Monday, 25 May 2009

Two day week

At a certain point, you just get totally fed up with being sick.

I've been sick so long, that a full head and an aching chest feel normal.
I've been sick so long, I've gone through two boxes of Kleenex*.
I've been sick so long, I can't see the point in staying home from work.
I've been sick so long, I can only hope I'll be well when I go to Halifax in a month.

Today, work was long and painful, thanks to the cough that won't go away as well as the extra project that was handed to me. Luckily, I only work until tomorrow, then I'm off to Minneapolis on Wednesday morning. The whole family is getting together for my cousin's wedding. He's the first of any of my cousins to get married, the first of the younger generation, and it's Levi. Levi is one of the more wonderful people I've ever met, and I am so happy he's found such a wonderful woman to marry. This week will be full of the kind of crazy that happens when the cousins get together; I forsee Balderdash both drunk and sober. I'm so excited.

Now to get through tomorrow.

Monday, 18 May 2009

King's Night Out

What happens when stars align and nine FYP students end up in Ottawa all at once? A little slice of Halifax in my hometown.

Davis's house served as the gathering place for the whole group, which was so familiar as the venue for most high school parties, but also so new because, hey, wtf are these King's people doing in her living room. We had a lovely time carrying on until we decided to head out.

Since most of us were still 18, we decided Hull was the place to go. I had never been to "Dirty Hull", though I'd heard many stories, most really sketchy and hilarious, and I had decided to be ready to thoroughly enjoy my adventure to the other side of the river, and all the charm it had to offer. I was also pretty excited to legally purchase alcohol for the first time. That last sentence makes me feel like a total tool (especially the wording), but there it is.

On the whole, it was highly successful. We had pitchers of Moosehead at a bar (in honour of many a Moosehead Monday at King's), we got barred from Addiction (really? Addiction? YOU are going to be strick on IDs?) and so, took our custom elswehere and danced it up. The night ended with cold pizza in Hull and cab rides back to Davis's (where there was more pizza). My wonderful mother decided to come and pick me up at 2:30 am, wasted, and bring me back to my own cozy bed. There is nothing I love more than passing out in my own bed. Mmm.

I payed her back my doing housework the next day and doing the mountain of ironing no one ever gets around to. Ironing, check, other life skills... well, I'm working on them.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Still Fighting It

The summer job is a natural part of the cycle of the university student's life. Right about the middle of second semester, when the light at the end of the winter tunnel appears, the whisper goes around campus -- Summer Plans. It's enough to make you go insane, if you don't have a job. It's especially hard this year, with the economic slowdown/downturn/Great Recession (take your buzzword of choice) and jobs are fewer and farther between than normal.

I was lucky enough to actually land myself a job for the summer. I interviewed at Reading Week and it was confirmed by late March. Perfect! No worries. I was set for my summer of office bitch duties with some occasional writing opportunities when they needed someone to pick up the slack (or so I thought).

Nepotism played a role in getting this job, but I would say it really was a small one. My mom work there, so I've worked there before, in little bits here and there, so I know the people pretty well. There had been quite a staff changeover in the Communications and Public Education department, so I didn't know the woman who is now my boss very well. I only met her when I was my mom's date to the Christmas Party last year. Apparently I made a good impression, because she did call me, as I suggested, about some summer work. I interviewed, it was good, I was qualified, she hired me. Hurray! Full-time work in the summer -- check. With weekends off -- double check.

So after returning home from school, I picked out an "it-says-me-but-in-a-dressed-to-impress-corporate-style-way" outfit and walked the five minutes down Bank Street to work. I reported to my boss's office for orientation. Somewhere in the two hour discussion, I realized that this was not an office bitch job at all. Maybe it was around "I believe in giving students real summer jobs where they can learn, so don't worry, you won't be filing." Wait, what? Filing, I can do. I did that all year. Fax and photocopy too. What exactly do you need me for?

She handed me my contract, with my title on it: "Writer - Communications and Public Education".

You better believe I did a happy dance in my mom's cubicle at lunch.

They promptly set me to work writing things. Brochures. Backgrounders. Web content. I have my own work email, desk, computer; I go to meetings and soon, maybe, I'll talk during one of them. I'm in week two, so the stabbing panic of what do I DO?? has started to subside. I go to work, I sit down at my desk, and I write. I am a writer. I write things. It's my title: writer.

Am I the only one who realizes I'm completely unqualified for this?

A good friend of mine, when I said that to him, grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "Listen to me. What I'm about to tell you is very important. None of us know what we're doing. Welcome to being a grown-up. None of us are qualified. Do you think I have any idea what I'm doing?"

Hmm. A sobering thought. I had this idea that I was temporarily stepping into the World of Grown-Ups where I would visit for a while, then leave again until it was my time to go live there. You're telling me I -gasp- belong here? Just as much as everyone else?

Oh my God. No wonder they always go out for beer after work on TV. I need a drink.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Oh yeah, and I passed FYP.

As I caught up on emails and mindlessly flicked through Facebook, I sat in my desk chair with an uneasy feeling. Wearing my security blanket of a tank top, check. Holding open my favourite book (reading #3), check. Good music (new Metric CD) playing, check. Two days of weekend ahead, check. But something felt not quite right.

Maybe it's the surreal feeling of suddenly being thrust into a world I always thought was so different but - shock - isn't.
Maybe it's trying to fit my square peg of a fleshed-out self into the round hole of my home life.
Maybe it's spending more time alone.
Maybe it's the shock of being so far from people I love for so long.

I wrote some emails, I had a good talking-to with my head, I worked out a plan for the weekend. I changed pyjama pants. I opened and closed my window. Slowly, I let myself sink into the feeling to try to understand it, and I heaved out a strange sob. No tears, no crying, just the feeling coming out of me. Leaning my head down on my knees I took a deep breath to make it pass.

Right about then I realized something was burning. Suddenly, I saw my pillow case making contact with my lamp and, from the smell, it was about to ignite. The proof is the blackened pillowcase on my lap.

What the fuck is going on?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

I won't tell if you won't tell

Now that I have had a moment to pause and catch my breath, let's try to get back into the swing of blog things. This means you, me.

En tout cas.

After what felt like a very loooooong day of work, I came home and went straight upstairs to put on old sweats and a hoody and set about making a picnic style dinner of leftovers and salad, ready to collapse on the couch with some ER Season 1. My hair was a greasy mess and I was exhausted. That's when my phone rang. It took me a couple lines of pleasantries to figure out who was on the other end of the phone.

When I realized I was talking to Mike, I jumped up. Mike was my first boyfriend, that first real love that I just knew was going to last forever... until we broke up. Three years later and I have happily moved on, but for some reason, the moment we started talking, I got fidgety.

"What are you doing now? Do you want to meet, grab something to eat?"

Mike is incredibly busy all the time, because of his program and his dedication to his work (and his girlfriend) so I don't get to see him much. I agreed, and caught sight of my hair in the mirror as he told me "I'll be over in like, two minutes?"

"Uh... How about fifteen?"

I hung up the phone and turned to my mother, who was finishing dinner. Eavesdropping apparently runs in my family, so she already knew what was happening and was on the same page "Exboyfriend coming over! You gotta look good!". Thirty seconds later, I was in the shower. I love long, warm showers full of daydreams and pumice stones, but this was the shortest shower of my life. I thought I'd been about five minutes when I hopped out of the shower and ran to my room to find clothes, only to realize I'd angrily removed my bra downstairs. Clamping a damp arm over my chest, I ran to the stairs to ask my sister for help.

"HEY! Sister! Can you throw me my bra? It's down there."

She came to the stairs, bra in hand, and said "Here. Hey, Mike is here, eh?" She laughed. I froze, hissed angrily and ran into my room the throw on an outfit that said "thrown on" but also somehow reflected my year of growth and my assets, cursing my sister the whole way. What is wrong with these people? Can't they help a girl out and tell her when the ex shows up??

I ran downstairs and realized... she'd been joking. He arrived five minutes later.

Thanks, team.

Opening jitters aside, I had the most fun I've had with Mike in a long time. No awkward one-upmanship, no me comparing myself to his new girlfriend, just joking and laughing and remembering and sharing as we walked our old route around Old Ottawa South. I want to have more evenings like that.

There is something about exes. Something totally bizarre and unnatural.