Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Adiós, World Almanac

June 2009 198
Cartoon courtesy of Reader's Digest, March 2009 issue.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Our New Roommate

Jon's cousin, Clare, came over for dinner last Thursday so we could discuss the possibility of letting her rent our spare bedroom for two months before her anticipated relocation to Washington, D.C.

Clare is a 23-year-old office manager who is currently exploring her independence with eyes set on something much larger and more exciting than anything Akron, Ohio can offer. I admire that. She's also lived in Argentina, speaks fluent Spanish (so fluent sometimes she doesn't realize she's speaking Spanish to us humble, single language folk) and hopes to land a career in foreign relations. She's so incredibly bright, resourceful, and determined that I have no doubt she will go anywhere and do anything she puts her mind to.

With a background like that there really wasn't much question as to whether or not Jon and I would agree to rent a room to her. It mostly revolved around deciding if we could be accommodating enough that anyone would want to live with us for any amount of time. So, we decided to make a list of Pros and Cons:

  1. The extra money couldn't hurt (for those two months especially).
  2. She could tell us what the actors on the Spanish channel are really saying.
  3. We won't require my little sister's house-sitting services (read: HOUSE PARTY) during our trip to Vegas in August.
  4. Jon and I will be less likely to kill each other over this whole unemployment thing. (Witnesses have that effect.)
  5. Maybe she'll hook me up with her job if she heads to D.C. in August.
  6. A constant excuse for weekend bonfires.
  1. Must close bathroom door.
  2. I have to wear more than my underwear to grab those jeans from the dryer downstairs.
  3. Overcoming my fear of awkward small talk.
  4. She's going to know just how bad my housekeeping skills are.
  5. Shower arrangements.
  6. It could be extremely embarrassing if she ever catches me working out.

The conversation during Thursday's dinner involved very little talk of her moving in and more about what we've all be up to in the last few months. The little talk that did revolve around living arrangements went a bit like this:

Jon: "We have two rules in this house: 1) You can't say the word WALK. You can't even spell it or the dogs will go bonkers. No, I don't know how they learned to spell it. 2) The big TV is the only one I can play video games on, so if I've had a particularly stressful day at work and I want to relax while playing a game, I might have to kick you off if you're watching something. So, do you want to move in?"

Clare: "Yeah. Is Saturday too soon?"

Clare moved in on Saturday. Jon and I are officially living with someone other than each other for the first time in 8 years, and other than feeling extra tired today from having to get up earlier to make shower time, it hasn't been too strange. Okay, strange? Yes. Uncomfortable? Only slightly. Maddening? Absolutely not.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This Could Only Happen to My Husband

I lose 70 pounds and my wedding ring is only loose on my finger. Jon loses 20 pounds and his slips right off his finger into a hole.

The good news: We know where it is.

The bad news: It's in his car door and the mechanic wants $65 dollars to get it out.

At least the ring cost more than $65.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why I Turned Off the Television

Call me a cynic, but is anyone else really annoyed by the fact that the media has done nothing but ridicule Michael Jackson for the last decade, but now that he's died they are finally willing to acknowledge his talent and influence? I think it's sad that he had to die unexpectedly to be recognized as a legend by these people. I mean, seriously, they are the ones who labeled him Wacko Jacko, right?

Rest in peace, Michael. People will forever try--and fail miserably--to master your moonwalk.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Repairing and Preparing My Psyche

I’ve been using my frustration from work as means to push my workouts to a new level. In the last two weeks I’ve started doing my routine in the evenings after work when the stress is at its worst, and I’ve been pushing myself as hard and as fast as I can. There’s something about that moment, when it’s finally over and my clothes are drenched in sweat, my heart is pounding, and my legs can barely carry me that I can think clearly and remember that there is more to life than what’s going on with my employment. There are bigger, better, and more permanent things that complete me, and I shouldn’t feel as though my life revolves around unhappy customers, disgruntled co-workers, and a never-ending job search.

Things have slowed to a crawl at work, which is a welcome change from having to hit the ground running while blindfolded like we’ve been doing for the last 2+ months. The only problem is that the little work we do have quite often revolves around borderline abusive customers who have no one to blame but themselves for waiting so long that there isn’t much I can do for them. I never mentioned it, but a few weeks ago, I had one man who, while screaming at the top of his lungs, told me I needed to go back to school to get my degree in Law, because what I, personally, was doing to him (offering to fax a copy of the order we received to show that he did, in fact, receive what he ordered) could be considered illegal. Then he proceeded to insult my intelligence and question my ability to do my job when I admitted that I needed my manager’s approval to bend company policy. He wouldn’t stop accusing me of playing games with him. Whatever, dude.

But I digress.

This time next week I will finally be finished here. I will be finished “playing games”. I will be embarking on a week long vacation at home to recover from the outrageous insanity of the last 4 months. After the rest and relaxation I will finish up interviews with temporary employment agencies and finally have a decent amount of time dedicated solely to looking for a new job.

I have no disillusionment. I know it needs to be done quickly, but I’ve done everything humanly possible to prepare for what could be a very rough road ahead of me, and I can’t let myself be consumed by the enormous mountain of what ifs. I have severance. I have savings. I have my network moving at full-force, and I have a very solid resume. I’ve read every article on job-hunting I can find, and I’ve followed every helpful tip. I’m prepared for this, despite my emotions going haywire, as if they don’t know whether to jump for joy or bury themselves in a stiff drink. But I’m pretty confident that everything is going to be okay, because anything has got be better than the right here, right now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Note to Self:

Should you ever be so inclined to create a new blog, it's probably not a bad idea to use aliases. Otherwise most of your traffic will come from Google searches such as this:

Is Kate from Jon and Kate +8 really a bitch?

And just in case you're all really looking for my completely unprofessional, just-heard-about-it-on-the-radio-today opinion: I'd have to yes, she really is.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Getting Acquainted With the Dial Tone

"This is Katie. How can I help you?"

"Yeah, I'm trying to figure out where I can order this book?"

"We're referring everyone to this website. They haven't.."

"Yeah, I went there, but I couldn't find it."

"They haven't made any announcements as to how you can order yet, but keep an eye on the site. They should.."

"There has to be somewhere else I can order it."

"Unfortunately, the website I gave you is the only place it will be available. They should be making an announce.."

"Listen to me, this is for a dying child with cancer and this book will be a great tool for him. Will you just tell where else I can get the book?"

"I'm sorry, sir. I wish there was something I could do, but the only information I've been given is the websi.."




An hour later:

"This is Katie. How can I help you?"

"Hi. I would like to place an order."

"Unfortunately, we're no longer accepting orders. We're going out of business, but thank.."

"Yeah, I heard the recording before I was transferred to you. Don't you have some books sitting around that you want to sell to me?"

"Oh. I wish I could, but our warehouse is completely empty. We stopped.."



Two hours later:

"This is Katie. How can I help you?"

"Hi. Yes. I placed an order at the end of May and I've only received close to half of it. Can you tell me when the rest will arrive?"

"We sent all of the items available for your order. The rest had to be canceled off of the order because they were sold out."

"So what I have here is all I'm going to get?"

"Yes, I'm very sorry, but the clearance titles were available on a 'first come, first serve' basis and your order was received on the last day we could accept orders."

"Do you realize how much money I've now lost because of you?! This is ridiculous!!"

"Ma'am, I.."


Note to Self:

A high score of 248,981 in Jewel Quest is not an accomplishment worthy of including on your resume, so it's in your best interest to find something more constructive to do with your time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Would Have Named Him Charlie

Our evening walks have been mostly uneventful since the horse incident--until last night that is--when we stumbled upon yet another loose dog, but this time it wasn't scary so much as heartbreaking.

Jon and I and the dogs were just under a mile from our house when we noticed a small, black and tan dog as it ran in and out of the surrounding yards across the street. It spotted us soon after and came running over, dragging a dingy red leash and spiral, metal stake that must have been used to (unsuccessfully) keep it chained in the yard. He was smaller than either of our dogs and kept his head close to the ground, so I wasn't too worried about him attacking us like I was the horse. To be honest, I was more worried about what Jack was going to do as the hair on his back began to stand up and a low, mean growl started rumbling from his throat. I kept him on a short leash as Jon and I kept walking, hoping the stray dog would ignore us and be on his marry way.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite work like that. The dog was happy to follow us on our walk, tail wagging, big, sloppy grin on his face, and sneaking quick sniffs of Jack's butt every chance he got.

We made it about 20 feet when Jon and I finally came to the agreement that we had two options; we either had to canvas the neighborhood and find this dog's owner, or he was going to follow us all the way home. Seeing as we're not in the habit of stealing dogs or taking in strays, Jon handed Macy's leash to me and checked the stray dog's collar for tags and that's when we realized just how bad of shape this dog was really in. He stunk to high heaven and was nothing but big, buggy eyes, a rib cage, and a pile of matted fur. It was like watching one of those ASCPA commercials, only Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" wasn't playing in the background. My heart broke as it occurred to me just how long this dog must have been running loose, searching for food, and his long lost home. Of course he didn't have identification on his collar, which told me we weren't going to be successful in finding his home, but we had to try anyway.

We started on the street where we first saw him and asked every person we passed if they recognized the dog, but everyone said no. Meanwhile, we called animal control to see if a dog fitting his description had been reported missing, but we had no such luck. Dollar amounts for vet visits, vaccinations and licenses began floating around in my head. My deep love for animals wouldn't let me leave this poor, emaciated dog to fend on his own anymore, but my ever shrinking pocketbook and inability to control one of our previously rescued dogs (Macy, in case it wasn't obvious) was telling me I didn't have a choice. There's no way I can handle another dog with loads of emotional baggage.

I thought we lucked out when Jon spotted a little girl--probably 10 or 11 years old--riding her bike across the street. Jon called out to her and politely asked if she had seen the dog before. She paused, turned her head to the side in thought, and after a few seconds said it looked an awful lot like her next door neighbor's dog, two or three houses down.

We went to said house and Jon walked up to the door with the stray dog while I waited on the side walk with our two. Jon rang the door bell. No answer. He knocked loudly. No answer.

Then I noticed a man walking out from behind the house, and I called out, "Excuse me? Do you live here?"

"Yeah." He said.

"Is this your dog?" I asked.

"Yes! Oh my gosh, thank you! I've been out looking for him for like three hours!" He exclaimed.

"Oh, good," I said, and began explaining how the dog found us and what we'd done to figure out where he lived.

The man appeared extremely grateful and thanked us profusely as Jon handed over the dingy red leash and metal stake tied to the dog.

It wasn't until we were walking away and the little dog began crying as he watched us go that it occurred to me that I'd been so relieved to find his owner that I completely overlooked a very big detail: he said the dog had been missing for hours, yet it smelled bad enough and its ribs and spine were poking through enough that it should have been missing for more like weeks. I'd just handed a poor, defenseless, and malnourished dog back to the man who had made him that way.

I spent the rest of the walk home, the time we took to give our dogs baths afterward, and the hours since questioning whether or not I did the right thing. I don't think I did, but I'm also at a loss for what I could or should have done. I keep asking myself what if we'd never come across that girl on the bike? What if the man hadn't been home? The dog would have come home with us where I know he would have had a bath, lots of food, and a visit to a veterinarian by now. He would have been loved and cared for and not chained up in the backyard and left to fend for himself. But then I would always be asking myself how would I have felt if someone found and kept one of my dogs when they ran away? When I put it that way, obviously, this dog wasn't mine to keep. Still, if I'd only known before Jon knocked on that door what I know now, I wouldn't give a shit.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Current Forms of Entertainment/Mind Numbing

In the last 3 weeks I’ve

Attended 3 graduation parties.
I'm now broke.

Taken a trip to Columbus to see The Decemberists.
They were amazing.

Purchased a Blackberry (for me) and an iPhone (for Jon).
I'm now broker than broke.

Labeled over 100 boxes for storage at work.
It beat sitting at my desk doing nothing.

Submitted countless resumes.
Still crossing my fingers for call backs.

Watched 3 seasons of Weeds on DVD.
Drugs, sex, and suburbia. How did I not know about this before now?

Become addicted to Farm Town on Facebook.
WTF? Yeah, I'm wondering the same thing.

Lost 3 pounds.
Shedding weight from a smaller frame has turned out to be a whole new ball game.

Listened to 1300 songs according to the play list on my iPod.
I still heart music.

There have been times when I thought I might be going mad, and there have been times when I thought I was exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m somewhere in the middle right now, sitting comfortably numb.