A Conundrum of Contradictions

The musings of one born in the wrong decade

>Our Thanksgiving Rocked!! November 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:28 pm

>Thanksgiving was everything I hoped for and more. Being unemployed was definitely a necessity – there is no way I could have collected myself to cook the masterpiece I did if I’d been working 12-hour days beforehand. Blessings to my friends that had to. We ended up with 9 people total, 5 of them strays. It’s a thing we do, for me going back as far as living at home with my folks, taking in people who have no one or can’t go to them for the holiday. It makes for interesting festivities, lemme tell you. All told, there were Mom and Flavio, Sazzy and her hubby, Bob, Terrell and Jeff, Darryll (albeit briefly) and Honey and me. I’d sent and received several “Happy Thanksgiving” text messages that morning, one of them resulting in a phone call from my former wall covering guy, Rick. He sounded the happiest I’ve ever heard him, was ecstatic to hear from me (he felt I needed to make the first move in making contact), can’t wait to meet Honey and agreed to a barbeque I want to throw for Encore survivors in January, finances willing. He also said he loves me – I know that sounds weird, probably more so if you knew him because he generally dislikes all people (the entire human race) with the exception of his children, but we made a connection over many conversations while working (philosophical ones on a construction site, if you can believe), I get him, and he …well, loves me. It was an awesome phone call to have on a holiday based on being thankful.

It all started out well, and as I said it ended up amazing, but there were a couple hitches in the middle. I created a schedule for the items I was responsible for (read everything except turkey) so it all got done at the same time, hot and ready for the table. That was all well and good until we tried to find seating for 9 people when our table only seats 6. We wanted to rent a party table; a round that could seat 10, but nobody thought to call the table guy until Wednesday night, and the call went to voicemail. So then we tried the patio furniture, which had to be Houdini’d into the room, didn’t fit, and would have left people with their backs to each other. I was pretty unset, enough to where Honey decided the only solution was to build a table, which he did in the middle of the kitchen in about 30 minutes flat. The table turned out fabulous, but it impeded my cooking skills (both with stress and limited travel paths) to where I splattered butter everywhere, boiled the cream over, and nearly cut my finger off preparing potatoes. At about this time Sazzy arrived with her hubby, who is by far the shyest and quietest person I’ve ever met, and ironically named Bob. I say ironically because Honey and I name everything Bob, so far the tortoise and a piece of furniture we’re not quite sure what it actually is. I stepped out of the kitchen until construction was finished – I expected a small table to extend the existing table…what I got was an 8-seat, ‘last supper’ type table made of studs and a full sheet of ½” drywall, adorned with a king-sized bed sheet. Like I’m fond of telling people who may not fully comprehend: this is the ghetto, we can jimmy-rig anything. At this point, I was behind on my schedule including the extra time I’d factored in case I was slow. Sazzy was wonderful, volunteering first to do dishes and then chop a mountain of veggies for our mutually coveted dish, the stuffin’ muffins. I made a wonderful mess with softened butter and strained sauce – don’t get me started on the sauce. It could be used in food porn and culinary bedroom play. It’s that good. So it all came together in a random, messy, fabulous way, which seems to characterize my life. Terrell said grace for us with distinction, many thanks, T. After that it was food ecstasy. I wanted to take a group photo, but once the eating started I completely forgot. I still haven’t decided which was my favorite dish, and continue the debate going around the plate while eating way too many leftovers. For once, dessert was not the highlight of the eating extravaganza. I consider that a triumph in itself.

We all gravitated to the fire pit outside to let our food settle before contemplating dessert. Originally the plan had been to eat outside like last year, but the rain had other ideas. The rain did not, however, interrupt the fire, wet wood or no. I found myself with this absent smile on my face quite a bit, content with life. That smile got a whole lot bigger when a couple people got orgasmic expressions with the first bite of pumpkin crisp, my cream cheese-smothered, blondie-like dessert. You can see now, if you couldn’t before, that this day was definitely worth quitting some job. We’re considering having it in our pajamas next year…

Advertisements
 

>Happy Flowers November 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 6:06 pm

>

So it’s been 10 days since I quit being a slave to ‘The Man’, aka the soon-to-be twin of the 5-star hotel I worked for. I haven’t woken up once thinking there is somewhere I am supposed to be, and I haven’t yet looked for a job. While browsing, Honey located a few admin jobs that pay as much or more than I was making, but I decided to take a full week’s vacation before worrying about it. Guess I lost count, what with all the fun and relaxation I’m having. I’ve spent my days blissfully sleeping until the sun in my window wakes me, playing dominoes after dinner with family (and trouncing them!) catching up on all my favorite TV shows, and finally decorating my room so it looks like I live here – that was no small feat, I’ve dismantled and assembled twice now. Unfortunately the laundry beast is still winning, but is at least trapped in the closet out of sight. Aside from all the bliss, I’ve been trying to manage Honey’s paperwork obligations for his photography. It’s more than I expected and more difficult to get things done too. There are warm sunny days outside and … you know how it goes.

I watched Mr. Magoirum’s Wonder Emporium the other day, a movie I would recommend for anyone needing to reach his or her own missing inner child. I was particularly taken with ‘the congreave cube’ – I have no idea how you spell it, but it’ a block of wood and also a magical object if you believe in it. It flips, walks, and also flies. I read way too much sci-fi when I was a kid not to believe in things I can’t see (it goes far past Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, just so you know). In a nutshell, it has been the good times promised by Honey, when he convinced me it was more important to be me than pay bills.
All the photos for this post will likely be happy flowers or abstract pretty things. It’s the zone I’m in now. I still battle periodically with mini tidal waves of stress; my first round of royally F’ing up my credit didn’t involve phone calls or nasty-grams – I was, to their knowledge, without phone number or address. This round is a little different. They find me, and if they can’t, they find Honey, which I think is just rude. Anyway, happy flowers.
 

>Moving towards Happiness November 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 6:29 pm

> “It’s better to ask forgiveness than to live a lifetime on your knees.” Emiliano Zapata

I quit my job last Thursday. Very few people knew and of those that did, from them I got one of two reactions: 1 – Why would you do that?!? Or 2-What happened? I also got one question of “Aren’t you scared?”

I’ll try to answer those in order and then you can roll it all together in your mind to come up with the whole picture. The’ why’ is the most straight forward: mandatory seven day weeks, 10-hr days plus, not to mention working Thanksgiving, the following Friday, and possibly Christmas. In addition there’s been a freeze put on wages and promotions-no one is getting squat until the economy looks up, whenever that may be, not even cost of living increases. I felt I had a promotion coming; I’d been doing the workload of the next ranking designer for some time. Had there not been a freeze, I think I could’ve asked and gotten it. Oh yeah, and I was a salaried employee (read 70 hrs for the same money as 40) and they wouldn’t convert me to hourly like they did for some of the others. I was stuck. And yeah, apparently they can demand all that without compensation of any kind.

As to ‘what happened?’ Nothing really, not one big thing anywyay. It was more of a slow deterioration of everything else in my life. I was a zombie when I got home, my relationship with Honey was suffering as was our sex life, and all I could think about, talk about, and dream about was work. Honey and I made a pact when I started this gig: if it starts coming between us, quit. That goes for any gig, dream job and career-makers included. When I say ‘family comes first’ I mean it. As part of that, Thanksgiving was a big issue. Since I left home for college in the fall of ’99, my folks have ruined the holidays with irritating consistency. Last year for the first time, we took possession of a holiday (Turkey Day), made our own traditions, chose our own recipes, and cooked everything ourselves. I managed to get over a huge hurdle, without therapy, and had no intentions of giving it up, especially not for ‘we have to open this hotel no matter what’.

And the last part…about being scared – yes and no. Originally, I was almost phobicly scared. OMG, what about the bills, credit cards…this is insane in our current economy, what if I can’t get another job? Maybe I should just suck it up…and then the fog lifted with a simple question, posed of course by my black-and-white thinking Honey: what’s the worst that could happen? Well, I said, in 6 months or so they’ll come to pick up the car and boat, the credit cards will collect interest until they’re turned over to a collection agency, where they’ll sit until they find me or I acknowledge them, my credit score will fall, I’ll collect unemployment until I find another job…and his answer – so what. So we ride the bus – the bus system is very good now – or ride a bike. It’ll shrink our carbon footprint and be just like college (the first time) before we owned a car and walked everywhere. So we pay cash for everything; people forget the value of simple cash. It will be fine. Credit scores can always recover; debts will wait until you can pay them. It will be just fine. Ultimately, happiness won out. I felt myself becoming someone I’m not, someone who never smiled and grumbled constantly, who felt trapped and was beginning to hate. It wasn’t worth it. It isn’t worth it, in any circumstance. Two days before I quit, I decided I would. The next two days I floated through work, smiling and joking. People noticed. The pressure lifted, skies looked bluer, and the sun was warm on my face. It had been those things anyway, but I noticed again. More than I needed to be a hot-shot designer with a 5-star hotel on my resume, I needed to remember who I am and what’s true to my heart. The hippie lives!

So if you see me hoofing it down the street, laughing and grinning like an idiot, don’t feel sorry for me. Remember I’m free of stress and possibly of car and insurance payments. Feel sorry for you…that fear has stopped you from so many things. Consider two questions: what’s the worst that could happen? And what could I achieve if I was not afraid? Think about it.

In the spirit of moving towards happiness like I had as a child, I went through an old family photo CD…don’t hate, I know I’m adorable – even when my Mom attacked me with curlers!
 

>Pesky Boxes November 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 6:43 pm

>

There’s a line from a techno song stuck in my head … “stuck inside a box, you gotta get out…” – a verse that reflects so many of our truths and paradoxes. Everything we’re ‘supposed’ to do is technically a box – the job, house, car, credit – all interlinked and part of the bigger system. I feel like Jim Carey in the movie “23”, only instead of numbers I see boxes everywhere. My job is a box: it’s suffocating my creativity, draining my energy to the point of stupidity, and paying very little in exchange for what I’m giving up. Yet to get out this box, I have to contend with another one. The economy is crap, everyone is getting laid off, and I need a new job – not exactly an ideal mix. If I stay I go crazy, become someone I’d never want to be, and resent and hate everybody – all in conflict with my happy hippie nature. If I go, assuming there’s somewhere to go, there’s the challenge of juggling the bills during transition (I can juggle in real life but not very well) and dealing with the box of credit debt. It’s only a number just like money is only green paper; it’s also your identity (and mine) and a judgment whether it’s fair or not. So it’s all a big f*#king box. We care or don’t care, fight it or go along, give in, give up, or cope. I haven’t decided which path to take yet. I’m against coping for the simple fact that it means being unhappy and living with it. “To thine own self be true.” For a guy whose been dead for nearly 400 years (392 at present), Shakespeare had it right.

For me, as of now, all these boxes have rolled into one challenge – to find a new happy place (of work) until Honey’s photography takes off, at which point I can retire to a privileged life of shining light and rubbing oil on beautiful models. I can already feel the envy.