Welcome To The Masses, Jimmie – Part Deux

So want to guess what I’ve been doing the last month?  I mean, aside from Christmas shopping and eating cookies, of course. Here, I’ll give you some choices:

  1. Modeling underwear for Vicky’s Secret
  2. Reading romance novels which feature on the cover men with long flowing locks and pecs like ropes of steel
  3. Making out with Dwayne Johnson
  4. Looking for a job

If you were a lucky recipient of my Christmas letter, you already know the answer to this.  Ding, ding, ding, the answer is D!

My brand new shiny employment that I worked so hard to get last year is coming to an end.  I’m not happy about it because the people I’ve met at my current job have quite literally changed my life and also, I finally got to sit in an office with a closing door and not a cube farm with no door and barely a wall.   This loss was no fault of my own – our company was purchased by another company and that company already has a corporate department and so all of us corporate people will be without jobs soon.  It sucks.

However.  I have already secured other new shiny employment.  There will be no crying, no long, dramatic posts about how I’m mad and how my glitter eyeliner was ruined and how Boss left me behind.  I had one interview for which I slicked down my hair into a straight, boring, non-sexy bob and wore pearls and caked on acceptable makeup.  I repeated that process for a second interview and that fabulous company realized my fabulousness and offered me a position right away.  Evidently it was meant to be.

Now I want you to remember, it wasn’t that long ago that I was promoted to a recruiting position with my current company.  Recruiting, I learned, consists of a lot of phone calls and internet searching and background screenings so it would be safe to assume that I am familiar with the entire prescreen process.  And it wasn’t that long ago that I decided baking cookies on a Tuesday night was a great idea.  Baking cookies on a Tuesday night, I learned, can often result in a devastating paper cut from the non-stick aluminum foil, so bad that it requires some super glue to close the skin so that I don’t bleed to death in my kitchen.  These lessons are important.  Bear with me.

Before I can begin my shiny new job, I had to pass a criminal background screen and get fingerprinted.  I turned in all of my pertinent information to the appropriate parties and scheduled my appointment to get my fingerprints done, something that I regularly ask my potential candidates to do.  Having never had it done personally, however,  I was completely surprised to find that it is all done digitally now.  Technologically advanced is what I am.  Anyway, I showed up for my appointment with clean, super-glued hands and turned my fingertips over to the clerk.  She printed my whole left hand and my whole right hand and then every finger individually on both hands.  When she reached my paper cut finger, she seemed puzzled and kept smashing my finger over and over onto the scanner, which, you know, didn’t feel great.

Finally in exasperation she said, “Why does this look all white?!  Why is my scanner not working?!”

I looked at her screen and with a sudden and sheepish awakening said, “Oh.”

She whipped around to glare at me and said, “What?” in a rather aggressive manner.

“Heh,” I wheezed.  “Heh.  See, I got a paper cut last night and so that I wouldn’t bleed to death in my kitchen, I had to super glue my skin together.  Look, you can tell, right here.”   And I showed her my massive, massive cut that was all covered in a gob of glue.  She was void of a personality and was not amused.

Once the gob of glue was revealed, we both then made a concerted effort to really smash the very guts out of my finger onto that scanner in order to get a clear print and after some time and some pain, we did.  And I passed.  And I now have a new job which I will begin right after the first of the year.

Clearly the lesson we learned here has nothing to do with sexy vs. non-sexy hair nor does it have anything to do with pearls.  The true lesson is that you never bake cookies on a Tuesday night before a fingerprinting session.  Y’all remember that when you do any job searching.  No cookies.

P.S.  I will be taking a week off in between jobs to visit with some family and some friends.  I’m going to Woney’s house, and again, if you were a lucky recipient of my Christmas letter, you would know that I got cheated out of a recent visit to her so I have to make up for lost time.  I know I’ve been absent for a month so I wanted to update you all as to why.  If any of you need to have lunch with me in that week, though, to catch up, give me a holler.  I’m down for some lunch.

No More

This post will be a bit of a deviation from the norm.  It isn’t happy.  It isn’t funny.  It is in no way heartwarming.  It is raw and honest, though, and it is my bloodletting.  You don’t want to read me whine? Then go away because there is nothing here for you.

I mentioned a meltdown I had a few weeks ago.  I had another one last week.  These were not my only two since losing my job.  Looking back over these last four months or so, I’ve had more meltdowns than I’ve been honest about.  Sure, I have been positive about good things happening for me, and yes, I do look for the good in my life.  I cannot deny that some very nice things have happened for me and that I have been carried through some troubles and that, of course, these are first world problems.  It does not mean that these last few months haven’t been rough on me, though, and honestly, I’ve had enough.  If I began to cry about them, right this instant, I’m not sure I would be able to stop.  I’m not being funny.  I’m dead serious.

Yes, I have a new job that many people would love to have.  I also make $10 grand less a year than I used to.  I’ve had to make big adjustments in every aspect of my life and while I can do it, I resent it.  I miss my people.  It is a visceral, deep ache, a true loss.  My friends will always be my friends but this is a big change.  I worked closely with a man who did a lot for me and whom I did a lot for, then I got left behind.  I had to leave my gym with my friends who worked out with me every day.  I was denied unemployment because of a glitch in the computer system that I am still trying to fight and thus spent more of my savings than I wanted.  I was uncertain on every level how I would survive.  I felt abandoned and alone and very, very sad a lot.  I was mad at myself for trusting humans, for putting my eggs in a basket that got thrown out a window.  I was mad at everyone around me who was making it, who didn’t suffer alone, who seemed to breeze through this with ease.  I know that is not fair or even a little true.  Didn’t change my anger. 

I briefly mentioned here a few posts ago that I was saving my squealing brakes for another story.  I’ll make it short.  About two months ago I needed new brakes.  I took my car to a reputable place, had to sit in the floor of the business for hours, propped up against the wall between the men’s and women’s bathrooms because they had no waiting room, and got cheated by at least $100 because I don’t know enough about brakes to know what a fair price is.

Coach fixed my toilet as promised and two days later it broke again.  It hasn’t worked right since April.    

A couple of weeks later, my check engine light came on and upon taking my car to the dealership, I learned that my catalytic converter had croaked.  Thank you, Ethanol.  It is another fix I will have to budget for before the end of the year.  I was smarter on that trip, declining to leave my car at the dealership so that I can shop around for a fair price before signing over the last of my savings to fix my exhaust system on a car that is only five years old.   

Last week, I bought a new deodorant and dropped it in my makeup bag which I take to the gym faithfully.  While I work my bags sit in my car, usually in the shade, but this day was particularly hot and I didn’t get my regular parking spot at work under my leafy tree.  That afternoon when I left, I thought I would touch up my powder and reached into my bag only to discover that my brand new deodorant had melted thoroughly and completely into a soup in the bottom of my bag.  There was not even a miniscule scrape of deodorant left in the container.  It was all floating around my eye brushes, my glittery eyeliner, my beloved mascara that makes my eyelashes look like caterpillars.  The air conditioner, which generally works very well, blew cool air onto the bag during the drive home, solidifying the soup back into deodorant which is now caked in big chunks on everything that was in that bag. 

The very next day, my blower motor for my car’s air conditioner died.  This was Friday.  Phranke and I did some research before making an appointment to repair my air conditioner (and may I say here that I am so, so thankful for her). Because I didn’t really know where I was going, I was a few minutes late for my appointment.  I began with an apology to the man behind the counter, yet it fell on deaf ears. He was intent on putting me in my place for being late which he did no less than three times, exactly as many times as I apologized for being late.  I finally just stopped talking to him altogether.  I merely handed over my keys and sat in silence while I waited.   The part is being ordered and hopefully by Wednesday I will have a working air conditioner.   

All day on Friday co-workers asked me if I was alright.  I was told that I looked tired, sad, like I had been crying, that my eyes were red, etc.  I have no makeup.  I am sad.  I am tired.  I only want to sit at my desk and do my job and not have to give an answer when someone is concerned for my well-being, because again, if I start crying I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop. 

So this is my bloodletting.  I don’t want to talk about it after I’ve written all this.  I don’t need anyone to check on me because I really am fine.  Again, first world problems.  I will live.  Yes, I have tried to be positive through all of this mess but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard and wasn’t scary and that I’m not still slightly resentful.  I resent the fact that I’m completely out of my comfort zone now.  I resent the fact that I make far less money than I used to.  I resent the fact that the benefits I worked so hard to achieve are no more and that I’m starting over from scratch, again, at forty.  I resent the fact that I’m doing it alone.  I resent the fact that the only fighting for me is done by me. 

I know that millions of people do this every day.  I know that millions of people are alone, even when their spouse is right next to them, or their brother, or their mother, or their best friends.  I don’t get to claim loneliness as my singular battle.  I don’t get to claim fear as mine alone.  I know that.  But this is my walk, my experience. I’m the one who feels my pain and my confusion and despite my having people around me who support me and love me, I feel it alone.  I walk it alone. 

Here is where I bring my spin on it, my flair.  I do know that somewhere during all of this mess, I learned something.  I do know that I have grown although I may have no idea how right now.  I do know that someone will come into my life who needs my wisdom and friendship because they are going through what I went through.  One day I will look back on all of this as a valuable experience.  But when I’m sitting in my sweltering car and the air craps out and I can’t even put the windows down for my drive to work because it’s raining buckets and I have no glitter on my eyelids to make me smile through the tears, I really can’t give a shit.

In conclusion, and this part wasn’t even planned for this post, I’d like to tell you that three hours ago my wallet was stolen.

No more.  I cannot take it.   


As It Relates To Job Hunting

Y’all remember when I got lambasted for not having pearls to wear at an interview?  Look here at what Auntie Anne sent me.  My grandmother’s pearls!  Every last strand of them!  She sent them as a birthday gift with a note that said, “If you don’t want to look like a lady, wear them all at once.”  That is just like her . . . I plan on taking her advice and wearing every last strand of them over to the staffing place that was so snooty about my hair and while there, I will swan about with my brand new paycheck.

Speaking of hair, I have a story. Surprise.

A few years ago, when Boss and I were still a team, we ran into a travel snafu of sorts.  He had an evening meeting in St. George, Utah on a particular night and an interview at the Nashville airport the very next morning at 9:00.  I don’t know if you are good at geography and/or math but you should realize that getting from Utah to Tennessee in just a few hours is no easy feat.  Boss had to take a red-eye, get off the plane, and almost immediately go into an interview for a job we really wanted.  Because no one is pretty after an all-night flight and because no hotel will accept a reservation for 7:30 a.m, Boss had to find a place to shower and shave and generally get presentable.  The only logical choice was my house.

Our receptionist picked him up at the airport and drove him over to my house so that he could ablut before doing his dog and pony show for the airport executives.  When he came back to the office after his interview, we all noticed that he smelled a lot like girl and grapefruit and that his hair was exceptionally volumized.  After making fun of me a whole lot for the array of hair products I had in my bathroom, he swilled down some Red Bull, propped his eyes open with toothpicks and sat in his office pretending to work.  The staff, in turn, spent the day walking by his office, tossing around comments about his fruity scent and his poufy hair, and pretending to work.  (Coincidentally, we all got huge raises that year.) 

Before I finish my story, let me share another photo.

This here is my hair stuff.  And I think I see the problem.

We did not get the job at the airport.  I did not get a job through that staffing agency or even a single phone call from them.  What are the chances, do you think, that the snooty snothole over at The Hadden Group was right – that one will never get a job in Nashville if one has sexy hair?   Hmmm.  I’d believe it if I hadn’t been offered a job THAT VERY SAME DAY.  Obviously some people are enamored of my big sexy hair and want to pay me to bring it to work every day. 

Your loss, Airport.  Your loss, snooty staffing agency.  I’m not sure you could have handled us anyway. 

The Power Of Smell

When I was a kid, I had a slight obsession with Band-Aids, the name brand kind.  I loved them just so, so much.  To really date myself, I’ll tell you that there was no such thing as a Hello Kitty bandage or a Princess pack with assorted colors and sizes. We had plain Band-Aids, or if we really wanted to get fancy, we could sometimes splurge and get the clear ones so that they were less noticeable.  Personally, I always thought that was a dumb idea, because every little kid knows that half the point of the Band-Aid is to show it off so that someone will ask what happened and you get to tell your whole saga about how you fell off your bike and destroyed your knees. 

I won’t lie and tell you that I was different that other kids, that I was really very noble about my Band-Aid wearing, that I only wore them when really necessary and shied away from telling my tale of woe about my skinned knees.  I will tell you, however, that my fascination with the Band-Aid had less to do with the attention I got from wearing it and far more to do with how it smelled.  I have always urgently loved the way a Band-Aid smells.  Isn’t that strange?  Once Madre bought a new box of bandages and put them away in the linen closet.  Just scant minutes after she closed the closet door, the horrible realization dawned on her that she had NOT PUT THEM ON THE HIGH SHELF!  Oh noes!  She bolted down the hallway in a panic, and just as she suspected, found me on the floor of the closet methodically opening and sticking every single Band-Aid to myself.  I had sniffed them out, see, and very much wanted to smell like my favorite product.  Loved them.

Other smells often cause the same intense reaction in me now.  I have a favorite shampoo that I spend an exorbitant amount of money on regularly.  It does fabulous things to my hair, making it all big and poufy, but honestly it would not matter to me if it made my hair look like rats had been sucking on it.  It makes my hair smell gorgeous and for that reason alone, I will subsist on ramen noodles for a week or two in order to be able to afford it. Other scents I love include: cocoa butter, popcorn, sausage biscuits (but never want to eat them), Felix, clean cats, New Balance running shoes, Jonquil’s pressed powder, bread at Subway, Clorox when it’s in the running washing machine, lemon stuff, suntan lotion, honeysuckle, horses, Armani’s Aqua di Gio and Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion from Bath and Body Works.

On the other end of the spectrum, Yankee Candle stores make me want to barf, literally.  The smells in that store cause me such violent headaches that even moving my eyes will send my stomach into roils of nausea.  And just let some guy walk by me who has bathed in his old man cologne.  Gak, I’m done for the day when that happens.  I cannot stand it.  Other scents I hate include: Febreeze in any flavor, old lady perfume, coffee brewing (smells like burnt tuna), Clorox when it isn’t in a running washing machine (smells like wet dog), tanning beds, coconut stuff, stargazer lillies (oof, another raging headache), and every flavor of lotion (aside from the Warm Vanilla Sugar) at Bath and Body Works. 

Are you wondering what the point of the story is?  Here goes.  I have a temporary job for a week or two.  I’m very thankful for it as it pays better than unemployment and gets me out of the house and into a routine every day.  The people there are very nice and the work, while slightly boring, is stuff at which I excel.  I like it.  But the part that I really love about it, the part where I scored big is that it’s in a hospital.  And hospitals have a particular soap they favor.  And that soap, I’ll have you know, is hands down one of my favorite smells of all time, right up there with the Band-Aids and my ridiculously priced shampoo.   I am such a lucky, lucky girl.  BEST. JOB. EVER.  (nearly)



Life Unemployed, By Jimmie

It’s time for an update.  So many people have checked on me, sent me job openings, called with kind words, prayed for me, laid hands on me. I have gotten an edible arrangement, cards, kitty litter, tickets to a band competition, lunches, and more hugs than I ever dreamed possible.   I am overwhelmed by the love and support that I have received and I thank you, every one, for what you have done for me. 

I’m done with the crying now.  No more of that.  My eyes are puffy enough on their own.   Now I’m hopeful and looking forward to good things.   I’m still transitioning but now it’s transitioning with hope and not tears. 

I try hard not to worry.  Most of the time I succeed.  I do find that I am inordinately concerned with running out of toilet paper, so much so that I use public restrooms excessively before leaving any place of business.  I have no idea why I focus on that.  However, I don’t really worry about running low on food.  See, I cleaned out my freezer once the layoff happened and found all kinds of surprises in there. I eat it, sometimes without knowing exactly what it is.  I find it best to not question it, and since I haven’t died from food poisoning yet, I consider that a blessing.

I’ve been doing some work with the senior center where I volunteer.  Obviously I like the people and I have to say I like the work.  I don’t just do the Supper Club anymore.   Now I’m a kitchen manager for the theater there and an office assistant for the center.    I’m on my feet a lot and for someone who spent 40 hours a week sitting and talking on the phone while searching for the best travel arrangements, it’s quite painful. My toes are suffering.  I need regular pedicures now so it’s especially important that I find a job soon.  As kitchen manager for the theater, I cook for the audience.  I cook a lot, sometimes for upwards of 150 people.  Fortunately for me, it’s the same meal for every show so it isn’t difficult.  Unfortunately for me, it’s the same meal for every show.  I feed myself and others after every night in the kitchen but after eight days of the BBQ menu, we all are sick of it.  If anyone asks me to go out for some BBQ in the near future, you are guaranteed a fork-stick in the neck.  I’m not kidding.

Some other items of note:  I was on my Greenway the first week I was unemployed, and I was slightly panicky about getting to the center to conduct my job search.  I was rushing to the end of the path and suddenly I got a message: Slow down.  I was a little stunned at first, because I’m not entirely sure I know what that means.  Slow down?  I’ve always got somewhere to be, somewhere to rush to, and it threw me for a loop when I realized that I no longer have anywhere to go. It almost made me cry (and really, in the beginning that was no difficult task), but then I took the message to heart.  I’ve read some books I’ve been putting off.  I took some naps that I never had time for.  I stop and smell the flowers (or the honeysuckle, as it were).

I’ve also met some new people because I go to the gym later in the day.  Let me tell you about Cathy, bless her heart.  I’ve met Cathy twice, and I really mean I’ve met her twice.  I don’t think Cathy has a lot of short term memory because every time I see her, I get the same conversation.  It’s like I’m brand new. 

Cathy:  “Hi, I’m Cathy.  Want to see my baby doll?” She’s at least 60, by the way.

Jimmie:  “Sure.”

Cathy:  “We worked out today.  I love my baby doll.” Here she opens her purse and I see a little black boy baby doll wearing a baby doll three-piece suit crammed down in the bottom of it. 

Jimmie:  “Well, he’s awfully cute.” 

Cathy:  “Look at my shirt.  Isn’t  it pretty?  I bought it at the Goodwill.  It was seven dollars.  It fits me good.  I lost seven pounds.  My doctor says I don’t need to have this belly, I’m too small for this belly, but I worked out today.  With my baby doll.”  And she brandishes her purse with the doll again.

Jimmie:  “Okay, Cathy, nice to meet you.” 

Cathy:  “Nice to meet you.  I love you, Jimmie.”

Seriously, she tells me she loves me every time.

Ah, so yeah.  I’m going to be alright.  I’m not yet sure what will happen for me or how the timing will work, but I’m confident that something really fantastic is going to come along and I will be thrilled.  You know how I know?  Because I’ve been so worried about my toilet paper consumption, ridiculously so, and Phranke brought me some, totally of her own volition without me mentioning a peep about it.  Little things like that keep happening to me.  That tells me that God is going to take care of me and that really is the best feeling of all.

Still, though, if you hear of any great jobs that I might be perfect for (and I totally will be), send them over.  I’m a “Master Application Completer” now.  I should put that on my resume.