Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why yes, I would like a little cheese with my whine.

I won't lie. The discouragements - I haz them.

Unemployed 2.5 months, 20+ years of work experience, two college degrees, only scored two interviews out of eleventy-million job applications and both companies sent me the "thanks for playing, but you're not a winner" email. So, yes, discouragement at this point is, unfortunately, all too easy to come by.

I've already mentioned before how much the Job Dance has changed since the last time I had to look for a job. Not only that, the steps seem to still be changing on a daily basis, and the dance instructors all have different information about how to execute said steps smoothly and with style. Here's another thing I won't lie about: all this job-hunting business makes me feel older by the minute. Not just because a younger person with less experience has an advantage in the job market, but also because the seemingly timeless rules about loyalty and service are obsolete. That makes me sad.

In the meantime, grocery prices are going up and gas is still over $3 a gallon. Some economists say it's getting better; some say it's getting worse. How do we know who to believe? Things never seem to change a whole heck of a lot for me, anyway, regardless of economic conditions or who's in the Oval Office. And I can't help feeling just a little bitter when I think about how I did everything I was supposed to do, and still ended up without a job. I'm trying to make side money but that only works when people have money to spend.

BUT. . . I have plenty to eat. I have plenty to wear. (Too much, really - I need to get rid of a few things.) I have a place to live with a tee-vee and a flush terlet and a computer with an Interwebs connection. And I have a lot of friends & family behind me. (You know who you are.) That alone is worth millions and takes some of the sting out of discouragement. AND. . . I may have some temp work lined up shortly. So there's that.

In the meantime, would you please pass the brie?

Till next time ---

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yard Work.

So, I'm still unemployed, going on 6 weeks now. It's certainly not for lack of trying. Those of you who have been in this situation understand the anger and hopelessness that start to set in, not to mention those few pounds that show up because you're not running up and down the office hall trying to put out everyone's little fires.

The other night after supper, I was in the kitchen making a piece of jewelry. Mister asked, "Are you okay?"

"No," I replied.

"What's wrong?"

"You mean besides feeling like a total failure and a beached whale?"

He sighed and paused for a moment, then said, "Why don't you come out and help me cut some trees?"

Not really the response I wanted, but I acquiesced to his request, and dressed myself for Yard Work. You have to understand, Yard Work isn't something I've ever done much of. Sure, we've had vegetable gardens in the past, and I've planted tulips and sunflowers before, but that's pretty much it. Our landlords are in their 70s now, though, and aren't up to doing much landscaping maintenance anymore, so we're trying to take care of things.

We had so much rain this spring that weeds and other overgrowth sprang up seemingly overnight. The azalea bushes were being overtaken by hackberry seedlings, and the side flowerbed that normally sports irises, peonies, and a rosebush was covered in some weed that looks like a parsley on steroids. An ambitious and determined Virginia creeper was creeping across the side porch and about to creep onto the door. Clearly, there was much Yard Work to be done.

Mister gave me the giant pruner and I got started on the extraneous growth around Azalea #1. He showed me how to use the electric hedge trimmer to shape the bush (you 12 year-olds can stop snickering anytime), and I was on my way.

Prune, trim, prune, trim. Hey, here's an oak seedling - so sorry you can't stay. Bye-bye. And you brambles, you definitely have to go. Don't be wantin' no brambles around here. Sampson the Giant Puppy alternately laid quietly on the sidewalk or stalked the grass for unsuspecting cicadas. Then Mister said, "Hey, this one has a bird's nest in it."

Sure enough, among the leaves of Azalea #2 was a nest with two brand new tiny pink featherless baby birds. This little discovery made the whole foray into Yard Work worthwhile. We decided to leave Azalea #2 alone till the fuzzheads leave the nest.

We made a lot of progress together in one evening. Next morning, I went out for awhile before it got too hot and started in on the overgrown flower bed. That evening after supper, we both went out again for some more hack & slash. I finished the flower bed, uncovering the myriad irises, the peony bush, and the rose bush, which had to be trimmed waaaaaaay back and freed of a brambly vine I think is a morning glory. Did I mention I hate brambles?

The next morning, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. In spite of practicing yoga (although clearly not enough!), I was sore. Really sore. But the yard looks so much better now, and hey! We have baby birds.

Maybe this Yard Work thing isn't so bad after all.

Till next time ---