Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Comes But Once A Year (Thankfully...)

Ironically, this Christmas was a massive and infinite improvement over last Christmas. With my bum of a brother-in-law out of the picture, we were all able to breathe a sigh of relief and just be ourselves. The holiday was filled with much laughter, much wine and much lying about in jammies. All good things, in my book.

That is not to say that I was not without my Christmas mourning period. I did OK until the week of the actual holiday. I was taken by surprise by a group of carolers at Easton. I was doing a little last minute shopping when I passed what I thought was just a group of four well-dressed men standing about talking. All of a sudden they burst into song. I mean almost literally BURST. A four-part harmony, wishing me a merry Christmas right in my face. I needed new pantaloons. After I composed myself, I nearly went to pieces. That was Tuesday. By Wednesday, Christmas Eve, I was OK again. If that's the worst of it, then maybe I'll be OK with this whole Judaism thing.

Oh - best gift ever, by the way - Dress Up Obama magnets. Like paper dolls of the President-Elect, only they are magnets for your fridge. By the way, they are on sale for $5 and you can get McCain, too. I highly recommend them for the pundit in your life. I am having a ball.

In other news, we moved Jack to "the bog boy bed" today. Which is to say, we converted his crib into a day bed. He is supposed to be napping right now. So far, in the last 30 minutes, we have heard the pitter patter of little feet about 148 times. Also, the turning of the bedroom doorknob (we have a childproof door handle thingy on it) and Jack proclaiming "I stuck!" and J asking for his cousin Donovan. It seems to be quiet now, but Osi and I agree that he is only regrouping. I wonder what fresh hell awaits us this evening at actual bed time? Oy, I shudder to think!

I've sent out a ton of resumes and am hopeful, but the annuity is looking as if it is going to be cashed in, which makes me physically ill every time I think of it. So, here's hoping that the new year brings a swell job with a fat paycheck - as well as peace, love and happiness. That isn't much to ask out of a year, is it?

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Crushing Weight of The Cookies

I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get cookies done for the holidays. Feeb asked last night why. I quickly did my best "Tevye" from "Fiddler on the Roof" and answered "TRADITION!" She was quick to respond that Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos could quickly and easily become a new tradition. Smart girl, that Feeb.

I went a little overboard this year. I doubled or tripled every recipe. Why? We're not having Christmas here this year and we don't actually like our neighbors (except the Vitartases. Or is that the Virarti? I'm unsure, but they are cool either way, and deserving of cookies). So we won't be running around the neighborhood doling our home-baked holiday cheer. We'll not be seeing many of our friends before Chanukkah, so we aren't giving them cookies. I don;t know any service-people in Iraq, or I would gladly ship them overseas. So what I am saying, is that the line forms on the front porch, people. I am up to my eyeballs - almost literally - in cookies.

I made traditional cutouts, chocolate chip (although those are break and serve. I seriously can't make them any better than Nestle Tollhouse), oatmeal, and peanut butter blossoms; and I am finishing the almond-raspberry thumbprints and chocolate crinkles today. See what I mean? I must be stopped.

I really think this comes right back to the over-the-top birthdays, etc. If I am not working, then I need to be Homemaker of The Year. (I should likely start with keeping the dog hair tumbleweeds at bay, but that is another struggle entirely.) Have I mentioned I have issues? And really, what's the harm, here? You all get some tasty goodness, I work out some stress and the economy gets boosted by my buying flour and sugar in bulk. Win-Win-Win, really :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Soul Scream

I have talked about my absolute need for my daily dose of Effexor pretty openly here. I have been faithfully taking said Effexor and I am here to tell ya' that, I think, recent events have overcome the effects of said wonder drug.

My poor, loving, understanding-beyond-belief-and-all-reason husband just cannot comprehend my current state. He knows that I was fine with walking away from the BLF debacle this morning. This evening (they posted the job that I thought for sure was mine this afternoon on the association job board. Ouch.) I am notsomuch fine with it. I am staring-at-the-medicine-cabinet-contemplating-a-permanent-nap not OK with it. I cannot tell you what, in the last 12 hours, has changed.

Maybe I was ready to walk away because I didn't think I'd have to. Maybe the sun was out. Maybe my estrogen was surging. I seriously have no idea and, frighteningly, believe it could be any of the above.

All I know is that when I get like this it literally feels like my soul is screaming. Like I can empathize with that poor cliche-ridden bastard Edvard Munch was trying to put onto canvas when he painted "The Scream." And the thought that that particular painting is so flipping popular and has been trivialized is sadly ironic. (If, indeed, this is the feeling Munch was trying to capture.)

There was a brief transition period between "Fine with it" Chris and "Not OK" Chris. It is the Chris my college friends loooooooooved. She was known as Baking Chris. Today Baking Chris produced way more cookies that should be humanly possible in the short amount of time I was left alone. Sadly, no pies were made (pies and tiramisu were my college depression specialties).

Let's hope Thursday is just as glum, because I have the dough made for peanut butter blossoms and I still need to get my oatmeal, almond-raspberry thumbprint and chocolate crinkle cookies done.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Economy is Making People Crazy

My search for employment has been well documented here. Nowhere has it been as well documented, in fact, as my quest for employment with BLF Management, Ltd.

After four interviews, I finally got a phone call this morning from the assistant executive director. I was trembling with the thought of an actual paycheck. Here is what she had to offer:

A two week trial period, to begin immediately, during which I would be paid minimum wage while they decided if I would become a full-time employee at $32K.

Excuse the fuck outta me?

After speaking with me for FOUR HOURS, you are still unsure if I am the right person for the job? Let me go ahead and make that decision for you. I am not the right person for your company. I do not want to work in a place where upper management is so unsure of itself. Where the people I will be reporting to are immediately second-guessing me. And, I believe, will continue to second-guess me.

When I was in charge of hiring people, I could tell you within 10 minutes, 20 tops, if I wanted to hire someone or not. Second interviews were a formality during which courtesies were extended to upper management. If Brad doesn't want to hire me, then he should NOT hire me. He shouldn't have to be convinced, by me or anyone else.

Now, let's discuss the fact that, should I accept this offer, I would be paying my childcare person more than I myself would be making in order to take this little test run. Is it me or is this just plain ridiculous? No. It is not just me.

Finally, when I told them the money I was looking for, they agreed that it was within their range. The money they are offering me was below that. I am guessing they expect me to counter. I am guessing they do NOT expect me to counter with "go to hell." I am taking a $20K pay cut from the position I left to raise Jack. I know I have been out of the game for three years, but does that really translate to $20K? I guess it seems to.

What is really eating at me is that I have had four interviews with these people and now they want what is essentially a fifth. In a better economy, could they make this ridiculous request? I don't know. I do know I am their only candidate to date. I know this because I asked. So when I do tell them to go to hell, they will have to start at square one with their search... exactly where I am with mine. Oh the irony.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not Feeling the Twilight

I am reading Twilight. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt compelled to - everybody else was doing it! Literary peer pressure. Harry Potter it ain't.

I was ready to brush it off when only the under 16 crowd was reading it. But then librarians and teachers started reading it. And, I reasoned, THEY have good taste, right? I am more than half-way through it and am just not getting it. It sounds as if it is written by a 16-year-old girl for a 16-year-old girl.

Why continue reading, then? Well, because now I just need to finish the damn thing before I move on to my conversion reading assignments. Vampires to Judaism. Seems like a logical transition, right? Probably only to die hard Catholics.

Are you reading it? What do you think?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Still Inexplicably Unemployed

I had what turned out to be a FOURTH interview with BLF Management yesterday. I interviewed in May and again in July for the Membership Director position. I didn't get that - I now know - because of my lack of database experience. Fair enough.

Last Friday I sent my resume to the company again for the Membership Coordinator position. I was called on Monday by the new Asst. Exec. Director and she wanted me to come in Tuesday. I did, and the interview went extremely well. It went so well that she wanted to know what kind of money I was looking for and how soon I could start. So, when she called Thursday and wanted me to come in on Friday to meet with her and Brad (the owner - who I met with in the first two interviews), I thought for sure it was going to be for an offer. Notsomuch.

I cannot believe I have now talked to this same guy three times. He needs convinced that I am - and I quote - "ready to return to work." I am trying to write this off as someone who has been burned by a stay-at-home mom who was not, in fact, ready to return to work. I, however, NEED this job, have applied with the company twice and have no undergone FOURE SEPARATE INTERVIEWS. How much MORE serious would you like me to be? I am frustrated and a litle insulted, to be honest. They said I should hear something by early this coming week...

Switching gears...

We've had a decent day today. Osi let me sleep in a bit and when we were all up and showered, we piled in the car and took Jack to the AHA Children's Museum in Lancaster. Jack LOVES this place. It is just the right size for him and just the right price for us. Lancaster is about 25 minutes from here, so a nice, quiet drive, and not nearly as chaotic or as expensive as COSI. If you live anywhere near Columbus and have kids under 7, I completely recommend it. Jack had a ball and we grabbed some McDonald's on the way home.

Donovan is coming over to spend the night tonight and Osi is going to play cards with Brotherhood. Maybe D and I will bake some cookies after Jack goes to bed. Who knows. Or he can help me wrap Hanukkah gifts. Either way, they boys and I plan on spending a quiet night at home. Hot cocoa will somehow be involved, as will "Finding Nemo," I'm sure. Now, if only I could find a shred of my sanity...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Do I Get Kids Like That?

As I have mentioned several times before, we have actively tried to expand our social circle this year, with more fantastic results than we ever thought possible.

Until recently, Osi's friend philosophy was, and I quote "You get 'em, I keep 'em." Well put, Mr. Charming. Although invitations were not flooding out mailboxes (and due to an altercation with my college roommate's then husband, we had been removed from THEIR social list because of Senor Charmingpants, but I digress...).

The Temple Crowd, as I have called them before, are just good people. They remind me of the folks my parents hung around with when I was a kid. All of them were involved with the church/school boosters and that is how all of them met. All of the kids knew each other and, generally, liked each other and - for the most part - were good kids (yeah, yeah, present company excluded, I can hear you, you know).

Our Temple Crowd is the same way. We have been so blessed to be included with these folks. Riotous senses of humor, all of them, hard workers and devoted to family and friends. And let me take a minute to talk about their kids, which is the whole point of this post.

Everyone in this Crowd but the Crabills, who have just started their family by birthing the Future Mrs. Jack Zimmer last May, have kids in their teens and then another one who is about 10. (Apparently we missed the memo here.) All of these kids are polite, comfortable holding conversations with adults and not only tolerant of, but incredibly good with, Jack. Of the older ones, I would use any of them as a babysitter (although I think Alyiah is 14 going on 28 in a good way).

Each group of kids have their own forte. The B kids have the most highly developed senses of humor I have ever seen for their ages and are just the coolest people under 20 I currently know. I want their parents' instruction manual on how to get kids like that. Seriously. Fork it over.

The S kids are incredibly active and yet very balanced - qualities that are tough to pull off today with the go everywhere, do everything culture. Truly cool.

The C kids are great as well. While Tyler seems like your typical "I don't want to be here" 14 year old boy, he comes alive playing with Frannie and he is just so sweet with Jack. And I could eat Arek up with a spoon he is so bright, funny and plain adorable.

Finally, the P kids, who, I think are tiny grown ups. Drew, I think is a frustrated stand up in the body of a 14 year old. His brother Matthew, I think, could be doing the books at PWC...and also has a beautiful singing voice.

I feel like I need to have a panel discussion with these people. Because, let's face it, most days I feel like a real fuck up as a mother. Whether it's because J gets McDonald's for lunch twice in a week for lunch because I know he'll eat chicken nuggets and chicken = protein in my mind or because the TV seems to endlessly be tuned to Noggin at our house.

This just isn't how I envisioned raising my kid. And yet, here I am. How about the Crowd? Is it what they thought it would be? Are their kids turning into the young adults they envisioned? What would they change about he last 10 or 14 years? I am trying to correct behaviors as I see them, but I pick my battles. All of these folks have kids old enough to have the hindsight and the wisdom to tell me which battles I should actually be picking. And I like their results. What do you think, should I "Nanny Cam" them?

The Cashmere Mafia is helpful, too, but we're all facing the same challenges at the same time. That is support to the umpteenth level, girlfriends, but if I can squeeze info from the Great Elders (and I say that with love) I will bring The Knowledge back for all to share.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Have a French Toast-Induced Head Wound

I actually just like saying that. The fact that it is true makes me giggle. But anything that makes my face show the least bit of emotion today is a tiny bit painful. You know, because of the french toast-induced head wound.

As previously noted, the 7th Annual Zimmer Holiday Fun Brunch was yesterday. I hope and it is my belief, that a fun time was had by all. However, the morning began with me bleeding into a casserole dish of creme brulee french toast. So, that's no good. We have a fridge in our basement and I was bringing up the 3rd tray of toast and a folding chair when BOOM all at once, I was wearing said toast and my Doc Marten spectators had flown out from under me. Let me tell ya', nothin' gushes like a head wound (unless, friends it is a varicose vein, but that is Osi's story to tel...).

Actually, it wasn't that bad. I did find it alarming how quickly a headache can come on, though. After taking what Osi deemed "an insane amount of ibuprofen," and getting the bleeding stopped, I trotted next door to see Delise, a nurse in her former life. She said stitches were not in order, just a couple of butterfly closures. Oh, did I mention all of this happened about an hour before 30 people were due to show up to eat?

We managed to get everything done, but the counters missed their final wipe down and the beverage center was never fully set up. Osi fixed that by keeping everyone plied with mimosas. have I mentioned how much I love this brunch? Perhaps next year, we can skip the bleeding, though.

In other news, I have a job interview. You are never going to guess with whom. I guess third time is a charm with BLF Management. And you know what that means... another chance with BLF means another chance that we could ALL win the hilarity lottery and I could be working with the infamous Antonio CHACHA (yeah, like it's really spelled Ciacia...) in 2009! Anyone as excited about this as I am. I thought not. I just need to figure out a nifty way to conceal the head wound for tomorrow's interview...

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Brunch is Coming! The Brunch is Coming!

Every year, we host the Annual Zimmer Holiday Fun Brunch. I believer we are on year 7. It started as 2 couples, a single friend and ourselves getting together for some awesome stuffed french toast and some corned beef hash. My, how it has grown.

At it's most heinous, there were 50 people in our house in Westerville during what I think was my last year at the Society. The year before, we started a White elephant gift exchange, in which the goal was to find the most hilarious and/or tacky gift under $10. Re-gifting is highly encouraged. Last year, I believe the Hank Williams, Jr. Christmas ornaments took the cake. I mean, where does one purchase those?

The Seventh Annual Zimmer Holiday Fun Brunch is this Sunday. I love this event. I have always loved this event, no matter how much work it is. It brings together all of my favorite people. Well, most of my favorite people. The Chambers have to bail, but we'll catch them next year. hopefully. And the Crattys had a last minute change of plans, too. But the majority of my favorite people will be in my house on Sunday. And THAT is what I love about the holidays, and the annual Holiday Fun Brunch. I get to remember how lucky I am to have all of these fantastic people in my life. How truly blessed I am to be surrounded by such truly wonderful souls.

That is good, especially this year. I have been looking for a job for more than six months and I am starting to freak out a little. Well, more than a little. The 401(k) has been sold and I literally NEED a job by the end of January. When we took a lassaiz faire attitude to me going back to work in April, we didn't predict that the bottom would fall out of the economy in October. I am taking a deep breath now.

So this Sunday I am going to enjoy all of my friends and surround myself with the people that I love and that I know love me. Because I think we may need to live with some of them soon :)