And so I thought I’d let you know… That these things take forever, I especially am slow…

Class began yesterday.  School has always been something I’ve been especially good at, if you count learning as something to be mastered.

Unfortunately, the muses were against me for my Programming class.  My book failed to come in on time due to the seller “forgetting” to check their email.  (Its funny that they didn’t mention that there was an extra 50-something dollars in their bank account.)  So, I walked into class a little less prepared than I had wanted to.  I realized by the time I sat down and started talking to the lady beside me (a computer programmer that had worked for IBM for an unspecified amount of time) that there were reading assignments and class assignments on Blackboard that most had already completed.

Wait a second… what??

So Dr. C, a small lady from India who has an interesting list of computer-related accomplishments, began her class and my confidence level plummeted.  However, by the end of the class I had done my first little programming exercise (Hello, World!) and another one (another box that simply displays the name of the school when you push a button).  I was feeling kind of good about myself but still VERY much behind.

The research class wasn’t much better.  Of course, it was for a completely different reason.  We sat and read about every possible fact about publishing books.  Of course, you know, we’re all going to be published computer programmers some day.

Officially, I am fourteen chapters and two assignments behind and it hasn’t even been 24 hours since my class met.  I’m also put into a group for a group project that is due someday in the next five months.  One of my group members resides in Austin.  The other one is a cpt in the Army.  We’re off to a great start.  We’ve at least found each other, which is more than some of the other groups can say by now.  I hate group work.

In some other fun news, to counteract the technical thinking of I’m going to do 30 days of Creativity.  I think it would be an amazing endeavor.  And I have a back-up plan… I take a 365 every day… so there’s no way I’d miss a day.  Of course, I’m going to put more of an effort in to it.  I even started out well…(a day early, even)… I just made a font of my handwriting.  I know… I’m such a geek.

And now I’m digressing into mindless dribble.  Time to shower, clean, and start reading about how to program.

Theme Thursday… LIMOS

I stood outside my grandmother’s house surrounded by a slick black dress, “strappy” heels, and the euphoria that generally accompanies the sweet smell of high school popularity coming in the eleventh  hour.  He would pull up any moment in his late 80’s model Bronco full of the gods of our high school:  Brent, the singer; Bari, the hippie girl; Anthony, the italian stallion who drives a Porsche; and Christy, captain of the varsity cheer squad.  I finally had been spared the humiliation of graduating a nothing.

I should be.  I put more work into their GPAs than I did my own.

The story continues like every teen chick-flick in modern history.  The limo pulls up and my very drunk date rolls out of the limo like kitten tied in yarn.  Unfortunately, his yarn was his gorgeous ex-girlfriend.

Who didn’t see that one coming?

He mumbles something about his “plans” that “changed” and continued to do some strange yelling match with Anthony through the open door.  She did a half-hearted wave and burst into laughter.  They dove back into their chariot that would deliver them to the ball.  The driver pulled away, leaving me standing in front of my grandmother’s house in a slick black dress, “strappy” heels, and the utter devastation that accompanies your high school life and dreams crashing around you.

I hadn’t expected to go to my senior prom.  My high school was already taking steps to discriminate against homosexual couples forming in our tiny country high school.  If you intended to go to prom, you needed to have a date of the opposite sex.  Tickets were to only be sold in pairs.

If you need me to spell it out a little more for you, boys weren’t exactly looking at girls like me unless they needed a paper written for English class.

He was in my AP English class.  I know, I was one of the “smart” ones.  I should have studied the forshadowing, compared the plot sequence with the plots of other stories, compared and contrasted it to the classics.  More concretely, I should have known from past experience.

That group (the Gods of Pinecrest) never acknowledged my existence unless it was for academic reasons.  So, why would their fearless leader, an American Eagle model made flesh and seated next to me in Ms. Aldridge’s 2nd block AP English class, choose me to be his arm candy for the most important night of your entire high school career?

I’ll tell you why.  It doesn’t happen.  If it does, it means you have a bucket of red paint in your future.

Instead, I went on a search for the perfect dress to begin my new, socially-improved life.

My visions of being  a future trophy wife sped away in a black limousine covered with dirty girl drool and liquor.  I was faced with few new challenges:  convincing my grandmother that he didn’t drive away because I looked like a slut and saving what little face I did have at school on Monday.

A compelling or constraining influence, such as a moral force on the mind or world, PRESSURE.
To be undecided or skeptical, to tend to disbelieve and distrust, to regard as unlikely, that’s DOUBT.
The condition of being insufficient or falling short, decline in strength or effectiveness, FAILURE.
The instinct to run, to back away, or give up, to need, want, reach, steal, the feeling to always want more, and to take more, the loss of breath at the sight of a car accident, to drive by, never being able to feel satisfied, and to reject anyone who tries,
and this is my life.

I promised myself I would work hard today while I was here in the office.  All the things that are on the email list of “please do this” was going to be done and then some.  That way, if I don’t come back, its done.

See, its my hope to receive a phone call on Monday about a job offer.  I know I’m probably jinxing the whole process by even commenting on it, but at this point, things can’t possibly go any more awry.  Considering I’m stuck driving to Austin and back every day for the next two weeks, there would go my required “two week notice.”  Essentially, I would never have to see my non-office again.

At that point, I probably wouldn’t complain about driving to Austin every day.  It would be like a mini-vacation from the local office I’m stuck at.  I could take in some local areas I adore, eat some food I enjoy, and (of course) wander a store or two.

In spite of it all, I’ve found myself revisiting my past through music.  The lovely introduction you read at the very start was from an Early November song off of their triple CD release called “The Mother, The Mechanic, and the Path.”  The third CD (“the Path”) is actually the story of a guy’s life told through snippets of song and speaking parts.

To tell the story of how I came across this gorgeous concoction doesn’t give it justice.  I never much paid attention to the CD just after its purchase.  I happened to be driving to work to BFS and heard the introduction.  Something that gripped my chest tightened.

He was talking to me.  No, for me.

This guy speaking, Dean, had just spoken the exact words that were floating through my head constantly for two years.  I had failed at so many things.  I failed as a college graduate (I was working construction), as a wife (divorced/separated before a year of marriage), as a family member (my family moved to AZ because of my choice to marry), and myself.  I didn’t necessarily have all of the experiences Dean speaks of, but the introductory track on “The Path” stuck me like a speeding train.

I had a similar reaction a few years later shortly after I had moved to Candor and was listening to a new unsigned artist named Ronnie Day.  His “Insert 2” is a short segway to another song, but speaks volumes:

I’m losing sense of self
There’s a stranger in my head and he says he’s here to help
But his medicine is bittersweet
and I still can’t eat and I still can’t sleep
This isn’t me.

Things always seem to appeal to me like this.  Give me everything you have as fast as possible and make me feel it.  You don’t have to write a 4 minute song to move a person’s soul… you just have to be honest.

Today, I listened to both of those and can see the Day of Discoveries playing in my head.  I can hear the traffic of All American speeding by my car as I listen, mouth wide, to this man speak my very thoughts.  I can feel the soft cotton of my favorite shirt and the hard plastic of the hanger as Ronnie points out the glaring truth.

And since I was already down the path, I decided to play some other favorites from the past.  It started with For Squirrel’s “Example” and a desperate search to see if perhaps their first CD and EP had found their way to the internet yet.  It continued with Lisa Loeb, Phish, and Jethro Tull.  I resolved to lighten the mood (because you can’t live in the past with a job you can’t stand!) and listened to That Was Something and City and Colour.

And here I am.  Leaving for lunch and hour late having done nothing but listen to music and talk to the internet wanderers.

Cause I need more time…Just a few more months and we’ll be fine…

Do you ever hear your alarm in the morning and you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the day is going to suck?

When you work a job that is obtuse at best for a boss who fails to show-up or even call-in most days in a department with a general consensus is that you are the most hated human being on the face of the earth and deserve the loathing sneers and gossip that comes with such a territory… most every morning you experience the sincere dread within moments of your alarm’s urging wake-up call.  I was spared from all of it today, but my alarm still went off early and that impending dread of an emotionally exhausting day crept in.

I purposefully made today an extremely busy day.  I knew if left to my own devices I would probably have a pool party in my little puddle of self-pity and grief.  I silently made plans and even scheduled an interview.  In the end of it all, my attempts to save myself from my sea horse floatie in dark waters was quite futile.  As was mentioned elsewhere on the interwebs, sometimes a tiny glimpse of happiness costs a lot.

He went home today.  I knew it would happen eventually, but I hoped it wouldn’t.  It some ways I find myself to be childish like this.  As I felt myself letting go more and opening the doors for him, the more I convinced myself that he wouldn’t be leaving.  How could he leave?  Nah… he can’t leave.

The plane boarded at noon and is probably carrying him somewhere over the Atlantic right now.

My interview with a local branch of a nationally known degree factory was yet another disappointment I set myself up for.  I did a phone interview and was confident I’d get the email Friday.  I checked my email obsessively until close to 10 o’clock that night.  Then started again yesterday, checking every 10-15 minutes to see if perhaps I had the dates mixed up.  Maybe he meant he’d email Monday to schedule face-to-face interviews NEXT Monday.  It certainly seemed like that would make sense.  And because we had done a phone interview, I was sure I would hear either way.

Before I even arrive at the hiring agency for my “first” interview (the interview that was supposed to be done BEFORE my phone interview with the man) that was scheduled for 1 PM today (keep in mind, I’m attempting to keep myself running and busy all day today)… I had received three emails rejecting me on jobs that I am qualified and highly capable of doing.  I didn’t even make the first round of cuts for any one of them.  So my potential job pool is shrinking quickly and pretty much consists of (1)Degree-Factory job that I’m driving to the interview for, (2) a few low-paying secretary jobs that I had hoped to use as backup, (3)an academic advisor position I’m qualified for but not very interested in, and (4) an online course development job I’m sure I’m not qualified for but emphasized my web training and my teaching experience in hopes of a wild hare.

Sure that the fact that I haven’t heard from Degree-Factory guy yet is simply a fluke, I walk into the hiring agency confident and happy.  It lasted a whole ten minutes before I found out, he not only proceeded with the interviewing process without letting me know I hadn’t been selected; he has hired someone to start Monday!  They attempted to soften the blow by telling me there is another position they would love to consider me for… do I have any experience in sales?

A saleman, I am not.

So I went shopping.  Half-Price Books was a few streets away and calling me to buy more books I don’t have time to read in one lifetime.  I picked up a few that I had been looking for (Atonement, The Road, Practical Demonkeeping, Blind Assassin…. They didn’t have ANY copies of Lolita.  Figures) and continued on my way home to do laundry and try to tame the disaster that is my apartment that has been a true dumping ground for two weeks.  Well, stopped for a Route 44 size Cherry Limeade at Sonic, first.  If you can drive by a Sonic between 2 and 4 PM and not take advantage of their happy hour, I commend you.

I’m messing around with my new movies that I picked up with the mail this afternoon (“Superbad” and “Pineapple Express”) and trying to maintain the constant flow of things to do.

Hell, its better than crying over spilled milk.

If I just breathe…Let it fill the space in between…I’ll know everything is alright

The afternoons get a little difficult to deal with around 3.  Especially when your boss takes advantage of HER boss’s absence to depart at 11 and not return.  With a simple “I forwarded my calls to your phone,” I was correct to assume I’d be manning the wheel by myself for the rest of the afternoon.

I’m still locked in the middle of a power struggle between the local office I am housed at and my outstationed unit.  The local office still doesn’t want to give me an office and the outstationed unit dictates I must be here.  So I’ve gone from deserted desk to abandoned hallway toting my state-issued desktop along with me.  They finally “agreed” that I should be in the “LAN office” a mere two doors from where I currently sit.  I was excited… an actual office with a door.

A door that locks.

That no one appears to have a key to.

So instead of verbally telling me that I need to move my office for [insert stupid reason number 56 here], they’ve simply locked me out of the office I have been given.  Technically, they’ve fulfilled their side of the bargain.  I have an office.  They win, though… I can’t get in it.

The fact that the whole system is screwed up prevents me from really feeling bad about job hunting.  I believe I have every right to look for a job that is rewarding and worthy.  Spending most of my time shuffling from office to hallway to corner is not rewarding or fulfilling.  The fact that I’m officially six months into my employment and still haven’t been trained is neither acceptable or efficient.  I can use annual leave days, though.  I guess you win some, you lose some.

Today I sat in my car and did a phone interview with a local installation of a nationwide company.  As I was waiting for the man to call, I tried to make myself feel guilty for doing an interview for another company on state time.  It wasn’t going to happen–the state had simply pushed me aside and I knew it.  The most they would get out of me is that I would cut my lunch short by 10 minutes to make up for some of the lost time. 

The problem I’ve noticed here is that people get too comfortable with their jobs.  They know what they’re doing, they know they can depend on someone else to do it for them, so they just back away and let the overachievers take the brunt of the work.  I was ready for the challenge this position ideally offered.  I wanted to get in and learn the programs and help make the unit I was assigned to amazing in every way.  Back on March 23rd, I was ready.  Now, I can’t say that I am.  No amount of dedication I put to this unit or office is going to make a bit of difference.

So I guess I’ll just blog about it and forget it, right?

I’d say I miss you, but think I’d choke on the words…

The bright and relentless Texas sun has given way to rain clouds for the first time in a while.  Three little girls with linked hands and wildly blowing hair are walking down the street being led by their mother.  The birds that usually prance by my window disappeared hours ago before I received the message of a possible storm.  The rain is always a welcomed diversion from 105 degree heat.  The lightning, on the other hand, makes me think of wildfires.  I wonder if my rental insurance covers damage from porch plants being torched by bolts of electricity.

This week was supposed to be something bittersweet.  I have two days off of work to spend time with Albert before his departure next week.  Today was supposed to bring me news of a Graduate Assistantship at school, but instead brought news that I would have to wait until the 20th at the earliest to find out.  (A G.A. would give me in-state tuition and additional income, which is much needed.  Add in, my first payment on my exorbitant tuition bill is due the 21st.)  I am due to have a phone interview to possibly work with a local institution of higher learning.  Turns out, I have to drive to Austin to take three hours worth of testing by the time of my interview.  I am working with them to attempt to stop in after I take him to the Austin airport, but no one seems to want to compromise.

So I am essentially back at square one… thankful for tomorrow’s adventure and running on the treadmill of my career instead of climbing the ladder of success.