Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keeping it casual

You know, when I was a kid my mom always told me to avoid interviewing for jobs on Fridays so you don't think the company is more casual than they actually are.

Someday, my children will be able to say this. Don't worry, I definitely dressed up for work on my first day. And my second day. And today. And I will every Monday through Thursday. Damn. My recent shopping would have taken a different turn had I known.

The good news? I will get my own cubicle! I've been mentally decorating for the past two days. I don't actually move into my cubicle until four weeks from now (ish), so I suppose I have plenty of time. The first two weeks I'm training, then the next two weeks (ish) I'm moving to what they call "the pod" to practice calling potential students under intense supervision. I'm sure that won't be intimidating at all. Really.

I wish I could talk about work more/with more enthusiasm, but I've been completely exhausted every night even though I've had fun during the day. Besides, Minute to Win It is on, and it's really irresponsible of me to miss the greatest hour of television known to man.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bureaucratic Jitters

This is ridiculous. Tomorrow is my first day of work, but I'm feeling like it's my first day of high school. Obsessing over my outfit? Check. Wondering what my authority figures will be like? Check. Worrying about catching the bus on time? Actually, that one is a false parallel... I didn't take the bus in high school, and I decided to drive in tomorrow so I can really see what kind of bus stops are closest to work. (FYI, Pittsburgh Port Authority... your website sucks.)

I just typed out "I have no idea why I'm so nervous" and then deleted it. Of course I'm nervous. This isn't like my first day at retail job [which will hereafter be known as retail job from hell]; I'm actually (hopefully) going to be at this company for a while. At least until grad school, whenever that happens. This is the first job I've ever had that has a sense of permanence attached to it. This is the first job I've ever had that has a sense of "Oh god, I need to pay rent" attached to it. This is me entering the world of grown-up bureaucrats.

And, to top it all off, the boyfriend is visiting next weekend. The great thing about long-distance relationships is that you really savor the time you have together. The terrible thing about long-distance relationships (mostly for the people living with the participants of said relationship) is that every time you see each other it almost becomes an event, and thus creates some stress in the midst of anticipation. So even though I'm obviously very excited to see him, it's sort of one more thing going on this week that I have to think about. Yeah... I realize that I sound like the world's worst girlfriend for saying that. But until his arrival on Friday, I'm just going to focus on not being the world's worst grown-up bureaucrat.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Million dollar question... if dollar equals awkward

Today was my second time interviewing a participant. (I always want to simply type in "I had an interview today," but I know that if I do I'll get a billion questions about job prospects and where I'm interviewing and I'll just have to explain that I finally found a full-time job and am not interviewing for any more positions thankyouverymuch.) Like the last one, it was delightfully easy. And the guy was pretty adorable. They just moved into a new house (I wanted to buy it from them on the spot), and they have a one-month-old baby and a four-year-old. And I thought moving a minivan's worth of possessions was tough. But yeah, not a huge difference between the participants. Oh, except for this:

Question: How many times have you had sex within the past year?

Guy #1: I don't know... a thousand, I guess.
Me: ...That would be about three times a day.
Guy #1: [shrug]

Guy #2: Oh, um... [sheepishly] Well, my wife was pregnant for nine of those months, so a lot of that stuff was, you know, off limits... Um... Ten?

I realize that it can sound like a daunting question, but it's not that difficult if you break it up into a weekly average and then multiply. I mean seriously.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I literally do not have the brain power right now to think of an awesome title for this post

I've started three different posts in the past week, but was so bored writing them I abandoned them altogether.

I officially got my job offer yesterday. Apparently my background check didn't unearth any deep dark secrets. Not going to lie, it was taking so long I was starting to get nervous. I start on Monday, which still doesn't feel quite real. I had the "Yeah... I know I've only been here a month, but I'm leaving" talk with the retail manager yesterday. Not nearly as awkward as I expected...and by awkward, I mean terrifying. I'm not good with rejection, giving or receiving. I had to get a bravery text and phone call from the roommate. (She made me feel much better by promising me ice cream after. Unfortunately, we completely wasted Ben and Jerry's free cone day with a recent bout of the stomach flu. We each had half a piece of bread and were too full to get free ice cream. I know, what were we thinking?) The down side to all this? Now that I have a real job and real money to buy clothes, I won't have an employee discount. Don't worry, I plan on shopping tomorrow.

I finally interviewed my first participant! The first two I had scheduled bailed on me, so I was actually a little surprised when I walked up to the guy's house and he was drinking coffee on the porch and waiting for me. (For the record, he wasn't on the porch in anticipation of my visit. It was just a really nice day.) I was relieved that he didn't want to do the spit sample in front of me. I'm afraid I'm going to throw up if I have to see/listen to a participant hacking up into a spit cup.

The interview asks some fairly sensitive questions about drug use, violence, criminal history, some medical stuff, etc. and I knew that it might get uncomfortable sometimes... I didn't think that the most awkward part would be when I asked how many sexual partners he's had in the past year. He held up his hand and I clarified by asking, "Five?" He immediately shushed me. Apparently his girlfriend was asleep in the next room. It was a lot of fun later when she was awake and in the kitchen and I had to ask more questions about his sexual history. Yeah.
Oh, and he didn't hit on me! Yay! (I mean, telling me I have nice eyes is just being truthful, right?)

Monday, March 15, 2010

The gun-slinging-law-and-order-benevolent-sexism-fest

At last I have freed myself from the shackles of Joyce Carol Oates! Funny how 738 pages seems so brief when it's Harry Potter and yet it becomes a death sentence when you dislike the author. Yes, Blonde was nominated for a Pulitzer. Yes, I was interested in the story. Yes, I have become even more desperate to see the Arthur Miller play running at a local theater. So why the huge rush of relief when I finally returned the massive text to the library? I attribute part of it to my book-a-week goal; although this didn't technically set me behind, I did spend way more time on it than I would have liked. And also... Well. I really don't want to believe that the relief is mainly because I hated the book. I didn't. I don't think. I can't help feeling that I'm being unfair to JCO. This is only the second of her novels that I've read. Can you really determine after only two books whether you dislike an author? It seems harsh. But the truth is, I had the same mixed feelings about the first book. Interesting subject matter, but frustrating presentation.

Authors like JCO tend to remind me of the '70's. I realize that probably makes no sense, but it's this feeling I've gotten about certain books ever since I picked up an ancient volume of poetry my mother had (well, if we're being technical, "ancient" = circa 1970's). There was this poem in it called "Try Smiling," and my ten-year-old self instinctively categorized it as "very 70's." Ever since then there have been a few authors (of varying styles and subject matter) who have fallen into that schema. I don't really understand it myself, but there it is. Some of these authors (i.e.-- Lorrie Moore) I really like; others (i.e.-- JCO) I roll my eyes at and imagine them banging out manuscripts on a typewriter while wearing bell bottoms and a ridiculous vest.

Okay, my brain hurts from all this ambivalence. On to happier things. Since Blonde was a veritable parade of old Hollywood, I've been in the mood to watch some of their films. First was "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (obviously), then I moved on to "High Society" and "High Noon" courtesy of my local library. (Strangely, I also borrowed the "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" CD at the same time, thus completing an unintentional theme. *cough* Just kidding-- I definitely would not listen to that CD. At all.) "High Society" is a musical version of "The Philadelphia Story" and stars Sinatra, Crosby, and Grace Kelly. It was actually Grace Kelly's last film before she went off and became the envy of every woman everywhere by marrying a prince. (Personally, I would not have wanted that to be my last film. She tried to hard to be Katharine Hepburn, which made the entire thing too annoying for me.) But when I moved on to "High Noon" starring Gary Cooper (*swoon*) and, again, Grace Kelly (not a purposeful decision) I was pleasantly surprised. I've always avoided the Old Western genre because I assumed the gun-slinging-law-and-order-benevolent-sexism-fest would annoy me; however, it was basically "Meet John Doe" or "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" with more dust and cooler costumes. If only I had known, my dad and I could have been movie buddies/besties. (P.S.-- I'm coming home to sort through your DVD collection, Dad.) In the meantime, you can find me at the Squirrel Hill library raiding their movie and music sections.

Next up on the reading list: The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. Leave it to her to make Puritans fun.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Before I begin an actual post...

Dear Boyfriend--
I'm sorry I forgot to tell you I got a job. I'm also sorry that I excused myself by saying, "Well, I did mention it in my blog."
<3, A

He doesn't read this. I figure an a-blog-ogy (dibs on copyright!) gives me credit for an apology, but since he won't actually see it I'm not admitting that he was right. Win-win-win.

Like the rest of the universe, I'm pretty stoked about the recent turn of weather. The windows are open, the breeze is pouring in, and I'm lulled to sleep at night by the gentle melody of birds and trains. I'm even walking to work today even though it will take me an hour both ways and I only need to pick up my laptop. (I'm interviewing my first participant on Saturday!) I think a visit to a cafe is in order. Nothing sounds more appealing right now than sipping coffee in the sunshine while finishing my book. (Monroe just married Miller. I'm just waiting for the OD.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The givesies upsies

I have roughly seven thousand problems, all in the form of dirty laundry. How did I let this happen? Today is literally the sixth day in a row I've woken up, looked at my hamper (well, I can only assume it's my hamper... it's covered in dirty towels), and vowed to catch up on laundry. I used to love doing laundry. Love. It comes out warm and smelling nice and you get to sweep the lint off the lint trap... Then I moved into this house. I love our house, I truly do, but our basement is a death trap. The stairs are narrow and slippery, and the basement is always at least twenty degrees colder than the rest of the house, and the floor is painted but the paint is peeling and rusty and I feel like I'm going to get my feet infected by walking around, and the basement has a billion different rooms which is great for storage but also the perfect place for serial killers to hide. To be honest, it's amazing I've braved doing anything down there at all. But since it's fifty degrees outside today, the basement should only be about thirty degrees, which I can probably manage without a scarf and gloves. So I'm going to be brave.

This, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I made a deal with my roommate that I get ice cream if I finish all my laundry. How dare you?

Monday, March 8, 2010


I'm employed! I'm a full-time employee! I have a full-time job! (pending the results of a background check)

Friday I had my interview, which was actually far better than I expected. The company is internet-based, so everyone shows up to work in jeans and tee shirts. And, go figure, everyone I talked to seemed to genuinely like what they were doing. So even if I don't love my job, at least it seems to be a cool environment and I won't feel stressed out about my inability to accessorize. (Oh, who am I kidding? I guess that will just be my cross to bear.) So wish me luck in three weeks when I have my first day of training! (pending the results of a background check)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ego depletion

Day 2 Retail.

I worked all of four hours today, and yet I am utterly exhausted. Boredom does that, I suppose. When I arrived at my shift, manager B was on the phone with manager A (let's face it, I figured out that ranking pretty quickly). She told me to look around the store because we got some new stuff in. I wandered for fifteen minutes. Then I stood and read the upcoming promotions. Then I stood and watched another new girl do register training. Fifteen minutes later manager B got off the phone and told me to refold things up front and greet customers. Actually, no. She told me I could greet customers in the same way you might tell a five-year-old to greet party guests so you can finish laying out the hors d'oeuvres without the interruption of tiny fingers. Or the way you let a five-year-old stir the chocolate chips into the cookie dough because you sure as hell don't trust them to measure the ingredients. Once I was finished folding pants, I took the initiative to fold the tank tops on the same table. Manager B was impressed that I figured out how to do it. (For those of you who plan to work in the same store, a "half fold" is where something is folded in half. Congratulations on completing your training!) ...okay, I may just be bitter that I missed Jim and Pam's baby on The Office.

As you can see, an uneventful evening. I managed to avoid buying things, which is getting harder and harder. The only thing keeping me going so far is that the spring line is mostly pastels and I can't wear them; unfortunately, I keep noticing non-pastel colors hidden on lower shelves. Someone please stop me. I can't do this alone.

Roadrunning... minus the road

I have an interview tomorrow for a job that vaguely relates to my roadrunner experience, but is approximately seven billion times more soul crushing. Remember all the fun adventures I had traveling and seeing the world? Talking to prospective students and families with varying levels of interest and normalcy? Now imagine me doing that from inside a cubicle. No FLW houses, no presidential landmarks, no hotels. Just me, a phone, and a whole lot of people to call. I realize I'm getting way ahead of myself here, but if my interviewer determines that I'm the sort of "highly motivated, sales-oriented" person they're looking for, what does this mean?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Friends to know and ways to grow

Can we please take a minute to discuss how much I love the library? I was never much of a library person until I moved to Pittsburgh: for one thing, I always had issues reading a book according to someone else's deadline; for another, I never actually liked the atmosphere of the libraries I lived near. That all changed when I first visited the Squirrel Hill library, which is at most a ten minute walk from our house. Because the Carnegie libraries are associated with a school, they are actually spaces you want to relax in.*** And, in my current limbo of jobs, it's pretty exciting to get free stuff. Even if I do have to give it back eventually. And they have literally everything you could ever possibly want (or pretend to want) in terms of books, dvds, and cds. On my bedside table right now:
  • Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (a fictionalized account of Marilyn Monroe's life)
  • The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell, a.k.a. my favorite person ever
  • An Autobiography by Frank Lloyd Wright (I'm hoping you can figure that one out. Surprisingly, I got this one rather quickly after requesting it. It seems no one wants to read the 600+ page musings of an architect. Odd.)
  • Living My Life: Volume 2 by Emma Goldman (I may have been an idiot when requesting this one since I forgot to get Volume 1. So that one is in transit. For those of you who are not Keri, Emma Goldman is the anarchist who inspired Leon Czolgosz to assassinate President McKinley.)
We've also been using the library to get movies since both of us abandoned our Netflix subscriptions. Fortunately our library has self checkout, which means the really adorable guy with all the tattoos doesn't have to see us borrowing 3rd Rock from the Sun or the Mighty Ducks Trilogy. But we've been having fun with our recent influx of dvds. For your enjoyment, I'd like to share with you the D2: The Mighty Ducks Drinking Game (copyright Keri and Allison 2010):

Drink every time...
1. Someone says "Team USA"
2. Anyone scores a goal (given the completely unrealistic scores in these games, you're guaranteed to finish your drink before the first period is over)
3. There's a flashback, or you see Gordon Bombay regretting his past
4. The plot accelerates insanely quickly, or there is a huge gaping plot hole that a five-year-old could spot (i.e.-- the team meets the newcomers, they dislike each other instantly, then they are best friends four seconds later)
5. Anyone is completely earnest (basically, drink any time Charlie says anything at all or even looks in the direction of Coach Bombay)
6. You see preteen awkwardness, including (and especially) teen romances
7. Goldberg farts (doesn't actually happen that often in D2, but it makes you feel delightfully nostalgic about the first movie)
8. Flying V or quacking (again, doesn't happen nearly as often in D2, but yay Mighty Ducks!)

I believe that's all of them, but I may be mistaken. I also decided halfway through the movie to drink every time Kenan Thompson came onscreen because I was so excited to see Kenan Thompson. I think this was after my third beer. (Also, finish your drink for every time you wish Joshua Jackson would host SNL so it could be a Mighty Ducks reunion. No? Just me? Okay.)

So, the moral of the story: go to the library, kids. It's awesome, it's free, and they provide you with ample material for drinking games. D3: The Mighty Ducks should be in soon, so we're pretty psyched.

And, just because I have to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6j8EiWIVZs

***Okay, I have been informed by Keri that the Carnegie Library isn't actually affiliated with the school. They are just inexplicably awesome. They even have a trivia ticker, and I think we all know how much I love trivia.