Today I did something I haven't done in over 11 years. I interviewed with a company that wasn't Bob's Hogs and Weiner Pigs.
It was simultaneously terrifying and rewarding at the same time.
I was scared to death the interviewer was going to stop dead in the middle of our conversation and scream, "Fraud! What the hell do you think you're doing interviewing for this job?! You aren't qualified for this!" But she never did. In fact, she invited me to tour their facility tomorrow and if all goes well I'll interview with the President of the company as one of the top three candidates for the position.
She said very nice things about my resume, which I had emailed to her at 2 AM last night and she called me about at 10 this morning. I took that as a good sign. The job would be similar to what I'm doing now; I would get to office from home, have a laptop, a cell phone (I wonder if I could wrangle a Blackberry out of them?), a company credit card, get paid mileage, etc. I would travel a bit for training to Phoenix and possibly Chicago, which would be fun. It potentially sounds like doing my job now, but without all the stress...
I also sent out my resume to two other places. One I see as a long-shot job with a big company doing some really exciting things. I happened to meet and connect with someone who knows a hiring manager there who has passed on my resume. The other is a job that I may or may not fit well with. It's geared heavily toward marketing and consists of some things I've never done before (photo shoots, etc.). We'll see what happens.
Now the question arises - what if I get one of these jobs and I want to see what comes of the other one or two? How do you balance this stuff?
I am no good at this.
Frinklin sent me something ever so fun to play with.
Head over to the Walk Score website and enter in your address. It will map our your home and surroundings and the "walkability" of your neighborhood, taking into consideration the convenience of the nearby destinations. You receive a score from 0 to 100 depending on just how fully walkable things really are. Their scale is broken down like so:
90 - 100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
50 - 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
0 - 25 = Driving Only: Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!
My score was 57, which is reasonable. We have a lot of restaurants and a few shops as well as a hospital (if one might walk there) well within walking range, but grocery stores are pushing the limits of walkability when you start to talk about carrying a lot of stuff back with you. I would assume that most of Tacoma is fairly walkable.
You can actually get a map to place on your blog. I thought it would be funny to see the walkability of my parent's neighborhood. They live out in the boonies:
They scored a 6. Not so walkable there.
Discussion of this great SNL skit came up the other night when describing Kevin's nightmare concoction of cereal (CoCo Puffs, Whoppers, and chocolate milk).
"This one time!..."
When I was new to the Pacific Northwest and still missing absolutely everything Southern California with an ache that would never end I went on a cereal eating binge. I lived on cereal. And not just any random cereal. For some reason I chose Honey Nut Shredded Wheat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for over three months (apparently I'm not the only one to do this). I went through a box every couple of days, four or five boxes a week. I would supplement occasionally with meals out, but that was essentially what I lived off of.
At the time I was severely depressed and didn't have any friends in my new home to find my behavior odd. Just one husband who gamely kept me supplied and a therapist who told me that as long as the cereal wasn't hurting me she didn't see anything wrong with it. After three or four months I found the right mix of medication, the homesickness began to lift, and the cereal hunger lifted. I still wanted cereal, but just for breakfast, and maybe could I have something different?
Until last night I hadn't touched Honey Nut Shredded Wheat in two years. But last night there was a Cereal Party at the House of Freitai and as a nod to those sad months I brought a box of my OCD food of choice for others to share. I also brought along a box of my current fav - Special K with Strawberries, which I have each morning.
Frinklin brought a couple of his favorites, as did everyone else. We each gave a quick speech about why had brought our specific choices before diving into the selections. Surprisingly with nine different types to choose from, no one had duplicated anything. Sarah brought bananas and there were several options for milk - nonfat, reduced fat, whole, soy, and chocolate.
I didn't grow up in a house where sugary cereals were allowed and because of that sugary cereals taste SO sweet to me. We didn't have anything overly sugary represented last night other than CoCo Puffs, which I didn't eat (other than a bite of Kevin's terrifying chocolate nightmare). I did enjoy small bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (sweet, but not overly so), Rice Krispies (with a bit of honey, the way my Grandma used to make them for me), Apple Jacks (yuck), mix of Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies (OK, but I don't like chocolate cereal).
I'm sure this will become a regular tradition. As you can see, we are serious about our cereal.
I'm not entierly sure how I've managed to go this long without writing about Bookmooch considering the fact that I've used it every single day for the last couple of months obsessively. It's officially become my favorite new thing to play with because a) it allows me to get rid of the excess books that have been haunting my house for years, b) I get new books that I actually want, c) I get mail, which is fun, and d) I get to use my Stamps.com shipping program and paraphernalia.
Assuming one isn't familiar with Bookmooch, it's a simple website where you can trade in your current books for points. Your points can then be exchanged for books other users have that you would like. Easy peasy! Typically books are worth one point each as you send and receive from one person to another within the same country. Books "mooched" to and from foreign countries can cost 2 - 3 points.
At last check I have sent out 39 books and received 13 (which sounds bad, but really, I've been wanting to get rid of a lot of crap). I'm waiting on 5 more to arrive and have one book to send out currently. I have 25.1 points currently. Books that you want to give away are kept in an inventory that is browsable by other members. Books that you would like to receive are added to a "wishlist." Every time a book on your wishlist becomes available you are sent an e-mail. You can also get an RSS feed of the wishlist if you prefer.
The best part of Bookmooch is the cost. It's completely FREE. The only cost associated with trading books is the shipping cost. But since books are bound, printed matter, they can ship as media mail. This can take longer to ship but typically costs very little. Most books cost between $2 - $3 to ship. Considering the average cost of a paperback can be $12 - $14 and a harcover can be as much as $30 this is really quite a deal!
Bookmooch has a blog and has recently been writing about some very cool stuff. Making books and bookmooching more green has been a big topic as of late. Things like reusing packaging and making sure that you can order the reused packaging right on the website. They also have started working with publishers to have books available directly.
Being a voracious reader, Bookmooch and Paperspine are exactly the type of things that I've been looking for. While the library is great, the fact that there are fees (I recently racked up $50 in fines at the Tacoma Public Library for the five books I had out) keep me from going back. I can find more recent titles, keep them as long as I want (own them if it's Bookmooch), and not have to worry about returning them to anyone. What's not to love?
Today I came home from lunch with Jenyum of Tacomamama to find a package on my doorstep. Upon opening the package I found a delightful gift. Some may remember my obsession with the book The Fruit Hunters by author Adam Leith Gollner. I raved about this book when I received an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) from Simon and Schuster a couple of months ago. The book is an absorbing read from beginning to end and made me care about a topic I previously had little interest in. I can't wait to see how Gollner's work is received and what he chooses to write about next.
So, anyway - the surprise gift. Because I had gushed to my Simon and Schuster contact about the book she sent me a signed copy of the finished hardcover! Not just signed, but signed to me! Adam Leith Gollner knows my name!
OK. He likely had a huge list of books to sign for various people and I was just one of a massive number getting books signed to them. But still! This is cool.
I also just received a couple of other signed finished books that are being republished (after being self-published, then published by Slave Labor Graphics). Ariel Schrag's amazing books Potential and Awkward and Definition are being published by Simon and Schuster. Potential is being developed as a movie to be directed by Rose Troche. I own the Slave Labor Graphics editions, but having signed copies is so nice...
I have a long history of locking myself out of things. I'm really good at locking myself out of various vehicles. I went through a stretch where I did it weekly, sometimes twice a week. Twice I did it while the car was RUNNING. I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment.
I've been locked out of my computer more times that I can tell you. Or various websites that I swear I can remember the password for, but upon my three attempts suddenly find that I need to call customer service because I no longer have any type of access. I finally had to create a hidden secret "cheat sheet" that I use to get to the various portals around the internets.
I thought I'd really done it a couple of years ago when Frinklin and I locked our selves IN our house. Yes you read that correctly. IN the house.
The deadbolt to the front door broke due to shoddy workmanship of the previous owner (a reccurring theme) and since we don't own a key to the back door, and our back gates are padlocked shut (a detail that will become important later in this blog entry) we were trapped. A very kind locksmith came and removed the deadbolt, re-keyed the front door, and fixed the crappy job the last owner had done with the whole thing. I highly recommend Jack at Security Lock, Safe, and Alarm.
I really didn't think it would be possible to top locking myself IN my house. But yesterday I did it.
Yesterday I locked myself in my backyard.
Really, it was all the cats' fault. But lets back up.
Remember how I told you earlier that there is no key to the back door and the gates are padlocked shut? We've been having issues with the back door not shutting all the way unless the deadbolt is thrown. The wind will push it open and 4 of our 5 indoor only cats will sneak outside to frolic on the deck, eventually making their way under the house.
Yesterday I happened to be walking past the back door and noticed it was waving gently in the afternoon breeze. Immediately panicking I jumped into action and ran outside. All four adventurous cats were outside. Making a grab for the one closest (Clyde), I felt fur and threw him in the house, slamming the door behind me. One down and three to go! An orange streak flew past my feet. Percy! I snatched him up and grabbed the door handle, leaning in to open the--ow! Open the--
Oh for fucks sake. I hadn't latched the deadbolt, but the small doorknob lock was thrown and it was good and closed this time. As Percy squirmed in my arms I grabbed for another orange kitty and picked up a clawing mass of Barney. As his talons sank into my body I thought, "this is bad." Turning to the right, I watched as Moby slipped under the house.
As I lost more and more blood from Barney's slashes I realized I was going to have to let the cats go, even if they did go under the house. I was either going to need to try to climb through a window (all locked), climb the fence (six feet high), or find a friendly neighbor with a cell phone to help. Fortunately, a friendly neighbor happened to be standing just on the other side of the fence.
"Excuse me?" I called, trying not to look insane with orange cats dangling from my limbs. "I have locked myself in my backyard and am in need of a phone. May I borrow yours?" Hopefully proper grammar and being the picture of politeness would help my cause.
"Uh, IN your backyard?" replied the kind neighbor.
"Yes. You see, my door is locked from the inside and I lack a key (Ow! Barney stop it!). And my gates are padlocked (Dammit! Ow!)." (Big smile)
"Sure." Kind neighbor tosses cell phone to me over fence. I should explain at this point that Frinklin was out assisting friends with their 72 Hour Films Festival (tickets on sale now!) submission. I called him. And called him. And called him. Angels be praised - on the third try he picked up. I make no apologies for the messages left that sound something like, "Iamtrappedinthegoddamnbackyardandyouarenotpickingupyourcellphonewherethefuck
areyourightnowIreallyneedyoutocomehomeandhelpme!" To his credit as soon as he did pick up the phone Kevin, Joe, and Frinklin did rush home to rescue me. I sulkily entered the house, sans cats.
Ah yes. The cats.
The next three hours of my life were devoted to cajoling two stubborn kitties out from the tiny (non) crawl space of the house. Percy decided he'd had enough of the great outdoors and came quietly, but Barney and Moby found a playground of smells, sights, and a possible doorway to a wonderland of adventure through that little gap in the concrete. I'd like to say that Frinklin and I tempted the cats by calling their names and offering them treats, but that did absolutely nothing for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Also ineffectual; lying on a towel to avoid dirt and other backyard debris while peering under the house with an industrial strength flashlight (although I got a close up look at one of our air vents). The best technique was to stand absolutely silent and still for 10 or 15 minutes, pretending to be a part of the house, then pounce when the cat came out to explore. Good to know for future reference.
I really need to get the back door re-keyed so that we can unlock it normally. And probably need to have the entire thing worked on so that it actually stays closed when the wind is blowing. Hopefully I'm working a good average and I won't lock myself back there again for another three years, minimum.
Bonus trapped in moment! Trapped IN my pants!
This morning started off rough.
Frinklin got up early to help out friends with their 72 hour film festival submission only to find that one of our cars was broken into overnight. It was nothing terribly dramatic, and unfortunately (or fortunately, since it meant there was little damage to the car) it was a situation where one of the doors didn't close properly and was jimmied open. Everthing in the vehicle had been rifled through but the person who broke in only stole my expensive and very cool pea coat. Note to self: don't leave expensive and cool stuff in car.
In the grand scheme of things this isn't a huge deal. The car is relatively unscathed, nothing major was taken, and both Frinklin and I are mostly just annoyed. But it's unsettling to have someone violate your privacy and your space. This is the second time that Frinklin and I have been robbed. Both times it has been due to a door left ajar; last time it was in an old apartment we couldn't wait to move out of in 2001.
Before moving to Tacoma I received a lot of half-joking warning about the crime rate here. I, myself, have joked about livng in a city where crime is just considered part of daily life. A few months after moving here Violet came to visit from Chicago (where she was terrified of living in her own haunted house and somewhat crime-ridden neighborhood alone). Her first night in town we told her we lived in "the good part of Tacoma" with a lower crime rate, "less violent crimes."
Frinklin went on to say, "We do tend to have a lot of kidnappers and serial killers though," naming Ted Bundy and a couple of others. We laughed it off (I know I'm going to hell) and got ready for bed.
Just as we were readying the pull-out couch Violet looked outside and asked, "Are those police lights?" We all rushed to the window to see cops blocking off our street and officers with German Shepherds marching up and down our block. A helicopter began circling overhead and spotlights swept the ground. Frinklin called the non-emergency police number and was told in a stern voice to, "Stay inside. Lock the doors. Do not exit the house unless instructed to by a uniformed police officer." Oh. Great.
Violet told us the next morning she slept better that night than she had in months.
"The police were everywhere! I felt so safe!" she smiled.
The TPD is no longer hovering around my house and even when I call them to report a prowler they don't bother to stop by. I've had my car egged twice, my mail stolen, the guy trying to get into the backyard, and now the car, all in three year. But I feel relatively safe due to the 90 lb. German Shepherd/Pit Bull (who's my puppy?) that doesn't like strangers sleeping next to me at night.
It's just emotionally draining to have someone violate your space and have to put your stuff back together again. And there's the enevitable "what if" thoughts that haunt you. What if they come back? What if they took something I didn't notice? What if they try to break into my house next? What if they hurt my animals? What if they hurt my husband or me?
I'm tired of thinking these thoughts. What I'd really like to do is leave a big 'ol sign on my car that says, "Hi. This message is for the person who broke into my car and stole my coat. I've lived in Tacoma long enough to know that a video camera is the best way to keep your property safe. Bring back the coat - put it on the front porch. I've got you on tape breaking into the car. If you don't return the coat within 48 hours, I'm turning in the tape to the Tacoma Police Department. Thanks."