And in the words of that immortal God Samuel J. Snodgrass, as he was about to be lead to the guillotine; Or, I, Anonymoushole

BOOT CAMP. Argh! You know what, I have to go into instant aside here. Preface? I feel so FREE right now. I’m now part of a community where I am a tiny little cog and as long as I’m acting right and following the rules, no one gives a shit about me. I’m unvisible. I always felt somewhat self-conscious writing anything about tech world, because I was in that Venn sliver of “librarian” and “tech.” It’s a smallish community and those are people who know how to google stalk. When I started blogging, the internet was a little smaller and I was on the precipice of being a library science student. Now I am just one of many, and who even blogs anymore?

I had my introductory night where I signed what amounts to a ten-year contract. (We remove your Thetans or your MONEY BACK.) I dither a little bit in my guts about whether or not this is a good idea, but I am like, what else am I going to do for the next ten years that’s going to agree with me? A person’s gotta work, eh? I’m in the prime of my life, healthier than I have ever been EVER, I might as well pick up a trade that’s not quite recession-proof, but at least automation-proof. I have this close-up vision of learning and moving for a living, and a farther-off vision of being 50, buying an inn/B&B and doing the electrical myself.

So…boot camp. I like the apprentice wrangler. I like all the administrative people. They all seem reasonable and want to work with you to get you through. First Aid was interesting. I didn’t get the guy’s credentials but apparently he does a lot of union training in Washington. After 40 years in various facets of the medical field, he was really focused on common sense. He really denigrated CPR and how it’s taught in the US, but, if the save rate really is so low (less than two percent), I can see why. I got a little hinky sense that he didn’t like me, or was trying to ignore me, which whatever. It was interesting to me that after two days of shit talking CPR, I was the only one he yelled at when practicing on the dummy and the only one whose hands he moved.

I felt a little ripple go through the room the first night when I came in, and some heads turned and did double takes. There is the highest percentage of women in the trades in Washington, but it’s still low…something like 19 percent. Women interested in electrical are often pushed towards limited energy–low voltage network cable stuff. There’s not many inside wire(wo)men. But I’m not a unicorn either.

The good news is I already feel like I’m wallpaper. I keep my mouth shut most of the time. I have been cracking jokes when we’re clumped up together, not self-deprecating, just trying to be funny. One of my soft skills. The CPR baby was hideous, dirty, 30 years old, and missing a leg. “What do you think its name is?” someone asked. “Lucky,” I said. I helped a guy with tool ID just because I could and I knew it. I guess I already have a feeling that I need to prove myself, but I’m not going to wear myself out yet.

I can be dispatched starting Monday, once I have basic tool ID/usage and now First Aid under my belt. We are expected to continue attending boot camp in the evenings, even if we’re off to work. I got waived out of OSHA since I’ve had it recently. There’s about 20-25 guys on the list ahead of me at this point, so I imagine I’ll go out in February at the earliest. I’m going to get my apprentice tool kit soon, and I’ll take a picture of it–I just have to.

First night in the shop/lab tonight, dressed out with boots, bibs, etc.

In Other News: Cooking Thots with I, Asshole

Belonging to the Y is going really well. I am sore pretty much every day right now, but not to the point where I can’t move. When I used to exercise, my back would be toast by the end of the day. Now it’s like “I’m okay” and I sleep like a baby. I’m mixing it up between yoga, interval/circuit type training, and swimming.

I spaced on taking my vitamins for three days, that is all, and I woke up in the middle of the night with a numb hand and forearm.

My Muppet Brain: OH NO OH NO OH NO OH NO.

My Thinking Brain: BRAIN, shut up and think…vitamins! We forgot vitamins.

The next night I was fine!

One thing that happened that is a SUPER BUMMER in my tiny world is that I put a book on hold with the library called Paleo Takeout in October. I was VERY EXCITED when I read about this book because I miss Americanized Chinese food especially.

My hold number didn’t come up until right after I started the Whole30 again this month. Paleo Takeout is that kind of “fantasy Paleo” shit I was being salty about around Xmastime, and it makes the True Believers hate rate and get pedantic. HOWEVER, again it’s great for the allergic. But I am avoiding honey and rice this month, and there’s a lot of that in the book. And cheese, which turns me into a tiny Hindenburg. I just can’t bring myself to convert something like sweet and sour chicken to comply with Whole30. (Hint: it would just be SOUR. Ha.)

The book is due back before my month is up, so I will probably end up buying it. I can usually eyeball recipes now and can tell if they look legit. The girls have been flipping through it and are excited to have some PMS YUM YUMS (though I am not a monster like I used to be…go figure). I’ve been trying to make quickie subs like this one (made it shortly after xmas to serve with stir fry) but a lot of “easy paleo” honestly has too few ingredients, and the sauce just takes like its components. I like that there’s generally a lot of seasonings and ingredients in Paleo Takeout because I know there will be a more satisfying complexity there.

So, for all my smug health talk, I did fall off the wagon one night. I took Franny and boyfriend Neo to see Star Wars. We got corned, boy did we get corned. I used to wonder why I would get into such a bad mood after seeing a movie, even one I enjoyed. HA. I felt HORRIBLE when I got home, and was fighting passing out. Cried in bed, and as I may have mentioned recently, though maybe just on twitter, I hardly ever cry anymore! Air corn makes me cry, and I’m not alone. Eating corn makes me sad, achy, and grindingly angry.

Pete was like, “Are you going to sleep tonight?” I was like, eventually probably. He made chocolate chip pecan cranberry cookies, which I think was good for both me and Franny, and I had a couple of cocktails. The sugar stabilized my gloomy mood immediately. All of this has made me realize why I leaned so heavily on sugar in the past. Of course the best solution is avoiding corn, but it’s nice to know I can, in theory, go to a movie with a big sugar bandaid after.

Spinning School Dropout

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

Still trying to decide on an actual banner. Indecisive!!

I am having a festival of exercise right now. I have time, programs are running HELLA specials, and I have about two months to get fitter before I get dumped out in a job site. I am told repeatedly that being a slow loris can really increase your odds of getting laid off. I have time and a wee bit of cash to throw at this, so why not get as fit as possible in the next eight weeks?

I decided to try spinning class on Monday. SPINNING. What? I haven’t been on a bike in about 15 years, no joke. I was like EHHH I can pedal in place for an hour.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

“For those of you who are new…,” the instructor said, “Your butts will stop hurting after you come a few times.”

(That’s what she said)

I could not get comfortable right off the bat. Sit high? Ow. Sit forward? Ow. Stand up? TIRING! Spin class is not for little bitches. If you’re doing an activity that is supposed to be sitting down and you cannot, you’re gonna have a bad time.

To my credit (yeah right) I made it forty minutes. Then I was like, “Is this fun?” NO. Some exercise is not fun, and sometimes you’ll have a bad day no matter what. I’ve had terrible runs where I just give up. “This is now an adult walk. All runners please get out of the pool.” There are worse things than walking.

The most important question I asked myself was, “Will I feel a sense of accomplishment when the hour is up, and will I want to return to this?” NO. Deal breaker!

I did TRX yesterday, which is a cross between the circus and push ups. Uhhh…more fun than I just made that sound. It ticked my boxes for “fun” and “I will do this again.” I’m in a brief January series just to get started and the personal trainer is really nice. I found new muscles yesterday. Seriously, I wonder what these muscles are that are hurting??!!

One more thing–I’m also back in my old yoga series, this time with Pete. He went alone last month, and now we’re in together. When worlds collide! I always did so many things on my own for years because I had this weird anti-social territoriality somehow…like a dog that thinks its dinner is going to be taken away. Or a person who grew up compartmentalizing everything. Yoga was my city mistress and then I would come home and not talk about it. Sigh.

“How was yoga?”

“FINE.” *glares* *acts weird*

Pete came home and talked about yoga every day he went. He talks about things he does like a normal person, annoying me for years, which is completely unreasonable. I think I had this view of relationships that a person should strive to engage the other person and talk about only interesting or essential things, and be quiet otherwise, whereas he is very transparent and needs to brain dump and chatter. Two definitions of how a relationship works.

I spend a lot of time going “Mmmhmm” at home (but actually listening) because all the chatter flows my way. My children are finally reaching an age where they go, “Oh, how was your day?” It’s really nice. Sometimes I don’t have a lot to say, but sometimes a thing happened.

One time a few years ago I tried an experiment. “What if we don’t talk about work for a month? And see if we talk about other things?”

“Not at all?” he said, alarmed.

“Well, we should tell each other if we get fired or something.”

He ALMOST DIED. Of exploding. I felt bad and gave up, I think before the month was over. I was very happy, because tech world is boring, and we were pretty much in the same field. Now I feel much more patient about it, in part because I can follow and remember everything really well (no brain fog) and I feel helpful because I can remind him of past instances like “That sounds like when X did Y a few months ago” and he’s like “Ohhh yeah.” My head used to kind of swim like it always did when he’d tell me long stories about coding triumphs or a heinous meeting. It was hard to keep an oar in.

Point of all of this being, when my brain changed some I think I got more patient with what he needs from me, which is to be a repository of his day and be heard. That’s definitely something I can give.

I was raised to be seen and not heard, and preferably not seen, either. This is my chatter box. In 2001 I didn’t think anyone would read it, but I figured if someone told me to stop that babbling or to go to my room, it wouldn’t matter. And it hasn’t.

In Other News

1. Franny spent a week at her dad’s over New Year’s and has returned sick again, unfortunately. She is really messed up this time–super depressed, achy, congested, bloated. Her scalp was a flaky, itchy mess from shampoo that we’re allergic to. They use fabric softener and fragranced soaps there. I feel so bad for her. She seemed kind of okay at dinner and then burst into great sobbing tears and went to bed shortly after. She’s usually so chipper when she’s not glutened and corned. She’s having lung tightness like I do when I get corned and that coupled with a cold she picked up from her other sisters that is making her a little croupy (they are always ill), she is frustrated.

The night her dad dropped her off (Sunday) she was a little out of her mind and seemed drunk or stoned. She was rambling on and unable to finish her sentences or complete a thought, and was laughing at nothing, and running into walls.

“People were really nice for New Year’s and they brought me dishes I could eat.”

“That’s nice,” I said. “Do they keep wheat-free kitchens?”

“No….”

“You seem glutened, honey,” I said.

“Yeah,” she said, and sighed.

I took over the dishes for her last night, but I had done so much exercise yesterday I could barely lift my arms, and then Pete tagged in.

I am trying to patch her up a little. I remind her to take magnesium, a bath, vitamins, eat some dark chocolate, vent. She knows what’s happening, and knows she doesn’t have an external event or situation depressing her, but it doesn’t make the depression less real. I had it about a month ago when I ate some bad nuts. I thought they were just coated with salt but in hindsight they were really too “dusty” looking. I crawled into bed and slept eleven hours. What was the point of getting up or dressed? I would never become an electrician. Would I even ever shower again? Eventually, I did.

She is lucky in that she’s going to a high school where if she needs to take a breather and step out in the halls and cry a little or just get some fresh air, she can. The penalty is that you miss part of your lesson, rather than getting slapped with detention. Her school is a “last chance” for some kids who have flunked out of regular public schools, or have had bullying problems, etc. She’s a good kid who does all her homework, but the flexibility there makes it the right place for her medical issues.

She spent years coming back from her dad’s house and being a teary wreck, and I thought a lot of it was the high amounts of sugar she would eat there. Now it’s even more extreme since she goes from being well to sick, instead of low-level sick/irritated to worse.

In summary, this is what the last four days have been like.

2. I liked this short story today from a long time internet acquaintance. Reminds me of when Franny was small. When Strudel was small, I was fielding questions about police justice and morality, how many ways there are to die, and what I thought she should study in college that would apply to becoming a supervillain. Now she’s just looking forward to swim lessons. WHEW. I come from dark genetics.

3. I have one more thing to say about yoga. I started yoga about ten years ago because I hurt myself in a kickboxing class, after an attempt to get really fit for the first time in my life. It turns out there was a reason I never did that before. I was just too fragile and prone to strains, joint pain, pulled muscles, and constant throbbing back pain. On Monday, for the first time ever in these past ten years, I did yoga without ANY pain. It was crazy. I kept expecting my wrists to go dead, my back to tweak, my hips to pop. Nothing. Before it was the lowest bar of what I could manage to do for exercise, and I felt like I had to “do something.” Now it’s fun and enjoyable. I GET IT. I GET YOGA NOW.

Meringuey Christmas

A wild Frannie welcomes you in to CHRISTMAS 2015: THE CHRISTMASNING

CAN I JUST SAY I am well tired of xmas at this point? I’m glad that Strudel is still into it, and she gets super excited about it. We’re going to ride that wave for a while. Franny is getting a wee bit indifferent to it. I can smell my freedom. I want to go someplace warm and sunny but NOT make anyone wait on me who might like having a day off as well. I am thinking a condo near a beach and do the shopping early and then spend xmas on the beach.

One of the times when my mother ran away from home we had xmas in Florida, and my uncle grilled shark, and played one of Elvis’s holiday albums. That was really okay.

I admire people who like Xmas, I really do. Especially those of you who engineer it and cook it and execute it. If you do all that and still love it, I tip my Grinch fedora to you. But, it’s OVER. Let’s review the highlights.

Pete and I spent most of the 24th cleaning, and didn’t lean on the girls too much, since we were doing really deep cleaning. They did the bathrooms, yay. So on the day of, Franny volunteered to bathe the dogs, who weren’t really dirty, but were getting pretty aromatic.


Horace likes to bundle up in a blanket after his bath.


Edith does not have the patience for that shit, but appreciates the fire.

A fun thing about this xmas was candymaking. I started making candy when I was about nine–toffee, peanut brittle, and popcorn balls. I’ve left off it in the past couple of years, because we eat less sugar than we used to, and a lot of the classic recipes call for corn syrup or dairy. I did a little research and discovered that a reason to use corn syrup is because it will help prevent crystallization during cooking, but it’s not strictly necessary.

As I also mentioned I thought I would make the girls candy this year, since candy in stockings is one of our traditions. (Pretty typical, I’m sure.) When I was a kid I would get mini peanut butter cups in my stocking, and candy canes. I used to get the girls a big mix of stuff like fun Japanese candy from the 100 yen store and nice chocolate. In the past couple of years I had moved increasingly to “safer” candy like Surf Sweets. They are wonderful in that they’re made of cane sugar, but we found that we were reacting to the citric acid in them (probably that, but maybe something else, who knows). Citric acid is in everything.

I looked around with the purpose of finding candy recipes that I could make with real actual honey or cane sugar. I look at a lot of Paleo blogs since that lines up nicely with what I need for sauces, etc. As a sidebar, the trendlet of “healthy” Paleo desserts is fucking bullshit, but as long as I’m not trying to fool myself it’s fine. I guess my point being is that this sort of fantasy health bullshit is a nice aid to the allergic.

ANYWAY, what I settled on was gummy bears and peanut butter cups for stockings:

I told the girls that those two things was all I’d gotten to by the morning of xmas, but that I would be making candy all day and they could eat some as it came out. They munched on this candy as they opened presents, and I put some congee and coffee on immediately so we would have food sooner rather than later.

I decided on turrón, which I’d never had, but I know I love nougat. I couldn’t get marcona almonds that weren’t fried in mystery oil (“vegetable oil” is a no-go for us because it can easily be corn oil), so I went with plain ol’ roasted California almonds. I made homemade marshmallows, honeycomb, and my favorite thing that came out of this experiment, meringue mushrooms. I did not make the Yule log to go with it.

Meringue is my jam now! I’ve missed whipped cream sometimes and it’s a pretty substitute. I bought too many apples and so I made a simple apple cake from the Joy of Cooking last night that was tasty but didn’t turn out of the pan at all like it was supposed to. I put meringue topping on it, as the recipe called for, spiked it, and popped it back in the oven. Crimes concealed! I remember hating lemon meringue pie as a kid but now I love it!


Honeycomb

For dinner I made “sous vide” rack of lamb in my cooler, and Pete finished it on the grill, some squash, roasted potatoes, and a mint sauce that was more like chimichurri than the sweet jelly ones. It turned out.


Lil Squash sticker dog


Laura Floofs at Morgan’s boyfriend, who has committed the twin offenses of being in the backyard, and wearing red. He has no idea what kind of danger he’s in as he chats away on his phone. Does anyone want a perfectly nice heirloom turkey? I’m serious, hit me up. A special price of Free-ninty-nine for I, Asshole readers.

In Other News: Giving the Piss

Yesterday I went to a clinic to get a sports physical, which I’ve never had before, and an agility test. I was almost as nervous about the agility test as I was about the math test and interview. Using a combination of real actual muscles that remained after being lazy and tired in my office job this fall, plus adrenaline from really wanting this, I was able to pull of the qualifying deadlifts and such with no problem.

My tester was a woman physical therapist and I was alone in a warehouse, which I was kind of glad of. I’ll be messing up in front of others soon enough. She held her stopwatch while I did things like remove and replace screws from a metal plate, held a light fixture over my head while on a ladder, and carried 60 pounds of conduit up and down stairs.

“Can I come visit you and do this every day?” I asked. She laughed. I have to start doing it myself again!

Then I had to get a short physical.

“We’re going to test your urine again, but not for drugs this time. For things like sugar and blood,” the nurse told me.

Crap! I had come down early to beat traffic (turns out there wasn’t much, because holiday week) so I noodled around Walmart for a while and peed there. AS AN ASIDE, as I was wandering around I saw Pioneer Woman’s busted mug on a set of pots and pans. WHAT UNHOLY WALMART WAREZ IS THIS.

As an aside to this aside, I would license my name to:

  • ferret tutus
  • Victorian anti-masturbation shackles
  • toddler monocle
  • a special boot for stamping on mustard packets is that satisfying or what
  • Moving on. Then I peed again at the clinic and felt very ready to lift things without weeing myself. I was not prepared to give of the more pee. I drank 12 small cups of water at the fountain and sat with my book. I’m on a serial killer kick after seeing Zodiac recently with my sister and Franny, so currently I’m reading about Ted Bundy.

    “You ready?” the nurse asked as he cruised by the waiting area.

    “Almost,” I said. I wanted to be sure (and also finish my chapter–Ted was really ramping things up). “I don’t want to waste your time.”

    Finally I was ready to embrace the cup. I remembered what they said about blood so I told the nurse after I came out, “You mentioned you’re testing for blood, so I wonder if I should disclose that I’m menstruating.”

    “Disclose.” “Menstruating.” Am idiot.

    The other nurse there who had done my drug test on Monday chimed in. “Oh, are you complaining again?”

    “Yes!” I said, laughing. “Do you have a half hour or so?” She laughed.

    “Wait two minutes,” my nurse said, and I went back to the waiting area.

    “There was a little bit of blood, but I’m not concerned about it since you are having your monthly.” He brought a copy of the form out saying that I had passed everything very well and was fit for work, and handed it to me. Free to go and very sore today, urgh.

    I’m trying to jump into a yoga immersion next month like I used to do all the time, until my everything hurt so much I couldn’t even rest on my hands in downward dog without them tingling and being on fire and I dislocated my shoulder slightly.

    MAN I WAS A BROKEN-ASS MOTHERFUCKER THEN. The only pain I have now is “immediate” injuries, like knife cuts or grease burns (Chef Clumsy at your service) and muscle soreness. HOW DID I LIVE WITH CONSTANT PAIN FOR SO LONG? All scars are now psychic *BROODS*

    I also need to run and lift things. I have about a month to get into better shape during bootcamp, which I am taking full advantage of. Pete and I are also doing a Whole30 for January, which will really help as well. HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you soon.

    Gummibärchen

    Thank you everyone for your kind words yesterday! I do appreciate it. I think I’ve gotten over the shock now. ZING!

    I fell into the “fuckit bucket” with finding safe candy for the girls’ stockings, so I’m just making candy. I started with gummy bears.

    I’ve made some peanut butter cups as well. No pics yet! I got really sticky after they were done, but I will snap them.

    I got Pete to print off a Xmas angel at the last minute. I don’t think we even had one last year! So tired.

    Today we cleaned the house top to bottom. Literally–I was running around with a cloth looped through the end of the broom handle, shining a flashlight into corners and getting cobwebs. I cleaned the chandelier, which is usually a biannual chore.

    I also got a new set of lights because I had fabricated a memory that the old star lights had died. ??? Ok brain. I think I just wanted new lights maybe? I felt kind of guilty because usually I keep things for like 55 years. Everything’s ready for tomorrow. Cooking pictures to come!

    Like a cake shop without any cakes/Like a corn flakes box without any flakes

    Yesterday morning I was lying in bed, thinking about how my day was going to go. I knew I would call the union sometime in morning to find out what my rank was, or if I had made the list at all.

    I fail a lot, and like a normal human I dread failing at what I want. I don’t think I’ve really pushed myself to something I really want for a long time, so anticipation has mostly revolved around applying for jobs or contract work, which is like a tiny little crest I think about for a week and then is forgotten as soon as I get the next job. I admit I’ve been pretty dispassionate or dreading getting jobs throughout my tech career, so it’s felt more like, “I need a job but I’m probably not going to like it.”

    The last time I think I super major failed in a way that would cause or deny another big fork in the road was applying for admission to the PhD program in my graduate school. I really wanted to go on in graduate studies, first in art history, but then I veered off into the more “practical” librarianship. It did save me financially when the girls were little and I was always employed at something I was decent at. I wonder now if I would have felt more passionate or tried to seriously build a career if I hadn’t been ill–I started really going down the tubes during library school.

    So I was thinking about going through the two or three days of the PhD interview process and how I was feeling then. I wanted to be accepted, to be told I was good enough. If I had been accepted I would have gone. I remember being worried after the interviews and knowing in my gut that the time wasn’t right–I was in the middle of divorce and I didn’t know it would continue to drag on for a while, I had a four-year-old who needed me, and I was living on my own. I thought I should probably just take my master’s degree and run.

    I felt genuine relief when the program rejection letter came. Kind of embarrassed too, because then I had to tell my friends and colleagues and you. A professor I admired who was on the selection committee kindly told me that in a year where they were taking ten people, not six, they definitely would have selected me. I don’t know if that was true, but what is true is that I wasn’t ready then.

    I was thinking about that mixture of disappointment and relief 10+ years ago and how I would react if I got straight up rejected this time. What would I do? I wasn’t sure. There is the option of picking up electrical work on your own and reapplying later. If your score is low and you are ranked lower on the waiting list than you’d like, you can do this kind of sub-apprentice work or take some math classes, and reinterview within two years, without starting the process again. I steeled myself to make a plan B.

    I picked up my phone to see if I had an email. There was one from the union, with the title: Acceptance.

    ??!!

    It told me that I had to come in and fill out paperwork by January 6, and that I was to report to Boot Camp in mid-January. BOOT CAMP?

    I didn’t understand…what was my rank? At least I hadn’t been straight up rejected. I called the office to ask what my rank and score was.

    “No, you’ve been ACCEPTED,” the nice office lady said. “We sent you an email with next steps. Don’t come in on the days we’re closed for the holiday.”

    “I don’t have a rank…?”

    “We took 19 people right away and you’re one of them.”

    Oh….OH! THAT’S GOOD! No wait list! I thanked her and told her I’d see her soon. She was like “Ok whatever Nerf herder.” I’ve seen some of the questions the guys ask at the desk, so they are definitely used to dealing with dumbassery. I will fit right in.

    I’m going to boot camp next month, which I think is like a mini version of Ladies’ Hammer Club, but obviously focused on electricianing. OSHA training, tools, etc. Then I get deployed as soon as they can. I wonder if there will be any other women there. Seems unlikely, since there were only two besides me at my aptitude test in October, out of 100+ people. I think I’ll be drawing a paycheck by February if things go well.

    I’m greatly relieved because this is something I’ve been working towards for almost a year now, but I also have another feeling…Pete’s spent this past year encouraging me and telling me I could do this, which I wasn’t at all sure about. Ladies’ Hammer Club could be demoralizing, which I think was partly by design. I graduated and at times I wondered if I got enough out of it, or the right things. The mock interviews with real tradesmen were probably the most valuable, since I already know how to be on time and sober without whining. I know how to deal with assholes and to work hard. My obstacles are different.

    So I was very proud when I got to tell Pete that I got accepted, and not even waitlisted. It is a relief to live up to the expectations and vision that your partner has of you. I didn’t know that, and that is almost as valuable as having a fucking job you want.

    MVP

    I was going to post this if I got turned down, and I think I still will, because it’s wonderful, and I’m up for a lot more failure to come.

    In the meantime, come along while I learn how to be an electrician and how to be a person who is doing what they want to do. Man it’s great to be older.

    (That’s good, because it’s not like we can be younger, eh?)

    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!

    Came to a fork in the road, picked it up

    I was getting to that point where I was really trying to figure out my next move, since I don’t really know what’s coming next. Another tech contract, keep looking for a manufacturing gig, what? Feeling a little silly about having quit my job a week ago as reality set back in, but extremely relieved at the same time.

    Then I get an email, and assumed it was spam. NOPE. Invitation to interview at the electricians’. Thank god, I was getting increasingly pathetic. I mean, who doesn’t like being in their robe at 3 in the afternoon? But still.

    So I am going to review everything I know about interviewing, interviewing for a trade, and interviewing for them. I think I can get picked up. I need to make sure I have the right outfit that fits. I’ve seen the dudes there on interview day literally in three-piece suits. It’s hard because anything that formal on the lady side gets pretty feminine usually. I’ll figure something out.

    I’m hoping I will out on a job next month or February, or at least on the list. In the meantime, I have paid for all xmas presents already with my ill-gotten tech gains. When I came home last week and told the girls I’d quit, one of the first things Franny said was, “Are we going to be able to have…Christmas?” YES YOU GOOSE. That’s the news.

    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.