An asshole walks into a union building….

There were two guys next to me shooting the shit while they waited for their number to come up for interviews. I could tell one was a nervous talker. I recognized him from the test in October, and I remember now speaking to him on the way out of the building. He was kind of a dick, but I didn’t take it personally. He still sounded like a dick. I watched the rain pissing down the windows and hoped neither of them would talk to me, since I was reviewing my answers. People were filing in and out in about 10 minutes.

He was talking to a guy who was in PCC–pointer/caulker/cleaner. SHIT I AM SITTING NEXT TO A POINTER CAULKER CLEANER my brain went, unhelpfully. The jackassy guy said he was a working as a line cook.

When the PCC dude got called in, the other guy turned to me.

“You here for inside wireman?” he asked.

“Yup.” I decided to head him off at any and all passes. “Did I see you here for the test in October? You look familiar.”

“I was here, how did you score?” Oh, okay. This is what we’re doing.

“I passed,” I said, and shrugged. My first instinct is to be super close-mouthed. I always hear my paranoid stepfather’s voice in my head at times like these: Don’t Tell Them Anything They Don’t Need to Know. I didn’t get a perfect score, but I scored respectably, well above the bar required for the position I want. “The person at the bottom of the class in law school can still be a lawyer, right?”

“Cs still means degrees,” he bantered back. These kind of guys bring out the smarmy in me. I was quiet.

Fortunately a sleepy-looking guy in scrubby clothes came in and slotted himself between us. He had just gotten off work. First a PCCer, now a graveyard shift worker! This was not looking good.

Mr. Smarmy was called in. I chit chatted with the new guy and he told me he hadn’t made it through the algebra section of the testing, which surprised me. He was nice and I liked him immediately, and I told him about some other opportunities I was pursuing, like sheet metal. Now I am kicking myself for not asking him what he’s doing to see if I might want to get a foot in there.

He told me he’d looked into ferry work, which tops out around 100K as captain, if you make it that far. I was looking into that a couple of months ago. We talked about how working nights makes you feel like you’re in a weird bubble and that dates have no meaning. I hope they take him.

I’m not supposed to talk about the actual interview content, but I will say I think I was as prepared as I could be and didn’t really stumble over any of the questions. I sat before seven people, one of whom was a woman. I feel good about it but also argh at the same time. I get to call on Tuesday to see if I made the cut or if I need to make a backup plan. I am tired of backup plans, but I will march on.

Banner Depressing; But I hate Fiddling with WordPress So Much

My banner! So innocious. I have to think some kind of update happened. YUK PEOPLE. The font is even different. I’m playing with Squarespace a lot, poorly (podcast), but when I think of porting I, Asshole over there it terrifies me. I cant believe I used to handwrite html (also poorly) for my Diaryland diary. I so just want a place I can wordbarf now. NO CODE PLZ. NO FUCKING WIDGETS.

I feel like everything’s on hold til after tomorrow anyway (interview). Pete said he would drive me if I am vomiting, since Strudel was supposedly vomiting yesterday.

I feel for kids, I really do. On one hand they can never choose their days off. On the other, they get like HALF THE YEAR OFF. That choice thing is a big one, though.

I’m out today to get a collared shirt that fits from Goodwill, I hope, the mall as a last resort. My lucky underwear (yes I get emotionally attached to my unders) is clean.

Today I am also practicing interview questions. I am trying to remind myself this is really the sanity test, which I am super good at. I am also trying to remind myself that a trade is a training program and they are looking for aptitude and not all the experience in the world…though I am sure they wouldn’t balk at taking some working electricians. I had a realization recently that if I could just interview for a living for a while, I would, which is pretty sick probably.

I just shit on Goethe’s parade a few minutes ago by making her drop a chickadee she was about to bring in and release, so she could murder it in a leisurely fashion in the house. She’s gone all Dexter since she lost a bunch of her teeth. They all look like this. The chickadee lay on the ground, twitching a little, but looked alert. I picked it up and held it in my hand. I tested out its little legs, and they hung limp. I thought it was just stunned since it was lifting its head a little.

Laura came by with her bock bock gang and stuck her beak into my business as always. She usually looks like this, with her tail flat. She saw the minuscule bird in my hand and made a fluffy display at it until she looked like a disgruntled hand turkey. I think turkeys are fascinating (problem number two after wanting to be interviewed for a living), are obviously smarter (except when faced with a harmless chickadee), and I am tempted to let my chook flock dwindle down and replace them with all turkeys!

Sometimes Laura gets on the fence, greatly concerning the neighbors (“Oh my god, is that…a TURKEY?”) and I push her down to back inside the pen. She saw me coming the other day and got down on her own! A chicken who is awake is pretty much on the verge of stomping on the chooky panic button all the time and it would be a coin toss what they would do if one saw you coming. Fly up? Scream? Go left? Go right? AHHH PANIC! Sometimes I have to grab a chicken that’s gotten out or hasn’t gone to bed properly and Laura puffs up at that, too. Very protective of her brooderbox chums.

So the chickadee kept breathing and looking around. I was feeling more confident it was about to take off when Goethe, foiled, trotted by. The chickadee saw her and exploded out of my hand. I am starting to suspect I am releasing the same bird over and over again.

I have been lazy about photographing the basement because changes are slow and incremental right now. It is hard for Pete to work 40 hours and fill in the last of the insulation and drywall, but it’s coming along. I was thinking about how I lived in a house flip/remodel in Crown Hill for three years and how I joked about it “ending my marriage” over ten years ago. I vowed to NEVER AGAIN live in the perma-remodel.

Well, guess what. It is a lot easier when you like the person you’re living in it with, and it’s slow but eating up a smaller portion (or none) of your living space. I think we were smart to have the basement bathroom done, since that was plumbing, tile, etc, and it was tight sharing one full-sized but smallish bathroom with the girls and all of their stuff and all of our stuff. Waiting for this bedroom isn’t nearly as bad, because we are still in what will be the smallest bedroom/office space, but at least we have a closing door.

So Pete is finishing the drywall and I am committed to doing the mudding, priming, and painting. Originally he said he would finish it all when I was sicker, but as I’ve gotten better I’ve been jumping in more. He’s less comfortable than I am with the finishing work, so it makes sense to tag out, since I will be home, I hope waiting for a call about my first union job in the next few weeks!

Flying the Coop

“You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.” –Samuel Beckett

I thiiiink I might be getting sick? Maybe? I haven’t been sick in over a year. I have these run-ins with sore throats or swollen glands (attractive) for maybe half a day and then I sleep it off. I woke up with a sore throat and a headache but it seems to be subsiding.

I was lying in bed kind of babying my headache when Strudel returned from school a few minutes after setting out.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Olive’s over on the next block.” One of our pullets had jailbroken and was wandering around after being let out of the coop this morning. I threw on pants and my coat and we went out together.

I looked up and down the street, figuring she’d be close to home, possibly trying to get back in. We acquired Roger Sterling because some little pullets had gotten lost in the neighborhood and she had probably been attracted to the sounds of my chickens, and was running up and down outside of the fence. The nice thing about chickens is even if they run off, they usually go “OH SHIT” and want back in immediately.

We looked around the back of the fence where the neighbor’s disused carport butts up against our property. The carport was brown, the fence was brown, there were brown pine needles everywhere. Olive is a classic easter egger and is brown, brown, brown. Strudel and her sharp eyes spotted Olive perched in the shadows of the carport, motionless.

We cornered her, and this is where I am relieved I bothered hand-raising chickens this summer. We were able to pick her up very easily, unlike more recent pullets that we’ve gotten half-grown from the feed store. I was too tired to hand raise chickens since I got the batch that had all the Todds in it in…2011? This was my first batch of day-old since we bought this house, for sure.

I really do feel nigh-indestructible now. I remember when the sore throat twinge was a little heads up that I was going down, and might be a snot factory for two weeks. This is better. I have to imagine my white blood cells are armed to the teeth at all times. (Because that is how science works.)

Sitting around, sort of, waiting to hear about a job. I am doing things like editing DNS entries to get the little podcast home set up, and I’ve taken the dogs on a long walk. I dunked their feet in the kitchen sink when I came home, which made Horace panic. I thought it would be simpler and use less water than the tub, but I forget that Horace hates any and all change, so he flicked dirty water everywhere.

Anyway, I am maybe feeling cheerier than I was on Thanksgiving. I keep reminding myself that I’m working towards being happier, not just what pays the most in the short run. Though I may be submitting myself back to a technical contract sometime this week if this job doesn’t pan out.

Assholes what do they know do they know anything let’s find out

“And so I rose in good temper, finding a good chimneypiece made in my upper dining-room chamber, and the diningroom wainscoat in a good forwardness, at which I am glad, and then to the office, where by T. Hater I found all things to my mind, and so we sat at the office till noon, and then at home to dinner with my wife.”

SAMUEL, you don’t even know! This is pretty much my exact day here. Okay, there was no new chimneypiece, but we did talk about having our first fire this weekend. And I painted the wainscot a long time ago. BUT I am out of here at 12:45 as they’ve been working me 9-10 hour days and I’m running out of time on my clock. I will be home to dinner with my wife, who made me garlicky eggs for breakfast.

News news news! I got an email yesterday letting me know I passed the electrician test and was actually above the bar needed for the branch I want to go in. Based on my test scores alone, I can choose any route. The scoring is weird, so roughly speaking, I got a ‘B.’ What a great feeling! Hard work has paid off, but I believe it would simply not be possible for me a year ago to study and retain math on and off for months. I am supposed to hear if I get an interview in 2-3 weeks. I wonder what happened with the woman sitting next to me who was visibly squirming and groaning through the whole thing.

What a long process. I left my FTE position of 3+ years on Halloween 2014, and I’ve been working toward this change since then. It’s been discouraging and tiring at times, but I think I’m most of the way through this marathon. I am so excited to have a math class once a week, and to be walking around working and moving on the other days.

I’m dicking around with my new camera that was a graduation present this summer. I wanted to embed some pics but my photo service is acting up. I will have to be content with linking to my flickr for now. I’m not great at this camera yet! Blurry shots! I don’t really give a shit with my little point and shoot, but I want to take better pictures with this one.

Otherwise I am just kind of living! It’s nice not be be gripped by paranoia or despair or just pain at random times. When you don’t have to manage pain constantly, it’s freaky how much space you have for other things. Everything feels consistent and often very boring. I feel like it took me about a year for my body to really open up and have some kind of foundation for hard work or going for a longish run. I struggled to exercise for years–my lungs always felt too small and my back/joints always hurt somewhere. Now I just glide along and if I go slow enough I feel like I could run forever.

This, of course, adds to my confidence in being able to do more, like a major career change on the doorstep of 40. Ha! Samuel Pepys always inspires me. I need to push on a little farther in my progress, meaning secure an apprenticeship, but then I am thinking about getting back to writing. For my own pleasure, as usual.

I thank God I have no crosses, but only much business to trouble my mind with. In all other things as happy a man as any in the world, for the whole world seems to smile upon me, and if my house were done that I could diligently follow my business, I would not doubt to do God, and the King, and myself good service. And all I do impute almost wholly to my late temperance, since my making of my vowes against wine and plays, which keeps me most happily and contentfully to my business; which God continue!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUILD SOME DOG STAIRS?

It actually has to be some dog stairs

I keep realizing I’m not capturing things from this summer in anything resembling a timely fashion. This was my final project in shop class. When I get paid I will carpet them. I’m feeling…berber. EH? These are going at the foot of the bed when they’re done so the spaniels don’t have to go all DB Cooper on me every time they have to go pee.

In case you have a sharp eye, you will see the jigsaw hole I cut was wonky. I was down to the last five minutes of time! Whoops. I am also reminded that I need to get rid of my liquor decanters, since we don’t really drink brown liquor anymore.

Todd Chavez has displaced their old home. My new hobby of aquarium-keeping has replaced the old hobby of despair and malnutrition. Anyone need some cut crystal decanters? Also, don’t get me wrong. I still like some wine or vodka sometimes, which seems pretty safe as long as I don’t go for the super cheap stuff.

P. got soap on himself while doing the dishes, and then stripped off, and THEN went out to give the bees a little fall snack of heavy syrup. Naturally he just threw his beecoat on. He thinks he has invented Topless Beekeeping and wants me to start the website. N-O. But I had to snap him.

“Har har,” he said, as I papped him.

So here’s me and my face, which will be 38 in a couple of weeks. WHAT HOW DID THAT HAPPEN.

For fun, here is me ten years ago, at 27:

On this day in history I went to the electrician’s union and took the math and reading test. Reading test–very easy, of course, and I was the first one finished. Algebra test–I dunno! I think I got a majority of them. But ENOUGH? I will let you know in two weeks. I am allowed to call then and inquire about results. I think a letter will be coming and there are interviews next month and in December.

There were three ladies in the room, out of maybe 60 people, and one of them sat next to me. Which was cool. She started talking about her kids immediately, which was also nice. I like people who are like that, though we were told this summer to keep being a mother a secret. She was going for limited energy, which is stuff like data comm and alarm systems. I’m signed up for indoor wireman, which pays very well but I will not be swinging from cherry pickers at 2 a.m. in a power outage. I didn’t get a chance to speak to the other lady.

I saw the new members of the Ladies Hammer Club filing into the building, which is housed with the electrical union. They looked harassed and tired in their exercise clothes and I wanted to talk to them but they looked so serious, which is the same as I was.

Here are some things I was told this summer.

1. “There is one ‘hen’ per jobsite, so watch out. Wait no, not really. But actually yeah kind of.” What we should watch out for, I am not sure.

2. “If there is a gossipy man on the site and he is trying to bend your ear, you will be the one fired for being the distraction, not him, so get rid of him ASAP.”

3. “Your pants are all too tight.” To be fair, that day most of us were wearing pants that were too tight. I pulled a page out of the Americorps workers’ books, who usually showed up to Habitat for Humanity in the those really stretchy lady jeans that are more like denim-colored leggings but do not cross the line into jeggings. Boy howdy are those nice to work in, though. What I finally ended up doing was buying enormous bib overalls. ZOOP! Gender vanish!

4. “This one guy wouldn’t leave me alone about my hair when it was down this summer, so I had to you know, corner him, and deal with him privately.” There followed meaningful jaw-clenching. I imagine this guy’s remains are entombed in a column of the new 520 somewhere. “Now I wear it up every day even though it’s brittle (sigh).”

5. “Sometimes guys will whine that they are special and should have a key to the female portajohns for some weird reason. HELL. NO.”

6. “DO NOT date on the job site. Whatever you do, don’t marry an ironworker. Don’t ask me how I know that.”

7. “Females.” I am no longer a woman, chick, lady, or girl, but a female. Females can be trouble, but the union needs females, so that’s lucky for me. Females cannot expect special treatment on a jobsite. They have to work harder and faster. Don’t let that 26-year-old white knight lift things for you. Help females out when you can, but look out and know a lot of them will try to stick the knife in your back.

8. DON’T TALK ABOUT YOUR KIDS. OR YOUR PERSONAL LIFE. OR ANYTHING THAT IS NOT THE JOB. DO NOT REMIND ANYONE YOU ARE A FEMALE. You may give 5 minutes to how the Seahawks are doing.

9. “What is the sounds of two turtles fucking?” ?? BONK *Get bonked hard with riddler’s hard hat*

I am going downtown to work tomorrow until Xmas, thank god, shoveling consumer goods into the maw of capitalist desire. I mean, I’ll be doing marketing again. More number-crunchy and less copywritey this time. HOORAY MONEY. And waiting for that call. That call for the scrappy, oldish, last chance, eight-of-nine-lives female to go to work. C’mon, phone. Do your ring thing.

Snore Club

No I will not wear the cone of shame

This week we are focusing on things like multiplying binomials and solving inequalities in systems of equations. Have you flashed back to tenth grade yet? FOILing?? I woke up in the middle of the night last night a few times and I was kept awake by the idea that maybe I should be reviewing volume. WHAT IF THERE IS A VOLUME QUESTION? I think I was supposed to go through this 20+ years ago with the SATs but I never bothered paying for them. Too busy buying Boone’s Farm (sangria flavor, because that’s the classy one).


Post apple picking in August

I don’t think I felt this way ramping up to the GREs either. If you have seen the melodramatic, snot-silently-running-into-your-mouth fest that is Les Miz! then you know there is a super maudlin scene where a bunch of children in pirate shirts are all Morrisseying about how they need to pour one last one out for their homies, etc, before the next morning’s last stand, where they will be bayonetted into curly frites. That was my run-up to the math portion of the GRE in 2002; the freedom fighters were unprofessional and doomed, but had to make a good showing so historians wouldn’t call them little bitches later.


Stepping stones I made at the cement masons union way back in July

Now, I actually have a shot, because stuff is staying in my head now. I get what everyone meant about math building on itself. I have that crazy hoover-it-all-up cokehead feeling like the more I cram in the better because it’s only 30 questions! If I miss just one or two I actually know how to calculate that percent now! AGGH.

On the positive side of things I am getting a lot of rest right now. I think I had a successful in-person yesterday for a temp holiday gig, after a good phone interview with them. I have a better feeling about going back to tech now for a short time. Mostly because I feel like it’s going to be A SHORT TIME. And a paycheck to boot. They told me they want someone “yesterday” but I am hoping that means Tuesday (the day after my exam) so I can take full advantage of this time to obsess and lick my hot spots.


Dinner Doge would like more gravy plz

Of course I am focused on other things right now, also, like making sure the girls are transitioning back into school smoothly. Franny has an analytical writing class that’s based on the films of Hitchcock and Kurosowa. She is also taking bio and geometry, as well as her usual Japanese and art. She is about to turn 15 in less than two weeks and very shyly asked if Boyfriend, Neo, could come over for dinner and cake. Hell yes, as long as he takes the bus home later. It’s a Friday and what is happening is yoga pants.

Strudel is having a VERY good fifth grade year so far and is over the moon in her advanced program. She can now also hoover in and retain all the information now, like me, but better, because her brain is new and spongy. Her teacher is very organized and enthusiastic, and apparently has the whole class enraptured. We hear that her terrible teacher from the third grade, who told the dead bunny story and screamed at people most of the time, now has a classroom monitor. There is justice, albeit slow justice. I hope the angry emails I wrote from when I was sick in bed are stuck to her file like glue, along with the other parent complaints.

A turkey sleeping in my armpit who is much larger now:

Hello Medlar

Funny day–I’m supposed to be at work right now, but I’m not in the system yet. The woman at badging said she saw all my other previous logins, but of course she could not reactivate those. This is my fifth go-round at this company, which I kind of cannot believe. I was sent home without being able to bill for any time. It took a while for my contact to collect me from the lobby where I waited, badgeless, and I had a moment where I wondered if there had been some big misunderstanding and I thought I had a job, but I actually didn’t?


Horace abed Saturday

I know this is a crazy thing to think, but I had those kind of nightmares all night where I was fighting with friends for no apparent reason, embarrassing myself with foot-in-mouth disease, and was many places I shouldn’t have been. P. had nightmares all night too–said he was stressed out by the time change.

I kind of hate waiting in the lobbies of these buildings because pretty much the only people who use them are people waiting to be interviewed, so there’s this thick tension-funk in the air and everyone is sitting up too straight. Then someone comes into the lobby, scanning the hopeful faces and calling out a name. Everyone slumps a little when it is not them. You will not be adopted today, eager puppy. The person who is plucked out of the riff raff immediately goes into showtime mode; they are on and will be for the next 4-5 hours in their bid to become an FTE. “I’M SUPER, HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY? TRAFFIC WAS FINE!!!” I do like criticizing sartorial choices and seeing who is rude to the front desk admins, though.


Normal dog for comparison

So I woke up after sleeping fitfully, discovered my period had started, and then was sent home. I have a slow cooker on the counter making ropa vieja right now, which is kind of awesome. I didn’t want to cancel Monday night dinner with my sister even though it’s my first day back, so I decided to make it easy.

Did I build a beehive this weekend? No I did not. I forgot to have the plans printed out. Ha! I ended up walking about 3 hours around and near Greenlake, and did some gardening. I took the dogs to the local nursery and bought some decorative plant things. I am the houseplant/flower person around here, and P. usually does more practical things like mows and grows food. My department is aesthetics.

I have killed some more house plants (sigh) and wanted to replace them. My next victim is club moss, which is supposed to be fairly hearty. I predict it will have a nice summer and then commit suicide in February or so. Who could blame it? This house can feel dark. P. reassures me that a thing on his list after the bedroom creation/remodel is those little tube skylights.

It was a nice mound when I bought it, but I split it up after being instructed to by the nice lady in the houseplant section. She said some stress to the roots will make it denser and mound better and faster than waiting for it to spread and fill the pot on its own.

It looks a little better from farther away, but I never mind some wabi-sabi. I also got something I had researched called a ZZ plant, which apparently tolerates low light well, and then I couldn’t bring myself to sentence it to my bathroom after the lady said it would “get leggy.” It’s so nice looking as it is. I love soaking down there, but I don’t think I would want to live in that room with the lights off. I got a pothos that I will have no such compunctions about. They are the pigeons of the houseplants world.

I got a flat of alyssum relatives/lookalikes from the clearance rack. I always like to plant sweet little flowers like this beneath roses. I bought one of those flower mixes that you sprinkle everywhere. I planted some giant sunflowers as well. I bought a couple of odd pansies and a ranunculus to spruce up my pots that were all scented geraniums last year. I am still way into scented geraniums but I need some variety this time out. I cut back the roses in the front that were a disaster when we bought the place. We are chipping away at the benign neglect that has been inflicted on this yard. It was nice to wander around and see the changes. The quince is leafing out and the leaves are so velvety, just like the fruit. Maybe this will be the year we get a couple of blooms. We walked around and looked at everything–the cherries, hazelnuts, and kiwis are budding, and someday we will be able to gorge ourselves out of the yard.

I had the yard all to myself yesterday and was puttering to my heart’s content, which is rare, because usually P. is out doing something on a nice weekend. He has been tiring himself out framing on the evenings and weekends, so he decided to give himself the day off yesterday now that the framing is done.

He’s been going slooooowly but it’s not laziness at all. When we got back from HI last year, the bathroom was being wrapped up for another month, and then I was ill all summer. He’s really only been hitting it hard recently, now that I am predictable and reliable again.

It was exciting to see the walk-in closet framed out. When the drywall’s up, I’m going to start looking for a chevron rug and a small Venus de Milo statue. I may have mentioned that I am turning my closet into The Black Lodge.

I’d like to get paid today and rip off the first day Bandaid, but I also feel like I’ve been given some kind of temporary reprieve. Maybe this makes up for the time change on Sunday? As soon as I got to work I saw an email that said my medlar tree was being delivered today, from a nursery that is located on a Butts Road (enjoyable) so I will be here to greet the tree, I suppose.

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

I have an in-person interview on Friday with multiple people. Never has one person had so many interviews for a short-term contract that doesn’t pay that well. Sadly, that’s probably not true though. If I get this it will spit me out on the other side in June, which is slightly into Farmer’s Market season. Hollerrrr!

I noticed I was using all caps again for my title and I went to change it, and then I was like, Hey, this is my blog, I’ll do what I want.

So briefly* I will mention that I went to a fancy restaurant with regular, gluten-free, and vegan menus on Thursday. In my dreamland this is ideal, because I am kind of like a vegan…who eats meat. So if restaurants are geared up to leave the dairy out anyway, but are willing to serve meaty dishes as well, I am good to go. I had a nice talk with the server who is very used to the Care and Feeding of the Modern Seattleite and she walked me through everything. It was just like at home: meat and veg! That I did not chop myself. Natch I got glutened and hit the bathroom as soon as I came home, and kept hitting it for a couple of days.

P. had a day of fallout after I did. He was SUPER CRABBY on Saturday, which was bad timing because I was out all day and he was with the girls. I refer to him and me as Captain(s) Asshole now on those bad days. My bad day was Friday, which was better because I was alone and forced myself to take a walk with the pooches, which helped. But by Friday night I had drunk the house dry (not very much, actually, I think half a bottle of wine and a can of cider…) and was rolling around in bed DYING for a baguette with brie and jam smeared on. I could see it my head, like those cartoons where they are starving and suddenly someone looks like a walking, talking, ham.

What the fuck is this shit. I get glutened, and I want more of what is poisoning me. WHY, BODY, WHY?? In the past I would have just gone for it, and then passed out and woke up with a terrible headache. Instead I made myself some socca and spread jam on them, kind of like a crepe layer cake. I yelled at P. as he attempted to straighten the quilts around me so I would be warm and comfortable. I am lucky he didn’t “accidentally” put the pillow over my face.

So Saturday was my business class and I was nervous because I thought maybe I wouldn’t be able to pay the best attention. But I was really focused throughout it and it answered a lot of little nagging questions I had. It was nice to talk to someone who has actually rented space in commercial kitchens and could answer my questions about that–namely, is it possible to do gluten free preparation in a shared space? The answer is that I am going to have to buy my own equipment, which is not going to break me. We’re talking things like immersion blenders, funnels, and bowls.

Most of the students appeared to be over 30. There was a guy sitting in front of me who was an oddball. He came back from one of the breaks and this wave of booze smell came with him, and after lunch he fell asleep for a while at his table. Seeing people sleep in class took me back to my 8 a.m. class days in community college, but obviously this guy had something else going on.

I’ve done a lot of the research on my own. I understand that I will need various licenses, that for my product I will need dedicated kitchen space outside my home that’s been approved by the health department, I know mostly what supplies I’ll need, so the teacher didn’t drop any unexpected bombs on me. It was nice to have some dots connected by someone who has run a business like this in Seattle.

But I left the class and felt kind of deflated. I thought, oh, I’m just tired, I’ll feel better tomorrow. But I didn’t. I felt anxiety, was sure I would fail at having this tiny business–why bother starting? This is after a few weeks of doing research, taking frank looks at the administrative parts of this challenge as well as working on dressing recipes two to three times a week. Okay, I know that isn’t a very long time, but this is also after 15+ years of knowing I want to work for myself someday (having an inn or B&B).

The voice in my head came back, the one that comes back when I am feeling ill. It said, “You’re a lazy person and you can’t really expect to set goals like this.” And I was exhausted. I slept for a long time on Sunday and Monday, and my body hurt a little again. My “tennis elbow” which was improving, felt worse again. I didn’t want to run errands or talk to people. I imagined myself telling my sister that I had changed my mind about this venture and seeing the look on her face. (She is very excited for me, thinks this makes a lot of sense, and has even offered to help me fill bottles on her one day off.)

I walked Strudel to her before school yoga class this morning, since I had to sign releases and meet the teachers, and on the way home my head finally started to clear. This isn’t me, I thought. Well, it was for a long time, unfortunately, but if I am eating right I have sick amounts of energy and can make plans from start to finish. I bet…thought the slowest, thickest person ever….I am still having fallout from gluten. I last got hit on November 17 and I had to call off work and had a really hard week. It takes me about six days to come back to “normal”–happy, experiencing a normal amount of worry about real problems, but feeling like I have the power to accomplish things.

SO FUCK THIS SHIT I am not quitting ANYTHING. I am going to the Man again with my hand out and will take their filthy lucre so I can make my own business. I will feel better. And next time we have a date night, Captain and Mr. Asshole have resolved to eat at home and then go out for drinks or to a bookstore AFTER we eat.

* Did not happen, forgot what else I was going to write about instead.

Lush: For a Day or a Lifetime

A couple of nights ago on the bus I was at the nadir or apogee of being completely out of it (considering how you rate these things), I’d just started my period and my brain felt soft and soupy. One of those nights where I came home and took my thermos out of my bag and put it on the counter, and then tried to do it again a few minutes later, and wondered how I’d forgotten my thermos at work.

I didn’t expect to be alone on the bus; I’d forgotten that P. had a haircut so I left my book and mp3 player at home. As always it was crowded at first, and as it lurched on to my hinterlands, we were all able to disperse and get a proper amount of West Coast space bubble between everyone.

I moved to one of the high seats in the very back and center and stopped focusing on my cramps and tiredness. I stopped being cross that there was nothing to do but think, and remembered that’s a thing I like to do, even if I’m not always great at it. It was cooler in the back. The windows were closed, but the vent in the back was ruffling my hair slightly. I looked straight ahead out the front window and pretended I was traveling on some kind of crappy, noisy litter or flying carpet. I wondered where I (and my teeth) would end up if we stopped suddenly.

It made me think of all the time I spent riding the bus back and forth downtown six years ago, when I was working holiday retail. I had come to the hard decision of picking up some kind of retail work after a few months of looking for a 9-5 contract. I’d been freelance editing and writing, working for our preschool to cover tuition, and I had my tiny writing gig at Blogher, but it wasn’t really the same as 40 hours a week at a tech gig, or even something like retail or coffee, which is at least steady.

No one in the tech world was biting, and I was getting increasingly desperate. I got home from a trip to Fred Meyer and flipped over the receipt and glanced at it without thinking about it. “WE’RE HIRING FOR THE HOLIDAYS!” it announced, among the ads and coupons for local restaurants. I could do that, I thought. I hadn’t worked retail for over ten years, but it comes right back, I figured. Like a herpes outbreak.

I tried to be sensible about it and apply to places where I actually would appreciate a discount, which is why a department store like Fred Meyer made sense. Of course I was scouring craigslist at the time, and widened my net to include the retail help wanted section.

I saw Lush was hiring for Christmas. They noted they were having an open house in the store, bring resume. I quickly scrubbed my master’s degree off my resume and put on something kooky–loud jewelry, red Fluevogs, blue velvet blazer. I had been a customer there for over ten years, when I could afford it, way back to when they were Canada-only. This would be perfect. At least I could be surrounded by smells I enjoyed, and maybe score some discounted lotion and some free broken bath bombs.

I went downtown, clutching my resume, not expecting much. I figured I was five or ten years out of the age range they were looking for. I walked in and got verbally accosted by the shrill and peppy woman who was the assistant manager, Janelle. She was in full-bore weekend mode, which I would get to know well. This involved, in part, shouting at everyone who walked in, and smearing stuff on people. I’m pretty sure she was smearing a cocoa butter bar on a hapless customer when I met her, a popular trick she used to brighten up aged tattoos.

Janelle was one of those people with no volume control, which helps in a shouty profession like Lush’s desired brand of pushy, in-your-face retail. She had a hooked beak of a nose and no real chin to speak of, giving not only the obvious first impression of a bird, but after working for her for a while and seeing how she would go for days without washing her greasy hair, she looked more like a heron who had been caught in an oil spill.

I also met the top dog: the store manager, Lisa, who was able to carry on a conversation in a normal tone of voice, much to my relief. As a company, Lush is known for its sometimes extreme activist stances and funding fringe groups, like people who chain themselves to whales and whatnot. As a dabbler in nihilism, I knew my philosophy didn’t really line up with that face of the corporation, but I knew we had capitalism in common, so the marriage could probably stick. Lisa lavishly complimented my leather shoes when we met, so I was a little surprised later that she had somehow decided I was a fellow vegan, and amused when I found out it affected her decision to hire me.

I got a call back later from Janelle that was so loud I remember holding the phone away from my head. I forced myself to match her level of enthusiasm to accept the job loudly and gleefully. It’s just for Christmas, I told myself. Christmas, downtown. At one of the busiest malls in the city. It was better than wearing a Fred Meyer polo and nametag, if not as practical.

We were told to report somewhere for orientation, for which we would be paid. Janelle gave me the time, and the date, and a name: “The Moore.” I knew it as a music venue, which I thought was an odd place to hold an orientation, but the economy was in the pooper and maybe they were renting space during the day? I met another girl there, Gina, hanging around outside the door, and guessed she was a Lush temp as well because of her confused look and adherence to the dress code of black and/or white, which was already being enforced. She and I conferred and were both confused, and tried knocking on various doors and looking for signs.

A few minutes later I got a phone call. It was Janelle. “WHERE ARE YOU?” I cringed in pain and held the phone away from my ear, so it was effectively a conference call.

“I’m outside the Moore Theatre,” I said.

“Me too!” my new friend said.

“Gina is too,” I added.

“WELL GET OVER TO THE MOORE HOTEL, YOU SILLYS! GEEZ! WE’RE WAITING FOR YOU TO START!”

Having rarely stayed in a hotel in my own city, I actually had never noticed the Moore Hotel existed and was relieved to see it was catty corner from the theatre. As Gina and I were hurrying across the street, I realized was one of those moments, when, if I was younger I would have felt stupid for days and probably would have fallen all over myself trying to apologize, but I knew this wasn’t really my mistake. I think it also set up how I felt about the job in my time there, and set up my attitude about jobs like this in the future: I was going to hit the due diligence mark, but I wasn’t going to get too wrapped up in the job itself, either.

I walked into a room of about 15 women, as I recall, all in the proscribed black or white clothes. Mostly black, because what kind of moron wears white to work retail, let alone in a shop that is full of brightly-colored hunks of beauty potions that would explode when dropped or stared at too hard, or melt if exposed to the sun? I vaguely recall Janelle saying something awkward and shamey to we derelicts when we walked in, and Gina looked chagrined, but I thought that if Janelle could manage her way out of a tatty, repurposed bath bomb bag, she probably would have just started the orientation. I noted that Lisa the store manager was nowhere in sight, so we were at the mercy of Janelle.

We were informed about the structure of our day. For the first part, we would learn about the many products Lush offers, with an emphasis on limited edition Christmas product and gift boxes. We were hired right after Halloween, so we were to learn the theme for that year which tied back to Halloween (and moving leftover Halloween product). This year’s theme was: SUUUUPERNATURAL, Janelle intoned dramatically, writing it on the white board in the room.

It somehow reminded me of what I imagined summer camp was like when the crappy counselor was left in charge for the evening while the cool teens went off and got drunk: “Ghost stories, kids. SPOOOOOKY!” There is nothing like a watching a power-mad person finally getting that juicy leadership opportunity they so desperately crave, and then being captive audience to an entire day of their grandiose over confidence. I knew that we could expect a day of watching lines Janelle had practiced in the shower falling flat.

Of course I had worked Christmas retail in the past (Best Buy, Tower) as well as at Safeway as a checker during the holiday rush. I knew little enraged customers more than clueless holiday help who cannot answer basic questions about products or know where anything is, so I tried to really commit what Janelle was emphasizing to memory. The top enragers for customers were 1. waiting. For anything and 2. being told that something was out of stock. Dealing with bumbling holiday temps was often a precursor to a full-blown customer tantrum, because first they had to deal with a 19-year-old girl going, “Do we have face lotions…ummm…” before being told that the lotion they want is out of stock and then being made to wait in line to buy a second or third choice.

Once I got the basic product lines breakdown, it was pretty easy to think about how to sell the product. Lush follows the typical conventions of the world of product fragrancing, and you could chuck all the products into bins in your mind. The olfactory experience of walking past or into a Lush store is a lot like that of a perfume truck crashing into a whorehouse, but there are distinct categories. There’s my favorite world, which is citrus anything, especially bergamot. There’s kind of weird-fruity beyond citrus, like blackberry or apple. I thought of these products as being targeted at children and someone who never met a Katy Perry perfume they didn’t like. There’s the floral categories–rose, jasmine. There’s the foodie/vanilla/chocolate/honey products. Then there were “green” or herby-spicy concoctions that were meant to smell like you’d been rolling around in the woods making out with Stevie Nicks (SPOOOOOKY). These herby scents were especially emphasized in my Supernatural holiday season.

You can break all these categories down into further patterns. If rose is involved, you can be pretty sure that they are going to add some citrus or carnation to it, too. If there is jasmine, either vetiver or or ylang ylang will probably be involved. And so on. In spite of their we’re-so-wacky image, Lush usually sticks with the tried and true combinations, which is just good business sense. It’s incredibly convenient for me, too, because after working there and smelling, and smelling, and SMELLING vials of essential oils and all the products over and over again, it’s pretty easy for me to eyeball a “new” product via the site and immediately know whether or not I will like it.

This was just one facet of how we were expected to sell products. The other major facet was the benefits of the healthy and natural ingredients. It was distasteful to witness some of the regular staff selling products with purported anti-aging benefits with a touch of the “let us save you from disfiguring wrinkles” fear-mongering. I believe that sunscreens (which Lush products do not contain) delay the aging process and do cool things like reduce skin cancer, but beyond that wrinkles are inevitable, of course.

I avoided this tack all together, and even had some women try to suss out my beliefs about “anti-aging creams,” which I thought was interesting. I never once had anyone walk off in a huff after I said things like, “aging is inevitable, but this cream could make your skin type feel nicest on the long, drying march to the grave.” It always seemed like a test, and as soon as these rare individuals twigged to the fact that I wasn’t going to try to scare them into buying something with a bunch of anti-feminist claptrap they warmed to me and seemed to trust my opinions and recommendations more. It was a funny dance.

There was also a lot of beneficial factoid stuff we were supposed to spout about the ingredients of every product. Janelle recommended we memorize three facts about every product. A tall order in a store with dozens of product lines, with anywhere from two to thirty products in each line! But I had always been interested in fragrances and perfumes, and was actually looking forward to learning about essential oils and principles of fragrance composition, thereby sewing another badge on my World’s Dilettante-iest Dilettante sash.

The afternoon after lunch was spent focusing on gift boxes, roleplaying various customer needs scenarios, and being quizzed on products, scent families, etc. Then we were all given our individual first week schedules. There is no commission at Lush, but it was strongly implied that capable (meaning high-selling) and flexible workers would get more hours as the season wore on. Then it hit us, as we looked around the room at the new colleagues were had gotten to know that day: theoretically, there were slots available for all of us to work, but some of us would get more hours than others.

In the weeks before Thanksgiving, we lost some girls right away. I say “girls” because that is what most of us were: very young, and we were working in such a feminine environment. We pedaled flowery products that looked like cakes and hearts or bears or what have you. 99.9% of customers who walked in were women. We were always addressed as “girls” by Janelle, who was twenty-five to my thirty-one. I think the only people in their 30s were me and one other woman who thought everything was pretty much bullshit as well, but wanted to make a little extra cash over the holiday and score some cheaper Christmas presents. I rarely worked with her, because unlike me, she had a real-deal day job and was only available at night.

So, as I said, we began losing some girls right away. They couldn’t handle the high-pressure sales tactic style that was expected of us, or the kooky singing or dancing or yelling or endless product demo offers. We were constantly pushed by management to offer little impromptu hand treatments to anyone and everyone who walked in the store, and some girls shied away from that. There were some who had bad attitudes or problems or could not hide their contempt for Janelle, which was the death knell for any temporary clerk there.

Lush was at the end of the mall, sticking out into the public plaza adjoining the mall, and was always full of shoppers, protesters, proselytizers, hobos, criminals, police on horses and bikes, horse-drawn carriages, nut vendors, and assorted other rabble. The store really did jut far out like some kind of verruca of a weird architectural afterthought on the building itself, and was basically a glass-walled box on three sides and was nicknamed “the fishbowl.”

Occasionally men were attracted by the display of girls in tanktops and aprons, dancing around in the fishbowl like fools to Off the Wall or Lady Gaga. The ladies’ club atmosphere in the store would change very abruptly and clerks would try to dodge men who we all knew had no interest in actually buying anything. They used us as a captive audience to mack on. There was one guy who claimed to have xray glasses and could see us naked, and would chortle over the bath bombs and how they looked like “tittays.” Other men who showed up, thankfully, were either gay, and so were part of our clubhouse vibe since they were just there to smell good and feel nice, or they were husbands/partners and had been indoctrinated or resigned to coming along.

We were told over and over again than men were repelled by Lush because they had a stronger sense of smell than women, which never sounded right to me, and seems isn’t true anyway. I always thought it was, to oversimplify things, that women are socialized to fragrance their person, their home, their clothes, and have been sold things via fragrance for many years. Imagine these stock photos/ads with all men. Oh, I did that. Here’s men enjoying smells. Women enjoy the smell of cleanliness (which should really be the absence of smells but that is a rant for another day), fruit, flowers, food, babies. I think men are supposed to enjoy smelling meat, brandy, and pussy. Lush does not sell those things, and is indeed very PETA-friendly, so I think meat is out and maybe even pussy unless it’s being humanely sourced.

One night when we were closed, doors locked, I realized were were still a captive display even after hours when a man walked up to our doors that opened to the plaza and exhaled the most enormous lungful of pot smoke that I think I have ever known to come out of a human into the crack where the doors met. Was that harassment? Intended as a gift? A response to the fumes that were emanating from the store? I was irritated and hoped it wouldn’t make me sleepy, since I still had about an hour before I could even make for the bus.

There was a barista who worked across the way who liked to come in when the youngest, bosomy-iest girls on staff were working. He had what seemed to be a legitimate phobia of glitter, which is an ingredient in many Lush products. When we were slammed and I found myself alone on the floor, while watching him attempt to cadge an arm massage from one of the other clerks, I would approach them both, slathering a shimmer bar on my forearms casually. He always fled with a nauseated look on his face. I got to know him better when I picked up hours at his shop as well, in an attempt to patch together forty hours, and he confessed that glitter really made him feel like he was going to vomit.

The mall itself was a funny community, and I missed it when I left. There was a Waldo who walked through the mall regularly. There were bomb threats and fights and shoplifters being hauled out by bike cops. My barista friend would keep me in the loop about who was sleeping with whom, and what a creep the Rosetta Stone kiosk guy was. Sometimes he would take me to spend my paltry barista tips drinking at PF Changs, or I would stop at the Buckaroo on the way home, my children long asleep after my late hours, and spend my money on one beer.

In the food court, the bubble tea people got to know me because I would come for half price, day old banh mi on Sundays, which I also loved, because I would treat myself to free street parking instead of the horrors of the bus. They knew me at McDonald’s, too, because this was the only time in my adult life where I was that desperately in need of cheap quick calories. At first I often packed a healthy and thrifty lunch, but it would sit in the jumbled morass of the one closet in the store where we were allowed to keep our coats and bags, and by the time my break rolled around, everything tasted like perfume, which made it really hard to choke down. Far better to spend a dollar on a burger, which my body would rip through after standing for eight hours. Like the kids I worked with, sometimes I just said “fuck it” and had a bubble tea for lunch.

When I was really getting into the groove of working there, I remember being in the aisle popping and locking to Justin Timberlake or something when a group of ladies walked in. That thing happened where you are glancing at someone right before the moment of recognition and it happens slowly, because you are both out of context for each other. Then we had it, at the same time: library school. She had tried to help me get into the PhD program a few years before, and I knew she had dropped out of it herself since then, but was working as an information professional somewhere. People who did not think I was a chucklehead assbiscuit in library school seemed to think I had some kind of bright future somewhere (still waiting on that one, ha ha) so I wasn’t to surprised to see her look of total confusion as she took in my apron and my sick dance moves.

“SJ…what are you DOING here?” This was said politely but with a sense of genuine bewilderment, as if she had caught me clandestinely smearing myself with feces.

“I’m working,” I said.

“Oh,” she said. She literally turned kind of red and did sort of an awkward lurch-step backwards out of the store again, without so much as a “goodbye” or “I’m sorry.” Her friends followed her. It was like a Victorian novel, and not only was I smearing myself with feces, but I was doing that while being a disgraced heiress who was now a three-penny upright in an alley.

In order to avoid reminders like these that I once had had a promising future as a corporate drone, I aggressively lobbied for day shifts. A side benefit of this was that I now had ample opportunity to work with the regular, non-seasonal staff. I was known as a go-getter who could connect with people, was a hard worker, and could move a lot of product. All of the clerks liked me and a few decided to take me under their wing, which of course involved talking much smack about the other regular clerks.

My favorite clerk quickly became Aoife, who confounded some things I thought I knew about people. First, she was an African-American woman with an Irish name that was challenging for many Americans to spell, let alone pronounce. She was a single mother who spoke in a particular accent that I had previously associated with African Americans from the South. If I had to guess, I would have assumed she was from Georgia. Nope–Alaska. Something else unexpected, since a common American stereotype/belief is that there are no black people in Alaska. When I met her and she told me she was from Alaska, she said, “Yes, that Alaska. The state.”

Janelle and Aoife hated each other. Janelle told me Aoife kept a gun in her bag in the terror pit that was our personal belongs closet. Somehow I managed to tactfully ask Janelle what her opinion was on why Aoife carried a gun and Janelle looked at me meaningfully and said something like, “You know–ALAAASKA.” (Spoooky.) Whoever came in to work would stack their coat and bag in the closet, and by the time your shift had ended, of course a bunch of ladies had put their stuff on top of yours, so you had to fish your stuff out from the bottom, which would send everyone else’s belongings flying and shifting! Woe betide you if you’d forgotten to zip your bag all the way. Every time I had to get my things after clocking out, I thought of Aoife’s alleged gun shifting around in there and I hoped the alleged safety was on.

Aoife told me that Janelle had bipolar, and was on and off her meds, which she said explained a lot of her erratic moodiness and various states of hygiene competence. “That girl just smell sometimes,” she told me flatly, and I could not disagree with her. Janelle usually stank of old pot smoke or hair grease, which seemed to conflict with her forcing me to listen in great detail what bath she had indulged in the night before, using about seven different products. If only she would dunk her head. Janelle would prescribe me various baths and send me away with homework and a promise to give her a full report about exactly what bathing with an Avobath bomb AND a Sunny Side bubble bar was like.

The mall was a clusterfuck and my bus stop and bus was downright dangerous sometimes, but there was something that was working for me about the job, and it had one huge advantage over other, theoretical future jobs: I actually had it and knew how to perform my duties. I was surrounded by mostly women and the two delightful gay men on staff all day. I had whole weeks where I rarely interacted with any men at all, beyond P., which was exactly what I needed then. I would come home and rub balms and face masks all over myself and just relax and smell good, which was nice.

But the downsides (besides the customers, ho ho)…I took a LOT of inappropriate boundary crossing from Janelle, from hearing about her sex life and her finances. She touched me a lot, too. She was fascinated by my breasts too, and asked if she could touch them. They are fine boobs, but really, they are just boobs, not made out of powdered unicorn horn or anything. Aoife told me out of the blue that she thought Janelle “had a thing” for me. I prayed that “the thing” was a raise and some defective product. I don’t think she was into me.

One day I was working the register and she was admiring my chest tattoos, which, fine. “YOU NEED MORE!” she declared, and began drawing on me with a Sharpie to create a piece in the middle of my breastbone that would link the two flowers. It sort of looked like a constipated sun. I couldn’t really run off the floor and scrub this off in the bathroom, so I endured questions from customers about why I had let an uncoordinated child draw on my body with magic markers. It was ironic to me because I knew she fancied herself an artist and had previously worked as a sign painter, which I didn’t know was even an actual job anymore.

Janelle took credit for this masterpiece every time, and I think the customers saw the “dear god, help me” look in my eyes, but Janelle thought we were bonding, I think. She implied that the young girls were twits (they weren’t really twits, just young) and the older girls were trying to backstab her for her job (they were) and I was the only one who “got her.” It takes me a ridiculously long time to tell a person I like what I am thinking or feeling, or anything beyond the barest thumbnail of what my life is like (I think a nicer way to put this is to say I am a bit “guarded”) so it occurred to me that she, a real freakazoid, probably knew next to nothing about me, really. I just spent hours listening to her ramble inappropriately while keeping a poker face, something I learned from dealing with my mother.

I was still relentlessly applying for jobs anywhere, everywhere else. I had a promising phone interview for a taxonomy contract at Nordstrom that went nowhere, and a few other false starts. Christmas was right around the corner and I knew that we remaining clerks (there were fewer than half of us left) would be cut loose and let out to wander the world looking for the next horrible retail gig, unmoisturized and no longer smelling of ginger or lilies. I had heard a rumor that sometimes really good temp clerks would be invited to stay on and convert to permanent, but I have had my dick pulled with that one in almost every temp job I’ve ever had. It’s usually just something they tell you to entice you to behave, like “Santa is watching” or “the IRS still has enough funding to do audits.”

One night shortly after Christmas I closed with Janelle and after the last of the earlier-shift clerks had left (it was usually just two of us after seven or so, a key holder and a little minion like me, who was expected to do most of the stocking and cleaning). It seemed that most of my compatriots had been given their last week of shifts and would be cut loose before New Year’s Day. I had not been given mine. Janelle locked the doors and turned up the music. She seemed a little shakier than usual, but I knew she routinely stayed up for days at a time, so I figured she and her boyfriend had just been up on another one of their sprees, which would involve another horrifying story about his Burner friends or insinuations about polyamory while I just swept the floor going, “Uh hah. Interesting.” (Not pictured: My soul dying just a tiny bit more while the outside of me earns $9.25 an hour.)

But no! Tonight she was excited! She had very exciting news!! “WE’D LIKE YOU TO STAY ON AFTER CHRISTMAS!” All I had to do was sign the paperwork. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was not the end, that I could find a different job that paid better and didn’t involve doing the electric slide while wearing a blueberry face mask, but I still felt my chest collapsing a little. The store manager would discuss it with me during my next day shift and would have the papers.

Sign away I did. Later that day, I kid you not, I was cornered by two dogs, one off leash while I was jogging through Greenlake, and the other in the store itself, and I had a panic attack. This was when I developed my temporary dog phobia: the day I signed on at Lush. Of course I think it was more complex than that, and would not have developed if I also wasn’t experiencing escalating health problems (anxiety related to malnutrition, etc.), but it was interesting timing.

Things got very rote after the holiday madness died down, and there was surprisingly low turnover at that store, so I was the new kid for the rest of my tenure there. The other clerks were very welcoming, and even the ones I couldn’t read well confessed that they were very happy I’d been picked and voted for me. I stayed three more months at the standard 30 or so hours a week so they didn’t have to provide benefits, and then in March I found a tech contract that more than doubled what I’d been making at Lush. I hung on to a few evening shifts, just to keep my hand in and keep in touch with a group that had been a mini, temporary, very dysfunctional family during a very difficult period, but eventually it was all too much, working more than forty hours a week, and I gave my notice.

Every time I go into a Lush store and am assaulted by the rabid employees and I see the trepidation and desperation in their eyes I am reminded of my time there, as I gently tell them, “It’s okay, I used to work here. I know the deal.” The really jesusy ones push on anyway, “WELL DO YOU KNOW ABOUT OUR NEW SPRING LINE?” and remind me of the “pep talks” from the managers (“WE NEED TO MOVE 6K BY NOON LADIES!!!!”). The normal ones look relieved and say, “Oh, okay, have fun then” and leave me be. And I am relieved that I get to leave without clocking out, covered in stale sweat and glitter and regretting all my choices that led up to this point.

The Plan of a House The Body in Bed

MAN I am dead I tells you. I’m okay with starting a new job this week, really I am. I like money. What I didn’t expect is to walk for a half hour to pick up my girls every night. This is totally great, but in addition to waking up at 6 and keeping up on yoga, I am just tired. I’ll catch up.

The stressful thing is starting a new job and having summer camp end two weeks before school starts. I forgot about this bullshit. What to do now?


Goethe decides I am done with yoga.


Mère takes a bath. She was under the weather for a couple of days and I was worried about her. She slept smooshed up against my ribs last night which she never does–usually she’s between my feet. This is better than that sick cat who hides under the porch, how sad is that?


Goethe LOOOOVES her mother. Mère finds her daughter annoying. I find all of this hilarious.

I uhhhh drunkenly syndicated my blog on Kindle. I guess my point in telling you this is that it’s so easy a person who has consumed half a bottle of rosé and a small glass of whiskey can do it. Jennyalice told me to do it this weekend when I was in San Diego, and as it turns out she’s a pretty good boss. “Drink more mai tais,” she said. “Wear my underwear,” she said, handing me a spotted pair with a proper butt part since I packed drunk. I have always wondered what it’s like to pack drunk. Here is the answer: hot pink bandeau bra with silver zebra stripes, bikini top (note lack of actual for real bras) and assorted XXX-tra fancy thongs. Apparently I thought Squid‘s mom’s house was some kind of porno set.

Anyway, I hope the syndicating will be worthwhile to someone, since sometimes I write long and sometimes I write short, and I hope the average of that feels like value. I’ll have the link up when I get it. Apparently they have to look at my blog and assess its value and make sure it’s a really real thing or something. I’m still going to finish my first date series, don’t worry.

Also, this is kind of funny, ha ha, I signed a book contract for the Victorian cookbook in San Diego. Remember that? There’s more to it, and also less to it, but suffice it to say that I have a manuscript due January 5th, 2012.