Monthly Archives: February 2009

Will work for room and board

Ok so, I’ve spent close to a week here in Chico visiting with my sister who not only bought my plane ticket down using her miles, but she’s also been kind enough to give me free room, board and booze. In exchange, all I’ve really done is the following: 

  1. I tend to her dogs during the day while she’s at work. This includes feeding them breakfast (which is actually lunch by the time I get around to it); letting her dogs out to potty throughout the day and while outside, preventing Ginger from running Buster, the old blind dog, into the pool or a flower pot.
  2. I spend most of the time sitting at her kitchen counter using her laptop to wirelessly mooch off her neighbors internet, as my sister only has dial-up.
  3. I’ve slept not-so-soundly now in two of her beds. Yes, two beds. The first night was spent flipping around smacking lumpy pillows on a very new, very firm mattress. The second night was spent sleeping on the new pillows (I suggested she purchase that day at Costco) in her other guest bed because I thought the first one was too hard. Then,  after getting a few mattress springs jammed into my back a dozen or so times, I took the new pillows back to the first bed at midnight. So, what this all boils down to is that I have now “dirtied” two beds and my suitcase has fully exploded all over one of her guest rooms.
  4. What else…OH! I took the recycling out yesterday, did a set of dishes, grated some cheese for dinner, and picked up all my cycling gear in the living room – all without being asked! 
  5. I’ve also taught my sister how to reconnect with friends of the past through Facebook. She doesn’t really want an account of her own, and states that “I don’t really want connect with them. I just want to see photos of them now and find out what they are up to”. Ah, Facebook is voyerism at its best! 
  6. And finally, I think I bought a round of drinks that ended up giving my sister a really big hangover at work the next day. 

So, as you can see, I have basically been a big freeloader all week! My sister, recognizing this, handed me a real project today to tackle while she was at work. The project : call AT&T and Comcast to compare high speed internet pricing, give my sister a recommendation via phone and then order the service. Easy enough, right? Wrong. This project took me an hour and a half to complete and my sister’s husband said to me “I sure wouldn’t have had the patience to deal with that, but sure glad you weren’t on the clock!” While I laughed, I also felt like I had failed a bit at my first project. But then I remembered who I actually called – a phone company and a cable service provider, both with phone trees from hell and customer NON-service reps who clearly do not like their jobs.

Anyways, my house pants and I are heading back to Seattle tomorrow before my sister asks me to call the gas company to inquire about rebates. She tells me that’s 1-800-this-call-is-gonna-suck.

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5 steps to forced socialization

What is it? It’s exactly what it says – forcing yourself to get out of the house and interact with other humans vs. sitting inside all day feeling like an unemployed loser. Here are the steps to making that happen:

  1. You start by peeling yourself out of the fleece Snuggie. While it is very cozy, you cannot leave your house wearing that thing or you will find it difficult to make friends. They may think you are an escapee from an insane asylum and that’s bad.
  2. Choose to actually WASH your hair. Don’t just throw on a hat or spritz your hair with a dry shampoo like Psssssst to cover up the 2-day grease. Be considerate to the people you are about to run into and remember – you are trying to blend in like the other employed humans who wash their hair frequently.
  3. Choose to put on a pair of level 5 house pants or higher. Higher than level 5 would be jeans, but if you no longer fit into those because parts of you have tripled in size during unemployment, then level 5 house pants are acceptable for public consumption. Also note that when when you are wearing this caliber of house pants or higher, you can also pretend that you are simply running errands on your “day off” before heading to the gym like any other employed person would do. You are a very efficient multi-tasker and people with these skills are usually employable!
  4. Very important – brush your teeth people – do not just pop in a piece of gum! While your animals may enjoy your filth, this is a socialization effort and therefore you must try to blend in if you want to make human contact!  
  5. And finally, equip yourself with things to make you appear very busy just in case your forced socialization efforts fail and you are rejected by these humans. At all times, you should probably be packin’ at least two of the following items: PDA, MP3 player, laptop, book, newspaper, pen and paper, and cell phone.

Hope you found this helpful. I must give props to a good friend of mine, a Croatian goddess, herself a victim of this declining economy, who coined the phrase “forced socialization” and told me about “Psssssst” dry shampoo.

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Changing the world one blog post at a time

While I have high hopes that my blog will change the world and I have already been asked to be a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, I think I need to set more realistic expectations. Maybe this blog just changes one life at a time, starting with mine and through my stories I keep a handful of others entertained for one day or a lifetime.

Since I’ve started blogging, I have also come across people in the same boat as me, blogging during unemployment. These two sites are particularly entertaining and after reading their stories, it makes me feel better about my new status.

While I am choosing to press pause on the job search temporarily to figure out what the hell I am doing on this earth, it makes me wonder if I have set the wrong expectations. Is it selfish to think that someone has a bigger purpose on the earth and that I should follow my insticts even in this horrible economy?

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Have house pants will travel

It’s been a few days since my last blog post so I should apologize to my followers – albeit a very small group – who might be experiencing LOL deprivation or knowing what the lady of leisure is up to each day.

I packed up my house pants and headed south, hoping for a blast of sunshine and some quality cycling time with my sister. But, seems Mother Nature had other plans for me so instead I get to stay inside all day sitting at her kitchen counter watching the torrential downpour of sideways rain! There’s also no high speed Internet so it’s forcing me to unplug, which is long overdue post layoff.

So, what am I doing with my days? I am only on Day 1, but last night I was fully entertained by my sister’s dog Ginger – a Jack Russell – who actually watches TV. She sits there, head tilted, ears up, eyes transfixed on the tube and if there are animals on screen, she’s goes ballistic. Jumps up and down, barking and scratching at the screen trying to get in on the animal action – its hilarious. My sister also tells me that Ginger attacks the window wipers from inside the car so maybe she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but hell its great human entertainment!

Last night, I was also introduced to something called a Snuggie, which is basically a fleece blanket with arms. While it is probably something you laugh at when you see it in Skymall Magazine, it’s really quite cozy and practical and it’s being added to my lady of leisurewear collection. You wait – once you see the photos – you will want one!

Ok, off to drink wine and make dinner with my sister. Enjoy your night and I will hopefully be back online again at some point tomorrow.

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Music, toilets and shirts with holes

One month post layoff as of yesterday. Funny how time flies when unemployed and I have no idea how that happens. Its not like I am doing anything particularly exciting with my days. Yes, I do wake up a little later,  by about an hour. And I’ve started blogging every day, which is difficult because I don’t always have something to say – like today – this blog post is probably going to bore the hell out of you. But, maybe the few followers that I have are interested in how I spend my days, wishing themselves to be unemployed and a lady or lord of leisure. So – if that’s the case – here’s how I’m rolling today.

What I am wearing? House pants, of course. They are level 3 because as you might recall from my previous post, I am very low on level 4 and 5 house pants. I am also sporting a very worn long sleeve t-shirt from Mike’s Bike Tour in Munich Germany back in 1998. It has a frayed neck hole and sleeves, a 2″ hole in each armpit and the silk screen imprints on both sides of the shirt are pretty much non-existent. But, the shirt rocks and I am keeping it forever!

What am I listening to? Right now my Zune is docked in my Kicker with my “favs” play list going and as I write this paragraph, Telepopmusik is playing “Breathe”. It’s great lounge music – great with wine – sort of reminds me of the music playing inside W Hotels. On deck, Augustana, The Fray, Blue Octoberand some other “favs”. Yes, a Zune and not an iPod so step off because as I write this post and my Zune sits in the dock, I am wirelessly updating my play lists. Can you do that? 

What did I do right before this blog post? Cleaned the house because I have friends coming over and my brother is coming in from out of town.

What part of the house was the dirtiest? I guess that depends on how you define dirty. I found some good size hair balls under my couch that if left another week would probably sprout legs and attack my cats. I also found a very nice colored ring in my toilet, scum in my shower and a week old Italian Meat Pie pan in my kitchen sink starting to sour. Louis also left a fresh one for me in the litter box. So, yes…I am a complete slob it appears as an unemployed LOL, but its all picked up now so please be my friend!  

I guess that’s it for today. I’d better shower. Everyone have a great day!

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What if the ladder is leaning on the wrong wall?

Today I want to share a quote that I found in an amazing book I started to read – the book is called First Things First - by Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (never read, but heard that it’s pretty powerful). This quote totally changed the way I need to view this time of unemployment. It’s actually an excerpt from a book Covey read, but he didn’t quote the author:

“Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

The layoff was obviously the stimulus and my response so far has been that of fear, hence my high anxiety and lack of sleep. Fear is not a good mindset to be in when you are searching for a new career opportunity. You will end up in another job that doesn’t bring meaning to your life. You will end up working for a company who’s work environment is set up to promote fear – career objectives and competencies that don’t actually bring meaning into YOUR life; they bring money to the company that then qualifies you as a “contributor”, allowing you to keep your job, get promoted, increase your income, climb the ladder and acquire more stuff. The book suggests this and also says something pretty profound: “What if you get to the top run of the ladder and the ladder is leaning on the wrong wall?” And now, that wall that you built a “life” on disappears. The “life” was the job that brought status and money to acquire things that would hopefully bring meaning to your life. Things being the house, the car, the vacations, the family or the relationship. But now you have no job and your new “status” becomes that of unemployed. And now – because you are no longer moving at the warp speed of Corporate America that helped you ignore that voice inside you looking for more meaning in life – you begin to realize that all these other things really didn’t bring as much meaning as you thought they did. They are what the book calls “cotton-candy” – a short term fix that has the illusion of fulfilling the need inside of you. And, now that you don’t have that big income, these things actually become stressors – the mortgage, the car payment, etc.

Today I am silencing that fear. The job search is on hold – and I am choosing to focus my energy on finding my “true north” or my “internal compass” to figure out what’s going to bring real meaning into my life so that when I am on my deathbed I don’t have any regrets. I want to make “first things” first. I want to feel satisfied with the choices I’ve made in my life and I want the people around me to know that they are important.

OK, that’s enough deep thoughts for today…just got pretty inspired by this book and think its a good read for anyone who might walk away at the end of a long work day and say “What did I really accomplish today? I got a lot of “things”done, checked “things” off my to-do list, but so what? What am I doing that really counts?”

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Clowns aren’t laughing

OK, I about choked on my coffee when I saw the news today that that Children’s Hospital started laying off clowns because donations are down. I thought recessions were good for the entertainment industry (such as Netflix), but apparently clowns aren’t funny enough to survive! My big problem with this is that while many adults don’t really find clowns to be funny (likely because of the movie Poltergeist), most kids respond to these costumed crazies and doesn’t laughter make the best medicine?

This is sad and thankfully I have my health and am not suffering from a terminal illness, but I do have my ups and downs post layoff and find that a great escape is to laugh. If a clown showed up at my door, I would probably freak out at first and think to myself – who is this freak-show and why are they here? But imagine the laughs after the fact – not only would I be rolling on the floor laughing, but I would email everyone I knew a photo of the clown at my door trying to make me smile. Then THEY would be laughing that this happened to me and they’d probably email it to everyone they knew just for kicks. Laughter is contagious and it is the best medicine. I can’t believe the hospital is choosing to give the big-shoed, red nosed, happy-makers their walking papers over something else. Might be time I take my costume-less clown self out of hiding and step out into the world to entertain those that need a good laugh the most.

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Filed under Economy, In the news, Life, Random thoughts

Sleepless in Seattle

When I picture a “lady o f leisure”, I see a woman who’s cold chillin’ – she’s well rested, relaxed, and has a carefree way about her. She’s doesn’t have to jack herself up on coffee each morning, just so she can stimulate her brain enough to remember the English language in order to write cover letters for job applications on-line. She’s not on night five of the Flip-master 5000. Translation…the Flip-master 5000 is the name of my nightly sleep routine. Flip-masters are very active, flipping from side to side an average of probably 15-20 times a night. Each flip, requiring a half-conscious pillow adjustment so that it’s tucked just right under the neck and head.  And, we don’t look like sleeping beauty when we sleep; instead we have a furrowed brow and look very serious and we are serious – serious about trying to get a good night sleep!

Anyway – just had to rant a bit about the no sleeping thing. I’m much better today though thanks to Advil PM, but hate the idea of having to pop pills all the time just to shut me down for a night sleep. If anyone has any good sleep tips, drop me a comment.

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Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Life, Rants, Sleep trouble, Slightly amusing

90 years on the earth – happy birthday grandma!

Just wanted to dedicate this post to my grandmother, a true lady of leisure, who turned 90 today. I like the elderly and think they have some fun stories to share if we just take the time to listen. Here are a couple of my favorite short stories from her youth – we have cats on leashes and rubber swimsuits so keep reading! 

First story – my grandma was picked up by her late husband (my grandpa Phil) when she was walking her cat on a leash. She said some guy “kept lurking around” and looked sort of “wolfish” (no joke, this is how she described him and she still married him!) Ladies, I have two cats if anyone wants to borrow one and give it a go! Louis Feline III for rent @ $10 aday! 

Next story – my grandmother actually had a powder blue rubber Goodyear swimsuit that she bought for $1. And, one day when she was swimming at Fox Lake with her friends, the strap broke so she took the rubber suit to a car repair shop just up the street and they patched it for her so she could keep on swimming.

And to close – some advice for our generation from my grandmother on her 90th birthday. Paraphrasing, she said that we shouldn’t spend too much time worrying, you can’t always solve everything and usually things have a way of working themselves out in the end. She said we should enjoy life as much as much as we possibly can and that there are plenty of hardships along the way.  

I think I will take her advice because if I spend the next 55 years of my life worrying as much as I do, I won’t be around to see 90 in the year 2064! Yikes!

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Cheap lovin’ on a budget?

Don’t fret – just because you are tight on cash doesn’t mean you can’t do something nice for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day – it just means you have to be more creative!

How about a scavenger hunt inside your house? Sure, it might seem cheesy at first, but think of all the “things” you can do for your sweetheart at each stop along the way? Do they like chocolate and whip cream by chance? Or maybe a foot massage?  Now you’re catching my drift ;).

Do you know how to cook? Why not take the time to make your sweetheart something they love to eat or maybe prepare a meal together? There are lots of great low budget meal ideas on the Internet – low budget that includes lamb chops?!  Or, what about Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, Basil and Balsamic Reduction? Or, Risotto with Italian Sausage Caramelized Onions and Bitter Greens?  You’d be surprised what delicious recipes you can prepare for under $35 (including the bottle of wine).

Or, no need to prepare an entire meal? Maybe you start with a low key evening, grabbing Pho and a movie to go, and surprise your sweetheart with dessert…dessert in bed! How YOU doin’? :)  Thinking something like chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne sounds fun! 

Here are some other ideas I found on the Internet – happy smooching!

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