The Breakfast Club

It’s been a pretty big week for me and I have lots I want to talk about but have decided to make this post strictly about the new job. Not wanting to gloss over any facts or nuances about anything that has transpired over the past 10 + days so the next post will talk about the other two huge happenings. For now, stick with me while I tell you guys about my first full two weeks as a solo junior IT tech.

First, I want to say I am incredibly grateful and happy to have gotten this assignment. I needed this job on too many levels to count and the hours are better than I thought: 8:30-5:30! That extra half hour makes a difference in the morning (haven’t been late yet) and now that the warmer weather and longer days are here, it doesn’t make a difference in the evenings. Yet, the assignment seems to be a walking contradiction. Let me further explain.

It’s a real job so I am glad of that….remember that 5 hour assignment when I first left the Team where no one knew who I was or what I was doing there? I was tossed into a cubicle and given papers to shuffle until they finally gave up the farce and sent me home.  THIS assignment, there is work…real work and lots of it. They knew who I was and they were expecting me. But no one knows how long the contract will last. When approached about the job, I was told 6-8 weeks by the recruiter; I was told 3+ months by the onsite supervisor and now that I am there, I am told the deployment has a hard deadline of June 12th. Also, I am a subcontractor….so I am contracted by the contractor who was retained by the Client and the Client is moving to a new location on June 30th.  Am I going with them? No idea but to be on the safe side, I have updated my resume and put it back up on the job boards.

One clue that this assignment is not going to last long is the fact that I am in a windowless room with 6 other contractors and a manager…it is an abandoned conference room that is pretty much an afterthought. Equipment is piled haphazard and new computers are everywhere in various states and stages of deployment. We do not have laptops or phones…we share two loaner computers and have to use our own cell phones…there is no Wi-Fi (well, there is but no one has the password) and reception is non-existent at worst and shitty at best. For 8 people, there are 6 chairs. The room never gets cleaned as it stays locked when we are not in there.  It’s weird. Yet, the word is the contractor (MY client) is in desperate need of a deployment team and we will be there for long term. Who knows? Believe me, totally open to and actively seeking interviews for long term/permanent.

I am learning a lot but not due to the folks I work with. I have never worked with a group of all contractors before and thinking being a subcontractor makes it even a bit more…cutthroat, for lack of a better word. There were instruction packets but I prefer to see what folks are doing and make my own notes. No one wants to show you shit here….you read the packet. It’s like they think if they share any knowledge with you, they somehow get dumber or are giving you more of an edge. So I read the packet, do the steps and then make my own notes. Management is not that great….they are friendly enough but this is definitely a by-the-seat-of-your-pants operation; assignments change every day and the backup/restore that runs every night always a disaster. Every morning there is a new fire to be put out.  I am definitely not the only one who doesn’t know what she’s doing as the complaint calls are pouring in; and the Head Honcho actually asked us how long it takes to switch out equipment….a customer called with that question and he had no idea how to answer it. Even I know how to answer that question.

The managers are Keystone Cops with no communication. The Head Honcho is really the only one who never has any directions or instructions for us. We see him at the beginning of the day where he says hello and at the end of the day where he says goodnight. There is the Shotcaller who insists that we follow the instruction packets to the letter and that SHE is the one we are to listen to, except she is all about staging and moving laptops around. It’s all about presentation with this chick.  She gives verbal ass whippings and sends us to the Cage as punishment…already I have been to the Cage. Not fun, but it was educational. On the other hand, Duckface is all about results and getting stuff out, so she comes in and has us move the JUST MOVED laptops into different positions and places (one side of the room is wireless, the other side is hard wired) so we can actually get machines backed up, profiles loaded and deployed. She never smiles, just instructs.  And she makes notes all.the.time. I just try to be very quiet and very still when Duckface is around…I have a very healthy fear of the woman. And then we have Buddha who is supposed to be the in-room supervisor. He is pretty laid back and doesn’t mind teaching us stuff but when the power struggle between Shotcaller and Duckface gets too heated, he bails and we don’t see him for the rest of the day. I think he has spent a total of 3 days in the office the entire day since I started.

There are no work spouses, work boyfriends/girlfriends here….in fact, there is no flirting period. I may as well quit now. They expect me to be professional and friendly yet distant. I think healthy people call that having boundaries…I am too social for that and I cannot be social with anyone on this assignment except Security. And now that I have gotten my badge I don’t have that. They want us to dress professionally and nicely yet on my second day I was on my hands and knees in my super cute, really nice and kinda short dress trying to switch out equipment. I have been in the “office” ever since doing imaging, loading profiles and asset management. Lunch is an hour and everyone must be back by 1:30, yet they have a 1pm meeting every day. Guess who has lunch from 12:30-1:30? I have a .gov email address but with no Wi-Fi and limited (extremely limited…remember there are 7 of us on 2 loaner laptops) access to a computer, I can’t read any of the messages that are sent to me.

I will no longer have a team on any future assignments….the AFS Team has spoiled me for anyone else and trust me when I tell you this: they are still my team and will always be my team. This assignment is comprised of a group of maybe 20 folks but we are broken down into smaller circles I call “clubs”. I started  calling us The Breakfast Club although we are not that cool. It is like we are in detention as in whether we like each other or not, we are stuck together in a room (with no windows) for almost 8 hours a day. We are all still strangers to each other and no one seems to want to change that. Allow me to introduce you to the folks I now spend my days with:

Nicki Minaj: I call her the Pride of PG County and I swear this chick drinks DC tap water and possibly ate lead paint as a child. She is paranoid, has ADHD, wears funky (colorful, not stinky) socks, bright pink lipstick and wedged gold tennis shoes. She is also 21 and the Team Lead. I have no problems with her being team lead…what I have issue with is the fact she does everything in like 10 minutes flat and talks so fast, I have no idea what she is saying or doing. As a result, I feel dumb around her. I cut her slack though because she is being texted every two minutes by Duckface and Shotcaller and has no idea what she or the rest of us are supposed to be doing.

Questlove and Maverick: You HAVE to put these two together because they are joined at the hip and honestly, they are the perfect pair. Maverick does not talk. At all. He smiles, nods or shakes his head in acknowledgement to direct questions but his lips do not part to say one word. Ever.  Questlove, you can’t get him to shut up.  My problem with Questlove is that he is the class clown but he gets his laughs by putting others down. What he says may be true and may be funny but I don’t think it’s right. Thank goodness he is not in the room with me all day. But, I have to say these two are the most competent techs on the team and there are never complaints coming in about them.

Dirty South:  The man comes from a podunk town in South Georgia and while he is not the color of Georgia mud, he talks as if he has a mouthful of it. And he stutters.  He thinks he is a know-it-all but not going to hold it against him as he is the only one who is willing to show and teach. He gets it…the more others know, the less work he has to do. He also has a pretty good read on folks and for that reason, he is a loner. He doesn’t go to lunch with folks and he doesn’t make small talk… his answers to most direct questions consist of one word: Fine.  Although when it was just us in the room one time, he did tell me some stuff about him that I really shouldn’t know. The funniest thing this week: Dirty South comes in, puts his black combat booted foot on the table and Questlove called him Captain Morgan.

Fat Boy: 20 years old, 6’2” and at least 400 pounds…that is the only name that fits!  He follows me around the room constantly and the scene in The Breakfast Club where Emilio Estevez (Andrew, The Jock) is unpacking his lunch bag is this guy all day, every day. He brought in a bag that loaves of bread come in and I swear he took the entire loaf and made sandwiches out of it. He ate every.one. of those sandwiches. And drinks 3 gallons of water (he brings them in) during our detention time. He dresses sloppily (stained, torn tee shirts and saggy jeans) and wants to go around the end users with food and headphones. The boy went to install new equipment with a seafood salad sandwich hanging from his mouth last week.  Did I mention he sweats walking from the elevator to the room (20 feet) and has a superior attitude? Oh, and in case you need it, he does resumes for $20.

Richard Pryor: I can think of no other name for our newest addition because he calls everyone (and I mean everyone) nigger or motherfucker. To their face. Yet, two days in he is lunching with the head of IT Infrastructure and leaving an hour early. While I am not going to be hanging with this guy, I need to know who he knows. My initial impression is he knows his stuff but he is trying too hard and not in the right ways…this is a professional assignment, not a family cookout.

Me: And then there is me…the chick who is flirting in corners and after a coughing fit following sampling a piece of watermelon says things like: that fruit triggered a reaction in my throat. I am the oldest member of the club, yet I feel as if I am the dumbest. I know I’m not but it is hard to find your rhythm when no one knows what they are doing. As Dirty South put it, it is a matter of memorizing the steps but when assignments change every 15 minutes, you tend to forget the order of the steps.  While I think I am more of an admin person and definitely need a traditional office setting, I am not quitting or giving up unless something better comes along. I think the assignment and I both need to give each other a chance or two. I am willing if they are.

And there you have it…this is my new job and my new coworkers. Not what I really wanted, definitely not what I was expecting but just maybe, it is what I need right now. Going to wrap this post up now and I will be back with new posts sooner versus later where I can tell you all about the cutest.nephew.ever, my latest falling out with Reliable One/Safety Net and what I would tell my younger self.

As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual…enjoy your day!

Job Seeker

Being unemployed sucks. Big time. Of course, I have had periods of unemployment before (8 months is the longest; I am not far behind this time around…7 ½ months and counting) but there is a difference between periods of unemployment and being unemployed….mainly, income. I am not rich, but I have always had an income coming in. UI payments, the ads and once I even had a serious savings account. Having an income while unemployed allowed me to still live a life: once upon a time, I had a car (thanks to the sweetest rental deal in history); there was shopping, lunches and dinners out wherever I wanted and movies. If I needed to go to the grocery store, I could. And did. Needed a dose of Mommy love? Greyhound, here I come. I had great conversations and funny stories because while I was not working, I was still a part of everyday life.

This time around, there is none of that. All of the resources have dried up. I am working on month #3 with nothing steady coming in. Currently wondering if I can sue Pudgy for breach of contract and my exes for alienation of affection.  Groceries are running low. I cannot even renew the ads (which have yielded absolutely nothing lately) because it costs $23 to do so and I have MAYBE $23 total in the bank. The ads are no guarantee of income (as stated above) and I cannot frivolously spend my entire income on a maybe. It’s scary. It’s so scary, Crazy Neighbor is fixing me lunches and actually making sense.  I cannot go anywhere unless I have a groupon for it and even then, it has to be takeout because I have no money to tip servers. Shopping is via HSN and only because they raised my credit limit.  I wish they sold groceries or allowed cash advances. I am seriously debating between cigarettes and medication at this point and I am the first to admit that is really fucked up….not that it’s either/or but the fact that I am thinking it IS either/or.  The gas station is offering to give me credit should I need it to get my cigarettes. Even more fucked-upness. Outings are with Downstairs Neighbor or Hangout Buddy where I am treated. I did have an amazing evening with Preacher’s Wife and The Baby Daddy where I was able to groupon. Brief aside: I love those ladies and love even more that they reminded me fucked up comes in all shapes, sizes and situations. That’s all I can say on the topic.

The job market is tough whether you are in it or trying to get back in. And my job search is beyond words at this point. Seriously, WHEN did a minimum salary of $31000 become TOO MUCH to ask for? Especially for a mid-level job seeker with my skills set?  Telling you, the job market is not what it used to be. I wonder about the validity of the thank you note to the interviewer as not one person has bothered to respond to my thoughtfulness. Not one. That is SO rude. The only exception is the non-profit recruiter who stays in touch with me on a weekly basis and tries to find me assignments that pay what I seek. No success yet but he tries.  But I haven’t given up. Yet. I started expanding my search to include IT jobs….I don’t know a lot but I know enough, have almost 2 years IT experience and a quick learner. I have been entry level before…I can do it again if it comes with a livable wage. And I don’t even need to live large…just live.

I already know the wages offered are tied to be the biggest obstacle…simply no way can I even exist off $10.29-$13.00/hour. No way….transportation, groceries and medication alone will eat that up. What about rent, other bills, laundry, toiletries?  How will I buy my lipstick and pantyhose? As dire as the financial situation is now, I do hold onto to my dwindling dollars and resources by staying indoors. Telling you, every time I leave the house, I am spending money even if it is just bus fare. I said in my last blog post that I was ready to turn the page to a new chapter…trust me, that had nothing to do with a man in my life. I need a job, to be social again, to feel a part of productive society.  A job with a livable wage will turn the page. A man is secondary at this point.

The other big obstacle is the actual search. This job search has made me pull my hair out. The perfect on paper jobs that I am totally qualified for yet am always rejected for. The submissions that generated fleeting interest but no follow through (yes, talking to you SAIC, American Diabetes Association and World Bank); agencies that treat my repeated submissions as if I had slept with their husband, ran over their dog and kidnapped their children (Beacon Hill Staffing, Legal Placements) and the agencies that just outright used me for quota meeting and number crunching. The reputable agencies with false listings and the outright scammers and spammers. The scammer/spammer aspect has been a prevalent theme this time around. The “agencies” with the hijacked websites, random email address formats and phone numbers that originate in India. The company that posted a permanent executive assistant position and even extended an interview. An interview which did not require me to bring or even have a resume.

The office had a prestigious address but the office itself was a dump. I lived in better crackhouses. Mismatched chairs (the one I chose broke when I sat in it); the carpet was frayed and disgustingly stained. No phone system (everyone made outgoing calls on personal cell phones…and by everyone I mean the three women who were the staff) and no HVAC system…fans on the floor. It was haphazardly decorated with a bookcase filled with 10 year old NY Times fiction bestsellers, the broken down chairs and a desk or two. Oh, and the rolling garment rack. No office supplies (the receptionist kept asking folks if they had an ink pen) and no one on “staff” had a name, only a title: Assistant Manager and Receptionist. I was told that executive assistant job was actually an account executive and I was to go door to door complete with an in-house presentation, collecting money for an unknown (thinking they mean fraudulent) non-profit. The Assistant Manager and I both agreed that I would not be a good fit.

Yes, the job search this time around has been one huge headache what with standing my ground on the company being both legitimate and offering a livable wage but a sista finally caught a break. I start work on Monday!!! YAY ME!!! It is a short term contract (approximately 3 months) with a federal government agency with Judges, lawyers and Presidential appointees where I get to build on my IT skills set AND earn a very livable wage. AND did I mention I now have a security clearance? Low level but a clearance of any type can make a difference in this town.  I can only thank God for this opportunity. Seriously. I am also going to thank the recruiter who reached out to me for the opportunity. This recruiter I am taking to lunch when I get paid and then I am going to ask her to marry me. She told me the original wage offer was at least $2-$3 below what the men on the team were making. Me, being so happy it wasn’t another $12.50 offer said I was fine with it; after all, I am entry level IT. She responded that the JOB was entry level…experience be damned. If others were getting paid more to do the same job I was, I would get the same pay they did.

As excited as I am (for more reasons than the obvious), I am also nervous. I am going to be the IT tech (have I mentioned I am not a tech? Junior tech at best) and I won’t have my team around me. I am going amongst strangers with only a little bit of skill and experience but a lot of bravado and NO ONE wears the confidence mask better than me. I plan to listen, pay attention and take a lot of notes. I am going to make this the best learning experience and one thing I plan to do is update the resume as soon as possible and keep the search going. Not wanting or needing another break and to start over from scratch. I will keep you updated on the job and continuing search.

Going to wrap this up now…it’s late and I still have lots to do this weekend. Employment documentation needs to be completed, scanned and emailed. Outfits need to be picked out, I need to get back on a regular sleep schedule and money needs to be found/begged for/borrowed. How ironic now that I have a job to pay me a livable wage, I cannot afford to go to work. Just one more punch to roll with.  Thinking I am qualified to do that at least.

As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!

454 Days

I admit it here, now and freely: I still love and I am still in love with Prince Charming. All of him not, the illusion of the man. Warts and all and I am okay with that. And I think I may have truly fallen in love for real for the first time ever. Unhealthy? For sure. Genuine? I think so. I forgive him his lies and deceit; I am not even pissed he broke my heart.  Remember when I sent him the birthday gift after he abandoned me and did not even reach out in friendship when Dottie made her arrival? I could have held onto the books…I like learning. I could have re-sold them or donated them. But I didn’t because I wanted Prince Charming to have them. I wanted him to know I still loved him…what he did was SO not okay but in a way, it was. Not everyone will get that.  And I guess he kept them and all the contents of the box because he never returned a thing. And all he had to do was mark the box Return to Sender.

When I let my walls and guards down and fully trusted him….it was amazing and I was in a state of happiness that I did not know existed. I was trying to be a better person and not just for him…for me also. I made him laugh and he made me laugh, sometimes at myself.  Even when I was angry with him (not hurt….that is totally different), I was still happy with the man. He found me fun, exciting, intelligent and sexy. I thought I had found the man who understood me and was strong enough to hang in there with me when I was too honest, too loud and too crazy. Remember, he put the fires out, he did not fan the flames. I thought I had found the man who could and would lead me, teach me and allow me to share all with him with no fear of abandonment or judgment.

For the first time, I saw why folks wanted relationships and someone in their life; for once, I was the one with the goofy grin on my face and not having to send every little message to my Panel for analysis. For the first time, a guy wanted to know me…really know me. He got inside my head and worked his way to my heart.  Prince Charming was The One, or so I (and some Panel members) thought. Hell, I gave up the ads for him because I wanted to be all his. Completely. There were no hateful words and even today, I will not speak ill of the man. Well, a little bit but nothing along the lines of wishing him death and destruction and bombarding him with emails. I want to email him…but I don’t. For what? He already knows how I felt…it is I who no longer has any idea what or how he felt for me. And at this point, he no longer needs to know how I feel and I don’t need to know how he felt. It would do no good for either of us.

I see the pictures and videos that others post and when he IS in them, I swear he looks happy. There are half smiles and no overt signs of distress and unhappiness. There are deep hugs with the Mexican Girlfriend (I know he married her but her blog name stays the same) and some awkwardness I attribute to a guy being in the presence of his crush.  Except for the picture I call The Last Supper….Prince Charming looks dejected, beaten down by life and I think the Lord Jesus Himself did not have such an abject look of misery as He hung from the cross. Which is strange to me since PC is surrounded by his family and food…food should make everyone happy.

He knows I Facebook stalked him…he probably knows I still stalk him. It doesn’t matter….there are boundaries that I refuse to cross this time around because I already know it won’t work. More importantly, I don’t want to see if it will. I am stuck but not stuck because for all the love I still hold….I can never share it with him again. And the Mexi-Cali crew have nothing to do with that….I cannot share this love with PC again because I no longer trust him.

Trust is the KEY ingredient in ANY relationship. ANY relationship: with your parents, your children, your friends, family, co-workers, lovers….if you cannot trust them or they cannot trust you, what do you have? Awkwardness, resentment, arguments and the occasional great day. Remember when I first found out about Mexican Girlfriend and Prince Charming did his first vanishing act? And I begged him to come back, explain things to me and let’s try to start again? Remember I chose to believe him over the truth staring me in the face (seriously, why would the Mexican Girlfriend lie)?  I let him place the blame on me (he said he stopped speaking because I was hateful but he realized I was hurt) and the man continued to lie and make promises and slowly began blatantly disrespecting me. I was questioning everything and doubting it all.  He could not take being found out and called out, so he vanished one last time…and did everything I said he would and all he said he wouldn’t.

So all those wonderful things he showed me, he taught me….doesn’t mean shit. The reassurances, the promises of not going anywhere, the tears and regret over broken dates, the laughs, inside jokes and compliments? Lies. Damned lies. They may not have started out that way but when he broke my trust and kept it broken by continuing the lies, they ended up being untruths. At least I know what he meant when he kept saying he did not want to hurt me. Hey, Prince Charming, here’s a hint: you don’t want to hurt someone, don’t lie to them. Don’t lead them on. Don’t break trust. Just because men like you can’t handle truth doesn’t mean all of us can’t.

And his relationship with his wife? Built on lies also. He cheated on her, emotionally and physically. He still won’t tell the truth about his life…at least publicly he won’t. She and her daughter have to do that. I do sometimes hold out hope he still thinks of me, he still misses me and that this is some green card marriage arranged by the church or his parents or something like that. That he will return with apologies and explanations and tell me it is me he wants. But I don’t hold it out for long because I no longer want him. I want what he gave me from someone I can truly trust. From someone who knows since he met me that no one else is worth thinking about. Someone who can lead in the RIGHT direction and who knows whether or not he has been in a threesome.

I know I have been pretty unlucky in love but I really hope it is true what they say about just because a thing has always been a certain way doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Of course, if I end up single for life, that’s okay too. I had two great-aunts who never married or had children who lived full, rich and seemingly satisfying lives. But I have a need…an ache really… to both give and receive deep affection on a consistent basis. I don’t mind working through the rough patches, I don’t mind compromising. I don’t mind sharing me and my life…but I can no longer trust.

THAT is the worst part about broken trust….you not only don’t trust that person. You don’t trust yourself either and pretty much everyone else is suspect. At least it is that way for me… second guessing what the next person’s words and actions really mean. Waiting for the other shoe to drop because it ALWAYS does. I have forgiven Prince Charming and I still love him but I cannot forget that this is the man who showed me why I cannot trust. The man who worked so hard to break down the walls I had so carefully constructed to simply dump the bricks right on my head… I just can’t. Can’t trust, can’t understand what he got out of it, can’t fathom what type of person does this shit. Coward doesn’t even cover it. Maybe narcissist does?

454 days later, I have found out that love and trust don’t necessarily go hand in hand. That I have grown enough to remember the good times fondly while holding onto the lessons fiercely. That his happiness (or lack of) does not define mine…I have been happy since it all happened (not the giddiness I felt with him…think more contentment). I can finally admit that this is a man who has no clue how to be honest or trustworthy, even with himself. I have realized I am the lucky one for finding out. I am thankful (and he should be too) Jodi Arias is not a member of the Panel. Mormons named Travis are her specialty.  I am glad I can have a sense of humor about this.  Seems the only lingering effect of the PTSD (Post Travis Stress Disorder) is trust issues. Only I can fix that.  I need more healing and processing and I am okay with that.

I have no idea what the next 454 days will bring. Full closure is the goal and without having another man knock Prince Charming out the box. I want to lay him to rest on my own. I have already handled what happened far better than I thought I would thanks to good friends, good music and good times. I did not stop living my life although there were times I wanted to. I didn’t chase him but for about the first month after he left for good, there was a bombardment of crazy…and here is how crazy it was. I sent him job openings/listings for the DC area, California and Utah. Is it still crazy if I was enabling him? Probably. But I feel no responsibility for him or trying to make sure he is happy or whatever. I stalk for me because in a warped way, it helps with the unanswered questions. I don’t want stalking around in another 454 days. I want a brand new chapter….I just need to turn the page. I think I’m ready.

HodgePodge

Guess who has written 500 blog posts??  THIS chick!!! I am more in awe than anything…who knew I would have enough stuff to say and share that it would span 500 posts? And who knew folks would still be reading? Thank you readers for not only being a part of the journey but for making it happen. It’s me, so life would still have the WTFness factor and I would still be writing out thoughts and feelings and memories, but there is a difference knowing that whatever I am going through is helping at least one person.  And by more than one person, I mean someone other than myself. I know you’re out there.

Today’s post is just what the title says: it is a hodgepodge of stuff that separately are just random things but together…they make a post. And a post that isn’t heavy or empowering or enlightening. Just light hearted chatter…how often does that happen? So let’s just get to it.

New Mommy and I have a name for her New Baby. His name is Gus. It sounds like an old man’s name but her baby boy looks like a grumpy old man. All the time. Seriously, he is super cute and has the chubbiest cheeks but he keeps this look on his face like he wishes he had just stayed inside. This kid has personality already but New Mommy swears he is sweet. All I know is she loves him to pieces and so do I. KBugg is being a trooper of a big sister but is wondering why Gus doesn’t want to play with her. In due time, KBugg…in due time.

You guys know I am a diehard Grey’s Anatomy fan, right?  I have seen every episode and stuck with it when storylines got implausible and disaster was just an episode away. But now…I just have to say this: Shonda Rhimes is an angry black woman. She is killing white men: Jake on Scandal (who isn’t really dead which is good since she killed him on Grey’s Anatomy when he was Henry), Sam on How to Get Away with Murder (plot line essential I know but still…) and on Grey’s Anatomy it is a slaughterhouse. Denny, O’Malley, Mc Steamy (that man was my imaginary husband) and now McDreamy. Not a huge McDreamy fan as I found the dark side of him to be a bitter, ego driven coward hiding behind vague excuses. But when he was having a good day…he was the perfect man. He loved and was in love with the thorn covered rose that is Meredith and he put forth efforts. And now he is dead…he did not have to die, Shonda.

I would take a rocky marriage and separation/divorce over the death of TV’s most realistic love story. And the way she killed him?  The whole Derek-is-dead storyline from killing to burial took 20 minutes tops. (Talk about the carousel keeps turning…)  Whatever the behind the scenes differences, McDreamy was an essential character (without Der there would be no Mer) and had been on the show from Day 1, Scene 1. He deserved a proper goodbye. Shonda is showing me (yet again) that happiness does not stick around and when you are at your happiest, that is when happiness packs its bags.  Two weeks ago, Meredith was saying she had everything she ever wanted….and now, she’s buried the love of her life. Shonda, you not only snatch happiness, you kill hope.

I had a very busy Saturday….I don’t think I have crammed so much in one day, ever. It started with Downstairs Neighbor and I deciding to do Passport DC’s Embassy Tour (European embassies are this coming weekend if you’re interested)….I did not want to go but I know Downstairs Neighbor really wanted to go and at the same time it was a way to get me out the house and my mind off my problems. So I woke up with a good attitude and put some good tennis shoes on. In some way I knew walking and standing would be involved but I was woefully underprepared. But before we even got to the metro, things grated my nerves. The you’ve got to be kidding me incident at the bank when I asked for a notary; the pizza delivery driver who asked to use our cellphones to call a customer (Downstairs Neighbor obliged); the guy who interrupted DN’s helping the delivery guy to ask directions; trying to cross Michigan Avenue and did I mention it was warm out?

Reaching our destination, we find that everyone else knew about the Embassy tours and the lines were extremely long and extremely deep so we decided to shuttle bus over to Georgetown to see two less crowded embassies. The Embassies themselves were kind of a letdown: basically selling wares and giving out literature/information about what YOU can do to help the impoverished in that country. But the African Union Embassy fed us and it was GOOD: curry chicken, fried fish and veggies, spicy rice, beef patties and water. The Ukrainian Embassy (the walk almost killed me and if I did not think I would have pushed us both into busy Georgetown traffic, I would have let DN hold me up) was the same, minus food.  BUT they had free shots. Yes, FREE.LIQUOR. And an outdoor marketplace including food, clothing and books. Everything was written in Ukrainian which I do not understand and gave the whole affair a communist feel.

But I had so much fun with Downstairs Neighbor: walking Georgetown, stopping in the consignment shops (we are so going back!); sharing a meal where she loved the jalapeno poppers (hot, cheesy and filled with real jalapenos) and I got fat off the shrimp; the wedding dress shop where I imagined myself in one for about 5 seconds. Finding out she needs culture, walkability and mass transit in her city of choice which scratches Raleigh off her list of must-live-there places. Sitting in the park looking at the flowers and intricately knotted trees and the cab ride home. The driver took us through quaint neighborhoods and we saw two wedding parties. My wish to the Universe for the brides: May he always make you happy, girlfriend. Downstairs Neighbor’s advice to the Universe for them: Don’t count on it.  It was a great day and I could have happily ended it right then and there but had to get ready for my date with Hangout Buddy.

Earlier in the week, Hangout Buddy said he wanted to treat me to a nice evening out. Let him do all the planning and don’t worry about spending anything…he was my sugar daddy for the evening. Oh, and wear a nice dress. Given his idea of nice involves jeans without holes and rips, I was skeptical but I had the perfect ensemble: a sleeveless cotton maxi dress in denim with a vintage look/feel necklace and sparkly flats. And the curly hair. So I get home, pop some pain pills because my legs had left my body but left behind painful knees, quickly shower, some lipstick and nice perfume and transform myself into a Pretty Girl.

Hangout Buddy arrived on time and he actually dressed up! Somewhat. He wore a funky collared purple shirt, black pants (NOT jeans) and real shoes. He even got a haircut! The one thing that kinda pissed me off was he said that he had to be on his way to the airport to pick up some other chick at 10:30. If it is MY night, it is MY night….not mine and someone else’s. But I just shut up about it and decided to stay in the moment.

And it was a great evening. He held doors open for me, held my hand while we walked, we had a great dinner and afterwards, we strolled the street festival going on and danced in the streets. It was freeing and fun and I was almost glad he had to pick someone up because if not, we would have done the same old thing (movies). Dancing was great and spontaneous and afterwards, we were going for ice cream but we were both too full for it. Instead, he took me to the beauty store and bought me a bottle of Miss Dior just because I was pretty. And he gave me some money because I was broke. AND afterwards, he massaged my bare feet because I walked so much earlier. I felt spoiled, pampered and it was nice to relinquish control for a couple of hours.

So this is the hodgepodge of the little things that have been going on. I did not mention the job search because that is a post unto itself and it’s coming up next, so stay tuned. Again, thanks for being a part of my 500 blog posts and here’s to many more!  As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!