Thursday, August 27, 2009

ZOMG! New Job!

I had a very successful interview on Tuesday and yesterday, at 8AM, the hiring manager called to say that they wanted me and would begin the process by contacting my references. If all goes well, I should have a firm offer by Monday.

But, the offer is not in Raleigh-wood. Nope, it is in Northern Virginia. Which isn't where I thought I'd end up, but it's a good offer and I really like the organization. Also, I do have some family in the area so Muffin and I won't be totally alone.

All and all, I think that it's kind of a God-send. The lady who contacted me about the job found my resume on the internet and thought I'd be a perfect fit. I agreed to go for an interview and did some research on the net about the organization. It's a non-profit agency and I'm really excited to be working in an area that is helpful to others.

Now we start the process of finding a new house, finding my household goods, enrolling Muffin in a new school and buying a whole new wardrobe of clothes for the business world. Whew, I hope I can find a home for us soon and have plenty of time to get settled before going back to work, but if not - that's cool too. I'm just excited to be employed!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Interviews Suck

The last seven days have been pretty busy. Lots of driving and lots of visiting with a smattering of stressful interviews, some disappointments and a silver lining. Pretty eventful, right? Here's the low down...

Last Friday we went to visit the homestead and enjoy a night of drunken tom-foolery family love with my parents and Lil Sis. We ate Mexican. We drank Margaritas. We were up late and I'm pretty sure that my little sister probably shouldn't have made the drive home but she did it anyway. That's how we roll. It could be that I was mistaking my level of inebriation with hers - but whatever...

The next day, Saturday, I tried my best to make sure that Muffin would understand that Grand-mama and Grand-daddy's word was law. Then, I headed back to the house I call home (since I'm all homeless and shit) to get ready for the Job Conference on Sunday and Monday. I ironed, I packed, I prayed. I tried to think of everything.

I got to the conference on Sunday and started to get excited about all the different employers that would be coming. I attended the company briefings all day, retired to my room and proceeded to do a little "homework" so that I'd be prepared for the next phase on Monday. The Interview. Or, as I like to call it, The Phase Of Doom.

Do you know it's been over ten years since I have interviewed for a job? Yeah, I'm way out of practice. I reviewed the list of "usually asked questions" and tried to come up with decent, non-damning answers and yet, they asked me none of those. It was brutal. I was a mess. Did I mention that my whole neck and face turn red and blotchy under pressure? 'Cause it does! In spades!!

I finished my final interview at 5pm Monday evening and left the hotel both exhausted and ready for a drink. The recruiter told me to call at a certain time the next morning for feedback and I spent the remainder of my evening worrying that I would over-sleep and forget to make the call. Not that it would have mattered because, as it turns out, none of the individuals I had interviewed with thought I'd be a good candidate for their company. EPIC FAIL!

Talk about feeling low. I am very good at feeling sorry for myself and I am not ashamed to admit that I did a great deal of that for, ummmm, about an hour.

THEN! While I was wallowing in self-pity, I had a phone call from the Northern Virginia area - I was wary of answering it but some impulse prompted me to do so. It was from an employer who had seen my resume posted on a public site and felt that I had the credentials to fill their vacancy! Very exciting!

So, now I have an interview next week in an area that I had never considered moving to. Still, I'm very excited because the job description sounds EXACTLY like something I'd be happy with! Whoo Hoo! What's the old proverb? When God closes a door he often opens a window? Thank You!! Thanks for another chance! Let's just hope I don't fuck this one up too...

I spent the remainder of my week back at the parent's house, shopping for shoes, playing with Muffin and generally enjoying the fact that (for a few weeks) I am a lady of leisure. I can't wait to find a job, but on the whole, I think I'm better at laying around and doing whatever I want. Go Figure.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Have a good weekend!

Today I'm going to mow the yard, take Muffin to her very last swim lesson, pick up my suit jacket from the tailor, drive to NC to see the fam-dam-ily and eat Mexican food.

Tomorrow I'm going to the pool with Mom and Muffin and then coming back home to ready myself for a two-day job conference in Hampton. Sunday, I'm getting up at the ass crack of dawn to drive up to Hampton and start the conference. Sunday is when I meet with the head-hunter people.

Monday the conference begins and I'm supposed to sit in on numerous job interview panels and not leave before 6pm. Monday night I'm coming back home to tend the kitties and Tuesday, I'm driving back to the parental's to fetch my daughter and pray that I made a good impression at the job conference.

Who wants my life? Sounds pretty fun right? :)

Actually, this week has been a little less fun than usual. We've had tons of rain and our YMCA had an electrical fire that kept it closed for a couple of days. That's a recipe for a very bored child. Which is in turn a recipe for a very short tempered Mama.

Thank Gawd for the internet. Here is a lolcat that I SWEAR was inspired by my daughter. I'm sure those of your with children will feel the same way.

Hee hee... Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Randomness...

In honor of a certain blogger who I hope still lurks around these parts... More Random Musings:

Most of my posts are composed the night before and posted to appear the next day. I'm trying to multi-task by blogging at night and hunting for jobs during day. Not sure if I'm doing well on either front.

I spend nearly as much time blogging and commenting as I do job hunting. I'm sure that this is wrong, but I can't seem to help myself!

In the past two weeks I hooked up with two new headhunters and applied for ten jobs. I also received three rejections. Ten jobs, three rejections... I'm still coming out on top!

The two new headhunters told me that my dream of relocating to Raleigh may not be feasible. Apparently, it's a great job market for people who are in the pharmaceutical or IT fields. But not for me. I may have to extend my range to include most of the east coast. Fuck.

My typical day since going on terminal leave is as follows: go to the YMCA for Muffin's swim lessons as well as Child Watch exercise time for me. Come home for lunch and Muffin nap. While Muffin naps, I search and apply for jobs as well as follow up with headhunters. After nap it's back to the Y for more pool time. Then, it's home for dinner, bath, movie and computer time. I will hate going back to work. But, change is good - right?

I'm getting addicted to staying at home.

Muffin and I are both getting addicted to waking up later and eating breakfast around 8:30AM.

Fiber One cereal for breakfast + Fiber One bar for snack = Shart. I know I'm not the first to report this, but it's a little disconcerting and I intend to switch up either my breakfast choice or my snack choice. Pronto.

Muffin had a major wipe-out the other day. She was running to the front door in order to avoid the rain but wound up tripping over her flip-flops and busting her ass instead. I had to clip a large flap of skin off of her big toe and apply four band-aids to various parts of her lower extremities. While I was doing this, she was screaming at the top of her lungs. Because pain sucks. And when you're five years old you can holler about it as much as you want.

This wipe-out served as a reminder that I will soon be without health insurance. And so will Muffin. Fuck!

Searching for health insurance in the web not advisable. They ask you to enter your phone number and within three minutes (NO - I'm totally not kidding!) five random strangers will call you and pitch their sale. Arrgghh.

Getting new insurance means giving Jackass a new insurance card for Muffin. Which will probably raise more questions than I'm ready to answer right now. He doesn't know that I've sold the house and quit the Navy. Full disclosure? I think not.

I had hoped Jackass would want to start his last full week of visitation on Saturday because I have a job conference to go to on Monday. Hellz no. Thank God for the grandparents!

I bought a new suit for the conference - black with black stripes. Very professional, very mature and very like something Agent Smith from the Matrix would wear. Heaven help the interviewer if his name is "Mr. Anderson."

Well, that's all for now... Gotta get my nose back against the grindstone. Happy Humpday!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Networking - ish

Anyone who knows me can tell you - networking isn't my bag. It's sad to say, but I'm a pretty introverted sort of person and talking up strangers isn't one of my strong suits. Which is why I have had to turn down many "job offers" in the sales-related area. It's just not me.

Neither is asking for help. I'm a pretty independent type and even though I would never hesitate to help out another - asking for help is one of those things that make me cringe. I'm not sure if it's the "rejection" aspect or if it's the part that makes me beholden to another... I just find it very hard to swallow my pride and say "hey, can you help me out?" (hmmm, maybe it's the pride part that's holding me back)

Take, for instance, my undergrad degree. My parents have always been supportive of higher education. They offered all of my siblings an opportunity to take them up on it. I gave it a try directly out of high school but I'm afraid I had far too many wild oats to sow. Later on, when I determined that an undergrad degree would actually be the best thing for me, they supported my decision, but I was on my own in the funding department. And, I kind of liked that. It was almost as though I had made my first "adult" decision and I was pleased it was one they would be proud of.

Fast forward several years to a very frustrated Calicobebop. I had been attending school part time, own my own dime, and even though I was doing well - the goal seemed too far away. I was depressed. Enough so to make me seek counseling. (not that it did much good - the counselor was very nice but nothing he could say would make the degree come faster) So a sad little Calico called her parents - not to ask for assistance, just to bemoan the situation - and they offered help! Help of the most wonderful kind. I won't go into details but suffice it to say, I wound up finally attaining my degree in the next eighteen months. Thanks Mom and Dad! I'll never forget that!

After the degree I went to OCS and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy. Everyone told me that the military was like a "family" but it wasn't like any family I'd ever known. Sure, I saw people looking out for each other - but for the most part, it was only because it furthered their own interests. I didn't like to think of my fellow officers as greedy attention-whores, but a lot of them were. Not to say that I didn't make a great many acquaintances in the Navy, I just didn't make that many friends.

Towards the end of my service I shied away from the typical social functions that accompany the life of an officer. I didn't court my superiors, I did my job. I didn't ensure that I remembered all the names of my boss's pets, I did my job. I didn't play golf. I didn't go to Dining Outs or Dining Ins, I did my job and went home to get on with my life. And I became afraid. Afraid that I was unintentionally burning bridges that might lead me towards a new career. I was afraid, but I didn't change. I don't know how to be anything other than what I am.

Last week I filled out a job application that asked for THREE previous supervisor's recommendations. I was terrified. I have the consent of my last supervisor as a reference, but two more? Holy cow - that introverted side of my nature seemed ready to bite me in the ass. Still, I gathered my courage, googled a couple of my former bosses and cold called them.

That's right - Cold Called Them! I'm not even kidding when I say that I was sweating bullets and shaking. After these years, could they remember me? Even if they did, would they want to provide a professional reference for me? It was terrifying.

And you know what? Those two gentlemen were so kind and so sweet and so helpful! I remember them as hardworking men who just wanted to do their job, and do it well - without all the politics and ass kissing. When I phoned they sounded pleased that I would ask for their help. They offered letters and phone calls - whatever I needed. I almost cried. I had no idea they would even remember me, much less want to vouch for me. I had no words to express my gratitude.

The memory of those two senior officers will always be in my mind as I move forward in life. It's true, networking is the best and fastest way to achieve one's end. However, I suppose that if you do a good job and are true to yourself you may find that a simple request for aid will do wonders in the end. Thank you Gentlemen! I'm in your debt and I intend to be as helpful in the future - should anyone ask... I thank you and I salute you!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Classics - Mozart Clarinet Concerto

Here is the adagio movement from Mozart's famous clarinet concerto. As a violinist, I suspect that I would be considered disloyal for favoring a clarinet piece, however I can't help but love the mellow lilting melody of this particular movement.

This is one of the songs in my "swim-P3" player. It's a little MP3 player that you can attach to your goggles and thus provide laps of musical entertainment. Honestly, I don't know where I'd be without that little gadget. I get so bored going back and forth... the "swim-P3" player really helps pass the time when doing laps in the pool. Some people may choose more energetic music to swim by, but I favor the more stately and serene pieces. Helps me get into the rhythm.

Without further ado - Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, the Adagio. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Funnies

Here's a commercial that cracks me up every time I see it:

"I like it when you say things"

I also like how the the computer screen says "Bill Shrink" because I have a feeling that after that visit from Ms. Zeta-Jones the bills aren't the only thing that are gonna shrink around there...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Four Thousand Strikes

Last evening I planned to put Muffin down at her normal time, enjoy a nice little murder mystery, get caught up on my comments and maybe even catch up on some knitting too. Then, a major thunderstorm rolled through. Right around Muffin's bedtime, of course.

Muffin takes issue with thunderstorms. Though it didn't start with this event, it has certainly gotten worse since the time last summer where I insisted that we watch the storm from our front door and wound up witnessing a lightening strike on the tree across the street. (is that a run-on sentence? possibly)

Oh yeah, and there was also that time when we were caught in a tornado on the way home from a visit to her dad's. (which, by the way, happened in this particular neck of the woods) So, yeah - there is a reason for her concerns.

Knowing that there was no way on God's Green Earth I could persuade her to go to bed during the storm, I broke out a puzzle and tried to keep her distracted. The storm wasn't bad at all - just a standard summer thunderstorm. Some flashes, some distant booms, some rain. Nothing horrific or traumatizing.

Definitely not like The Night of Four Thousand Lightening Strikes

Catchy title, no?

It happened a couple of weeks ago and I'm lame for not posting about it at the time. It was pretty fucking dramatic but I suppose I had some other snarky thing to say... Anyway, here's what happened...

Muffin woke up from her nap at the usual time and we prepared ourselves for an afternoon at the pool. I sprayed us both down with sunscreen, collected the pool toys, folded up the towels, strapped on the flip flops, grabbed the keys and THEN looked out the window. It was black. Black with flashes of lightening. Terrible weather for a pool outing.

I called the Y to verify that the outdoor pool was closed and I could hear the "Hell YEAH it's closed!" tone in their voice when they confirmed. I hung up the phone and started damage control. My little girl doesn't like it when plans are abruptly changed. I managed to dodge the bullet by offering a trip to Blockbuster for a NEW MOVIE to watch! (insert lots of happy excited noises from me and a seriously skeptical look from Muffin)

As we were getting in the car I noticed that the sky had actually gotten worse. Which I didn't think was possible. It wasn't darker - but the flashes were certainly more frequent. I prayed that it would just go around town and destroy some unsuspecting farm or maybe a golf course (no offense to either).

We squealed into Blockbuster and I had to rush my indecisive five-year-old into a major decision.

She was all: "A new Barbie movie or, perhaps, a new Backyardigan DVD... Ooo, Diego!"

And I was all: "Sweetie, we need to go. We need to go NOW. OK. That's it. Mommy is picking the movie! Get in the check out line!"

We checked out and drove home as fast as possible. I tried to stay calm for her sake because it was literally raining lightening. Raining LIGHTENING! I've never seen anything like it. We screech into the driveway and I could see the lightening rain on the street behind us.

I ushered Muffin inside, unplugged everything (not that the stupid satellite TV would have worked anyway), collected some candles and took out a new dot-to-dot book for Muffin. Then, I called my Mama. I was scared shitless and worried that another freaking tornado was about to hit. She hopped on the computer, verified that a genuine monster of a storm was over our heads and assured me that there were no signs of twisters. *Whew*

Muffin and I endured the lightening rain for almost an hour. Then, just as the weather was starting to clear up, my mom called me to say that they had just heard about our amazing storm. She said that the weather channel reported almost four thousand lightening strikes in a half hour. And I replied: "I TOLD YOU IT WAS RAINING LIGHTENING!!"

So, as I said, last night's storm was really nothing in my book but it still gave Muffin an excuse to sit up with me, work a puzzle and cuddle on the couch. In a way, I suppose I should be grateful for the occasional storm that gets us out of our routine. Hmmm... that could be a metaphor for my life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reality Check

At the end of this month I will receive my very last paycheck from the Department of Defense. Not very far away, huh? Oh - also, at the end of this month Muffin will start Kindergarten. Two big milestones that I'm unprepared for.

I went to register Muffin at the local elementary school yesterday but since I'm house sitting I didn't have the "proof of residence" part of the registration package. I explained my situation to the secretary, she went and asked someone in a back office, then she came back and called the superintendent's secretary. They determined that my lack of a permanent address - even though I did have a place to stay - put me in the "homeless" category.

That's right. Muffin and I are technically considered homeless.

Our next step involves extended paperwork, a copy of my friend's deployment orders, and some stuff notarized at the bank. It's a mess. If I hadn't already told Jackass that Muffin was going to Kindergarten and that we would have to revise the visitation I would totally home school her. After all - it's not like I've got anything better to do!

I don't have a job and I don't have any leads either. Yesterday I spoke with two new headhunters and they are going to see what can be done. I also applied for a couple of jobs I found on the internet. I've been applying pretty regularly - but the news hasn't been good. Apparently, the RDU area has been hit fairly hard and the job market is pretty dismal. I might have to expand my search location...

But, I have to keep trying and I need to spend more time on it. So, I'll be late posting and late commenting in order to try and utilize the better part of my day fixing my homeless situation. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Letter to the Security Provider

Dear (undisclosed) Security Provider,

Hi! I really love the commercials provided by your company and your competitors! They make me feel that using your service would spare me any unwanted invaders of the burglar or ex-lover variety. Super! I certainly don't want either of those! (unless said ex-lover has some how turned over a new leaf and is invading my home to tell me how fabulous he is - but I realize these two concepts are completely incompatible so ...)

That being said, my recent experiences have not been up to par.

First of all, the service at this residence was put in less than three years ago and yet somehow (totally not your fault, I'm sure) a ten year old CO2 monitor was installed at that time! Golly! How did that happen?

I was completely surprised that the CO2 alarm activating at all hours of the night was, in fact, THREE models out of date (as your service technician so kindly told me)! Gee Whiz. Who'd have thought that your very well advertised company would be so cheap "fiscally challenged" as to install out of date equipment!

The four hour wait for that last visit coupled with the frequent false alarm signals that often kept my daughter and I awake led me to feel slightly dissatisfied, but - as it's not really my house nor am I going to live here for an extended period of time - I'm willing to overlook it. After all, no harm, no foul. That is, until the FREAKING fire alarm started giving off false signals too! No, really? More alarms?

Wow, who could have guessed I would have to frantically call your helpful service members in the middle of the night SO MANY TIMES in one month! Lucky me! I did everything your phone representatives suggested to fix the signal and guess what - all I got for my trouble was the CO2 monitor going off. Again.

The. New. CO2. Monitor.

Yeah... not so much fun. Especially at 3 AM. But, hey - we all know how goofy those silly smoke and CO2 monitors can be! Can I be available for another service technician to visit between 8AM and 12PM? Oh sure! Let me just put my life on hold for your technician who will not show up before noon. No problem!

Wait a minute - I'm being unkind. He actually showed up at 11:15Am. Awesome! He stayed for nearly an hour and replaced some wiring which made me feel like my time wasn't completely wasted. Guess what he discovered - no really, GUESS! He found that the last technician, who installed the new CO2 monitor, didn't do it correctly! Silly fellow!

And... To top it all off, the second technician was feeling a little bitter since he did not have a special little portable printer (like the first guy). He told me. Frequently. In fact, it turns out that he was quite put out with having to use his own cell phone minutes to call in my credit card number. Gee, I am really sorry! I will be very happy to let you waive the service call fee any other time you visit - just so you don't have to worry about those cell minutes! I know! I'm so generous!

So, I suppose I'm just composing this letter to let you know that never in one million years will I ever choose your company for my own personal security needs. It isn't simply a fact of "one alarm too many" - it's the combination of deliberately installing out-dated equipment, not training your technicians to install new equipment properly and oh yeah - a lot of my time being wasted.

God Bless, and thanks for making me feel (via your overly scary commercials) that I actually need your ass. Turns out, I really don't need you after all. Next time around, I'm buying a big dog.


ps - this post is an homage to Mrs. Tootsie Farklepants and her lovely fictional letters.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Classics - A little Verdi

And by "little" I mean a very little. I'm only posting the Prelude to Act I from Verdi's famed opera La Traviata. I had the opportunity to see this opera in Columbia, SC when I was a freshman in high school. At the time, I didn't know much about opera - but I liked what I saw.

This piece isn't very long but it is so sweet and lovely. I especially like that point at 1:18 where it breaks into a dreamy waltz.

Oh, I'm a sucker for waltzes and this waltz is divine. The hesitation... The anticipation... I can only imagine being in my beau's arms while spinning through a ballroom to this incredible music...

Too bad it's so brief.

At any rate - here is the tune. Sorry there isn't much more in the way of a slide-show. Just dour (and slightly skeptical) old Mr. Verdi for the most part. Still, it's the music that counts. And I love it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Funnies - Twilight at ComicCon

As you may know, I am a fan of the Twilight Saga. I love the adolescent angst. I love the beautiful ridiculousness of it all. It reminds me of my own all consuming teen love and it also entertains me. I swear to God that one of the most amusing parts of seeing the movie in the theater was the fan girls. Oh, to be that absorbed in the unrealistic. Ahh, youth...

Now, as I was searching for my next Sunday Classic I discovered this video. It was posted by someone who had attended ComicCon and was privileged to view an extended scene from the upcoming Twilight movie New Moon.

Though the footage is obscure - the meaning is clear. Fans are still obsessed and I have the squeals to prove it. Observe:

Let me point out moments 0:28 and 1:36 for maximum squealing and moment 0:49 as the point where the pirate lady filming the clip says "THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!"

Whew... Not sure if my tired old heart can handle half of this. But I'm gonna try!!