Category Archives: Joy of Work

Pokemon, Smart Phones, and the Rime of the Ancient Librarian

I think I mentioned before that I was one of the last hold outs on the whole “smart phone” thing.  I have a cell phone, but it just makes calls and texts.  The fact that I can text puts me above, say, my parents, but that’s about it.  Otherwise I am left in the dust.  Get out of the way, you stupid cars, my buggy has just as much right to be here as you do.

It’s strange to think that it wasn’t all that long ago (for someone who is like farthead 40) that we didn’t even have the things.  Can you remember what that was like?  I can.  It was such a total pain.  Like you had to go inside a building, or to a phone booth, and call someone if you needed something.  I’m pretty sure even homeless people have smart phones at this point, and they are only on the street corner to catch a Pokemon*.  But not me.  I didn’t even get my “dumb phone” until I was pregnant with crazy baby (Thing Two) .  I was at a point where it would not have been at all odd for me to suddenly burst into flames and have the doctors call it “just another wacky pregnancy thing”.  So I wanted a phone in case of baby emergency, and we weren’t even close to labor yet.

My current phone

My current phone

I think most people started that way.  I need a phone for emergencies.  Also to talk to my mom.  And keep tabs on my boyfriend.  And crush candy and pretend farm and catch imaginary monsters.  It’s IMPORTANT.  Heck with you, Superman, who now has to run inside a J.C. Penny’s to change thanks to us getting rid of the phone booths; we need our phones.  Why?  Because everyone else needs them, and the world goes along with everyone else.  It’s like everyone else is on cocaine, and I better get drugs fast, or I am never gonna fit into this world at all.

Are they even called smart phones anymore?  This is how out of touch I am.

Wait.  This is exactly what happened in Wonderland – you gotta be stoned to fit in.  Well, I guess we crossed that bridge with the presidential election a long time ago, so whatever.  My kids are some of the last kids not to have smart phones.  What is a good age to get a kid one of these phones?  I’ve seen toddlers with them, because you never know when little Jaxxon will need to make an urgent phone call.  “Juuuuice!” is something I so often hear them scream into their phones.  Or text with their pudgy fingers.  But seriously, no, it’s the educational games on the phones they like.  Because “Peek-a-Boo” takes up way too much time, and uses your hands, and now our wrists hurt from carpal tunnel.  But please give it back because Mommy has stuff to do.  Her crops are wilting, her boss has more Pokemon power-ups than she does, and Daddy is not going to stalk himself.

Crap I just lost all my data!

Crap I just lost all my data! Darn kids.

I don’t know what a Pokemon power-up is and I don’t want to know.

What’s this about stalking?  Oh, that’s a fun thing I learned from a 20-something co-worker a while back.  “See,” she said happily.  “I can tell where everyone I know is right now.  Here is my boyfriend at work.  Here’s mom at the grocery store.  Here’s all 72 of my best friends at the mall.”  I found this a little disconcerting.  “What if you don’t want someone to know where you are 24/7?” I asked.  She looked at me with a face that clearly did not comprehend the question.  Of COURSE you would want to know where everyone was all the time.  I told my husband about this feature.  He said if we ever get smart phones, he is tossing his in a truck going cross country.  I don’t blame him.

Yet I can only hold out so much longer because the world changes to fit our technology.  My kids are actually expected to have it and bring it to school for “Share your technology day” where they use their own expensive electronic devices instead of the school supplying them, and if these devices should be lost or stolen, the school is in no way responsible please sign here.

It’s not just phones, though, it’s technology period that is going haywire (pun intended).  Phones are just mini computers now, even smaller than the NUC on my desk.  That’s NUC not Nuke, though it certainly sounds like I have a rather dangerous bomb on my desk, but believe me it’s not even half as useful.  See at work they took away our computer towers and gave us these tiny boxes that have like one whole usb port in them for you to plug your stuff in, which certainly beats the towers which had a CD drive, several usb ports, and acted as a nice shelf for my office mate and me.  We were not impressed with these new boxes.  Yeah, they were smaller, but with one port you had to get another thingy to plug into it that is a square thing with 4 ports on in, so you can actually plug more than one thing in it at a time.  If you want me to explain what a usb port is, you are worse off than I am, but not by much.  All I know is it’s like an outlet.  I’m not even totally versed on how electricity works, except that you plug something in and ‘bing’ a light comes on.  It could be fairies coming through the wires for all I know (or care).

We no longer have monitors this large, but we are still just as stoned as these kids.

We no longer have monitors this large, but we are still just as stoned as these kids.

I don’t adjust well to new things, especially technology.  I refused to learn that wild mp3 thing until my husband bought one for me and showed me how and then I really liked this little thing I could store my music on.  Except now mp3 players, like the Sony Walkman cassettes and CDs, are so old that my snobby computer refuses to recognize the software. Seriously, it just totally ignores it, like, you are so not worth my time.  Why?  Because you can get that on your phone.  Along with a camera, a GPS, a best friend (hi Siri), and God only knows what else.  Why do my devices have to multitask?  I don’t expect my dryer to also take selfies and cook me a mean pot roast.  It dries clothes. That’s it.  But the computer at your fingertips does everything.  You can pay bills on the phone.  You can also check out books.

It should be known that I did not start using the library computer catalog until they removed the physical card catalog – the one with all the cards in it.  And I was one of them “Youngins” then.

If you don't remember what this is, I hate you.

If you don’t remember what this is, I hate you.

Yet you have to eventually give in just to keep up in this world.  I don’t want to be the only one not getting mugged in alleys or falling off cliffs while chasing pretend monsters.  So I guess I’ll have to get the smart phone.  And update my computer.  You know.  Eventually.

When they take away my pay-by-the-month dumb phone, most likely.

~Alice

*I so did not use Pokemon in the title just to get more hits.  Okay, I did.

 

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Trouble Shooting Printers? Find Help Here!

Printer Troubleshooting Guide

Always read your manual

Always read your manual

On your computer, hit the print button on the document you want to print*

Problem: 50 page print job sent to the black and white printer, when you clearly sent it to the enormous, overly complicated color printer downstairs.

Color is better because little children jump right off the page! They do.

Color is better because little children jump right off the page! They do.

Check your manual.  Go to section titled “Cancelling a print job”.  Duh.

Cancelling a Print Job

  1. Hit “cancel button”
  2. Hit every button
  3. Yell at printer to stop
  4. Frantically jump up and down while yelling at printer to stop
  5. Smack printer
  6. Unplug printer and start over
  7. Printer will now say “Paper Jam”
paper jam

Smack printer repeatedly. Ignore musical paper.

Check your manual.  Go to section titled “Removing a paper jam”.  Double duh.

Removing a Paper Jam

  1. Read instructions on printer to open one of the printer doors
  2. Try to open the indicated door
  3. Well, pull harder on the door
  4. Yell at door to open
  5. Threaten printer with bodily harm
  6. Smack printer
  7. Find easy-to-use button and pop open the door.  Remove paper.
  8. No paper?  Just shut the door and maybe the printer will forget that one.
  9. Printer will now say “Paper Jam” and indicate another door.
  10. Repeat steps 2-6
  11. Pull out toner making sure to get ink on your new sweater
  12. Remove paper (or just stare at the empty roll) and replace toner.
  13. Printer will now say load paper
  14. There is paper in the drawer?  Put some more in anyway.
  15. Hit print button on computer again, clearly indicating color printer
  16. Black and white printer will now say “Paper Jam” and indicate paper drawer
Example: Something is dead in your printer. This could cause a problem.

Example: Something is dead in your printer. This could cause a problem.

Check your manual.  Go to section on Devices and Printers.  You are like, so dense.

Printing to the right printer

  1. Problem?  Printer is printing to a color printer that no longer exists
  2. It is just being helpful by sending it to the black and white one that does exist
  3. Find new color printer under Devices and Printers tab (Try reading the section in “English” not “Japanese” this time.  Yes there IS a difference.)
  4. The Devices and Printers tab is on your start menu on your computer
  5. Yes it is
  6. Look for missing printer on this tab.
  7. Keep looking.
  8. Inform currently listed color printer that it no longer exists and should then disappear
  9. Call I.T.  Try not to sound so pathetic.
  10. They have gotten the right printer installed again?  Great!  Hit print button on your computer and print your document
  11. Go to color printer.
  12. Printer will read “Printer Asleep”
  13. Wake it up.  By. any. means. necessary.
  14. Seek new employment
I'll teach you to talk to me like that!

I’ll teach you to talk to me like that!

See?  Easy!  Be careful with that hammer!

Alice

*If this doesn’t work, see section You’re Just Screwed.

BANG! BANG!

“Bang, bang, on the door baby

I can’t hear you!”

           – “Love Shack” by the B52s

We’ve been having construction for the past six to eight centuries or so it seems.  That’s because the roof of the library where I work (it is not a love shack, sadly) has been leaking since the 1970s, when it was built.  So now they are fixing it.  No, for reals this time.  They are doing something anyway.  Like whacking with what sounds like Thor’s hammer, and using buzzsaws, and stomping (possibly hopping up and down in work boots).  We can even hear them talking.  Of course, that might be because they have actually made holes in the ceiling while . . . fixing the holes in the roof.

If I had a hammer . . .

If I had a hammer . . .

My coworker J and I are waiting in our office / storage room for the roof to fall in on top of us.  Or one of the workers to fall through the roof.  Or their tools.  Or  the roof, the worker, and the tools.  It’s slightly disconcerting, to say the least.  We have a hard hat up here, but only one, which means too bad for J!  Actually no, I’m not wearing it either because that one’s even harder to explain away than the massive head set I’ve got on.  I thought they were headphones, but turns out to find them on Amazon you have to look under ear muffs, which I thought were a totally different thing.

Here, Bob, catch this tank of Nitro!

Here, Bob, catch this tank of Nitro!

Cause I am buying some of these for myself.  That’s because there are only two of these in the building.  Congrats – two people can save their hearing!  I am one of them because I borrowed them from downstairs.  I am sensitive to most noise, like staplers, especially the way some people (lookin’ at you J) use their staplers (ka-bam!).  So construction is like the atom bomb.

When I first borrowed the ear muffs, the workers decided to take a break.  Sort of like when you get the fly swatter, and suddenly there are no more flies.  But I found I liked them because they blocked out the noise of the heater which part of the time is on iceberg cold no matter the season, my typing, and other sounds I never realized were going on (people breathing, etc).  It’s like I’m in my own little happy cave.  Yes, I can hear voices – or at least know when someone is talking so I can take them off and help them. (darn patrons!)

I have almost as much focus as this baby now.

I have almost as much focus as this baby now.

This, in turn, calms some of my constant free-floating anxiety.  At least until the construction starts up again.  I can still hear that, but it’s not quite as excruciating.  You’d think after two infants and years of a Sony Walkman (if you don’t know what this is, shut up) turned way up that I’d have lost enough hearing already, but apparently not.  Nope, my senses are better than ever!  I also get colder than other people, and I smell stuff no one else smells, and I am allergic to the planet.  Maybe in cave man days I might have survived lions sneaking up on me, but then I’d have gone insane from the cicadas while trying to listen for possible lion feet.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle

The lion sleeps tonight

Aarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrtgggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh

He’s up, he’s up, go run!

OMG there are even lions in the SKYYYY!

OMG there are even lions in the SKYYYY!

Oh false alarm.  I’m safe here.

I think someone is cutting through the ceiling again.

Possibly.

Talk to you later.

I hope.

Alice

A Tent in the Desert

For a long time now, I’ve felt like I was struggling to get through a desert.  Choking on dust, slogging through sand, extreme heat and cold, walking into cacti (I’d probably do this in a real desert), falling into craters, running scared from those creepy sand worm things you see in the movies.  It’s not real.  I know it’s not real, it’s not even logical, but it’s there.  I’ve made this trip every day for over a year.  Three hospital visits, dozens of drugs, tons of time missed from work – I’ve had respites, mirages that seemed so real.  But I always return to this damn desert.

Texas desert.

Texas desert.  Only 1,000 miles to the next town.

I’ve run a long time.  Sometimes it’s from the anxiety causing (I’ll say) sand worms.  Other times it’s running toward something – the cure.  Surely there is some pill, some treatment, something, that is going to cure me and make me all better and normal and functional.  I run and run and run.  Until I can’t run any longer.  I look back, but it’s too far to go back from where I’ve come.  If all stays as it is, if I continue to run, continue to fear, continue to tell myself “Once x happens, then y= HAPPY”, I’m not going to get anywhere.  Already I’ve collapsed several times from exhaustion, ready to just lay down and give up on the desert sand.

Obviously all this mental desert time has caused problems in my “real” life with my husband, my kids, my work, my health (nutrition is pop-tarts right?), my cluttered, sometimes disgusting house (Let’s play what’s that smell today), my finances, and on and on.  And I’ve tried to solve these.  Or hoped that a new med or therapy would give me the ability to solve them.  ALL OF THEM.  As Allie Brosh, author of the blog Hyperbole and a Half and a fellow sufferer, would say “CLEAN ALL THE THINGS”.

It doesn’t work.  It’s too much pressure.  You will drown.  Even in the desert.

So I told my therapist about the desert.  And she said something simple.  “Build a tent.”

My tent. What?

My tent. What?

Don’t focus on “cures”.  Don’t focus on what’s behind you.  Don’t focus on what’s ahead.  Just keep hanging in there – exactly where you are right now.  Use whatever “coping” mechanisms you can, and I don’t just mean “deep belly breathing” or making gratitude lists (Thank you so bloody much for depression.)   No, use YOUR coping mechanisms, anything that makes you able to make it through another hour.  Some of mine are getting away somewhere that I can cry alone (especially while trying to tolerate work) hot cocoa (it soothes my nerves), soft socks and this sweater / throw rug my friend gave me.  And my Things of course, they are my two favorite things.

So I’ve stopped.  I have my tent, and my goodies, and I sit and I peek out occasionally.  I am counting down the days (three weeks now) until I can visit a shrink who is not a total jackass.  I’ve gotten a small increase on one of my meds from his nurse who is not a jackass.  I’ve missed work, gotten time without pay, and gone home and napped.  I missed half a day today, and woke up depressed.  Sleeping that much is not a good coping skill.  Naps are good.  Hours and hours, which leads to hours and hours up at night watching Lifetime and infomercials (I can lose 80 pounds without exercise if only I do extreme damage to that heart thingy!), is not good.  I need good sleep.  Without it, even the tent shakes.

So I just have to focus on day by day.  I hope I can stay at work, because being at home is not much better.  If anyone has tips for handling depression at work that do not have to do with breathing (trust me, I’ve heard it), please feel free to offer them.  I thought a lot about just quitting, but realizing today how bored and sad I get at home (especially whilst playing the “what’s that smell” game), I know I need my job, and for more than just the income.  I also need to know what I want.  If I sit in the tent instead of constantly racing and racing, my counselor says it will come to me.

What do I want – in work, with my husband, with my kids, with family, with my house, with my life.  What do I really want?  I don’t know right now because I am too blinded by everything else, all the hurry and worry and sad and sick.  If I can just sit in my tent, can I just sit and thinks?  What do I want (besides getting well).  I hope I can find it.  But I can’t rush it.  The knowledge of what Alice really wants will only come when I stop looking.

So I have to stop.  Take comfort in the tent.  Survive.  And listen to that voice in my head.  Not the mean, depressive one.

The one that belongs to Alice.

Jacob’s Ladder

“All I want from tomorrow

Is to get it better than today.”

– “Jacob’s Ladder” – Huey Lewis and the News

 

Life is hard.  Like Math.  It’s just hard.  And when you add on extras to life, like depression and anxiety and asthma and whatever my next diagnosis might be (weird?) it gets harder.  Getting out of bed, knowing you have to get a teen and a pre-teen out of bed in the morning when you have a giant stone sitting on you, knowing there WILL be drama, knowing you will be exhausted from it before you even get to your actual job, knowing that is enough to make one not want to wake up in the morning.  This isn’t to say I want to literally climb Jacob’s ladder up to Heaven right this minute (Is there a downward ladder?  I hope not in my case).  It’s just that I don’t do mornings.  Or afternoons.  It’s that I want a break.  From life.

But you don’t get breaks.  Even if you do, you know it’s temporary.  The job waits, the kids wait, the husband waits, the bills wait.  Well sometimes the bills get all uppity and don’t wait and go to those nice, friendly collection people who offer me discounts if I pay, whereas if I paid on time I would not get a discount.  I’m not sure what lesson they are teaching us here.

In the movie Office Space, exhausted office worker Peter says, “So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”  Ever feel that way?  I’m 38, which means that I’m looking around another 30 years or so before I can retire, and that’s if I even CAN retire.  Saying I live that long and don’t die at my desk.  I don’t have a cubicle.  I wish I did because then people wouldn’t see me and ask me for stuff like books and crap.

Hello, Peter, my old friend.

Hello, Peter, my old friend.

Still you have to keep going, and you can’t look too far ahead.  It’s too scary.  That’s why I like this song by Huey Lewis, “Jacob’s ladder”.

Step by step, one by one

Higher and higher

Step by step, rung by rung

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Rung by rung, day by day, hour by hour sometimes.  Just get through it.

I’m just another fallen angel

Trying to get through the night

Oh and the nights are the worst, when everyone else is asleep and there you are just racing in your hamster wheel – the one in your head anyway.  Your body just sits, or sits and taps a foot or a leg or just plain vibrates.  I can only hope I burn calories when I do this.  Thinking about tomorrow, and what I’ll have to do.

All I want from tomorrow

Is to get it better than today

That’s it.  That’s all I can do.  Make another day, and hope the next one is better than the last.  And maybe it will be.  It’s that hope that keeps you climbing.  Step by step.  Rung by rung.

Higher and higher.

 

 

 

Dream Mother

To Dion’s (a la Runaround Sue) “Dream Lover”

I bet Dion’s mommy made him all those sweaters.

 

Dream Mother

 

Every night I hope and pray a dream mother will come and stay

A mom to do my all my chores  so I can lay back and snore

 

Because I want, a mom, to take care of me

I want a dream mother, so I don’t have to be an adult

 

Dream mother, where are you?

This life is more than I can chew

I want your hand to hold

Like when I was a ten-year-old

 

Because I want, a mom, to pay my bills

I want a dream mother, so I don’t have to go to work

 

Some day, I don’t know when

I’m gonna be a kid again

So what about Thing One and Two?

Well, she can be their mom too

 

Because I want, a mom, to do my laundry

I want a dream mother, so I don’t have to wash undies

 

Dream mother, you aren’t real

How am I supposed to feel?

I can’t take care of me

Maybe I can get a nanny?

 

Because I want, a mom, to live my life

I want a dream mother, so I can finally take a nap

Work in the Age of Anxiety

Earlier I wrote about getting old and how it seemed to happen without me realizing it.  Something else is happening to me.   I have a problem with work.  I have a good job with benefits and a salary and coworkers that aren’t total asshats.  But . . . I find myself unable to do my work most of the time.  My mind jumps from place to place.  The idea of even getting started on the project I need to work on makes me ill.  Every extension is just another excuse to put it off some more.

Hello, Peter, my old friend.

Hello, Peter, my old friend.

If I go to the doctor, I’ll be back on the medicine-go-round and I’m not too keen on that.  So I have to figure out another way.  But the cards are stacked against me.  The pulmonologist helpfully told me that asthma makes you anxious and anxiety can trigger asthma, oh yay!  So either way I’m screwed. Right now I have nerves hop hop hopping like the freaking Easter Bunny.  Yet I’m sitting here.  Typing out a blog post.  Oh, yes, I can see the exhibit I should be working on, or what crumbs I’ve managed to form together, but I really don’t know what I’m doing on it.  At all.  The idea of even looking at it fill me with dread.  I want to climb up a tree and hide in a hole like, like . . .

I'm baaaaaack!

I’m baaaaaack!

I used to have ambition.  It’s gone.  Did I say this already?  It seems like maybe I already posted this.  Oh, who the hell cares, here it is again.  I think Aussa of Hacker, Ninja, Hooker, Spy said it best.  The years of your job are like the years of high school.  Observe:

“Year 1 at Your New Job (Freshman): You have great hopes for your future, you take notes, show up everyday and are there on time.

Year 2 at Your Job (Sophomore): While you retain a certain semblance of ambition you’ve learned exactly which corners to cut and how little you have to do in order to get by.

Year 3 at Your God Awful Job (Junior): You’re pretty sure that you’re doing everyone a favor by showing up.

Years 4-40 at the hell hole where you’re probably going to die (Senior):  If you can’t find a good enough parking spot, you’re probably going to just go back home and get in bed.”

This is sheer genius here (I’m a senior!) and exactly how I feel about my current job, especially considering how difficult it is to find parking.  So I wonder – is this just a depression / anxiety thing or does everyone feel this way?  Is it a universal thing, like high school?  I mean, it’s not like I have a horrible boss or terrible working conditions or too much of a workload.  In fact, I could do with a little more supervised work because I am freaking terrible about it on my own.  Just look at my house and you can see how well I did at cleaning once my parents quit telling me to do it.

Kind of like this, only all over the entire house.

Kind of like this, only all over the entire house.

So I sit here frozen.  Well frozen except for typing.  Work.  I should really do some work.  In a minute.  Yeah.  I’ll look at it in a minute.  How many minutes till I go home now?  Oh, crap.

So tell me – how many of you like your jobs?  How many of you are bored as heck?  How many of you have anxiety about work yet feel unable to do anything about it? I know I should feel appreciative that I even have a job, and insurance, and all of that but I find myself freaking out more and more and more and I wonder how much longer I can keep this up.  Does anyone else worry about how long they can hang in there?

Let me know in the comments below. You know I’ll be reading them.  Otherwise I’d have to be working.

Alice

P.S. Help meeeeeeee.

Becoming Old

I’m not sure when I got old.  For most of my life I’ve been the youngest.  I was the little sister.  My birthday is in June, so I was the youngest in my class.  When I became a teaching assistant in grad school I was the youngest TA at 22.  Then when I became a reference assistant at a public library at 25, I was the youngest reference assistant.  Later when I started working at another public library, I was one of the youngest employees there as well.  When I first got my current job, I was one of the youngest.

Than came Young Alice.  I call her Young Alice because she has my name.  Which is unfair, because I had it first.  Not only that, she has a job that makes way more money than mine makes.  While filling in,  I decided I really wouldn’t like that job because you get a lot more students expecting you to help them, whereas at the moment I work on the far end of the second floor and no one comes here unless they really, really want to, or more likely, they’re extremely lost.  So it’s not like I’m jealous of her position per say.  But her age disturbs me.

Hi, I'll be your new coworker.

Hi, I’ll be your new coworker.

You see, Young Alice is almost 12 years younger than I am.  How is that possible when most of the time I feel like I’m 12, even though  my eldest child is almost 14?  And these babies are just going to keep coming because I keep getting older while new people continue to be born and get jobs and crap.  WTF.  This is not the way I ever pictured it.  You never picture growing old when you’re young.  It’s like, I will be this way FOREVER, yay!

Young Alice is where I was so many years ago.  Young, idealistic, full of energy.  I realize now why some women get really irritated at younger women.  It’s like, will you get older and get jaded with life already?  But honestly, I bear Young Alice no ill will.  I don’t want to be that age again.  I’d like to have that energy and awesome metabolism, sure, but you couldn’t pay me to go back to 26.

Will you please lose all hope already?

I do not share your enthusiasm.

I like where I am now, because – dare I say it – I actually have a little wisdom to offer.  I offer it to my children, all the time.  Know when to hold ’em, I say.  Know when to fold ’em.  I talk to them about my values, and why I have them, while trying to precariously balance between telling them how I feel and telling them what they should feel.  Yet it really is a gift to be able to offer the younger generation some of what you’ve learned.  It’s something that some of my former bosses, as bitter as they were, didn’t get because they were busy being jealous of that all revered youth.  Youth is fleeting, but intelligence (or dumbness) is not.  It’s with you forever, or at least until you start losing your memory and pooping in your pants again.  Okay, that wasn’t a great endorsement for growing older.

Sure,  there is a lifetime ahead of me of working at a job that – no matter how much it fits me – is going to be long and boring a lot of the time.  And eventually I’ll get gray hairs and wrinkles – I think I may have some wrinkles on my forehead though I try not to look too hard.  Because then I see the very faint mustache that no one else notices but me.  I hope.  So far my kids appreciate what I have to offer, though I’m well aware there will come a day when, as my mother has said, I will turn into Cassandra from Greek Mythology.  She knew the future, but no one believed her.  Welcome to the teenage years.

Ah, teenagers.

OMGawd you do not understand meeee!

I am becoming living history.   I remember the Oklahoma City bombing and the babies that died.  I remember 9/11 and the terror we felt.  I remember what it was like to carry two babies inside me.  I remember what it was like to be a young mom, poor and half-insane from sleep deprivation.  I remember what it was like to fail, to feel hopeless, and to rise back again.

Everything that has happened to me, good and bad, has shaped who I am now.  I’ve accomplished a lot.  I’ve also made a lot of mistakes – but not nearly enough.  Because I’ve been afraid to try.  I don’t want my kids to be afraid.  I have the power to help them with that.  And one day, if I’m lucky, I’ll live long enough to be a grumpy old bag that goes to the library and annoys the crap out of people but gets away with it cause isn’t she sweet?  Young Alice may be the one helping me find that elusive book that doesn’t exist cause I just made up.

Get me that damn book, I'm old.

Get me that damn book, I’m old.

Till then, there’s a lot of life left to do.  Time to get to it.  As soon as I’m done watching this youtube video with cats.

The Angryface Monster

I know I seem like all sweetness and light and fairy ponies and purple sunshine and all that crap most of the time.

WTF do you want, pinkie?

WTF do you want, pinkie?

But sometimes I feel – less than that.  Sometimes I feel sad.  Other times I feel ANGRY.  Murderous even.  I’ve been known to throw steel toed boots.  Yeah, I know, hard core there.  I’m just tired, and tired of being tired, and tired of being mixed up, and tired of people not really listening to me, or listening but not really.  Like what do I have to do to get people to take notice?

Here's an idea.

Here’s an idea.

Like, seriously, this whole adulthood thing?  It sucks.  No one tells you that as a kid.  But it does.  I mean, sure, there are some fun things like not going to public school anymore and how you can NOT do the laundry if you don’t feel like it but then you have no clothes, so there are all these consequences and they SUCK.  And while there’s no school, you still have to go to a job or something stupid like that, and chances are, your job SUCKS too if only cause they make you do work and you feel like your soul just got sucked out through a silly straw.  You no longer care about changing the world or advancing you just want to get paid and have people LEAVE YOU THE FUCK ALONE.

But do they?  No.  They keep on existing and stuff, and it’s irritating.  And it’s long.  Eight hours of your day.  Day after day after month after year after the REST OF YOUR LIFE until you retire but wait you can’t no you will die at your desk bwahahahahaha.

After 5 billion hours of work, the ancient library heals over and dies of boredom.

After 5 billion hours of work, the ancient librarian heals over and dies of boredom.

But it’s not that bad.  I mean, you aren’t in Africa where there’s no food.  You have lots of food – that you can eat and eat and eat until you weigh 600 pounds which they say is bad for you, but hey, you can weigh almost nothing and on that BMI chart (Bullshit Measurement by Idiots) still be overweight.  Not sure what that means for the ones who really are 600 pounds.  Maybe they just spontaneously combust.

And you talk to peeps and they are all “Well don’t change anything” or “You aren’t supposed to be happy” or “kids in Africa have no Happy Meals” or “What about my wart, huh?” or “I’m watching the 10th spin off of Dudes with Cars”.  And then you wonder – is this as good as it gets?  And you feel sad.  But really it’s not sad.  It’s anger, bottled up, at all those people who don’t listen, and tell you to go back to your box.  And it looks something like this.

Kindergarten drawing by Alice

Alice channeling her inner demonic toddler

I call him the Angryface Monster, and he is my little friend.  He kills for me in my daydreams and I love him forever and ever AMEN.  Do you guys have an Angryface Monster?  Do you ever let it out?  Was it violent?  Did you get even with the friend, spouse, boss, garbage can, whatever?  Let me know in the comments below.  Mr. Angryface Monster and I will wait.  In the shadows.  Right behind you.

Unless I let out the monster and then I go to jail and stuff.  Then I’ll be there.  You can be my one phone call!

Love and kisses,

Alice

P.S.  I have considered possibly trying to move from full time at an academic library to part time back at the public library (my evil former boss retired – DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD) but it is much less money and back on crappy insurance but there is more time and maybe a little more purpose but you have to suck it up and work for minimum with teens and not sure I want to do that or not.  Any of you faced a choice like this?

 

Bang the Drum!

“I don’t want to work

I want to bang on the drum all day.”

-Todd Rundgren

It's not that I'm lazy; it's that i just don't care.

It’s not that I’m lazy; it’s that i just don’t care.

6:00 AM I’m sooo sleepy but hey it’s FRIDAY people and that’s a HAPPY day cause it’s the end of the week, right?  Yeah!  Nothing can get me down!

6:10-6:40 AM Eat cereal.  Do breathing treatment with the nebulizer (LUKE I AM YOUR FA-THER) and play pretend farm on the Nook (pretend cows don’t milk themselves),  use long-acting (supposedly) asthma inhaler.  Rinse mouth out a zillion times.  Use nasal spray.  Hope to breathe.  Uh, oh, time to wake up children.

“I don’t want to play, I just want to bang on the drum all day . . .”

Vader: Time to get dressed, Luke. Luke: Noooooooo!

Vader: Time to get dressed, Luke.
Luke: Noooooooo!

6:40-6:50 AM Snuggle with Thing One.  Try not to fall asleep.  Encourage her that it is Friday and that’s awesome cause Friday and last day and for God’s sake get up.  Go to Thing Two’s room.  She is in a loft bed which seemed like a good idea at the time until I figured out I couldn’t climb up there and get her out.  Pelt her with stuffed animals.  Yammer at her.  Stand on toes and poke at her.  Yell.

“I took a stick and an old coffee can, I bang on that thing ’til I got blisters on my hand . . .”

6:50 -7:00 AM Forgot to wash jeans.  Just how dirty are they?  Wow, yeah, that’s a few too many stains to pretend I didn’t notice.  Wear work pants that are less dirty.  Thing One wanders in with a pop tart.  Send her to check on little sister and make sure she’s out of bed and getting dressed.  Someone has to do it, and it’s not gonna be me.  I’m prostrate on the bed, but at least I’m dressed.

“I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day . . .”

7:00 AM Door slams.  Thing One reports that Thing Two is, in fact, dressing.  Hallelujah.

7:00-7:10 AM.  Make stab at brushing teeth.  Actually stab gums.  Thing Two is wearing a black shirt with cats that says “We are Strange” over a pink shirt along with a lacy blue skirt, some sort of pants that hit between her knee and ankle, but no shoes.  There is a strand of pink fake hair in her short hair that she is insisting on tying back with barrettes.  I am just informed it is picture day at school.  I tell her to take the pink hair out.  I can have one standard right?  Thing Two has first conniption fit.

“The teacher told me I should stay after school, She caught me pounding on the desk with my hands
But my licks was so hot, I made the teacher wanna dance.”

7:10-7:15 AM.  Thing two has second fit.  No lunch sacks because my husband insists on throwing out all my plastic bags that I save.  For trash liners.  And lunch sacks.  He doesn’t throw anything away INSIDE the bags, no, just my bags.  Like I can send a lunch in a giant paper sack?  I plot his demise.

I looked something like this.

I looked something like this.

7:15-7:25 AM. I am informed that it is also picture day for singing group Thing Two is involved in.  She needs her group shirt.  No idea where it is.  I need to get going.  Every minute I’m late means one more moron with stupid stick people figures on their SUVS dropping off their brats and blocking me in.  I get in my car and plug in my MP3 and loudly play

“I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day”

7:25-7:30 AM Thing One is in the car.  We are grooving and beating on the dash.  Thing Two storms out later, incensed that no one else is upset about her plight.  We drive by Sonic so I can get caffeine cause GOD I NEED IT.

7:30 AM Reach Thing Two’s school.  She is still howling despite my turning the volume way up on my song.  Now she has realized she forgot her lunch.  I give her a dollar – no way am I going back.  I tell her to quit screeching or the other kids will be annoyed.  She says she’s just upset that I got a coke when I COULD have been helping her find her shirt, after all.

“And I get my sticks and go out to the shed, And I pound on that drum like it was the boss’s head”

Just kill me now.

Count to 100.  Slowly.

7:30-7:40 AM Peal out from elementary school.  Drive Thing One to her school all the way across town because that’s just so convenient.  We yammer and sing along to the song.  This time I remember to stop at her school, unlike the time when I just drove right past it and was almost at work, talking all the time, when I realized she was still with me.  She hangs out as long as she can until I tell her she has to go in.  I feel like a bad parent for making her go to junior high.

7:40-7:50 AM I drive to my work which is actually only five minutes from my house but nevermind and there is no parking because they took away our staff and faculty parking cause like, who needs morale, right?  I drive around a while and find one spot at the very back of the parking lot – one spot in handicapped, mind you.  I get the awesome placard on account of the cold air making my lungs go splodey.  Yay, me!

“I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day”

Still does not guarantee parking.  What's the use of being handicapped huh????

Still does not guarantee parking. What’s the use of being handicapped huh????

7:50 – 7:55 AM Sit in car listening to music a while.  It’s not 8:00 AM yet.  Realize I have forgotten my own lunch.

7:55 – 8:00 AM Trudge to work with headphones in ears.  Those college kids have something going there.  I am not actually here, I am banging the drum.  All day.

How is your Friday going?  I’m tired already.  Is it time to go home yet?