Monday, December 20, 2010

The Gorilla Chronicles

I know it is the holidays, and I should be posting nice, warm-fuzzy posts, full of holiday cheer and goodwill towards men.

But I hate one of my coworkers.

And I have to vent about him before I can get back to my warm fuzzy place. Luckily for you, dear readers, I am pretty much exhausted from talking about him, thinking about him, venting about him and stressing out about him. So I will give you the short version of what I will call The Gorilla Chronicles.

Last June, we hired this guy. He's the supervisor for another department at the library. This department works pretty closely with my department, so it's only natural for us to share an office (there are few private offices in my building). I prepared for his arrival by stocking up his desk with some office supplies, giving him a copy of a training manual I made for my department and emailing him stuff I thought he might be interested in knowing. I assumed that since he was new not only to our school, but also to Savannah, he would have TONS of questions to ask me. I mean, isn't that what people do when they are new at a job? They ask a bunch of questions. Since I answer questions for a living, this is fine with me. I am happy to help.

Only, he didn't ask questions. And when our boss and our colleagues tried to explain to him why we do certain things a certain way, they were all ignored. When S, the woman who was temporarily running his department before he arrived gave him advice, it was ignored.

So this guy was basically learning nothing about his new job. When he did ask questions, he never understood people's explanations, so the other person had to explain themselves over and over and over. It's extremely frustrating. It was like he wasn't even listening. So even when he does want to know something, it's an uphill battle to explain it to him. But usually he operates in this vicious cycle: he doesn't ask questions --> he doesn't know anything --> this doesn't stop him from barking orders at people to do things that make no sense --> he is totally opposed from receiving input from others. Sounds fun, huh? Yeah, the last 6 months at work have sucked.

To boot, he snubbed his nose at us whenever we invited him out to baseball games (most of us attend the local baseball games here in town about 3 x per summer), happy hours, lunches, etc. We realize that socializing with your coworkers is not a requirement of your job, but is it too much to ask that you at least say good morning to people? Or tell your staff that you're leaving for the evening? It's like he didn't want to talk to ANYONE. He literally does not talk to me. Do you know how awkward it is to sit 6 feet away from someone, 40 hours a week, and never acknowledge their existence?

For a while, we thought he was just kind of weird. Ok, so he's not social. Whatever. But then, he started to make all these changes in his department. His ideas stink on ice, to put it bluntly. They were confusing to his staff, not communicated well and seemed to be fixing things that weren't broken. Whenever his staff asked a question about it, because like I said, these ideas were not communicated clearly, he would tell them that they are not supposed to ask questions, but instead are supposed to just do what he says -- he's the supervisor. He is one of those macho guys who drinks protein shakes and works out for 2 hours every day. He props his feet up on his desk when he's on the phone, he wears tight t-shirts to work to show off his muscles and he drives a BMW. This attitude, combined with his persona, is why we call him The Gorilla.

I could write a post just about the super mean things he has done to one girl in his department, including threatening her, making sexist comments/implications, and telling her to follow rules that he breaks on a regular basis! And she's supposed to shut up and do what he says!

Well, I can tell you that this is NOT how we roll at our library. One of the things I like about my job is that it's super team-oriented and very collaborative. Everyone's input is valued and shared and discussed. He wants to operate like a dictator over his staff. This is so foreign, I cannot even tell you. I know you may be thinking that perhaps we were a little bossy towards him or something, or telling him what to do, but that was not it at all. We have been giving him heads up about things which affect his department, and described successful ways to deal with these situations, and he just ignores us. Everything we have done has been as a gesture of helping him. But he doesn't think anyone can tell him anything. He thinks he knows everything.

The worst part about it is, our boss, who could have gotten him all straightened out, quit while I was in Hong Kong. This leaves Big Boss to supervise him, and she is super busy and travels a lot. It's not her fault, but he is just not being supervised well right now. Meanwhile, his ideas are getting worse, he refuses to listen to anyone and has started to get into arguments with people, including me.

But I am not the only one. There are no fewer than 5 people that have complained about him to Big Boss. He will "forget" to attend meetings, avoid responsibility for things which fall under his authority, not uphold his end of bargains, do something directly opposite of what Big Boss tells him, show up an hour late, take 2 hour lunch breaks, etc. Every once in a while, he will ask a question, and it's something he should have learned MONTHS ago. Or he'll ask a question, and it's totally lame. Basically, he sucks. He's incompetent. And he's not even nice to people!

One day, I was working at my desk when he blurted out to another coworker an idea that was so ridiculously stupid, I turned around and said, "Dude, I hear you. That is a problem, but doing what you're thinking of doing is probably a bad idea, and I can tell you why." So I tried to explain to him why it was such a bad idea, and since he's either stupid or refuses to listen, it became a very frustrating conversation on my end -- he just wasn't getting what I was saying, and I had to keep repeating myself. Apparently, at some point in the conversation, although I do not remember saying it, I called him "stupid" or an "idiot". I do not remember saying this at all, although I will admit to thinking it a lot!!! (I am not excusing my behavior -- I was unprofessional and shouldn't have said whatever I said.)

The next thing I know, I have to have a meeting with HR and Big Boss about all of this. I told them that I may have said it, because I was very frustrated at the time, but I do not remember saying the exact phrase he was claiming. In fact, I think what I may have said is that the IDEA was stupid. (Yes, I realize that neither comment is professional or appropriate, but they mean different things!) I was kind of pissed that rather than talking to me about all of this, he went to HR, and was now making a big deal out of nothing. I realized during this meeting that The Gorilla was not playing, and I needed to protect myself. So I sang like a canary and told them all stuff he had done. My Big Boss, who was there, was shocked and had no idea all of this stuff had been going on. She also talked to the girl on his staff I mentioned a minute ago -- she sang like a canary, too. But Big Boss was still thinking it may just be a personality conflict and that he just needed more training. We were worried that she wasn't taking us seriously, and that she was on his side.

Then, all hell broke loose on the last day of classes before Thanksgiving. As this is the day that all the students are done with classes and exams, we get a T-O-N of books returned at the desk. We literally have thousands returned in the matter of one day. So we have always used this great organization system to manage it all so we don't end up with giant piles of books on the floor. This system works great, and so ahead of time, my coworker S told him all about it. She said, "Hey, this is the system I came up with, and it works really great. You may want to put it in place before the last day of classes, or you can do your own thing, too, if you want." (By this point in time, she had already been told, like I had, to mind her own business and keep her nose out of his department, so she just wanted to offer it as an option to him. Besides, Big Boss had told her to mentor him until the end of the year, so she was doing as she was instructed.)

True to form, he ignored her. Then, he was not even at work on this super busy day (it is the busiest day of the whole year for his department!). So all hell is breaking loose while he is gone, because he told his staff to NOT use the system that worked. They were supposed to use this other system that he created (which was not really anything at all). S happens to walk by the desk and sees his staff (who are also her friends, btw) struggling to keep up with all the books. She asks them what the plan is for dealing w/all of this, and no one says anything. One person asked if they could set up the usual system. S asked everyone, "Do you want to use the regular system?" and everyone nodded. So they did it, and everything began to get organized and the staff wasn't so stressed out. Yay!

The next day, when The Gorilla came into work, and saw that the old system was set up, he took it all down, ripping the organization signs down, and demanded answers from his staff as to who had set up the old system. Once he found out, he emailed S a very nasty email, claiming she was undermining his authority and lowering the morale of his staff. This email made S cry, it was so mean spirited. S did not reply to it, because honestly, it didn't deserve a response. It was totally out of line, unprofessional and disrespectful. S just told Big Boss that she wanted to talk to her about it, and forwarded the email to Big Boss.

Big Boss told her that The Gorilla had already forwarded a copy to her. Yes, you read that correctly, The Gorilla sent a copy of his nasty email to Big Boss voluntarily. That is how much he thinks he is right! He can't even recognize when he's being a jerk! He thought that email was totally appropriate!

This event, combined with stuff that he has done to Big Boss (oh yes, this guy has some serious cojones!!!), has definitely turned the tables on him. S and I had to meet again with HR about our "conflicts" because basically, The Gorilla wanted us to apologize to him. He wanted accountability. Whatever. I apologized for what I said, as I should have. I don't have a problem with that. But even though the HR lady was trying to explain to him how inappropriate his email was, he still didn't get it. During this meeting with HR, I found out that The Gorilla has been talking to HR for WEEKS saying who knows what about all of us. I know that some of the stuff he's said is flat-out not true, because we had to correct the HR lady at the meeting. I think that he's got a lawyer and is being coached on how to sue for hostile work environment or something. His last job was at a law firm, so we are thinking he has a buddy who is coaching him. This guy is super dangerous. That's why even though he has not acknowledged my existence, I am ok with that, because I don't want to give him any more ammo!

Anyway, this guy is ridiculous, and I really hope his arguments don't hold up, because I am so tired of dealing with him. We all are. Luckily, Big Boss totally sees our side (now that she has been a victim, too!) now and I am pretty sure she is ready to give him the old heave ho. His arguments really don't carry much weight. I guess we will have to see how it turns out.

Whew! Sorry, I tried to make it short. I'm going home to Virginia tomorrow. If I don't get a chance to blog while I'm there, I hope everyone reading this has a VERY Merry Christmas!!!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Sunny...with a Chance of Rain

Sorry about the woe-is-me post, there, guys. I was getting the last little bits of my down mood out of me. I have been making a bigger effort to get out of the house and meet people and be busier, because that always puts me in a better mood. I have had a great week, actually. I think my prayers have finally been answered. I feel more optimistic and happy than I have in a long time.

Well, except for one thing.

Just as the proverbial sun has come out, along comes a little black rain cloud: they have started to have layoffs at the school where I work. I am pretty sure I am safe, along with at least most of my immediate coworkers. But it's a little tense right now. Upper administration isn't providing much information, so the rumor mill is going bonkers -- 100 people are getting laid off, one of our campuses is closing, bosses are forced to justify who they can keep... -- it's nuts. The only things I know for sure:

* 2 people have been laid off (but I'm pretty sure there are more)
* lots of people, from all kinds of departments, have to take2 weeks or a month's furlough
*most of the non-essential buildings around campus are closed (as in, no power or water) for the month

What makes me nervous is that we are getting no information, and since there's a school policy that prohibits us from talking to the media, there is nowhere for me to get info, other than the rumor mill. I am also concerned about the fact that they never offered to freeze/cut pay as a way to prevent layoffs -- does that mean we are past that as an option? I don't like that they have shut down power/water to most of the buildings on campus. That sounds really extreme and last-resort-y to me. I did some rough number crunching about how much $ this would save to shut down most of the buildings on campus for one month (long story as to how I have numbers to use!) -- it's about $350k. If they need more than that, exactly how bad is it?

Is this just round one? Is there more to come? Has the president cut her own salary and bonus? Who knows?! But I have my suspicions that things have been bad for a while and they just haven't told us. Our Hong Kong campus is not taking off like we thought it would. Anytime you start something like a new campus, you have to expect that it will be a little slow to get off the ground -- we were entering a new market, for Pete's sake. But I think they thought it would be gang busters, and they have been struggling since day one. Everyone knows it. I'm pretty sure they are WAY over budget and I get the feeling they didn't do their homework when they hatched this idea. One of the Admissions girls in Hong Kong told me that everyone assumed there would be all these mainland China people who would enroll, but they had just found out that anyone who wants to attend school in Hong Kong must wait a year before they can go -- there's some bureaucratic law/immigration rule that requires students to wait one year before going to Hong Kong. Which set us back in admissions BIG time. Then there were a few signs last spring that something was rotten in Denmark. But no one thought anything of it. Now it's adding up, at least in my head. I work at an expensive, private school. I guess the economy finally caught up to us. Why go to our school for $27k per year, when you can go to a state school for less?

For several reasons, the library should be mostly, if not entirely, unscathed in this. Which means we will all have survivor's guilt. Can you imagine losing your job 3 weeks before Christmas? I know one of the people who was laid off -- she's a mom with a son in college. That sucks. Just in case, I am definitely going to be trimming back on things. Luckily, I have a lot of vacation time saved up, so if there's a 2 week furlough, it shouldn't affect me. Guess it pays to never take days off! I have also saved some money -- enough to pay my bills for a month if I have to deal with a worst-case scenario.

I called my mom today to tell her about all this. She says that worst-case scenario, I break my lease, pack all my stuff, and move in with her. There are actually a couple of jobs open in my hometown right now in libraries there. Then she told me there is no point in worrying about it, because I can't do anything about decisions made above my head. Which is true.

The thing is with layoffs and financial troubles, it works like an onion -- you peel off layers until you have the core you need just to stay operating on a skeleton crew. And right now, I don't know what layers are being peeled off and I certainly don't know which layer I am in. I am pretty sure I am in a better state than the guy who shares my office. Boy, is he a piece of work! I need to post about him -- you guys would NOT believe how awful he is. I'm glad my big boss likes me. Hard work always pays off. Right?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting You--and Me--Up to Date

I know I am supposed to be writing more about Hong Kong. And I will. But today, I really need to blog about more current stuff.

Gosh, I went to Hong Kong 3 months ago. It's a good thing I took photos, because one day, my kids will hate me for never recording anything about my travels. I am so bad about that kind of stuff. If you are friends w/me on the Book of Face (aka Facebook), you can see all my Hong Kong photos there. Otherwise, just sit on your hands and try to be patient. When the mood strikes, I will talk about it.

We all know I have been a very absent blogger over the last year or so. Part of that was because of my hectic job and my exhaustion at the end of the day. Looking back on it now, it was also because I have been in a very bad place ever since I broke things off with Ex-F. Although I had come to terms with my decision, and have no regrets, I found myself unable and unwilling to bounce back from it. It affected me much more deeply than I first realized, and I didn't have much of a support network to help me work through it. The Ex-F was my support network, and let's face it-- that just wouldn't be healthy. The Czarina only felt relief and doesn't see much point in talking about things from the past. MJ is too far away and even she admits she never answers her phone. My friends here are nice enough, but not so close that I can have heart-to-hearts with them.

I am rapidly burning out at my job. I do not like living in Savannah. I have put on a little more weight (not a lot, but enough that I can't wear the pants I wore last year) and I have become a total hermit. Aside from one or two things I have going on, I spend the vast majority of my free time watching tv on my couch, alone with my dog, eating junk food. (Part of this is also due to my recent obsession with current events, so I am learning a lot -- it's not a total waste! But that is for another post.) To make a long story short, I have not been myself lately. I have been a sad shell of my formerly vibrant self. My recent lifestyle is nothing I would wish on anyone and is certainly no way for a young woman to live. I am supposed to be happy and have all these friends and be running around doing stuff. Over the last year, I have been more lonely, more hopeless and more sad than I have ever been in my whole life. But no one (except my mom and MJ) knows. But even they don't know how bad it is. I have been pretty low. Like, scary low.

That's why I haven't blogged about any of it. It would just be a giant pity party. No one wants to read Debbie Downer's blog.

I suppose a shrink would say that I am intentionally shielding myself from any chance that I will ever date again, as a way to punish myself for having broken someone's heart. Or that I am so afraid of failing and ending up alone that I would just rather not even try. At least then, if I die alone, it won't be because I effed up, but because the universe didn't come through for me. (What, you didn't know the universe is supposed to be finding me a new boyfriend? Yeah, do you see how wacked out I am on self-pity??) A physician would probably tell me to exercise and eat right, so that I would feel better, gain more self-confidence and improve my mood. The Czarina just tells me all my problems are because of my weight and if I would just lose weight all my problems would magically disappear. They are probably right. Well, I think The Czarina's logic is a little off, but she means well. She's not the most sympathetic person in the world, let's face it.

It's not like I've never been through a bad breakup before. Or been lonely. Or overweight. Or suffered from bouts of insecurity. But I've always bounced right back before. For some reason, this time it was different. I have no motivation to change, even though I am not happy where I am now. This bummed-out period has been longer. Much longer.

I don't think I am clinically depressed, but I have been hovering around it and wallowing in self-pity for over a year now. Maybe I am undiagnosed. "I have a great apartment and a great job, and that's enough," I have been lying to myself. I feel like I've been on the Negativity-go-Round for a year, and I'd like to get off. It's starting to make me wanna barf.

See how fun this is? Wheeee! I know you are so glad you stopped by.

But the good news is, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that all my praying is starting to pay off. I think I am slowly coming out of it. I have been taking long walks with Sammy, and they help to put me in a slightly better mood. I am going to try and do more fun things not involving my couch. I just found a new church to go to, so that is also a good thing. After tiring of my coworkers nagging me, I put up a profile on OK Cupid (an online dating site) -- and let me tell you, I am so NOT into it. I haven't even replied to any of the emails. I am going to attend/try/go to anything that sounds interesting or fun. Even if it costs money (one of my favorite excuses to sit on my couch!). I am going to try and meet more people. I am looking forward to having news to share with someone when they call me and want to know what's new.

I am not going out this way. This has gone on long enough.

Ok, stay tuned for more optimistic (and funnier!) posts. Maybe more frequent, too. No more Debbie Downer. She's had enough space in my brain.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hong Kong Report #1

Hi Readers! Sorry I am the worst blogger ever. This time of year is insanely busy for me (I've been working about 50 hour weeks since mid-September) and I just haven't been in a blogging mood. Don't take that personally. Anyway, I have all kinds of great Hong Kong trip photos and stories for you. To save time, I'm going to paste the emails I sent my coworkers while I was over there. But first, let's talk about the flight over there.

1. I flew from Savannah to Detroit, and barely made my international flight to Hong Kong! Running from the domestic flight area to the international flight area in the Detroit airport is not my idea of a good time. Especially when I suffer from what my mom calls "chronic train fever". I am always convinced I will miss my flight. Which, despite the logical and intellectual voices in my head, I believe is quite possibly the end of the world. (I have posted in the past about my total airport paranoia). Hey, I know no one likes a 4 hour layover, but a little more than 10 minutes would have been nice!

2. I pulled a classic inexperienced traveler mistake: I let the computer pick my seat. Which meant that my seat, for the 16+ hour flight.....was right next to the bathroom. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Can you say "total exhaustion"? Between the light in the bathroom, the smell of that blue liquid and the constant opening and shutting of the door, I didn't really sleep on the way over there. To make it even more fun, my seat was in front of the galley, so I could not recline my seat. "This is a free trip to Hong Kong. This is a free trip to Hong Kong," I kept repeating to myself, as I looked up the aisle and watched the people in first class recline on their BEDS.

My other big regret was ignoring my mother's advice to bring sleeping pills. Also dumb. I could have slept right through every disgusting meal, every swish of the toilet and all the ass-numbing boredom. Thank goodness for the individual TV screens, which give you essentially your own little mini-Netflix selection of tv shows and movies to watch on demand. HELLO this is the coolest thing ever. I watched so many movies. It really helped the time go by.

By movie #4, however, I was starting to climb the walls. You can only sit still and watch tv for so long before you need to DO something. I checked our time. Oh, great! Only 8 more hours of flight!


It was the flight. That. Never. Ended. Seriously, y'all, the flight alone is enough to make you never want to go over there. It is interminable!!!! Plus, with all the time zone changes, I left Detroit at 1pm on Saturday, and arrived in Hong Kong at 8pm SUNDAY night. And you know what? It felt like I had been on a plane for 30+ hours.

Finally, we deplaned (very quickly, I might add. We were all ready to get the heck off that giant aluminum tube!). I went through customs (kinda scary cuz you know, they are technically Communist -- gulags! EEK!), exchanged some money, and then I went to get a cab. The first cabbie I talked to was perplexed when I showed him the address for my hotel. He didn't speak any English, so I started to get nervous -- what if he took me to Timbuktu? He showed the address to another cabbie, they chatted a bit, and then decided to swap passengers. The other guy apparently knew where my hotel was. WHEW. Upon first glance of Hong Kong, I thought: It's tall, like New York. But hilly and green like the Appalachian mountains. And all the buildings light up like Las Vegas. Cool.

I finally went to bed around 10:30pm, thinking I would have no problem sleeping until my alarm went off at 7pm. That is, until my eyes popped open at 4am. WTF??

The next morning, I was picked up at my hotel by X, the librarian we hired to run the library at our new Hong Kong campus. She's from the Beijing area, so she is bilingual and understands the culture much better than I. She can also read all the signs, which is very helpful. The problem is, she speaks Mandarin, but everyone in Hong Kong speaks Cantonese -- same written language, but pronunciation and grammar are different. I guess it's like putting someone from Southern Alabama into Long Island and expecting them to just start talking! It doesn't really work that way, apparently.

We rode the subway together (my favorite thing EVER) and went to work. I won't bore you with work details, but here's an email I sent my coworkers a couple of days later:

"I miss you guys. I am very homesick, although, I have to admit, I think it's more about missing familiar American food than anything else. It's only Wednesday, and I'm already sick of Asian food! All I want is Mexican. :P You know how some Asian restaurants in the US are kind of sketchy? That's how ALL of them are here. It is a big challenge to this picky eater. Everyone here at the [school I work for] building goes out to lunch together every day. The first day we went to an Italian restaurant, if you can believe it. I was laughing at the menu, because they served green curry. It was good food, but they used very little cheese or spices. A lot of the food is on the bland side, actually. Cantonese don't use a lot of spices in their food. Yesterday we went to a Shanghainese restaurant and it was very delicious. I took photos of all the food we got. You will be proud of me -- I ate eel! They love watermelon here, as well as those bubble teas (I haven't found one I like yet, but they are ok so far). There are 7-11s everywhere, full of weird snacks and candies and drinks. I'm having fun trying them.

If you have ever been to NYC, that is a good comparison to Hong Kong. Only the whole city is built on the side of a mountain, so there are steep hills and staircases everywhere. I have yet to see a building shorter than 7 stories. There are more skyscrapers here than anywhere else I have ever been. The weather is just like Savannah, and luckily, it hasn't rained really hard yet. Just afternoon drizzles. There are people EVERYWHERE. It's like Grand Central Station, especially at night. Lots of night owls. Which is weird, because all the stores close at 7pm. I guess they are all out eating??

Most people speak a little English, and most of the signs have both English and Cantonese here. X is frustrated because I know more Cantonese than she does! But parts of it are very similar to Mandarin, so she is getting by ok. She says hi.

I love the subway, and it's very easy to find your way around it. Public transportation is very cheap here -- I had a 45 minute taxi ride from the airport and it was less than $40! I sat next to a supermodel on the subway this morning. She had to be a supermodel -- she was over 6 ft tall and skinny and gorgeous. I wish I could play Sartorialist and take photos of the women here -- they are fantastic dressers! Very very stylish. But I haven't taken any photos because I think it may make them uncomfortable. "

Ok, y'all, I gotta run. More Hong Kong stories later!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Place and That's Not Chicken

Hello, Everyone! Sorry I've been away so long. I have moved (yes, again! Move #17 of my life!) and been busy planning for Hong Kong. Because why not move AND take a 2 week international trip right afterwards? That's not stressful at all.

I also had to order and set up my Wi Fire, this super cool gizmo that magnifies wifi signals. Since I moved right next door to one of the buildings associated with the school where I work, I needed something to help me pick up the wifi signal from next door. It was too weak to pick up with my built in wifi thingie on my laptop, so I did some research and found out about this Wi Fire thing. They sell it on Amazon for $50, and voila! Free internet, courtesy of the wifi network next door! Woo hoo!

So I have moved out of the townhouse I shared with the Ex-F. It was a big relief -- I had a lot of bad memories there, and the HOA was driving me nuts with their controlling ways. Did I tell you they wouldn't let me have a yard sale? Yeah. WTF. They said it would "inconvenience my neighbors". Whatever. I just sold everything on Craigslist. They can bite me. Since I was moving from a 3 bedroom, 1250 sq ft place into a one bedroom, 800 sq ft place, I had to do a LOT of downsizing! I ended up making almost $300. Sweet.

Now, I am back downtown, living in an old building, just like I wanted. It was built a little after the turn of the century, and I really like the details. I'm actually right across the street from work, which is pretty cool. I can take naps on my lunch break! My coworker Lunch Buddy (her nickname, since we eat lunch together every day) and I watch tv at my house while we eat our turkey sandwiches. It's pretty sweet.

I have to say, I am pretty stoked about my new place, even though I am not done unpacking or setting it up. I forgot how long it takes to cram all your stuff into a smaller place! Not only do I have a sweet location, but my building was redone very nicely, so the kitchen is great and the apartment is not grungy or weird. It even has a normal floor plan, and gorgeous hardwood floors. And lots of storage -- a rarity in downtown Savannah! And like I said, I now get free internet! I am never moving again, as long as I live in Savannah, anyway. The kitchen even has a garbage disposal and a dishwasher. I have a clawfoot tub in my bathroom which is original to the building, so it's about 80-90 years old. I even have a spot for my washer and dryer, so I have on-site laundry facilities -- another rare thing in downtown Savannah. And would you believe this place is almost $100 cheaper than my old place? So worth it. Several of my coworkers have confessed to apartment envy.

I forgot to mention one super cool thing -- according to my landlord, Shoeless Joe Jackson used to live in this building after he got out of the Major Leagues. She doesn't know which apartment, though. Cool, huh? Here are some pics.

This is the outside of my building. I'm on the bottom left. (Yay, no more stairs!)

A shot of my bedroom:

The super cool fireplace in my bedroom:

My kitchen (you can't see the fridge on the left or the sinks on the right, so just use your imagination.)

Another shot of the living room:

I have some other pics, too, but are you really interested in seeing my closets? Didn't think so. The Czarina wants me to send more pics when I am all set up, so I'll share those when I take them.

I leave for Hong Kong on Saturday for 2 weeks. I am sooooo not ready and have a to-do list that is making me panic a little. I do have the major things done -- new passport and all my shots (dude, I had to get like, 7 different shots! Whoa!) . But now I just have to do laundry, run a bunch of errands, pack....ugh. I am a little stressed. I have Friday off, which helps, and my flight doesn't leave until noon on Saturday, so that also gives me a little time.

I won't get excited until I get on the plane. Then I will be super pumped! Even though this is a work trip, I am excited to experience a different country on someone else's dime. I wish they had put me in business or first class, considering my flight from Detroit to Hong Kong is 16 hours, but whatever. I'll survive. I'm actually more worried about eating while I am there. You see, I can't use chop sticks. I love egg rolls, but they will get old after a while. I am packing plastic forks, just in case.

After wondering what Chinese people eat for breakfast, I got a DVD about Cantonese food from Netflix the other day. Excited to learn more about the world of dumplings and stir-fry, I sat on my couch to watch. The narrator started off with something along the lines of how bouts of war and famine in China throughout time forced the people to consume all their food daily because they had to remain on the move and couldn't afford to bring food along (hence the emphasis on fresh ingredients). They also had to cook their food quickly to save time (hence the invention of stir-fry) and they also had no money so they had to eat cheaply (hence all the rice).

Very nice. Making sense so far, I thought.

Next, the narrator explained that the Cantonese people sometimes had to just eat what was available to them, due to the constant upheavals which come along with war and famine. Then the narrator said something about how there's a saying about the Cantonese -- they will eat anything that flies, swims or crawls.

Oh, haha, like they would eat my dog, how stereotypical, I thought.

"Actually," the narrator continued, "In the Cantonese language, there is no word for 'inedible.'"

Um, what?

Then the narrator said, "Chapter One: Chicken."

Oh no....

And what followed after was a 20 minute expose of how they love chicken and eat every part (and I mean every part) of a chicken. WARNING: Do not eat while reading this next part.

So they eat the obvious chicken parts. But the thing that is weird is that they seem to always cook the chickens whole (well, minus the feathers, which seems to be the only part of the chicken they don't eat). So there were all these full bodied chickens being boiled in pots. Whatever, they probably buy them from farmers and chop the heads off later, right? Wrong. Sometimes, you are served a whole chicken on your plate. As in, it's looking at you. Other times, they cut the head off, but only because they are making another dish with the head parts. Like deep-fried chicken beaks, for example. Ew. I have heard of people in the South eating chicken feet, but chicken beaks?? Sounds...crunchy. I would also like to add that they make a "specialty" dish out of the chicken part which I will simply refer to as "sphincter". Yes. They deep fry those, too, and you dip them in sauce. Are you gagging yet? Because I was. It totally ruined the ice cream I was eating while watching the DVD.

So they get to the end of the chicken section, and I'm like, "WHEW! Glad that's over!" But then the narrator comes back on and says, "Chapter 2: Snake." Ooooohhh noooooooo.......

I won't even tell you what they do with snake. All I can say is thank the Lord they are shaped the way they are so I can spot them in any dishes offered to me.

I stopped the DVD after the snake chapter. Chapter 3 was "Sheep", I think. No, thanks. I'm already a picky eater, and not the world's biggest Asian food fan, so this DVD was not helping. Perhaps this trip will be a good way to kick off my diet? I probably won't have any access to Ben and Jerry's which will be a start. However, I do know that KFC is on like donkey kong over there, so I can have fried chicken (breasts! Not beaks!) if I get the hankering. One of my coworkers made me promise to try at least one weird thing while I'm over there. I agreed, but only after she said it didn't have to be snake.

Well, guys, I don't know if I will have time to blog again before I leave, but I will blog when I get back. I'm not bringing my laptop with me, because my hotel charges $15/day for internet access. Which may be worth it, but the dealbreaker was that I found out that you can't get internet on planes once you're about 100 miles away from the US coastline. Well, not on Delta flights, anyway. If I could hop online as I cross the Pacific, I would probably bring it, but that is too much hassle. Sorry, guys. I'll be bringing a little notebook with me so I can write down all the interesting/funny/weird things I experience while over there. I'll provide a full report when I get back! Until then..........joi gin (goodbye)!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hong Kong Before Long

Hello, Readers! Sorry, I didn't mean to be away that long. Well, I have some Hong Kong updates, among others.

I leave for Hong Kong on Aug. 14th and return on the 28th. I think I will be bringing my laptop with me so I can blog on location! Also so I have something to do while I am on my 15+ hour plane ride. Hooray for mah jong! :P

I just bought some books about Hong Kong culture, as well as a travel guide and a phrase book. I'm starting to get really excited! This is kind of a trip of a lifetime for me. When else would I ever go there??

Learning some Cantonese is kind of slow-going. It's such a different language than English. When I have learned European languages, it's comforting to run across the occasional word which sounds like English: buch in German is "book", in French the word for cat is "chat", etc. But Cantonese is wholly foreign. Even the sounds you make can be weird: "gwoh" and "tsi" are two examples. And the words are all choppy and short: "yan", "ying", "dowh", etc.

One of the words I am having a difficult time pronouncing correctly is for "miss", as in, "Excuse me, Miss!" Since I am learning via CDs and have nothing visual in front of me, I can't tell if this word would be spelled "soo-deh" or "soo-jeh". Another challenging word for me is the verb, "to want". I can't tell if it would be spelled "sahng" or "sahn". To make things even more complicated, intonation is very important in Cantonese. Although the verbs "can" and "eat" would essentially be spelled the same in English ("sic"), you would say one in a low tone and the other in a rising tone, kind of like you're singing them. The differences are very subtle, and I am a little concerned that I will be telling people about my abilities when I really want to tell them I am hungry. I can't think of any comparable English example to this intonation thing. In English, we usually have some sort of extra meaning or emotional emphasis at play when we change the intonation ("thing" vs. "thang" like "You go, Miss Thang!") . But in Cantonese, they could mean two completely different concepts. Yowza.

Anyway, it's really fun to learn a foreign language, even if most people there are fluent in English. I am actually more worried about my lack of chop stick skills (abysmal at best) than anything else. Perhaps I can just eat egg rolls while I'm there?

I just got most of my vaccines: Hepatitis A & B, Thyphoid, Tetanus and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). If you're counting, that is 5 shots. And I have to go back for two more before I leave. Luckily, shots are never as bad as your imagination makes them out to be. My arms hurt a little, but otherwise it was a quick and mostly painless process. The nurse told me I would probably be tired for a couple of days, due to my immune system getting used to them. I thought, "Pshaw! I'll be fine. Shots schmots!"

Dude. She wasn't kidding. I went to bed at 8pm last night, and will probably do it again tonight! I am sooooooooooo tired! I have that same feeling you get when you are recovering from a bad cold.

In other news, I am moving soon. Yes, again. I am semi-nomadic, apparently. If you didn't know me, you'd think moving was one of my hobbies. This will be my 4th address in less than 2 years. Argh. I will be at my new place by August 1st. I am ready to leave where I am right now -- it's too big for one person and I have nothing but bad break-up memories here. It will be cathartic to get out of here. I am ready to start over in so many ways.

But here's the cool part: I will be across the street from work. And my apartment is in a neat old building. And it's affordable without being gross or run-down. It also has a dishwasher and a garbage disposal (two things difficult to find in downtown Savannah in my price range). I will be in the "safe" part of downtown, too. Hopefully, I will be taking some photos soon to share with you.

Yes, that is correct. I bought a CAMERA. So I can take PHOTOS for my BLOG. Those of you who are tired of the lack of visual aids to my stories should be pleased at this news. :)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Neih hou! Guess Where I'm Going!!

Neih hou, readers!

I have recently found out I am going here soon:

Here is the apartment complex where I will probably be staying. Notice it is beachfront!

Isn't it beautiful? Can you guess where this is? Here are some hints:

I have to get my passport renewed.
I have a VERY long plane flight ahead of me.
Where I am going, there is no such thing as the 4th floor.
This city is roughly the same size as New York City.
There are over 200 islands here.
It is the world's most vertical city, with more people living and working above the 14th floor than anywhere else.
I will need to get an Octopus Card.
It is home to the world's longest rail/car suspension bridge.
I hope I will get to try wife cakes and mooncakes, which are local delicacies.
I will have to remember that giving clocks, scissors and red flowers are all considered bad gifts in their culture.
I will have to learn how to use chop sticks -- eek! I suck at chopsticks!!
I will also need to develop a taste for tea -- blech!!!
If I am offered shark fin soup, it will be rude of me to turn it down, as this delicacy is expensive and given to guests of honor.
I need to get ready for my personal space to be invaded -- they stand very close to each other over there. Luckily, they are as uncomfortable with touching as Americans are.
Feng shui is very important over there.
I should not wear blue or white, as these are considered colors of mourning.

Can anyone guess where I am going??? I am super excited, even though it will be a business trip. I might be gone as long as a month! I will be going mid- to late-August. Woo hoo!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vacay Summary

Greetings, Readers!

Let's see. What should I update you on? My visit with the fam went very well. My little sister, Smurf, is all grown up now. She's got quite a summer ahead of her -- she will actually be going to Belgium for 6 weeks where she will be taking some French classes. She'll be staying with my aunt, who lives there. So I am really excited for her. Then, she will come back and 10 days later, she will begin college at Sweet Briar. I can't believe how old she is! It seems like yesterday when I graduated high school, and she was just a little rug rat.

Wasn't she the cutest kid ever?? Now she's all tall and gorgeous. She's got legs up to her earlobes, eyelashes anyone would envy and she even lucked out with The Czarina's thick hair. So not fair. :)

Another thing I did when I went up there to visit the family was to get my grandmother's engagement ring. If you remember correctly, this was supposed to be my engagement ring before I broke things off with the Ex-F. At first, I didn't want it, because it was too weird, and it made me sad to think about what the ring was supposed to be. But my European Aunt (the same one who lives in Belgium) really wants me to have it, so now I am wearing it. My European Aunt never had any kids, nor did she ever get married, and since I am named after my grandmother, she has always wanted to give the ring to me. It's very old-fashioned, and it means a lot to me. My grandparents got married in 1945, and the wear on the ring just goes to show you how long they were married. By now, it's been long enough that it doesn't make me sad anymore to think about the Ex-F, so it's cool. Apparently, my grandmother had the same size fingers as I do, because it fits like a glove.

The thing that may get weird is that the Ex-F has seen the ring before, and I am worried he will recognize it if he sees it. So I have to turn it around backwards when I'm around him. (He dog sits Sammy for me during the week while I am at work). I don't plan on ever taking it off my finger -- it's just a good habit to wear it all the time so I don't ever lose it.

I guess if I ever get a new fiance, they will just have to suck it up and buy me my own ring! Seems fair to me -- two hands, two rings, right? :)

The Czarina and I also went up to Lancaster, PA to visit my other aunt (the one whose husband dropped dead of a heart attack earlier this year). We were worried about how she was doing, but were very relieved to find her in good spirits. We're very proud of her and the way she is handling this challenging time in her life. She's got a great support network up there, and she's going to be just fine. The three of us spent a few days shopping and eating delicious Italian food. (For some reason, there are several super yummy Italian places up there in the middle of Amish country!) We also went to the big Farmer's Market in downtown Lancaster -- man, was that something to see!! So much gorgeous, local produce. If I lived there, I would never buy produce at the grocery store. Some of the booths were run by Amish people, which was really neat, too. It's interesting to see a group of people who don't believe in telephones, wearing jewelry or makeup, using zippers, having electricity in their homes or driving cars -- and yet they still function with "outsiders" in almost the same way. Such an interesting lifestyle and local culture.

After visiting my aunt in PA, The Czarina and I spent a day shopping in Richmond. Man, do they have great shopping there. *sigh* I live for shopping in Richmond. It makes me want to move there so badly. I have been looking for jobs there for a while now, actually.

I flew back yesterday afternoon, and am very happy that I now have 2 days to putter around before going back to work. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Carry Me Back to Ol' Virginia

Hey Y'all! I think that is the name of the state song of Virginia. Not sure. Anyway, just a quick post before I head to the airport. I'm on vacation until June 1st!

I'll be with my family -- Smurf is graduating high school tomorrow. After that, The Czarina and I are going up to visit my Aunt J in Pennsylvania for a few days. I heart her.

Ok, I gotta run. Sorry about the lack of posting -- not much going on lately. Although, I do have a crush..........more later. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I knew something was up when I began getting more emails from than I did from real, actual people.

Then I started to think about the number of people I have met here in Savannah...outside of work.

Gradually, my activity on Facebook has dwindled to....well, nothing, really.

But I knew I had to do something when I found out The Czarina has more of a dating life than I do.

Yes, my own mother has something closer to a boyfriend than I do. Considering she is 63, this concerns me, and quite frankly, just seems wrong.

Time for action.

I will no longer turn down social invitations because I am tired or because I don't like staying up late. I will sleep when I'm dead. I will flirt with guys whenever possible, instead of just assuming they are not interested in me. I will get out of the house more, and exercise more. (I am thinking about getting a pair of those Reebok butt-toning shoes. Have you seen the ads? They are very convincing. I want my butt to look like the ones on the commercials.)

To see what I'm up against, let's see what I have already accomplished, and what sort of challenges I should expect.

Upside: The Ex-Fiance is moving out next weekend!! Yay!
Downside: I will not have much money left for social activities. I will have to get creative. Because I will be broke-edy broke broke. Until I get a tenant for my house in SC. Which at this rate will be in like, November.

Upside: I have been going out more lately.
Downside: It's been with a girl I will call Frenemy. We are in different departments, but the same building. She is a textbook frenemy: super fun girl, but you can only trust her as far as you can see her. Makes me a little nervous.

Upside: I have recently joined a Bible Study group. Never thought I would do that. Ever. I always thought those things were full of Bible-thumping weirdos. But it's really great. It's like free therapy. Very supportive, and I really like all the girls. I have always believed I am a Christian (er, well, attempted to be one, anyway), and now I am learning more about my faith, which is really great.
Downside: They are almost 100% married and pregnant/just had babies. Which means I know WAY more about diaper genies than is normal for someone in my stage of life. Hello? Where are the single women in this town? Besides my coworkers?

Upside: There are always lots of cool art-related events in this town. It pays to work for an art school! I am going to a photography show tonight.
Downside: Usually, the kind of guys at art-related events are at best -- not my type, and at worst -- gay. With all the married ones falling in-between. Ugh. Do I have to drive to a bigger city and be watching football to meet cute, straight, single guys? Sometimes I feel like this town is one big Greenwich Village. Full of Village People.

No offense to gay guys, but usually they don't like it when I try and make out with them.

Upside: I love my coworkers. They rock. Super fun, most of them are single, too.
Downside: Although I love hanging out w/them, sometimes it's nice not to talk about work, and I would like to get a wider group of friends here. Also, one of my coworkers (a girl I hired -- of course!) drives me INSANE. So sometimes I turn down invitations to hang out with them, just so I can avoid spending less than 40 hours with this girl. I can hardly stand to be in the same room as her. I so need to devote a whole post to her. It is long overdue.

Upside: I have also recently joined a political group. As I get older, I follow politics much more closely, and am excited to meet up with like-minded people. The next meeting is in early May. By my experience, guys do tend to like politics. This isn't the main reason I am going. I'm just mentioning this because this activity has a higher likelihood of me meeting those cute, single straight guys. That's just gravy.
Downside: Um...I don't think there is one to this. Cool.

Upside: Despite my weight gain (and lack of motivation to take it off), I must still "have it", because I recently found out through the grapevine that a friend of mine wants to hook up with me. It is always good to know I am not hideous or too old.
Downside: It is not someone I have feelings for in that way. He's a great guy, but I just don't see him like that. Also, I found out about all of this because the Ex-F told me about it -- apparently this guy asked Ex-F's permission to hook up with me. Not date me-- hook up with me. Kind of tacky. Kind of a dick move -- he and Ex-F are kinda friends. Who does that?? (I will blame his actions on the fact that he's going through a rough divorce right now.)

So now I need your help. Give me some ideas, people. How can I meet other single peeps? Preferably of the straight, single and beefy male variety? Cuz they are not hanging out at the vegan coffee shop, let me tell you. No wonder I am single. All the stuff I like to do (baking, coffee shop hanging, Target-shopping, antiquing) is stuff that a straight guy wouldn't be caught dead doing. Argh. How do people meet???

I took a walk in Forsyth Park yesterday. It's gorgeous there, and there's this big fountain where people like to get married. There was a wedding, and the happy couple was taking their post-nuptial photos as I walked by. They looked so happy and beautiful. I suppressed a twinge of envy as I noticed the groom was a lot older close up. And he had a bald spot.

Happy bride about my age = older guy w/bald spot.

Hmmm. Food for thought.

I have also considered getting on eHarmony, if only for the hilarity that is online dating. (Remember those posts, long-time readers?) I should do it, if only to make it up to all of you for my lack of posting. Ain't no post like an online dating post. Jeez, those were doozies.

I used to snicker at my college girlfriends who would talk about how they hoped to meet their future husbands while still in college. I thought they were nuts. Old-fashioned. Afraid of being independent. Why settle down when there are so many cute frat boys to make out with???

Now I'm 31 and stuck in a town full of gay dudes. I think I effed up.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Culture Vulture

One of the (few) things I like about Savannah is the amazing level of cultural exploration I can enjoy here. Obviously, working for an art school makes this pretty easy. Not only am I constantly exposed to the talented students and their creative endeavors, but there are museums and galleries and performing artists which visit here and exhibit their works, sometimes in conjunction with the school, and sometimes just by coincidence. Then, of course, there are all of the beautiful old buildings-- my love of old buildings is one of the reasons I moved here. This town is so beautiful and charming, especially this time of year. I feel blessed to be surrounded by all of this. Want to see what I mean? Try searching Google Images for "savannah ga architecture".

As you can imagine, my knowledge of art and design has been on quite a steep learning curve over the past year! When I started my job, I didn't know who Jonathan Adler or Damien Hirst were. I had no idea what Mannerism is or that there is a proper way of critiquing art -- it's not just about whether or not you like it. And I didn't really understand what motion graphics even meant. (If you don't know what motion graphics are, you probably see them every day -- it's hard to watch TV without seeing words or shapes that move across your screen -- that's motion graphics, in a nutshell. Every time you watch the opening credits for a movie, you're experiencing motion graphics.)

Now, I have learned that there are some contemporary artists I actually like (I am still not much for Modern Art). I have learned that I love portrait photography and art that is a little on the creepy side. Here are some of my favorites:

Mark Ryden : really creepy paintings -- LOVE this guy! If I could afford his work, I would start a collection.
Shelby Lee Adams : takes photographs of Appalachian folk -- I highly recommend his books and the documentary -- very moving and tender look at these people who have been sidelined by society. You can probably find one of his books at your local public library.
Erick Swenson : I saw one of his shows, and really liked his sculpture, even though some of the pieces are kinda gross.
Nick Cave : (Not to be confused with the Australian singer) This guy is amazing! So vibrant, so colorful, so fun! I watched one of his performances, and it was very exciting. Sort of like dancing African muppets. Very cool!

I'm sure there are more, but I just can't think of them at the moment.

There are also some local artists/students I really like, including:
Rubi McGrory: She works in fibers and makes things like quilts and samplers, but with modern subjects. Very cool! I really like her sense of humor.
Bang-yao Liu: I don't know what this kid is majoring in, or if he's done anything else, but this video is amazing. It hit campus like a firestorm -- everyone has watched it, I'm pretty sure. Ashton Kutcher even twittered it!
Morgan Lockamy: She's a senior painting major here. I happened to be in the painting building, saw one of her paintings, fell totally in love with it, and eventually bought it! I could stare at it all day. She's amazingly talented and has a full ride scholarship to show for it. I can't find any samples of her work online, otherwise I would share.

Arg. There are so many cool artists I have been meaning to share with you. I know I am forgetting some. Oh well, I will just share later.

I did get a chance to see She & Him recently. They came to Savannah for part of our annual music festival. They were (of course) awesome. I already love Zooey Deschanel as an actress, and now I also love her as a musician.

And even though I like creepy art, I think I draw the line here.

Finally, I am sharing with you a super cool video about art.

Alright, that's all I can think of for today. I will try and remember more cool stuff to share later. Right now, I gotta go pay my taxes. So lame, I know. :P

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Springing Forward?

It's quarter to 11pm, and I am wide awake. Stupid daylight savings. I'm supposed to be asleep right now, so I can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for Monday morning at work.

The 2 hour nap I took today might also be playing a role...DANG!

No updates on my living situation. Ex-F is still out of town (and every day is bliss!), still do not have a confirmed tenant for my house in SC. Still don't know if Ex-F is really moving out or if he's just thinking about it. So since so much of it is out of my control, I have been content to not stress about it so much. Just trying to watch my pennies in case I'm in a bind.

Did I tell you I gave up candy and TV for Lent? Just candy. Not ice cream, cookies, pudding, etc. Dude! It is hard! I am majorly jonesing for Twizzlers. And those little sour watermelon slices. And don't even talk to me about Cadbury eggs. The TV thing isn't as difficult. I have allowed myself to watch DVDs and the news. Since I'm not a big movie watcher to begin with, I have immersed myself in various news programs. And now, I have turned from a casual news junkie into fairly-obsessed news junkie. I know WAY more than I ever cared to about the upcoming St. Patty's Day Festival here in Savannah and the Health Care Bill debate going on in DC. I'm kind of ready for them to just vote on it already, because I'm getting kind of bored.

Of course, the main purposes of these two Lenten abstinences (is that a word?) were to motivate me to lose weight (candy normally consists of about 1/3 of my diet) and to encourage me to read more books (don't get me wrong, I like to read, but I will always pick TV over a book, simply for its interactivity with other people, albeit indirect).

Like many of my self-improvement plans, this one has failed miserably. In lieu of candy, my ice cream intake has approximately tripled, and I am now watching TONS of news and am reading only in the last 5 minutes of my day. The news is on in the background whenever I am home. News programs totally know how to reel me in. They tease you with a really crazy story (Car Wash Owner Harassed Over 4 cent Tax Bill! Plane Lands in Middle of Highway!)...which will be on in exactly 32 minutes. ARGH! So, of course, I have to keep watching until the story I really want pops up.

Alright, y'all. I gotta go try and get to sleep. Hope everyone set their clocks and watches and checked their fire alarms.

Crap. I am still totally awake. Maybe I will see what's on the news....

Monday, March 08, 2010

All By Myself

Now that you have that song stuck in your head (hate me?)...




For three weeks. And 20 minutes into it, so far, it is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. I feel like I am on vacation. Think of me how you will, but the Ex-F (that's CN to most of you) just left to go out of town for...


And I am soooooooo happy. He has been driving me bonkers lately. You see, he's having a hard time understanding that we are no longer together. My evidence?

I received a birthday present. (a nice gesture, I will say)
I received a Christmas present. (also a nice gesture)
I received a Valentine's Day present. And card. Which ended with "Love, CN"

Think about it. When was the last time you gave your ex any or all of the above? I thought so. To make it even more awkward, his mom still says hi to me when she calls, which is (again) nice, but really not necessary. I have slowly been trying to distance myself from him. But it's not easy.

If I am making dinner, and didn't consult him or invite him, he gets angry and sulks.
If I don't welcome him home at the end of the day, he sulks.
If I say anything which implies we are no longer an item or that I am no longer in love with him, he sulks.

I am sick and tired of all the sulking. It's manipulative and irritating. Because if I don't go over to him and apologize and soothe him, he will never stop sulking. It's gone on for as long as 48 hours before I give in. UGH. And lately, I have been not making as much of an effort to de-sulk him. Because I don't effing care anymore. We are over. Sorry it ended this way, it's not like I planned it. But we are not together anymore, so stop acting like it. Build a bridge already!

Ok, now that I have exposed myself as a cruel and heartless bitch, I will go on. Venting over for the time being.

I think that little dating he did a few weeks back was just something he was trying to distract himself with. His heart wasn't really in it. Yesterday, he was acting very strangely, and after asking him a MILLION times to just tell me (because that's fun), he told me he was sad about us. I have those days, too, sometimes, so I understand. But when you have no hobbies and no friends, it's kind of hard to get out of that slump and sad mood. To get over crap times in your life, you need a support network of friends and interests. He has neither, despite my pleading with him about how much it would benefit his level of happiness.

(Y'all, I am not exaggerating -- the man really has little interest in anything outside of the NFL and watching TV, and he has never had many friends because he is both paranoid and refuses to put himself out there. Yes, these two aspects of his personality played a role in our breaking up. I got tired of always being social director.)

Ok, so I lied about the venting being over.

Last night, Ex-F announced he was going to look into moving out when he gets back from his work trip. Thank effing gawd. We have been staying here as roomies (ask me how fun that is, btw) for 6 months, and although I love saving all this money, I am about to lose my mind. Not only is it an awkward living situation, but I am on Sulk Patrol, I can't really date and I'm rapidly becoming majorly annoyed with the fact that he feels the need to hog up all the space in the refrigerator with 7 different types of drinks. And he is SO LOUD all the time. Howard Stern (which I abhor) is blared all day long at 56 decibels.

Whoa. I didn't realize how annoyed I was until I started writing this post!

Anyway, at this point, I am ok with sucking it up for a few months and paying for the rent by myself. I may not even move when the lease is up. I don't think I will be able to find anything with as much space, quiet and safety for any less. The only problem?

My tenant (in my house in SC) is moving out in 3 weeks. I currently do not have a replacement tenant. So this might get interesting, financially. Add to that, my plan B fell through -- did I tell you about the married couple I know who said they would be willing to share a house w/me when my lease is up? Well, I just found out they renewed their lease for another year, which means they are not moving in August as originally planned. Looks like I am out on my own.

Rats. Oh well. I have not lived alone in a while, and I am DYING to. Ex-F never leaves the house, which means I am never alone at all. Never. All day, every day. Unless I leave the house. Which gets old, because sometimes I want to just crash in front of the TV in my jammies, not get in my car to go somewhere and be anonymous in public. Why do I always have to be the one to leave?

In case you are wondering why I am not considering moving out, here are the reasons:

1. Ex-F really cannot afford this rent on his own. I can (even though it means I will be eating PB&J sandwiches for lunch every day). The last thing I want to do is dick him over some more.
2. Knowing him, he will return from his trip all happy and perfectly content with staying put. He talks a big game, but always opts for whatever is easiest in life (another personality trait I don't like.)
3. Until I get a tenant in my house in SC, I need to stick with whatever is cheapest, and right now, that means staying put and convincing Ex-F to stay put, too.

Ugh. Boy did I learn my lesson. I am NEVER living with a man again until I get married. Whenever that is.

Thanks for letting me vent. And if you think I'm a bitch, that's ok. Maybe I am. But living with Mr. Sulkface who has no friends or interests other than stocking an army's worth of drinks in the fridge would get on your nerves,too. Trust me.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Bday to Me

Greetings, readers! I am writing to you from my brand new laptop, while sitting in a coffee shop. This might be the most cliche moment of my life. :)

I know I haven't been blogging lately, so let me catch you up.

1. Today is my birthday. I turn 25. (Well, something like that...)Not much planned. MJ is on her way to visit me and hang out for the day. Tonight she and I are joining my coworkers for dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant. Mmmm. Thai. If I am not too sleepy, we will go out for a drink somewhere. But seeing as how I went to bed at 9:30 last night...might not happen.

2. I got a laptop. Yay! This is actually my first computer. I have always just used my friends' computers. I used to have my brother's old computer, but it was so slow, and I really wanted a laptop, so I just figured I'd go for it. I saved up my Best Buy gift cards for a year, and got this little HP for around $350. Woo hoo!! I wish you guys were here to see me try to figure out how to get onto a wireless network. It took me a few minutes. I looked like a total idiot.

3. The main purpose of the laptop was to get me out of the house, away from CN and around people other than CN and my coworkers. I am in such a bad habit of watching tv and just hanging out w/CN. It is not good. I need space. I need to get away. My laptop is my ticket out.

4. Total number of times I have used laptop to actually get out of the house: one. Today. I have had this laptop since Christmas time. It's so much easier to flop on the couch.

5. As if you cannot tell yet, the diet/exercise program is still nada. *Sigh* I really need to get going on that. It would give me so much more energy.

6. In more serious news, my uncle passed away suddenly about 3 weeks ago. He dropped dead of a heart attack. Just like that. The thing that stinks is that he knew heart problems ran in his family, and so he did everything right -- never smoked, never ate bad food, never gained weight, always exercised. We used to tease him because he never put any sauces or flavorings on his food -- no ketchup, no salt. He was trying to be healthy, I guess. Anyway, as you can imagine, my aunt was devastated. She's my dad's sister, btw. I heart her. So I flew up to Washington, DC. My brother works right near Dulles airport, and my mom was picking him up on the way to Lancaster, PA to go to the funeral. So she just stopped to pick me up at the airport. It was hard to see my aunt and my cousins (they had 3 boys) so sad and upset, but I know they will make it through ok. They have so many good friends up there, and my aunt's job keeps her really busy, which is good. Mom and I are already making plans to go visit her in a few months. Oh, and remember all those snowstorms that hit DC? And everything got shut down? I had to re-arrange my flight at the last minute to avoid getting stuck in DC. I was on one of the last flights before Dulles was shut down. Whew!

7. While I was up there, my aunt told me 2 stories about my ancestors which I did not know. I will have to share them with you -- they are super juicy! I have so many interesting and amazing family stories now. I kind of want to write a book about it. Maybe a semi-fictionalized account. That would be cool. I have always wanted to be an author.

8. Work is still bonkers. It's never going to let up. Ever. I have decided that if I don't get a nice (and I mean NICE) raise in June, when I'm up for review, I will start looking elsewhere. I have been working my butt off for this job, and I don't really like Savannah, anyway. (Have I blogged about this? If not, remind me. I have a little soapbox speech I give about Savannah.)

9. It is getting really REALLY hard not to talk about politics on here. I try to keep this blog as un-political as possible, but that my not last forever....

Anyway, thanks for reading. I will try and get better about this blog. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out why this outlet is not charging my laptop....argh.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

BYOB in the New Year

That's Bring Your Own Baggage, by the way. Certainly nothing to do with alcohol in my life! But if I did still drink, I would have a nice tall frosty one right now. Actually, make that some tequila shots.

CN is on a date.

As in....right now.

At dinner. With some girl.

And I'm ok with it. For the most part. It's kind of weird. There is a twinge of jealousy, I am not going to lie. Part of me feels like I should be the one to move on first, since I broke it off. In a lot of ways, I have moved on. But when he told me what he was doing tonight, it was all that much more evident to me that I am NOT NOT NOT ready to date anyone right now. No way, Jose. Flirt, yes. Check out a cute guy? Totally. Date? Nonononono. The thought of going on a date is just surreal to me at the moment. I want me time. Lots and lots of me time.

I'm kind of sad, though. Not only do I know it's over (obviously), but now I know that he knows it, too.

I have been psyching myself up all weekend to get going on resuming my diet/exercise regime. It's an annual event. Ha! Feeling all positive about myself....and wham. The ex has a date. And here I am, I weigh a ton (I am now too fat for my underwear....that's not a good sign), I cannot even remember how to date (because I am not putting myself out there because I am terrified), my self-esteem is rock bottom (due to weight issues) and I am now having a pity party while he's moving on. Good times. Please pass the Haagen-Daz.

I have been beating myself up all day about the fact I haven't really started dieting or exercising yet. Oh, and today (of course!) I was going through some old junk, and ran into all my leftover wedding planning stuff. As I am looking at it, feeling a little sad, he yells down the hall to tell me what his plans are for the evening. Classic.

The optimist in me won't let me throw it away, though. I kept all the torn out pictures of wedding dresses I like and kept the planner. It's now in storage in the garage.

So this news is kind of bad timing more than anything else. My esteem was already in the tanker. I am NOT going to have a pity party. I refuse. (Note: I have been sobbing through this entire post, so that is actually a bald-faced lie.) Feeling sorry for myself will only keep me miserable and let me remain overweight. I have GOT to pull up my bootstraps and get going with my life, instead of letting it take over and running the show. I am in charge. ME.

I am NOT too old. I am NOT too fat. I am NOT giving up. I am going to make this year ROCK if it's the last thing I do. I have two coworkers who want to exercise and lose weight, too, so I have buddies. One of them is single, too, and we've already talked about The Hot Girl Lifestyle. We will own it in 2010.

Things I am looking forward to:
1. I (think) I am buying a laptop soon. YAY! This will enable me to blog more/read blogs more, since I can get out of the house and have some computer privacy. (The lack of privacy, along with work's insanity have both played a role. I miss the blogosphere!) Anyone know who has free wi-fi? (On a semi-related note, is wi-fi trustworthy? Can I shop safely?)

2. Exercise. I cannot wait to run again. (You will notice I am notnotnot looking forward to the "diet" portion of the Sexy New Me program...) I already got new work out pants.

3. Moving. Again. (I am such a nomad, aren't I?) I don't know when. Perhaps I will need my own place sooner than I realized! I have been aching for it, lately. I'd hate to do it again so soon, and leave him with the big rent to pay all by himself, but I gotta do what I gotta do. I don't like the floorplan of this place, anyway. And I miss walking to work. Perhaps I can hold out until March, when the weather is nicer.

4. Getting back in touch with Single VB. She's been gone a loooong time, and hasn't really come out yet. I have been in my little comfort zone on the couch. Time to get out and about, doing things I want to do, fat or not. All work and no play makes VB a dull girl. And who wants to date a dull girl?

I am exercising tomorrow at 9am. I will be making my first *healthy* trip to the grocery store in a long time tomorrow, too. Now, if only I could find all my Weight Watchers paraphernelia...