An old friend (although we never talk these days) posted a Facebook status regarding an anniversary with his wife.
I still have details from the conversations around when they met, and the months following—she's cute, she's convenient but he's not sure he's ready for "just convenient", she apologizes as a response to any imperfect situation regardless of fault or involvement, she wants 3 kids by 30 and he is certain he wants none, did Jay ever make demands on who I hung out with (overtly or not) and did I ever do the same to Jay, he's not sure he can handle her former eating disorder, he's having issues with her family and so is she, he doesn't like how she treats his sister, he wants to take her away from this state but she claims she'll never leave it...
It is awkward to remember these conversations—he stopped hanging out with me because she was jealous.
I know these things, and she'll never know that I know them. It is extremely unsettling.
Having lived here about a year, here are the things I will attempt to do to make my house better, if I can convince myself that it's worth it:
- New cooktop.
- Built-in chest of drawers to replace the not-so-useful middle section of the master bedroom closet
- Cabinets in the master bath painted white. (But not any other cabinets. The rest of the cabinets are gorgeous wood and I'll just wait around until they're in style again.)
- Actual landscaping. We waited a year to really do anything, in the hopes that nifty things might pop up, but all that's here is some monkey grass, some lilies that just don't get enough sun, and a few razed holly bushes that are trying to regenerate themselves.
- New back deck with an outdoor fireplace.
- An appropriately-sized dining table.
- Knock down the wall (or create a giant archway) separating the living room from the parlor. (This was something I wanted to do from day one, but now I'm on the fence. I want a larger living room with more light, but I have found myself enjoying the sectioned-off parlor more and more lately.)
- Replace the roof, when necessary (we're just waiting for hail to take it).
- Fix the drainage issues in the lawn.
- Any carpet to be replaced it is getting replaced with hardwood. (As the carpet is about 4 years old now, we have plenty of time to save up for the eventual replacement.)
I really want to get a new cooktop (one of our burners doesn't work, and the knobs are not very well labeled or placed and there's no indication which burner is on. I have ruined multiple plastic items because of this.) but Jay doesn't cook enough to see it as a necessity. He does
use the closet in the master bedroom every day, though, and is thoroughly on board for it.
I think I am just going to have to replace the cooktop one day by myself, using just my money, and see how long it takes for him to notice that he's boiling water on a different appliance.
Jay and I were married today!
At some point, links to pictures. :-)
Here is how 2010 is shaping up:
- Bought a house.
- Got engaged.
- Scored a job with a 42% pay increase in the same building I already work in (on Monday I am officially on the emergency management side of things instead of the consumer protection side).
- At the very end of it all I'll be married.
It has certainly been a stressful year, but these were all changes that needed to happen.
Wedding stuff: Photographer #1, a friend's dad, takes forever to get back to us about availability. We asked a month ago and heard today that he was available. While waiting, we talked to Photographer #2. She is cheaper, does photography more my style, and is also a friend. She has no pro stuff like light kits, but does pretty awesome things with what she's got and signs over all the printing rights to you and gives you high-quality images on a DVD to do with as you please after she edits 100 or so of them for you, plus puts up low-res ones for you to post on-line. Since #1 had taken so long to get back to us, we decided to go to with her.
Photographer #1 just assumed I would book with him, since I spent so much time at his house growing up. His son let me know he had reserved the date today...
Now I have to talk to #1 and see if he'll either give me a deal that's too awesome to refuse (#2 would understand-- saving a lot of money is a big deal-- even if she'd be disappointed) or politely tell him that we'd like to give an up-and-coming photographer more work. (He also knows #2, vaguely, since we all went to the same schools as his son). We'd love for him and his wife to come to the wedding, but I'm worried that shooting this wedding is something that he'd been looking forward to. They called me their "extra kid" a lot in high school. :-/
The master bath's overflow/tub stopper assembly never really worked since we bought the place, but didnt care since we weren't bath-types anyway. This morning the tub suddenly takes hours to drain. I'm pretty sure the tub stopper (and linkage arms) are somewhere in the drain, now. I removed the overflow/lever assembly and found nothing left behind the lever. :-( I've tried fishing for it, but can't hook it with anything I've tried so far. I might see if somebody has a wet/dry vac we can borrow (although I think it won't pull it up-- the assembly's brass).
The trap assembly is in a very tough to reach place, requiring the partial demolition of a very nice tile wall and probably removal of the nice toilet from the hallway bathroom.
I do not have the tools to demo the tile effectively, and will probably have to call a plumber, one that will be able to get the tiles out nicely. That'll the be first question-- "Any references for tile removal and replacement to get to a drain?" because I want these tiles to also go back in nicely. If I didn't care how they went back I'd take a sledge to the wall.
Jay and I are getting married December 31st, 2010!
No special proposal, we just picked a date and started telling people.
I stole this from cello
There was a time when all I carried was cell phone, wallet, lip gloss, and keys. Now, though...
Either a purse I knit as a bored senior in college, or a cheap black faux-leather purse. I have sizes from small to huge. For this discussion, we'll pretend I'm not using giganto-purse, as it is large enough to serve as an over-night bag (and has, on occaision).
A bit of knitting. It doesn't matter how long I'm stuck somewhere if I've got knitting. Knitting means I will have been productive with my time. It's also a great stress reliever.
- Keys on a carabiner, so that I may hook and unhook individual groups of keys at will. It is very janitor-esqe, but I don't want to shove every key I own into my pocket when I only need my car/house key.
A tiny flashlight from a gas station. I got it as a stocking stuffer for Christmas from my dad a few years back. The light's failing, but it still lets me find stuff in the car at night.
Wallet. I used to carry a leather trifold, back in the days when I didn't carry a purse. Now that I carry a purse I have graduated into the normalcy of a big women's all-containing wallet. It is a pretty wallet, though, and really does organize everything nicely. It was hand-made by Cotton Purr, and if you want to get a pretty, sturdy, hand-made wallet, she's the one to get it from.
The wallet contains normal wallet-y things, with the addition of a sticky note on my insurance card with all the meds I take and notes about non-life-threatening issues with some other meds that might be good for somebody who's treating me to know.
Three days' worth of meds. A hold-over from college, when I would head off for a weekend at a time with hardly any notice, reinforced by all the emergency preparedness training I've had.
Tweezers and a tiny mirror. I am vain.
Floss. I am vain, and prefer my teeth to not fall out. Also useful as a lifeline or stitch holder for knitting.
Glasses repair kit. Since I have stopped falling asleep in my glasses I haven't really needed it, but it's seen quite a bit of use on others' glasses issues.
Lip gloss. In promotional-item SPF 15 spearmint (clear) and pink shimmery stuff from Avon.
Bandaids and alcohol swabs. I bleed pretty easily. The alcohol swabs are useful for cleaning up errant pen marks, too.
- GIRL STUFF. I am a girl. If I don't need it, somebody else is going to need it.
Knitting notion kit. Good sharp scissors, a double-pointed needle, measuring tape, stitch markers, darning needles, embroidery thread, and a crochet hook.
Safety pins. Pinned to a key ring, currently.
Cell phone. I have to be ever-reachable for my job. It loses signal underground and in many office buildings constructed prior to 1985. But it's a fairly new phone, which means its battery still holds a good charge. Usually this is in my pocket and turned to silent (or loud as a tornado siren) at inopportune times.
Hair containment device. Long hair is pretty but usually not practical. I have a scrunchie (on the carabiner) and a claw clip (clipped to the purse strap).
Gum. Nice strong mint gum.
I have absolutely too many things on me. I mean, it's been dreadfully convenient, but when did I get so needy, thing-wise? Lugging that backpack around in college spoiled me. On the plus side, as long as I can get somebody to feed the cat I'm ready for a weekend away somewhere at a moment's notice!
What do you always have on you?
I've been running again! I started after reading Murakami's running memoir
a few months ago. I started identifying with all the little runner's habits, and itched to get back out there.
Also, keep in mind that for me, angst=running.
I'm almost up to a whole mile at once! This may seem pretty weak, and it is, but my background as a runner has largely been in sprinting. Seeing myself get over one tiny little klick without stopping was pretty awesome. This time I'm going for length, inspired by the ultramarathon runners. Maybe I'll get up to a marathon before I'm 30. That would be pretty sweet.
I hate to post emo stuff here anymore, but where better to put it? Everything from 2001 to 2005 or so is pretty much one big whine on low self-esteem, so I might as well add to it a little bit.
When I was fresh out of college, there weren't that many lab jobs in the area-- the choices were the research foundations and a few for-profit start-ups (at an odd ebb in their hiring),go to grad school, or move somewhere else. I'd just met Jay, and like every other time I have a boy I like, I did what was best for him and not for me.
Grad school was out of the question. I'd just about killed myself trying to put my undergrad thesis together, and I was in no mood to continue that situation.
Of all the various firms who hire microbiologists in the area, only one was hiring. That interview apparently didn't go so well, but I don't want to blame it all on meâ�� the researcher was apparently in the middle of a breakdown, and didn't bother to call any of the applicants back, I'd find out later.
Jay refused to move from here. So, moving was out of the question.
I am not a person who can stay aimless for long periods of time and be OK. At first I enjoyed being unemployed after graduation. I had plenty of savings and finally time again to enjoy myself. After 6 months I was so depressed that I was ready to be hired by nearly anybody, though, and that meant applying for government jobs (the 16-year-old in me still cringes whenever those paychecks clear the bank). As I was desperate, I went with the first job that had an interview and was brought into the ambiguous realm of retail food safety (and rabies prevention, swimming pool inspections, barber inspections, and anything else there isn't a specific person for) instead of the public health lab.
Don't get me wrongâ��I really like my job. It feels good to know that because of me, maybe somebody didn't get salmonella or listeria. I have set hours I work, but in those hours I mainly get to set my own schedule. Sometimes I really see improvements in my restaurants (like when they call to let me know they just threw away all the food in their walk-in-cooler because it was sitting at 50ÂºF that morning, or I finally see people washing their hands correctly) and I am satisfied that I am doing good work. But I am unwelcome. Nobody is ever happy to see the health inspector. I am the person whose mere presence causes cooks to nervously slash fingers and managers to reach for their bottle of nitro. I am pretty thick-skinned and luckily don't take much personally, but some weeks it really just doesn't sit well.
More and more of my fellow BS graduates now have an MS, or have worked their way up to a decent-ish position with just a BS, after moving out of state. It makes me question whether I made the right decision four years ago. How would I know that a job in the public health lab (one more directly relevant to what I wanted to do) would open up a few months later?
My old college friends are working on curing cancer & diabetes, developing drugs (for profit), or just plain screwing around with myoglobin. It took me a long time to accept that working in food safety was OK, and that it wasn't a waste of my degree. I've also enjoyed getting a wider range of responsibilities at my job (now I help out with a lot of emergency preparedness/response stuff, too). I think my resolve is waning, though-- each time I see a Facebook update about my former coleague's works I miss the lab a little bit more. Add that to every single promised pay raise falling through, and it makes me want to leave my job.
I've always told myself that if I really wanted to, I could go back to school and get back into the lab.
Nobody wants to hire you for a lab job if you've been out of it more than a year or two, so it would be back to school first. It would be harder to get into grad school for something like microbiology, too, since my skills would be assumed to be rusty. It is time to put out feelers, though, and begin to reacquaint myself with the financial aid forms. I can't get paid what I'm worth in my current job anyway, which doesn't help me make peace with myself over failing to achieve all that promise I had when I first graduated. To compound the problem, I've discovered that I really do like food safety, and the only schools that even cater to that with a lab bent are hours away.
So, um, Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
There are some days when all I want is to wear this shirt
and scowl at everyone.
Not right now, though. There is a lovely warm breeze blowing through the house. Everywhere I look outside I see green grass, clover, henbit, and dandelions. It feels easy to be alive-- not like winter, when there's always a thought towards survival in the back of my mind (Am I warm enough? Do I have enough food?)
I even have some lemon and lime squares cooling on my window, old-timey style. (Plus a window screen, though.)
Yes, life feels pretty good right now.