Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The River Valley Market (a co-op) opens tomorrow! I am a "member-owner" which just means that I paid them $150, will get my name on their electronic "founding member wall", and will get some discounts on store items. I am hoping this will mean I can afford to shop there (though they claim things will be competitively priced for non-members too). You don't have to do any work to be a member, which is a bonus, and the fee is a one-time thing. The store is about a perfect mile from my house, so I've gotten to watch the entire building go up. It's exciting. In anticipation of doing my grocery shopping at a place so close to my home, I bought these. Of course it's currently too damn cold to consider riding my bike anywhere (I am a wimp), but eventually it will warm up again. Of this I have faith.

And I am going to begin carpooling with my neighbor/coworker, finally. Having another person depending on my punctuality will really help me get my ass in gear, because I hate disappointing people even more than I hate leaving my bed. The past two nights I've gone up to my bedroom area and found both cats waiting on the bed for me. I think the dose of ultra-cuteness makes it harder for me to get out of bed in the morning.

Yes, I am an old lady who talks about her cats, and sleep, and the supermarket. Yes.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It has taken me this long to realize that my shitty, made-in-China, combination pencil holder/paperclip holder/ LCD clock with date/day/temperature readout corporate "gift" may not actually be all that accurate. Besides the obvious problem of it saying today is Sunday (it knows it's April 25) and the fact that the time is fast (it's now a full 10 minutes later than the actual time), it only seems to think that it's either 74.3, 77, or 80 degrees in my cubicle. I thought maybe I wasn't glancing at it often enough, but it slowly dawned on me that I have never seen it be any number in between 74 and 77. So now I have a theory that it has some poor, clunky Celsius-to-Fahrenheit problem, but I can't be bothered to do the research to back me up.

This is what occupies my mind, people. Well, that and my garden; the barely-used bike I bought off of Craigslist for $300 cash (this one); the accessories I might buy for said bike; the recent notice I got in the mail that, although I used "in-plan" doctors, I will owe nearly $1,000 for my recent surgery; Junebug's recent hobby of over-grooming her fur; wondering about the new "noodles" place on Main Street; wanting to sell some stuff on eBay; needing to clean the house; needing a trip to IKEA; and the continuing struggle between my philosophy that paying more for a long-lasting, quality item is worth it in the end, and the deeply-ingrained desire to not spend more than a few dollars on anything, ever. (I had been feeling quite flush when I bought the bike ... and then I got the health care notice.)

Seriously, when is the health care revolution going to come? I have pretty good insurance, subsidized by my employer, and it still sucks ass. They ended up paying about 85 percent of the actual costs of the surgery. That won't be enough coverage if I ever end up staying a few nights in the hospital. What the hell am I supposed to do? And I'm one of the lucky ones! I'm insured! If I didn't love spring and summer so much, I'd move to Canada. But I am always mindful of how much outdoors time we get up here: how many months I can comfortably ride my bike to work, how many months of planting I get, how many months of using the porches... I don't want to tip the indoors-to-outdoors month ratio beyond 50/50, you know?

Sorry, I'm a little obsessive. As you may have noticed.

I'm feeling ok, health-wise. No more lady business to report for a while, I suspect. That's good news for me and for you!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I had my three-weeks-after-surgery checkup today. My doctor, in whose skills I am confident, was exercising her most emotionally-distant bedside manner. She told me that I was pretty unlikely to get pregnant without in-vitro fertilization, but that I really should try not to get pregnant anyway, because there's a good chance it would end up a tubal. If my cyst-ish pain started again, I should go on birth control pills. And then she seemed to want to move on to the next patient.

To stop her, I kept asking questions. Is it ok if I exercise? Yes, no restrictions. What about forming adhesions? You already have lots, and you've been living with them for years. What about this pain, could it be due to blah de blah? It could be. [Note: I would prefer a yes it's possible, or a no you're crazy.] And I wanted to see the photos she'd taken with the tiny camera she put into my belly button, which I saw were sitting in my plump patient folder (the folder is plump, not the patient). So then I got to see my viscera. It was really disgusting yet fascinating. The less said the better, but everything looked a lot better than I had imagined (since of course I had looked, through my fingers, online at photos of other women's endometriosis-marked abdomens, and had in my mind that mine would be as bad as theirs). It doesn't look great, what with all of the scar tissue she kept pointing at with remarks like, "that's not supposed to be there; this whole area should be empty; that tube shouldn't be stuck to that thing" and stuff. It's best for me to not think about it. Out of sight, out of mind.

And now I really want to get out of work early and get a beer by the big open window at the Dirty Truth, but I have to work a couple more hours first, and I don't know who's around right after work on a Friday for me to drink with. (My coworkers are all moms.) The weather is too nice to just go home. Text me, peeps, if you want to raise a pint.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Today I met with my ex-aunt's niece (so, my ex-cousin-in-law?) because she's graduating from college this May and is wondering what career she should try out first. First she wanted to know about how a magazine was put together, so I attempted to give her a general overview, which was as garbled and confused and as full of stutters as you might expect. (I don't do so well with the ad-libbing.) Then she asked me an interview question: What do you like best about your job? Which was charming. So I told her, that I get to work on different things every issue, I learn things, I work with good people. She also wondered how much opportunity she'd have, were she to start in the editorial field, to switch over to the art and design side. I had to tell her "almost none" but in a less negative way. I did say, however, that once you have things like a mortgage to worry about, it's hard to switch careers and start over at the bottom of the career ladder. I may have said something like "just one of the fun things about being an adult" which elicited an "aw!" from her. That kind of snapped me out of my old-lady-whose-spirit-is-crushed reverie. It's fine, really, I said, because it is. She is a nice young woman, and is excited about possibly interning in my office, so I must have done an o.k. job in our interview.

In other news, I managed to leave my cell phone -- my only phone -- in Lenox, at CJ's house, this morning. I got up and out of bed before 7:30, so I obviously wasn't thinking clearly. I'm still deciding whether it's worth it (gas, time) to drive an hour each way to pick it up. Of course I get to see CJ, too. But I always end up staying overnight, and driving an hour back home before work is ROUGH. This morning I stopped at the only coffee shop open in Lee at 7:45 on a Monday morning, Juice n' Java. JnJ is always staffed by just one person. One person who mans the register, gets you your coffee drink, toasts the bagels, hand-mixes the flavored cream cheese -- he was mixing up a single-serving's worth of honey walnut for a woman in front of me in line when I walked in -- which makes for a leisurely service experience. Oh Lee, you slay me.

I still made it home in time to shower and ultimately get to work semi-on-time. But the whole routine throws off my game for the day. Not that I have a game. But.

p.s. The take-away from this post: I am phone-less for the time being. It is possible I won't have a phone until late Friday night. Please make a note of it (just not on my voicemail).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Half of doing well at work is knowing when to stick up for what you know is right – and I’m not talking about social justice or anything, I’m talking about tiny design issues and turns of phrase and shit like that – and knowing when to let it go lest you be seen as argumentative and defensive. It’s too bad I was hired right before annual reviews are happening, because I get to skip it this year, and right now everyone’s all impressed and happy with me. A year from now, the bloom will be off the rose, and my review will be full of things like “After a strong start, Debbie grew resistant to change” and “Debbie was eager to learn everything, at first, but we soon noticed that nothing we were attempting to teach her was really sticking.” [Note; nothing like those two phrases have actually appeared in any of my performance reviews.]

Also, apparently my company has switched from a three-step grading system for our reviews (1. You're doing exceptionally well; 2. You're doing an o.k. job; 3. Maybe this job isn't right for you) to a five-step one. Which at first sounded great to all of us, because then we get two whole new shades of gray to fall into. But then the managers were told that there were quotas. And now, out of the entire office of 60 or so people, we're only allowed one or two "1" ratings, and just a few more "2"s, making it pretty much the same kind of deal as before, with the vast majority of us being called Average. Never mind that more than a few of us go "above and beyond" in our jobs, the managers have to grade us all on a curve. It's very discouraging, and the managers are pissed off and dreading doing this. Yet another downside to working in Ginormous MegaCorp. The bureaucracy involved makes me more anarchist by the day.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I seem to be healing just fine. I am even wearing real pants today -- true, they aren't jeans, but then do have a zipper in the front and everything. I have hit the big time.

And, tonight I handed in my big freelance fact-checking project! It is finished! Woo-hoo! I have even been paid. The author is a very nice fellow, a professor and all-around creative smarty-pants. He and his wife fed me each time I went to their beautiful old house in the country to work. After dinner, I went over the suggested fact changes to the manuscript. In the text he had mentioned getting Dictaphone recordings on green plastic discs from his father in the 1950s, and I had discovered that the machine with the green discs was called a SoundScriber -- and as soon as I said the name, he said, "THAT'S IT! Oh my word, I haven't heard that name in years! How did you find that?" Just doing my job, sir. I have powerful Google-fu.

Now I can get back to work on things I want to work on. It's been kind of painful reading my usual crafty blogs without being able to spend any time making stuff myself. No more! Plus, tomorrow it'll be warm enough for me to survey my garden, which I haven't visited since November. I am already planning a bean tepee. Soon I may risk my first bike ride to work of the year, and since I have been entirely sedentary for many weeks, it should be a doozy.