Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stamp of Approval

I have discovered the secret of the difference between childhood and adulthood. The key is this – office supplies.

The main thing I take advantage of when I’m at home, aside from the free laundry, the meals, and the room and board and stuff, is office supplies. Growing up you never paid for your own staples or stamps or tape or paperclips or any of that stuff – at least I know that I didn’t. So that’s the great secret – office supplies. The more you’ve purchased the more of an adult you are.

Do you own envelopes? a stapler? scotch tape? packaging tape? stamps? paperclips? a stapler remover? 3X5 index cards? those little labels that say "sign here" and are shaped like arrows? post-it notes (in multiple colors)? white out?

I own a stapler, and not one of those weak, student model, plastic, holds only 5 staples, kind of staplers. It’s black, it’s metal, it’s hefty, it’s a Swingline, it’s perfection. I bought it at a thrift store, but it’s a stapler nonetheless. Why did I buy it? My family owns more than half a dozen staplers, but I personally did not own one. And it’s not just the stapler; it’s the fact that I bought a box of staples for it that truly demonstrates how responsible I am. 5000 staples in this box. It will take me a lifetime to use them all – even if I were to write 2, 763 more papers, hand out 105 more ward newsletters, and become some sort of activist that hands out bunches of stapled leaflets protesting the economic status of the Netherlands I would still have thousands of staples left. I bought them because they’re an investment - they’re something I know I’ll use (eventually).

I also own tape. It saddens me to buy tape. It saddens me more to use tape, because I know that using it means I’ll have to buy more. I don’t use paperclips, so I don’t buy them. But I pick them up whenever I see them on the ground. I don’t know why, because I don’t clip paper together with them, that’s for sure. I just unbend them before depositing them somewhere else.

Stamps: The final barrier between childhood and a life of paying taxes. I do not own stamps. If I needed a stamp growing up I went into my dad’s office and took one out of his desk drawer. I avoid things that require stamps. I don’t know what it is – there’s just something I reject about it. When anyone asks to borrow a stamp I say "no, nope, sorry, no stamps here."

I don’t know who mails in our electric bill each month.

Optimistic. and I got together mid-March to do our taxes. All I had to do was drop them in the mail and I had money with my name on it wending its way to my bank account. Only, I didn’t mail them -not until mid-April when they were almost due. Optimistic. found out I hadn’t mailed them and he took it upon himself to give me an envelope and a stamp. He gave the sealed envelope back to me, thought better of it, took it back, and went outside to mail it right then and there.

That said, I had a big first today. I needed a stamp. I had no stamp. M-Lite had no stamps. Optimistic.( my usual supplier) was at work. Crapdaggit. I went to the post office, shelled out 41 cents, and sold my soul for a self adhesive picture of an American flag. Goodbye childhood.

I wouldn’t have done it except I needed to mail a letter by today to a certain Elder of krebscout’s. It was a dang funny letter. He’d better appreciate my twisted sense of humor and the fact that my soul is now in a cash register up on campus somewhere. But in spite of my indignation I know as well as anybody that it had to happen some day-it was a dream to think I could avoid it forever. I just always thought it would never catch up to me, and spent my time wishing that this day (like most days) would stay in the distant future. Stupid future catching up with me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

This new batch really packs a wallop

Work was tedious today, right up until I went to clock out just now. When I came downstairs there were goodies left over from a set upstairs, and with them some raspberry lemonade (or DPL* for short). Oh happiness. And I see that it's pouring rain outside. I'm very pleased by this discovery. Also, as I walked past the barber shop I saw a small boy running along, probably no more than 5 or 6 years old. I looked at him, he looked at me, and as we passed each other we didn't break eye contact, but instead continued peering over our shoulders at each other. He smiled and I went down the hallway laughing. Now I'm headed home. I have no jacket and I fully intend to take my time walking in the rain as I drink some DPL.

* We used to get this stuff at work all the time last summer. It's pretty strong depending on which flavor you get and it tends to burn your throat on the way down unless you dilute it. But man oh man is it delicious. I wonder what they put in this stuff. I drank two and a half glasses of it straight just now. What do you mean I've had enough?! I know when I've had enough! (That outburst right there was for you Bony M)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Slightly Undone

I just quit my job. Not my real job, but my new early morning job. 4:00 -7:30 a.m.

It just wasn’t working out, which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it. Let’s start by saying I didn’t make it through today, my third day. I should have made it through the spring term (25 more weekdays of working) or even given two weeks notice and muddled through that, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even make it through this morning. And that irritates me that I was in a position where I had to make such a decision- to quit my job without notice. It goes on my record for seven years.

I liked the people. They were funny, even at such an early hour. The lead student supervisor –I liked her too. We’d started calling her E-Dawg and everything. And I got to work with M-Lite, which is how I ended up working there in the first place. I’m going to be honest and say I felt pressured into working there. “It’ll be fun. It’s our last summer together. We can do it.”

I apparently cannot do it. Mostly the decision was made based on how I felt getting up this morning, which was like crap. I’ve slept a grand total 9 hours in the last three days. And each of those days feels like two days because I’d get up at 3:32, go to work from 4:00-7:30, and then come home and try to sleep between 8:00 and 10:30. Try. Then I’d get up and shower and go to my real job from 12:00 to 4:30, after which I’d try to sleep without ever actually managing to. Is it really only Thursday?

So in the middle of our shift I left and found my boss in her office where she was talking to E-Dawg and I said I wanted to talk to her about quitting. Her demeanor was rather cold after that. She reminded me it would go on my record. I said I felt I wasn’t adjusting. She told me to drop my keys and punch out. I did and went to find M-Lite before I left so she’d know I’d gone through with it.

The thing is, I’ve never quit a job before. The job I’m at now I’ve had for 20 months. To the day, now that I look at a calendar. I was hired September 17th 2005. And I’ve stuck with it for my entire BYU career. The job I had in high school? Almost four years. Every day after school December 2001 – August 2005. Even during the summer months - I stayed.

I stayed because I couldn’t quit. I felt I had an obligation to fulfill and because I cared about the people I worked with and for. And some of those factors even applied to this new job, but made no difference in the end. It’s wrong to quit a job without notice and to leave your own sister in the lurch and to let down your employer. That’s what part of me said anyway. The rest of me is sleep deprived. I actually thought I might pass out today while we were cleaning classrooms. I felt queasy in a way that only comes from getting up early. It’s that empty stomach toothpaste feeling. (That’s what I’ve always called it, and I have no better way of explaining how it feels –I’ve tried before without success, so that’s all you get.) And I’m sure that part of it was guilt too. And a sense of helplessness.

So all these things mingled together and it ended with me quitting this morning at 5:28. I exited the building after consulting with someone about whether or not I had to use an after hours exit or just the regular exit. You’re sure the silent alarm won’t sound?

I stepped out into the early morning that was still a blue merle, birds calling through the air as I took my leave. I got a little ways from the building and started crying. I even sobbed some on the way home, and cried more still when I’d made it to my living room, for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned combined with the knowledge that an entire custodial crew was sure to be thinking ill of me. She couldn’t make it three days.

And I try to say that it doesn’t matter. I don’t even know those people –why should I care? In a week they won’t even remember me. Except there was the coldness in the way my boss spoke to me, and the fact that I left M-Lite behind, and the fact that as I left, E-Dawg told me (in a good way) that she’d always remember my name. And now I’m crying again and hoping it’s all a matter of sleep deprivation and not a symptom of a larger something.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Perhaps it was Oral-B

It's been four months now that I've had this floss on my finger and it shows no signs of stopping.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Weatherholds

I haven't posted in forever. Too much has happened, and most of you have already heard it all by now. That or you were there.

Optimistic. and I drove to Portland to see some concerts. We went and picked out a ring. He met my family. My parents met his parents. He was forced to meet every person I'd ever met on account of the fact that I never moved growing up. Everyone had something to say. None of those things are in the order that they happened.

The concerts were amazing, especially the Decemberists. I've never had so much fun in all my life. The drive home was not as much fun, owing to the fact that the concert was two hours away in Eugene and both of us were falling asleep. We did eat at Shari's though. Man I love that restaurant. And on the way there we crossed over a bridge with a sign that read "Butte Cr."
We were both thinking the same thing.

The group that opened for Andrew Bird, called The Apostles of Hustle, had a sound that attacked you when they played. I felt their music in my collar bones. And as we were leaving I saw a girl with some really cool Nightmare Before Christmas Tattoos.

And we went downtown to Powell's Books, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and Finnegan's Toys. We met up at my house first, me and Optimistic. and his brother "Kevin". My sister H2 was home sick and trying to work out some math homework. She asked for my help and I tried to make sense of the problem by drawing it out, which is how I think, but really I just made the whole thing more confusing. Then Optimistic. and Kevin showed up, and Kevin is in math education so he got excited and started in on the problem, only he couldn't solve it either.

Kevin: Man, I can't believe this.
H2: Me either. You're in college.

I think we were all disappointed that none of us could do the math homework assigned to a thirteen year old, but I can't say I'm surprised.

We went downtown and shopped and walked and ate. I think I could spend a week in Powell's if I brought some sandwiches with me. I bought a few children's books, some postcards, my own set of slang flashcards, and a collection of Wodehouse stories. I found some other things I would have bought if I weren't so cheap, and by cheap I mean practical. There was a neat booklet about the art of thumb wrestling. The jab, the counter-jab, wrist angles - all these things were discussed and diagrammed. There was a book about gamesmanship, or rather how to cheat without really cheating. And another sweet book about croquet. I wanted it mostly for the cover, because that's apparently how I judge books after all is said and done.

We stopped and sat in the shade by a park and watched some children play, by which I mean they ran and screamed and crowded around the drinking fountain, jumped in the pits dug out for the trees, fell off of things, etc. One boy kept on yelling "Barf bags!", and I practiced my glare on a small girl with a ponytail. We continued on our way but stopped almost immediately to use the bathroom. It may have been the dankest restroom I've ever encountered. Definitely a hobo bathroom, with a bottle of vodka on the floor next to the toilet. I took a picture. The good news is that I found 4 pennies outside on the curb. Optimistic. and Kevin each got one. I got two because there were four, and despite all of us proving that we didn't know how to do inequalities earlier that morning, I still knew that three didn't go into four evenly.

We were stopped on the sidewalk and asked to sign a petition. We signed, but when we looked up Kevin was gone. He'd already ambled across the square, managed to find a group of people playing hackey sack, joined them, and had taken his pants off to do so. We sat and watched and I took pictures of some pigeons - fat and gloriously filthy as they were I couldn't resist.

I took my mom to a plant nursery seeing as how I'd missed her birthday in March and Mother's day was coming up. All she usually asks for is dirt for her garden. That said, I wasn't about to mail her dirt across the country, so I told her we'd go and she could pick out whatever plants she wanted for her garden. When we were done we stopped by H's best friend's house, because that's where H had spent the night, at A's house. Her parents were out of town and she was all by herself. I found them in the downstairs living room sitting in the dark eating out of cans and looking incredibly nappy. I think they're incapable of making food for themselves. Or cleaning.

me: Get in the car. Mom wants to take us to lunch.

This was met with some moans about how disheveled they looked weighed against the fact that they needed sustenance.

H: Do you have a hair thing?
me: For the love of crap put this in your hair and let's go.

Burgerville was full - we went to Dairy Queen. Then we went home and H, A and I went to Value Village. Man alive I love that store.

We went to WINCO our last night in town and bought gummi worms, fruit pies, Martinelli's sparkling cider, cookies, strawberries, pudding - anything and everything we felt like eating. We brought it home, made a toast to ourselves with the cider, and had a small midnight feast. We'd meant to go TPing but we were all too tired when the time came around. We'd even taken a pre-TPing nap, but to no avail. We were both dead tired throughout the trip. I guess I'm not used to being so busy. Or I am, but in a different way. Mopping and shopping take their different tolls on me.

We said we would only go TPing "if the weather holds" and H2 asked," Who are the Weatherholds?".

We explained that they weren't people. She said a number of remarkably funny things this visit home, so this is me giving her some mad props for that. I love that family of mine. Krebscout always says that she wants to meet my family because in her mind they are the Weasleys. Optimistic. said he also saw that in them when he met them, so I guess it's true. It was good to be back home where I can be a little more spastic. F also made me laugh with a phrase that is now my new motto and the words I will leave you with - "Keep your friends close and your sandwiches closer." Words to live by indeed.

P.S. The driving parts of the trip were fairly uneventful. I'm not much fun on roadtrips -I tend to sleep. We listened to roughly a billion CD's. Highlights included a rest stop on the way back, and stopping in Baker City at a windmill where I was proposed to. Hoo-ray.