In which there’s an image.
Gosh, I haven’t!
Well, here it is!
In which there are a variety of reversible, seasonally appropriate motherfucking handmade placemats!!!
When your mom is psychic:
You buy a table and you think, damn, some placemats sure would be great.
AND THEN YOUR MOM SENDS YOU A BOX OF THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE BLUE, AND THERE’S, LIKE, DIFFERENT ONES FOR MAJOR HOLIDAYS AND SEASONS AND STUFF, AND SHE MADE THEM HERSELF, AND NOW YOU’RE LIKE FUCK SEPTEMBER, IT NEEDS TO BE OCTOBER ALREADY SO I CAN USE THE HALLOWEEN ONES!
They’re like little blankets for your table, really.
In which I buy stuff I don’t really need like an asshole, but at least it’s all used so I can say I’m “upcycling”!
Bought a table today! A used table! A TABLE YOU CAN EAT AT!
It’s a brown pub-style table and chairs set, and it’s taller than strictly necessary but I think it’ll be comfortable for the man, who is tall. The chairs are not-awful considering how austere they look, and not so high I can’t easily reach a sewing machine pedal.
I’m already imagining our having our next bi-annual games night while sitting at it, and it’s still 3 blocks away! (We’re going to bring it home when the man gets home from work.) Trivial Pursuit! Yahtzee! Cards! Dice! At a pub table! Brilliant!
I have also, I might add, in the past two months, bought: dishes, water glasses, a gravy boat, and candlestick holders, mainly in anticipation of setting a semi-proper Thanksgiving table this year. It’ll only be the two of us again, of course, but I’m so tired of eating on the couch hunched over the coffee table on holidays. It’ll be so great to sit down to a proper meal together on occasion!
You don’t think of yourself as “a table person” until you go over two years without one. I haven’t owned one for a really long time, but I lived with one until moving here. You just don’t really notice the stuff a table’s good for until there’s no table. Games night. Sewing. Filling out Christmas cards. Dinner dates. Wrapping gifts. Opening boxes from Amazon. Putting down the groceries.
I was, briefly, considering buying TV trays, but then I was just, like, OMFG, NERD, GET RID OF THE RECLINER WE LITERALLY NEVER, EVER SIT ON, AND THEN THERE WILL BE ROOM FOR A SMALL TABLE! So I took pictures of it — the recliner, I mean — and put it on Craigslist and it was not only gone in a week, but we got $25 more than we asked for!
Now that I have a table, I might buy fabric and make a runner, or placemats, or a tablecloth or something! Or, OMG, I could do seasonally appropriate centerpieces. It’s already September, I need a bowl and some pine cones and mini-pumpkins, stat! (While that is a joke, it’s also not. I’m totally gonna centerpiece it up for turkey day: I don’t even care that it’s common and privileged and totally something white bitches my age obsess over. Whoo! I even have a tray that’ll work for Xmas, maybe with candles and ornaments…)
Oh, who am I kidding. It’ll be covered in random shit within two weeks, and nobody’ll ever see any decorative centerpieces, and I’ll have to clean it off in order to eat at it, but at least I don’t have to eat on the couch anymore! Whoo! I’m gonna post the best Thanksgiving pictures this year!
In which I’m working full-time and NOTHING (in terms of domestic chores) IS BEING DONE!
Floors are filthy. Sheets really need to be laundered. Tub could use a scrub. Not sure when I last brushed my hair. Have done zero Christmas shopping and don’t even have Christmas cards, let alone have any of them addressed and ready to mail.
I’m working 40 hours a week, and every minute is tightly scheduled because I’m in training. Five weeks of training. Five weeks of Power Point, PDFs, videos, interactives, lectures, TeamSpeak breakout sessions, and teach-back presentations.
And a firewalled VPN that has the shortest whitelist I’ve ever seen. (Honestly, it’s amazing I’ve never worked behind a tight firewall before, and I not only understand but respect why they feel the need to keep the network, distributed as it is, as secure as possible. But there’s still this sort of vague sense of rage about not being able to surf on your own machine when you realize you can’t surf, not even for a second, even if you are on the clock. #firstworldproblems)
While the training itself is of very high quality, and the instructor is freakin’ amazing, for me a lot of stress comes from the fact that you have to clock in and out EXACTLY ON TIME. All lunch breaks are EXACTLY thirty minutes, never 29 or 31, not ever. (Thirty minutes is barely enough time to eat, let alone prepare anything. And since lunch break keeps moving, good luck getting delivery when you have to order 45 minutes beforehand.) The ten-minute clock-punch leeway given by, like, every other employer in the world, ever is simply not present: if you’re too early — you’re not allowed to clock in more than 5 minutes before your scheduled start time — or too late, you’re fired. Period.
My class of 20 new hires is down to 12; four just never turned up at all (which is weird to me, considering all the crap you have to do, including proving your machine meets standards and going to have employment documents notarized, to even get hired in the first place). The other four have dropped out at various points during the past three weeks, probably, I’m assuming, due to simply not being back from breaks and lunch on time.
It’s so rigid it’s basically killing me, except for the weird perqs: I can go to work unwashed and barely dressed if I want (which I don’t. I usually get up, dress in something I could probably wear to a real office only without the bra, tidy up the place, and eat breakfast and make coffee or tea before my shift) and my commute (from bed) is about two feet.
I can look out the window and see the season change and watch the neighborhood. When I clock off at exactly eight-thirty, I have no freezing commute home in the dark and Scott doesn’t have to come pick me up because I’m already home. He never has to come home to an empty apartment. I never have to wear uncomfortable shoes.
And I’m making a buck more an hour than I was at The Home Depot!
But the time micromanaging — which I understand, in context; this is a distributed call center and they probably have a huge number of employees who just don’t give a fuck about the company’s scheduling needs — is quite wearing. I mean, I get to work on time when I’m working normal jobs, but having never been required to be accurate to less than 60 seconds, it’s stressing me out. I live in fear of something happening that makes me 5 minutes late — spending a couple extra minutes in the bathroom, having to buzz in the FedEx guy, losing track of time while standing over the sink horking down a sandwich — and getting instantly terminated without even finishing the damned training.
Once I’m “in production,” their in-house jargon for being trained and “on the floor” taking calls, though, I’ll be able to drop down to part-time and get my nasty floors swept and mopped. (I know that some women work full-time and keep their floors clean; I am not one of those women. I can barely even stay top of the dishes.) I understand breaks and lunches will move around a bit if one’s stuck on a call, and that it will still be important to be back on time, but I think it’ll feel a bit more loose, subjectively, somehow.
At that point I think I’ll feel very fortunate to have a work-from-home job, even if it is taking customer service calls for Comcast, a company almost universally loathed. (I’m lucky enough to be supporting their home security products rather than, say, doing retention for enraged cable internet customers under contract or whatever, so I doubt it’ll entail getting screamed at for 24 hours a week.) I’m sure once I’m fully familiar with the various tools and call expectations I’ll be fine and my sense of stress will go away.
As long as it’s part-time. I’ve done too many years of call center work already in my career and there’s really no way I can be truly empathetic for 40 hours a week for very long. I know my call center customer service limitations (and so do you, if you’ve ever worked with me before. I can be a horrible, condescending cunt over the phone, and nobody wants that) and I respect them! So I’ll work F/T for just as long as it takes to really get a handle on production and then I’ll try to get down to 20 hours, if possible, but I’ll do 24 if they really insist. After all, what’s four more hours if don’t have to wear a bra.
Scott and I stayed up absurdly late both Friday and Saturday nights this weekend, so when I got out of bed this afternoon and realized that HOLY SHIT, SUDDENLY IT’S THE SUNDAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!1!, I went ahead and paid InstaCart to bring me my groceries since Scott was still in bed. They took hours to get here, but when they did all I had to do was put things away!
Even after taking an hour to form my shopping list, I still managed to forget the baguette for the spinach-artichoke dip and soda for the cranberry vodka, but otherwise all the Thanksgiving day shopping is done, and I have stuff to eat for breakfast and lunch for the next three days. I also did the shopping for my internet Secret Santa recipient today, so that’s basically sussed. GOD I LOVE THE INTERNET.
Because I have the great luck to be in training just now, I actually get four days off for the holiday weekend, like a regular grownup adult-type person. (But after I’m in production, I’ll probably never get another holiday off, ever, unless I request it off a quarter of a year in advance or trade somebody for it. (Apparently most holidays are dead, though, and if they’re dead enough you might be offered voluntary time off so you’re not stuck sitting at your desk for hours doing nothing.)) So excited to have four whole days off together! So looking forward to our second Thanksgiving together!
Our Thanksgiving menu is going to be completely traditional this year: the usual relish tray items, from deviled eggs to olives to stuffed celery. The spinach-artichoke dip we made last year and decided should always be our T-day tradition because it’s amazeballs. Ham steak (for him; I’m having tofu, of course), mashed potatoes, sage and onion dressing, green bean casserole, and mushroom gravy. Cherry pie (or cobbler — I haven’t decided yet) and vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. Potato skins in the evening when we’re peckish again with our celebratory adult beverages.
Friday I’m going bring the tree and decorations up from the basement. Super excited! No idea where I’m going to put our little tree (because I really fancy the idea of somehow getting it right in front of the living room window so it’s visible from the street) but I’m sure something will present itself.
I need to go order Christmas cards and see what else I can have shipped so I don’t have to go anywhere in person. Happy three-day work week, everyone working traditional schedules in America!
In which many exciting changes — a move, a job change, and not one but two opportunities for travel — are afoot!
The lease is up here, and while this apartment has some incredible amenities — such as southern exposure, a gas range, amazing cross-ventilation, and a wonderful view of a park with a pond in it — it also happens to be located in a rather industrial-sized, non-walkable bedroom suburb, so we’ve recently signed a new lease for an apartment in or very near Uptown.
“Uptown” is the neighborhood directly south of downtown Minneapolis, and it’s eminently walkable as well as featuring access to Eat Street, the Midtown greenway, and lots of groceries and bars and venues.
The new place has off-street parking for Scott and a storage locker for my bike (I’m hoping), wood floors, a larger kitchen, a bathroom practically identical to the one we have here, A GAS RANGE, a residential neighborhood that will probably be quiet, and a killer location for walking and biking to stores and bars and restaurants. (Well, during the nice months of the year, anyway.)
We’re still waiting on a move-in date from the new landlord (the current tenant hasn’t moved out yet), but it should be within the next few weeks.
I gave notice at Home Depot a couple of days ago. It’s been… interesting employment for me, and required a lot of comfort zone-stretching (sharing a desk, never sitting down, limited online access, steady physical exertion, etc). I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed any of it nor that the physical component hasn’t been good for me, but I’m incredibly happy to have a concrete end date in sight (since knowing it was temporary was sometimes the only thing that kept me sane).
The very day after giving notice I got a call back from a credit union two blocks — 600 feet from door to door, as the crow flies — from the new apartment! After signing the lease I’d used Google Maps to reconnoiter the area looking for work, and lo and behold there was a job posting for a part-time teller! In the neighborhood!
How great would that be? A two-block commute to a part-time job in a quiet environment? No nights or weekends or holidays? To work when Scott’s at work? (They’re open 9-6 on weekdays and 9-12 on Saturdays. I’d never have to work two solid months of 8-hour weekend shifts again! Even if I have to work every Saturday morning forever, it would still be a thousand thousand times better than the insanity that is the home improvement warehouse retail schedule.) Had a lovely pre-interview by phone today with the credit union’s HR; I have an in-person interview at the branch next Tuesday. So excited!
If it doesn’t work out — which it might not, of course, because they don’t post the pay range even in the job description and it might be minimum wage, which I’d probably pass on even with the ideal location and nearly-ideal schedule — I think I’ll just take a couple months off and get back into some semblance of a routine.
After a year of being scheduled anywhere from 6 AM to 10 PM, seven days a week, 363 days a year, I now have nothing like regular mealtimes and am usually not hungry when I have to eat or am starving when I can’t. Sleep schedules are utterly blown, and I’ve nearly lost my ability to sleep when I have to because I’m either inappropriately not tired or totally exhausted for whatever my schedule requires of me. I’ve never really considered myself a routine-oriented person, but that might be because I always had much more of one than I’ve had this past year. Random scheduling fucking blows and I feel deep sympathy for all those who are trapped in it.
Anecdotally, the new place is two blocks — normal city blocks, not the monstrosities here in the old apartment’s neighborhood — from a 30-year old breakfast joint called The Egg and I. HOW COOL IS THAT. There is nothing that close to this apartment but grass, trees, other apartments, roads, and weeds. Oh, and a pond.
So, the Employment Of Misery is basically over, a new lease is signed, I’ve started packing, and I already have an interview for a highly desirable position in the new neighborhood. On top of that, we’re going to see Amma in Chicago in a couple of weeks, and we have plans to visit Walla Walla in mid-August for a Morgan family reunion/get-together!
Totally stoked. Now I just need to put more stuff in boxes and find something nice to wear to next week’s interview!
In which there is no irony in this post.
Last night we stayed up late enjoying Christmas movies and adult beverages and this amazing hot spinach-artichoke dip we made somewhere around midnight. It was AMAZEBALLS. (Click the pic for a link to the recipe.)
Then we slept and snuggled until well past noon and had more of the dip, along with a relish tray, for ‘breakfast.’
(The Thanksgiving greeting cards on the table are from our moms. Because family.)
Then we lounged about and enjoyed sportsball (excuse me, that’s SPORTSBALL!!1!, I believe) and classic Christmas cartoons (Donald Duck and Chip ‘n’ Dale in the snow!), then we started on making dinner with some potato scrubbin’. We get along great in the kitchen. Here’s the whole day’s menu:
Our Official 2014 Thanksgiving Menu
Stuffed celery, radishes, olives, deviled eggs, crackers, cheeses
Spinach-artichoke dip with baguette
Tofu ‘steak’ for me
Beef steak for Scott
Mashed potatoes and parsnips
Lemon-garlic Brussels sprouts
Apple crisp with oatmeal streusel
Cranberry vodka and sodas
And since this holiday is about not just gratitude, but food, here’s more food porn:
Gravy (turned out weird but edible) and the mashed potatoes and parsnips, also weird:
Tater skins! OMG so good!
Cranberry-vanilla vodka and soda (again, click the pic for the recipe):
And now, right now, as I write, the apartment smells like heaven because there’s an apple crisp with oatmeal streusel in the oven!
We’ve had a wonderful day, the two of us, enjoying cooking and eating and companionship and so much to be thankful for today. We’re warm and safe and blessed, and have had a really quiet and comfortable day of abundance and each other. Not to mention the polar vortex and that having had the oven on so much has kept the furnace from even kicking on once.
Now we’re watching an old Danny Kaye Christmas Special (Dinah Shore! Lena Horne! Bing! Bob Hope! Jimmy Stewart! Satchmo!) and waiting for the apple crisp to cool.
And so, with full hearts and from a warm apartment, Happy Thanksgiving from us to you!