Saturday, March 26, 2011

Church, Naked Midgets and Oysters

For my seventh week of unemployment, I decided to go to Las Vegas. D had spring break, the weather here was shit as usual for Central Oregon spring and my dad sprung for the plane tickets. Yep, Dad lives in Vegas so we also had a free place to stay and a chauffeur.

My dad and step mom don't drink or gamble so I knew this wasn't going to be my regular idea of Vegas fun, but I wasn't prepared for our first evening's activity. When they told us we were going to church, I balked. Church? In Vegas? I hadn't been to church with my dad since I was probably six and I don't remember the last time I've been since I've lived here. Huh. Well, when in Rome, right?

The church wasn't much to look at on the outside and wasn't located in the fancy part of town. The inside, though, had its own tiny charm. Best of all? Real pews! I haven't seen real, wooden pews in years.

The people were the real surprise. They had all heard of me; it was like I was a celebrity. I shook more hands than I could count and everyone was so warm and welcoming and friendly. My dad would start to introduce me and they'd say "yes, of course!" I was taken aback when one very sweet old man named Claude said he's been praying for me and it was nice to put a face with the prayer. Apparently they were all aware of my unemployment situation and I was unknowingly a part of their regular prayer requests. It was oddly comforting.

The sermon was simple, and appropriately fitting for me at the time. The pastor talked about anticipation and expectations and being open to more positivity and joy. It was just what I needed to hear.

As we left, my dad introduced me to more people, including a man named Napoleon and a Mr. Berry, both black men, one of which he goes fishing with. This was what touched me the most, how close he was to each person, no matter what color they were. This is a man who called my step dad the "n-word" when I was a small child just because his hair was curly. But I wasn't seeing the same person now. He was so accepting and open with everyone and told me that these people are his family. And he meant it.

I went to bed that night feeling like I had been exactly where I was supposed to be in that moment. I fell asleep feeling Gratitude.

The next two days were spent on the strip. I hadn't told D much about what it was like so that she'd be surprised. She's so my child. She loved the casinos - the lights, the sounds, the smells (minus the cigarette smoke). We shopped, we ate, we walked miles and miles until I thought my feet would fall off. We took picture after picture of everything, even the lion that peed. As it peed.

I think the part that amused her the most was anything to do with sex. And there is plenty of that in Vegas. She giggled at Hooters, snickered at Planet Hollywood's Peepshow, took a photograph of a sign that said "Even our condiments are sexy". She even began to imitate the countless peddlers on the street handing out their "porn". The real highlight was when one of them asked my dad and step mom, "Hey, you guys into naked midgets?" It was probably cruel to laugh, but I couldn't help it. I finally accepted some of the "porn cards" so that we can add them to a scrapbook.

Our last day we went to Hoover Dam. D was not pleased. She was bored out of her skull and didn't even hide it well. "I don't want to see stupid sights, I want to see a mall." Grampa made up for it by taking her to a mall and buying her shoes. Spoiled much?

At dinner that night I met my stepsister. It's so weird to say that. I didn't even have a step mom for most of my life and now I find out I have a stepsister! And she's cool! And she lives in Hawaii!! I think we are going to be bff's.

Leaving was hard. I knew that I was going to come back to cold and snow. In the car on the way home there was a commercial for laser bowling. D scoffed, saying, "That's what Bend has to offer? Bowling?" Yeah, coming back to reality was a hard landing.

Except that night there was a send-off party for those of us that were laid off with former co-workers. I expected a handful of the usual regulars but there were at least 20 people there. My friends. And my friends had missed me.

The next night some girlfriends and I went out for oysters and champagne. This was certainly not in my budget but it was worth every delicious, decadent bite and every moment of laughter and conversation. For the second time in a week, I was just where I needed to be.

I gained a lot this week. New family, deeper friendships and priceless time with my bugabooga. Hey, if this is what unemployment is like, I'll take it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Open Letter to the Jerk in the White Car

Dear Fuckpuppet,

Remember me? We met shortly after 6:00 last Friday night? You know, the roundabout by Ray's and Safeway. I was in the car in front of you that you rear-ended. Oh, that's right. We didn't actually meet. Why not? Because you. drove. off. Like an asshole. Seriously. Who rear-ends someone and then just drives away? Dude, I hit a Porsche and stopped to make sure I didn't do any damage. Then again, I don't have shitty karma now. Not like you do.

I would like to thank you. But it's only a tiny little thank you. Because of you, I had the best massage of my life this week. It almost makes up for the headaches and stiff neck and back that I've had all week. Or the calls I've had to make to my insurance company because this really should be coming out of your insurance. If you have any.

Yeah, good luck with that karma thing.

Good Karma Seeker

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Concrete is Really Hard. Who Knew?

My friend ML invited me to her gym this morning. Despite the early time (9:00 is early for the unemployed), I accepted her invitation. I wasn't so gung-ho when the alarm went off, but I told myself I'd be glad I went. Yeah, right. I should know better than to listen to myself.

When I showed up with my bottle of water, ML remarked how smart I am. Umm... okay. She suggested I warm up on the treadmill because once the class starts, they "hit it hard."

Except at first it wasn't. Jog up and down the gym, woo hoo. Then run sideways. Oh, look at me! Look how fast and energetic I am! Oh no, don't look at me falling! Yes, I tripped over my own feet and fell on my knee. On the concrete floor. Audibly. Because I'm clumsy. I get asked how I can walk in four-inch heels. It's easy people, I'm walking. Walking is the key word here, not running in odd foot patterns.

It hurt. I've got a nice bruised scrape. It hurt for the rest of the workout. The rest of the workout hurt. I thought I would either pass out or throw up. Or puke while passed out, that would be super pretty.

I don't think I'll be mobile at all tomorrow. If it's not my knee, it will be my butt. Or my abs. Or maybe my back. I'm not sure what got the most abuse, as it was more of an all-over hurt while it was happening.

ML is crazy. She does this four times a week and is about 20 years older than me. She was my role model before, now she is my freaking hero.

Even if I'm cursing her tomorrow. Her and the concrete. And the inventor of concrete.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Jobless Loser Week 4

Alright, so the week isn't over quite yet, but I'm going to go ahead and call it. I was productive enough to start my weekend now.

I had an interview Monday morning. It was a phone interview so I wore my pajamas. The downside to wearing your pajamas? It feels like you're wearing your pajamas. They lulled me into a false sense of security and when I actually started answering questions, I felt too fuzzy-headed to speak intelligently. I've spent the rest of the week second-guessing every sentence. Damn it.

Wednesday was another interview with a different company. I promised not to blog about them, but I will say that it was my second coffee interview. At first I thought it was kinda weird, having an interview in public with beverages, but I think I've decided I like it. You know some research person came up with the idea and then recommended it to the human resources world. Neutral turf, casual atmosphere, puts people at ease. Come to think of it, it was probably a Starbucks employee and they got paid a gazillion dollars for being so brilliant. I need to come up with an idea like that. If I was a gazillionaire (Really, spell check? Gazillion is a word but gazillionaire isn't?), I wouldn't have to go on any more interviews. At coffee or in my pajamas.

Oh, how about the martini interview? Of course most people would blow that one. Not everyone gets more charming after a martini or two. Most people just turn into idiots. But then that would eliminate the candidates pretty quickly too. Separate the idiots from the talent! I totally need to copyright this idea...

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful. Most of it. I did have this odd little nighttime quirk that freaked me out. You know how in the horror movies the protagonist gets woken up at the same time every night? Or there's a door that opens at the same time every night? Because that's the time that somebody died and the ghost comes back to do all the creepy stuff that happens forever after that? Yeah, my week was like that. Four nights in a row I woke up at 4 a.m. 4:00 on the dot. Seriously, last night I was going through my e-mail and Facebook to see if a relative had died and I missed it. And then I tried to stay up later to see if I could make myself super tired so I'd sleep through it. When I woke up at 3:38 I was ecstatic! Ha! I beat you, creepy-unknown-thing-that-keeps-waking-me-up-for-no-reason-at-all!! Of course now I'm thinking that I still woke up, within half an hour of 4 a.m., so the creepy, unknown thing is probably just fucking with me now. Great.

Yeah. 40, single, unemployed and haunted. I am living the dream.
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