Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red Flag List

I have a list of things that raise a red flag about a job when doing an interview. They are as follows:

1. The interview should last more than 15 minutes.
2. I should get to say more than 3 sentences.
3. If the interviewer says "there are a lot of these positions open all of the time." I am going to wonder why.
4. If the interviewer says "and if you make it to the next level you can be making "x" amount of money"
5. I should not be able to see the beginning and ending of the hiring manager's cleavage.
6. I should not have to take a spelling test.

Today I had my first interview. I wasn't particularly interested in the position, but thought it would be good practice to start talking to real people. The inteview hit 5 of the 6 red flags on my list, which is suprising since the interview was not for a job at Hooters (I'm horrible with food service, so I tend to stay away from those types of gigs). 

I started to get crabby about spending more time brushing my hair for the interview than the interview itself, but then I remembered the silver lining game. I could be bald and that would be bad because I think I may have an odd shaped head, which is one of the reasons why God game me so much hair to begin with.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hair Brushing is Overrated

Just quietly between me and all of you...I haven't been whole-heartedly looking for a new j.o.b.  The first few weeks we were here, I was on the job search sites all day. And now, not so much. It's depressing.  I had the ideal set-up all laid out in my head. I would get a cute little part time job to support having the children in daycare, then I would spend the other time doing something creative.

I saw an on-line ad for part-time help at a golf shop pro-shop. Perfect. This kind of gig is right up my alley. I drive out to the course to do some re-con. I look around. It's your typical pro-shop.  The guy at the counter is all smiles as I ask him about the course. Then I tell him that I see they are looking for part-time help. His smiles turn to pursed lips as he curtly gives me the website where I can apply.  I smile back and tell him I am aware of said website and that I just wanted to see what kind of people work there. I drive away from the pro-shop wondering why I even brushed my hair. Seriously, in this humidity, it takes a long time to get a brush through this mess.

I get home and go back to the job search sites.  I look at what's available for part time gigs close to our house. They are all retail stores. I try to imagine myself in each atmosphere. I see myself getting yelled at for punching in ten minutes late by some kid with an inflated ego because he made it to shift supervisor before he outgrew acne. I get depressed.  Later that day I find myself in one of the retail stores advertising for help and I overhear the following conversation between two co-workers:

Dude: That's why I am going to start carrying a gun in my car.
Lady: Yeah? So someone can break in a steal it?
Dude: That's why I'm going to hide it under the seat.

This short exchange was enough to send me straight into a job-search depression tailspin. I am starting to feel like it may be harder to get a job than it is to get a Florida driver's license (that's a whole other story.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where was my thermometer?

So a few years ago, my girlfriend says "Have you ever noticed random shoes on the side of the road?"  Me: "No, never."  She says "Me neither, until Kenny mentioned something about them, and now I see them all of the time."   And wouldn't you know, the very next day I saw a random shoe on the side of the road.  It actually gives me the giggles everytime I see one. I imagine what the event was that got the shoe in it's current state. Was it an angry girlfriend chucking a shoe at her boyfriend as they argue about how he's driving? (I know that 99% of the Handeland agruments are traffic/driving related) The shoe narrowly missing the boyfriend and flying out the window? Who knows, but it's always funny to me.

Well, last week as I was driving home past the soccer park, I notice a pair of soccer cleats, not on the side of the road, but hanging over the utility line above.  Normally my brain would conjur up some funny scenario about how that happened, but all I could think about was some dejected little dude walking home with the saddest face because somebody chucked his shoes.  Then, as I round the corner into our little community village I saw a fresh loaf of bread in the middle of the road. Again, instead of getting the giggles because some mother said to her fighting children "I will throw this loaf of bread out the window and you will not get peanut butter sandwiches if you touch your sister one.more.time."  Nope, the ol' brain couldn't go there. All I see is the sad face of some hungry little girl with big pleading eyes just wanting a simple slice of bread. 

This is not normal. Seriously. I have a sunny disposition. Being a Debbie Downer is not only a pet peeve, but just not in my character makeup. Seriously. My college roommate and I invented The Silver Lining Game. It would go something like this:

Me: "Liz, I had the worst day ever. I had to sit and wait for a tow truck to come get this abandoned car. The tow truck was two hours late. I had gut rot. There was not a bathroom for miles. If I left, I'd have to pay the tow company twice, and potentially get fired. I sat in my car doubled over in pain, clenching my cheeks for hours"
Liz: "You should be thankful you have a sphincter. A lot of people in this world don't."
Me: "You're right. I guess this wasn't the worst day ever. I guess I could be without a sphincter."


Liz: "I can't believe you didn't remeber to pick me up. I had to walk all the way home and now I have shin splints. Some friend you are."
Me: "You should be thankful. There are people wandering around out there without shins to splint."
Liz: "You're right. But you're still not a very good friend."
Me: "Yeah. Wanna go get some beer? I'll drive."
Liz: "Yeah. Ok."

So, I'm not really sure what happened that day I saw the soccer cleats. Maybe it was fever? A little case of the blues? Lack of a job/reason to brush my hair on a daily basis? (I've washed my hair regularly since our move to FL, but only really brushed it once. That's another story.)  Whatever it was, I am happy to report that yesterday I drove by the shoes and immediately saw the funny story.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kinda Morbid

It's not like I sit around and think of ways that I'm gonna bite it. That'd be really morbid. But often times I find myself in a situation where I can see the article in the paper, or hear the story told at the hair dressers, or even used as an anecdote to a child for not doing something. The news article always starts with "It was your typical day in suberbia."  The hair dresser story starts "Did you hear what happen that Handeland woman. The one with the Irish Afro? Yeah, her."  And the mother sweetly taking a pair of scissors and stretch of elastic away from her child saying in a sing songy kind of way "remember the story of ol' Nikki H? You don't want to end up like that now do you?"  The story always ends the same though. Some tragic turn of events and I meet my early demise.  Yeah it's kinda morbid.

Last night I found myself in one of these situations. I was playing with the girls in one of thier rooms. My back is tired from a beating I took at  the previous day's YMCA ab/core workout so I stretch myself out on the floor. Bear Cub sees me on her level and gets the giggles as she runs towards me. The Taz gets that wild look in her eye. They don't say a word to each other. They don't need to, they're sisters. And they pounce.

At first it is a gentle fun little dog pile.  But I can hear the tone of the big one's laugh start to turn. The baby starts to growl a low rrrrrrrrrrrrraaawww. I start to sit up to proclaim my alpha dog status. This is when my ab/core muscles revolt and I am physically unable to get off the floor. They sense my weakness and hear the fear in my faux laugh. The Taz straddles my belly and starts bouncing up and down like I am some sort of air mattress. She tosses her head back chanting something that I can only assume are orders for Bear Cub to follow suit. She takes her orders well and straddles my neck and starts the bouncing on my chest. We are face to face and as I struggle to breath some of her drool hits my mouth.

This is when the hair dresser story flashes through my head..."Did you hear about the Handeland woman? Yep, just playing nice with her little girls and they were bouncing on her belly and the next thing you know SNAP her neck broke."  Or the mother taking a Dr. Suess book away from her son "No no. We don't read Hop on Pop anymore."   Morbid? Yeah. Kinda.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bona fide housewife

We were in Floriday for an entire week when I realized that I had been sweating my arse off and getting no where. I mean seriously. Last October I went to West Palm Beach for three days to hang out with my brothers. I drank a ton of beer, didn't eat one vegtable and the closest thing to exercise was leaning against the stationary bike on my brother's lanai while I bent over to get another round from the cooler. When I got home from that mini-break, I had lost three pounds. And do you know why? Yes, because it was 152 degrees in October and I just sat around and sweat. So, imagine my dismay after a whole 7 days in this hot box and not losing one ounce.  So I joined the YMCA.

Let's face some facts. My real motivation to join the Y was because they will watch your children for TWO WHOLE HOURS a day. I signed up on the second day as a stay at home mom (I only lasted three days) because I did the math (8 hour work day minus 2 hours at the Y, minus 2 hours for naps, minus 1 hour for lunch = only 3 hours of entertaining/educating/molding) and it seemed totally do-able. But day three rolled around and I found myself researching the daycares. 

So here I am. No job and the children are in daycare. I am officially a housewife in Orange County.  When in Rome right?  I decide to get the most out of my brand new membership. I sign up for a core strength/ab workout. After two very large babies, I figure it's probably the area that need to most attention...and since we're still facing facts...it was the shortest class by twenty minutes.

Here's the breakdown of the class - First three minutes spent trying to make yourself into a plank. I only look like I have palsy. Next five minutes spent trying to look like superman with only your belly button touching the floor. I am successful at this move as my bellybutton spans a large portion of my mid-section after aforementioned large babies.  Next 8 minutes spent on one butt cheek with feet and arms in the air. She mentioned something about it being the pike position. Like the fish. Which is what I looked like.  A big white fish, flopping around struggling for air. We move to our backs next. I've blocked this part out. I hear the music stop and see people popping up off the floor. Class is over. I put a smile on my face and pretend to stretch while I make a plan on how to get up without screaming. At this point I decide that I will try harder to find a job. This housewife business is taxing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

To Do List

I have a daily to-do list. I make little boxes to check off the items I've done. It makes me feel productive. Which is extremely important right now, since I do not have a so-called "job". It also helps me figure out how I'm going to lay my day out.  Here's today's to-do list:

- Drop off The Taz
- Get Bear Cub last immunization
- Bake my One True Love a birthday cake
- Buy new area rug for living room
- Pick up The Taz from school

I have a very. full. day.

I also have a mental to-do list that never actually makes it on paper. It's kind of like a cross between a Bucket List, a list of New Year's Resolutions and a Wish List.  This list has never been in print for several reasons : A) What if someone read it and got all judgy and I had to go explaining myself. I really hate being on the defensive. B) If it's in print, then I'll feel the need to get that little box checked off and if I don't, it could adversly affect my self esteem. and C.) I am a little bit flaky, no, inconsistent, no, flaky ...whatever... and I change my mind on what's important on "the list". For these reasons, I am only going to put out there what has been checked off on my Bucket/Resolution/Wish list.

- Get married - Honestly, there was a 7 year period in my life that I thought Armagedon would happen before I knew what it was like to hear "you may now kiss the bride." Could you imagine if this ever made it to an actual piece of paper? And someone stumbled upon it. There's me, a single gal, with a sheet of paper laying around that said "Get Married."  A certain Eagles song comes to mind.

- Have children - Honestly, there was a 10 year period in my life when I thought I would never hear the words "momma" come from a small mini-me.  You know, you play with fire for so long and never actually get burnt, then you start to think you are fireproof. KnowwhatImean?

- Learn to cook. This is a work in progress, I can now cook a chicken breast without a) the fear of giving the children E.coli. or b) it being so dry it is physically impossible to swallow it.

- Reconnect with family that I haven't seen/talked to in years. Check. Thank you Facebook. I love facebook. And I feel like maybe facebook loves me back. Is that wrong? Maybe.

- Start a Blog. Check.

I'm sure there's more....there's got to be more.  See, this is exactly the problem with not writing things down. Going over my big BRW List looks like I have been more productive just today baking a cake and picking up area rugs than with my big life picture stuff. For that reason alone, I am going to put ONE thing down on paper (virtual paper that is) that is on my BRW List.

- For one year, write a personal note every single day to a friend or family member. 

I love real mail. Both sending and receiving it. At first I thought, I don't think I know 365 people to send a different person a real piece of mail everyday. But then, looking at my facebook account, sure enough. I do know 365 people. But surely I don't know all of thier addresses. OR maybe I'll pick my favorite 31 people and write them once a month. But then I guess the short months the last few people on the list will kind of get the shaft. This is exactly why this thought has never made it to paper, virtual or otherwise. Seriously.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Public Health Department

I spent the day wanting to punch fight. If I could punch fight a situation, rather than the people involved in it, I would have been tossing fists all day. It started at 4:30am when The Taz decided that she was done sleeping. I don't blame her. Her whole world has been rocked. New house, new parks, new school, no Debbie, no backyard (that momma will let her play in anyway - see The Pond).  So I lay on her floor by her tobbler bed so she will at least try to fall back to sleep.

Before we left Minneapolis, I thought I would be really organized and on the ball, so I got The Taz and Bear Cub their well-child doctor visits along with immunizations set up. During the appointment I told the doctor we would be moving and asked the standard stuff about moving to a new city (Should I be teaching my children to run in a zig zag motion? Because I heard that gators can't chase you if you run like that. Really? Really.), and my doctor said not to worry about the kids transitioning because they are more resilliant to change than we would think. Well The Taz's natural response to change is manifested by the inability to sleep through the night. We've been in Floriday for two weeks now, and we've slept through the night once. Once. It was nice. I remember it like it was my first kiss. (Not that my first kiss was anything special, in fact it wasn't. My stomach turned on me mid-kiss and I ended up cutting it short so I could go have a bout of the scoots. But, I did really really look forward to my first kiss and dreamt about it for what seemed like years - much like I dream about sleep now.)  Resillient my ass. It was pre-dawn and I had spent two hours on the floor of The Taz's room so LetsCallHim Troy could sleep because he isn't feeling good and he's got to actually bring home the bacon. Punch fight.

I toured a few daycare/preschools and found the one I liked. I won't lie. I was home with the girls' exactly three days when I decided that I wasn't cut out for that job. I'm not made of that material and I didn't want to end up scarring the children or worse yet, getting a house call from social services. I've digressed...again. So, I'm enrolling the children and feeling quite proud as I whip out my vaccine records for the girls. They were a little weathered from traveling in my purse for two weeks, but I had them. I hand them over to the owner of the facility. She says "Oh. You're not from Florida?" As if looking at my "so pale you wan to check my pulse" legs didn't give it away, I answer "No." She informs me that you must have state required forms for immunizations that are blue and yellow, and no, copying the ones I have onto colored paper aren't going to do the trick. Not to worry she says "you have two weeks time." Yes. Plenty of time.

I call a local pediatrician. Long story short is that I have to go to the Department of Health to have Out Of State immunization records transfered over. My insurance won't cover another well-child visit so soon. It will be over $250 to get the new forms from them. BUT, if I just pop over to the Department of Health, they'll make that transfer.

I get to the Department of Health. Immediately I feel like I should be wearing a breathing mask. It smells. There are wall to wall people. Apparently it is back to school time and EVERYONE in the state of Floriday needs immunization records. That is, everyone without a regular doctor. I start to wonder if this is worth the $250. But, the lady at the check in assures me that it is only and hour wait. Well, I am already here and currently my only job is to do this one thing, so, I wait. Apparently it is lunch time now and the people behind the door calling numbers (mine is 86) have gone to lunch. It is 30 minutes before a number gets called (Numer 48). Punch fight.  There is a woman behind me that is talking to her daughter like the mother in the movie Precious. I turn just enough to get a look at the little girl. She is smaller than The Taz. I feel rage building up inside me. I start to pray. "Dear Lord - Please protect that little girl from her mother's hand. Please give the mother patience and instill a sense of tenderness for her daughter. Dear Lord, Please help me not stand up and punch fight that mother right in the throat. Amen."  I hear the mother threaten to throw her child out the window.  I turn around with disgust in my eyes and look right at her. She is big and nasty and suddenly I did not want to punch fight her anymore. But I give her the stink eye and continue to pray.

I kept going back and forth in my mind "if I leave now, for sure my number will be called in five minutes and I will have done this for nothing. Two hours later, my number gets called. My appointment literally lasts 3 minutes. But I only come away with one sheet. I need two. Bear Cub is short one shot. WHAT? No no no. She's not? How can that be? I call the MN doctor. The shot she's missing is not given in MN until 18 months. But in FL she needs it at 15 months. Punch Fight. Punch Fight. Punch Fight.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Pond

We've just recently moved to Florida. Which I always want to type a "y" at the end like it's Friday. Which is kinda what every day feels like here. So, Floriday it is. We are renting a very pretty home in a nice little village community. My husband, we'll call him Troy, picked out the place on his own. I might add he did an excellent job. One of the main features I love is that the main living room has french doors that lead to the back porch/yard.  This nice little village community has a pond on every block. Ours just happens to be in the back yard.

I think four years ago, I would have been able to sit on the back porch and just enjoy the view. Maybe even call that my favorite spot. Out of the sun, nice breeze, water close by.  But now I'm a freak. Paranoid. Edgy. Nervous. Now I am A Mother. All I can think about is that there is the potential for gators in that pond.  We've been in our new house for almost two weeks, and when the girls are sleeping, and Let's Call Him Troy is not around, I sit in his office and watch for eyes poking out of the water. I have yet to see any. But after seeing missing kitty posters (three different ones) hung on the lightposts around the block, I decided to conduct a neighborhood poll.

And by neighborhood, I mean the two ladies that were nice enough to come over and introduce themselves a few days ago. Let's call them Carrie and Alice. Mainly because those are their real names. I digress. Carrie has two little girls, just a touch older than our girls, and she's from a Great Lakes state so I trust her judgement immediately. She tells me that she and her daughters were on a walk last winter and saw a gator in the pond across the street from her house. She says they stood there and watched it for a while. Not going anywhere near it, but just watching it hang out. She also says that they are not that big of a deal if you just stay clear of them and let them be. So now I am convinced that there is most definately a gator in our pond. I also rethink immediately trusting someones judgement just because they are from the North.

Normal people would probably look at our french doors with the water view and feel a sense of relaxation. I look at them and can feel my shoulder muscles tighten, while the wheels start turning in my mind about how I can get locks on the top of the door that The Taz can't reach.  Tonight I will be praying that The Taz and Bear Cub don't run out the back and get eaton by a gator. Oh Dear God.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bed Time

It's bedtime at our house. I find myself wishing I were close enough to the garage to run out there and scream without scaring the baby. Or better yet, just hop in the car and drive to the nearest margarita joint. I don't even like margaritas. They give me heartburn. But I'd gladly take an alcohol induced heartburn, that lasted 6 hours, over the nighly routine of putting our three year old to bed.

Tonight we started at 7:30pm. We've been at it an hour. We've read 18 books, we've told 7 stories in bed, we've used harsh tones, taken away a favorite nighttime snuggle bunny and finally, as a last resort, we swatted her on the butt. She laughed in our faces. She brought us to tears and then cocked her head to the side and asked us why we haven't gotten her bedtime milk. At this point, she is in the hall flashing the lights on and off and singing Mary Had a Little Lamb at the top of her lungs. My husband and I are beyond words. We've run out of gentle tones. We've run out of threats. We are near surrender and perhaps simultaneous mental breakdowns. 

And this is when she turns to me and says "oh siwwy goose, you forgot your bedtime hug and kiss." Then she wraps her skinny little arm around my neck for a quick squeeze and puckers her lips and grabs my face with her sticky, sweaty palms and plants one right on my cheek. She goes in for one last hug and tells me she "wuvs" me "berry berry much" and I melt.I pick her up and put her spastic little body into bed for the hundredth and final time for the night. As I walk out I feel warm and fuzzy. If I weren't in shock about how she can go from head spinning exorcist like around her little body to a sweet loving angel, I might be able to come to terms with the fact that she probably just played me like a fidle.  I call her The Tazmanian Princess - The Taz for short (not to her face of course, she won't get that that's funny for years). I'll say my prayers tonight that she doesn't end up a serial killer. Oh Dear God.