Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Four Year Itch

The company that I work for is pretty generous in it's vacation-giving. You get two weeks when hired, along with a couple of floating holidays and sick days. When the calendar year that your third anniversary starts, you get three weeks. I happen to be on the more positive end of this because my anniversary is in September. Last year I hit three years, so I was pretty excited about an extra week to use.

Prior to getting three weeks, I was a bit of a hoarder when it came to vacation. I didn't really have anywhere to go, since my family lives an hour away, so it wasn't all that necessary to take a week off to go visit them or even to take longer weekends. I ended up just saving my time and taking a couple of weeks off around the holidays. Last year I, inadvertantly, did this again. I was to be off for practically a month, including the time that the office is closed for the holidays, but was assigned a meeting that took up two weeks of my vacation. They were kind enough to let me carry over my remaining days (normally, we have a use-it-or-lose-it policy), but the catch was that I had to use it by the end of March.

In the beginning, it seemed like a daunting tasks to take over two weeks of vacation in the first quarter, especially considering I was pretty busy. Lucky for me, things got cancelled, The Boyfriend made his grand entrance, and my brother was getting ready to leave, so the days started dwindling. I think I went almost two months without being in the office for a full week. Needless to say, it was fantastic! And the days off didn't stop at the end of March, either. I just kept taking them; sometimes with a purpose, other times willy-nilly. It became a personal goal to take every single day that I've earned this year.

Right now, with three full months left in the year, I'm left with three and a half vacation days half of a sick day remaining. All but the half sick day have been planned. I don't really have anywhere to go right now and I don't regret how I used the countless days I've already taken, but I'm wishing that I had some more time available to me. I'm chained to my desk!

Perhaps it's because I haven't done much in the way of work this year. I'm considerably less busy this calendar year than I was last. Isn't that obvious? And when I'm not busy, I just simply don't want to be at work. If I had things to do, it would be much easier for me to get out of bed every morning and drive to work. I'm also thinking it has something to do with the fact that I've been in the same position, doing the same things for the last four years.

Sure, there are projects that I'm hoping to get assigned to, but there's no guarantee that I'll actually get them. I've taken on a "new role" and more responsibilities, but I'm not being compensated for it... "yet." I just feel like I'm going through the motions and I don't like it. I'm ready for something new - a change of scenery or something. Even the new things that I've been put in charge of don't seem to be interesting. Maybe I'm just not putting the effort into that I should...

I'm not entirely sure what to do about this. If the truth be told, I've got it pretty good here. I've got the most seniority (if that even applies) in my position and a decent reputation. And come January, I'll have another three weeks of vacation to figure out something to do with.

But January is sooooooo far away...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Klutzy? Not Usually...

Today I'm meeting Kev and his little brother (not blood, like from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization) at Blizzard Beach and then heading to Melbourne afterward. Because of all of this, I had to pack my stuff to spend the night. I got all my stuff together and I thought to myself "I'll just run my stuff down to the car and then put on my sunscreen and then head out." No big deal, right?

Perhaps it wouldn't be a big deal if I hadn't been prancing around all morning in just my bathing suit. Thankfully, it's modest. In fact, I had a pretty tough time getting into it, thanks to the built-in corset made of spandex and elastic.

Right now, I'm pretty glad that nothing is moving anywhere in this suit because I took my chances with not putting anything on over my bathing suit to run my stuff to my car. I figured it's not even 10 a.m. yet, no one that's going to care what I have on will be up this early on a Saturday morning. I get to my car and the guy parked next to me must've been drunk when he got home because he's parked at an angle and I could hardly open my back door while holding my stuff. Obviously I'm in a rush here because, well, I just look silly. So I finally stuff my belongings into the back seat and make my way back to my apartment.

As I'm walking, I'm looking at my shadow to and thinking "Why is it that when you know there's nothing covering your shoulders, it looks like you're naked in your shadow?" Yes, these are things that run through my head. I was also trying to make sure that my posture was as perfect as possible so there were no unsightly bulges escaping from my bathing suit. I wanted to at least appear as though I were a trained swimsuit model to and passers-by.

Ask me how many times I've climbed those stairs in the last four (and change) years. Ask me how many cases of water I've carried up said stairs without a problem, like it's a pillow. Ask me how many times I've had any sort of spill on those stairs.

Two. That's how many times I've come close to eating it. Until this morning.

Yes, as I got to stair number 11 (of course I count them - every time. you don't?) something happened. I don't know what it was, but it wasn't good. Perhaps the combination of counting and sucking in and walking gracefully was just too much. My brain overloaded, one of my feet miscalculated the distance to step number 12 and I was going down, down, down.

Why is that when you trip, the other foot doesn't realize that something's amiss and just stay put? Why does the other foot keep doing what it was orginally d0ing? Shouldn't they work as a team, always aware of what the other is doing and ready to compensate when their partner goofs? I think they should, but obviously this isn't the way it works. It's one of lifes cruellest jokes.

I was able to catch myself and have no injuries to report... yet. On the way down, all I could think about was how I didn't want to scrape my knees and then have to be at a water park today. I should've been more concerned with whether or not I was about to flash an innocent bystander because of a wardrobe malfunction. The good news is that the bathing stayed intact. In fact, I didn't even have to readjust once I pulled myself back up off the stairs as quickly as possible.

This had better not be a preview of what my day is going to be like. The next time I find myself going down, I'm staying down and playing dead. Someone better be standing by, ready to perform mouth-to-mouth.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Whoever the genius was that coined this term should be knighted or something. I probably only feel this way because I don't have them. I do, however, worry that sometimes it appears I do. I shy away from shoes that have straps around the ankle because I feel as though I look like I have the dreaded cankles. It's no secret that I love shoes and it pains me that this irrational fear keeps a ton of cute shoes out of my closet!

I saw an a link to something (I wouldn't call it an article, really) that talked about cankles. It described what they are and how to deal with them if you have them. Evidently some people have actually had surgery performed to correct them. What exactly could that entail? Does some plastic surgeon go in and remove fat from around the ankles? It doesn't seem like there would be much that they could do because there's a lot of bones and whatnot down there. But I'm no anatomist.

Accordingly to this website, there are also exercises that you can do to help reduce the size of your cankles. In fact, a particular gym had an entire class devoted to shrinking cankles!

I can think of a few people that could use a referral to either the cankle doctor or that gym. Maybe they like their cankles, you say? Well, good for them! Anklets don't.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You're Kidding Me, Right?

I saw this article today about a woman who gave birth to a 19 pound baby. Thankfully, she had a C-section. I really doubt it would be possible to deliver a child of that size naturally. At least I hope it isn't.

Then I wondered... Could that happen to me? How do you not know you're carrying a child that large? How do I keep this from happening to me?

I think that fat babies are cute. The fatter the better, actually, but this is a bit much. If I were that woman, I'd probably be filing a malpractice suit against the medical professional(s) who didn't see that coming. Surely they could tell, when the woman looked like she had a bass drum under her shirt, that something was amiss with this pregnancy.

I (naively) thought that I'd be married by the time I was 20, have my first child by 22 and be done having kids by 30. Clearly, my life took the path of spinsterhood. The reality is that I'll be lucky to be married by the time I'm 30 and there will be no carts before the horse. I suppose I'm okay with that. I don't really have much of a choice, do I?!

My biggest issue is my awareness of the complications and problems that can occur. Even things that are normal and should happen make me wary. It's not a good thing. I'm much better off living in oblivion. Especially when it comes to things like the giving birth to a three-year-old.

So what's my proposed solution? This:

Dear TLC/Lifetime/Discovery Health Channel,
Please cancel all shows involving child birth, child rearing, and families with multiples/copious amounts of children. You're giving me ulcers.

(And please don't point out the obvious. I know that I could refrain from watching these shows, but my curiosity gets me every time. If they simply didn't exist, I wouldn't be tempted!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Several weeks ago I received a jury summons in the mail. At first glance, I had the same reaction that everyone does. After I thought about it, though, I got kind of excited. Unfortunately the excitement didn’t last. As it got closer, I started to hope that I wouldn’t have to actually report. I had a lot going on at work and I tend to not enjoy doing things that I’ve never done before. (Firsts are hard for me. I’ve probably mentioned that before.) But I figured it's probably going to be an experience, so if I had to go, I'd at least have a story to tell later.

The instructions said to call after 5 p.m. on the day prior to your report date to see if you would be needed, so I did. The recording announced that juror numbers 1 through 715 would need to report the next day; all others were excused. My number: 496. Awesome. (Side bar: Can I just tell you how many people told me to just not go? Every time someone found out that I had to go to jury duty, they said "I got the summons, but I just didn't go and nothing's happened to me." I'm not sure which would be worse if I just didn't show up: potentially being held in contempt or my mom being mad at me for skipping out. She hates rule breakers.)

I arrived on time, parked my car on the 7th level of the garage, as instructed, and followed the crowd of people who were carrying their summons. Mine was in my purse because I prefer to blend in to my surroundings and not stick out like a sore thumb. Thank heaven for people less superficial than I! Once I was in the courthouse, getting through security was relatively easy. The line was long, but moved quickly and there were no hold ups. Even checking in in the Juror Assembly room was relatively painless, but I already had my eyes peeled for weirdos.

It didn't take long to find someone that was a little off. While standing in line to get checked in, I looked up and saw a man carrying an industrial sized cooler. It was one of those construction worker lunch coolers like this:

My first thought was "Maybe he doesn't expect to be here for long and has to go straight to work." Then I saw the real reason for it. As he got closer to me, his little daughter came into view. She couldn't have been more than 3 years old. My next thought was "Who brings their toddler to jury duty? And what are you going to do with her if you get chosen? Surely she's not permitted to go into the courtroom with you!" I think that child care services may be available at the courthouse for people who are serving, but I'm not positive about that. Regardless, getting a stranger at the courthouse to take care of my child would be the very last option that I would take. Perhaps this was a last resort for him. I don't know.

After receiving instructions (via a better than average video, clearly filmed in and around the Orange County Courthouse) they started picking people. I have to say, the whole process is quite interesting. Basically, a deputy comes down to the assembly room, tells the people working behind the counter how many jurors a judge has requested and they put this number into their computer. They then receive a print out of that number of jurors that have been selected by a sort of lottery system. They read off your juror number and first name and you go to the front of the room. They do one last quick check and then the group gets their instructions from the deputy on what's about to happen. It's quite efficient, I must say.

My next weirdo encounter was when they were calling up the third or fourth group of jurors. I was waiting to hear my number, but it didn't pop up, so I went back to reading my book only to be interrupted by some guy yelling "Whoo hoo! 4 A!" I looked over and saw him practically running to the front of the room as if Johnny from the Price Is Right had just called his juror number and told him to "Come on down!" Once he had everyone's attention, he continued. "I'm excited! It's my first time!" People then began to snicker and I have no doubt that the deputy was thinking "I love a clown."

Unfortunately, his antics didn't end there. After the deputy gave instruction on how they were going to get to the fourth floor (via the elevator, because it would be faster than the escalator and lessens the possibility of losing someone) and asked if anyone had any issues, Bozo chimes in with "I'm afraid of heights." The deputy pretty much denied any sort of special privileges and said something to the effect of "It won't take long to get up there." Making sure to get the last word in, he relents. "I'm just kidding." I was hoping that the deputy was start to cuff him and get him half way out the door before saying "I'm just kidding." No dice.

Shortly after all of that took place, a judge requested 40 jurors. As soon as I heard how large this group was going to be, I knew my number was up. Sure enough, number 496 was on the list. Once we got to twelfth floor, we were greeted by a sherrif and told that we'd be called in shortly. I just happened to look out the window and noticed a sparkling white building with a single spire sitting all by itself on the horizon. I quickly realized that it was the Orlando Temple. I'm not sure that anyone who is unfamiliar with it would question what it was or even notice it. I was happy to see it and recognize it for what it is, though. Something else, that I'd never seen before, caught my eye. It was a huge cross. I have no idea where it's located in this city or who it belongs to. Perhaps some other juror recognized it and was pleasantly surprised by it, just as I was by the temple.

We finally got in the courtroom and the judge started giving us instructions and asking questions. It was funny to hear some of the reasons that people thought they wouldn't be able to serve on the jury, if chosen. It was even funnier when the judge, in a really nice way, let them know that their excuses weren't valid enough for him and they weren't going anywhere. The only reasonable excuse that I heard was in response to why someone would be unable to hear the case and make a decision based solely on what the attorneys had presented. It was a sexual assault case, on a child under 12, and one juror said that she'd been sexually abused as a child and it would far too difficult for her to have to hear it. This was the only instance that the judge seemed to make any sort of allowance for, but she still had to wait with everyone else for the selection process.

Hearing the charges read aloud, with the defendant sitting less than 15 feet directly in front of me, was weird. I didn't feel unsafe in any way, but hearing how graphic the description of the charges were, it made me uncomfortable. I think something would be terribly wrong if someone didn't feel uncomfortable hearing that type of thing. Interestingly enough, the guy didn't look like some hardened criminal, as one might expect. He looked terrified, and rightly so, to be sitting there in front of 40 people who would potentially be deciding the fate of the rest of his life. I almost felt badly for him when a lady behind me (who had a response to EVERY question that the judge asked - you know the type) said that she didn't think she could hear the case because just hearing the charges being read made her extremely uncomfortable and she thought that it was just disgusting that someone could do something like that. I felt badly, not because I thought what he did was in any way acceptable, but because he probably already knew this (at least I hope he did) and had to listen to someone telling him how disgusting his actions were and how dispicable she thought he was. Had he looked like he enjoyed doing what he allegedly did or like he was being inconvenienced by having to be there, I may have felt differently.

As luck would have it, we were released for lunch and when we came back, the defendant had decided to accept the plea deal that the state had offered him. It turns out that the family of the victim decided that they didn't want the girl to have to testify and open up this old wound that she'd been working so hard to heal. I'm not sure how old she is now, but she was under 12 when the incidents supposedly happened. She was there and I did see her and she didn't even look old enough to drive. It was really quite sad. Hopefully they can all get the help that they need to get through this horrific situation. The judge even mentioned that he's much better off with the deal that he took because, had he stood trial and been found guilty, he likely would've spent the rest of his life in jail. He's only 23.

For the most part, the whole experience wasn't as awful as I thought it could have been. I was certainly glad that I wasn't chosen and that I didn't have to listen to all the gory details of the case that the state was trying to prove. I'm still trying to forget the language used to descibe the charges. The Boyfriend was disturbed by what I told him and I said it as nicely as I possibly could. (Too bad I wasn't able to snap a picture of that face with the webcam!) If I happen to get summoned again, I won't be as opposed to going as I was this time. I mean, I'm an pro now!

And perhaps it was nice to be driving home at 1:30 in the afternoon, instead of being chained to my desk...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Are You New?

I normally don't post twice in the same day. Today is a rare occassion.

So half of my hour and 15 minute drive home was through pouring rain. This is nothing new to me because I've lived in Florida the entire 27 years I've been on this earth. You just expect those summer afternoon thunderstorms. You plan on them. It may not rain, but if it does, you really shouldn't be all that surprised. It's just the way it is. Like the wind blowing in Chicago, I would assume.

Two things really get under my skin while driving: breaking on the highway and driving with your caution lights blinking in the rain. Luckily, there weren't too many people breaking today, but there were plenty of people with their caution lights on. At one point, I was wishing that there was some way that I could call these people on their cell phones and just say "Um... do you have a flat tire? Is your car over-heating? Do you need to pull off the road for some reason? No? Okay, well then turn your caution lights off, you idiot!"

It wasn't a secret that it was raining. There wasn't an accident ahead. We were, in fact, traveling at about 50-60 mph. It was just a constant rain. Everyone could see at least four of the cars ahead of them. There are times when it's raining so hard that you can't see the person's tail lights in front of you. There are times when you have to slow down to 30 on the interstate. This was not one of those times. I swear that I could see at least 6 people at one time with their caution lights on. And all with Florida plates. Go figure.

When I got off of I-95 at my exit, the traffic light was completely off. Surprisingly, everyone was doing pretty well at treating it as a four-way stop. I was pleasantly surprised. We all must've been paying attention in Driver's Ed! Then I got to the the traffic light on the east side of I-95. The people that I encountered there clearly did NOT pay attention in Driver's Ed. One car took it's turn and three cars behind them took that same person's turn. Again, I needed their cell phone numbers so that I could educate them on being a curteous, if not semi-intelligent, driver.

Thankfully, I made it home safely. Construction, rain and all.

My Favorite Season

I'm a girly girl, always have been, but I love football. My uncle was the head coach at the school that my parents graduated from. So after moving to Melbourne, we'd always go to the games, to support him (I assume) and spend time with family on the weekends. (This is probably part of the reason that I don't think it's abnormal how often I go to my parents' on the weekends.)

I remember having to sit in the stands with them, but always wishing I could be hanging on the front fence at the bottom of the stands with the other "big" kids or, even better, playing under the bleachers. This was not something my mom and dad allowed me to do, perhaps because I was like 5. But it was fun to sit in the stands and see my uncle walking the sidelines and my cousins on the field either cheering or being a ball boy.

As I got older and started going to games at my junior high or high school or my brother's games, I came to realize that there's something about the lights, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the distant sounds of the band making it's way to the field that cannot be replicated. This combination is something you only find at a football game. To this day, the football field is one of only two places that I'll eat a hot dog by choice.

I was in band in junior high and high school and, while I loved playing music and that aspect of my affiliation of the band, I hated that I was trapped in that cordoned off section of the bleachers. We did not have the option of only playing during the regular school day. If you were in band, you had to be in pep or marching band unless you were a cheerleader or football player. And in high school, you couldn't do both at all; it was one or the other. I wanted so badly be be able to go the games and sit with my friends and be able to just hang out. I would pray for a rain out so that I could change and go meet my friends at the game, but that rarely happened. Looking back on it, it was a good experience for me. My high school's band was one of the best (if not THE best) in the district, when our football team was at the opposite end of the spectrum. When the football team was destined for a losing season, the marching band was always a success and I enjoyed being a part of that.

A little part of me also misses "having" to go home every weekend because Coley has a game. He would always call and ask me if I was coming home for the game, already knowing that I was. I loved being close enough that I could sit in the stands for once and watch the game. I was almost as heartbroken as he was when he found out he couldn't play anymore. He loves the game and luckily had coaches who loved having him around. They let him help coach during his senior season, so that he could still be a part of the team and letter, and even asked him to do come back the season after he graduated.

When I got to college, my love of football season continued. Being on campus at FSU during the fall semester is an experience all it's own. And while I was far from ready to be out on my own, I loved game days, whether the games were home or away. In fact, I remember watching the Florida State - Miami game in my dorm room with my rooming during my first semester. She's from Miami and had friends that were 'Cane fans that were watching the game back home. It was all but in the bag for us when she started making phone calls to rub the loss in their faces. I blamed her when we lost. (We still made it to the National Championship that season, though, for all you haters out there.)

I'm writing about this nonsense for two reasons. One is because I'm going to Tallahassee next weekend to see Florida State play Jacksonville State and I'm ecstatic about it. The other is because this weekend is the start of college football and my 'Noles are once again facing those 'Canes. Monday could prove to be a very interesting evening since The Boyfriend is a 'Cane. (I'm almost certain that he kept this from me for as long as possible so that I wouldn't hold it against him. It was probably part of his "hard work and dedication" scheme.) I think we're both aware that it'll have little impact on our relationship. At the end of the day, a football game isn't going to make or break us. It's probably a good thing that he's so far away, though. The potential for him seeing a very ugly side of me is very much there. I'm passionate about my team. What can I say?

So now all three of you readers know where I'll be Monday night at 8: In my apartment, wearing my best FSU gear, both televisions tuned in to ESPN, logged in to Skype and ready to send sweet nothings to The Boyfriend regarding our beloved teams.

You can also bet that I'll be keeping Coley abreast of all the important football scores while he's gone (except Florida). He probably won't care much, but I think he'll appreciate knowing how Georgia is doing, at least. I'm secretly hoping he forgets all about the Gators. They are pretty forgettable...