This time I'm not even going to apologize for not posting in so long, because by now you must know that I don't mean it. I will say that it only feels like I posted two weeks ago, and that I was very surprised to see that my last post was in June...and that that post was about events that happened in May. Yikes.
Anyway, stuff's been going on in my life, check my Facebook, etc. etc. If you haven't been stalking me religiously, don't worry--it's nothing exciting. Classes started and have thrown me into a well of despair, not because they're difficult but because it's early modern women (16th/17th century) and modernists, so everything I read now is about dying in childbirth and dying in the war and basically just dying. Then I go to work and copyedit our company's new book about what to do when you have a child that's dying. EVERYTHING IS ABOUT DYING. I've been facing my mortality so much that I can barely walk down my apartment steps without thinking about mis-stepping and plummeting to my death. Next up: dying my hair black and writing morbid poetry.
Ok, so I already did one of those things. Both, actually, if you count that poem I wrote in middle school about the Columbine school shooting and presented at the ward talent show and basically freaked everybody the heck out. And, for what it's worth, my hair looks pretty awesome dyed black, but I did get judged disapprovingly by the old lady scanning my books at the library. Usually the older people that live in my town fawn over my curly hair (and, by association, the rest of me), so it was sort of an identity crisis. (Still worth it. My hair is rad.)
Hey! Speaking of old people (see what I did there?), Ricky and I went to a local dinner theater last night and were two of five people there under the age of 50. (This is not an exaggeration--Ricky will verify.) The other three were teenage boys there with their grandmother. We were seated late at a long table, between two unknown couples who were already eating, and Ricky and I were both nearly paralyzed with awkward.
When confronted with situations outside of your comfort zone, do any of you start thinking about what friends of yours would do in the same situation? I do. "So-and-so would just crack a joke and break the ice and start talking to that nice lady. I can do that! Ok, ready...go. Wait, crap, she's talking to the waiter. And now she's talking to her friend. What if she doesn't want me to talk to her? What if this is a place where people don't want you to talk to them while they eat? What if she thinks I'm rude?? What if she thinks I'm rude and complains about me to the waiter and moves to a different seat and gossips about me and soon the WHOLE THEATER THINKS I'M RUDE?!?! Better just not say anything." Like I said--paralyzed with awkward. Luckily, the lady sitting next to me WAS nice, and said "Come here often?" all nonchalantly, and I almost laughed because hey, that's a cheesy pick-up line. But we got along famously after that. She had to have been at least 70, and she had wonderful stories, and she was SO funny. When Ricky and I told her we had never been to that dinner theater before, she was giving us all the inside tips on food and drinks and whatnot. The coolest thing about it was that she had so many stories about the show! It was "S'wonderful," the Gershwin musical revue, and she was telling Ricky and me about when the songs came out and the musicals they were from and how famous the actors were. On some songs, you could hear people around the room singing along! It was even better because I knew they didn't know the songs in the vintage-musical-hipstery way that I know them, but because they were around when the songs were actually popular. Awesome.
Yesterday also marked my first time ordering a drink from the bar, which is embarrassing enough to admit by itself, so I won't tell you about how I was really excited all afternoon and researched the best non-alcoholic drinks and had one all picked out for when we went. (Wow, it's sounds SO much more lame when I write it out like that. Please, judge freely.) I had a Virgin Mary (which is a virgin Bloody Mary, which is ridiculous because the Virgin Mary and Bloody Mary are totally different people, but whatever) and it was delicious! Ricky thought it was gross, but he doesn't like tomato juice to begin with.
I should also add that yes, I did miss the Relief Society broadcast to go to a bar and watch a musical. I am a heathen, but a heathen who really had the best intentions and forgot when she ordered the non-refundable tickets six weeks ago that she probably should check the calendar for these things. Oops. Plus, I'm going to watch the archived video of it...as soon as I'm done reading my Depression-era novel about assisted suicide. It all balances out, right? Right.
In other boring domestic news, we got a new couch! I guess I should say "a couch," because our old seating arrangement involved a faux-velvet blue loveseat, which isn't really a couch at all. Ricky and I were both getting pretty sick of the thing; I mean, we were fortunate to have it, and it only cost us $30, but the fabric gave me irritating almost-goosebumps (and the lovesac is weird to sit on when you're doing homework) so I usually just sat on the floor. Our apartment has a long, rectangular living room, and really screams for a sectional, but I hadn't had any luck finding one with a) a color I liked, b) proportions that didn't shove all the other furniture out of the room, and c) a price tag that didn't make my lower eyelid twitch...until last month, when a sage green microfiber sectional with ottoman magically appeared on craigslist and I saw it an hour after it was posted and snagged the coveted "first person to email" spot. We went to look at it, loved it, bought it, and had to rent a U-Haul truck for the day to get it home because we couldn't fit it into a regular pickup. Now we actually have something for people to sleep on if they come visit! Hint, hint.
I have a business trip to San Diego (I AM AN ADULT) coming up in two weeks, so I'll try to remember to write about it, maybe.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
This time I'm not even going to apologize for not posting in so long, because by now you must know that I don't mean it. I will say that it only feels like I posted two weeks ago, and that I was very surprised to see that my last post was in June...and that that post was about events that happened in May. Yikes.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 5:05 PM
Sunday, June 26, 2011
|Not my picture--my camera's not this good!|
|This one IS mine. You can tell because I squealed when I took it.|
|Ricky is either making tuna fish sandwiches here, or karate-chopping them. Possibly both.|
|Robin, do you remember when we went to Rugged Wearhouse and I bought that Star Wars shirt? SO PERFECT.|
|This stretch of road was gorgeous and empty. I took at least four pictures of various signs, but you get the idea.|
|Ok, one more.|
|The view when we arrived--we're about 12 miles away, which as close as you can get without tickets. See the dimple in the tall bush on the left? The launchpad is basically directly over that dip.|
|Ricky's more righteous than me and stayed in his church clothes ALL SUNDAY. There are probably few things less attractive than a well-dressed man pitching a tent. It's like James Bond meets Indiana Jones.|
|It's a good thing I have the dexterity to both help with the tent and take this unfocused iPod picture at the same time.|
|That's our setup in the foreground. This still wasn't as many people as were crammed into Spaceview Park a block over, so we were relieved!|
|That's empty bank in front of us, people! As it turns out, everyone who showed up was very respectful of those people who had camped out all night for good spots. Go figure!|
|...only with a more maniacal, sleep-deprived expression.|
|Poor guy. ;)|
|We didn't bring anything but our sleeping bags because we weren't expecting it to be cold in the morning, but it was! This is Ricky, braving the elements.|
|The kids by themselves were cute, though! Notice that they aren't even tall enough to break the horizon line.|
|Like I said--right on the edge.|
|I took this minutes after the space shuttle broke the cloud line--you can see the shadow of the smoke trailing along the path to the left above the clouds--but the initial smoke plume still hadn't cleared by the time we left.|
|I could barely handle my own emotions at this point.|
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I am done with my first year of grad school.
In two days, Ricky is done with his first year of law school.
Is this real life?
Those are legitimately grown-up things. People halfway through graduate school were the people I got all shy around at age 13 because they were so unbearably adult. And don't even get me started on law school.
(It's not as grown-up as parenthood, though. If someone even mentions the word "baby" suggestively in my direction, I start windmilling my arms like a cartoon character and run from the room before the idea somehow finds its way into my uterus and grows there. Really, I'm still working on remembering to clean the litter box. You go, moms.)
I've forgotten all the exciting things that have happened in the past couple weeks, but be on the lookout for updates on the space shuttle launch (!!) and a Disney World trip (!!) in the near future. My camera is on its last leg, I think, so all my pictures may be of the blurry iPod variety, but I could basically just write "We saw a space shuttle launch and went to Disney World" and pictures really can't make that statement any more awesome.
In the meantime, here are some blurbs from my head. Think of them less like a randomly compiled list of things I didn't really plan out beforehand and more like a pensieve with all my carefully chosen thoughts swirling together for your perusal. (See what I did there? Only 63 days until July 15th!) My "gratitude notebook" I carry around in my pocket has also become a "random thoughts" notebook, so I'll pull from there a bit.
1. You know who's a decent guy? Our President. I don't care if you love or hate his politics, but you have to respect the man for trying to accomplish things while the rest of Washington is throwing tantrums like babies, especially when those things involve making reasonable compromises across party lines to get the job done. Not many politicians do that. Just saying.
2. Ricky and I are thinking about adopting another cat! Zelda's been getting restless and I worry that she's bored while we're gone all day. Good moms make sure their children have friends, right?
3. I found out today that Scrabble is being expanded to include slang words for the first time. Is nothing sacred? Words like "grrl" and "thang" (which are being added to the official Scrabble dictionary) will never be on my playing board. Never.
4. I finished the "probation" period at my job, got a raise, and am now officially full-time! Sweet!
Monday, April 18, 2011
The bad: Ricky and I, on our first year filing joint taxes, are being audited. (Anyone who has ever teased me about keeping all my receipts can now marvel at my incredible foresight.) We did everything by TurboTax's book, so I'm going to have a bone to pick with them if something goes wrong! Maybe the IRS will go easy on us since we're brand-new adults. I mean, really, it's only the second year I've ever earned enough money to legally necessitate doing my taxes. Good thing Ricky and I are squeaky-clean taxpayers, right? Right.
The awesome: Ricky got an internship at the State Attorney's office in Miami!! (Two exclamation points aren't really adequate, but I'm physically incapable of typing more than two at a time. This has been proven by grammar science.) This is a huge deal, especially since Ricky would love to work as a state prosecutor after law school (think Law and Order) and Miami is filled to the brim with criminals to prosecute. Because of my job here, I won't be able to go with him, but he'll stay with my grandparents (who conveniently happen to live in Miami) during the week and then drive the two hours home on Friday. It's not a perfect arrangement, but it's totally feasible and a great opportunity for Ricky!
Since I'm here, I may as well tell you that we also bought a (much-needed) new mattress, with many thanks to today being tax day and having fantastic sales. Ricky could sleep on a rock slab for the rest of his life and still wake up each day fresh as a daisy, but I'm like the princess and her stupid pea when it comes to mattresses. Hopefully our new squishy mattress will do the trick. One of my favorite things to do when I shop is compare the price to something that everyone has/considers a "must have," and usually that comes back to Apple products (don't pretend like you aren't someone who knows someone who needs to have--and will totally justify spending hundreds of dollars on--the latest gadget the day it's released). I feel like it really puts into perspective where your money is going. Today, our money went into a long-term investment that is the price equivalent of a 16GB iPod touch. I am satisfied.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 8:26 PM
Saturday, April 16, 2011
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 9:44 PM
Friday, March 25, 2011
My prison sentence at Borders is OVER!
Sometimes I feel ungrateful in that excitement, because I was really lucky to have a job when many people don't. However, working a liquidation sale is like being Prometheus, chained up and having your liver eaten out every day. You would assume that customers at a bookstore would be cultured, intelligent, civilized people, and you would be wrong. In fact, from the way they blatantly ignored all posted signage, I'm not quite sure if many of them could even read.
After two 60-hour work weeks (between the publishing company and Borders), I was woefully behind on my schoolwork and struggling in my sleep-lacking grumpiness to not hate every driver on the road that wasn't me (with no success). Wednesday, after dealing with one too many customers who didn't know how to calculate 40% of $10.00, I finally snapped. I left a note for my boss, gone for the night, that I would no longer be available to work after this week. She called me yesterday to let me know she had found people to work my shifts tonight and Saturday so that I wouldn't have to come in at all. Ever. I think this was a ploy to make me feel guilty, but I surely do not. I did stop by tonight to pick up my pay stub and a few books, but I'm not planning on dropping in again anytime soon--the welcome from my coworkers was a bit frosty. Go figure. (For those of you who are firm on the "two-weeks notice" curtesy, I did inform my boss weeks ago that I had another job and that I would continue to work at Borders unless it affected my schoolwork. In that case, I would be gone with very little notice.)
Would you like to know how I spent my day, free from my cage behind the retail register?
I woke up, and--free from the "you have to look presentable for customers" retail dress code--threw on an old tee, workout pants, and flip-flops, and drove to my publishing house in 10 minutes. When I arrived, I toasted a bagel, chatted with my coworker about how cranberries are harvested, popped in my earbuds and loaded my favorite Pandora station before tweaking some graphics in a client's newsletter. After I proofread a newsletter for another client, I invoiced a few orders, boxed up a few more for shipment, grabbed some salad and read a chapter of my latest children's book selection. Lather, rinse, and repeat all through the afternoon, and finish with a lively office discussion about "Hoarders" and how gross it would be to find a dead cat buried under all your garbage. When I got home, Ricky and I drove to Borders, bought a bag full of books, and I spent the evening looking at guitars on craigslist and doing the housework I haven't had time to do since before spring break.
My new job is very independent. After rules and regiments at VMI, and micro-management through the corporate chain of Borders, being able to answer my own questions and design my own layouts and prioritize my own to-do list is still a novel idea for me. I don't even have to answer the phone! (I have never had a job where I was not the first in line to answer the phone when it rang. Sad--and annoying--but true.)
In other news, my Facebook sacrifice for Lent is peachy. I got a free copy of "Finding Neverland," one of my favorite movies, through redeeming my Disney Movie Rewards points. I re-discovered my love of folk music and Simon & Garfunkel. I now own the graphic novel of Sense and Sensibility. I watched the BYU/Florida game and felt like BYU deserved to lose because they refused to use the brains in their heads. (Poor freshman missing that penalty shot, though! He's never going to forgive himself for that one.) My professor talked about a great Mormon friend she had in graduate school and how she couldn't stand the "small, mean, prejudiced people" that belittled her friend for practicing a faith they didn't understand...and for being a liberal, feminist, rational, religious woman. My professor doesn't know I'm Mormon, but at the end of the semester I'll have to remember to thank her for teaching tolerance to a class full of professor-hopefuls.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 10:16 PM
Things in this post: someday i might stop writing novels in each post...maybe
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I should probably make a note that my gratitude log will now be kept daily in a notebook. Blogging is too impersonal for this kind of thing. Plus, it's hard trying to remember everything at the end of the day--it's like I spend all day being a pessimist and then I have all these good moments at the end. Hopefully carrying a pocket-sized notebook with me will help me see the good things as they happen! I'll probably still post a few on the blog every week. It's a learning process.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 5:20 PM
Saturday, March 19, 2011
1. OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE. Ricky and I went there for an impromptu date night. That pretty much covers all three, but you know.
2. Ricky did the laundry so I wouldn't need to when I got home from work.
3. I bought a copy of Jeff Shaara's The Last Full Measure for a few bucks today--I won't get around to reading it for a while, but I'm excited! For those of you who haven't read Michael or Jeff Shaara's historical fiction, you're missing out. It's excellent.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 9:14 PM
Friday, March 18, 2011
I almost went to bed without posting! I'm not even a week in and I'm already being a slacker.
1. I am currently watching "The Wild Thornberrys" on Netflix. This is one of the Nickelodeon greats from my childhood! Really, this show is so good. Nothing says happiness quite like nostalgia.
2. Zelda the cat isn't much of a snuggler--in fact, she almost never jumps on a lap--but for a few minutes today she curled up against my leg and it was adorable. Cats are so worth it.
3. Between shelving books and working the printing press, my fingernails have been looking mighty gross lately. I took some time today to paint them bright pink. Bright pink wards off grumpiness. Fact.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 11:36 PM
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Today's bounty of blessings:
1. My dear friend Meg posted a link to eShakti on her blog, and it made me so excited when I found it. You can pick out a cute dress and submit exact measurements, sleeve and skirt lengths, etc. You get free customization on your first order, too. New modest dress for me? I think yes.
I'm struggling to find awesome things from today. Isn't it funny how you can immediately remember all the totally crappy parts of your day, but the not-so-crappy parts take some thinking to unearth?
Oh, I remembered a good one:
2. Two of my co-workers have pre-teen daughters, and both girls made me colorful, decorated "Katie" signs for my desk! I mean, I just met them, and they're already so sweet to me. I'm going to see if I can make them some cute accessories.
3. I made a Goodwill stop and bought like-new copies of Wicked, Cold Mountain, and The Brothers Karamazov for $.99 each. Even though I have a "to read" list so long that there's a good possibility I won't get to these books for at least a year, this absolutely does not diminish my satisfaction at their acquisition.
I'm actually really surprised that, after fishing for three things that I didn't think were "good" enough to count, I feel like my day has been more productive and satisfying than I thought it was before I started.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 7:34 PM
Things in this post: this post can be summarized as "i love clothes and kids and books"
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Today's thoughts of thankfulness:
1. I swore I wasn't going to spend any more money on books for a while, but how could I resist a Latin children's book for under two dollars at Borders? Unexpectedly finding this little gem of a dead language made my day.
2. I made it through my entire "to be printed/shipped" list at work!
3. I've been getting burned out with going straight from the office to the bookstore with only 20 minutes to eat dinner, but today I went to Moe's for food. Moe's! Who on this planet could ever be unhappy with eating Moe's for dinner? Aliens, that's who. Burrito-hating aliens.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 8:24 PM
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Today's spoils of gratitude:
1. I had to drop by Walmart on my way home from class, and I got a parking spot right outside the door.
2. I cashed my first full-time job paycheck!
3. I've been on an anime kick lately (Miyazaki, anyone?) and one of the girls in my graduate cohort brought one of her movies to class for me to borrow--she just handed it to me and said, "I thought you might like this!"
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 8:38 PM
Monday, March 14, 2011
One of the goals on my 99 in 999 list is to make a list of three great things that happen every day for six months. This is because I am Whiny McWhinerson. So, starting today, I will be posting daily, and you better not complain about it, because this is a complaint-free zone for the next six months.
To quote myself: "If you ever have a day when you're feeling upset, inferior, frustrated, or annoyed with everything going on in your life, come post a comment on my entry for that day. Find at least three wonderful things that happened that day and brag about them. I've found that the more you talk about them, the more you notice them, which is why I'm excited to start 'gratitude hunting.'"
You heard me, anonymous blog stalkers. This is a participatory project!
And so we began.
1. My HEL (read: History of the English Language) professor handed back our midterms today, and I got an A! He even wrote "excellent job" at the top of my essay, which pretty much made me feel like a rock star.
2. I was seriously stressing out because I've been working 60 hours a week (until my Borders store officially closes, I have two jobs) and legitimately haven't had any time between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. to write my term paper. Our first draft is due tomorrow, and I've barely broken the surface of graduate-level research. I found out tonight that the draft only has to be six pages instead of the fifteen I was planning. Six pages is a piece of cake!
3. I was craving green olives (I know the word "craving" is always associate with "pregnant," so to preemptively answer your question: no) and Ricky immediately drove to the grocery store to get some for me.
4. (I'll add an extra since it's the first day.) I got to name the new computer at work. The first name that popped into my head was "Beatrice," of Dante's Divine Comedy fame, and now every time I log onto the server I'll get to see a great literature reference.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 6:53 PM
Things in this post: studies show that green olives make paper writing 53% easier
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Seriously, guys, God is so good.
As many of you may have heard, Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday, which means they're closing about 200 of their stores...mine included. I had been reading the Wall Street Journal (totally owning adulthood like a champ) and was pretty sure store closings were going to happen, so last week I started searching half-heartedly for jobs. I figured that I would have a few months until the store actually shut its doors to find something, so I wasn't too concerned, but when I saw an ad in the town paper for an assistant at a local publishing firm, I knew I had to apply!
The job had been posted for about a month at that point, and my hopes weren't high when I submitted my application. The next day (the next day!!) the creative director at the firm called me to set up an interview for this morning. When we met for the interview, she said they still had a few more applicants to interview and would be getting back to me early next week. This afternoon (this afternoon!!) I got a call back letting me know that I was "definitely the one" they wanted, and could I please come in tomorrow morning to sign paperwork?
I am so over-the-moon about this whole thing. When I realized I might lose my job, I prayed so hard to find another one quickly. I mean, it took me nearly three months to find my part-time bookstore job! I never dreamed I would find a full-time job in my field--with a real grown-up salary and real grown-up benefits--the day after it was announced that my Borders store would be closing in one month.
At my new job, I'll be helping with product design, writing, editing, and shipping. When I told them I was "a spelling and punctuation tyrant" in my interview, I've never seen anyone get so excited. That's when I knew I was in the right place. I mean, do you know me?
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 8:05 PM
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Recently, I stumbled across this post at the blog Single Dad Laughing. (It's worth a read...and by that, I mean you NEED to read it.)
I've been kicking societal ideals of normalcy in the shin ever since. I mean, it's not like I wasn't already, but I was all hush-hush about it (for some reason that now I can't really remember). If people came over unexpectedly and my house was a mess, I made up some excuse to satisfy the judgmental thoughts I assumed they must be thinking. I felt terrible if I didn't make dinner often enough--not because I cared, or Ricky cared (Ricky has got to be the most laid-back guy that ever was), but because someone, somewhere, had made dinner-making a big deal and I wasn't living up to whatever standard had been imagined.
I see this even more with parents and children and the thousands of medications taken all around. Your child hates math? There's a pill for that. Your child can't sit still for 30 minutes? He's not normal. Your daughter doesn't interact well with other children? She must need therapy.
There are, of course, situations in which professional help--for children and adults alike--is necessary, but I can't imagine it's to the extent to which we make it. What is "normal," anyway? What if mild ADD is normal? What if it's normal to be depressed every now and again? Who made these arbitrary rules and why do we make ourselves sick trying to adhere to them? It goes beyond being thin/pretty/smart and permeates nearly everything.
Anyway, that's all in Single Dad Laughing. I, however, would like to respond to that blog with this one: Why I'll Never Be An Adult
My house isn't always clean. I absolutely do not wash my dishes every day. My bookshelves are pristine and my closet is not. I procrastinate most everything until the last possible moment. Furthermore, I am totally ok with all of this. Ricky is totally ok with all of this.
The point here is that you should never feel bad for not living up to some fabricated societal standard--ever. If you're comfortable with who you are, then you are normal. Congratulations.
Also, that Hyperbole and a Half post is dang funny. I hope you read it. :)
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 8:27 PM
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I forgot to mention that January 20th is the two-year anniversary of President Obama's inauguration--the significance being, of course, that Ricky and I went to said inauguration and I decided then that I would like very much to date him, which I began doing 11 days later.
That...that is a happy thing.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 10:18 PM
Let it never be said that I did not try my hardest to not care what others think of me.
I can talk the talk, of course, and say breezily that I don't care, but my walking of the walk is limited at best. There are a lot of things that others will say about you that you have to attempt to not care about. Hair? Not a problem. Clothing? Whatever. Sense of humor? Meh. People can say what they want about those things and it doesn't phase me. As of today, however, I have discovered a chink in my shield of self-awareness and I'm still reeling from the shock.
I've genuinely been enjoying my job at the bookstore. Granted, the honeymoon phase of this new job has just recently worn off, but I've still been doing my best despite working 40(+) hours a week. (Did I mention I was only hired to be part-time?) I mean, it's a bookstore! The customers are lovely, and the people I work with are great. I'm significantly younger than most of my co-workers, but whatever, right? We still get along fine....or so I thought.
One of my managers pulled me aside today and began talking to me in a low voice, which is never a good sign. "Katie," she began, and my inner organs collapsed. Did I get here on time this morning? I thought quickly. Did I screw up a transaction?
"You have great customer service skills--really. The only problem is that you don't have the same courtesy for the people inside the store."
"Your co-workers. I've been getting complaints from members of the staff that you're not treating them very well--you're quite abrasive."
Abrasive?! I thought, horrified. Images sprang to my mind of sandpaper, bruises, scrapes, fingernails on a chalkboard. Abrasive is the opposite of good, the opposite of nice. Abrasive is mean and rough and annoying and unforgiving. I kept trying to formulate a verbal response or even other thoughts, but the word kept banging around in my head. My eyes practically popped out of my face trying to keep it contained.
"You need to stop acting like you're their boss. You're not their superior. You can't talk to them the way you do--you need to talk to them the nice way you talk to the customers. Have you heard the way you talk to other employees? It comes off pretty nasty."
If my lips hadn't been so tightly pressed together, my jaw would've dropped. I talk to the customers like I would speak to children! I wanted to say, but the words got lost. 90% of them are over the age of 60 and have no idea what's going on in this store! (No offense to anyone reading this that might be over the age of 60. If you found this blog, you are automatically exempt.)
I don't speak to my co-workers that way because it's condescending. It's insulting their tenure at the store (everyone besides me has been there for years) to treat them like I'm guiding them around and explaining every little thing. I was under the impression that I spoke to them like equals--never mind the fact that many of my older co-workers constantly treat me like a child in front of customers, interrupting my sales pitch to point out something I "missed" (hadn't gotten to yet) or to interject comments of their own.
"Do you understand?"
I realized my manager was waiting for a response. I opened my mouth--no words followed. I tried again and managed to squeak out "I didn't know they felt that way" before I felt my face turning red in complete humiliation. How long has this been going on? How long have my co-workers dreaded working with me? How long have I been that girl? I was frantically trying to backpedal through my memories and come up with an example of my supposed abrasiveness. My train of thought snagged on something from that morning--the phone had been ringing for a good two minutes while I was trying to make a sale, and a co-worker was unoccupied. I paused to ask her if she could pick up the phone. Is that considered abrasiveness?! I was becoming more upset by the second. At previous jobs, asking a co-worker to answer the phone was letting them know that you wouldn't be able to answer it because you were busy. That's all. Suddenly, though, side comments from fellow bookstore employees fell into place in my mental puzzle: A co-worker asking if I was an only child. A manager asking if my previous job required a lot of interaction with others. Every thought that my brain formulated buried me deeper in mortification. What was I doing wrong?
"I don't--" I swallowed hard. "I don't mean to be like that."
I try really hard to be kind to people. I don't always succeed, of course, but I was completely astonished by the idea that I had failed in my attempts at kindness so consistently and on so many attempts that multiple people had spoken to a manager about my behavior. By "astonished," of course, I meant "sick to my stomach." It's rough business discovering that people you thought you got along with actually don't like working with you at all.
I've been called a lot of things, but it's been a long time since I was accused of rudeness, or meanness, and I've certainly never been called nasty. This was the mirror that I had been missing. Am I really that way? Do people see me that way and say nothing out of politeness? How have I managed to work effectively in previous jobs without ever having this kind of discussion?
I didn't say anything else to my manager. I should've, but I couldn't...or wouldn't, I'm not sure. I had to bury myself in the empty children's section for a few minutes before I could face the shame of talking to my co-workers.
If some (or all) of this post seems whiny, it's probably because it is. I'm still upset about the whole thing.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 10:12 PM
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
After my...disappointing...class choices last semester, I definitely went into the spring semester holding my breath.
The Class: History of the English Language (Dr. Busbee put a sign on the door that said "Welcome to HEL." Yeah, us English-types are pretty clever.)
The First Day: We spent 60% of our first class on phonics, staring at the mouth shapes of the people across the table and collectively sounding an awful lot like Professor Higgins' record player from My Fair Lady. The other 40% was spent listening to our professor lecture on important dates that changed the English language forever and speaking to us in Old English.
The Initial Verdict: AWESOME. Seriously, have you ever heard Old English? It's pretty legit. Also, it's hysterical listening to a group of 15 postgrads sound out letters like preschoolers. There's no term paper, but we have short etymology papers, a 45-minute presentation (Who's presenting on the Norman conquest? This girl!), and recitations in Old, Middle, and Modern English--in addition to the midterm and final, of course. There's a lot of emphasis on lingual structure, which I am totally pumped about.
The Class: Writing Pedagogy (or something like that)
The First Day: We did some teacher/undergraduate student role-play (the course is specifically designed for those who want to teach high school- and college-level writing courses), sat through a lot of explanation that I thought wasn't very necessary, and spent the rest of the time signing up for multiple presentation dates, syllabus projects, and when to bring snacks. (It's a three-hour evening class--snacks are 100% necessary.)
The Initial Verdict: Undecided. I was hoping it would be more of a grammar-based course, but it seems to be leaning more toward the psychology of writing--why students are good/bad at it, communication issues, expression, etc. etc. Hopefully another class will be more telling. There aren't any tests for the course, but it feels like I signed up for about a dozen presentations, so I'm assuming those are going to make up the difference.
Sometimes I feel like an imposter in my English programs because I really don't enjoy writing 95% of papers. I much prefer tests and presentations. Papers are graded so arbitrarily--it's especially difficult when you have a new professor and you're not sure how they grade. Plus, I remember details about the topic longer and more accurately when it's in presentation format. One of the reasons I balk at the idea of teaching as a ranked professor (Assistant, Associate, or Full) is because of the professional development required of most schools, which requires you to write a certain number of publications and submit papers to a certain number of conferences and yada yada. It's a mess. Why do college professors get paid so little to do so much?
In other news, I bought a 7-inch, touch screen, digital picture frame today for $25. This is how low the price gets (down from $110!) when a store stocks things no one would actually buy there. (Who goes to Borders for a digital picture frame? Zero people.) I didn't particularly need a digital picture frame, but all my rich and fancy customers wave their iPads in my face all day and I wanted some sort of gadgety upgrade that I could afford to feel hip for the new decade. Maybe. Or maybe I just want my wedding pictures to play on a loop in my living room all day, every day.
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 9:42 PM
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Remember that time I was doing really well with keeping my blog updated and I felt like a total blogging rockstar? If you don't, it's because it's been three whole months since my last post and by now my blog link has fallen to the very bottom of your sidebar and you probably didn't even remember it existed.
I don't believe in making New Year's resolutions, but I do believe in eventually setting goals to get things done at some point, so maybe now I'll be better about keeping you up-to-the-minute updated on the goings-on in my life. If not, there's always Facebook, right?
My last post was about that horrible gospel music class--the sight of which, now that I think about it, may be why I stopped visiting my own blog. You'll be happy to know that I wound up with an A- in the class, which is pretty laugh-out-loud ridiculous, because I don't feel like I learned much in that class at all. At the end of the day/semester, all I cared about was not getting a D, so I'd say my mischief is managed pretty nicely.
Did I mention that I'm now working at Borders? I don't think so. Allow me to quote from a blog post back in August: "Further decorating will come when I find a job, hopefully at a Books-A-Million or Barnes and Noble or Borders or something equally up my ally, and have a little extra money." Did I also mention that I can see the future?
I love, love, love having a job at a bookstore, even a big corporate one, because I get to talk about books with EVERYONE. Customers love books. Co-workers love books. People love my book recommendations. People BUY the books I recommend! It's like my college degree was made specifically for me to be really, really awesome at getting people to buy books. I'm especially awesome in the kids' section, where every customer is a huge game of 20 questions.
"Boy or girl?"
"Uh...first grade." (People almost always give me the age in school-year format. It's funny.)
"Any special interests?"
"He really likes zombies."
"Ok! Let's look at a few My Weird School options."
The moral of the story is that Borders is amazing, even for retail. And, for those you who are tempted to ask, "But isn't Borders going out of business?" like every other customer, please read this Wall Street Journal article.
The only time Borders isn't amazing is when customers are complete fools, like the lady who tried to pay with a gift card balance receipt ("But it says $4.65 right there! What do you mean, 'Where's the gift card?' I don't know where the card is! I probably threw it away!"), or the other lady who started yelling at me because I wouldn't accept her Barnes and Noble teacher discount card ("I've never been asked for teacher identification before! This is ridiculous! Barnes and Noble didn't need any!" "Well, why didn't you just go to Barnes and Noble?"), or the man who ranted for five minutes about how someone "who knows" told him that Borders sells the Kindle (we don't) and it should absolutely be there and "you don't know what you're talking about, young lady," or the man who bought a Blu-Ray movie, took it home, realized he didn't have a Blu-Ray player, opened it anyway, and then brought it back because it didn't play on his DVD player. (We have a no-return-for-opened-movies policy.) On the other hand, these loonies make for great story material--obviously.
In other news:
I went to Charleston for the wedding of two amazing friends of mine and it was the most fantastic thing since my own wedding.
Zelda is getting a little bit chunky and I love it. It makes her that much more adorable.
Ricky and I spent Christmas with my parents and grandparents in Miami. It was 75 degrees. Be jealous.
I bought "Inception" the day it was released on DVD. It's still great.
My (real) Christmas tree is still up.
Notice the lack of ornamentation on the lower half of the tree. This is Zelda's fault. Also, our stockings are obscured by the angle, but you can see Ricky's peeking out of the right side of the tree.
Here's a close-up of the tree topper because I'm really proud of finding it buried behind other baubles at T.J. Maxx. I had two strangers come up to me on the way up to the check-out line and compliment me on it.
Again, the angle makes it look funny, but it's a 12-point, three-dimensional star. It's lovely. Also, our white pine tree has lost approximately five needles up to this point, and it's been in our living room for three weeks. I've never had a white pine before, but they're a lot cheaper than the blue spruces ($80 for five feet?! No thanks!) down here in FL, and I like them a lot more now that I know how well they hold up! You go, often-overlooked breed of tree.
Ricky and I also started our very first Christmas tradition! Mount Vernon, where we had our wedding reception, designs and sells a new Christmas ornament every year. We thought it would be neat to collect each one, starting with the year we got married, so we had my mom send one down to us! (You can have them shipped from Mount Vernon itself, but we didn't know that yet.)
This one commemorates the 150th anniversary of the restoration of Mount Vernon--the other side has a painting of the mansion as it was in 1860. The ornament took a place of honor at the top of our tree, of course, along with another Mount Vernon collectible ornament of George Washington's sixteen-sided barn that my grandparents gave us for Christmas.
In still other news, Ricky and I flew back to Florida yesterday after a week-long adventure in the wild wild West. We were supposed to fly out last Sunday, but five minutes before take-off the pilot informed us that a part was broken and everyone would have to vacate the plane and find another flight. I was a little annoyed until I remembered my flight to England in 2008 that was two hours in before they realized they were leaking hydraulic fluid all over the Atlantic and made an emergency landing in Boston...at which point the plane caught fire. (Sometimes run-on sentences are necessary for dramatic situations. I hope you feel the drama.) So, I was grateful they caught the problem before take-off and not after. Everything into Salt Lake was booked for the rest of the day, so we re-booked the flight for Monday morning and went home for some much-needed sleep. Other than that blip in the schedule, everything went without a hitch--we caught all of our connections, we didn't die driving in the snow, etc. We also got to go to the Salt Lake City temple, which I took a picture of and haven't uploaded yet, so too bad for you.
(We even got a $15 parking ticket because we didn't know the temple validated parking and didn't have enough change for the meter. That's right--we broke the law to go to the temple. No Mormons are more hardcore than we are!)
After the brain-freezing temperatures of Salt Lake, Ricky's hometown of Burley, ID seemed a lot nicer. I got the tour of his childhood home, saw the old pictures, combed through his old room, and laughed over his X-files "Trust No One" doorknob hanger. We played a lot of his old video games (and brought them back with us, of course) and saw his friends and even went to the DI (Deseret Industries, which is like the Goodwill of Utah/Idaho and run by the LDS church), over which I was way too excited. We also went to Boise and saw Ricky's sister and her adorable chil'ins, who are still as adorable as they were last year but taller and with better eye-rolling skills.
The youngest, Bridget (age 5), caught Ricky playing with her Leapfrog hand-held game across the room.
"Ricky," she said sternly. "Did you ask?"
All the adults, of course, "ooooh"ed like someone in middle school just got called to the principal's office. We're all really mature.
We also went to Rexburg, which is inhumanely cold and I don't understand why anyone willingly lives there.
(I bet you'd like pictures of all these things, but I forgot my camera for 99% of these excursions and I don't even feel that bad about it.)
Then we flew back to Florida and I practically kissed the humidity-soaked ground. My hair and skin still haven't recovered from the moistureless vacuum that is the West, but it was worth it to finally see Ricky's hometown. He hasn't been there for two years! If I couldn't see Charleston for two years, I'd be pretty sad. He's a trooper.
I start classes tomorrow, so watch out for a blog post about either my enjoyment or disdain regarding them. I'm taking History of the English Language, which has most of you gagging already, and a writing pedagogy course--I'm more excited about H of EL, but the pedagogy class was the closest thing to a grammar course offered for this semester, so there you have it.
Ricky hasn't been given his first semester grades yet, but from the amount of studying he did, I'm expecting a call from the President to tell him he did better than any law student has ever done, ever. We'll see. :)
Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!
An original composition by Katie Randall around the time of 1:25 PM