Thursday, August 7, 2014

Just Add Salt

Last night my husband and I had a discussion about letting our dog Scooter out in the morning. Now that I leave for work at five, he usually goes out around 4 to 4:15. It's dark at that time! And we live in the country.

Me: When I let Scooter out and feed the cats, I leave the front door open in case of emergency.

Him: Wait. You are saying that while I'm in the house sleeping you leave the front door wide open? So one morning I'm going to wake up with a bear hovering over me??

Me: No, the cats are there, so it can't be dangerous. I'm pretty sure they smell bear.

Him: So one morning I'm going to wake up with a bear hovering over me eating a cat??

Me: Don't be ridiculous. I don't think the bear will walk all the way into our bedroom to eat a cat. It would probably eat it in the living room where its close to the kitchen. In case it needs salt.

Him: I'm glad to know these things happen while I'm sleeping.

Me: What can I say? It's a bear-eat-cat world out there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One Day at a Time...

I started a new job this week and it's great! I'm working with my former coworker and friend Sunny and it's in an exciting area to work in. I chronicled my days on Facebook and I decided to cut and paste them over here so they are all in one place and can be read in order.

Day One:

Well, the first day is done! I am sooo freaking tired. I made the big mistake of wearing a new pair of flats today. By the end of the day my ankles were in so much pain I was limping off the Metro while biting back my whimpers. But other than that it was an awesome day! I got to shadow my friend and coworker (again) Sunny, who made me feel right at home and showed me around the area. Our office lo...oks over at some high rise condos and we are just waiting to see an ugly naked guy.

Then when I got home this evening, my mom had cake and ice cream from her and my doggie friends congratulating me on my new job and my first day. I still haven't ate dinner, but I did have cake and ice cream! That's a good night if you ask me!

All in all, an awesome, but exhausting day! Now if someone could get me new feet, I can do it again tomorrow!
Day Two:
Day 2: I still don't have a computer, but I'm shadowing Sunny and we share a computer...and a brain sometimes! Today we set up my voicemail and when I wasn't sure what to use for a greeting, she just recorded it for me. If you call my work number that's not me. Yes, I Milli Vanilli'd my voicemail.

I also wore tennis shoes to walk in and comfortable flats for work. I wore black trouser socks too.... With shorts. Ha! No. But that would be a good work look. Maybe tomorrow? I could rock that look I'm sure.

Other than getting stuck in traffic this morning and a weird case of vertigo where I thought the building was falling (yeah, that was weird), it was a good day!

Black socks with sandals and shorts? Hmm...
Day Three:
I don't think the subway is for me. Because there are people on it. On the way home today I let so many over-crowded trains go by me that I almost became a mole person living in the tunnels under Virginia. If I ever go missing start your search in the tunnels under the Rosslyn station. I will be living there with a few rats I call my cats.

For lunch I went with Sunny while she picked up a ...salad at Chop't. I had a salad from Mel't. Aka... My house. Mine wasn't as fun as hers! Nobody chopped mine!

One the way back we got some crepes from a man who sits in a little food cart on the corner. Just like they do in France! We were feeling French today. Très bon.

Still no computer, but we had meetings and teleconferences and I made calls! Tomorrow she's leaving me to go to another site and I will have her computer all to myself. But I will be lonely because there will be no female companionship. And no lunchtime adventures looking for donuts and fries!

Two more days and my first week will be over! A wonderful yet loooooooong week. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
Day Four:
I got my computer today! A loaner, but it's a computer. And Sunny's appointment got cancelled so I had my work buddy. Yay!

For lunch we went to get some gyro's and I had a great moment where I forgot the word gyro. The walls were plastered with pictures of pita's and gyros and I just blanked out while the lady stared at me impatiently. It's like going to McDonald's and forgetting the word ...hamburger. Or Mc anything. McGyro. That would be awesome!

I think I mentioned earlier that I keep feeling like the building is falling. We are on the 11th floor and even though that's not high in the high rise world, it didn't stop me from experiencing a weird vertigo feeling all week. It's gotten better except in the ladies room. It's so small and the floor uneven, that I feel like Sandy and Danny in the Funhouse scene from Grease. (Tell me about it...stud). If it doesn't get better I'm going to have to take Dramamine just to go to work! The building was built in the 60's so maybe it's just the ghost of all the chain-smoking, whiskey drinking workers messing with me. Probably pissed we are no longer secretaries getting them coffee while they cop a feel when we walk by.

Then when I got off the Metro I tried to add money to my Smartrip card (the Metro system drops off the second "T". It's very smar of them.) and it stole my $5. When I started this job, I imagined myself getting robbed many times in the city, but not by the Metro itself. I had the station manager help me add the $5 back, but then when I went to use it for parking it told me there was an error. Yes, I now have Stupidtrip card. Fingers crossed I can use it tomorrow!

One more day! ONE MORE DAY. I'm glad it will be Friday, but not because it's been a bad week. Just because my feet still need to heal from my bad choice in flats and all the walking. I just need sleep. This waking up at 5 makes me feel like a farmer. A farmer with five tomato plants, some sunflowers and a herd of cats. I miss my cats! I need quality cat and Scooter time.

Until tomorrow!
Day Five:
I made it! One week of work! It's such an awesome feeling being employed again. Being unemployed for awhile makes your doubt your skills. But I got mad skillz yo! Sorry. I'm so very tired.

I miss shadowing Sunny but it's good she gets her desk back and I can learn at my own desk. That doesn't mean she loses her shadow for good though! I've still only been there a week. I need to shadow I can! I'm much like a groundhog that way.

We decide to head over the bridge to Georgetown for lunch. It's a pretty area! We see the cupcake shop from the DC Cupcakes show. Mmm... Cupcakes. We don't stop, but it's on the list! Long line and all. Oh and there's a Benetton! I didn't know that store still existed. Actually, there are a lot of stores we didn't think made it pass the 80's. I figure this is where the 80's stores went to retire. If we looked around more, we'd probably find a Jordache jeans store. We have an awesome lunch at Chadwicks, which has a beautiful view of the Kennedy Center and a homeless man sleeping in the middle of the road. Ahh... DC.

We check out the waterfront real quick and head back. Even though we are like five minutes from Gtown (the cool people call it that), the traffic is crazy. Sunny figures we'll just swim across the Potomac next time since it would be faster. I think it's the Potomac River. Well, we will swim across the blue(esh) wet stuff surrounding us. Whatever it's called.

Something happens with a whiteboard, but it's too long to tell and you kind of had to be there. But it's a funny story involving elevators, a delivery man, a whiteboard the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and a man carrying a sleeping bag. I'm pretty sure we are one of the few people who have a funny white board story. That is what this job is like! You just never know what will happen!

I'm sure there's more I wanted to tell, but I'm blanking at the moment. I just know that this has been a wonderful, scary, sometimes confusing but awesome week! I love being employed and I love working with my friend Sunny. I owe her more than I can say both professionally and personally. She rocks at being a friend and coworker!

Well, I probably won't bore you with stories past this first week and eventually I'll get into a routines that will not be as fun for you to hear about. I'm sure you don't want to know when I make copies or send emails. But since we will still be in the city, I'm sure I'll still have a few!

Thanks again for being my cheering squad now that I'm employed, but especially when I wasn't. Having all this support helped motivate me to go to interview after interview even when I didn't want to. Now I'm going to go pass out for about 10 hours... Night-night!
It's hard to believe that tomorrow I have to do this all again. Everything is so much faster in the city and you get tired fast! Tomorrow I plan on driving to see what that will be like. That should be an adventure!
Wish me luck!

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Year Ago Today.

It's been a year since I was laid off. A year that was like a roller coaster, with many highs and lows. Some loops. A few moments when I wanted to puke. The whole package.

I had two short-term jobs that each had their own pro's and con's. I miss them both, but I kind of knew they weren't "the one." I'm still grateful though. They helped get me back into the game and stopped me from growing cob webs.

I still miss my old work family so much, even though I still see a lot of them. It's hard to believe we won't all be together again. There's a part of me that still feels this is a nightmare I'll eventually wake up from. But now that it's been a year, I think it's sinking in now.

I'm waiting to hear about the job I interviewed with the other day. I both look forward to and dread starting a new job. Beginnings are always difficult, but worth it to get to the good stuff. Kind of like a burrito. You need to chew through the tortilla to get to the meaty goodness in the middle. Man, I'm hungry now. Where was I? Oh yes. New jobs. I look forward to finding a new work family, although it will be hard to find one as good as the one I had (have).

I just felt like this anniversary needed to be acknowledged in some way. It's been a year and I'm survived. I've gained a bit of weight, lost a little confidence and had some dark moments. Like when our Blazer got rear-ended by a dump truck with my husband in it. I was working at home and had to jump into my car and race down the road to make sure he was ok. He was, but the truck was a wreck. The dump truck's insurance is paying for it and it got towed away today, but it was sad because my husband had just put a lot work and money into it and it should've lasted longer.

But there were good moments too. I got to spend a lot of time with my son and help him gain some independence. He has his license and now has a van to drive. I also got to spend time with my friend Katie and her kids and now her daughter is almost 1! I was there the day after she was born. Moments like that wouldn't happen if I was working.

Like I said, there were good and bad moments from this year. It was a cruel winter and I didn't think I would get through it, but I did. I even picked cross-stitching back up, a hobby I have missed doing. It helps relax me when everything is overwhelming. I just have to say that watching Friends and cross-stitching is a cure for anything!

I have high hopes for the next couple months. As long as I just keep swimming, I'll do all right. And stop by Chipotle, because I really need a burrito now...

I just want to make sure I thank all the family and friends here and on Facebook and who live with me for all the support I've received. I would never have done it without you. You know who you are!

Thank you.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Matey's!

I have an interview tomorrow. It's with the same company I was supposed to start working for this week, but for a different department. In honor of the interview, I decided to dig up an old work picture of me for Throwback Thursday (#tbt for those who speak in hashtags).

The memo was *THIS* big!

Here I am at my first full time job at PricewaterhouseCoopers or just Price Waterhouse back then. I believe this is also my first official desk that was all mine and boy am I proud of it! I shared an office with another girl whose job it was to do research in Lexus Nexus, but usually slept while holding papers to her face and pretending to read. She thought no one knew, but everyone knew.

As you can see, I'm wearing a nautical themed vest my grandmother made me, which, while very cute, probably wasn't the most professional office attire. Unless I was going sailing later on my yacht. I can see this is after a bad dye job and my hair has that lovely "wave" in it, which was my early 90's attempt at big hair.

Judging by the angle of the camera, I'm assuming I had it on a timer, because I'm pretty sure no one would take this picture. Do we want to guess what that pose was supposed to be?

"Wow. Look at this. It's work! Ooooo!"

"Wow. My desk is so shiny!"

"I'm so overwhelmed by all this work that I don't even have time to fake pose while taking a picture of my desk!"

"Maybe tomorrow I will wear a shirt with cats on it!"

I was also out the day they taught us how to sit in skirts. How ladylike I was!

Notice the big clunky computer screen behind me? At least I can prove to my son that computers did exist when I was younger and we didn't use rocks and an abacus. I did use an adding machine with tape to reconcile numbers, but we won't mention that. I do miss that clattery, clunking sound. *sigh* I digress...

Despite all of this, I do have fond memories of that job and that office. Even my narcoleptic officemate. I love to work and have taken pride in every job I've had. I can't say the same for my hairdo's though...

Hmm... Maybe I was actually trying to make the desk levitate using just my mind! Oooommm... Have a  happy Thursday everyone! Ahoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swinging the Summer Away

I love summer. I love everything about it. I love the fireflies, the long days and the hot temps. I just love it. Another part of the summer I enjoy is seeing all the summer shows on television. Some of them are the same old comedies and crime dramas, but some of them are a little bit cheesy, a little more risky and just plain fun. I don't catch a lot of shows because I'm more of a reruns on DVD type of person, but there was one summer show I didn't miss.

It was the summer of '08 and one I would gladly forget if I could. It was the summer we lost my father. Yet despite that, one thing happened that I never forgot no matter how many summers have passed since. That was the show Swingtown.

If you're not familiar with this show, it was a period piece set in 1976, about a couple--the Miller's, who move into a new neighborhood and meet their neighbors, the Decker's, an awesome "It" couple, oh, who also happen to be swingers.

The group of friends I chatted with at the time were fascinated by this show. It was before Mad Men and it was on a regular network--CBS, so it had to be a bit censored. But, oh my, was it wonderful.

Unfortunately, the show didn't make it pass that summer. It only had one season and I'm not entirely sure why. I think I read that the ratings didn't support the amount of money it cost to produce this period show, so it went into the summer show graveyard. Yet I never forgot.

When it came to DVD I wanted to buy it, but instead it hung out in my Amazon cart for many years.  For some reason I could never pull the trigger on it. Then three years ago, I quit smoking and my friend Suz sent me a present to encourage me. Swingtown on DVD! She knows me so well!

So fast forward to now, the summer of '14 and here I am having kind of a crappy summer. My second summer being unemployed isn't as hopeful as my first summer. In fact, the thought of applying for jobs wears me out and gets me down. I need a pick-me-up. I need to visit Swingtown!

Yesterday I pulled out the DVD's and by today I'd finished them. It's just that good!

Like I said, this is the story of Susan and Bruce Miller who move to a better neighborhood in a suburb near Chicago and meet their neighbors Tom and Trina Decker. Yet, they also have a hard time leaving behind their old neighbors Roger and Janet Thompson. Janet is kind of the 50's prototype wife at the beginning and Roger is the browbeaten husband. Of course all that changes in Swingtown!

Instead of typing it all up, I'll just copy some of the notes I took:

The first show has the Millers swinging with the Decker's. They don't mess around! Trina offers Susan a Quaalude and it goes from there...

The clothes are awesome! Since I was born in the 70's, I never wore any of the clothes, but my Barbies had hand-me-downs from the 70's and the clothes I saw on Trina and Susan were all familiar to me. Silky blouses tied at the waist and long, flowing dresses with no bra underneath. Of course!

Janet (the stuffy neighbor) made something called Rosy Perfection Salad and I can't get it out of mind.

The Decker's basement was where all the swinging occurred, but because it was on a regular network, you didn't really see much. Usually it was one dude with a bunch of women dry humping him. Everything had to be alluded to.

Grant Snow from the old Melrose Place (and the only one that counts) plays Tom Decker and OMG he's hot and awesome and has a porn 'stach! A good one too. Kind of like Tom Selleck. And he wears John Travolta 'Dance Fever' suits and tight swimming trunks and is always the one behind the bar mixing the drinks.

Roger Thompson is played by Josh Hopkins, who is also Grayson on one of my other favorite shows, Cougar Town (he likes shows with towns in it I guess), but I honestly don't see Grayson when I watch it. I just see Roger. Roger who seems really stuffy in his suits until one day you see him in a swimsuit and you are like, ""

There are kids in this show too. They are annoying because they take away from the adults and the swimming and the basements. Then sometimes they disappear and you are like, "OMG... Who is watching the children?" But since I grew up in the 80's, where you pretty much did what you wanted during the summer, it's not surprising at all that this was happening in the 70's too.

There's also a 17 year old daughter having a fling with her 24 year old teacher, which wouldn't be so bad, but the girl who plays her is so freaking annoying and self righteous it's grows old fast and you just want to see more men in tight swimming trunks. Give me the trunks! Give me more porn 'stache!

Another child storyline was a girl who lived next door to the Miller's who has a drunk slutty mother, who doesn't give a crap about her daughter most of the time. The girl befriends the Miller's son and they have a bit of a summer romance, but again, it took me away from the basement for way too long! I did like seeing Roger and Janet's son drinking leftover liquor from the adults glasses. I used to do that! Not because I wanted to drink, but because I was thirsty. Who ever expected rum in a glass of soda at 8 in the morning? Ahh... The days when drinking was just what you did and smoking expected.

How happy was I see they even gave the Thompson's a wood paneled station wagon?? Hell to the yeah!

Fondue!! Yes, there was fondue. And ever since I watched it, I'm had a hankering for some melted cheese. I even priced fondue pots on Amazon.

I love this show and I'm so disappointed they cancelled, I feel like a Firefly fan, except there are no 'con's for short-lived sex-themed shows on a major network. Well, maybe there is, but I doubt I'll go to one. How freaky would that be??

Everything about the show felt realistic. I was never pulled out of the show thinking they got something wrong. They even used rotary phones! When Roger is unemployed and Janet gets a job, there's even an ass-grabbing boss. That's the 70's! Man, I wish I had a job...even an ass grabbing one.

Sometimes I think this show would've been better on a higher channel or maybe AMC, but then I think it might've got too gritty and too realistic. I watched the first season of Mad Men and even though I liked it and I loved the realism, it was too real. I like my swinging sugar coated!

Swingtown takes you back without actually going back. It asks a lot of important questions like: "Is it cheating when you swing?"

"Is it ok to sleep with other people when your spouse is away?"

"Is swinging the gateway drug to infidelity?"

"Can I get my hair to feather like that?"

"How do you make pigs in a pickle?" Janet made them and they sounded awesome!

"Would my husband look good in a porn 'stache?"

"Where did all the fondue pots from the 70's go?"

These are all important questions that come up while watching this show. Oh and I had to let my friend Suz know I was taking another visit to the basement. After all, she was the one who gave me the key (there is an actual key party in the finale!). Sadly, she got the title wrong so she had to be punished burping Tupperware at Janet's party! I guess it's starting to fade a little for all of us...

The finale left us with all kinds of cliffhangers and sadly we will never know what happens next.

Like a summer romance, it was fun, but way too short. If you ever find the DVD's or see this show anywhere, I recommend you watch!

Embrace the basement. It may lead to the best summer of your life!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Today I went shopping at Target with my friend Katie and her three kids. While walking down an aisle with her daughter Elizabeth, I picked up a box of cat food.

Elizabeth: "Melanie, do you have cats?"

Me: "I do. I have six actually. Well, I don't really have six. They live outside. I just feed them." Notice I felt a need to defend having six cats to an eight year old. That's the shame I feel.

We walked along in silence until, "Did you make that up?" She asked in an accusing voice. "You don't really have six cats!"

It's nice that children think having six cats is something cool enough to make up. I'm pretty sure in adult land, pretending you have six cats makes you a special kind of crazy cat lady.

I told Katie about it and she started to laugh. We imagined what it would be like if I really was making it up and what I thought were cats were something else. Like that eyeglasses commercial where the lady invites a raccoon into her house, thinking its her cat.

Katie would come to my house and be like, "Uh... That's a squirrel. That one is a raccoon. And I don't even know what that is."

Me: "No, they are my cats."

Her: "That one is foaming from the mouth. And it's biting you."

Me: "They are love bites!"

Her: "Is that a fox?"

But alas, I really do have six cats. In my defense though, they are rarely all home at the same time so it's more like I run a B&B for cats. That's better, right?

Whatever. Just say hello to Fluffy. Yes, he always hisses and coils like that. What do you mean cats don't have scales? I'm pretty sure they do! I just wish I knew where my other cats were and what those lumps are in Fluffy...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Working Nine to Five in Sweats

I currently have a temp job where I work at home full time. I went to the office for a week and a half and I haven't been back since. Working at home seems wonderful, but like all jobs it has its pro's and cons...

Pro: No longer having to dress up for work.

Con: There's no incentive to maintain your weight. Sweatpants always fit!

Pro: No coworkers.

Con: No coworkers. The best part of working is all the new people you meet. I miss my CACI family so much! There's a bond there you just don't get when you work at home.

Pro: Setting up your own desk.

Con: Having your dog walk all over your desk. There's a window Scooter uses to go outside. It's right at level with my desk. There's nothing like having a dog staring at your while you work. (Almost makes you miss those people who were tall enough to look down over your cube wall at you while you worked. Almost...)

Pro: Having a paycheck. This is a good thing after being laid off.

Con: It's not very much. I feel like Rachel on Friends getting her first paycheck. "Who's this FICA guy and why's he taking my money?" This is an entry level data entry job. I was making the same amount when I started my job 12 years ago. But hey, like I said, it's a paycheck!

Pro: No commute! This is how I can make this little amount of money.

Con: No commute. Call me strange, but I enjoyed my commute (as long as there was no traffic). I enjoyed listening to my satellite radio and having that time to think. Now I just leave my desk and go in the other room. The only traffic I get is when Scooter and I try to leave the room at the same time. (He always has the right-of-way!)

Pro: Everything is online so there's no paperwork. After years and years of killing trees, I'm hoping they have now forgiven me.

Con: Everything is online. I live in the country where you are limited on internet options. We have satellite internet, which limits your downloads. It's been a problem at times, but I'm learning to work around it. It would be better if someone would bring a better internet out here, but since it's a temp job, I'll deal.

Eventually I will probably need to pursue a full time job, but at the moment this will work. It is lonely though. I keep the television on in the background, but it's above my head where I can't see it, so it doesn't distract me from my work.

Oh and as you might've noticed, my blog moved! I decided to save money and not renew my Godaddy blog at this time. It wasn't very user friendly anyway. One of the reasons I stopped blogging is because I didn't feel like going through the trouble of logging in every time. Yes, I'm lazy. I always loved Blogger because they keep you logged in. Plus, it has my interview with Nora Roberts in it! For those new to this blog, feel free to look around. I especially love all my interviews. They are my pride and joy and are worth a read! Maybe I'll start them up again... I have time on my hands!

I did import all my Getting Laid... Off blog entries over here. That wasn't easy! First I had to import them to WordPress and then export a file out of WordPress and then convert that to a Blogger file.... Anyway... It wasn't easy!

I hope everyone continues to follow me here!