Monday, July 27, 2009

Gypsies, Tramps & Skeeves

Well there is nothing quite like combining your 42nd birthday and a family reunion all in the same weekend to leave you feeling a wee bit maudlin. We've been back from Columbus for just a week and I've been a bit down. Not that I didn't have fun. I did. And not that I wasn't happy to see (most of) my family. I was. Perhaps things were a little too good and I wasn't quite ready to leave my old stomping grounds.

Last Friday afternoon I went out to lunch with my mother (in town for the reunion as well), and my friends Amy and Becky. It was marvelous. We laughed and laughed. Until my mom created one of those bizarro moments where the entire world (or in this case the entire restaurant) stops spinning, mouths are silenced and all ears became focused on her when she told this whacked out and racially tinged story about Romani Gypsies that she tried to dignify by saying she'd read it in "the paper".


Fortunately we recovered the moment and the good times resumed as my friends and I collectively made a decision to smile, nod and ignore her crazy ass and quickly move on to less nutty topics.

After my mother left I tried to restore my friends faith in journalism by revealing that the only "paper" my mom reads is the Villages Daily Sun and all they ever report is who died or who has grand kids visiting. I reassured them that she didn't read that clap-trap Gypsy story in the Washington Post or the New York Times. Clearly she made it up.

It's scary to see your parents age. A sad point, driven (literally) home to me in the bullet points listed below in the order that the thoughts popped into my head, as I got in the passenger seat of my mother's rented mini-van and took a short drive across the parking lot of a large mall after luncheon when we all wanted to grab coffees at a nearby cafe:

  • Damn. She has to drive? It's so close. Her legs must be very fucked up. I should ask her how fucked up her legs are ...

  • Damn. She uses a cane at home? Why hasn't she ever mentioned this. Um... Why didn't she bring it with her?

  • Vanity. Apparently my mom is more self conscious about being seen using a cane than she is about getting into a car and driving 50 feet.

  • Um... why is she driving in circles? We just drove right by the cafe. There's a spot. Oh. There's a spot. Oh. There's one. Oh. What the fuck?

  • Great. Now she's blind too. Apparently she only parks in spots where she can pull forward instead of having to back out.

  • This is bad.
I'll just say this about my mom's driving - the only reason she hasn't mowed anyone down (that we know of) is because thankfully they saw her first and were able to get the hell out of the way.

As for the rest of my weekend - here is the highlight reel of my family reunion in the form of, you guessed it, more bullet points:

  • Babies, babies, babies! My family sure can breed! I have two cousins who are my age WHO HAVE GRANDCHILDREN. I find this appalling when birth control is so cheap. I can't get excited that you are a grandparent. I just can't. Is that wrong?

  • Speaking of family planning, I'm old enough now that no one is asking MDH and me when we are going to start a family and this made me a little sad. It used to piss me off.

  • I raised a huge stink because there was no mustard. Who the hell was in charge of this BBQ shit pile? Call your event planner and get your money back no mustard. (It was my aunt Nan and I totally forgive her - but I made some noise) Hundreds of cheap-ass hot dogs and not one squirt of mustard in the whole goddamn place? I don't mind a cheap-ass hot dog, but I need to put some mustard on that shit to maintain my dignity.

  • What the hell? My sister's youngest child is going to be a senior next year. Stop it all of you. No more growing up. I mean it.

  • My entire extended family stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near the reunion venue and we basically took over the entire place. It was like that scene from Raising Arizona when all of those wild kids are trashing Hi & Ed's trailer. I lost count of all the people who walked into the pool area, fully decked out in swimsuits, crisp white hotel towel draped over one shoulder, rearing to go and then took one look at the drunk and noisy clan of rednecks who had high jacked the place and hauled ass right the fuck out of there.

  • My aunt Libby, who is in her late 60's and seems like a perfectly reasonable person on the surface, came down to enjoy her complimentary breakfast in that room hotels always have right off of the lobby, within clear view of the reception desk, elevators and main walkway of the establishment, wearing nothing but her housecoat (a light blue cotton whisp of a garment with embroidered flowers, gingham patch pockets, and white metal snaps up the front) and slippers (light pink terry cloth slides). Clearly she has come unhinged as she seemed neither to notice nor care that nobody else was dressed in this fashion or that it might be inappropriate or uncomfortable for the other patrons (me) in the hotel to see her in such a state of undress.

  • I got over it.

  • I slurred drunkenly on and on about Libby's embarassing housecoat at dinner Sunday night with MDH and several of our friends.

  • Apparently I wasn't over it, although I had forgotten all about my mom and the weird Gypsy thing until I talked to Amy on the phone last night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cha cha cha

My best friend Amy teaches 2nd grade and she does this thing with her class where she gives each child a choice on their birthday about how they prefer the rest of the class sing the "Happy Birthday" song to them. She'll ask, "Do you want cha-cha's or no cha-cha's?".

If you choose cha-cha's then the birthday song is boisterous and loud with a lot of wahoo-ing and goes Happy Birthday to you - CHA-CHA-CHA, Happy Birthday to you - CHA-CHA-CHA. I think she does some other stuff too, like she wears a fright wig and big Mr. Magoo glasses, calls herself Birthday Betty and makes the birthday kid wear a giant sombrero or something. I'm not sure, but it's too late to call her to verify at the moment, so you'll just have to take my word for it. This isn't the New York Times and I don't have a staff of fact checkers here.

If you choose no cha-cha's then the song is just sung the normal way with very little fan fair. That's a fact.

I think it's nice that she gives them a choice.

She says you can pretty much divide the world into two kinds of people, those who prefer cha-cha's and those who prefer no cha-cha's.

I'm most definitely no cha-cha's.

And having said that now I will tell you that tomorrow is my birthday and that I will be 42. How the hell did that happen?

There won't be any cha-cha's or fan fair and that's just the way I like it. MDH and I are packing up the car when I get home from work and we're driving to Columbus where I will spend the weekend with my friends and family and that's totally fine with me. I bitch about my family a lot, but honestly I can't imagine a better way to celebrate my life than being surrounded by all the people I love.

Meanwhile I have spent the last week gorging on all sorts of ridiculous candies and treats and splurging on all sorts of crapola and potions along with various assorted services and telling myself it's for my birthday, including but not limited to:

  • Cute little pink ear plugs for $3.99. Quite a luxury as I usually sleep with cotton balls that I have rolled into tight little balls and jammed into my ears to quell the jackhammer of MDH's snoring but these adorable pink ear canal shaped nuggets of foam are official, the real McCoy.

  • A new hair cut with bangs and over $30 worth of hair care products at the salon, which really amounts to one can of Bedhead Queen for a Day and a new round brush because my old one broke a couple of weeks ago and I've been styling my hair with an old pick.

  • Swedish Fish that I bought to give to my friend Becky when I see her in Columbus, but I ate half the bag last night while I watched 24 Hour Party People on our DVR and I can't very well give her a half eaten bag of candy wrapped up with a rubber band.

  • The roast beef with swiss on rye with mayo that I bought for lunch at the cafeteria today - normally I pack something healthy.

  • A pap smear and 3 month supply of birth control pills. Par-tay.

  • An order of hot and sour soup and steamed dumplings for dinner tonight.
So that's me, livin' large.

Anyhoo... I'll take my cha-cha's this weekend in the form of the big Who Doesn't Lunch family reunion on Saturday filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, softball, grilled corn on the cob with lots of butter and salt, new babies that'll get passed around for cuddling, and the never ending bourbon soaked (we are from Kentucky after all) poker game that goes on, after all the kiddies are tucked in bed, into the wee hours of the morning.

In case you were wondering, the picture at the top is a festive "Ass" pinata that I found on Google Images quite by accident.

I hope you all have a wonderful my birthday weekend - cha cha cha!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Same Old Song & Dance

Another position has become available at the company where I'm contracting so I am once again trying to balance that fine line between being assertive and being a giant pain in the ass.

You thought I was going to say aggressive didn't you?

My efforts to gain permanent employment at the company where I'm contracting have moved way past aggressive.

It feels like campaigning and it's what you have to do apparently to get the attention of management and human resources around there. You have to continually make phone calls, ask people for your support and ask them to call the manager of the department with the available position and speak on your behalf.

It's like a fucking telethon and I'm the good cause.

Then you have to meet with people, upper level management type of people, and express your interest in the position even though the managers you are meeting with are not necessarily the managers in the department that has the available job, but the managers you meet with should know the manager of the department with the job so that they can give that manager the heads up about how great you are.

It's also a good idea to meet with at least two or three of the people who actually work in the department that has the available job and express your interest in the position and ask them intelligent questions about the department and the work they do and than also ask them to speak with their department manager on your behalf. This is also a good way to get the skinny on who else may have applied and get a fix on your competition.

I'm telling you this shit is exhausting and I don't even know if I'm going to get an interview yet.

And nobody tells you that you have to do any of this shit, but it's what you have to do to get noticed when you want to get a job here and are not already an employee.

They will always consider internal candidates before they consider you when you are not already an employee there. Even if the internal candidate is considerably less qualified than you, has all the intellect of a hay rake and all the tact and personality a pygmy goat (although they certainly are very cute aren't they?) the internal candidate will be considered more desirable than you.

Did I mention that this process of constantly and aggressively selling yourself in extremely high gear only to stand by helplessly and watch while internal pygmy goat candidates who are dumber than hay rakes get the positions you are supremely qualified to do is exhausting? Well it is.

You know what is even more exhausting? Having to smile and be nice to the pygmy goats who got the jobs I wanted and in certain circumstances, when professional courtesy has required it, actually congratulate them and welcome them to the team.

It feels like a punch in the gut every time.

I want to work there and will do whatever it takes.

So I campaign.

I would don tights, a tutu, tap shoes and a top hat, do a song and dance number on the table tops in the cafeteria and for my finale passionately scream out "who do I have to blow to get a fucking job around here??", if I thought that might work.

I hope it doesn't come to that. All my tights have holes in the toes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

My blogger friend Tara gave me an award weeks ago and I hope she will forgive me for taking so long to respond. Not only is it an award, but it's an award that has strings attached in the form of a meme. Yes. How cool is that? An award and a meme. It's a sensation like chocolate and peanut butter they just go together and I'm thrilled for the recognition.

It's all girly with frills, ruffles and afternoon tea.

It is cute, no?

Anyhoo... I've been meaning to respond for quite a while now and was finally able to take a moment and sneak away from job hunting and entertaining my mother in law who is (still) visiting from Boston.

Excuses, excuses. I always feel terrible when you all leave such lovely comments on my blog and I never seem to have the time to leave any on your blogs. For the record though I am actually reading your blogs every day with my Google Reader when I'm at work although I can't sign into Blogger to leave comments on them.

No worries though, soon I'll be out of a job and I'll have all the time in the world for blogging. Heh, heh. Oy.

And now... the meme portion of my post:

5 Obsessions

1. Finding a job before my current contract is up in September.

2. The prevention of fine lines and tiny wrinkles. It consumes me and sometimes I feel like the shallowest person on the planet.

3. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

4. The recipe for “Sunday Beans” in last weeks New York Times Magazine. I can’t wait to make this.

5. My hair. I need a haircut desperately. I’m a total freak of female-ness in that, aside from the occasional and inexplicable root perm or brunette color job I for some reason subject myself to every couple of years, most of the time I really like my hair. Unfortunately I keep forgetting to schedule an appointment and now I'm about 12 weeks gone with no hair cut. I'm looking quite dreary. To add insult to my scarecrow head I just learned that my stylist has reduced her hours to part time in order to spend more time with her infant son and it has become nearly impossible to get an appointment with her. Damn baby.

5 Dislikes

1. My hair stylist’s baby.

2. Bad service at a doctor’s office. I had to find a new OBGYN (again) because I refuse to be treated so horribly for a service that we pay so much money for. I waited in the waiting room for 45 minutes until they finally put me in an examination room where I waited for an additional 30 minutes while wearing nothing more than a paper towel. I finally left. I got dressed first of course. I wonder though - how much longer would they have left me there? I never heard from them either. They never called to see if I was OK or find out what might have happened to me. Assholes.

3. The Bachelorette. I’d never seen this show before, but MDH and I watched it this week with my mother in law. Not that I don’t watch my share of terrible TV, but this was particularly bad.

4. Men who wear cowboys hats for no discernible reason. Unless it’s Halloween, if you live in Michigan or parts east of Oklahoma and the like, and don’t own a horse, a herd of cattle or a piece of property larger than a quarter of an acre you have no business wearing a cowboy hat.

5. Flat screen TV’s are everywhere. Have you noticed this? The hotel we stayed at in Syracuse last week had a flat screen over every elevator, like 2 elevators next to each other and both of them had a flat screen TV over it, on every floor. The hotel also had flat screen TV's in every hallway, sitting area and public space. It was maddening. I felt like there was no escape.

5 Tagged & Awarded:

I'm going to stick with the girly theme of the award like Tara did. A couple are the usual suspects, but I've thrown in a couple of bloggers I read regularly but rarely comment on:

Miss Minneapolis
The Vegetable Assassin
Boredmando - Ha! I bet you didn't think I was paying attention didja?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Don't mind me, I'm just some lady who randomly wandered into your yard...

"My mutha, my brutha."

Then nothing.

It was more of a grunt really, followed by 2 nods, one in the direction of my mother in law and one in the direction of my husband.

This was the way in which my brother in law, formerly known on this blog as Syracuse and heretofore known as Captain Caveman, introduced me to his friends, neighbors and finally to the family of his ex-wife at the back yard barbecue they hosted Saturday evening to celebrate his daugher's high school graduation, which is to say not at all.

"My mutha, my brutha."

Then nothing.

After about the 3rd or 4th time I decided to officially move Captain Caveman from the column in the spreadsheet of my mind marked "Somewhat Rude Yet Tolerable" to the column marked "Economy Sized Asshole".

I would like to rise above these types of situations. Grin and bear it as they say, but a lady can only take so much.

My anger had been building up throughout the day after I had been forced several times to introduce myself in an awkward and overly cheerful lilt, realizing that Captain Caveman's six syllable introductions were never going to include me.

By the time we got to the graduation party at his ex wife's house late in the afternoon and the umpteenth fucking time of being totally disregarded in this manner and at the same time having had the epiphany that I didn't even merit a grunt or nod from my dickhead of a brother in law, I was steaming mad and blurted out the very words you see in the title of this post in a loud tone and the surliest of expressions.

At least I didn't stab him in the ear with a plastic picnic fork and scratch his eyes out as was my instinct, but even my surly outburst didn't phase him at all. He ignored me then too.

It pretty much summed up our weekend in upstate New York. MDH and I who are strapped for cash at the moment and PS I'm about to be out of a job, drove all the way to New York, paid for everything, including but not limited to our nieces graduation dinner on Friday night to which Captain Caveman had invited us, breakfast 2 days in a row and were offered nothing in return.

Not even a "thanks", which I might add is only one syllable and could very easily be grunted.

Get in line ladies - he's single!

Anyhoo... On a lighter and merrier note MDH and I brought his mother home with us. She's staying until after the holiday and she's lovely. I lucked out in the mother in law department. She's sweet and funny, does the dishes, makes her bed every day and swears up and down that she doesn't care a lick what we want to watch on TV.

I love her awful.

How she created such a band of baboons (except MDH of course, who is an angel straight from heaven) I have no idea. You can read brief biographies of my 4 brothers in law here if you want.

She has a very thick Cambridge accent:

Shawts = shorts
Sawks = Red Sox
Shawah = shower
Pawk chaps = pork chops

See what I mean? Adorable.