Thursday, January 26, 2017

My New Job

First day selfie
Between my jobs at newspapers and as a college administrator, I have worked in offices for the better part of four decades. I am (if I may say so) a whiz at word processing (do they still call it that?) and I know my way around a computer. Also, I know how to answer a phone, although the transfer function is not always my strong suit.

So it seemed perfectly natural to raise my hand when my CPA husband started to look for part-time tax season help at his office.

"Oh! Me! Pick me!" I waved my hand like a third-grader who knows the capital of Peru. "I can do it, and then you wouldn't have to pay someone else!"

It made perfect sense to me. My current "real" job is flexible and except for a few set hours, can be done at times I choose. I would just choose hours that weren't in the three afternoons each week Husband needs help, and put that income aside for the bathroom remodel I'm fantasizing about.

In my enthusiasm, I may not have noticed Husband turning a little pale at this offer. I mean, what husband doesn't want his wife invading his professional space, commandeering the thermostat and ruthlessly pruning the philodendrens? The fact that we can't write a Christmas letter together without me having a tantrum is completely irrelevant. But he agreed to a try-out, with the caveat that if it didn't work out we were still going to remain married.

Last week I had my first week on the job and thus far I have learned several things:

  1. The government requires a lot of forms. I mean, really a lot. 
  2. Printer settings matter. (An entire tax form printed out on a label maker is a fascinating artifact, though.)
  3. Transferring phone calls is haaaaaaard.
  4. Some people find beauty in leggy philodendrons, and do not appreciate the tidiness of a well-trimmed plant. 
  5. And finally, every person I tell about my employment situation will make a "joke" that includes a reference to sleeping with the boss. Every. Single. One. 
But also, I've found that my guy not only is a really good accountant, he's also a thoughtful and patient boss who laughs when I print a document on the label maker and has used the phrase "It's okay--they'll call back" without irritation. Thoughtful and patient are excellent qualities in a boss. Also, he's exceptionally cute. 

Maybe next year we can try another Christmas letter. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

It's a New Day

It is a new day in America.
Do you know how I know it's a new day in America? Because this morning, for the first time in 33 years, two months, and one day of marriage, Husband made breakfast.
I came to the kitchen ready to pour my customary bowl of bran flakes (Boy#3 says we have the most senior citizen selection of cereals ever assembled) only to find my beloved standing in front of the stove. And on the stove was a pan, and in the pan was the start of a ham-and-cheese omelet.
"I saw the ham in the refrigerator and decided an omelet sounded good," he said off-handedly.
What the what?
A couple minutes later we were sharing that omelet, along with a slice of whole-wheat toast, plus milk (for him) and a cappuccino (for me). It was delicious.
I'm choosing to take this as an omen.
As many of you know, I haven't been looking forward to this day. The animus that is swirling around us doesn't come just from one side, it comes from all sides. And the despair and heartbreak are not figments of our imagination, or we would not be at this point of division now.
But today started with an omelet, and it was so completely unexpected and lovely, that I'm feeling hopeful that I can find that same unexpected loveliness many places.
I'm declaring this my new day in America. If Husband can make an omelet, I can do something unexpected that might fix even a tiny bit of the unrest that has preceded this day.
It's an omelet day.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sitting By the Door

Santa apparently thought Lovely Girl's feet were cold, as she received three pairs of socks in her stocking. 
Oh, Dear Reader(s)!

I can barely speak, I'm so excited, but I had to check in here to let you know that I'm going to miss you. Truly, I am. But after today you may not be seeing me much around these parts. After today, I'm going to be busy, busy, busy...

MAKING IT RAIN! (Here, I should be inserting a make-it-rain gif, like this one or this one, but coincidentally, in my class today I will be talking about the perils of using copyrighted material on your blog without permission, so please image your own make-it-rain gif. I do not want to go to jail.) And why do I suddenly have so much wherewithal that I can strew dollar bills around as if they're falling from heaven?

Allow me to back up. This story begins at 6:45 this morning, while I was still dreaming of the possibility of a snow day. That's when my phone rang, but it was not the automated calling-off-school notice I expected. Instead, it was a nice young man with this message:

"Congratulations! You have just won $2.5 million in the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes!" he told me in a somewhat halting accent.

Well, I can tell you for sure, that sat me straight up in bed.

"WHAT?" I screamed. "What time is it?"

"Uh, I think it's maybe a little before 7?" he answered. "And you've just won $950,000 from Publishers Clearinghouse."

Now, I was just a little confused by that.

"You mean you're charging me $1.55 million for asking what time it is?" I mean, I didn't want to act ungrateful, but I did the math, in my head, so go me.

He ignored my question.

"Will you be around later today so that we can bring you your Mercedes-Benz?" he asked, and I could practically hear the keys jangling as he spoke, although the background of noise that seemed to be other Publishers Clearinghouse recipients of $2.5 million was making it difficult to hear him, and he seemed to have the same accent as the deposed King of Nigeria.

"I'll be here waiting for the doorbell to ring!"

And with that promise, I jumped out of bed and began waiting for my Major Prize to arrive. So far no big check is in sight, but I'm making plans for that money and I'm not sure I'll have time to keep things going here at the Nest. It does make me a little sad that I will no longer be contributing to the literary community--where will you get the pictures of Lovely Girl and Boy#1 in their whale and shark slippers on Christmas morning?
Or Boy#2 wearing a Yoda hat and Western-cut jacket and pointing to a sousaphone in my sewing room?
No judgment of the messy shelves, please.
Well, maybe I'll keep checking in until the Benz arrives. I know you'll all want to go for a ride so get your touring hat on! I'm sure that prize is arriving any minute!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It's 2017!

How can he be 27? He was just born yesterday.

People! We made it!

We are done, done, done with 2016, and are now in 2017. If you are kind (and I am confident that you are) you will not point out that nearly half of the first month of 2017 is now over, and I have not even checked into this space to assure you that 2016 did not save a giant sinkhole to swallow me as a final act of mwahahahaha-ness.

No, the final week of the Year That Shall Not Be Named was filled with Boys!LovelyGirl!OtherRelatives! and all kinds of marvelous reminders that in spite of my complaining, life continues to treat me as if I'm a treasured jewel.

I didn't chronicle our Christmas in this space, though, because I was busy cooking. Apparently childbirth is not the only time that mothers are gifted with amnesia. I had totally and completely forgotten that family in the house expect to eat, and quite often this includes three meals a day. (I know! Outrageous!)

Apparently they do not, as I had assumed, live on good feelings because we ate a LOT during the two weeks that the House on the Corner was filled to the brim with love and laughter. And power cords. Oh, and size 12 shoes. We had soups (white bean chili, red chili, bread bowls, sweet potato and baked potato chowder, Italian vegetable), snacks (peanut brittle on demand, Muddy Buddies, Chex mix, peppernuts), TWO Christmas dinners (ham, four-cheese garlic lasagne), and more desserts than have been in the house for the past two years (peppermint pie, lemon cheesecake with blueberry sauce).

By the time we reached the final dessert, the carrot cake that celebrated Boy#3's birthday (can we all just agree that January 2 is the worst day of the calendar to have a birthday?), all of us were done with food. Finished. Over it.

I was afraid they were going to harvest my liver for foie gras.

So now we're living on salads and clear-broth soup, and I'm beginning to feel like a functioning human being again, enough to thoroughly appreciate how wonderful the end of The Stupid Year was. I'm marveling (and more than a little embarrassed) that I am so blessed that I can complain about TOO MUCH FOOD.

Welcome, 2017. You're just what we need.