A baby will humble even the most together of couples. This is not news. So Sunday night, it was not a complete shock to hear through the grapevine that my sister Emily was experiencing some technical difficulties in the communication dept. with her husband surrounding marriage/needs/family. I believe the "Nice to know my husband doesn't even fucking like me anymore" thread was not only pulled (always a crowd pleaser, no?) but had the distinct privilege of being a conversation opener as well. Sleep deprivation, a fussy-ish baby and the Men are from Mars/Women are from Venus modes in full swing, no doubt a blow up was inevitable and when it did, my sister Kate, a fellow Mother in Arms (w/ 2 sets of them grabbing at her), got the honor of fielding the hysterical calls. Now my sister Kate and I know firsthand that Em is no innocent and does have a certain flair for the dramatic at times. We know going in some parts will perhaps be "omitted" thus leaving you to wonder what really went down. So after making her case of how her husband was less than "understanding of her needs" (paraphrased wording), it was later leaked that, "yeah, and now my lip hurts."
Um, Em, why does your lip hurt?
"I may have tried to take my aggression out on a chair and in the process of lifting it up and slamming it down...it may have caught my lip.
This is when I thought that maybe, just maybe these 2 kids needed a sitter and a night out with no baby. And some wine. Or, you know, a lot.
Baby Whisperer to the rescue! (that would be me)
The 2 of them left around 6:20 (I know this because Friends were still on, the baby was starting in on another good crying jag, and I firmly ordered them, "RUN! Just go...DON'T LOOK BACK!" Shortly after they left, I walked her around the house and noticed that the crying had not only stopped but that she had fallen asleep on my shoulder. She slept for the entire episode of Frasier. I was in the zone. That was, until 7:00.
Then she woke up. And then the crying commenced. Again. Yeah, I knew I was on borrowed time.
So, she cried and cried and wailed and wailed and every minute this kid was crying (while I changed her, binky-ed her, tried to feed her) those minutes were handed to me in dog years. This kid was a little tougher to master than my other sister's kids. It is my opinion that Emily is definitely serving the Mother's Curse Death Sentence:the "I hope you get a kid just like you" smack-down. I knew she was hungry but she just wouldn't take the bottle. "C'mon, kid, help me out," I'd beg. Now Emily is relying a lot on her, um, natural assets these days for feeding little Elizabeth and I was beginning to wonder if this was exclusively Mommy Only territory. It should also be pointed out that the buzzy chair--you know the one, it vibrates and all babies love it and is the reason why most mother's aren't in some 12-Step program? The BATTERIES FUCKING DIED that morning. So much for back-up.
Not one to be prideful, I called in my lifeline, my sister Kate. "She keeps spitting out the binky and won't take the bottle. I have tried a million times."
After the litmus test for hunger (holding her close with the binky in and me pressing on it and her settling down) Kate agreed, "Yep, she's hungry." Well, duh, that I knew...now can we get her to take the bottle because, ya know, my boobs are merely decorative at this point.
"Try pulling her really close to you like Em would be feeding her and give her the bottle that way. Or if that doesn't work, you can put the milk on your finger and drop it into her mouth and feed it to her that way."
Yeah, that second plan sounded really fucking tedious. She was gonna take the bottle if it killed me.
After a few seconds? Okay, now granted my equipment doesn't provide as much um, awning protection as Emily's chest but the holding her really close - practically under my armpit? Worked.
Sounds of Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus rang through my head.
And yeah, she was hungry. So much so I got to get Bottle #2 - The BIG Bottle. (by the way, anyone else have a delayed reaction to realizing you're testing breast milk on the back of your hand? I would keep forgetting where it came from until 5 seconds later. And let me tell you, it's still pretty weird even when it belongs to your sister.) While I was getting bottle #2, I heard a bad crunching sound coming from the dog. The FUCKING DOG had eaten the ONE BINKY that I could locate (FUCKING DOG). So, I fed her bottle #2 and held her as we watched Skating with the Stars without much of a peep. Without a binky or a buzzy chair. We were like, pioneers...alone in the wilderness. Like,... like Little House on the Prairie co-stars or something. She was still chill when her parents got back which was, in fact, my master plan. I think I owe this kid a pony or something for allowing me to maintain my Baby Whisperer status.
Yeah, so I don't know why they say babies change everything.
Two weeks notice? More like two weeks vacation, baby!
So, to fill in some details left out from yesterday's announcement.
I have another job to go to. An even better one. Being paid fairly. Like a 40% bump, fairly.
Alright, it should be known I was really nervous about doing this, The Quitting. My work history was that of a serial, long term, monogamist - 10 and 5 years respectively with the 2 non-babysitting, non-waiting tables/CVS jobs I've had. The 1st time I gave my notice I was working in Hartford, CT and the reason for my departure was predominately driven by my desire to move to Boston. The people were happy for me, sad to see me go, and even threw me a going away party. People cried at that party. Cried, people. I got presents. I still keep in touch with those folks. They were good to me and I loved them.
But this was a lot different. As some of you already knew firsthand, or maybe gleaned from here, I was not at all happy. In fact, I was downright frustrated and miserable. Mentally, every day felt like the equivalent of pounding my head into a cement wall. That hurts, in case you didn't get that.
I'm off to work for a competitor. Their first offer arrived late Thursday afternoon, however, there was one wrinkle I needed to iron out (the vacation time). I knew that this wasn't going to be a hassle getting, but "never quit until you have it in writing" being the motto, I'd have to wait until Friday morning for it. This gave me less than 12 hours to prepare my exit. Preparations like going into the office late Thursday night, cleaning out my desk (you do not want to know how many pairs of shoes I had stashed in and under my desk), tying up any loose ends, and then, with gusto and verve, freaking the fuck out.
Freaking the fuck out, oh, the fun we had. The heart racing and pounding, the pacing, the numerous, incomprehensible phone calls, the late night writing of nonsensical e-mails. I maybe dozed off around 4:30 a.m. and slept an hour. With adrenaline still pumping by the time I woke, I reached the office at Hand Trembling Alert. The stories I'd heard of other underwriters giving their notice - particularly to leave for a competitor as I was doing, were not serving my nerves any. I'd heard people being told to "get the fuck out" with minutes to spare and just short of having their arm twisted behind their back and bounced out the front door (or as some would offer, "security escorting you out"). There were also the guilt trippy speeches about one's loyalties and some managers favoring the garden variety chew-out. And then there was the ultimate party trick, The Counter-Offer.
So, I was imaging all of this as I WAITED for OVER AN HOUR and A HALF Friday morning for the official revised offer/green light. I had given The Dans the heads up the night before, swearing them to keep their yaps shut, and broke the news of my getaway plan to the woman I worked with Friday morning. She was completely shocked and upset. I felt badly - I was the only other woman in the dept., we got along well, and I here I was leaving her with the mens.
My boss arrived shortly after me and stopped by my desk and greeted me with a very deliberate, sly, "Hello, Jennifer" and continued to stare at me in such a way that makes your skin crawl. Now, unfortunately this is not a new thing with him but on my "So long, suckas" day I thought, "Shit, he knows I'm quitting." Still, I was able to unflinchingly meet his words with my usual, sarcastic, "Can I-iiiii help you?"
When I got the go ahead call around 10:00,my fear reached fever pitch as I showed Dan v2.0 my trembling hands and begged his support. After telling a few people what I was about to do, I scrounged up the courage to go to his office to hand him The Letter. Of course, he would be on the phone. Of course. So I had to wait. Again. And find my knees. Again. "Someone, please, pass me a chuck-bucket."
Finally off his phone, I quick-knocked and entered and told him that we "had to talk" as I closed the door and handed him my resignation. I think I admitted to my anxiety, "I want to pass out right now; I don't know how people do this". Much to my surprise, I'd caught him off guard. Also much to my surprise (and much relief), the only drama that occurred was the one I had created in my own head. Bottom line, I received an easy, "Gotta do that you gotta do" response which is probably the best I could have ever hoped for. For once, Karma was smiling on rather than smiting me.
I gave the standard 2 weeks notice but because it's to a competing carrier and potential conflicts of interest, Friday was made my last day. However, they did not put me in "cube lock-down" like some or had someone standing over my desk as I emptied it out. I was not treated like shit in the least. In fact, I could have worked the rest of the day. Apparently I got that "honest" vibe going. I took my my exit interview around noon and I was out the door by 1:00.
I lunched with the Dans and we joked how I should have come in wearing blue face paint battle-crying, "FREEDOM!" while dashing around the office with my white "It's not me, it's you" paper flapping behind me. After the 5 years I'd just incurred, that would have been very appropriate. Suffice it to say, money wasn't the only thing that drove me to leave. But another post, another day.
So HA! I am being paid for my two weeks notice/vacation. Ya know, I haven't had 2 consecutive weeks off since early high school and even they called that "summer vacation". My first day of work is February 13th.
After my body experienced a serious of shut down twitches, I crashed really hard yesterday afternoon. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I slept. Deeply. I could feel stress leaving through my fingertips. My brain was finally beginning to wrap itself around the idea, "You will not have to go back to The Bad Place Monday morning."
Now comes the really fun part. What do I do with 17 consecutive days off?? Oh, did you know that "Consecutive" is just a fancy word for "in a row". SEVENTEEN days off, back to back. This my brain does not really comprehend. But it's a quick learner, Thank God. Now that I am no longer speaking gibberish, I am able to tell you some of my plans now that I am officially not "busy".
There's probably some other stuff but I'm sure I can tell you all the boring ass details as I'll have the time to:
Write on the blog.
To quote Mrs. Spederline, "Can you handle my truth?" We'll see.
Please don't make mainstream radio, Please don't make mainstream radio, Please don't make mainstream radio, Please don't make mainstream radio, Please don't make mainstream radio.
(Updated to add: Not the original link but ehh, close enough.)
For those of you local to Boston, The Globe has started a new feature today called "Plonk of the Month". This feature is to find good wines cheap. Which knowing some of my friends, this should be a Godsend.
"The word plonk began as British slang for the cheapest drink served." Now we refer to the $10 and under set as "inexpensive".
Today's "plonk" is new wave Spanish reds (Antano Rioja 2004, Castano Yecla Monasrell 2003 to name a few).
If this is something up your alley, you can check today's Globe (Food section) or go to this link where they will keep at least 2 months worth of lists at a time.
Melissa did this to me. Y'all can be thanking her.
2 names I go by: Jen (no joke. that is what they call me.), Jennie.
2 things that scare me: Needles, snakes.
2 everyday essentials: Something to read and sadly, an Internet connection.
2 truths: "There are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't." Never assume you have enough quarters for the dryer.
2 of my favorite hobbies: Taking photographs, writing.
2 things you want REALLY BAD: Total organization -- just not at the expense of my personality, to stick it to the man some day. Oh, and abs. Of course.
2 things that make me a "typical chick": A bit of a product whore, the handbag/purse collection that I've amassed.
2 favorite items in the house: My paparazzi camera, my iPod/laptop (you don't really expect me to break those two up, right?).
2 things that make me cry: Seeing people in pain or so joyful they're moved to tears.
2 words I WISH I could use to describe myself: Focused, prompt.
2 things I do poorly: Remembering lines 3-40 of any song (conversely, I know the first 2 lines of ANY song, and then it all goes to pot), my ability to cease eating chips. If I was a horse, they'd have to put me down. It's pretty disgusting.
2 changes I would like to see in the world: I'm assuming you mean aside from all folks getting 3 squares and quality health care, right? I'll go with a world where Paris Hilton is not famous and for people to play fair. Yeah, I know. A bit naive on both counts.
2 words I have trouble saying/hearing: Panty/ies, party in verb form. "Glib" was a great word until Tom Cruise went and ruined it for me. Dick.
Hmmmm, who do I tag for this....
Rocky (seems someone will NOT be playing. A POX, Rocks!)
Yo Jeopardy, Hit it.
Pay attention E! Network...THIS is how you recap an awards event.
I'm talking to you, Isaac Mizrahi. And Ryan Seacrest. (man, I miss Kathy Griffin. BRING HER BACK, E!) We do not need you to ask Eva Longoria how her hair "down there" is maintained. Or shaped. Or ANYTHING! (seriously, he kept pursuing her for answers on this question - the fuck?) Do you think we women as a tribe would want to answer such a question? And with a DAMN CAMERA shoved in our face for all America to hear? Even if it WERE any of YOUR DAMN BUSINESS (which it is not!)? Let me donate you a clue, even when me and my girlfriends get together on girls' night, we don't discuss that with one another. Well, at least not without lots of a lots of wine (I mean, at least a glass and a half).
Anyway, all the comments on Gwynnie "Vanilla, Still Boring" Paltrow and Teri Demented Hatcher, and "The Douchiest of the Douchebags" Adrien Brody are all so on point.
Burns on Mariah? Priceless. To wit:
"JEEEEEEEEEEESUS, Mariah Carey’s presenting, and surprise! She’s still an idiot! Seriously, I think she might actually be retarded. Like legitimately retarded. Like IQ-less-than-80 retarded. I’m not even kidding."
I also love someone's comment (cleverly located in the comments section):
"Yes, Mariah Carey IS, in fact, retarded. It's a slow burn. She gets a little MORE retarded each year. I think there's some correlation with her boobs which also keep increasing."
That is not to say I'm going to stop downloading her songs. She can be stupid, I don't care.
Also, in case you don't check the link and you missed it, "Charlize Theron = Still orange"
I hope funny man Brian Byrne does the Oscar's. I'd read that.