Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On Weekends

Okay, so you know how I was kindof sortof complaining about having nothing to do on Saturday night? I'm sorry about that. I was trying to make a completely different point, and it came out whiny. Here's what I wanted to say:

When you work shift work, every day of the week is pretty much the same as any other: you may have to work, or not. And you learn, gradually, that fun can just as easily be had on a Thursday evening as any other time - especially if you happen to have Friday morning off. And yet, magically, after only one week of having a normal work week, I fell immediately back into the old habit of feeling like a loser for not having something "special" to do on a Saturday night. Silly Jule Ann.

It's not like I completely wasted Saturday, either. I had worship team practice in the morning, then ran a bunch of errands and bought a bunch of groceries and found the natural food store and made chili for dinner. That's a pretty productive day, even if I didn't do much with my evening.

Besides, Sunday completely redeemed Saturday night. After church, about 10 of us went out for lunch, then headed down to the city to sort children's books for a church there that has an after-school tutoring program for underprivileged kids. And then I went home and made beef stew, and several friends came over for dinner. Then, everyone hung around the kitchen while I chopped fruit for fondue. And everyone mocked me while I completely screwed up the first batch of chocolate. (Fortunately, I had back-up chocolate.) And we chatted and had fun and played Apples to Apples and stayed up too late. And it was awesome.

So the next time I start to complain about being bored on a Saturday night, smack me, then remind me that the weekend's not over yet. And then come over for fondue. I make tasty fondue. Sometimes even on the first attempt.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What's So Great About Saturday Night?

I just finished my first, proper, 9-5 work week in a long, long time. Each day, I made coffee in the morning, took a lunch break in the afternoon, and ate dinner at dinnertime. I battled rush hour traffic twice a day. (Which, by the way, could be an entire blog post unto itself. How can the same commute take 40 minutes one day, and then an hour and 15 minutes the next? How come, when they give the traffic reports, there are always unexplained slow spots? I could understand a delay caused by bad road conditions, or an accident, or if the slow spots were always at the same places, but it seems like people just randomly decide to go slower for several miles, then speed back up again. Crazy.)

I have mixed feelings about being back in the ranks of people who work normal day jobs. I miss the flexibility of being able to take a long weekend whenever I want to, or to book off a random Tuesday because a friend is going to be in town, or to just be able to run errands mid-week when everyone else is at work and there are no lines at the bank. But it's nice to be home at (about) the same time every evening, and to be able to make plans in advance, and to, theoretically, sign up for Wednesday night karate classes and other such things. And it's really nice to have the same two days off every week as most of my other friends. No more Saturday nights of having to work while all of my friends have amazing fun times without me!

Except that here I am, home alone, blogging, on a Saturday night. What's wrong with this picture? Someone needs to take me dancing. Right. Now.

Addendum to An Evening with Jon

A few days ago, when I blogged about having dinner with Jon, I intentionally omitted a humorous anecdote about the self-checkout machine at the grocery store. Because Jon had dibsed it for his blog, and dibses must always be honored by friends.

It may have taken him a few days, but I think Jon did the story justice. Go forth, read, and be amused.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Three Geekiest Reasons to be Excited About Summer (and One Not-Geeky Reason!)

I don't go to the movies very often. The last movie I saw in the theater had snakes and planes and was so satisfying as a movie-going experience that I just haven't had the heart to displace it as "the last movie I saw in the theater." It's kindof like when you swear you'll never wash your hand again after that cute boy you are in love with touched it. Or maybe it's kindof like I'm too cheap to spend money on movies, which seem to double in price every year. One or the other.

But, I will be washing my proverbial movie hand this summer at least, as two movies hit the theaters that I have been eagerly awaiting for some time now.

The first is a movie based on a book by one of my all-time favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. It's got a great cast, and I fully expect to love it as much as my teenage self loved The Princess Bride. So, I will definitely be seeing Stardust when it comes out on August 10. And, if you are an especially big nerd like me, you will be equally excited to know that Paramount will be putting the trailer for Stardust up on the Yahoo Movies site tomorrow at noon. That's how much confidence I have in this movie's going-to-be-good-ness. I'm linking to the trailer before I've ever seen it myself.

The second summer movie I am looking forward to is, of course, the fifth Harry Potter movie. It's being released on July 13, which is also, incidentally, the same day as Erin and Brian's wedding, which I am in. Erin's sister and I are trying to figure out whether we can squeeze in a midnight showing on Thursday night, in between the bachelorette party and the wedding day. I honestly think we can. The trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is already available on the website, and you actually get a glimpse or two of Umbridge, who is one of the main reasons I am looking forward to this movie. I think she is one of the most well-written "bad" characters I've come across in literature in a long time. When I first read the book, there were several times that I had to set the book down and take a walk because I was literally shaking with anger and frustration. That's quality writing. I hope the movie does her justice.

I said three geeky things, and anyone who followed the entire Harry Potter discussion above probably already knows what I am going to say next. Not only is the fifth movie coming out this summer, but the seventh, and FINAL Harry Potter book is coming out this summer! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in which we have been promised the death of at least one main character, is being released on July 21. I think it's a little bit unfortunate that it's coming out so close to the movie, because I know I will want to read book six again after seeing the movie, but then again, I'll have a week, and I'm pretty sure I read book six in less than a week the first time around.

So, have I geeked out enough for one post?

So, here's the other reason I am looking forward to next summer. (And, I'm totally posting this without permission, and may be in trouble shortly, but it's just too adorable to not share.) Sometime in early August, I will get to meet the growing little person inside of this glowing little person:

Hooray for summer!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An Evening with Jon

"Are you hungry?"


"What do you want to do about dinner?"

"I dunno."

"Well, I need to get some things from the grocery store anyhow, we could pick something up there."

"Sounds good."

Later, at the grocery store...

"So, what do you want to eat?"

"I dunno."

"We could buy eggs and have omelets."

"Yay, omelets!" (runs off to fetch red peppers)

Later, at Jon's apartment...

Jule Ann is in the kitchen cracking, chopping, whisking, and cooking. Jon sits down to watch American Idol.

"I hope it's okay that I don't really know how to make proper omelets. I always cheat and just make scrambled eggs, then let them congeal into a patty at the end. I like them better that way anyhow. I don't particularly like proper omelets."

"Really? Then why did you agree to having omelets for dinner?"

"Because I secretly knew that you would sit down and watch American Idol, so I could make them however I wanted."

"You know, I think this is the first proper meal I have made in my new apartment."

"I'm going to have to disagree with your definition of 'proper meal'. And 'I'."

Monday, March 19, 2007


Saturday was my last shift at Starbucks. It was also the morning after a particularly nasty storm, so it took me ten minutes to dig my car out from under piles of ice, and another ten to get it to back out of the driveway. Somehow, in the process, I also managed to kill the motor on the car's heater, probably by turning it on when the intake was blocked. So, no heat on the way to work on the coldest morning of the year. Oops.

But, Saturday ended up being a surprisingly good shift at work. Once the sun came up, business picked up, and we kept a pretty steady pace all day. I said goodbye to some of my regular customers, and simply served others with my usual smile, not wanting to disrupt their day with a sappy goodbye. Then, it was time for me to leave, and I dropped my keys in the safe, and went home, and cried for half an hour.

I've never been good at goodbyes. When I was in college, I used to hide at the end of the semester when everyone was packing up their stuff. And then, when the next semester started, and people would say things to me like, "I never saw you to say goodbye at the end of last semester!" I would feign innocence, and act like it was all an unfortunate accident. So I guess I've gotten a little bit better at saying goodbye, or I would have just hidden it from everyone. But still, there are several people who have been a regular part of my life, and I theirs, for the past year, whom I will probably never see again, and I never really made the effort to say a proper goodbye. In a way, it was easier with my coworkers, because I know I will see them when I visit, and many of them are already programmed into my cell phone so we can hang out later. And we will. But making someone's latte for them is a connection, too, as is knowing their drink and having it ready for them by the time they reach the counter. And it's hundreds of those random connections that I am losing as I leave my store.

It's more than that, too. Those of you who know me well know how much of a beating my self-esteem took in my first year out of law school. Starbucks was the first proper job I had after that, and I couldn't have been working at a better place to heal my shattered ego. I was constantly encouraged and supported, and my efforts to clean things, organize things, and improve things were acknowledged and (mostly) appreciated. I genuinely enjoyed my job, and I was good at my job. It's hard to let something like that go, even when you know, deep down, that it can't last forever.

Saturday night, I spent with friends, and I was glad for the distraction. Rachel cooked a fantastic Irish meal, and we ate and talked for hours, enjoying each others' company. I was, perhaps, slightly less than my usual bubbly self, but no one condemned me when I waxed quiet or broody on occasion. My mom pointed out to me the last time we talked that, as hard as it has been for me this past year, it's been bearable because of my friends. And she's right. I don't like to brag, but there are worse things to be proud of. I really do have awesome friends.

And an awesome church. Sunday morning, I went to church early, although I didn't really know why. When I got there, I discovered that the worship team was short a voice, and that they would be doing a few drummy songs, so I jumped in for the pre-service worship time, and was blessed to be a part of it. Then, after church, our "faith in action" event was bringing meals to some of the housebound members of the church. We split up into five groups, and went five different ways, and I opted to not accompany the group that was going to have lunch with my husband, since I see him all the time, and instead spent a fantastic lunch with two absolutely wonderful older ladies who grew up in my church when it was huge and thriving.

And, in case my heart was not already full, one of my friends from church invited me over for a tea party on Sunday afternoon. Tea, and scones, and female conversation (to be honest, not a regular occurrence in my life) filled the rest of my afternoon. I felt a little disconnected at first, as everyone else talked about topics that they had all obviously discussed before. I wondered why I had gone, and what had made me think I would have anything to talk to a group of women about. But they gradually drew me in, and I found myself opening up, and really enjoying the connection.

I haven't talked about my faith a whole lot on my blog lately, but don't feel bad: it's not you, it's me. I haven't really talked about my faith to anyone lately. But I think about it, a lot. I've found myself questioning assumptions I have held for basically my entire life, and while I haven't necessarily rejected anything, I have stripped my beliefs down, layer by layer like an onion, in an attempt to figure out what lies beneath it all. And I am so far from any kinds of conclusions, I don't dare even try to blog about it. Because even stripped down, I still have an ironic security in some of the things that I believe, but I lack the clarity to make any kind of coherent argument about how or why.

But somehow, girl talk dragged some of that out of me, and while I didn't leave with any new answers, I did leave feeling purged of some of the murkiness. And I am grateful to my church girlfriends, and hope that I will remember that and make more efforts to seek out their company more often.

Full, and fuller, I looked at the clock and decided that I still had time to swing by Starbucks and see an ex-coworker of mine who had moved to Boston last summer but was in town this week for Spring break. He was going to be playing an impromptu show at my store, and I wanted to see him. Unfortunately, I was too late for the show, but I got to chat with several people I hadn't seen in a while, and it was really nice catching up. It was also nice to be able to tell new people about my new job, because it allowed me to get back into the mindset that I had been in two weeks prior, when I was so excited about the new job, and felt like everything was looking up. Two weeks of thinking too much had dampened my enthusiasm, and it was refreshing to feel enthusiastic again.

And that, in an extremely verbose and hyper-introspective way, brings us to today: my first day at the new job. Which I won't really be talking about. How anti-climactic. But, I think that my "don't blog about your job" policy is a pretty good one, and I will continue to respect it for the time being.

Because frankly, even if I wanted to talk about my first day at my new job, I'm not sure I could. I'm such a backlog of thoughts and emotions right now, I feel like it will be months before my brain catches up with my life. Even as I type and retype perpetually inadequate endings to this post, I keep coming up empty-handed for a conclusion. I guess there is no conclusion.

Friday, March 16, 2007


First, let me say that I don't put a lot of stock in horoscopes. I think that, in some people, the personality side of the Zodiac can be fairly accurate (in fact, if you read a description of a typical Aquarius, it's an approximately 85% accurate description of me). I don't know why this is, maybe it's the way April showers affected your brain at a certain stage of development, but there is something to that aspect of horoscopes. I don't think that they are determinative, however, and I don't believe in using astrology to tell the future or make major or minor life decisions.

That said, I often read my horoscope in the morning paper. Just because it's there, on the page beside the comics, and I usually finish the comics before I finish my breakfast. And I often need something to cheer me up after being so very disappointed, once again, with the caliber of humor on the so-called funny pages.

As is the case with most vague statements, my one-liner horoscope is sometimes spot on, sometimes spot off, and sometimes ambiguous enough to go either way. Today's horoscope, however, was obviously not written by anybody who has been around me recently. So much for astrology.

AQUARIUS: You're the light, bright spirit who will know how to help others erase troubling thoughts from their minds.

At least I got a good laugh out of something in the paper today. Stupid Garfield and his stupid spiders...

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I just finished reading my blogrolls for the day, and I counted no less than two poop stories and one bathroom story in the most recent round of entries.

And I'm wondering if it's more odd that these three stories all appeared on the same day, or that none of the aforementioned bloggers are the parents of small children.

Probably what is most odd, however, is the fact that I noticed the trend at all. But then again, I am accustomed to being the oddest element in any given equation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I guess it wasn't the laughing after all

I believe I mentioned here that the rest of the house has been sick recently. Some kind of cold/flu/G.I. thing. My brother-in-law got it the worst, with basically all of the imaginable symptoms. My parent-in-laws both got off with slight colds. My husband had a fever and cold symptoms, but seems to be mostly on the mend (well, back to his normally sick state, anyhow). Saturday night, I started to notice a slight sore throat, which has since developed into a full-blown cold. I'm still hoping I will escape the worst of it, but after two days of crappy coldiness, I am confident that the sore throat was caused by the illness that has been making the rounds of my house, and not, unfortunately, by all the laughing I did this weekend.

But I didn't open this blog post to complain about being sick. I opened it to publicly complain about my own stupidity. I know that the reason most people read blogs is to be reminded how much smarter they are than other people and/or how much other people are screwing up their lives much worse than they are. So, without further ado, here is an anecdote to make you feel better about yourself.

I tried to go to bed about an hour and a half ago. But my nose was stuffy. And I can't sleep when I can't breathe, so I got up and took some Sudafed.

Which is basically speed.

Which is not exactly sleep-inducing.

So I went back to bed, knowing that I had about a half hour or so before the drugs would kick in, and hoping I could fall asleep quickly, before they did. But I couldn't fall asleep, because my nose was stuffy. And it remained stuffy well after the wide-awake-ness of the Sudafed kicked in. So I tossed, and turned, and cursed drugs and my own stupidity, and finally gave up and came back out here to kill time on my computer. And I finished reading all my blogrolls, and ran out of distractions, so I decided that the only thing left for me to do was create content of my own. (This was after joining Facebook and my ten-year high school reunion forum.)

So, in the end, I guess that wasn't a very interesting story. But it's all I've got right now. Unless you want to hear about random things that I now have time to link to, since I've probably got another hour to kill before my body adjusts enough to the speed to let me sleep. (I buy the 12-hour Sudafed for precisely this reason: I can usually go to sleep about 3 hours or so after taking it, after it has worked its magic on the stuffiness, and after my body has adapted to the adrenaline buzz. But unfortunately, I forgot to take the 12-hour Sudafed when I needed to, three hours before bedtime, when I was still at work.)

So, links, eh?

Free coffee at Starbucks on March 15

Free iced coffee at Dunkin' Donuts on March 21

Free Rita's Water Ice on March 21 (I blogged about this last year.)

Hmmm... Still awake...

Okay, one more thing, then I swear, I will go distract myself with flash games or videos on YouTube. This is like one of those "name five songs you are listening to right now" memes, except that it's so highly specialized that I doubt anyone else will really be able to steal it and do it themselves. And, I'll probably cheat and list more than five.

Starbucks has some pretty good music on their regular rotation right now. And, I am fortunate enough to work in a store that still has one of the older machines that lets you scroll through and select which song you want it to play (although you're stuck with whatever song happens to come on after that, unless you hang out in the back by the CD player and keep selecting the next song whenever one ends, which frankly, you never really have time to do. Unless you have just closed the store and are running some of the closing procedures in the back, directly underneath the machine, but then you don't get to really hear the songs, because they will be playing in the lobby, not the back.

So, without further rambling, here are the songs that I will skip to if I ever have the time, the songs that make me happy and a more productive worker, the songs that I might just have to buy when I no longer have Starbucks to play them for me:

1. Sandi Thom - I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (with Flowers in My Hair)

2. Belle and Sebastian - The Blues are Still Blue

3. Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz

4. Zero 7 - Throw It All Away

5. Lily Allen - Littlest Things

6. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife 3

7. Damien Rice - 9 Crimes

8. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
(Okay, fine, that's an album, not a song, but I made the game up, so I get to bend the rules.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Someone once said that laughter is good for the soul. Probably. It sounds like something someone would say, anyhow.

This weekend, my soul has been doing really well.

Friday night, playing games with some friends from church, I didn't stop laughing for about four hours. Laughed so hard it hurt, and on occasion, I couldn't quite breathe. I was having such a good time that I ignored the time, repeatedly, until I finally decided that I would need to go to sleep right then if I wanted to get three full hours of sleep before work.

And then the sun came out on Saturday, and rather than taking a nap on Saturday afternoon, I dragged the hammock outside and lay in the fresh air and sunshine for about an hour, enjoying the smell of the thawing mud of Spring. That's pretty good for the soul, too, I expect.

But, apparently, I still had more laughter in me. And when a bunch of us went out to dinner at the brewery in Manayunk, we were laughing enough to make our table a target for a wandering magician. Who, incidentally, was quite good, and kept us laughing for about an hour non-stop. So much laughing this weekend. So much fun.

And now I'm wondering if this sore throat I have developed over the weekend is more due to the nasty bug that everyone else in my house seems to have caught, or my lousy sleeping habits over the past few days, or, quite simply, to all the laughing. I hope it's all the laughing. I would wear this sore throat like a badge of honor. Anyone can catch a virus, and anyone who is more sociable than responsible can go without sleep, but it takes a special person to rip her throat laughing.

It's probably something boring like "all of the above", though. Stupid viruses.

Friday, March 09, 2007

One thing I won't miss...

It's been hard saying my goodbyes to everybody at Starbucks. I know I will still see them on occasion, but as a visitor, or even more sadly, as a customer. It won't be the same as working with them on a daily basis. My job is a very interactive job. It's not like an office setting where you might chat for a few minutes at a time with your co-workers at the water cooler; you're constantly working together to put out a product, as a team. In this environment, it didn't take long for me to think of my co-workers rather as friends. I will miss my Starbucks friends a lot.

But you know what I won't miss? 5:00 a.m. Especially after nights like last night. Which went something like this:

9:00 p.m. - finish work, head for home

10:00 p.m. - get ready for bed

10:30 p.m. - set alarm for 4:30 and turn out the lights

10:30 p.m. to around midnight - toss and turn

sometime after finally falling asleep - start to dream strange dreams that all seem to feature a low battery noise at regular intervals

3:15 a.m. - wake up to discover that the low battery noise is, in fact, somewhere in the room

3:17 a.m. - find phone in the dark, fumble for charger base, which is not on the shelf it is supposed to live on

3:18 a.m. - turn on light, find charger base under a pile of clothes, grumble about my crappy housekeeping abilities, place phone on base

3:19 a.m. - turn off light, try to fall asleep

3:20 a.m. - "bdaleep" (that's how I have decided to onomatopoeiatize the low battery noise)

3:21 a.m. - turn light back on, follow cord from charger base to wall, which leads under trash can, which is overflowing, grumble and complain that no one but me ever changes the trash, unplug and plug back in charger base

3:22 a.m. - turn light back off, try to fall asleep

3:23 a.m. - "bdaleep"

3:24 a.m. - turn light back on, unplug charger base, move phone and base both into the other room and plug them in as far away from my sleep-deprived head as I can get them

3:26 a.m. - "bdaleep" - from somewhere inside the bedroom

3:27 a.m. - start to cry

3:28 a.m. - turn light back on, tear room apart looking for another phone

3:30 a.m. - find another phone, also with a dying battery, plug it into another charger

3:32 a.m. - turn light off, try to fall asleep

3:32 a.m. to around 4:00 a.m. - toss and turn

sometime after 4:00 a.m. - finally drift off to sleep

5:10 a.m. - freshly recharged phone rings, it's my fellow opener wondering why I'm not at work yet, mumble a flustered apology, roll into yesterday's work clothes, check why alarm didn't go off and discover that I had set it for 4:30 p.m. (The oldest excuse in the book, I know. I swear it's the first time I've done it in ages.)

5:20 a.m. - arrive at work, spewing apologies and gratitude for the wake-up call to my fellow opener, kick it into high gear and have the doors open for business at 5:25 a.m.

6:28 a.m. (or thereabouts) - start breathing again

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wednesday Night Love

Friends watch LOST with you.

Super Awesome Amazing Friends wait until 11:00 p.m. to watch LOST with you when you have to work on a Wednesday night until 10:30 and have to record it the old-fashioned way from a broadcast signal to your VCR.

Jeremy and Dan are officially awesome.

(But I still like you, too, Jon. Because I only work until 8:30 next Wednesday night, which gives me plenty of time to get to your house and watch LOST the new-fashioned way: in HD and as big as a wall. I'm still invited, right? I'll bring cookies...)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I deliberated for a long time before I wrote yesterday's post. It might not seem like it at times, but I put a lot of effort into this blog. When I clicked "publish" yesterday, I was ready to say what I said.

I am extremely grateful to everyone who left supportive comments, and to everyone who has wished me luck or offered prayers. It helps immensely to know that I have friends, both in the real world, and in cyberspace, who will stand by me in the difficult times and rejoice with me in the exciting times.

But I was a little caught off guard by one anonymous commenter. And I went back and forth in my head as to whether I should respond at all, and I had pretty much decided that I would say nothing. But when another anonymous commenter decided to defend me, and a mini-debate began to unfold in the comments section, I decided that I should say something.

But what should I say?

Do I try to explain myself, and clear up her (or his - I don't feel like writing a slash every time, so let's just use a gender neutral "she" for the time being) misconceptions of me? Do I clarify that my statement about not being able to afford rent referred to the reason I am not moving out of my in-laws' basement, and not to an outstanding bill that I owe to someone and am not paying? Do I explain that my proposed trip to Florida would have cost very, very little, as we were planning on driving and splitting gas four ways and staying with grandparents?

Do I try to defend my actions? Justify my frustrations with anecdotes? Argue that my sanity requires a little bit of respite here and there, and that compared to the cost of treating stress with psychiatry, a little vacation here and there is really the cheapest option?

This is my blog. It says so at the top of the page. Which means that I get to decide what goes on this blog. People will not always understand what I'm trying to say. That might be partly my fault for not explaining things well enough, but I have noticed that even the best writers on the Internet are often misunderstood. So I won't try to explain myself any further than I already have. I can only take so much responsibility for what other people think of me.

This is my blog, not my husband's. And yes, he knows about it, and he reads it occasionally, entirely with my blessing. I don't say anything here that I would try to hide from him. But I also try not to say anything here that is not my story to share. If you read through my archives, you will find very sparse details about my husband's illness. Because it's not my illness to share. What you will find a lot of, however, is me struggling with how his illness affects me. Because that is what is mine to share. (And, since I have now made the suggestion, here are links to some posts where I do exactly that, in June, in July, in November, and in January.)

So, I am not going to try to justify my emotional response by elaborating on my husband's illness. I believe that I am entitled to my feelings, whether they are objectively justifiable or not. Any therapist worth their salt will tell you that. And I feel like I have had a very difficult year or two, and I occasionally feel bitter about that, just as I also occasionally feel sad, lonely, angry, hopeful, happy, or amused.

And I think that's the most italics I have ever used in one blog post.

It is difficult to hear that someone thinks you are living your life wrong, that your priorities are skewed, or that you don't love your husband enough. It is made even more difficult when you know, deep down, that most of those judgements are based on misconceptions, which could theoretically be cleared up if you just poured enough explanation into them. Or maybe it is made more difficult by the knowledge that you're really not a perfect person, not a perfect wife, and that, while you think you are doing the best you can with a difficult situation, perhaps you could be doing better.

But in the end, this is my blog. I choose to share this part of myself with the world, along with everything that entails. People will judge me, people will criticize me, people will insult me. But people will also encourage me, support me, and empathize with me.

At least today, I think that the trade-off is worth it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sharing Time

Okay, that thing I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, that I said I wasn't ready to talk about yet? I'm going to talk about it now. I interviewed for a management position at Starbucks. And the interview went well, but long story short, there just isn't room for me right now in the management ranks of Starbucks. A position might open up in a few months, or next summer at the latest, but the fact of the matter is that, with Jeremy still not working, I can't keep waiting around forever. I love Starbucks, and I love working there, and I really wanted to move up in the company. But even more than that, I need my life to move out of waiting mode into living mode.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but when I left Canada and the legal profession and moved down here to Pennsylvania where I can't be a lawyer, it was because we had made a major life decision: We were ready to start a family. So I didn't care what kind of job I found, because I would be quitting in nine months to stay at home and raise our children. I found my Starbucks job, and it seemed like the perfect stopgap - flexible hours, good benefits, and working with people and coffee, which are two things I love. I figured, when I had kids, I could take my maternity leave, then maybe even go back for a few hours a week just to get out of the house and have a little bit of adult contact.

Then Jeremy got sick. Then he lost his job. Then he didn't get better, and didn't go back to work. And Starbucks went from being a nice side job to being all we had. And, unfortunately, it wasn't enough for us to live on, especially with my student loans being what they are. We are still living in my in-laws' basement, and as much as I love them and appreciate all the support they have been giving us, I am a grown woman who had her own household for four years before moving in with them, and I need my own living space. And, to put it bluntly, if Jeremy can't take care of me, I need to take care of myself.

So, I've taken children off the table for the time being. I still would like to be a mommy some day, but not with things the way they are right now. And not for a few more years at least. Because even if this week's doctor's appointment brings all of the answers we are seeking, and Jeremy is completely better by next week, and gainfully employed by the following week, it's going to take a long time for me to really feel comfortable putting my life in his hands so completely again.

Deciding to have kids takes a lot of trust. It's not an aspect of the decision that most people think about much, but really, especially when you are someone as self-sufficient as I am, it's a scary thought. I can usually find work, even if the work I find is almost always below my qualifications. I file our taxes, make sure the bills are paid, and loans are paid. I handle pretty much every aspect of our social lives, make sure we get to church on time, make sure we eat (well, that one is slightly less my responsibility since we've been living with the in-laws). I buy groceries, keep the house clean (when it gets cleaned at all, that is), do the laundry. I take responsibility for everything.

So, when we decided to have kids, it meant handing over a lot of reins. It meant biting my tongue and making sure that, at the very least, he could be responsible for the income side of things. And he did, eventually, find a good job with benefits. And I started to let him have that responsibility. And honestly, it didn't feel all that bad. I liked knowing that he could be responsible for something, that it didn't all have to be resting on my shoulders.

And then he got sick. And never got better.

It's strange to think that you can be completely ready for something one day, and then completely unprepared for the same thing a few months later. But it was a really big deal for me to hand over those reins, and, having taken them back, it's going to be even harder to do a second time. And as much as it breaks my heart, and makes my ovaries cry, to say so, I'm not ready to have kids anymore.

Where am I going with all of this?

Some friends of mine are buying a house in Ridley Park this month. They are planning on finishing the basement into a separate apartment. This apartment was where we were planning on moving if I got the assistant manager job with Starbucks, because the store I had applied to was just around the corner from the house they are buying. When I didn't get the job, I wasn't sure what I would do. I didn't know if I was ready to start applying for jobs outside of Starbucks, but I did start looking at listings online, just to see what was out there.

On Thursday night, I found out I that didn't get the assistant manager job.

On Friday night, I found a listing for a legal assistant/paralegal job at a firm that seems to do a lot of the kind of law I am really passionate about (civil rights, criminal defense, etc.), and the office is about ten minutes away from the house that Erin and Brian are buying. I wasn't sure if I was ready to start applying for other jobs yet, but I wrote an email cover letter, saved it as a draft, then hemmed and hawed for about two hours before finally pressing send.

On Saturday, I worked, and managed to not think about it too much.

On Sunday morning, I started to worry. I'm really very comfortable where I am, after all, even if I don't make enough to pay rent. It's frightening to put oneself out there like that, and I began to wish I hadn't sent that email. I was afraid of that inevitable call - the one I got in response to every single legal assistant job application I put in last year when I was looking for work - that call that said, more or less, "Why on earth would I hire you? You have no experience as a legal assistant, and you'll run off at the first sign of a better opportunity." I suppose I was equally afraid of a call for an interview, too, because that would mean change. And change is a little bit scary, even when you know, deep down, how badly you need it. I prayed, all through the morning service, that I wouldn't get a call at all. So much easier to not have to think about it.

On Sunday afternoon, the family (sans Jeremy, of course) all went out to Red Lobster for dinner. I began chatting with my brother-in-law about taking a trip to Florida during his Spring Break at the end of March. We started to get excited about the idea, and he texted a couple of friends to see if they were interested. I've had a stressful couple of weeks, between the job interview and waiting for an answer, and Jeremy's health taking another turn for the worse. A vacation sounded like a fantastic idea to me. I pushed the job application out of my mind, and chatted dreamily about beaches and Disney World.

Then my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn't recognize, so I decided to answer it, because I thought it might be someone from work. It wasn't. It was the lawyer I had sent the job application to. He told me he was actually completely done interviewing, and just had a few references left to call. He told me he knew it sounded a little weird, but he had told the other applicants that he would call them back with an answer on Monday, so was there any way that I could meet with him tonight? My heart beating out of my chest, and my hands shaking, I told him I would.

Sunday night, I had an impromptu job interview. He told me about his practice, and it sounds like he does exactly the kind of work I am passionate about. He told me about the position, and it sounds like it's the exactly the kind of job I would be good at and enjoy. He wasn't put off by my lack of experience as a legal assistant, and seemed to think that my experience as a lawyer in Canada would be an asset, rather than a liability. He offered me the job.

And I accepted it.

So, I have officially put in my two week's notice at Starbucks, and I will be starting a new job, a new career path, and hopefully, in many ways, a new life, exactly two Mondays from now. And I am both excited and petrified about it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The biggest decisions in life require a little bit of risk-taking, and I would be an idiot if I wasn't at least a little bit afraid. But I would be more of an idiot if I let than stop me from striving for something better.

They say a change is as good as a rest, whoever they are. So I guess I won't be going to Florida for Spring Break, but I think my brother-in-law will understand.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The smartest fifth grader ever

So, we were watching some ridiculous Millionaire spin-off game show last night, to bide the time until Lost. The question had something to do with whether or not there was a numerical value for works of fiction in the Dewey decimal system. Everyone but me seemed to think there wasn't, because libraries always have a separate fiction section organized just by author's name. I insisted that there actually is a number for fiction, it's just not used very often, because it's easier to sort the fiction separately. Then the contestant, and all the fifth graders, revealed their guesses, and they all agreed with everyone else but me, and the host confirmed that they were all right and I was wrong.

But we looked it up online, and not only was I right about there being a fiction section of the Dewey decimal system, but my explanation of why it wasn't used very often was almost word for word the same as the explanation we found online. Color me vindicated.

(Especially when, five minutes later, Jon made some kind of comment about Ivory soap floating, and I told him it floats because of air bubbles. Then he laughed at me, and looked THAT up online to prove me wrong. Except that I was right. Again. When did I become such a repository for useless knowledge?)

EDIT: Okay, I looked the question up online, and it turns out that the show wasn't wrong after all. They just phrased the question as a double negative, and, to be fair, we weren't really paying all that much attention, and we discussed the topic in general terms, rather than exactly the way the show was asking the question. So, I was still right, and my friends were all still wrong, but the TV was right as well. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

I suppose there are unhealthier things to be craving...

I have an irrational and overwhelming desire to go swimming right now. I think it started with an idea, hey, we could go swimming tonight, rather than bowling or watching a movie or any of the normal Friday night activities. Then I started looking online for a place to go swimming, and they just don't seem to exist. In Ottawa, there are about 30 public, indoor swimming pools, where they have open swim times or lane swim times, where you just show up with a bathing suit and a couple of dollars, and you get to swim. There are also three indoor wave pools, where you show up with a couple more dollars and get to swim in waves. But these places don't seem to exist around here. The only pools I can seem to find are either outdoor or members-only or both. It seems downright silly to me to join a gym just to go swimming once in a while. And wave pools? They don't even seem to exist except as part of outdoor water parks. And so, what started as a silly idea has become an obsession. Pretty much every day, I hop online, and search in a new and different way for a place to swim. Maybe a college or university? Students only. Maybe the Y? Members only (and the membership there is more than many gyms!).

Really, Philadelphia, your summer is not that much longer than Ottawa's. You get, what, five more weeks of good swimming weather, and that's enough for you to feel like indoor pools are a waste of wall? I can understand the lack of curling rinks, but really, I wouldn't have thought of indoor swimming pools as a Canadian concept. Maybe it's a local thing...

Any thoughts?