Maybe turning 30 just didn't affect me in the apocalyptic way that I thought it might. I pictured myself sitting in my unwashed pajamas for the third day in a row…watching "Major League" over and over again until I finally came up with accurate box scores for each game…my fingers oranged with cheeto dust.
Surprisingly…I don't feel like I'm a heartbeat away from watching marathons of the Weather Channel or doing Tai Chi in the park. The muumuus I bought are neatly tucked away in the sad fat Kerry drawer, and the countless pints of Chunky Monkey are resting in the freezer…untouched.
At the same time, I don't feel like I just sauntered out of a Tony Robbins seminar where I "Awoke the Giant Within" and I'm ready to repurpose my life to dance like no one is watching…or some such nonsense. Note: I only dance when people are watching. Why waste my gift of alcohol-fueled fluid movement on an empty room? People deserve to watch me Harlem Shake.
So, the big 3-0 came and went, but not without reflection. So here is a short synopsis of my feelings on 30…
- I don't see my family enough. I'm going to try to use more of my time off to go home. And when I do see my family…I should hug them more (and I don't mean the quick pat on the back hugs; I should give more of the creepy lingering hugs).
- I finally feel like I might be a runner again. I ran for 30 minutes on my 30th birthday (which is 30 minutes longer than on my 29th birthday…stupid knee).
- I should live in the now. I think/worry about the future too much. I save too much. I should travel more. Volunteer. Learn a language.
- I need to be more grateful. …Excellent family. A husband I don't deserve. Friends who keep me laughing. A great house. A job that people would fist fight me for. There shouldn't be many 'woe is me' moments in my life.
- I've got a great body for a 30 year old. …take that gravity. I'm a woman on the run from the law (the law of gravity, that is).
There you have it. It hasn't been a perfect 30 years, but who wants perfect?
I was procuring something and spotted this clip art attached to the webpage.
Is it just me ...or is a gaggle of perky, one-legged professionals slightly unnerving to anyone else?
...and it seems like a million miles away from Champaign, IL. ...where the German cockroaches were our constant companions. Have you ever tried to study for a final when a bug bomb is going off in the next room? Who knows what kind of feats I would've accomplished if I hadn't turned my brain to diarrhea with toxic fumes.
...or Dekalb, IL...where you can hear the mice scratch and scratch and scratch inside the walls, and your favorite sound in the world becomes the unexpected *SNAP!* of the trap (humane trap). In hindsight, setting all those traps really made me feel like a silent movie villain. After securing the mechanism, I would laugh, wring my hands and think, "if only I had a handlebar mustache to twist...this would be perfect."
But that's all in the past, my friends. No more roaches, no more mice, just the freshness and cleanliness of a brand new home. Fantastic. I get to paint and decorate how I see fit, and nothing is going to stop me except my wallet.
When I get excited about decorating / decor like this, I tend to go a bit overboard. This leads to a series of things I like to call, "Sh*t I'm glad I did, but will never ever do again."
The common theme linking all of these projects is that when I start, I GROSSLY underestimate the time it will take to finish. Let's recap a few from recent years, shall we?
The Obamarator. 1,250 magnets on our fridge. I like it, but everyone who comes over tilts their head, stares at it for 20-30 minutes (like one of those magic eye books), and says, "That's cool. What is it?"
The Scrabble Table. 1,320 Scrabble tiles on my coffee table. Before I started, I remember thinking, "This is gonna be so awesome! It shouldn't take that long to sand and glue 1,300 Scrabble tiles." Beer and ether were the only things that could get me through that project.
The Mondrian inspired wall. When we sold that house, I refused to paint over it. "Someone will love this wall as much as I do...and if they don't...we're not selling it to them." I wish I could rent a Delorean, go back in time a few years, and slap some sense into that version of Kerry. Oddly enough, someone actually purchased our house.
And of course, that brings me to my latest torture....
"I'm going to paint birch trees in the powder room!" For reasons unbeknownst to me, I chose the tiniest room in our house to do the most elaborate design. Seth had to tell me to calm down and step away from the room more times than I care to mention.
But it's done, sucka!
I call this room, "If a turd falls in the forest, does it make a smell?" It makes me feel zen and ridiculous all at once.
Note: I will never ever paint birch trees again, so don't ask me to.
Let me take a moment to explain what happens when you buy a house...
1. First...you take several muscle relaxers.
2. Then, you work up the courage to sign your life away / become deeply in debt. It helps if the agent says something like, "I double dog dare you to sign that."
3. Because you are now very poor and can't afford real entertainment, you sit on the floor of an empty room with a tv propped up on a cardboard box and tune in to HGTV 23hours per day.
4. From your steady diet of home improvement shows and ramen on toast, you begin to realize that many HGTV shows are filmed in Canada. In Canada, eh, they say things like "boot" instead of "bought" and "hoose" instead of "house."
5. You start telling people you "boot a hoose." You find this hilarious.
6. You thoughtfully explain what the devil you're talking about.
There you have it. Six simple steps. We boot a hoose.
Our house is new construction, and as such, requires plenty of silly little decisions to be made.
Maybe it's all of the HGTV that I've been watching, or perhaps it's the muscle relaxers...but I'm actually starting to develop an opinion about home decor. This is especially odd coming from the woman who (just six short years ago) shrugged her shoulders after finding mouse poop in the silverware drawer. (I see you. You there on your high horse...being all judgemental about mouse poop in the silverware drawer. Listen...it was grad school. I was eating ketchup sandwiches. Silverware was available for my use, but typically not required).
I don't know if Seth and I are considered hipsters, yuppies, guppies, trannies, or whatever...but I do know what I won't tolerate in my new home...
Synopsis of actual events:
"How DARE you use domestic marble in my foyer. I want my marble imported from somewhere far away! Now begone! Lest my decorative IKEA bamboo stalks find your backside!"
So that's a half-truth. I actually get lost in decisions like these. The selling agent asked me to close my eyes and imagine my dream kitchen....
Agent: "Now...what do the cabinets look like?"
Kerry: "They're made of some kind of wood. They have knobs."
Agent: "Do the doors have bevels?"
Kerry: "Do the doors have bevels? That seems oddly specific for one of my dreams."
My dream kitchen is the one that sells our house six years from now. Not romantical, but true.
We boot a hoose. It's all good fun, nonetheless.
P.S. The color of our hallway tile is actually called "Magnificent Crouton," which will also serve as the name of my future rock band.
It is 520 steps from my door to the nearest Starbucks. It is 520 steps to my cup of deliciously calorific coffee-like concoctions. Starbucks was the first place I walked to after my knee surgery. After making best friends with the couch and reality television (omg, can you even believe the last 3 seasons of Real Housewives!?)...it took me a little while to get accustomed to interacting with actual humans again. I hobbled outside and there they were...all of them...skipping and dancing...sauntering and ambling...basically mocking me with their powers of mobility.
My mantra for these past 12 weeks has been, "what...so you think you're better than me?"
I say it to everyone....everyone who appears even slightly more ambulatory than me.
Tada! There I am. That was about 10.5 weeks ago. I hadn't showered in a week. It was awesome...not showering leaves time for more scholarly pursuits...like watching the Real Housewives I suppose.
Fast forward to this morning. Today, ladies and germs, I "jogged" for the first time since injuring myself 5.5 months ago. It was strange.
I used to feel that running was so freeing...so relaxing. It's where I had my best thoughts (e.g. Why don't they package cereal in resealable bags, damn it!). Today my thoughts were, "ouch" and "ooof" and "don't cry in front of all these people, Kerry."
And it was only 1.5 minutes of jogging.
I don't post often...but I thought that I should post this. ...Just to remember how I felt. I'm scared, but optimistic. Running has always been tied into my self-esteem, so here we go. I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other to get my sanity back.
Oh, and because you've been such a good reader who checks in here from time to time, I'll reward you with my pre-op picture. This was taken exactly when I was crowded by 12 people who were poking me and saying things like..."We're getting ready to put this catheter in your leg. It's a nerve block."
And I was like, "say what? is that what I just signed?"
...I don't remember anything else. I'm sure I was trying (but failing miserably) to be funny. The next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room.
It's a good look for me.
Hello internetz! It's Kerry!
When you haven't posted in nearly six months, there are so many updates that you could write about...where do I even begin?
Well, we've reached threat level brown in our apartment (that's what I call it when we're down to the last roll of toilet paper. Go. to. the. store. Seth). Tactical responses to this critical situation occupy the majority of my thoughts (e.g. If I had to use a washcloth, could I ever use that washcloth to clean myself again? or would it just become a guest towel?).
Anyways...now that we have that out of the way...
Once upon a time, I was saving several dozen children from a burning orphanage...and for whatever reason, they built this house on a well traveled set of railroad tracks...oh, and the children were blind...and the house was on fire...and there was a train bearing down...and the train conductor was asleep.
That's what I tell people when they ask how I hurt my knee.
Except, maybe there's a touch of hyperbole in that.
Nobody really wants to hear that I hurt my knee playing flag football. It was maybe the most unheroic injury that anyone has ever witnessed.
So readers, for the past few months I've gone from crutches, to therapy, and next will be surgery, more crutches, and more therapy.
At least I can say that I saved all those kids.
My physical torturer (did I say physical torturer? I meant physical "therapist") is Lindsay. Going to physical therapy is how I know I would never fit in with the S&M crowd. Paying for pain? Pass.
Lindsay: "Does it hurt when I do that? How about that? This? Oh, it hurts when I do this? Then we're going to hold that pose for 25 minutes."
If I was entrusted with keeping any national secrets, Lindsay would have found out who was behind the Kennedy assassination three sessions ago.
I imagine that somewhere out there, Lindsay is updating her facebook status...
"I made Kerry cry today. lol"
And all of her little evil PT friends are "liking" it.
I think that my time with her will condition me to develop a premature bias against anyone named 'Lindsay.'
Kerry the Interviewer: "So you'd like to work here Lindsay? Tell me about yourself"
Unsuspecting Interviewee Lindsay: "Well..."
Kerry the Interviewer: "I've heard enough. Get the hell out of my office."
That's not entirely fair to PT Lindsay. She's perfectly nice and does a great job. But that doesn't mean that I don't want to slap her.
There's lots more happening here. Stay tuned.
Tip #2: Choose an Appropriate Travel Partner
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I am easily the best travel partner in the world.
Ok ok ok, so maybe there's a touch of hyperbole in the previous statement. I was actually independently verified by Forbes as the #2 best travel partner in the world (one spot behind a lady named Opera or Oprah or something). But you don't have to click on that link to the Forbes list. Just take my word for it...
In fact, I must insist that you not click on that link. This is a writer/reader relationship based on trust...and I won't have you clicking on links to verify every little fact that I write in this blog.
So like I was saying...anyone...even Oprah (GYPSY!)...would give her right arm to travel with me. ...but then I'd probably have to carry her luggage out of pity (I mean, she did just give up an arm), and nobody wants that.
But, my friends, not everyone is the #2 travel partner in the world. I have to choose my partners very carefully.
For our recent trip to Europe, I chose Sethie!
Sethie is a great travel mate. He reads travel books, plans transportation to sites, and humors me when I get travel weary.
Sethie (In a sing-songy voice): "Kerry! Goddess of the Morning! Sunshine of my life! It's time to get up and start a brand new day!"
Kerry (bleary-eyed): "Uugggghh...Start the day? I'll start YOUR FACE."
Sethie: "That doesn't make any sense, cupcake!"
Kerry: "Oh! So I don't make sense!? Your (unintelligible mumbling) face (more mumbling) sense (mumbling) stab!"
Ok...so maybe I'm not perfect. My feet hurt, I get tired, and sometimes...just sometimes...I get to be a wee bit cranky.
So it's important to travel with someone who is willing to put up with that, be flexible, and know when to stop pushing the pace quite so hard.
We've been on dozens of vacations together now, and have never resorted to knife play! Whoop-de-whoop! Huzzah!
Hmmm...4.5 years of marriage and no knife play? Maybe we should write a book.
After a long day @ Versailles. My feet were very very sad and hurty. This made the rest of me sad and hurty.
Before any big trip, we buy those giant travel
Kerry to flight attendant: "I'll take the 'lobster ravioli' for dinner...or is that the 'Salisbury steak'? Whatever, I'll just eat the crackers. What do you mean ...that's supposed to be tuna? Hmmm...I don't know what you're trying to pull here, but I'm going to keep my eye on you...GYPSY!"
And I don't know how many editions of a book someone can sell when their main travel tip for every major site is, "Go early to avoid the crowds."
Thanks, Sherlock. How'd you come up with that one?
I wish that they would write travel books from the perspective of someone who is suffering from jet lag and plans to be slightly hungover every morning.
So if this is what passes for travel advice, then maybe I'll compile a tiny list of what makes travel worthwhile for me...
Kerry's Top 3 Travel Tips
#1. Be conscious of spending money, but never let it get in the way of having a good time.
Now, let me explain...
I'm not talking about those ridiculous hags in Louis Vuitton on Avenue des Champs Elysees who are buying ugly $3,000 handbags.
I'm really just talking about ordering a bottle of wine with dinner...or taking a special tour that might be a little pricey.
For example, our third evening in Paris included a trip to Harry's New York Bar. That's where Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart used to drink. That's where George Gershwin composed "An American in Paris" on the piano downstairs. That's where they invented the bloody mary, the sidecar, and the monkey gland (whatever that is).
I mean, c'mon! How am I going to miss out on that!?
Ok, so with a history like that, you know it's going to be slightly expensive and touristy. ...and the decor tries pretty hard to be "American." There were hundreds of pennants lining the walls from nearly every American university you could imagine. I even spied with my little eye a University of Illinois banner! Huzzah!
The bartender had his hair slicked back and wore a white shirt with a bow tie and a floor length black apron. It was a nice touch. You can picture Papa Hemingway sitting on a stool, sipping a drink in between small talk with that guy. They offered to make anything we could imagine...margaritas, blue lagoons (also invented there!), tequila sunrises, etc.
After sucking down a couple of stiff drinks, an elderly French guy sat near us at the bar.
He migrated from a table at the other end of the bar. We recognized him immediately since he was the only one there who was occasionally bursting into song.
Wasted Old Man: "I know everything there is to know about women!"
Our brief 30 minute back and forth with the drunken Don Juan and the other bar flies is one of my favorite memories of our trip.
Several hours later, happy as clams, we signaled for the check.
"Hmmmm, so drinks are 12 Euros each.
Let's see, let's see...12 Euros....conversion rate...calculator...carry the one...
$16!? For a drink!?"
I wasn't entirely surprised.
No wonder Hemingway had to get very very drunk there.
It made me long for those college days when I would go 'Drinkin for a Lincoln!' ($5 all you can drink keg beer). *Sigh* Memories.
But that's the fun of trips. Have a budget, but splurge on the experience too.
Kerry Tips #2 and #3 with further stories about our vacation to follow...
Kerry @ Harry's with a Sidecar (Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice). I wasn't exactly nursing my drinks.
Seth @ Harry's with a White Lady (Gin, Cointreau and lemon juice)
First night in Paris during an evening bicycle ride.
The third day was spent in Versailles.
This is the longest I've ever gone without posting. I extend my most sincere apologies.
Hellllooo? Am I the only one here?
Huh. I guess everyone got up and left. No worries; now I can write only what pleases me.
Consistency: Not to be Recorded
*squints eyes and looks into the distance*
Is that...? Is that...someone who is still reading my blog?
Welcome! I'll refrain from turning this blog into a diary of daily BM's if you promise not to post your BM's in my comments section.
Is it a deal then?
Ok, let's see...let's see...something to write about...
Have you ever gone through a really horrifying experience...and while it's happening, you know that you'd never want to repeat that experience again...but as time goes on, your horrifying memory fades? Like, "gee, getting into a car wreck wasn't so bad. I actually sort of miss the cool feel of the windshield against my face."
Put 2 and 2 together here, folks...
I'm thinking about a serious return to graduate school!
I love watching those boxing matches where an 85-year-old former champion comes back into the ring to whoop the ass of some punk kid. That's what this is about. This could be my George Foreman grad school comeback.
On Wednesday evening, I spoke with the program advisers for a graduate program at my place of employment. I had no intention of a Fall enrollment, but they encouraged me to apply. I'm going to take the GMAT in July (my old GRE score is no longer valid. Schucks).
I don't know if I'll get in. If I get in, I don't know if I'll follow through with the program. I do know that I'm the type of person who prefers action to inertia, and I won't be able to make a proper decision until I've taken the steps to make it a realistic option.
Maybe that car accident wasn't so bad the first time around...
"OMG! Poor Kerry is in the thick of Snowmageddon 2010!"
This is true.
There I am. That's the street we live on. It really is a shit ton of snow...
"Shit ton" - a unit of measurement signifying a large quantity. What a great descriptor. ...and some people still favor the metric system. Humph.
What makes large quantities of snow unpleasant?
1. Digging yourself out of everywhere (digging out your car, your driveway, your sidewalk, etc.)
2. Moving from point a to b in the large quantities of powder.
Nobody knows this better than Native Chicagoans. I used to dig out my car, unfreeze the locks, fishtail to school, park a mile away, and traverse through the drifts to get to class. When I finally got there...tears streaming down my face from the stiff winds...I would glare at the teacher / professor...
You BETTER teach me something worth learning today. I don't wanna have to whoop somebody's ass.
Ah yes, but as Seth has pointed out, "we pay way too much in rent to have to pick up a shovel."
Indeed. That takes care of #1.
And with no car to drive and nowhere to drive it (university has been closed for several days now), that pretty much takes care of #2. Now, moving from point a to b consists of walking to the local Starbucks or grocery store.
So what happens when you have lots of snow, but no responsibility to move it or trudge through it?
You're not outside of my office window today...are you, picketers!?
Humph...I might have believed all of those "yes we cans" if you marched in the impending blizzard.
According to the website:
People post ridiculous "art" to Tumblr. These pieces frequently make it into Popular. I reblog them here and call them out for being stupid.
Written by Garrett Murray
Some of my favorites:
One Day to Live
No offense to whoever you wrote this about, but this is a stupid waste of your last day on earth. I can think of many other things you could do, most of which could involve the eyeball person, that wouldn’t feel like you were just sitting still, staring creepily until you dropped dead. You could go to the batting cages, or have a nice dinner, or you could play scrabble or make a pie. Basically, anything but literally standing still, staring at someone for 24 hours straight
Take a Breath
Here’s a little thing you might want to try enjoying: anti-aliasing. And seriously, is that Y really hanging off the frame? REALLY? This whole image is so piss-poor. Actually, scratch that—I would rather look at an image of someone pissing poorly than this. If you find an image of someone attempting to piss well but failing, send it to me and I’ll replace this one with that one.
Probably Be Happy
It’s so easy to disprove this theory. For instance, the following locations would most definitely make you unhappy, regardless of who you went with: A small room filled with spikes, a lava pit, a feces luncheon, my ex-mother-in-law’s house (especially on Saturdays when she has already had three or four drinks), or outer space without a space suit.
A feces luncheon? That's pure gold.
The most maddening thing is that I can't understand anything they're saying except, "yes we can!" ...over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
1. "Yes we can!"
2. Drums and cowbell.
3. Rinse and repeat.
AHHHHHHHHH! I'll give you whatever you want! Just make it stop!
*pats hair down and takes a deep breath*
The sheer volume of "yes we can"s has permeated my soul and has easily made me the most optimistic/crazy person on earth.
Co-worker: "Kerry, could we discuss blah blah blah?"
Kerry: "YES WE CAN!" *drum beat on the desk*
Co-worker: "I like your creepy manic enthusiasm!"
On a COMPLETELY unrelated note...
Let me introduce you to Kerry's fridge:
Because of my strange need to personify appliances...let's call her ...Fridgina.
It's not that strange. C'mon, work with me here, people.
I'm trying not to be completely shallow, but Fridgina was looking toe up. Toe up from the flo' up.
Footnote for the elderly: "Toe up" is a slang term that the kiddies use. It's short for "tore up," which implies that the "toe up" object/person is disheveled.
From her sad hodgepodge of local Thai menus, to her crooked chrome bottle opener...she needed an extreme makeover.
Now it's a fridge fit for the Real World house!
At this point, you must be thinking, "A magnet mosaic of Barack Obama on a refrigerator? ...Oooo, how intriguing!...Tell me more, Kerry!"
I'm overwhelmingly pleased that you share in my enthusiasm, dear reader.
Quite frankly, the Obamarator is the most ridiculous use of my time that I could conceive of on a snowy Saturday afternoon.
But let's have some specifics:
It's 1,242 different magnets.
It took a good 5-6 hours...
...And 3-4 beers.
Every time I see his face, I'll "hope" there's a beer on the other side.
We headed out after work yesterday to a local pub.
All of a sudden I heard "bang"! *glass shattering*
No big deal, people drop glasses/bottles all the time.
Then I hear a loud cantankerous voice scream, "Suck my ****! Suck my ****! Suck my ****!"
I turn around to see waiters scurry over to a table with two old men. These guys were old...like...really old. I think I saw one of them wearing his War of 1812 regalia.
...or maybe not.
At any rate, it turns out that one of the men threw a glass and started screaming obscenities at the other. Why, you ask?
Over a rough and tumble game of backgammon.
I told you we keep it classy.
I got to visit my family in Chicago over the Christmas holiday. Hooray! Going back home really brings back memories of my childhood...like those times my mother would say, "mess with the bull, and you'll get the horns" ...and other such maternal wisdom. "Mess with the bull..." was the perennial response to a teary-eyed child who was the victim of rough-housing.
So...on a slightly related topic...
Seth and I were rough-housing on Christmas Eve.
He picked me up, turned me upside-down and walked me up the steps into the kitchen...
Do you ever watch a football game where the announcer starts talking about your kicker right before he's about to launch a potential game winning field goal?
"And Kicker McFoot is 999/1000 from this distance. He leads the NFL in every kicking category...He has his leg insured by Lloyd's of London for $1 billion...there's never been a more sure-footed kicker in the history of football...blah blah blah..."
And you're sitting and watching your television thinking, "Damn you, Al Michaels! He's definitely going to miss it now! You just jinxed the whole team!"
Then your kicker shorts it by 10 yards.
Well, as I was turned upside-down and getting carried up the stairs, I said something ridiculous like, "Seth, watch out, you're really making my Mother nervous. Don't drop me."
And as he set me down, my pinky toe glanced off of a nearby garbage can.
"Yikes," I thought to myself..."that hurt."
I hobbled upstairs, removed my sock and saw a bone sticking through.
I freaked out.
So, we went to the hospital, they popped her back into place, sewed up the gash, and sent me home.
What joy! I got so many things for Christmas...
2. fashionable orthopedic boot
4. and a tiny rubber turtle with reindeer antlers that the nurse gave me for being such a good patient. "This turtle is to remind you to take it slow." Awwwww.
So, I hobbled home to open my other presents.
Oddly, my mother had foot surgery a few weeks ago, so she's still occasionally on crutches. The two of us are thinking about starting a hobbling street gang...or at the very least, a lame foot conga line.
I don’t think there’s any doubt about this…I really enjoy being on a campus. Of course, on the one hand, I feel slightly miffed by this career path because my main job function is basically to facilitate other people’s passions (e.g. you teach, grade papers, and research…I’ll make sure we all get paid and we’re spending mommy and daddy’s money in an efficient way. More importantly, that we’re spending Uncle Sam’s money in the way he expects. Plus, I engage in a little gentle whip cracking to see that we’re all doing our part to apply for more money so we can limit the pressure on the revenue from mommy and daddy’s checkbooks. Apply, apply, apply. If there’s money out there for what you do…please get it. I promise you’ll eat most of what you kill. And with that, I guess we’ve determined that I don’t work a lot with the English Dept.). On the other hand, I’m happy to be around people who are passionate about something. And I’m in a place to rediscover my passions, or maybe find a new one. Exciting!
So many choices. The choices! No tuition / fees to pay and all of the graduate classes here start at 5 or later, so I’m golden…I just have to pick what fancies me. Of course, herein lies the problem…
I could continue my life as Ms. Practical and go after a Master’s in Higher Education Financial Management. …or an MBA…or a Master’s in Finance.
Or I could do something fun, like a graduate certificate in Int’l Economic Policy. I see absolutely no practical application of taking six courses in International Economics / Business, but it’s a portion of my background that I’ve always been interested in and lacking. (Or maybe language classes, or a graduate certificate in survey and data analysis. Who knows!?).
I want something rigorous, and I don’t really want to get an MBA…I could be wrong, but that whole process seems more like a test of how long you’re able to endure part-time monotony and group work. Ideally I’d like to light up parts of my brain AND have something practical at the end of the day (practical in the sense of acquiring knowledge and obtaining a useful credential).
Is this even possible?
It's frickin' freezing. Everyday I think about the following bit of trivia as I walk from my office to the train...
Question: At what temperature are degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius equal?
I walk along and I wonder if we'll get there...it certainly feels like we might. Then I make it to the train...that warm and gloriously quiet place where you can close your eyes and forget where you're at if it weren't for the heavy cloud of Old Spice and wisps of coffee breath snapping you back to reality. Not to mention the inappropriate touching. A day doesn't go by where I don't straighten-up suddenly and ask myself, "did that old lady just grab my ass? or was it an accident?"
Long story short: My body certainly hasn't yet adjusted to the Northern Virginia winter.
Case in point, we went to watch the Redskins play the Saints on Sunday (free club level seats, sucka). Although it was an awesome game, it was so difficult to pay attention with the chill that ran through my soul. The topper was the frosty $9 beer spilled on my lap by the one who shares a bank account with me, but shall remain nameless. $9?! C'mon! I went into the bathroom, stripped to my skivvies, and sucked the beer from the soiled fabric. These are not the actions of a lush; In these trying economic times, ideas like that are called "thrifty."
Now, I love football. Love. football. It's close to a perfect sport. But you can't just sit me in the cold for multiple weekends and expect me not become slightly conditioned to hate the game. This is why I'm forgoing this weekend's trip to Philadelphia with Seth for the Army v. Navy contest.
I was raised in Illinois. There, 0-15 degrees is a bit nippy, so you may want to grab a coat and hat. 15-30 degrees? You can and should still grill outside. 30-45 degrees? I can finally wear flip flops again. And 45+ degrees is a reason for celebration. We'd break out the slip n' slide and play lawn darts. What in the hell is wrong with me? Will I ever toughen up again?
Of course, all teachers have an incentive to say, “every single lesson is important.” After all, they’re competing with other teachers (not to mention countless other distractions) for student time and attention. What’s the advantage in saying, “the following is in no way useful. Please ignore me as I waste my precious breath”?
But it’s learning to weed out all the bullshit that can put someone on the path to being a successful adult.
My sister and I were just talking about an old English teacher spotted on Facebook. That hag made us write a one page journal entry every night. Blah blah blah about our hopes and dreams…then she would read and grade them. My sister and I were notorious for never completing the journal assignment.
Aside: for those of you without the pleasure of an older sibling, you must fully understand that your brother or sister has the incredible power to set up expectations of you. Like… my big sister’s actual performance = my potential performance + e. If my sister set a good example years prior, I could basically take a dump and hand it in as an assignment. But…she also burned some bridges (Thanks a million, Sis). Some teachers acted as though they had been seriously wronged ...and torturing me would somehow even out the universe.
Needless to say…that old English teacher managed to call all of my bluffs and accepted none of my excuses.
But I still didn’t write that stupid, sucky-ass journal.
Why? Because that, my friends, is a bullshit assignment.
Prioritizing and identifying the bullshit is such an important life lesson. If I had the task of writing a journal in my current job…I’d delegate that shit out to an admin assistant, or a grad student…
“I want a detailed summary of my hopes and dreams on my desk by 5. And can we get it without passive voice this time?!”
Every teacher I knew swore up and down that I’d NEED my knowledge of trigonometry…or proper paper mache and diorama making…or a perfect translation of Don Quixote.
…and they were totally right about the dioramas.
What I really meant to write in this post was something that I was TAUGHT…IN SCHOOL… that has proven so useful in my life.
And it’s simply about professionalism. Now, perhaps the Illini bobblehead on my desk doesn’t scream “PROFESSIONAL!” …And that time that I sent my potential new boss a picture of a flying monkey as a follow-up to a job interview? …maybe not the most mature thing to do (but I got an offer…so take that, social norms).
Professionalism for me is more about courtesy and respect.
Quickly follow-up with people. Learn their names. Be sure to thank them when they help (even when you don’t think a thank you is needed). Address them formally until they give you an indication to do otherwise.
And you’re going to run across people who take it a step too far. You’ll find people who demand way more respect than you think they deserve…
…and while you’d love to politely suggest that they take professional development classes in “getting over themselves…”
Little sprinkles of tact can make your life so much easier.
These things alone can set you apart. Isn't that insane!? Imagine if you have half a brain and an ounce of motivation to add to that package.
Thank you, University of Illinois College of Business. Teaching those simple lessons over and over again is the best money that was ever spent on my education.
I must say, it feels like the “train people” are a whole different species...
1. Living underground.
2. Moving in packs.
3. Going about their business in complete silence …with their mostly solemn and expressionless faces.
Everyday I feel like I’m visiting some kooky monastery.
On rare occasions, one of the train people will speak. Since speaking is such an unusual privilege among the train people, all speech must only serve to reinforce the rules of their society.
And the rules are extensive indeed.
Luckily, I’m well versed in their most important rule, “STAND RIGHT, WALK LEFT!” …Many years ago, a younger Kerry experienced a Singapore-esque umbrella caning by one of the train people after displaying ignorance to the rule on the escalator. Kerry’s bum never forgot.
The other rules are of lesser importance, but still provide the fabric of the train people society…
Do NOT look at anyone squarely in the eyes for a period lasting longer than .5 seconds.
Do NOT stand in the doorway when people are boarding / deboarding.
Do NOT delay the train people waiting behind you with fumbling / misuse of your fare card.
Do NOT attempt to make polite chitchat, unless the chitchat serves to reinforce the rules (Example of permissible chitchat: “can you believe that idiot didn’t stand right?”) This includes (but is certainly not limited to) very long delays when the train is stopped in a dark tunnel.
Do NOT…for any period of time…stop to contemplate where you’re going or what train you will use. The train people will undoubtedly “tsk” you into a world of shame.
Consequences for rule violations are swift and just, ranging from the aforementioned caning, to the less severe tongue lashing.
So it’s all quite a change. I’m coming from Charleston, the world of happy chatty people. This system is so peculiar to me …as a former happy chatty person.
It’s just one big, damn, anonymous hurry. And just another life change.
Okay...that's not exactly true. I don't hate cars; they're a necessary and sometimes efficient means of getting from 'a' to 'b'. I just don't believe in purchasing vehicles that go above and beyond safe, reliable transportation.
There's two pretty strong camps on this one, and I think I'll definitely get some push back from those on the other side of the spectrum. There's a group of people who really love their fancy schmancy autos. Can anyone blame them? I mean, why did I always want a Porsche growing up? Because Barbie drove one. Car manufacturers do an excellent job of branding 'cool' and 'luxury'.
And for some, it's just what they're into. And that's fine. I appreciate that a car can be beautiful. I respect that. I also have hobbies. For example, I'm into saving and investments.
"But Kerry, some cars are good investments."
Valid point. And if your name is Jay Leno, I stand corrected. It's the definition of "some" in the previous sentence that confuses most other people. "Some" means almost none. Like...approaching zero. A car that "holds its value" is not quite the same as a good investment.
This topic always gets me fired up...
Calm down, Kerry...
Count to 10...
Okay. So, there's nothing wrong with purchasing expensive German autos so you can drive to your kid's soccer practices and Whole Foods. If the BMW emblem adds that much value into your life, then so be it. I'm in no position to tell other people how to live their lives. In fact, I abhor the type of person who would attempt to do so.
Be that as it may, our household dumped off one of its autos today. And I couldn't be happier! We're both taking the metro to work and barely have need for one car, let alone two. No more maintenance, no more $100 per month parking charge, no more depreciation. Amen! Freedom!
Sweetness. I think I could get used to this.
Uncle Sam will just have to wait for now.
I think I'll be just fine. No worries.
The early 1990’s Valley Girl in my head is saying “well, no duh,” as I type this.
Indeed. No duh.
When I left my last job in Virginia Beach, I worked through Wednesday, drove up on Thursday, and started my new job that Monday. After that stressful series of events, I had a very “Gone with the Wind” / “Tara” moment where I shouted in my empty Virginia townhouse, “As God Is My Witness, they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never take off so little time in between jobs again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never take off so little time in between jobs again!!”
There was that great dramatic scene a little more than two years ago…and where do I find myself today? Well, tomorrow I will pack up my desk and drive the 550 miles to get to DC. I start my new life and job on Monday.
Here’s how I expected this transition to work out…
All aboard the train to Fantasy Land!
Seth and I would find jobs that would double our salaries and give us healthy signing bonuses. These fantastic new jobs would require us to start employment in mid-November. We would leave our old jobs at the beginning of October and spend the next month and a half traveling to far away and exotic places. If time permitted, we’d scale Mt. Everest without oxygen, build homes for orphans, learn Mandarin, and program our DVR to record MNF while we’re gone.
Okay, so maybe it was a little far-fetched; I hate that tricky DVR…damn thing always runs out of recording space. Erase the programs you’ve already watched, Seth! (That should elicit at least one comment to this post).
All I wanted was some time. Time to settle. I’m like a bowl of pudding without the skin…never cooling…always agitated. And it has been well documented in popular culture that the pudding skin is by far the best part of that particular dish.
Okay…so that’s the whine…now here’s the cheese…
When I was a kid, I grew up in a world that consisted of the block I lived on. I had no idea what else was out there, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t care (as long as the freeze pops kept coming and my pudding had a healthy dermis).
As I grew older, the world got bigger. And then I came to the realization that I was small. We’re talkin’ really small. Like a blade of grass…or a grain of sand. It’s slightly depressing…e.g. how could a blade of grass ever expect to impact the universe?
But, truth be told…I’m not a blade of grass. Luckily for me, I’m not planted in one place. I’m going to live in different cities, I’m going to experience each locale to the fullest, I’m going to meet lots of different people, and I’m going to hang on to the friendships I’ve made along the way.
As my plan thus far…it’s been flippin’ sweet.
And so with that, I intend to continue the flippin’ sweetness of my life.
From Dawn to Sunset!
What GM thinks a day in the life of a GM worker is like. ...As true today as it was when it was written. Kinda makes me want to work in a factory.
(I think there may be more to this video...the part I actually remember is when all the workers get paychecks and spend them to make America wonderful)
Yesterday… I put in my two weeks notice.
Tuesday…I accepted a job offer at a university (Officially, the position is somewhat similar to jobs I’ve held in the past. Unofficially, I get to harass professors. The shoe is on the other hand now, pal).
All this change doesn’t come easily and without some drawbacks. The awful blemish breakout on my face is certainly an indicator of the kind of stress I’m feeling right now. It’s just terror. Absolute, unadulterated fear.
You think I’d be used to this by now, right?
My adult life to this point has basically been a James Patterson novel…without the clunky thrill plots. Entire chapters made up of 1-2 pages, and then off to another locale.
Through all that time, in all the places I’ve lived, I’ve stuck to one simple rule that I believe has made all the difference…
# of toilets in a residence = # of people living in the residence
I used to subscribe to the philosophy that the number of toilets should equal n+1, where n = number of people. Seemed like a good idea. Really just a safety precaution. Then I realized how truly awful that is…
...since I was the member of n who was always cleaning n+1 toilets.
Silly people in your McMansions…never realizing that each member of the household only possesses one excretory system.
Anyways, here’s really why I’m stressed…
Our new place has n-1 toilets! If I were living alone…that would REALLY be reason to panic, but since I’ve decided to continue residing with my beautiful husband, it’s only slightly less terrifying.
Talk about life changes.
Did I say that she always wanted to be an economist? Ok…so that’s not entirely true. She never actually knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. She flip-flopped. Often. First it was magician…then President of the United States…then journalist. Economist seemed to be a reasonable compromise.
Well folks, sometime in between pursuing the dream and experiencing the reality, Carrie never became an economist. She’s just on a different path. It’s not a bad path…it’s actually a very happy path...it’s just dissimilar from where she imagined herself.
Now, Carrie is amidst another life change.
She recently interviewed and received two job offers located in a North American national capital (not that one).
One is at a think tank (not that one…or that one…or that one).
One is at a university (not that one…or that one).
…two types of places where Carrie always imagined herself in a city that she has always adored.
Carrie feels as though accepting either of these job offers will propel her career forward, but may take her further from what she’s always wanted to do.
Is that okay? Should she just throw caution to the wind and accept that janitorial position at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México?
It’s a lot more fun to think of completely inappropriate responses. As a creative thinking exercise, come up with some inappropriate responses to common interview questions and leave your thoughts in the comments. WEEE! What fun! To start you off…I’ve included a few of my own below.
DISCLAIMER: I must insist that you never say the following during a job interview as it may hurt your chances for employment…
Interview question: “How do you work under pressure?”
“Whoa whoa whoa, back the truck up, Chief. The job description never said anything about working under pressure.”
Interview question: “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”
“Clean and sober for the past two years.”
“Oh…well I’ll only be working for ‘the man’ until my band gets signed.”
Interview question: “Tell me about yourself.”
“Had a job at XYZ, got mad at my jerk boss…yada yada yada…he made a full recovery and I just completed my court-ordered anger management. But I’m much more centered now.”
Interview question: “What is your proudest moment?”
“One time…I forded a river while having dysentery AND a snake bite…in the dead of winter! …but then lived to travel the entire Oregon Trail.”
“The day the paternity test proved to that gold digger that I wasn’t the father. Showed her!”
Interview question: "What is your salary requirement?"
“That you pay me under the table in cash.”
Interview question: “What is your biggest weakness?”
“My calves. Thinkin’ about implants. Then I’d be the total package.”
Interview question: “Why did you leave your last job?”
“Those Puritans with delicate sensibilities frowned upon my workplace porn addiction.”
“I had a major bathroom emergency…walked out the front door immediately afterwards. Now I can never return. True story.”
Not so much.
Shooting guns doesn't really occur to me as something recreational. I'll never look at a big new gun and say, "That looks awesome. Check out that sweet stock. I can't wait to shoot it." But I'm a Libertarian. We're supposed to love guns. I'm supposed to turn into the brand of elderly woman who sits on her porch with a rifle on her knee, sips Bartles and Jaymes, and waits for trespassing kids to walk onto her lawn to collect an errant frisbee. Yet, I'm pretty squeamish about the whole idea of firing deadly projectiles.
So, wanting to better understand the fascination, I went to a gun range today to fire off a few rounds (notice how I've incorporated all of this new gun lingo into my vocabulary..."rounds"..."stock"...the local confederate militia will no doubt accept me as one of their own). And call me a wuss, but it was scary. They didn't have any water or cap guns as I requested, so I used a .22 caliber pistol. I wanted one affixed with a bayonet...but apparently they don't do that with pistols (you learn something new every day!)
I'm not too bad...
And if there's an evil-doer out there who looks exactly like this...
...and he remains perfectly still at 5 meters (probably wouldn't be going anywhere too quickly without legs)...
...while I carefully load a round...
...and take off the safety...
...then his lower right-hand abdomen is toast!
Steady your breathing, boys. I meant to say that I’m preparing to re-enter the job market (this is merely a preventative maneuver…much like a colonoscopy. Seth is looking for a new job, so I want to have several irons in the fire if we have to move. If I left my current job, it would have to be the perfect opportunity, so I'm being very selective in my applications). Some women give me an awful/hateful/disgusted look when I tell them that I don’t wear my wedding ring to job interviews. Believe me, it’s not in an attempt to seduce the interviewer…
Kerry winks “seductively.”
Interviewer: Is everything okay? What’s wrong with your face?
I’m nearing 28 years-old and I’m married. My female peers have either spawned, or will soon spawn. They are far more likely to use family leave, use sick time, and leave precisely at 5 to collect their offspring at daycare. These are in fact, the perceived average characteristics of married, college-educated females in my cohort. …and I support those life choices. That may very well describe me in the next few years…but…
Why would I willingly give a visual cue of my marital status that may incite statistical discrimination?
If I choose to tell a potential employer that I am married (which I almost always do, by the way), I like that it’s my choice. I’m not out to deceive people; that’s not an effective way to build a relationship. Being a married, late twenty-something should have nothing to do with my ability to perform a job. Seth and I have discussed this at great length and are in full agreement.
Of course, part of me feels that I’ve taken one too many labor economics courses. …or read too much about women in the workforce. I mean, why would I want to work somewhere that discriminates against working mothers? Truth be told, if it comes down to all other things being equal (education, experience, etc.), I don’t want any reason to lose an opportunity to a single, childless candidate. And for you skeptics out there, I hope you realize that ultimately, this is all in good fun. My marriage to Seth is so unique and enjoyable because we love to hypothesize about these kinds of things. It would seem silly not to follow through with the social experiment.
What do you think? Am I way off base here? Has the business world changed so much in the past 20 years (in support of working women) that these kinds of shenanigans are no longer necessary? Is it so common now to have children out of wedlock, or be a young divorcee that wedding rings are no longer signals of potential bambinos? With the ‘bread-winner’ mentality still so prevalent for men, do you think it would be better for a man to portray himself as married? Or single? Should I dress in drag to further squash the idea of any statistical discrimination based on gender (I have the shoulders to pull it off)?
Don't trust my opinion? Just get a peek at some of these glowing reviews on Amazon...
One wolf howling at the moon T-shirt? Good.
Two wolves howling at the moon T-shirt? Great.
THREE wolves howling at the moon T-shirt? OMFG!!!
Simply put, this is the greatest garment known to man. At least until the team of scientists and silk-screeners working round the clock find a way to put FOUR wolves howling at the moon on a T-shirt.
This is the T-shirt God would wear. If He wanted to look AWESOME.
Well, as a gag I ordered one for the hell of it. I was going to wear it to my bro's batchelor party, just for the reaction factor. But something spectacular happened when I tried it on for the first time once it arrived.
Every night, for the past 6 weeks, I have been visited by 3 wolf sprirts. And every night, they bestow upon me endless amounts of knowledge and offerings of imitation crab meat. They consider me their brothern, and I have found clarity and purpose in my life.
I now feel alive for the first time and you can't get me out of this thing!
If you are planning on spending exactly $9.14 on yourself this year, this better be the purchase.
Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.
I was born with a terrible deformity in my right hand - it is withered and rolled in on itself and useless. I ordered this shirt hoping that it would mend the hole that has grown in my soul over the years.
When the package arrived, I opened it with my left hand and began to realize there was a strange tingling sensation in my right hand! Suddenly it rushed forth through my entire body. When it hit my head I saw God!
When this sensation ended, I looked at my old, dead hand and, lo! and behold, it was still deformed.
But the shirt fits really well.
Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.
If your sense of humor is anything like mine, you'll spend hours reading all these reviews...
A little background for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with a common office fridge…
When an office fridge is introduced to a workplace, people gleefully add items to the shelves. It’s a bountiful menagerie of frozen dinners, sodas, fruit, yogurt, and last night’s something or other.
Then…someone eats a yogurt. It’s tasty. It’s blueberry with granola. But it wasn’t their yogurt.
Let the games begin. Five minutes later in my in-box…
Subject: Beware! You are not amongst friends!
It has been brought to my attention that my blueberry yogurt with granola has been usurped. Maybe it was an honest mistake. ….but then again…maybe it wasn’t. Colleagues, it is not my intention to incite panic, but the usurper could be back. Please run (don’t walk!) to the refrigerator and clearly mark all of your items with your name.
If you have any questions, please contact the local hospital. My blood sugar has dropped from my lack of yogurt and I can no longer function properly to finish out the day.
I hope you’re happy now (and full of my blueberry goodness), usurper.
Weeks go by and no additional yogurt larceny occurs. But…a new phenomenon starts to brew…
Subject: I Ain’t Yo Mama
The fridge is freakin’ nasty. I know you don’t live like that at home. Someone’s block of cheese has given birth to a new block of cheese, and the apple juice has fermented into a potent alcoholic cider.
I’ll take care of the cider…but I am not yo mama. Please remove all of your gross moldy items by Thursday at noon…or else!
Burn in Hell,
There’s a general sense of apathy regarding this request.
Or else what? You’ll throw out my moldy food for me?
Then around Thursday at 11:45 AM, people begin to realize that they had previously avoided any further food usurping by leaving their moniker on numerous items!
The jig is up!
Time to stealthily slither over to the fridge…find your piece of mold…break out the Sharpie …and scribble out your name.
Not that I’ve ever done that.
And yet some people still think that Communism is a great idea. Humph.