house, then came home to cook dinner. Then I went back to pick her up.

Now the day is done. It’s 10:20 PM.

I’m tired but at least I wrote this.

Tomorrow’s excitement includes dropping off a car at a collision center. (It’s always something.)

A nibble here and rot there