Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Job I Almost Got

It all started with an emissions test. In Colorado, you are required to get re-tested every two years, and you cannot do your annual license plate registration without it.

Being the often overwhelmed easily distracted mediocre adult person which I am, I tossed the notice into the Pile of Paperwork Doom on the kitchen counter corner when my mother handed it to me, as it had been sent to her house since I hadn't bothered to update an address change with the county.

[Note to self: register updated address and re-register to vote]

A month or so later, I happened upon it again while searching for something completely unrelated and realized I needed to get on that like, last week. I immediately jumped onto the computer to do the online registration, only to discover that I had to take an emissions test first.

Some cross referencing with the master calender reveled I wasn't likely to have an opportune time to make this happen without children in tow for at least the next week and a half, so I decided to get the pain over with as quickly as possible.

The children were thrilled by me turning off the TV show they had just begun to watch, and positively overjoyed by the announcement that we needed to go run a probably long and definitely boring and somewhat stupid errand right then.

I may or may not have bribed them with dinner at McDonald's post emissions test somewhere in there.

And so that is how I ended up spending a Wednesday afternoon with children waiting for an emissions test to be completed.

It was right about the time they really got into the big blowing fan test with my vehicle that Adrianna decided she had to pee, which is how I ended up in the McDonald's bathroom mere moments after finishing the testing when my cellphone rang. I glanced at the number, and saw it was a local but unknown one. With my mind still on the just completed emissions test, I answered it totally expecting it to be the emissions testing facility telling me that I left my drivers license and checkbook sitting on their counter and they're closing in ten minutes so if I want them back today I better get over there pronto. Not that I have an unsettling habit of forgetting important things when otherwise distracted by demanding children and/or my own thoughts. Often. Ahem.

But it wasn't the emissions place. It was a place I had applied for a job at, according to the nice man on the phone, although as I wasn't anywhere near a computer I wasn't exactly fact-checking where I had sent applications to in the past week. He then proceeded to tell me all sorts of useful information about the company, including handy things like the name, address and phone number, and whom I would be interviewing with.

I had no writing instrument, was plugging one ear to hear him over the retro mood music the Boulder McDonald's pipes overly-loudly into the bathroom, and attempting to silently shush the 4 year old who was asking me to help her wipe her butt.

It was truly a glamorous moment of parenthood right there.

However, thanks to the wonders of the internet and my best recollection of the conversation, I later found everything he had told me online and felt slightly less befuddled by the whole affair when I went in for the interview.

I also was not standing in a fast food bathroom assisting a small child with her personal hygiene, which did wonders for boosting my "yes I am totally an awesome professional" mentality. That, and fancy (by which I mean, pretty much anything that is not a sneaker or snow boot) shoes. I do love me some fancy shoes on occasion.

The interview went well, and ended with them asking me to come back for a second one to meet the program manager.

I was so excited. The office was lovely, the commute ten minutes, the staff friendly and personable. Words like "flexible office hours" and "salaried" were thrown about, along with the truly drool worthy "potential for advancement". And nothing heavier to lift than a ream of paper in sight.

Then I went back for the second interview, where the program manager was vaguely out of town and they just wanted to chat for ten minutes about whether I'd be ok watering the plants. But I still thought I did well, with a nice balance of honest, professional, and wit (even if it was just about stupid stuff like watering the plants). I wasn't even shaky for it, which might very well be the first interview ever that I've made it through without that happening from nervousness.

Now, I've never been to a second interview besides the one where I got hired at Target, so I really don't feel like I have a good base to definitively say how they typically go... but this one seemed odd. The person I was told I'd be interviewing with being gone, no real questions posed, extremely short.... Not odd enough to make me any less excited right then about finally getting a professional job, mind you, but that's how hope works I guess.

And then after I had already picked out my first day of work outfit (I got a new sweater for it and everything), I got a very generic email politely informing me I wasn't selected for the position.


I guess getting a second interview that went well doesn't mean you're basically hired after all.

It's ok. I mean, it's not like it was that big a deal right? I wasn't really looking forward to it or really needing it to feel like I'm not still sorta failing at life or anything like that. I've already been rejected by a few thousand other jobs, what's one more anyways.


And then I went and saw The Lego Movie this past weekend, and will just listen to this song on repeat forever. It's awesome.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


February is not my favorite month. I don't hate it with a grueling passion, but there are some serious drawbacks to this time of year.

Everywhere we have lived it has always been ridiculously cold and snowy for most of those 28 (or 29) short days. (Turns out I have low coping skills when the thermometer creeps below 0' Fahrenheit and I have to be out in it digging my car out of the snowdrift that was a parking lot for the forth time that day.)

And the kids.... People raising children in climates that don't get frostbite cold and dump snow regularly have no idea how good they have it to not be dealing with things like the sheer hassle of getting them into 12 articles of winter clothing before they are allowed to leave the house in the morning. Not to mention the problems when things like snow boots get left at school (it's ok, it only snowed like another 8 inches overnight, your sneakers are totally fine) or how they will come off the bus carrying their coats instead of wearing them (no seriously, it is single digits out here, WHY ARE YOU NOT WEARING YOUR NICE EXPENSIVE WINTER JACKET THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE KEEPING YOU WARM??).

At least mine are old enough that they can (sorta) get their own snow pants on when I tell them to, and (maybe) old enough to deal with their choices of not putting on their coats making them cold. Small babies and the cold are just a terrible combination. You don't want to leave the baby alone in the house while you go pre-heat the car, but then you certainly don't want to make the baby sit in her carseat in the sub-zero temperatures while you attempt to scrap off the windshield as the car slowly creaks to life. You are absolutely terrified of her being too cold, and try desperately to keep her covered in blankets while simultaneously not accidentally smothering her. All the time.

Even when you don't have to take the baby out, those little tiny hands are always frigid. She won't leave baby mittens on, or immediately chews on them turning them into a soggy wet mess that is doing no favors for keeping her warm. You go to nurse, and she puts them on your nice warm bosom, making you jump and squirm from the cold and feel racking guilt for having let her hands get so cold. But you can't keep the house any warmer, it only heats so efficiently and propane prices are spiking again, and every time you have the space heater on she crawls right over and tries to stick her fingers in it. 

Yes, the part where now I can just holler at mine to put on a sweatshirt (or like, maybe just not run around the house completely naked?) is a wonderful improvement over their baby years.

And then there's the holidays. Extra days off school, classroom Valentine's parties, over commercialized fake romance.... Sigh. 

Kristina is supposed to bring 34 cards in, and the biggest pack Target sells is 32. And we haven't gotten them yet, so it'll be a grueling sweatshop atmosphere to get her to write her classmates' names on all of them in the day or two before the party. I'm even so morally opposed to buying multiple sets of Valentine cards I've been considering requiring her to make them out of construction paper (which is truly a terrible idea, since she's really not a craftily inclined child in any capacity beyond glitter glue, and my personal motivation for doing crafty projects promptly dried up the day she was born).

I haven't even gotten Adrianna's list yet, but since there's two preschools I'm pretty confident it's going to be every bit as inconveniently ugly. And I really do love sending the kids in with chocolates for their teachers (what can I say, I was a preschool teacher once who was given a box of hugs&kisses and never forgot it), but then I start counting how many teachers they have between the two of them, and get sticker shock on how much that kindness will cost. Then there's lots of moral dilemma about whether I can send these people small and crappy inferior chocolate, and the kids are like, lets get these super big giant hearts filled with truffles over here!!

Oh, and of course there are the classroom parties themselves, so start baking it up, mom (who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?). And Kristina wants to bring in brownies for her half birthday, which is conveniently located the day after Valentine's day just to make sure the kids don't have to go too long between sugar rushes.

Let's not forget the special school-wide Valentine's Carnival school fundraiser happening the 13th as well, because it really is a magical experience to hand your child money so they can buy tickets to give to their teachers to play ring toss for a temporary tattoo prize. Did I mention these things are held in the gym with hordes of screaming children echoing off the walls? Best way to spend the dinner hour ever!

Oh, and there's supposed to be something romantic happening on Valentine's day itself too. Does sitting on the couch and not falling asleep until at least the half-way mark of the movie count? Because I'm pretty sure that's about all I'll really want to do at that point. But don't you worry, I'll make tostinos pizza rolls and pour wine too, and if you're really lucky there might be some only slightly smashed classroom party cookies left in the bottom of a backpack. Romance at it's finest.

In conclusion, I'm totally happy for March (or even April) to get here soon. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Letter to J.K. Rowling

Dear Ms. Rowling,

I just wanted to tell you that I find you a very inspiring person. The internet loves you, my most recent favorite was memeing it up about how you lost your billionaire status because you gave away so much money. But the even more inspiring part of your story is the one you talked about on the Daily Show (I think??) where you had been living on government subsidy at one time, and chose specifically to keep paying taxes to the British government to help support those programs funded through tax money for others.

That story gives me so much hope. You had nothing, living a hard life, and yet you still managed to produce one of the most well-known literary pieces of our time.

95% of the time, my biggest personal accomplishment for the day is getting my kids to bed. Days are spent working a menial degrading job, evenings are spent stressing over money and folding laundry. There is no time or energy for creativity, or hobbies, or personal passions. Hell, there's barely enough time and energy to take a shower most days, and if I can find matching socks for all three of us in the morning I feel like a fucking rockstar.

But every so often my mind still wonders into that 5% of mostly uncharted territory where I think about things like going to law school, painting something beautiful, or better yet, writing something worthwhile. The brief passing moments of dreaming... they are few and fleeting, but they are still there, and in them I find it incredibly comforting to think of you and what you have accomplished in your life and where you were when you did it.

So thank you, Ms. Rowling, for being such an incredible person.