The Friday Five: Once More, with Feeling

Please forgive me if I'm still a little incoherent from yesterday's events. . . I'm all over the place today. In fact, I've got at least five different feelings going on:

1. Shock. As in, What did I just do?

2. Lightness. Going to school, and having to leave my job as a result, was a big burdensome secret I'd been carrying for quite some time.

3. Doubt. See also: Doubt, Self.

4. Gratitude. Many people have been very supportive--especially those of you who have been cheering this past week. I don't know how I got this far; I don't know how I'm managing to do this. But somehow it has been made possible, and I'm doing it. It is amazing and I am tremendously grateful.

5. Exhaustion. Pick any variety. I don't think I'm going to make it past eleven, for the first time in a long while. That's O.K.

Let's get this weekend started.


I resigned from my job this afternoon.

Maybe if I type it enough times, I will believe it.

Yup, so that was the big-deal-thing I was preparing to do this week. I carefully prepared the letter so it didn't read, "See ya, suckas!" and e-mailed it to my parents for them to look over. They didn't catch the mistake on the zip code for my work, but fortunately I did after I'd printed it out last night. (Easy mistake--it's very similar to my home zip.) The big mistake I noticed when I got to work was that I'd gotten my boss's title wrong. I've been looking at his title, week in and week out, for about three or so years since the merger, but I rarely type it. Thanks a lot, macros. So after lunch I whited out the incorrect word and hand-wrote in the correct one. Pretty sure nobody would have cared--I mean, these are the people who let Princess Shortcut, who swears she uses spellcheck "all the time," send out documents with typos on the first page, after all.

After that was fixed, I tried to focus on work and not watch the clock as it ticked closer to our usually scheduled meeting time. The meeting started off fine, normal, got the usual stuff out of the way regarding work status and the ongoing spellcheck issue and why it keeps happening (see typo discussion above). He asked if I had anything else to discuss. I told him I had one more thing, but let's do what he had on his list first.

He started talking about how he is catching up with the people he owes reviews, meaning their anniversary date passed. He did one this week, and has another one scheduled for next week, and- oh, I just got your paperwork to do. My anniversary is September 25 (technically my most recent promotion date--and I have to say most recent, because I was promoted twice in the span of six weeks in 2006, just days before my first quarter of grad school was to start!).

I felt horrible and couldn't let him go on. "I don't think that's going to be necessary," I said, "because I'm resigning." I slid the envelope containing my resignation letter across his desk to him.

I don't think he believed me at first. "Should I open it?" he asked.

"Sure," I shrugged, "it's just a basic letter." I figured I'd tell him verbally what I was planning to do.

Definitely, his reaction was one of surprise, but also generally seemingly O.K. with it. He never was one to fly off the handle about things, anyway--he's a dad to three teenagers, so that's probably a good thing. He told me he had gotten his bachelor's, worked a bit, and decided to leave and go back to school for his J.D., so I think he understood where I was coming from. Of course he made the comment that he's sorry to see me go, but he would never stand in the way of anyone going after their goals and their happiness. I don't think it fully sank in that I'd been working all day and going to school full time for the past two-plus years, though. He was surprised to hear me say I'd be graduating in December. Maybe he thought I was quitting to start school?

Ultimately we decided that because his boss and some of our department will not be in tomorrow, we'll keep this under wraps until next week. (Good thing I have this blog to talk, talk, talk it up, huh?) There probably will be some changes in the department--and honestly I'm not sure they're planning to replace me, so next week is gonna be interesting in terms of how the rest of the deparment reacts to the news of my impending departure. Maybe then they'll realize how hard I've been working. I know at least one thing so far: I have to train the paralegal to use the program I manage. Not looking forward to that, especially after the hard time Princess Shortcut gave me (and God only knows what PS has told the paralegal about that) but I guess it doesn't matter much in the scheme of things. I didn't promise to do everything I can to help with the "transition," and I think it was a wise move on my part not to obligate myself in that way.

After the meeting, I returned to my little office and waited about ten minutes for my hands to stop shaking. It was hard, but I did it. It was done. No going back. This is really happening and my days here are numbered. I needed to go take a breather in the ladies' room.

On the way there, I was accosted by the HR lady, and she told me to stop by her office on my way back. The letter had made it into her hands, with no time to spare. So I kept the chat light, explained what I was doing, although not in complete detail. (Oddly neither one asked where I was going to school. Yet.) HR lady said she always enjoyed talking to me--and she honestly couldn't say that about everyone in the company, so that was nice of her. Then blahblahblah, schedule exit interview, whatever.

I still had to get some documents out the door, so I did that and then slipped out at 5:00 to my car with a bag of rum and sparkling mojito beverage (having Trader Joe's next to the liquor store is very convenient for a lunchtime run) and headed to my parents' for a relaxing dinner. My mom called me when I was halfway there--eager to find out how it went down, natch. So I chatted (handsfree, don't worry) and told her I'd be there shortly.

Turns out my parents like mojitos, at least the way I make them. I rehashed what had happened, and how I'm dreading my one co-worker's reaction next week--I'm afraid she's going to be mad at me for keeping it a secret, and for "abandoning her." They assured me she'd understand.

It's gonna be weird tomorrow. Originally that co-worker had taken the day off, but she changed her mind and will now be there. I can't say or do anything to tip people off, so on the outside I'll be my usual worker-bee self.

Inside, though, I'm Unemployed Woman Walking.


It's Tuesday? Only? Already?

It feels as if this week is going too quickly and too slowly at the same time. How is that possible?

It's possible when I'm on the verge of something, I guess. And when a million different thoughts are going through my head at the same time. Even when I stopped in the church near the office after work today, my thoughts were going in all directions as I sat in Adoration. I was annoyed with work (I'm swamped while other people are skipping around), I was anxious (more on that later), and I couldn't quiet my mind (of all the times to have writing ideas pop up).

But there's no question that there are things I have to get done this week, and one major thing in particular. In spite of being anxious and scared and just plain weary. Long(ish)time readers might know what it is, and you can feel free to speculate in the combox. And while you're at it, would you do me a favor? I will be checking back in tomorrow night, and I will be in serious need of a pep talk then. So please, just say anything in the general manner of positivity/cheerleading/confidence. And say a prayer on the side, if you're inclined. (I'm not committing any crimes. I think.)

I would greatly appreciate it.


It's About Time

I thought Ricki was the only one who got funny spam e-mails, and I was beginning to get a little envious--until today. Sure, there were the usual pill pushing ones for inadequacies that will never plague a gal like me, but then there was this gem:

"Salut- My ass wait you here"

My interpretation (or is the more appropriate word analysis? Hee!) is that it is an e-mail from a faraway person. Who wishes me health but cannot get up out of his/her seat.

The floor is open to alternative interpretation. Analysis. (Sorry, I was up all last night dreading what awaited me at work and now that it's getting late I'm a bit punchy.)


Home Again

A wee bit tired from not sleeping well in a bed that wasn't my own (6 a.m. seagull fight didn't help!), sitting in shore traffic*, changing my clothes/feeding the cat, running out the door to cantor Mass, having dinner with my parents, and buying those $#%@& books for class--and that was just today.

But I had a lovely time down the shore. Including one hysterical moment where my cousin (he's 25 and rather outspoken) declared that the one guy covering the track & field events (Tom something? He's also a football commentator, I think?) scared him. . . and right then Tom Whatever appeared on the screen, leaning eerily close to the other commentator (the former Olympic runner) as he spoke, like some sort of creepy child molester! Aaaah! I thought we all were going to die laughing.

*O.K., I should have left earlier to get ahead of the people checking in/out of rentals, but my cousin (the 25-year-old's mom) didn't want me to leave. What can I say? I'm good company! I bring bagels and contribute snarky Olympic comments!


Fret Fret Fret

So the meeting down at school was. . . overwhelming. Not an auspicious start when all the street (metered) parking is jammed full and it cost me $11 to park. Then of course there's construction everywhere and seeing as I haven't been on campus in two years, and it was raining that day, I walked past the building for the meeting, thanks to the lovely barricades. Did I mention I had nightmares about not being able to find my classes for years after getting my bachelor's? God bless the nice students who pointed me in the right direction.

The good: Finally met some of my classmates--turns out I'd had classes with two of the three. That was cool. We all shared horror stories about having class with Karen the Angry Native American. (Never again! Yay!)

The bad: I got handed a SYLLABUS.

The ugly: Dammit, I have to buy books! (I was hoping to be done with that.) And read and have discussions. In addition to, you know, going to school every day and learning technique and preparing lessons and teaching those lessons. Holy cow. I really wanted to try to get a part-time job to help with expenses, but now I'm not sure I can handle it.

So, um, yeah, I'm feeling mega-overwhelmed. I know, I know, in a little while things will get "processed" and my perspective will adjust. But right now? Scary.

Headed to the shore for a few days. Back with fresh perspective soon.


Suburban Beach Bum

Day one of vacation: Slept in until ten, made a few phone calls, bought sunscreen and soda, and then hit the suburban beach (a.k.a. Mom and Dad's backyard) for reading and sunning.

It was nice not having to get out of bed early this morning to go to work, especially since I'd been up late the night before, doing a little work on my writing. I realized I had a major perspective problem in the middle section, because I decided for consistency to alternate it between the two main characters, and that will take some time to rework. Really need to fix the iMac's printer so I can print it out and scribble all over it. At least I'm hoping I can find someone who can fix a ten year old printer. And wants to. In any event, once I work that out, and flesh out a few more ideas, I might be done with Novel #1. That would be fantastic. Looking forward to having other people laugh/cry/cheer at my stories. Someday.

Finally got arrangements settled to head down the shore for a few days later in the week. First, though, I have to meet with my program coordinator down at school on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it and I hope that it goes smoothly. I need to get the details on what to expect next month. I can't believe in less than a month I'll be in high school.

So this week is sort of my last hurrah. A little (cheap) entertainment, a lot of (leisure) reading and writing. Unless I win big at the slots tomorrow; then it's champagne wishes and catnip dreams.

What, you didn't think I'd say caviar, did you? Nobody likes the red caviar!

Photo from here.


The Friday Five: Awards Ceremony

These homemade medals might be made of tin foil, but they signify "the Best" all the same. This week I'm awarding medals to. . .

1. Tracey and Sarahk, for their unparalleled commentary-with-a-side-of-snark on the Games. Special mention to Nightfly for his (very apt) comic find, and to p for her saying something that was in the back of my mind as well (language alert). Of course the other thing I was thinking, and wondering if anyone else was, was how one of the women gymnasts from team China (hah), the one named Jiang, looked a bit like Bindi Irwin, especially when she kept doing that grimace where she tucked in her top lip. Or am I hallucinating from all the Game Lag?

2. My boss, for not giving me a hard time about taking off all of next week. Things are simmering in the department and it feels horrible. Plus I needed to use up some time. And get to the beach, for crying out loud.

3. My late grandmother, in honor of yesterday’s being the 19th anniversary of her death. (Massive party next year, declared the North Jersey contingent during my visit last month. Aren’t we weird?) I didn’t get to see her that often because of the distance, and when we got together either we got on famously or we butted heads like crazy. My guess is that we were very much alike, and I wish I could have gotten to know her beyond my early teenage years. I hope she takes breaks from her bridge games in Heaven often enough to see what I’m doing and is proud.

4. The children/YA section lady at the local bookstore, for helping me pick books for my nephew’s birthday that were a big hit. I went in after work to pick up this book (it’s research for my upcoming stint at the high school, not to mention I was curious after The Wall Street Journal did an article on the author and I had a coupon) and I stopped to see if she was there to tell her thanks. We had a conversation about the series and other YA books as well. Book chat rocks.

5. The cat, for holding her own the other night when a black cat strolled up onto the patio. I wasn’t thrilled it was 12:30 in the morning and the screaming scared the living daylights out of me (BTW you owe the Swear Jar $9.50, cat), but the turf defense from this side of the patio door was masterful.

Have a good weekend, everyone; I think we all deserve one after this loooong week.


Olympic Fever and Chills

The competitions, at least the ones I want to see, have been running late, but it's worth staying up (although it almost makes me want to be in a later time zone). If I fall asleep during a meeting, that'll be why. Oh, and that meetings can be dull and seem to be held in polar conference rooms.

Swimming and gymnastics are the events that interest me most. While I was waiting for my lunch in the microwave at work today, I was talking to one of my co-workers who was waiting for Princess Shortcut to finish slopping her lunch all over the counters and so they could go eat lunch at the tables on the second floor. The topic turned to the men's gymnastics, whereupon PS announces, "The U.S. team was AWESOME. All of the Americans are doing AWESOME." She went into a monologue about basketball, which doesn't interest me, and how AWESOME they are doing, and how wonderful it is that the Chinese idolize the same jerk player she does (ugh, no wonder she chooses lousy boyfriends), and so on. She's just so darn LOUD, as if she forgets she has an indoor voice. That's PS, always the professional.

Tracey is doing some great commentary on the games, and not just the events. It's nice to have a place to discuss things (and hear what other people picked up on that I didn't catch!) where the conversation uses more than a thimbleful of the English language.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the swimming and gymnastics tonight, and attempting to do household chores in between. The commercial breaks aren't really long enough to accommodate a litterbox scoop, surprisingly, but I'm doing the best I can. I may get the gold, unless the judge from Cat-atonia isn't sufficiently impressed.

Special seating area for the judges.



Remember this fiasco from the end of last month?

Some very nice envelopes came in the mail today. Three, to be exact. Two were the reports I asked my local representative to help straighten out. The third one was the report from the FBI fingerprinting that I did the afternoon after we laid my great-uncle to rest. They'd said it would take six to eight weeks--and in fact my well-intentioned aunt (yes, the one you're thinking of) was freaking out on my mom (why her and not directly to me, I dunno) that I wouldn't have it in time--but today it was in my mailbox.

All the many letters of my name are present and in the correct order!

Now I can say that I have no criminal record, and I can back it up. And then some. I ordered some really yummy coffee to celebrate. And contemplate whether I have to vote for my representative next time around. What else does he do? Good stuff?

Maybe a grateful phone call would suffice.


Finally, a Welcome Crush

This morning I had the opportunity to sleep in, because I was going to a later Mass, at a different parish which figures prominently in my family's history, including my parents' wedding 37+ years ago. My cousin was helping sing with the choir for their feast honoring Our Lady of Knock, and since she came to our parish last month to help sing for our feast, my mom and I said we'd come when she asked if we were interested in singing. It's nice to do something different every once in awhile, and it was neat to see the special things they do that day, like the procession with the Ancient Order of Hibernians (kilts, pipes, drums--good stuff) and the presentation of yellow (golden) roses to Our Lady. I did think of Ken when I glanced at one of the photocopies of the sheet music and there was an ad for "Irish Tenor Solos for Banjos." I guess that's for shows.

Despite the opportunity to sleep in, between an anxious cat who didn't like her breakfast and wasn't sure why I was still sleeping and a writing idea brewing in my head, I didn't sleep in. In fact, I was ready about a minute before my mom's car pulled up, because I stayed a little too long in my PJ's scribbling down my writing idea. Can't complain about that, though.

After Mass, we headed out in the rain for a last minute invite to my brother's house for brunch. I've never seen so many pancakes in my life! But they needed to make quite a few considering they still have my SIL's kids visiting. I spent last Sunday with the two girls, and they excitedly showed me the dollhouse they picked up at a yard sale yesterday. I guess I'm a bit of a celebrity, or at least an interesting new face, because their little brother who is seven latched on to me and made sure I was staying for a little bit after brunch. He showed me his yard sale finds and talked my ear off. He has just discovered Macgyver courtesy of his dad's DVD player. I think he misses his parents a little bit.

We frequently joke that my oldest nephew has a crush on Younger Sister. (Not as weird as it sounds because he's my brother's stepson.) For example, he'd ask my SIL or my mom to take pictures with their cameras, and they'd see a disproportionate amount of pictures of my sister when he was finished.

So I guess now I have my very own "nephew crush" (sort of). It's kinda fun. Not to mention a refreshing break from the creeps.


CocaCola's Ad Agency Phones It In?

I couldn't believe my ears last night. How many different times have TV/radio shows/ads used that creepy "Breathe Me" song (the piano intro part)? Anybody else see the series finale of "Six Feet Under"? If you're in Southeastern PA, have you heard radio ads for a local health system with that song running in the background? (Not to mention being totally weirded out because you couldn't help associating it with "Six Feet Under"?) I wouldn't be surprised if "Grey's Anatomy" (not a show I watch but seems to make songs instant hits) had used it, too.

It's not a happy song. Is that the best they could do? Or was it more like "no effort necessary"?

Or is it perfectly in line with that slight conflict I feel as I'm happy to watch people compete but not crazy about the location?

"Woo Hoo!"

My yoga teacher was extra-happy this morning. Every week she has a different theme for the class (e.g. dance, letting go), and this week it was "celebrate." She said the "Woo hoo!" started in her Thursday class, and she couldn't get it out of her head.

Now I can't, either. As in. . .

"This is an awesome parking space--woo hoo!"

"I just returned a bunch of shirts to the Gap and got a tank top on clearance--woo hoo!"

"My laundry's dry already--woo hoo!"

I suppose there are worse things.


The Friday Five Survives the Work Week

The Friday Five almost got scrapped as the result of a bad mood stemming from work-related incidents--heaps of work that shouldn't be my main job anymore being assigned to me, and a comment by a co-worker who decided she was so frustrated with her husband that she had to tell me to "Enjoy being single." (And that was over dishes left in the sink and forgetting to turn on the dehumidifier in the basement.) I'm sorry, do frustrated parents tell couples who are trying to have a baby that they should enjoy their childless years? Don't wish your marriage away because you're disappointed he's not meeting your expectations--things are crazy right now. They're a little stressed because her mom had a minor stroke last week, but mom's home now and frankly she seems to be handling it better than her daughter. Her husband's upset because she's upset, as is their usual day-to-day schedule; I wouldn't be able to remember to do things, either.

For someone who's complaining her husband's insensitive, that was a really insensitive thing to say. I didn't want to argue or get upset in front of her, so I just left her desk. I wanted to go home, anyway.

But something cheered me up and I felt I could go on: my newest reader, Lizzie's daughter!

(Well, O.K., her mom will be reading to her for a couple of years, but I say she counts. Quit nitpicking and go congratulate her, will ya please?)

When work gets to me, I try to remind myself it's August and I won't have to put up with this for much longer. I should look forward to what's ahead. I have five goals for the remainder of the summer:

1. Get to the beach. I can't believe it's August and I haven't been to the beach, but July was somewhat of a mess. I have to have at least one night of falling asleep to the soft sound of distant surf.

2. Finish hanging all my pictures. At least my biggest picture, a pen-and-ink on cardboard of a still life of bicycles (about two and a half feet by three feet and framed) from my high school art student days, is already on the living room wall. I have about seven or eight left to hang, and most are not as unwieldy.

3. Translate at least half of my writing notes and revise novel #1/add to novel #2. You know, stop taking notes and actually write.

4. Make sure everything is in order to start school/leave work. Finish clearances, and start cleaning off my hard drive at work, that sort of stuff. I've been seeing flash drives on sale and I have to pick at least one up.

5. Plan a quit-my-job party. I didn't have an official housewarming--this home still needs a bit of work--so it might be a good excuse to have people over. I mentioned it to my brother and SIL a couple of weekends ago and we joked about having "Office Space" and "9 to 5" playing on the TV in the background.

I'm off to finish my wine as I watch the Opening Ceremonies and try to make peace with the ambivalence I feel about the games.


If I Had to Do This Day Over. . .

I would have. . .

1. Taken the entire morning off when I discovered my car wouldn't start this morning (first time ever, in six years! Yay Subaru! But boo having to stay late tomorrow when it should be a "get out early" day).

2. Waited inside for the AAA guy and watched TV or something, because he showed up almost an hour later than they'd said (only I wasn't sure he would call to say he was on his way, so I waited outside with the car, and it got hot out there).

3. Put my lunch back in the freezer and retrieved it when the car had a new battery and was running again, with new battery (only I was afraid to turn it off and not be able to restart it after the AAA guy had left).

4. Paid for my soda and breakfast bar at the Wawa by my office with a five instead of my last two singles, so I had to borrow one when I needed water from the office vending machine (the tap water is lethal).

5. Called up the young punks who usually fix my car and ask them why the #$!&^ they didn't clean my car's battery properly so that replacement of the battery was the only thing the guy had to do. It would've saved me some time and about $15-20.

6. Gone to bed an hour ago because this day was sooooo darn loooooong.


Meme: someecards!

Have you seen the cards at someecards.com? Ashley did a meme (and I don't know how she did it when her little apartment has no internet service!) and I'm gonna try it. The idea is to pick five cards from the site that describe yourself in “amazingly unflattering ways.” Let's see what I can come up with. . .

1. Why yes, I am the grammar police and I will not shut up about it. I've gone head-to-head with my boss over the whole apostrophe thing. . . and lost. So, I'm sorry if your lease says "twenty (20) days notice." Blame the guy with the J.D., all right?

2. I have a hard time sitting through seventeen minute videos on my little laptop screen while tinny sound is piddling from the speakers. Also, I refuse to read any forwards unless they contain coupons. For makeup or clothes.

3. Even a hint of possibly being passed over for something makes me feel bad. Is that part of middle child syndrome?

4. When you work with people who disappear for half an hour at a time, cell phone barely concealed, and who sneak out early every day your boss is on vacation, you need to blow off some steam.

5. Speaking of work, I do not like meetings at all. None of my previous jobs had them, and when I joined my current company I found out there was a staff meeting every week. Ugh. The frequency has dropped down to every other week now, but meetings are still torture. And last time around I honestly thought I was going to get written up for being a racist. Here's what happened: the meeting was about to end when what does Princess Shortcut do but start going on and on about the (fairly) new haircut our boss had. Honestly, I'm sorry you love saying inappropriate things and want the meeting to go on forever so you don't have to go back to, you know, work--but it was the day before my great-uncle's viewing and of course I was handed a rush deal because I can take care of it and you still can't, after two years. I was ready to get back to my desk and get hustling. Then Mr. Chatty chimes in, because his racially-affiliated buddy is talking and he wants some attention and to get in some ass-kissing, too, and fumbles around about how the haircut is "uh, very GQ."
At that point the bile rose in my throat and it just slipped out: "Say, what's that sucking sound? It's kind of windy in here!" Everybody in the meeting laughed. Everyone, of course, except for Mr. Chatty. Who does his fair share of teasing and often takes it from male co-workers and of course his buddy.
About an hour after the meeting (because that is the standard length of post-meeting playtime to ease back into work for these jokers), the admin for my boss rings me to tell me that Mr. Chatty just went in to the boss and shut the door behind him--and also to tell me she was still laughing about what I'd said. I was waiting for a call from either the boss or HR for the next half-hour or so, but it never came.
Hopefully, the boss told Mr. Chatty not to dish it out if he can't take it. Heh. But for pete's sake can we please keep these meetings on track and mercifully brief?


Straight Talk with Auntie Kate P

My SIL's nieces and nephew, her older sister's kids, are visiting for a few days. The girls are just-turned-twelve and just-about-nine, and they are into crafts and dolls, so my mom thought it would be nice to take them here for a tour. (I'm not gonna tell you how long it took us to get there--oof.) They had a lot of fun looking at the displays and playing dress-up in Victorian hats and capes for a stroll down the pretend Main Street (where the figures are displayed in windows).

My parents were given two figures as a Christmas gift years ago--they date back almost to the company's beginnings, and since then we added a boy and a girl, as well as felines representing past and present household members, as well as a black lab we affectionately call Black Peter in honor of the legendary companion of St. Nicholas. I told the girls that when we got home I'd look in my parents' photo albums to find a picture of my sister's cat sleeping on the fake snow in the middle of our display. Nothing says Christmas like an orange catzilla squarely loafed out in the middle of a snowscape.

Sure enough, there was a photo in the 2005 album, and I showed the girls. They looked at the surrounding pictures, and saw their beloved cousins (my brother's children) as babies. Specifically, my now-middle nephew was only a couple weeks old that Christmas, and my niece only 16 months. Then came the thoughtful question from the nine-year-old: "Were Uncle M. and Aunt F. married before [niece] and [nephew] were born, or after?"

It was then I recalled that these kids had not come to the much-celebrated 2006 wedding, nor had their mother. Their mother reportedly told my brother and SIL it would scandalize the kids. (Which was complete baloney, because whenever my now-SIL had a falling out with my brother, usually over getting married, she'd run off with the kids to her parents', where her divorced sister had been living with the kids. So, what, the babies came from the store? You do realize these kids get math in school, right?)

Still, with all these thoughts racing through my head, I knew I had to walk a fine line. These were not my daughters, and not even my nieces--and it was very nice of my SIL (really, her sister) to allow us to spend the day with these dear girls. What I wound up saying was, "Well, they did do things a little out of order and had those two first, but then they made things right, so everything's good now." (Which, mind-bogglingly, it is.)

That answer seemed satisfactory to the little miss, and she moved on to more pressing topics such as when was it time to go swimming back at my brother's house. Whew.

When we took the girls back to my brother's, I got my reward: sit-down time with my youngest nephew, who showered me with his drool. Drool, affection, close enough.

If It's Time to Register for Classes. . .

. . . you better believe I'm banging my head on my laptop.

Now what???

I have one--ONE!--course to take this Fall. We students register ourselves online. A far cry from standing in line with a printout in my hand at the Student Center at my undergrad alma mater, and a super-far cry from submitting a handwritten form at my first college.

First I check my status--fine, all set to register August 4. Today. Then on the next screen I have to "look up classes"--choose a subject (Information Science, natch), and. . . well, I don't really need to narrow it down further because I know the course number. I've been staring at it for two years. So I hit "search" and--SURPRISE!--it's not on the list. Arrrrgh.

The next set of steps are always the same: try several different searches, grind teeth as the course still does not show up. E-mail advisor--who is my former advisor because the one I was assigned four months ago is on maternity leave--and pray she has the answers and the patience to give me said answers.

In the meantime, I will be busying myself with a trip to my local Representative's office. I called today to discuss the fact that certain reports about my background (or lack thereof) were incorrect, and they contacted their liaison, who asked to see everything via fax. There goes my lunch break, but it's worth it if the mistakes can get turned around without my having to resubmit everything. Not to mention pay the fees again, too.

But it would've been so much nicer if things had gone smoothly the first time. Is that too much to ask?

Oh--wait, wait, wait. WAIT. You're not gonna believe this. I was about to hit "publish" when, out of curiosity, I went into my registration backwards by going to the add/drop area. . . and apparently I am already enrolled in my course. Who did that??? And could she at least have let me know, so I could have avoided the hyperventilation and panicked e-mails?

Resume head-banging.

This post has been brought to you by the indifferent administration of Skrew U.



The Fictional Character Friday Five

Last night's dinner wound up being a lot of fun, mishaps aside*. There were twice as many gals there as were at the reunion in April, and this random dude who was some classmate's friend that rumor had it had invited himself. Our classmate chef was very surprised and delighted, and I probably talked more to some of my classmates than I had the entire four years I'd been with them in high school. Maybe it was because we were older, or outside of school, or done with the teenage drama, or not in each other's faces most of our waking hours anymore, or I really was that "clouded over" in high school, but whatever the reason, it felt easier to talk with people. Some that hadn't gone to the reunion were really happy to see me for the first time in fifteen years.

The seating was a little more broken up than I'd expected, but the three classmates at my table and I chatted up a storm. They were impressed when I amused another classmate's three year old daughter with my Spongebob knowledge. Her favorite character is Gary the snail.

As a side note, the biggest shock seemed to be how beautiful (read: nearly unrecognizable, enviably graceful/mature looking) our one classmate A. had become--and the bigger shock (to those who took the most indoctrination from our feminist nuns teachers) was that she was a very happy stay-at-home mom of three girls!

One weird thing is that nobody asked me if I was still in touch with the one person, S., that was pretty much my closest friend in high school. We both were art students, and she lived fairly close to me, so we hung out a fair amount. We grew apart in college; we just were going in different directions. She went to an art school; I was at a small Catholic college and trying to figure out what I wanted from life. But anyway, we did some crazy things in high school, one of which was the invention of a superheroine, The Skirted Wonder (gee, you think we wore uniforms?), and her sidekick, Sting's Luv. Yes, that's the origin of the name of my Blogger account. So here are five facts to introduce you to this super duo:

1. The Skirted Wonder was S.'s alter ego, and Sting's Luv was mine.

2. The "Sting's Luv" name came about because I had a crush on Sting at the time. O.K., I was pretty much obsessed with anything relating to Sting. What a typical teenager I was, huh?

3. The Skirted Wonder, like all students at our school, wore boxer shorts under her uniform, but hers were not ordinary boxers. They were the Boxers of Justice, and they changed colors whenever they sensed trouble. At one point of extreme peril they went plaid.

4. Sting's Luv was definitely a superheroine-in-training: In one episode, The Skirted Wonder caught her attempting to pry a Zagnut off a locker that had been decorated, in school tradition, with wrapping paper and candy for someone else's birthday.

5. Illustrations were done primarily by S., and I did the writing. Unfortunately, all the writing was wiped out during the horrendous Floppy Disk Failure of 1994. All I have left are my memories (sniff, sniff).

Have a great weekend, everyone!

*IE is giving me problems opening blog pages this evening; if link isn't right I will fix ASAP but I'm referring to my guest post at Nina's on this date.

Grocery Encounters of the Weird Kind

Wednesday after work was a bit strange. I had to return some mail-ordered items to a store at the mall, but when I got to the store, I realized I'd left the return slip in the car. I had to run all the way back out to the parking garage to get it. Fun. Then just for kicks I stopped at another store to try on some clothes and I wound up not liking anything I tried on except some nice smelling stuff. After that, I was trying to make a quick trip in the supermarket on my way home, but I couldn't find half of what I wanted.

As I was taking one last inventory before heading for the checkout, I ran into someone from the young adult church-affiliated group I attended for about three years in my late 20s, the group where I'd met my ex and most of my former friends. This guy didn't come that often, I think, and he wasn't someone I knew that well. I should say, he walked by me, stopped, and asked, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" I said yes but I had to ask him his name, and in turn he got mine wrong--although he had a few details about me right: my writing, and (as the discussion went on) the Theology on Tap where I'd met Amy Welborn. I don't remember seeing or talking to him then, but that was three years ago anyway. Told him what I was up to, made a "hot librarian" crack when he asked if I was going to do the whole stereotypical glasses thing. He laughed so hard at that it startled me.

I asked him what he was up to and he said he still works for the national defense contractor around the corner from my office (which I wasn't even sure I knew, and had no idea he was an engineer). He also mentioned teaching CCD and how he preferred the 7th graders because he could talk about slightly more profound things with them than he would with the younger kids. That's when I mentioned Amy Welborn and her Prove It series for teens, and then we got to talking about blogs. He asked if I had one, and I deflected the question by saying I spent far more time commenting on other people's blogs and was thinking about starting one to chronicle my experiences in the fall (which is true).

I was getting kind of anxious to get home because it was around six and I was tired, hungry, and not sure if we were going to get thunderstorms, so I started to take my leave and he gave me his card. (It was at this point I noticed his T-shirt was getting a little sweaty. We're in the supermarket and I'm wearing a knit cardigan.) Said I could e-mail him and maybe we could have a drink. . . although he doesn't drink because he's "living the pure life." Huh? He then explained he gets tested frequently for security clearances on his work. (I still don't get that--what's an occasional drink?) I said yeah, O.K., even though I hate that the ball is in my court now and I can't tell if this is a "just friends" drink or an "I'm interested in you" drink.

So he left, I picked up my things and was headed to the checkout, and I saw him head out down by the self-checkout area. It then occurred to me I hadn't seen anything in his hands the whole time we were talking. When the whole thing was said and done, I really wondered if he'd made a trip back inside to talk to me. (I may be a prize, but I am so not worth your ice cream melting, dude.)

I figured he hadn't heard any of the gossip about me (the ex, the ex-roommate, etc.), because he didn't try to fish for info (I could always tell someone knew when they started doing that)--although if he mentions me to any people he still talks to from the group, and they know about me, he's going to get an earful. Not that I really should care. I'm trying to get away from that whole group. Anything associated with it is a reminder of bad times, and I want to leave it behind and move on with my life.

Which is why I'm feeling ambivalent about the whole thing, I guess. I know him from the group, and I don't know how many people from the group he still knows. The other overarching thing is that while he is all right to talk with, I don't feel particularly attracted to him. (I didn't back then, either, regardless of whether I was dating or single.) So I don't want to give him the wrong idea if he has intentions of being more than friends, and after my observations (which may or may not be on target, admittedly) I suspect it falls into the latter. I know I'm making a generalization when I say this, but single men older than I am usually aren't looking for new female friends, in my experience. I definitely am going to wait a little bit to e-mail him. Heck, I still owe an e-mail to someone I ran into a few weeks ago. It just makes me feel a little pressured to tread very carefully regarding the whole thing.