Friday, April 29, 2011

sometimes ya gotta lose 'til ya win

It's been a busy couple of weeks for me. I've been meaning to post, but couldn't really come up with anything exciting, that anyone would really want to read, but then felt guilty for letting my public down. So here I am! Just kidding. I really don't take myself that seriously.

My brother got home last Wednesday. It was surreal watching him walk through the airport, almost like it was a dream. We were (and still are) so happy to have him home. Every day we hear a new story about his time in Mexico. Since he was gone for two years, I think we'll be hearing stories for quite some time. It's weird and awesome to hear him speak Spanish so easily. I love it when he answers a question in Spanish without meaning to or says things in Spanish because he can't think of how to say it in English. It just tells me how immersed he was and how seriously he took it. I learn new phrases here and there. So far I can say "How do I look?" and I know what he's saying when he says several popular phrases. At this rate, I'll be fluent in about 80 years.

I still can't seem to figure out how to work the unemployment system, which has been extremely frustrating. I hate that I have even bothered to try collecting because it's caused me many a headache and I'm not gaining anything from it. If anything, I just feel like it's causing me to age quicker. I get the run-around and then get pissed, but still don't get a check. It's really stupid. I need to find a job and then I might just call and tell those unemployment people what they can do with the money that I never got. I need to stop. I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.

I finally got back to working out this week. I haven't wanted to, but I've forced myself to go to body sculpt and to run this past week. Now I just need to keep it up. I'm having a hard time remembering that I've already paid to run a marathon in six months. That might seem like a long time, but I am no where near ready and fear that I won't get there. Talk about needing to buckle down!

With not being the best of moods the last couple of days, I did realize a thing or two. It has become glaringly obvious that running and serving others is just plain good for me. When I run, I can do nothing but concentrate on the task at hand and how I'm going to get myself back home. Whether I'm telling myself that I need to wait just a little bit longer before taking a break to walk or making sure that I don't roll my ankle and re-injure it, I don't have room to think about anything else that's going on in my life. Not even if I try to! That is comforting and has lasting affects. By the time I make it home, all I can think about is how I just survived a near-death experience. You would think that that would help motivate me to go every day. Maybe someday it will.

Serving others takes you outside yourself, too. It could just be the simple fact that I'm busy and, therefore, don't have time to think about myself. Regardless, it does help and I should remember that more often. Yesterday there was a quick lesson in that. Then, tonday, there were a couple of opportunities to think about someone else and they lasted much longer. Needless to say, I am better for it. I feel a little selfish, even, because I am fairly certain that I benefitted more than the "recipients." Funny how that works.

And I simply can't get enough of the Royal Wedding. I don't forsee getting tired of it anytime soon, either. I just think that they are so cute together and am mesmerized every time I see some sort of story about them on TV. I've seen all the best parts of the wedding festivities at least 10 times each, but I just keep watching. And I am in love with her dress. I have long loved the dress that Kimberly Williams wore in Father of the Bride (the 90's version with Steve Martin, of course), but I think I have just found a new dream dress. Oddly enough, they are sort of similar. Sort of. Do you think she'd let me borrow it? I'd probably have to start dieting and really working out right now!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I just spent a week in the Bahamas. Working, mind you, but the scenery could've been worse. There were some really long days and some interesting experiences. These are the ones that were too good not to share. I flew down with F, someone that I've known for several years. He worked as a staff person for my old company, so I've gotten to know him and he's always entertaining. I was glad that he was going with me because he's an experienced TD (Travel or Trip Director) and would be able to guide me on my first real, extended program as a contractor. The other nice thing about traveling with him is that he's a transportation guy, so he really knows the ropes when it comes to air travel and ground transportation. He would make sure that we got there together and in one piece.

We were told to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel, which was just fine. We had to wait an hour to get through immigrations, but when we got outside, we didn't have to wait any time at all for a little Bahamian woman to get us in her van. I saw the back door open on the left side of the van, but started to go around to the right side to get in because F was getting in on the left. They (the driver and F) both stopped me and said I had to get in on the left. It hadn't occurred to me that this van was too old to have back doors on both sides. I thought it was strange, but as I got in and saw the steering wheel on the right side, it started to make sense. These people drive from the right side of the vehicle. And on the left side of the road. It was the strangest thing to me.

So we're driving along and F and the driver are becoming fast friends, discussing where we've come from and what we're doing in the Bahamas and the weather and local secrets that we should check out. You have to know that F has the thickest New York accent and is one of the funniest people to just listen to and watch, so I'm completely entertained and not saying a word. At one point, the conversation turns to the weather and how hot it has already gotten down there. The next thing I know, the taxi driver is saying "Don't tell anyone I did this." and she took off her hair and threw it in the passenger's seat. SHE TOOK HER WIG OFF IN FRONT OF US. She then proceeded to put a bandana on her head, to cover what little hair she did have. I don't know that I could've been any more uncomfortable had she taken her top off.

It sat in the seat next to her long enough that I was able to snap a couple of pictures of it. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have visual proof to back this story up. It looked like some sort of animal just sitting there. Perhaps it wouldn't have been so unnerving had I realized that she was wearing a wig to begin with. I really thought it was her real hair, or at least a weave. For the record, I would not have taken a picture to document the situation had she removed her top. That would've been left to a photographer for National Geographic.

She prolonged the awkwardness by telling us that it was just too hot to wear that wig. She even went so far as to tell us that her hairdresser would never even give her a weave because she (the hairdresser) knows that our driver would be back two days later begging to have it taken out because it was just too hot. I can't relate to any of that. I have long hair and, if I get hot, I put it in a ponytail. It usually doesn't bother me because it makes me hot, though, it's generally because it's in my way. You're just never going to catch me cutting my hair because it's hot.

The next "experience" that I had happened a few days later. I was given the assignment to man the Dolphin Cay area. I was to make sure that everyone that had signed up to swim with the dolphins arrived for their scheduled appointment, turned in a waiver, and to answer any other questions that they may have. Our group was not the only group at the hotel and cruise ships frequently book these activities for their guests, so I was constantly asking if people were there for us. At one point, a man who I knew wasn't with us asked me if I worked at there. I said no, that I was working with a group in-house and he said to me "That explains the whiteness." Later that day, one of our attendees asked I lived in the Bahamas. I said no, that I like in Florida and she said "Really? And you're still really white." I said to her "Yes, and you're the second person to point that out to me today. Thanks." I wanted to tell her that she should enjoy her nice tan, from baking in the sun for hours on end, now because in 20 years, she's going to look like an aligator and I'll still have great skin. I didn't, though.

There were only 10 staff for almost 1000 attendees, so we worked really long hours most of the days that we were there. In the end, it was worth it because everyone had a really good time and the clients were really happy with the outcome. It was nice to get home last night, too. I'm not sure what made me happier: to see and talk to my parents or to be able to use my phone again. Whether or not I'd go back to that particular hotel, I don't know. Maybe, if I had enough money to be able to enjoy myself without being dead broke when I got home. The lazy river was calling my name, but I never got to answer it. And I would just hope that the slot machines would be a little kinder next time. What? It was just for fun.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I've sure enjoyed the rain, but I'm looking forward to the sun

Every job that I've ever landed has had something in common with the other. On the day of my interview, it poured down rain on my way there and as I was walking in. Maybe it was a way to humble me just before I went in. When you want to make a good impression, being soaking wet with messed up hair and make-up running down your face isn't exactly ideal. Granted, I don't wear enough make-up for it to run down said face (and never plan to, thankyouverymuch) so that isn't an issue, but my hair being a mess bugs me every day of the week. Especially if I need to make an impression.

On Monday, it rained all day. All. day. Tuesday was slightly overcast, but not a drop. Wednesday it threatened to rain all morning and then started to rain just as I got to Jacksonville for my meeting. It rained through the meeting, the entire drive back home, and continued all day yesterday. Today? Sunshine and upper 70's. And I had an interview.

What I found interesting was that my resume was received through the "grapevine." Even though it wasn't my dream job coming to find me, I wasn't about to turn down an opportunity, even if it was just something to tide me over until I land that dream job. With obligations already on the calendar, I couldn't interview yesterday, which was the first option given. (Curse you, unemployment hoops that must be jumped through!) An appointment today was the best that could be done. As I drove over, I even thought about the fact that it stormed all day yesterday and there was now not a cloud in the sky.

When faced with the task of having to interview for a new job, I decided that I will be going about this process differently than I ever have, and maybe than I really should. I decided to go into with the love-it-or-leave-it mindset. While I will be sure to let any- and everyone know that I am capable, I'm going to just be honest. I have been and plan on continuing to be upfront about my skillset and expectations. I don't see the sense in trying to build myself up as something that I may not necessarily be. I've seen too many times where people say "Oh, yes! I can do anything you want me to!" and then they start and are far less than what they said they were. I don't want to be that girl. A wise guy that I know once said "Under promise, over deliver." That made perfect sense to me and is the way I'm going. Hopefully desperation doesn't force me to jump that ship!

Late this afternoon, I got a call back from the company. I was surprised to be hearing from them so soon. Who gets a call back the same day? Anyway... the news wasn't day-making. They said that they enjoyed meeting with me, appreciated me coming in, but that they filled the position. Put nicely, "You're not hired." I said thank you for taking the time to meet with me and hung up before the conversation got awkward.

I'm really not bummed at all. The rain thing crossed my mind as I was driving there, so I was sort of thinking it wasn't going to happen. Then, as we were talking, I was thinking about what I might say if I were offered the position and didn't want to take it. I wasn't trying to be negative about the situation at all, but maybe those were little clues that this wasn't going to be my big break. So the "vacation" continues. If you can call what I'm doing vacationing. It would be more of a vacation if I'd gone to the beach this afternoon, since it was gorgeous in Central Florida today. My fingers are crossed that we get a few days like this after April 20. Which, for the record, is only 19 days away.