Archive for June, 2009
Friday, June 26th, 2009
Hello to all of my loyal and devoted readers. After several weeks of experiencing technical difficulties, she’s ba-ack… (Did you miss me?)
And I want you all to know that I had the best of intentions in terms of writing you a blow-by-blow, step-by-step, graphic, and even animated description of how my job is going (perhaps even with an interactive flash portion)—how week two, three, and now, a wrap on four, has offered the glimpses of clarity I lacked in week one, how I got to know more of my (very cool) colleagues, and how I took a step forward in terms of confidence and knowing I can truly not only do it, but excel in this role.
(Yes, there’s a “but” coming, wait for it…)
BUT, this is all I can offer right now. And here’s why:
I’m pooped. I’m “been-on-a-redeye, just-back-from-four-weeks-at-overnight-camp, finally-finals-week-is-over, oh-my-gosh-I’ve-been-up-all-night, will-moving-day-ever-end” pooped.
I know, welcome to the real world Jill. Listen, hey, no. It’s not like that. I know the real world. We’ve been friends now for 20 some, oh, 40 years. It’s just that this is the first day in about a month now that I’ve had to freely and unapologetically just collapse.
Drop like a penny off a 35-story building. Slow at first, and then hard and ugly into teeny tiny little pieces.
That’s because we had our friends in the first weekend after I started my out-of-the-house job, which was delightful, but didn’t allow for much downtime. And then, it was another busy work week—up at the ass-crack of dawn to exercise, turnpike drive, spend nine hours pouring information like pixie dust from a straw straight into my brain, turnpike drive, arrive home by 7, dream of being in bed by 7:01, make dinner, and then lay like a malfunctioning-robot on the sofa while my saintly husband cleans up and eventually me “let’s go up, hon, c’mon, you poor thing…”
(I said he was saintly, didn’t I? Now get off me.)
And then it was another few weekends with Steppy in town, which included Father’s Day weekend, which came chock-full of family duties and obligations (which involved their usual drama, but that’s another post for another time or maybe never big sigh), and then it was, oh dear, I don’t know. Something.
In any event, in the midst of there being no time for the most crucial things anymore, I did find some time at least to address the things that have been weighing heavily on me since the start of “day one” like a wheelbarrow full of misplaced cow dung.
Like a leisurely game of tennis with my husband (never poopy)—and not a harried one at 5:30 a.m.
Like enjoying a relaxing iced Grande soy latte while actually sitting as if I had all the time in the world in the coffee shop (instead of running from the store like it was on fire so I could get to work on time).
Like moseying over to my favorite salon in Lambertville to have my nails done and my natural red hair (praise be Zanya!) restored after a record-breaking two months of treating those dark roots like an out-of-state parking ticket.
Like getting a lower arm wax after Steppy not-so-graciously pointed out on her last visit that I was starting to channel one of Diane Fossey’s primates.
Funny story on that one: When I met with the aesthetician to get waxed (mind you, I’d never gone to her before), she instructed me to lay on the table and “go ahead and put the small cotton pad she’d laid on the table over my gigi so as to not get any wax on my you-know-whats” and then offered to come back in a few minutes after I’d gotten in el boffo.
Not exactly a confidence booster.
“Sure,” I said. “No problem. But you do know I’m here for an arm wax, right?”
Although, honestly, I would have stripped down in a heartbeat – showed this confused skinny precious child what the 21st-century version of a Peter Paul Rubens painting looks like up close. (Then again, given her line of work, I suspect she’s seen it and then some.)
Oh, I could laugh just thinking about it. Good times, I tell ya.
Anyway, it all worked out and there is a moral to that last story that transfers: If you’re going to going to be in the people business, know what the people want. Usually, it ain’t scorching-piping-hot-molten wax, like lava out of a rabid volcano, poured on their privates—especially if their privates have nothing to do with the fact.
It’s a good lesson and one I’m proud to take back to week five of my new job. WEEK FIVE.
Oh, and one last thing. I would be remiss to mention, of course. I am so sad to hear about Ed McMahon and Gary Papa (a local sportscaster) and Michael Jackson, but for some reason, really sad to hear about my sister Farrah. I don’t know if it’s because I have been copycatting her hairdo for almost four decades (I know, change is good Jill) or if she reminds me of how much I hated my body when I was a teenager (which of course brings back such fond memories) and she was on Charlie’s Angels, or that infernal poster which made me crazy since I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in h-e-doublehockeysticks of ever looking that good, or if her passing reminds me of my own mortality.
Oh yes, that one.
In any event, a moment. Cliched as it is, may she (and the others) rest in peace. After too much suffering, a real angel now. Finally.
Until next time…!
Sunday, June 7th, 2009
First of all, let me thank all the wonderful friends and family who checked in to see how I survived the first week of my new job (and who I have not had 12 seconds to respond to). The sheer fact of this post should let you know that I did, indeed, survive. And now that I’m past the first five days, I am no longer (thankfully) brand spanking new like a fresh pair of white sneakers just begging to be soiled. There is a dull film of new-job dust on me and, frankly, I like it.
After all, I started the work week in an absolute panic, squeaky clean like I’d just been ripped from the Converse box, unsure of where to step, and thanks to unusually heavy traffic (which turned a 45-minute trip into 90), utterly convinced I’d be late for my first day of full-time work outside of 10 Avalon Court.
Fortunately, I am characteristically early for all things, which makes me a special brand of social outcast. So knowing I needed so long to get there by 9, I left two hours early, which gave me just enough time to endure the pace of the turnpike, spend 20 minutes walking in circles in the office parking lot (looking for the way out), AND make the early appointment I had scheduled with the HR folks to go over some necessary paperwork.
Finally at the lobby, the receptionist who I’d met before ushered me to my new office with a gracious smile. It had no window, but was delightfully removed from the “action” in a slightly hidden corridor (giving me time to get my bearings without an audience), close to both the coffee room and the bathroom. (Of course, that would change by the end of the week, when I was moved to the thick of things in a window office…)
From there, I enjoyed a long garden-variety first week of a new job–lunching with my boss and new colleagues, participating in hours of meetings, looking and listening. It was five straight days of acquiring and processing facts and figures, operating on overload, vascillating between fear and sheer exhilaration, and wishing that learning–about the company, the culture, the office protocols, the way up, down, and around this particular corporate ladder–was simply a matter of pouring information into a glass and drinking it.
Because being new on the job is one of the few times in life when the wisdom of being old(when you’re not) looks sooooo good.
With that said, I think that if I can do this job (which of course, I can, please pass the potato chips now…)–this daunting job for which much needs to be done and quickly (or maybe I’d rather have that last piece of pizza or the ultimate in comfort food, some macaroni and meatloaf, now doesn’t that sound yummy)–I think it will be awesome.
In fact, there were several points throughout the week where I couldn’t help but smile to myself and think, “This job is fun. FUN FUN FUN.”
Of course, my enthusiasm was quickly and cautiously tempered by reality in front of me (kind of like how you feel when you’re standing in front of the Egyptian pyramids and somebody with an AK47 comes up behind you and in a deep mean blood-hungry voice with an accent you don’t recognize commands you to start climbin’): There are several mountains worth of work that need to be tackled and I am low low LOW on sherpas.
But hopefully, not for long.
Finally, in addition to getting my footing on the job, I also needed to get it outside of the job which meant putting into place a few new routines at home. For example, no more starting dinner at 5 p.m. in the company of my beloved Dr. Phil. Now, I have to move quickly, plan ahead, and get good at throwing whatever together and fast. (‘Cause my hubby and I are starving…)
I’ve also spent the week making peace with certain realities, the hardest being this: I can no longer go to my beloved Wellness Center (where my version of homies have been keeping me on the healthy bandwagon for just short of two years). It is, now, simply too far out of the way of my new office to be any kind of convenient.
And yet, while I may never lose another pound in my life (I’m starting to make peace), I will eat the 563 pairs of the fabulous shoes in my closet before I get any fatter.
So, I also spent the first week on the job getting up at 5 a.m. to (stare at the clothes in my closet with pure disgust and…) either go to my new gym or bribe my husband (with the promise of, well, you know) to get up at the ass-crack of dawn and join me on the tennis courts.
So far so good. I’m getting it all in – even had some clean underwear left at the end of the week and enough energy to host friends from out of town for the weekend. Although I must say, they just left and now, on this fine Sunday evening, I’m ready to slow down. And prepare for week two.
I will try to sneak in a quick post mid-week to let you know how things are going…
Monday, June 1st, 2009
Here’s a short post as I am tired – more tired than I planned on being on the Sunday night before my first day of work at a new job (thanks to working on the deck all day, a long-albeit-interesting-sustainable-green house tour yesterday, and playing with Steppy through all of it, who’s been absolutely loving and delightful two weekends in a row, and no complaints there!).
Despite my having last week off (during which it rained every single day, thank you very much You Mutha Nature, do you hate me?), I am in no way ready for the work week, which promises to be both exciting and challenging, given the fact I’ve been working on my own from home for the past five years.
Of course, I got absolutely nothing done last week – it was as if I was a slug laying in the tall wet grass without a care in the world–as if people and dogs and deer and rabbits weren’t my problem, despite their just waiting to squash me like a long thin slimy bucket full of mini-grapes at a California vineyard. As if I had all the time in the world to just squirm in the dirt and numb out.
And you know what I did with that finite period? Squandered it on daytime television and the afterthought of one lone eyebrow wax. Did I sit outside on a newly stained deck (which just happened yesterday), on new patio furniture (which I spent all day on Friday waiting to have delivered), drinking coffee and then wine, reading the stack of books I haven’t had a chance to get to for months, writing the great American novel already, and catching up with old friends…as planned?
Well NO. NO I DID NOT. THANKS FOR ASKING. SHEESH. (And, aw snap, do I regret it. Snap snap snap.)
Instead, I spent the week watching approximately 35 hours of Regis and Kelly, Rachel Ray, Tyra, the View, Ellen, Oprah, and Dr. Phil–and they were reruns no less.
Deep deep breath. Deeper than the last one. And the one before that.
As a result, my monkey mind on “vacation” freaked out and went way too far to the other side (yes, the dead zone) and I spent the better part of my only week off since Clinton was in office anesthetized like a character out of a Stephen King novel.
And now, tonight, just a mere 15 hours from when I need to show up for “work”, I’m paying the price. I’m scrambling: To write this blog. To gather all the paperwork I need for human resources to prove I’m not a) a convicted felon and b) an illegal alien and c) an imposter who’s stolen somebody else’s identity and d) incapable of following directions. To retouch up the polish on my nails (since I failed miserably in getting a manicure or an arm wax for that matter, which I desperately need, which means I’ll be wearing long sleeves until I can make that happen because watching your own arm hair whip in the wind does not bode well for business). To meditate and beg the universe for mercy. To prepare for being the “new girl”.
Oh God. Forget the deep breath. Time to hyperventilate.
Not only do I have to manage the logistics of all this newness, but I have to figure out what to wear on my very first day, which again starts in 15 hours (or maybe it’s less than that now). That will surely involve three hours of trying on everything in my closet (meaning 36 pairs of new black work pants), a good cry, a lashing out at my husband for simply breathing, and the realization that I’ve got NOTHING to wear and I’ll never be a size four. Ever. That I’ve been biologically and physiologically robbed.
Oh my GOD, deep breath.
Why is it so stressful to start a new job? I mean, what could possibly happen to me in the eight-hour time span of Monday? (If nothing else, I surely hope my new colleagues have an appreciation for my roots and flecks of gray since I also didn’t have time to get the dye job I desperately need – ugh, this red hair is a BITCH in upkeep).
Although, come to think of it, I answered my own question just the other day, when talking to my friend Lisa who started a new job herself almost two weeks ago: it just sucks to be new. I could feel her nodding her head in agreement through the telephone. That “who are you?” look that you get from other people. That deer-in-the-headlights bulged-eye panicked-glaze sort of expression when you’re out of your office looking for a water fountain, vending machine, restroom, or heck, anything. That “I know how to use Microsoft Office, but tell me again how to turn this thing on?” That “who does what” and “how do I get this” and “um, excuse me, but I think there’s something wrong with the copier” (which naturally will have a paper jam the first time you go to use it).
That ugly co-dependence for which there are no suitable number of steps or open meetings.
Deep breath, Will Robinson, go DEEP.
It’s as if everywhere you go, you’re suddenly standing on a raised stage and being followed by a hot pink spotlight–and not in a good way.
Good grief, I wish I’d gotten that arm wax. Let’s hope nobody notices or, if they do, they admire the hirsute.
By the way, did I mention today is my husband’s birthday? So on top of everything else, I’ve had to cater to his birthday wishes and provide him with gifts and a cake. Good lord, the nerve. His timing could not have been any worse. And, of course, true to form: He had 1/18th of a piece of chocolate cake with green candles and I had the rest (big cake, huge, seriously). Frankly, the candles were lucky to get out alive. So now, the room is spinning, my heart is palpitating, and I’m just about ready to upchuck. (Sorry, that’s not very attractive, is it?)
Of course, it doesn’t help that my new boss sent me an utterly lovely bouquet of flowers yesterday welcoming me to the new company’s “family”. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? How unbelievably gracious! I near fell off my feet, I was so impressed with the gesture. What a great guy and company, right? Then again, talk about pressure. I know one thing at this age, they don’t send you peonies and whatevers unless they want something very big out of ya. (And by the way, thank you so much! I mean, goodness, that’s class.)
Ten seconds inhale, 20 seconds exhale. Do it again, woman. DO IT AGAIN.
Then there is all the waiting and wondering about the big issues: Where is my office? What is the view? How long will it take me to get to the office? Who will be happy to see me? Who might be unsure? What kind of technological equipment will I have to master? Is it okay if, when I’m around computers and such, I have a tendency towards colorful expletives? Will the people be nice? Will there be any understanding and empathy for the “new girl”. And how steep a learning curve will I have to master–are we talking the three steps up onto our deck or the intermediate trails in Aspen?
DEEPER, DEEPER. EXHALE LOUD.
Okay, well, this is what the night before a new job looks like. (Can you say Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?) Not pretty, is it? I’m okay. No really. I am. I am, in fact, thrilled to have gotten such a fantastic job especially these days and the chance to leave the house simultaneously. I will not miss the imaginary colleagues I’ve been conjuring up in my head for, say, the past several months. (You know, I haven’t said that out loud to anybody else, so can you please keep it under your hat? Shudder to think what my new colleagues would think if they knew just how vivid, well, never mind…)
Oh, and one last ugly anticipatory element: Pretty sure the dogs are going to have some deep psychotic separation anxiety. Well, Winnie will be fine — she really just tolerates me. But lil’ King Elvis (that’s his street name), he’ll probably find a way to poop on the ceiling as a statement for his disapproval of my being gone. (He’s very sensitive and resourceful, a real chip off the old block?) So if anybody knows how to really scrub at ceiling gunk in a way that sends a message, well, I’m all ears.
Okay, well, I think I feel better now. Yep, for sure. With all of this off my chest, let me raise my glass of tap water and toast myself in front of all of you good friends: I am going to start a new journey tomorrow. And it’s good.
It’s verrry good.
Or, as my dear friend Frank would say in his signature alto voice with a hard Canadian accent: “Oooh, yeah…”
Until next time!
(Not such a short post after all, huh?)
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