Frustrated, Incorporated

We could build a factory
And make misery
We’ll create the cure
We made the disease

Frustrated Incorporated
Frustrated Incorporated

If you would like to listen to “Misery”, please visit Soul Asylum’s website, here.

I started with the second verse of this song that is one of my “theme” pieces of music, because it is the one that resonates most. Especially lately.

I need to have a nice long sit-down with myself, because I need a good talking-to about spreading misery. I am miserable, however, I don’t need to act that way, thereby spreading it. I live in an over-populated area, in this self-entitled pocket of the globe and it just keeps multiplying on itself and getting ever harder to deal with. The world we live in, the way we live, the way we think others live (thanks, reality TV!), and just dealing with others on a daily basis has contributed to even more misery as unemployment and acts of hate and violence rise.

I need to tell myself to chill. I’ve been going through a depressed-angry-depressed cycle for a bit, and I really hate the way I feel. I haven’t been blogging very much because why should I spew and rant all over this space? So, I’ve been de-cluttering and errand-ing as an outlet for my energy, and playing zombie-bashin’ games at night as an outlet for my frustration. I should be blogging every day though, I find I am better off with that focus, and with that happiness of connecting with like-minded people.

I’ve worked hard over the years to at least hold true to a semi-normal patience level, which is on a short-leash for strangers, but a long one for my peeps. Oddly enough, I am just the type of person to strike up a conversation with a stranger just to make the trip to the grocery store a bit happier, however, I have a low tolerance for entitlement and stupidity, and I see a lot of both. My level of patience and tolerance has taken a serious downturn, because that leash is short for everyone at the moment.

When I am working, when I am contributing to, and feeling valued by, society, I am a much better person. My home is messy, but I’m pretty happy, nonetheless.

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The New “Maintenance Afternoon”

So, it’s that time of year. Rocks and construction debris have continually pelted our vehicles over the past few months, we haven’t wanted to get a wash or oil change, and our windshield washing fluid is giving one pitiful squirt per six tries. (Slight exaggeration for poetic license.)

I had a little star-shaped ding in my windshield right over Kitty’s ear. To clarify, I have a little “(Hello) Nerd Kitty” stuffed animal on top of my dashboard, and this blemish was right above her right ear, right in the middle of the car. I do not remember something hitting the windshield at any time before I saw said chip last week. I mean, it happens all the time, something bounces off of a work truck, or someone’s wheel hits some gravel in front of you on the road and nnnneeerrrrwawm! something hits the windshield and scares the bejeesus out of you. You have to try not to duck or swerve too much while driving, and spend the rest of the trip home wondering if the whole windshield is about to cave in.

I wonder how it got there, or how long it was there before I finally noticed it, but, anyway. I was going to leave it, but the man of the house insisted it could (probably would) turn into a bigger crack and need replacement. So, I called my insurance company, made my claim, and an appointment for this afternoon. I figured I would bundle this appointment with a drive one exit further to the place where I used to go to get a combination oil change/fluid replacement/car wash. I desperately needed these things, especially the car wash, since my parking space in the back is under a tree that is trying to win a contest for bright green pollen output, with my car being the collection container.

I had my brand-new Jen Lancaster to read, I ate lunch already, and was totally ready to sit in two cool air-conditioned lounges (it’s well over 80 degrees today) and chill the afternoon away.

The windshield repair took less than half an hour. There was a man talking loudly into his cell phone the entire time. That doesn’t usually bother me, but I wanted to really enjoy what I was reading, so I paid attention with half an ear to the news station. Did you know it was snowing in Colorado today?

When I got to the next place, the car wash line was very long, but I needed to go to the left side, and I was the only one on the oil change line. Seems like 1:30 on a sweltering Friday afternoon is peak car-wash time. Who knew? I pulled up to the “wait for attendant” sign and was then told to pull all the way into the mechanics’ bay. Umm.. okay. Usually I bring my car in to a name-brand place that I will not advertise for, and they just kind of let you park and go about your business, and this place used to be the same. I had taken my insurance cards and my little change purse out of the glove box already, and had unhooked my car key from the key chain in preparation before going to the windshield shop. But, I got to sit in the car while the mechanics did their thing, made their offers for replacements I may need and made requests for me to turn the car off and on, etc. I didn’t get to read my book!

To console myself, I did get to play with the soap-spraying guns, both sets of course, while the car was being washed, so I felt better after kidding-out for a few minutes. I love the car wash!

What’s really funny is that this whole thing took about an hour, even though I was in no rush, and though this maintenance place looked the same as it always did, with the vintage signage, it is now a really different experience.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Reflections

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/”>

Well, May is now here and I’ve taken a couple of days off, but I’m back in the saddle!

I loved the A to Z challenge, it was an exercise in focus that I think I sorely needed, being a newbie blogger. It gave me something to write about each day (but with enough creative freedom that I could write about whatever came to mind for that letter) and encouraged me to post each day.

Judging by the stats and comments, it seemed like depression, fear and spooky children held sway over sandwiches, videogames and my much-aligned home state. You guys are my kind of people!

My personal favorites were probably French Bread Pizza and Potpourri, but I enjoyed each and every one. I’m learning about and working on some new aspects of the blog (dividing up/categorizing, doing a blog roll, and working on my pinboard).  I’m trying to get all my favorite pins from my personal account (which has over 7,000 little time-wasters on it) to my blog account. I’ll post my user name and connect to my blog when I’m more finished (I’m at about 700 pins, a mere tenth of the way, so don’t look now, because it is not ME yet! LOL)

I thank everyone for their support and feedback this April! I enjoyed everyone else’s challenge that I wandered into. Great job, all!

Z is for Zoey

My unemployed life is different this time around. The past 2 times in the past 8 years, when I was out of work, I had stayed up all night playing video games on my Xbox. This time, I’m reading, futzing around on the Internet, and playing “pokey games” on my phone. Days are spent, as usual, looking for jobs, running errands and cleaning clutter in my house.

I’m much more lonely this time around. Without my virtual friends, I’m missing a big chunk of socializing. My friends that are here in my real life all seem to be working crazy schedules right now. My best friend is a hairdresser, and I could usually hang with her on her days off, but right now she is working every day. I see my family a lot, as is typical. When I go outside, I see the neighbors. When I do my errands I see a bunch of people I wish I hadn’t, because strangers usually manage to annoy me. This is vastly different from the other 2 times I was out of work in the past. Lately, when John gets home at the end of the day I’m ready to jump on his back like a howler monkey and ride around the house while he gets himself settled. On a good day, when I’ve had some interaction with other humans, I’m more like a loyal pup, trying to get him to play with a toy the second he walks through the door.

I miss my online friends so much. A group of us would play a multi-player game (Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, the occasional other game) together while speaking extensively about our life and times on our headsets. We are all around the same age, had many in-jokes with each other, with compatible attitudes about gaming; extremely competitive toward strangers, want to have a great time with friends, hate “kids” and “noobs” that join public games, etcetera. We would talk and text on the phone during the day sometimes, and really wanted to get together at some equidistant spot in the country.

When I started working again 2 years ago, I had been playing every night for YEARS with the same core group of friends. Another of us had started a big job at about the same time and was finding himself overextended and not playing as much. I knew I would only be playing weekends, and then not even every weekend because my assignment then was so far away from my house that the commute was another job. I was so exhausted all the time. I would get home from the day and manage to put some dinner on the table and clean it up, and that was it until the weekend. Weekends were then so busy that I would go to bed around 10 pm and not play anyway. I thought once I left that assignment 8 months later, I would pick up where I left off. Sadly, that’s not case. A number of our lives have changed drastically in the interim.

But I miss it. I’m going to renew my Xbox membership, put the word out to my peeps and start playing L4D and some of my favorite single-player games until they can join me. I’ll even let them play as Zoey if they want, I’ll be so happy to have everything back to normal. For a little while. And then she’s “mine” again, to infinity.

Here she is. Best videogame character ever. Realistic, funny, relatable and badass!

Zoey - Left 4 Dead

Zoey – Left 4 Dead

Y is for YooHoo

Yoohoo image from Asheville Munchies

Yoohoo image from Asheville Munchies

YooHoo makes me happy. YooHoo makes me feel child-like, but also semi-responsible in the way that it is not soda. I have had a problem with soda since I was a teenager and mom couldn’t control what we were drinking as much. My sister and I both have this problem, Pepsi for me, Diet Caffeine Free Coke (why bother?) for her.

I do not drink coffee. I hate the smell, I hate the taste, I hate making it, I hate cleaning up after it, I hate anything that tastes similar to it, but I also hate being left out of the “Let’s go for coffee” rituals of everyone else I know. I am so thankful for single-serving coffee makers, because they really minimize the whole gross situation that I would have to contend with. So, throughout my adulthood thus far, I got my caffeine through soda.

For about 20 years, I would have at least a liter of soda per day. Sometimes more, sometimes a lot more. Soda made the taste of food go away more than water, so a meal never felt over until I had a big gulp of cola goodness. Soda started my day with a dash of caffeine, a ton of sugar, and that thirst-quenching I needed after a night’s sleep. I am the only person I know who, after a workout, wanted nothing more than a 20-oz Pepsi poured directly down her throat.

I am proud to say that it has been a year and a half since soda was a normal part of my day. A year or two before that I was cutting down. I would only have soda with lunch OR dinner, and did not drink it first thing in the morning at all. I stopped buying a 2-liter for the house, because that was too tempting. I bought those mini-keg cans and tried not to order or buy any additional soda when I was out. As of December 2013, I now have one can per week, as a rule, with our Chinese dinners every Tuesday Night (holla!). I cannot drink water with Chinese food. It’s like a punishment or something. Every once in a while, I’ll get soda at a restaurant, but it’s basically a treat these days, one that I usually don’t even finish.

It would really be great, but very dangerous, if I liked the boxes or cans of YooHoo as much as I like the glass bottle. Then I could just stock up on those and keep them in the house. But I like the bottle, and that’s helpful to my waistline. I like going to the convenience store up the street, taking that nice walk, getting a YooHoo and then walking home with it as a reward. It kind of negates the whole walk in calories, but it is leaps and bounds away from using a soda as a reward.

Drinking a YooHoo at the Laundromat, which is another weekly ritual, is so Mitten. There I sit, a responsible 40-year-old, doing the household’s laundry, making to-do lists and reading…with a chocolate milk mustache.

X is for X-Ray Technician

When I was looking into healthcare careers some years ago, I really liked the idea of going into Radiology. There is, as there should be, a lot of pre-requisites to get into the program, and it was not something I could afford to do at the time. I ended up going for Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound instead. At the time, it was pretty fixed in my mind that I would like to give that a go, based on the horrible experience I had just had in the hospital.

Big mistake.

I should have went with my gut, which was telling me to take my courses and get on the waiting list at my REAL college, and not rush into something. I didn’t listen. I didn’t want to wait.

Big, big mistake. I ended up going to one of those… erm… let me think of a nice way to say BullS@#$…horrible, waste of money and time…degree mills….schools that are advertised on television for “hot careers”. I was able to go with the help of the state re-employment funding, but in order to qualify, you have to choose a career with a good outlook projected for when you would be entering the workforce. The field can’t be holding steady, or going down, it has to be climbing. And then they have to approve the school, which means that at least one, and in this case it was just the one, program has to be a certified program. The governing bodies have to have this school registered as able to issue these credentials. And then the re-employment folks have to approve a million other things. And then you still have to pay out of pocket and/or get loans.

So I did that. The one good thing that came of it is that the school I attended happened to pair the Sonography with a Medical Assistant certification, so at least I had that at the end of it all. I am a straight-A student. I was on the honor roll the entire time I was there. But I am not currently a Sonographer.

Why?

The practical part. I hated it. I loved the learning, the study of disease, the testing, the reading, the helping people, etcetera. I did not love the actual technical part of holding the transducer, which is the part that is held on the patient’s body to pick up the signals, and wiggling and tracing my way to get a clear, perfect picture. It hurt my hand, which would cramp up after a few minutes. Then the nerves and tendons in my arms would start burning. And our patients were our fellow classmates. No one had any problems with their veins, or any disease, or any problems with their hearts or abdominal region, and everyone was fairly young and fit (not being mean or prejudiced in any way, as I am both old and overweight, but it is just plain easier to get a picture from a young, skinny body, because the picture is created by sound pinging off of what you are scanning), but it was still hard for me. I got pretty good pictures in our practices, but when it came time for the tests, we had to get a good picture on screen and then hold the transducer and the patient in place for when one of the teachers came around to see it. By that time, my hands and forearms would be screaming in pain and I probably lost the picture I had when I raised my hand to be checked. Unfortunately, you only find this out in the second or third “semester”. Your first few months in the program are not spent doing any practical training. This is when we learned lots of Medical Assistant functions, and did a lot of our book-learning. So, by the time I figured out that this may not be something I wanted to pursue, I was already stuck. And they plan it that way on purpose.

I ended up wasting a lot of money and time. The school was only specifically licensed for one of their many offered programs, so it was a big scam, and the teachers were a joke. I paid a lot of money for books and whatnot that were so old and outdated that we couldn’t even sell them back at end of term. They wouldn’t even take those books for free. Buyers beware, if these commercials look enticing, there’s a reason they have to advertise on TV. If it was on the up-and-up, they wouldn’t need to. I went first to one of the TV schools and didn’t feel comfortable. Then I went to two others, and picked the one that the state approved. The state would not have approved the TV school. But, I ended up getting screwed because I picked one that they did approve and it was terrible.

The clincher was when I got an M.A. job on my own, without the help of their “career center”. The gals there did everything they could to try to figure out where I was working, in order to try to get future positions from my practice, and to help them flesh out their list of practices where they “placed” their graduates. Leeches. I wouldn’t tell them, and my Office Manager was so happy. She had bad experiences with them, but hired me anyway. I was a little older, a little smarter, and had a wealth of front-end experience to use on the job than most of the other students churned out each summer from all these schools.

None of this would have been a problem if I went for Radiology. I need to go back to my real college anyway to finish up/re-calculate my credits. While I’m there, I’ll check to see what possibilities there are for me to start now, or sometime in the near future.

W is for Waiting

Wandering while we wait

wondering wistfully,

wishing…

when will we welcome what we want?

Why will we wait?

Whatever’s worth wanting will willingly wait.

I came up with that alliterative little piece of prose while trying to attack this idea of “waiting” in writing this blog post. I want to make a series of posts that fall under the heading of waiting, because waiting is what is behind a lot of the themes of this blog. The main source of angst driving me through life is questions of waiting… Should I wait? … For how long?…Will I ignore something worthwhile as I stubbornly wait for something else?…. Why does everybody else not seem to wait, or at least not wait for long?…Why do I hold myself back?… Why do other forces hold me back?…And so on, and so on.

If the above is “passively waiting”, then I must add that I am always “actively waiting” as well. I don’t know why people take so long to do things. I am a bit impatient (snort! snarf! giggle), but seriously… we are always waiting in this life and some of us handle it better than others.

The love of my life kept me waiting for six years before he was ready for this relationship, we won’t get into the reasons why at the moment. And he still keeps me waiting to this day. Appearance-wise, he is a low-maintenance dude: buzz cut, cotton t-shirts and jeans for the wardrobe. When we need to leave the house it should be 10-minute shower, deodorant, teeth, and go, right? No!

It’s those things and then putter around the house doing random stuff, some of which is more necessary than others, for twice as long as the actual getting ready took. I wait to get dressed until he has already started. I’ll then sit on the couch, ready except for shoes, and play with my phone. When he takes his shoes, I take mine. He goes back to the desk to grab his things, and I stand at the door with keys in hand. When I’ve waited so long in that position that I’m about to stick said keys in my eye, we leave. Then, when we are out, I am still always waiting for him to leave so we could go home.

Back in my single days, I was always the designated driver. Reason number one is that I’m not much of a drinker. But the real reason is that I wanted to be in control. Even when going shopping or something, I drove because I wanted to decide when to arrive, how long to wait, when to leave, etcetera. Even now, when I go out socially or meet my family somewhere, I insist on having my own car so I could go when I’m tired of waiting.

Being a wife-type person (not on paper yet, but WAITING), and a mom-type person (not really, but WAITING) I have people with me that have to have some say in the matter now. I no longer get to shout “The car is leaving in 3 minutes, whether you are in it or not!” because they are coming home with me. And if I left ’em, I would just have to go back and get ’em.

I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I really wish I wasn’t always waiting.