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Archive for August, 2006

High demand gonads

“The mentality that I had going into interviews was that I didn’t need the job.  It’s kind of like when you like a girl, you don’t show her that you like her, then she wants your nuts real bad.”

“I’m sooo going to go to my next interview and say, “You want these nuts, don’t you?””

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Six days

The company is moving the weekend of September 8th.  That’s next Friday.  This week I’ve been training the marketing and IT folks who will be taking over.  Saying that the past few days have been rough is an understatement and coming to the realization that the company will only be around for six more days is jolting.

I have very few job leads and an answering machine that blinks with calls from corporate recruiters who sound like strip club DJs — not that I would know what a strip club DJ sounds like.

I wonder how much a strip club DJ makes.

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Stargazing

Last Friday we went stargazing at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. We showed up 15 minutes late and joined a raucous group of Adventure Girls, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve volunteers and two member of the University of Texas Astronomy Club. We viewed Vega and Jupiter from three telescopes just outside the Preserve’s main building. At 8:30 we were instructed to finish up our stargazing, gather our belongings and begin forming a line at the beginning of the trail behind us. It was at that point that I hauled ass back down to the parking lot to get Maly’s stroller. I hurried back through the gravel parking lot, through a mini trail, up two flights of stairs, over a bridge, through another trail, battled two tree-perched ninjas and finally met Elise and Maly to begin our tour of whatever it was that we were going to be touring in the dark on this rocky trail. We put Maly in her stroller and made after the rest of the group that had a good head start on us. We hurried to catch up with the others, along the way Maly was bouncing around in her stroller as I plowed over rocks and limbs. If she grows up to be a normal physical funtioning human I will be surprised after the jarring I subjected her to on the trail. We finally caught up with the rest of the group as they were circling the end of the trail and heading back to the Preserve. I still have no idea why we were guided down that trail after dark. My guess is that there were members of the UT Astronomy Club hiding in the bushes attempting to recruit Adventure Girls. Thankfully we showed up late and dodged the $3 per person fee otherwise I would’ve had the Preserve pay for Maly’s accupuncture therapy.

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The dream you dream you’ll never have

It was previously decided that upon our return from Des Moines on Sunday, we would start putting Maly to sleep in her crib and employ the baby monitor. Up until this point Maly had been sleeping in a cradle that her maternal Grandpa made for her.

I didn’t sleep well that night. Not well at all. I don’t think Elise slept well either.

On Monday night we recounted our individual experiences from the night prior.

It was pitch black in our bedroom. We were both lying on our backs, ready for sleep.

“Oh, hey!”

“Hmm?”

“I had a really weird dream last night.”

“Oh, yeah. What happened?”

“We were sitting on the floor in our bedroom with a couple of our friends. I said, ‘Hey! Y’all listen to this’. The room fell silent as I grabbed the baby monitor. I turned the monitor up as loud as it would go and giggled as I whispered, ‘Shhhhh. Listen.’

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. We heard the baby’s heartbeat. We could all hear the baby breathing, too.

Then there was a something like a growl. We all fell dead silent and everyone’s eyes got huge. Then a sudden thump, a fraction of a whimper and then silence from the monitor. Something was in her room and…”

“Uuuggh!!! Why did you have to have THAT dream?!?!”

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Turkey legs and holy water

I took Thursday and Friday of last week off so we could spend a long weekend in Des Moines for Maly’s baptism and to visit with Elise’s family.

Steve and Joanne picked us up from the airport and engulfed Maly in the fighting-for-possession-grandparent-death-hug. It was fun to watch and we couldn’t blame them; they hadn’t seen Maly since she was two weeks old.

We drove over to Elise’s parents’ house just in time to catch up with Grandma T. and break in Steve’s new gas grill with some salmon filets and put Maly to sleep. After dinner Steve and I went to Dahl’s for a bottle of scotch and returned to the house so the girls could go to the grocery store for less important things like actual groceries. The men stayed back in case Maly woke up. When the girls got home we all congregated in the kitchen and talked until 2 a.m.

We got a late start on Friday. Grandma came over with bagels from Panera and Steve cooked bratwursts on the grill. After dilly dallying until noon, Elise and I left Maly with her Great, Gran and Grandpa and we had a day to ourselves at the Iowa State Fair. We walked the Grand Concourse and took a ride on the Skyglider when we first arrived. I don’t remember where all we went but we went into a little flea market area and to a barn to see the 3090 lb. Brangus bull. We went to another barn to hear a children’s joke telling contest. We went to a building to view all of the photography submissions on exhibit. I think it was at that point that we needed some state fair grub. I have to have a smoked turkey leg at a fair to remind myself of why I rarely eat turkey legs. Elise sat down to a pork chop sandwich, apple sauce and pork and beans. We stayed out of the heat long enough to regroup and head back out into the crowd. We went on a boat ride through “Ye Old Mill” – a pitch black and slow ride that lends itself to complete blindness and bruised foreheads for those seeking to endulge in the way of the smoochiness.

It was getting late at that point. We walked around the fairway for a while and mosied among the people who should not be legally permitted to wear shorts in public. We stopped and bought ice cream and sat on the curb to watch more people. We decided to call it a night and head home. We walked all the way down Capitol Ave. to find that we parked Joanne’s car in front of a fire hydrant. We had a ticket waiting for us under the windshield wiper.

We drove back to Steve and Joanne’s where they all ate sandwiches. I was still full from my charred jumbo yard bird leg. We stayed up late again and talked a lot about my current job situation. We hashed a lot of things over and I heard some great and reassuring stories from Steve and Joanne. Then it was off to bed.

Elise and her mom went to a baby shower that Elise’s childhood friends threw for her. I’m certain they cooed and giggled and frolicked and talked about how sexy Elise’s husband is. While they all did that, Steve and I went to pick up some ink jet cartridges and then to Zook’s to check out some iron horses. I’m eyeing an Ultra Classic Electra Glide. After oggling over motorcycles we headed back to the house for a late lunch and to wait for the girls to come home.

Once the girls got home, we drove Sacred Heart in West Des Moines for mass and for Maly to be baptised. For the majority of the mass I had to walk around the lobby of the church because my horns kept poking out daughter started making a fuss. While distracting Maly by walking around and peeking my head back into church, Heather’s little daughter, Juliet started following me around. She reached her hand up near where I was holding Maly next to the door and that’s where her hand found the holy water font. Juliet also just happened to have a temporary tattoo from the fair in her other hand.

“Can we use that water to put my tattoo on?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s holy water.”

“…”

“And because Jesus doesn’t like tattoos.”

“Why not?”

“I guess because he couldn’t afford one himself”

“…”

“…”
“Can we use this water to put my tattoo on?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

Paybacks stink, don’t they? Come on… let’s use the sink in the bathroom.”

After mass a lot of Steve and Joanne’s friends and members of the church stayed for Maly’s baptism. The ceremony was performed by Father Remi who is from Nigeria. I grinned each time he said, “Brooduhs and seestuhs” and when he referred to my daughter as “Moddy Eedizibud”, I secretly wished that, even though it wouldn’t be of the same culture, that Father would have said “Hooray!

After the cermony we all had a nice reception in the church’s meeting room. We had cold cuts, Hors D’oeuvres, punch, wine and cake.

After the reception we took Maly to Gran and Grandpa’s house to go to sleep. Elise and I drove over to Eric and Kim’s new house and talked in the living room until it was time to go to bed. Elise and I drove back to Steve and Joanne’s and went to bed.

We had a huge breakfast on the deck Sunday morning and the better part of the day was spent visiting with everyone. Steve and I spent a good while swapping all of the digital photos we had taken on separate cameras over the course of the weekend.

Sunday flew by and before we knew it, we were standing in the Des Moines airport saying goodbye to Steve and Joanne. The first leg of our flight coincided with Maly’s bath and bedtime so she let the plane know that she wasn’t happy with having to be on a plane. There was a couple sitting a few rows in front of us that glanced back at us whenever Maly would cry and give us “the look”. Said look is generally given by people who don’t have/like children and usually tend to warrant having their eyes gouged out with grapefruit spoons and fed to them with a habanero aioli.

The second leg of the flight from DFW to San Antonio was peaceful as Maly slept and we evesdropped on the ladies behind us who talked about theatre in Manhattan and foyers.

We didn’t get home until almost midnight and were both sad that a long, relaxing weekend had to come to an end.

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Monthly Maly Letter: Month four

Dear Maly,

You turned four-months-old this past week. You’ve become such a fun baby. Your personality is really starting to shine through and you’re an absolute blast to be around! Except when you cry. And when you insist on hiding the TiVo remote when Dog the Bounty Hunter is on.

You have reached many milestones this month. You laugh more and more each and every day. Your Mom is jealous because she tries all day to get you to laugh to no avail. When I come home, you and I have a regular gigglefest. You love it when I sing 80’s pop songs to you. Unlike your Mom, I know very few 80’s pop songs by heart so I have a feeling she will start winning you over soon. It’s wicked scary how astute your Mom is with 80’s music.

Nothing is more fun than making you laugh. You have a very dedicated laugh where you want to make others laugh with you. You also have a very shy laugh where you turn away and hide your giggles with your fist. You can be very bashful and it’s absolutely adorable. You’re very smitten with me and I call you on it all the time. And every time I do you try that much harder to hide it as you keep a constant check on me from the corner of your eye.

We took you swimming for the first time this month. It wasn’t really swimming, more like anxiously holding you in a $30 inflatable pool from Target as you splashed and giggled while we wondered if the mosquito larvae in the pool would creep into any of your orifices and conveniently turn you into a evil blood sucking alien when you reach the age of fourteen.

You have been really honing in on your motor skills this month. You grab and hold onto your feet now. You also hold onto most objects that we can fit into your hands, although, you don’t really know what you’re doing with your hands so it’s pretty painful to watch you jab your baby duck rattle into your eyeballs.

You’re very good at holding your head up now. You used to lay back and turn your head to take everything in. Now you’re much more determined and can lean forward in your car seat or swing so you can look at things at your leisure.

We don’t have the same evening schedule as we did last month. Now I bathe you at 7 p.m. and move you to our bedroom where I try to distract you with either 1) singing 80’s pop music or 2) some really weird song that I make up about Santa Clause renting a van and driving on the ocean floor with Jimi Hendrix to Transylvania to open a beauty salon called “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” while I put your diaper and pajamas on. After bathing and dressing you, your Mom or I have to rock you to sleep. You used to fall asleep while sitting up in my arms as I walked you about the house.

You discovered the joys drinking water just the past weekend. We went to your Grandma and Grandpa’s house and your Grandma let you drink from an icy glass of water. I don’t think you swallowed much of it but we could all tell you really liked that new sensation of something other than breast milk passing your lips. It was cute to watch you grab for the cup and bring it to your mouth and lick the outside of the vessel frantically until Grandma tilted it enough to let water reach your mouth. You’re such a determined little creature.

I love you more than ever and I know that that love can only grow exponentially as each minute passes. I want to see everything as new and innocent through your eyes as you grow and take in your new world. I want to taste water again for the first time and hold and protect and nurture you. I want to make sure that there is always a reason for you to giggle.

Never ever, ever, ever stop laughing. If not, I’ll have to stay alive that much longer to make sure you do.

I love you, junior.

Smooches,

Daddy

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Harry Potter my ass

Maly is going to be so enthralled when she’s old enough to realize that her Daddy was so cheap and thought that the free comic books he received in the mail today from the Federal Reserve Bank would be a source of entertainment for years for the entire family!

“Hey, Dad! After we read The Story of Foreign Trade and Exchange, can we go and watch The History of Spreadable Cheese Food Products at the IMAX again?”

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Stomach knots

I’m having a hard time putting into words the way that losing my job has emotionally broken me down. Last Wednesday while at the office I began composing an email to my boss to spill my guts and tell him that this situation has devastated me and that I should get more out of this deal. Sending that letter just didn’t feel right in my heart of hearts. It was at that point that I totally lost it. I locked myself in the front office and indulged in a break down. I called my Dad for advice and wound up talking to both of my parents for over an hour. They somewhat set my mind at ease but it doesn’t disolve the fact that I am being laid off.

I’m finding it very hard to start my job search. I’m in denial. I’ve been forced into this situation. I have an emotional attachment to my job and I’m being stripped of that.

Today is the day where I am to begin training the big company to take over operations. I woke up this morning and completely lost it again. I sank my head in my hands and broke down again. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this emotionally fucked up. I’ve never used the word fuck on this website so that’s how bad it’s been. I’m not myself. My stomach knots a lot now.  Every hour or so my eyes will just glass over and I can feel my heart sink and my eyes involutarily look down and the flow of serotonin ceases as my mind stops to focus on all that is bad in life right now.  And a Morrissey song is playing in the background.
I’ve experienced depression in the past and know that it will eventually pass. I hate being depressed.  It’s depressing.

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Better than doing the killin’ yourself

Q. What’s better than being retired and sitting in your den with a wet bar, a gun cabinet and dead animals hanging on the wall while watching The Hunting Channel in HDTV?

A. Being retired and sitting in your den with a wet bar, a gun cabinet and dead animals hanging on the wall while watching The Hunting Channel in HDTV and in surround sound while lounging in a XROCKER WITH TWO HEADREST SPEAKERS, BUILT-IN LIGHTED SUBWOOFER WITH A MAX OUTPUT OF 80-WATTS AND EXCLUSIVE AFM™ TECHNOLOGY.

You can really hear a shoulder bone shatter and blood gurgling in a Spanish Goat’s lungs. Now that’s entertainment. Or reason to never turn your back to my dad when exiting the den.

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Two month old English muffins

“Hmmpfh, these sour dough English muffins are good!”

“Those aren’t sour dough English muffins.”

“What are they then?”

“Regular English muffins.”

“Ohhhhh.”

“…”

“Ewwwwwww…”

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Job search: Day 1

Elise found my first post-baccalaureate job for me in the Austin American-Stateman.  When we went under at the end of the dot-com boom, I found my next job in the AAS.  I found my current job in the AAS.  So now I’m purusing the AAS for my next job in case I don’t find what I love to do in the meantime.

I’ve sent my resume along with a cover letter to seven potential employers.  Here are the employment positions that peaked my interest:

Job 1: Outside sales for the best local gutter sales and installation company.
Why?: Nice commission potential and I would be able to stand outside and point at peoples’ roofs.

Job 2: Wholesale mortgage sales executive for the 7th fasted growing national lender.
Why?: Position is offered as “a career changing opportunity” and I could use one of those.

Job 3: Outside sales for a local scaffolding company who is expanding into bleacher sales.
Why?: Bleachers are needed because people need to congregate and sit at varying levels.

Job 4: Account manager for the leading global provider of customised Corporate Information Solutions.
Why?: Because the actual job description is pretty close to what I do now and feel comfortable doing.

Job 5: Admissions Representative/Educational Sales for a certain Culinary Academy that may or may not be in the state of Texas and somewhere near or in the vicinity of Austin
Why?: That would be my way in – my way to pursue what I love.  They offer tuition reimbursement.

Job 6: Regional Sales Manger for a fast growing manufacturer of electrical interconnect and electronic interface products.
Why?: The job description sounds very interesting as the job requires automation/process control knowledge and the territory is in my neck of the woods.

Job 7: Business manager of natural food sales of restaurant quality, gourmet Italian foods that can be found in your grocer’s freezer.
Why?: Food, good.  Sales, good.  And my dad was a food broker in his working days.

All of these opportunities offer benefits.  Benefits are something that people really take for granted when they have them.

I feel a little bit better now that I’ve dipped my toe into job pool but know that it’s going to be a long swim once I get in.

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Procrastinating in the name of glowing aliens

My weekend started by driving to the office Friday afternoon and letting the girls know that they will need to find new jobs. They were all shocked, but took the news relatively well considering the circumstance. One asked the other, “So, what do you think you’re going to do now?” To which the other replied, “Would you like to Supersize that?”

I came home early, cleaned out the pool, and while shaking my head, paid the bills and wondered how we’re going to make it in the coming months.

After dinner the three of us walked to Escarpment Village and had gelatos at Austin Scoops. We talked to Tim, the owner, about his family’s new business. Earlier that morning Elise and I kicked the idea of opening our own kolache/breakfast taco/deli spot in south Austin. Tim was very nice and offered to talk to us at any time should we get serious about opening our own business. It’s an option.

On Saturday we woke up and and drove over to Escarpment Village for the grand opening celebration for all of the new, local businesses. It turned out to be a tent crammed full of perveyors and little room to walk. We quickly left and had lunch at Subway and then to Home Depot for night light bulbs and weather stripping.

We came home and spent the rest of the day watching movies.

This morning I woke up and announced, “Today is Sunday. New classifieds are out.” So instead of searching for jobs, I decided to remove the reverse osmosis water filtration system from our kitchen. Since I removed the filtered water faucet from the sink, we had to go to Lowe’s for a sink faucet cover. Then to Target to return some clothes. Then to Wal*Mart for bubbles for Maly. Then we came home and instead of searching for jobs, I decided to drain the sediment from the water heater.

After bathing Maly we sat down to find that Cocoon had just started on the TV. Elise said, “I’ve never watched this movie in its entirety.” I concurred. So instead of searching for a new job, we’re watching Cocoon.

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It stings

I found out on Wednesday that I will be losing my job in the coming weeks. The business that I’ve run for the past two and a half years is being sold. A larger entity is acquiring all assets, inventory and intellectual property but not our staff. The rug has been pulled out from underneath me and I’m totally dumbfounded. The thought of having to look for a new job, send out resumes, and endure unnerving interviews makes my stomach knot.

A huge part of me wants to find that job that will make me smile when I wake up in the morning – that job that doesn’t feel like a job. I don’t know what that job is though. They say, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I don’t think I can make a temporary financial sacrifice while placing a huge bet on what a “dream job” may become. Since Maly was born I have pretty much exhausted our savings since Elise hasn’t been working.

Everybody is confident that I’ll bounce back. I’m not as confident as everybody else right now. I’m having a VERY difficult time with my resume. In my heart of hearts I was looking at the glass half full. Throughout due diligence I thought, “I’ll totally be taken care of.” I was wrong. I thought that because I was running a business that nothing but good things would come of it. I thought I could eventually own a small percentage of the company and in a few years, I’d be financially wealthy. I had visions of retiring early and traveling.

Now I’m looking for a job. I’m looking for a career. I’m looking to provide for my family. I’m facing change in the face and my temples are beading with sweat. I have a little photo of Maly that I printed out that sits on my desk. She looks at me and even though she’s far from speaking at only a few months old, I hear her say, “You’re going to fix it, aren’tcha Daddy?”

I made a mistake by not constantly keeping my resume updated. It’s so difficult to think back at everything that I’ve done here and put it into words. The past three years are a blur. I’ve done EVERYTHING. I can’t really put that on my resume although that’s what I want to do.

I’m very curious as to where I will find myself in a month.

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