Chicken Word Game for the soul

There's big stuff happening at our end - I'll report more soon!

We've had so much excitement lately, I really need to go lie down. It's like living on a life roller coaster around here. My emotional range today has been all over the charts. I landed on happy, but I'm still exhausted from the ride.

Seriously. I'm going to go lie down right now.

(Okay, I'm actually going to go play a round of Chicken Word Game, but that's almost as relaxing. And strangely therapeutic...)


Closing the chapter

Wow. We didn't renew our wedding website and now it's this.

It literally just expired two days ago.



Um. Awkward.

Late last week a guy I work with (who isn't one of my biggest fans) was examining the plans for the summer construction at the Center. As my boss walked him around pointing out where things would be added or altered, she said, "And here's where my office will be, and next to that, Elle's."

The guy responded with, "If she's here. Her Husband is job hunting. Did you know that? She may not even be here in the fall."

My boss was a bit taken aback. She's known about our situation for a while, and is well aware that I've had a couple interviews and that Husband is currently in the final rounds of his own. So it wasn't news to her.

Even though she wasn't in the dark she couldn't help thinking, what if she had been? Why would he say that? How did he even become privy to the information? She told me she had considered replying, "Oh my God, I had no idea!" but then thought better of it. Instead she gave him a very logical response: "Well, regardless of whether or not Elle is in it, we're still going to go ahead and build the office." Duh. Obviously they'll hire someone new, it's not like my entire position with the college will go poof when I resign. Although that would be a nice gesture to commemorate the fact that I'm irreplaceable :)

Back to my point, though, what poor taste! Who does that? A person leaving their job isn't something you gossip about! You don't go telling their boss. You wait for them to share that information themselves, when the timing is right. If I hadn't yet talked to Pow about it, what a crap position he would have landed me in! It's an act of sabotage, really. One might almost think he hates me.

Oh. Wait. Actually as I write this out it makes much more sense. He does hate me. That's who does that. The people who pass you in the hallway with a fake smile, quietly fantasizing about how gooey it would be if they squished your little head until it pops.

So really he's very calculating, not very stupid. Same end result but more respectable.



I dropped Husband off at the airport this morning. There were many tears (mine). It's been an emotional weekend, and saying goodbye felt like a lot to handle. I have a work event tonight, and then a busy work week, another phone interview, and a list of other plans, so it's not like I won't be busy between now and Thursday when he returns. It's just that I've gotten used to having him around, and I miss him. The apartment is so QUIET. I feel like something's lost, even though it's not lost, it's on Northwest Airlines headed to Minneapolis as I write this.

I'm terrified that something will happen to Husband, even though I know air travel is the safest kind. I can't help but worry about losing the people I love. It's not a recent development - I was like this as a kid. I remember one time when my mom went out, C was with a babysitter at our house, and I was at P's house (directly across the street) for a sleepover. Part way through the night I decided to call home to check on C, and there was no answer. I had P's mother (patient soul) bring me over to my house and it was dark. Suddenly, in my mind, I'd lost my sister and my mother in one night. Something horrible had happened to both of them, I was certain. If I couldn't see them, it had to be bad. I sat on P's porch crying and watching my house like a dog watches the coffee shop door - leash tied to fire hydrant - while its owner runs in for a quick latte. I doubt I blinked. Finally C and the babysitter drove up, returning from the ice cream parlor. They were fine. In fact C was better than fine - she was riding a sugar high. I'd wasted my entire night freaking out and was so distraught by that point that I was inconsolable.

Given that not much seems to have changed with regard to my separation anxiety issues since then, maybe I should schedule another visit with E. I'm realizing as I retell that story you're probably not supposed to have the same irrational fears as an adult that you had when you were eight.

Oh well, I'll settle for a quick fix for now: once Husband's plane is back on the ground I'll feel less tweaky. As for the larger neurosis underneath it, I'll deal with that another day. After all, my brain is still supposed to be on its post-exam vacation!!! And that vacation itinerary doesn't include a pit stop at the DSM-IV to look up the diagnostic criteria for "nutso."


I quit you

I'm done with my exam, and have traveled to Worcester for the very last time EVER. YAY!

All that being said, I'm not sure how well I did - I really can't even guess. It was a tough exam. But for now, I have two study-free months regardless. If I didn't pass, at least I won't know that (or have to hit the drawing board again) for another 8 weeks!

My head is throbbing, so I need to go do something that doesn't involve my brain.


The cautionary tale of Elle Charlie

I was chatting with my sis C last night, and she convinced me that my horrid Austin interview was, in retrospect, kind of funny. And teaches an important lesson. So in that spirit, I'll share.

Naturally there are many things I wish I'd done differently throughout the course of my phone interview, all of which came flooding to mind the minute I hung up. But as is the mark of a truly devastating interview, while I couldn't quite think of what better to say in the moment, I also knew as words were tumbling out of my mouth that what I was managing to say was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.

Much of what they asked me I should have been prepared to answer, but I wasn't. I hadn't interviewed in five years, and I was rusty. Plus I hadn't correctly anticipated how much forethought was necessary in this type of interview. For the Mayo interview I had note cards spread out in front of me with examples of my work and its theoretical basis - believe me, by the time I sat down for that conversation I had learned from my previous mistake.

But that lesson came at the expense of the Austin experience.

By the time the Austin interview was drawing to a close, I already knew nothing good could ever come of it. I had said 'ummmmmm' enough times to ensure they were NEVER going to hire me. At that point, even I wouldn't have hired me. In keeping with the theme, the last question they asked me was one I hadn't thought about at all until the moment they asked it: "On a scale of one to ten, how interested are you in coming to campus for an interview?"

Now, my two cents? That's a crap question. Invite me and find out, b*tches! I don't ask you "on a scale of one to ten how interested are you in hiring me?" the moment we conclude our conversation. First off, much as you'd like to know, it's not really fair to ask. Second, hello time to process???

So I wasn't thrilled to have that ball tossed in my lap. Still, the question is kind of a given. If I were to ask you what one should say in answer to that question, you wouldn't hesitate: "Say ten! You say ten! Unless you want to suck up and say 13, which is probably even better!" It's a bonus question. Even if you couldn't get the harder, more substantive questions right, this one is being handed to you as an opportunity for redemption. Show enthusiasm! Everyone loves enthusiasm! You're trying to get a job, naturally you show nothing but the utmost excitement! Ten, ten, ten!

Yeah, you're probably already guessing that I didn't say "Ten!" And you're right. No, no, I said, "Eight or nine?" That's right, not even "Eight or nine!" I'm such a dumb ass that I put a question mark on the end of that.

I'm not so totally idiotic that I didn't realize, as the words passed over my lips, that it was the absolute incorrect answer. I did. But how do you come back from that? You don't. Some responses are too horrible. Once they hit the open air and sail through the telephone wires you may as well just disconnect right then and there. You're finished. The interviewers are rolling their eyes at one another and making the international sign for a throat being slit across their necks while they're mentally calculating how much money they wasted on the long distance. Fin. Done.

And that's my sad story, my warning to all of you: never do what I did. Never tank on the bonus question. Think before you answer the bonus question. And if all else fails, here's another hint: on a scale of one to ten, TEN IS ALWAYS THE RIGHT ANSWER. You're always as much of whatever they want as the scale allows for.

I tried to explain myself to C with a pout, "I was just being honest."

She paused a moment before asking me gently, "And what made you think there's any place for honesty in an interview?"

She makes a valid point.



Things are looking up :) And the weather is getting warmer! Husband is waiting for me at home (he doesn't have to work tonight!) so I'm going to hurry up and shut things down! It's rare we get much time together on an average Tuesday night, so I want to take advantage!


Looking forward to not looking ahead

If only for a short, self-granted reprieve.

My interview with the Mayo went much better than my Austin interview. Which I guess isn't saying very much, so maybe I should expound on that: in addition to the Mayo interview not sucking more than anything on the entire planet could possibly suck, it actually went quite well.

Right now I'm taking a study break as I prepare for my stupid exam. After my exam is over I want to go out and get drunk, but Husband flies to Minneapolis the following morning and I'd like to remember my last night with him before he leaves for four long days.

I don't actually want to go out and get drunk. But I do want to turn my brain off completely for as long as possible. Once Husband is air bound, I plan to stock the freezer with ice cream and the cabinet with those Betty Crocker microwavable desserts and watch the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the couch in my most comfortable worn out pjs. I may go to work while Husband is away, but I can't promise that since it would require me getting dressed.

Of course I'll be missing Husband terribly throughout this mind numbing, sugar coma-inducing decompression marathon. It's the longest we've been apart since we got married, and I kind of prefer having him around. Even if that means I'd have to share the snacks.


Just can't seem to get it right today

Sadly I don't have the option of giving up.

I got a 98 on my final and bombed my Austin interview.

I have a phone interview with the Mayo Clinic next week.

Moments ago, following a loud crash somewhere in the CHW, my coworker M asked, "What happened? Is the sky falling?"

My coworker R replied, "Yes! It's been falling all week."

I couldn't agree more.

The negativity will end. I will end it. But not today.


Lots of bitter, not so much sweet

I'm going to whine now. I HATE being this busy. This morning when I woke up I didn't want to get out of bed because there's too much to do. Which is how I've felt since we started planning our wedding over a year ago - that there's always so much to get done. I have a final today, in addition to a major paper due. All of this, naturally, after a full day of work. I have an interview tomorrow morning. We have to create our wedding album this weekend through the photography company, because we're SO overdue on that. And my certification exam is 9 days off. I'm very sad about these things. When will it slow down?

Aggravating matters is the fact that I have a schedule full of meetings since it's nearing the end of the semester, and in these meetings I need to actively listen to people's sometimes very serious problems, empathize, provide feedback, and offer guidance. And I don't have the energy to spare. Which isn't fair to them, so I muster it up. But I need a vacation. From everything.

I know I've been no fun lately. I just want to get out from under all the stuff that's overtaken our lives.


Never a dull moment

I have a phone interview for a position in Austin on Friday! This complicates things. It will be awkward if Husband and I are working in two different states. I applied for the job over a month ago, and was pretty bummed out that I didn't at the very least get offered a phone interview. So if nothing else it's validation that my cover letter and resume still bring forth inquiries.



I took today off of work to go to the dentist. A couple of minutes ago, I realized I never made it to the dentist. How did that happen?!?! It just totally slipped my mind. It's not that I'm too preoccupied with studying for my final exam tomorrow (though I ought to be if I know what's good for me), in fact around the time that I should have been hopping on the t I was scoping out Converse sneakers on the internet.


When things shift

This summer my Grandma will have been gone for two years. In that time, I've found myself being kinder, more compassionate, in an attempt to put back into the universe some of her positive energy.

They say that grief alters people, and I believe that's very true. There are some losses that change everything, and you find you can no longer walk through life without asking what it all means. But if you're lucky, and if you were taught well, the answers make you a better human being.



This weekend we did our taxes. That SUCKED. Then we moped around for the rest of the weekend feeling very sorry for ourselves and much loathing for the government.

On the bright side, Husband flies out to Minneapolis soon for an on campus interview. He informed me last night that he's never not been hired for a job once he's had an on campus interview. I guess I'm not shocked - he's quite likable :) So if he's offered this job, I'll need to kick my job hunting efforts up several notches. Since I currently have nothing in the works.

We haven't ruled out Greece or London yet, though... it's still a part of the conversation. But less and less likely something we're up for.


A hazard of the job

Today before heading out to lunch my coworker M popped her head into my office.

"I don't like that scarf," she announced.

My hand flew to my neck. "Really?"

She sat on the edge of a chair near the door. "It looks like a trach bandage."

I rolled my eyes. "Probably only to people who actually know what a trach bandage looks like."


Still applying bandaids

Last night while talking to my mom on the phone I thought about how lucky I am to have her in my life. I've always been a relatively trusting person, and I know it's because I could always trust my family to have my best interest at heart. You know that stupid Snapple commercial for the antioxidant-infused water, where the guy's in this world full of protective bubble wrap? That's the world I grew up in, and while at times it makes disappointments harder to take or not getting what I want more difficult to swallow, it also makes me that much steadier. I know that I'm never alone.

My mom is an intensive care nurse, so I also depend on her for her medical expertise and sound German practicality. I often ask her if she's sure I'm not dying. She is. Thankfully, she never overreacts. Which means, of course, that when she actually is worried about something, you're screwed. But even then she's calm and strong.

We're not considering New Jersey for relocation, only because it doesn't really have what we're looking for geographically and I don't know how much longer my parents will stay there. I have a feeling my mom is about to start bi-continental living any day now. Which I'd fully support - she has seven siblings in Germany, all of whom have kids and grandkids. It's her home, and she's happy there. But I'd love nothing more than to have my mom right next door. So wherever we move, we'll make sure to buy a house with plenty of spare rooms. I want my mom to visit as often as possible. She's good for my soul.


If only I'd seen this coming...

Pun intended.

Our health insurance just added a Vision Plan. Among the things being partially covered is lasik surgery, effective April 1st. Now, it'd have been nice to get a heads up on that one, since we just bought a year's supply of my contact lenses at Costco. I'd been planning to have lasik surgery after the wedding, but things never seemed to slow down enough for me to set aside the necessary time and energy to do it. So I decided to put it off for a year. Little did I know I'd soon have the perfect opportunity.

Who doesn't advertise such a great addition to benefits IN ADVANCE? If I were HR I'd have started talking that up months ago.


Philosophers of desire

Generally speaking, I hate the new Bud Light commercials, but this one cracks me up. You imagine that your dog embodies the traits that humans can't so wholeheartedly embrace: loyalty, playfulness, forgiveness, protectiveness, living in the moment. You believe that if you could only talk to your dog, it would enlighten you with its perspectives and astound you with its wisdom. It would clarify everything. Because dogs get it, right? They must. Yes, in the search for insight you see the answers locked away in the hungry eyes of Fido, who rather than holding the key to the meaning of life is in all likelihood only holding onto the desperate hope that there are snacks in your pocket.


Hey, hey, you, you, I don't like your boyfriend

This past weekend when I went to Connecticut I took two of my students with me. I wasn't optimistic about how well my traveling companions would hold up. Weeks in advance of our departure they notified me that they would not be speaking to one another for the entire car ride, and would instead be listening to their separate iPods. Okaaaaaaaay. Whatever keeps the peace, kids. I've seen this many times before: the final stretch of the semester and they start to turn on each other.

Thankfully, things went down much more amicably than expected. For the most part, they managed to get along!

But to say there were no tense moments would be dishonest. A couple of times during the car ride there and back I had to tune out their bickering. One of these times C was making fun of L, calling her boyfriend from Taiwan a "pop star". I thought he was doing this because of how said boyfriend's hair looked in the cell phone photo L flashed us, and so I frowned. "C, don't be mean!"

Tonight I had a meeting with several students, among them L, and I found out that her boyfriend actually IS a Taiwanese pop star!!!! Who knew?

C, apparently. He's usually a smart ass, so I hadn't even considered the possibility that he was being literal.



After climbing out of bed this morning I stood disoriented in the bathroom, wiping sleep from my eyes as my brain struggled to process the situation. Something's not right here... don't tell me... I'll get it in a minute...

Turns out our shower was broken. The water wouldn't come out of the shower head, it would only come out of the faucet part.

What made this even more interesting is that I'd taken a legitimate bath last night and covered myself in baby oil afterward because my skin has been super dry lately. Which meant that when I first crouched down in the tub and started ineffectively splashing water at myself it just beaded up on my still slimy body. Fabulous. What's the best way to shower with no shower? Horizontally, clearly. But how awkward.

I arrived at our staff meeting this morning all look-at-what-the-cat-dragged-in sloppy, with exfoliating pearls from my shower gel stuck in my hair and a general sort of sogginess all over, like nothing had washed out properly.

Husband called in the plumber and all is now fixed. But still. Un. Lucky.



I spent this weekend at a conference in Connecticut which I helped to plan and run. If you've ever been involved in the orchestration of a conference I'm sure you can relate when I say it's a nauseating, thankless job.

Now that I'm home again, all of the uncertainty of our future hits me full force. I can't hide behind key note speakers, awards selections, or round table discussion topics. WHAT'S NEXT? Husband has been short-listed for a position and we're starting to think about campus interviews, house hunting, and relocation realities. At the same time in our day to day life we're unable to commit to anything because we don't know if and when Husband will be jumping on a plane. I've been in a non-stop state of maximum stress for weeks now, and I'm so tired. I want answers, and at the same time I'm terrified that we'll soon be getting them.

And to make matters worse, we still haven't done our taxes. Not much uncertainty there, unfortunately. We'll be writing Uncle Sam a check this year, and we pretty much know that for a fact.


Thrown into the mix

A four month stint in Greece or London? Not in the original job (or life) plan, but enticing. We may make good use of your international calling plan! :) Stay tuned...


Mo' better, Mo' worse

Mo from Facilities came to address the filing cabinet 'situation' this morning. Oh, Mo! I love Mo. Now my filing cabinet can be unlocked (with its original key!) but can no longer be opened without jamming a pair of scissors into the release mechanism. So it's fixed... sort of. I mean, as long as you've got those scissors handy when you're itchin' for a file, you're good to go. Need that budget report from 2005? Got scissors? Or a crow bar? Voila! The filing cabinet is your oyster.

I really do love Mo, though, so I'll just shut up and be happy I have access at all.



I just dropped the keys to my filing cabinet inside my locked filing cabinet. Yes, this took some skill.

I have to tell you, the last few weeks? Not so hot. I am up to my eyeballs in work, and now said work is stuck in a filing cabinet that when in lock down is more secure than Fort Knox. I know, because I've spent the last hour trying to break in.