Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Locked Out

I need a new damn job. Arg. I got all bundled up and rode my bike to work this morning only to find the doors locked and nobody there. It looked as if someone had been there earlier in the day because some of the lights were on inside but not a soul was around when I got there. I'll tell you what, the novelty of having an unimportant part-time job is gone. It's no wonder people get discouraged when they are looking for work and don't have the education or skills to get jobs better than this. I don't care how unimportant the work may seem, people depend on these jobs for their living and it's nothing short of disrespect when crap like this happens. I left a message on the answering machine at work after I decided I was going home since I had stood outside for almost a half hour (in 30 degree weather with sweaty riding clothes on) and do you think anyone has called me yet? Noooooo. That would make sense.

I cringe a little to think of finding a new job after my East Hills job interview experience. I had applied for a weekend position as a locker-room cleaning assistant. Definitely not the most glamourous job but it would have gotten me a free membership and some money. Almost immediately after I met my interviewer, I got the impression that this position was very much below her - both in professional and in social status. She couldn't even say the word "housekeeping" without looking like she had just bitten into something sour. So that aside, she and another person proceeded to interview me for an hour and a half. That's right - an hour and a half interview for a $7 an hour position washing and folding towels. The following week, I heard from several of my reference people (from the job application) that they had been called. I didn't hear anything from East Hills for another week. They didn't call me to tell me that I had gotten the job, though. They called me to tell me that they had decided to not hire anyone for the position and were just going to fill the vacancy internally. WTF? I wasn't too heartbroken since I had already decided that I wasn't going to take the job if it were offered to me - definitely not going to give up my weekends for that. But I'm definitely learning the difference in the way you're treated when you're trying to get a professional job and when you're just trying to get a job that will pay the bills. I think in the long run this will be a good experience for me since it's certainly easy to get sucked into the corporate way of thinking that you're above everyone else because you have a salary and a business card. Yech.


It's over! We had lots of fun this year at Christmas but I can honestly say that I'm glad all of the busy craziness is over for the year. I'm feeling little worn out....I guess it could have something to do with the five straight days of drinking and overeating, eh? We had parties on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights and every one of them involved drinks and great food. If I never see another white russian until next Christmas, I'll be happy :)

So today it's back to work for me, although I'm not so sure that there will be enough work for me to do. I am really excited to start school if only for the fact that it will make me feel like less of a slug since I'll constantly have something to work on. I'm still going to try to work but probably only 3 days a week - hopefully the spring rush will start early and I'll be able to keep my hours. On another note, I bought most of my textbooks yesterday and I'm feeling a bit like a superstar since I bought them all on-line. I looked first at this direct textbook site that's affiliated with Ferris and then compared their prices to the same books on Amazon. I think I ended up saving $150 or something ridiculous like that. One of my books was $77 brand new but I found it on Amazon for $8. I have to go to the bookstores at GRCC and Ferris to get my human A&P books and my on-line course CDs but I still feel pretty good about my savings. I can remember the pain of shopping for books at GVSU and paying $300 for 4 books. What a racket.

Anyway - hope you all had a great Christmas and best wishes for the new year ahead!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bruises for Charity

My knees are bruised but my heart is happy. Steve and I woke up early this morning and drove out to a warehouse north of Grand Rapids to volunteer with the Elves and More organization. For the second year in a row (or maybe more??), this group has purchased hundreds of bicycles to give to needy kids at Christmas. They choose one local neighborhood a year to focus on and keep it a secret so it's a huge happy surprise when they show up at Christmas with a semi truck full of bikes. This morning we, along with about 75 other people, built one thousand bikes in a little under four hours. My job was to open the bike boxes and pull all the packaging off the bikes and get them ready to be built. I bet I opened 50+ bike boxes! Once the bikes are built, they are double checked for safety and lined up in the warehouse to be tagged with handmade gift cards. It's pretty cool to see 500 bikes lined up with sparkly hand-drawn Christmas tree and snowman tags that carry happy greetings to the bike's recipient. What's even cooler is that the kids also get helmets and other goodies to go along with their bikes. It was so much fun! We saw so many people that we know from cycling and racing but there were even more people there who just wanted to help - there are truly a lot of good people out there. I can't wait to do it again next year - especially since next year's neighborhood is bigger and there will be 2,000 bikes to build! Here's some photos.....

Unpacking the bikes.....

Craig, doing a double check on a sweet pink cruiser....

The finished product!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Celebrity Update

So... I guess I was too busy being a celebrity yesterday to update the blog. Such is the life.

Actually, I was too busy getting my ass kicked at work to do anything but sit around once I finally made it home. We received a freight shipment containing almost 5,ooo rims yesterday morning and had to unpack and organize them before we could start on our inch-thick backorder log. We're only a third of the way through it after shipping orders all day today. Aside from being on my feet all day, I'm enjoying the opportunity to work more hours. It will really help, especially since I made my first tuition payment yesterday as well. Ouch.

The commuter thing was pretty fun. The guy (Barnaby - although I'm just going to call him B for typing's sake) and his camera crew showed up at my house around 10am and did a short interview with me in the driveway. B made sure to point out the cat hair on my shirt. After the interview, they wanted to get some shots of me getting "suited up" for the commute. They also mounted a small spy camera on my helmet. Some spy camera - it was attached to a camcorder by no less than 5 big wires. I had to wear an extra bag around my neck to carry the camcorder and ride with the wires dangling from the left side of my head. I rode with the helmet cam for the first half of my commute, through the Eastown traffic and up the hill on Plymouth. Then they mounted the camera to my handle bars to get a shot of my big fat face as I'm riding along. My double chin is sure to be glooooorious on TV. The whole time I was riding, they were driving with the big TV camera hanging out of their van. I had to ride some streets I don't usually ride and my normally 30ish minute commute took nearly 2 hours. Once I got to work, they followed me into the warehouse and asked me a few more questions once I had changed into my work clothes. All in all, it probably took 2 1/2 hours to get enough to run a 5-minute blurb on the news. But yay for bike commuting! I hope this at least gets people to be a little more considerate of me and my friends when we're out there on the roads this winter. My favorite part of the whole day was telling B that I wanted to punch the weather lady's face in with the spy camera on my fist for all of her terrible forecasts. I doubt they'll include that in their story.

Tonight we went to the annual Underwear Party at the Ada Grill, put on by a friend who collects packages of new underwear and tube socks for the homeless. He's been doing this for several years now and tonight's party collected two huge garbage bags full of socks and undies. Lots of friends and food and beer - definitely a good time.

Here's a new picture:

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm the Big Star Today

So - a lot has happened in the last week. I'm starting to sense a pattern in my blogging, although it's kind of tiring to sit down and try to recap a whole week in one post. Arg.

Anyway - the beginning of last week was relatively uneventful. On Wednesday, I had a brush with fame when a guy from the local news flagged me down as I was riding my bike home from work and asked if I would help him with a story on winter bike commuting. (Fast forward to today - I'm super nervous since he and his camera guy are supposed to be here in an hour to interview me and set me up with some sort of bike camera for my ride to work. More on that tomorrow for sure!)

I had an orientation thing at Ferris (in GR) on Thursday night and, for the first time in a long time, I actually felt a little bit like a student. I got to meet with most of the people from my 'cohort', which is the group that I will start and end the respiratory program with. At this time in two years, I will be getting ready to graduate and take the state certification exams. Crazy! I got to see the lab that I'll be working in on campus and also learn a little bit more about what respiratory therapists actually do. I'm having a hard time picturing myself in some of those roles and situations but I'm soooooooo excited to start! I was also able to register for my human anatomy class at GRCC (Community College) so I no longer have to drive to Big Rapids three times a week to fulfill that requirement. I'm very happy about that. I'm also very happy to be paying almost $200 less per credit hour (it's a 4 credit class) to take the class locally.

On Saturday, Betsy (Hobbins) and Becky (Husted) were here in GR for a much anticipated and overdue reunion. We met at my house and had lunch downtown before going out to do some shopping at the mall. It was so much fun - especially since we had so much more to talk about than crazy high school memories. Can't wait to do it again!! I also heard a rumor that a 10-year high school reunion may also be in the works...... yikes.

Saturday night brought a holiday party at Kim and Marc's. We had a great time, although I didn't see Steve the whole night since I had beached myself on the couch (aka "Gay Island" - don't ask....) next to the beer and candy. Thanks for a great party - and great meatballs!

Sunday was a relatively lazy day. Steve and I got up late and walked to the gas station for some coffee. On the way home, Steve heard the mewing of a kitty and just had to find out where it was coming from. I kept telling him it was a bird but he wouldn't believe me. Sure enough, out of nowhere comes this tiny little kitty, bounding through the snow. It was really cute - until it started following us home. We tried knocking on the door of the house that it came from and no one was home. In fact, it looked like no one had been home in a long time. So here's this little shit, running along in between us as we're walking home. I didn't want to bring it in the house because Fausto would freak out and probably kill it so we pawned it off on our only cat-less neighbor, promising to take it to the humane society in the morning. When we checked in with her last night, she had already given it a bath and a name. So Gizmo the kitten is our new neighbor and is very happy in his new warm home :)

My mom also came for a visit on Sunday and took us out for breakfast downtown. I ate way too much, especially after my meatball overdose the night before. Steve left for the Velo City shop ride when we got home from breakfast and my mom and I sat around, getting sleepy after having such a huge meal. I continued to sit around after my mom left, and eventually popped in a movie. Unfortunately it was Brokeback Mountain, which meant that I had to sit on the couch and cry for another half hour after it was done. Why couldn't I have just watched Shreck again?

So now you're caught up and I have to get ready for my big debut. OH yeah, and it's my birthday today, too!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend Top 5

I really need to get better at keeping this thing updated, eh? It's just that my life is so full and exciting that I barely ever have the time to sit down and write about it. Er, something like that. So, I thought I'd do a weekend top 5 to wrap up what was actually a fun and unexpectedly busy weekend. Here goes.....

#5: Cat Bath!

We've been threatening him for some time now but we finally followed through on Friday night and gave Fausto a much needed bath. He did remarkably well this time - much better than the last time when I thought Steve would need stitches for a huge cat gash on his leg. It could have been the nice warm water or the beautiful soothing songs I was singing to him ("Scratchies scratchies scratchies for the kitty in the bath" and other favorites) but I really think Fausto enjoyed his bath. I'm certainly enjoying the fact that he no longer smells like roadkill.

#4: Snorkel Ride

A sunny Saturday morning brought us a Christmas parade in downtown Ada and group ride to follow. There were only six of us who were brave (or dumb) enough to venture out on a mixture of paved and gravel roads in the snow. We had a great time, though, slipping and sliding our way around on our cross bikes. I'll tell you what - the Surly has most definitely proven to be one of the best purchases I've ever made. The ride wasn't dubbed the "Snorkel Ride" until the very end when we found ourselves riding through water up to our skewers where a pond had taken over the bike path we were using. Here we are back at the bike shop, warming up by the fire.

#3: Bluegrass Bonanza

Another group formed on Saturday morning as well. After reading about it in the paper, I suggested to a few people that we check out a bluegrass show on Saturday night at a restaurant in Lowell. The ad in the paper said it was a fundraiser for a bluegrass music association and that $5 at the door would get you food and good music. Cool, right? Well..... let's just say that the picture I had in my mind was not exactly the reality of the bluegrass show. The restaurant was more like some crazy pig museum with no windows and fluorescent lighting. The $5 got us some boiled hotdogs and cookies. Another $5 would get you two cans of beer. And even though there was a bit of uneasiness at the start, we definitely went with the right group of people and ended up having a great time. Here's Tom, Chuck, Steve, Kim and Mackenzie starting the night off right....

Oh yeah, Debby was there too.

Evidently Chloe had a few too many cans of beer.

#2: Christmas Shopping at the MALL

I guess I shouldn't be including this as a top 5 for the weekend since it really sucked. But putting it at number 2 pretty much sums up the experience.

#1: Chili and Biscuits

What better way to end the weekend than with chili and biscuits at Craig and Margo's. Sunday night was really pretty with all of the fluffy snowflakes in the air. Even better was the excuse to make my favorite pumpkin cake recipe again. We had a huge dinner of homemade chili and cheese biscuits and followed it up with cake and ice cream. It's definitely starting to be the time of year when any event with friends is a celebration with lots of food. Yikes. Better get some sweat pants.