Saturday, February 04, 2017

Who needs drugs?

books

I don’t drink, nor do I have any experience, really, with mind altering medications. I have no frame of reference, then, to speak about feeling high. I imagine it must feel a bit like the way I felt tonight (albeit amplified by a hundred degrees) when I was using my smart phone to inventory my books.

It was a matter of simply opening the scan app, pointing the camera at the bar code and waiting for the beep that let me know the code had been read correctly. Under a minute I scanned about 20 books. As a frame of reference, when I first used the Delicious Library app about a decade ago, it took me longer than a minute to look up a book online, find a link I could import into the system or do the entry manually. To say the very least, it was a tedious chore. But now, with the magic and wonder that is a paired iPhone, the work is no work at all. I can’t wait until I am able to unpack my many many books and scan them all in.

Even if my computer hadn’t died several years ago and taken my old inventory with it, I probably would have started from scratch. Between giving/selling books, misplacing them, adding new ones, sometimes it’s just better to start fresh than to cull through hundreds of listings to figure out what I have or don’t have.

There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere, isn’t there? Holding on to things can become as much a habit as anything else. As hard as it may be, perhaps it’s best to just close your eyes, open up the hand and let go. Or you could just neglect to back up your computer in a way that makes sense and just let nature run its course, letting an old drive die a natural (unexpected) death. Whichever seems the most appropriate to you.


Monday, February 06, 2017

Be careful what you ask for

When I left a job back in 2004, I asked for a reference letter. The first draft that I received is below:

To Whom It May Concern:

Today we are losing one Patricia – can you say “’bout time?”

Patricia was unloaded on us about eight years ago from the Virginia “Big House.”  We unwittingly decided to participate in what was euphemistically called “Adopt a Felon Program,” with the promise that she would be a productive worker if not exactly of the human family. Another promise flushed down the toilet we call reality.

It wasn’t as if Patricia didn’t produce. In eight short years she produced four lawsuits, 200% staff turnover and some kind of rash that we can’t seem to get rid of…but then there was the actual work issue. She was consistent in taking a four hour lunch after appearing magically sometime around 11:00 AM to check her personal e-mails. She was always “out da door” by 4:00 PM, so we were able to commence anything constructive by about 4:15 PM.

Patricia had an interesting relationship with staff and members. Known well for wielding a Louisville Slugger to the temple of anyone who got in her way, she treated members with the same lack of compassion you’d associate with a psychopath on vitamins. It’s not that Patricia selected some poor souls for her wrath – everyone was included on her “joy mobile,” and all staff carried bludgeoning insurance.

We were afraid to ask Patricia to leave, but she has mercifully made this decision on her own. We look forward to a future of only minor bloodshed, an increase in property values and less attention from the Alexandria Police Department. Should you take a flyer on Patricia, you will be in our prayers.

Thank you for considering Patricia for a position on your team. We will be sending that cashier’s check for $150,000 as soon as it can be processed, and from this point on we will burn her records and turn her office into a “Let’s Save Humanity Before It’s Too Late” shrine. If you call and ask about her in the future, we never knew her, we never talked to her and we never took out “hits” on her life.

May our bad dream now haunt you. Thank you.

The Staff
Citizens of Alexandria
State of Virginia
All Humankind and assorted animals

I printed that on letterhead and have hung it at subsequent jobs.

As a going away present from my current job, I received an updated “reference letter” that I find absolutely hilarious.

February 14, 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

Today we are losing Patricia. Patricia was unloaded on us about six years ago from Virginia, and today, we are sending her back. She’s been released from service to the State of Maryland in order to return to the original scene of the crime - the great Commonwealth of Virginia.

It’s fitting that she leaves us effective today - considering it’s Valentine’s Day and the monopoly the day has on hearts, which is one of Patricia’s favorite things. They are everywhere - in her office, on her window, on HER. It’s like she’s trying to remind us all the time that she CARES. Yeah, yeah, we know.

Another irony is the letterhead on which this note is written. Patricia hounded us all mercilessly until we agreed to change the logo and then was instrumental in developing a style guide for us that’s been implemented with little success as you can tell. No one is really sure why the guide was needed - we all know that Comic Sans is the best font and really makes a statement. Patricia won’t be around to proofread for us anymore, so we are free to run wild with rogue fonts.

You will get an honest day’s work out of her - after she eats the cold bagel that she will toast and leave sitting in the toaster for 2-3 hours. Make sure that you have the right kind of notebooks and pens for her. She is probably set at the start - because of her admitted hoarding of office supplies, she most likely took all of ours when she cleaned her office.

So, Fairfax, thanks for taking her off our hands. It’s been way too long and you owe us big time. Pease keep her this time, as she can’t keep going back and forth like this. It’s ridiculous.

May our bad dream now haunt you. Thank you.

Sincerely,
The Staff of the Governor’s Office for Children
Inhabitants of Community Place
Citizens of Crownsville
State of Maryland
All Humankind and Assorted Animals

The absolutely evil joke of this latest letter is that it was printed using Comic Sans, which I absolutely detest. I can’t believe I have to hang something that uses Comic Sans.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

The One Where I Went to an Adoption Seminar

Folks who have been reading me for a long time (or anyone who’s ever had more than a passing conversation with me) know that I have longed wished to have children. I kept putting it off because the time never seemed right, the money was never enough. When I was in a serious relationship, the topic would come up, I’d get excited and then things would just not work out. And, well, we know what happened two years ago (or if you’re new, the Cliff Notes: cancer resulting in a hysterectomy, resulting in infertility). I don’t even consider these last two years as lost years. I wasn’t in an the emotional space to try to follow up on an adoption.

Hell, I’m still not 100% sure. Having raised my sister, been a nanny, had countless babysitting gigs has taught me that raising a child, doing it thoughtfully and well, that takes effort and energy. The idea of doing it alone, it’s scary. This is definitely one of those moments where I think a little fear is a healthy thing. It proves to me that I know I’m not going into this blindly.

With my 45 birthday coming up in 2018, I’m at a point where, if I want to try and adopt a baby, I have to start the process now. So I went to an informational meeting. As I waited for the speakers to start, I looked through the packet until I got to the page that I was searching for. One that I was already quite familiar with as I would regularly look at the information on the agency’s website. It was the table detailing the cost of the home visit, the adoption, and the additional services. The numbers hadn’t changed, a good and a bad thing. They’re still high but, hey, they haven’t gotten higher so that’s something, no?

Part of my brain listened to the information and part of my brain did basic math. What’s in savings, what I’ll be getting from the job I’ve just left, what might need to be borrowed. I felt deflated. It all just seems so daunting. And then I heard a baby laugh. The speaker announced that a previous client was here to talk to us about her experience. Naturally, she’d brought her baby along. As soon as I saw the tiny person I knew. I knew what I’ve always known. There’s no way I don’t try this. The cost of the adoption is scary but this is why I moved in with friends three years ago. This is why I’ve cut back on everything that I could possibly cut back on, to pay down the debt I’d accumulated. I wanted to get to a place financially where this would be possible.

For as long as I can remember I’ve said there is only one regret I never want to have and that’s to not have tried to build my family. I used to say that way back when the possibility of my body failing me was never even considered because why would it?

The mother shared with us that she’d tried IVF and that with that process the question is all about the “if.” What if it doesn’t work the first time, the third time, the seventh time. She then said that adoption is all about the when. There’s no if. It’s just the waiting, waiting, waiting until you get the call. I don’t know how true that is, but I know this.

I want to believe it.

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