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Archive for May, 2009

One year old wedding cake tastes like freezer and bellybutton lint. I don’t remember it tasting like a moldy plastic freon pipe when we had it at our wedding. Weird how something so delicious can be destroyed by sitting motionless in harsh environment for a year. Marriages are the same way, too. Gotta keep it fresh. Every day. Fall into a motionless routine and you’ll end up tasting like rotten sour kraut and motor oil.

We’ve done well. It’s been a big year for us. Jessica got her first taste of classroom experience when she did her student teaching. She graduated and did some subbing. I had a decent job with horrible hours, then lost it. Really, it’s the start of the rest of our lives. We both have a new beginning in front of us. I would say that the possibilities are endless, but we all know that’s not the case. The possibilities are extremely limited right now. But the economy has to turn around at some point, right? A lot can happen in a year – and by this time next year, I’m fairly certain we’ll be in a much different position than we are now. We’re halfway there. Livin’ on a prayer. I’ll go punch myself for saying that. Right after I finish humming this verse.

Anyway – last night we celebrated by having dinner at Botega’s on the Southside of Richmond. Jessica had a big honkin’ beef tenderloin. I had the Pollo alla Saslfiowehfioew or however you say it. I’m not sure. Something about chicken and cheese and prosciutto and butter and garlic or something. Why do they have to get all fancy with the menus? I was never good at speaking out lout in French or Spanish class. I think they do it just so the servers can get a good chuckle when they hear my incorrect attempt at pronouncing an Italian dish. But throw in an appetizer, bottle of wine and dessert and it made for a pretty excellent meal. I’m still full.

Workin’ the mall job today. Going to eat some anniversary breakfast first.

This is Day 46, folks. Freezer cake is gross. Bon Jovi is now stuck in your head, too. Happy anniversary to us!

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Unemployed, Day 44

My house smells like rotten eggs. Only get a whiff here and there, seemingly out of nowhere. Then it’s gone. I want to blame the dog, but he looks as startled by the stench as I am. I’ve done the walk-through-the-house-sniffing-every-corner-and-crevice dance, but can’t find the source of this nasty smell. I hope it’s not a dead possum or something. Or a ghost making deviled eggs. Unless I could eat the deviled eggs. I like deviled eggs.

Workin’ the mall job this afternoon. About to leave in a few minutes. Pointless, yes. But I can only refresh Craigslist so often before I go cross-eyed and get a headache. I did get in contact with a real estate lady down in Charlotte this morning. Sounds like she needs someone to do some video production/design/social networking for her website. It also sounds like she’d rather have somebody who lives in Charlotte do the work.

Nice day today. The wife is off of work and is spending the day with her friend down at the neighborhood pool. Probably getting hit on by the neighborhood men. Interesting story about that pool -just this past weekend a 9 year-old kid pulled another kid who was in trouble out of the water. Saved him. He was on the news and everything. Imaging that! To be 9 and have the presence of mind to jump into action and help someone in need. Good kid.

My friends will be camping in West Virginia this weekend. Wish I could be there with them. Couldn’t afford the gas nor the dog-kenneling cost. Actually, I could’ve brought the dog. Dammit, shoulda went. Maybe next year. We’re celebrating our 1st anniversary this weekend, anyway. One whole year! We’re going to have a nice dinner on Saturday night. Should be a pleasant, relaxing weekend we can spend together. Maybe stroll through the park. Bike rides. River walks. Whatever is cheap and romantic. Or just cheap.

This is Day 44, folks. Have fun camping, jerks. I’ll be here. Snacking on ghostly deviled eggs.

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Unemployed, Day 43

I went to the neighborhood pool this afternoon (because it’s a Thursday afternoon. What did you expect me to do? Cut the grass? Yeah, I did that, too) and overheard a neighbor (who is also unemployed) tell another neighbor that her new job starts on Monday. I can’t help but think that she is the reason that I haven’t gotten a job yet. Because she got the job instead. Every one that I’ve applied for. She’s got it already. She stole every job. All of them. Bitch.

I started writing a story. I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t know if I’ll finish it. I can easily turn it into a futuristic sci-fi adventure or keep it a simple tale of depression and strife. I know when I read stories, I like to feel the emotion of the characters. The more screwed up they are, the more I’ll want to keep reading. The sci-fi stuff interests me, too. But the way the story is so-far playing out I don’t want it to turn into The Road meets Children of Men. We’ll see. I can’t write any more today. I feel like the lantern in my brain is running out of oil. I need to save some for tomorrow.

Having an unnatural craving for a baby-sized burrito. Or a big, greasy cheeseburger. But I can’t have one. I’m at the point where anything I buy is put onto a credit card. Even the little things like lunch. In an effort to not acquire more debt, I’ll skip lunch. Okay, I’ll skip a delicious lunch and make some soup or some rice. Whatever we have left in the cupboard. Jessica brought home Chinese food for dinner last night, which totally made my night. General Tso, your illustrious career as a Chinese statesman and military leader is dwarfed only by your delectable spicy and tangy chicken.

I feel like there is more to tell you, but I’m really hungry now and can’t stop thinking about a burrito. Dammit, I think I’m going to break down and get one. No. Can’t. Crap.

This is Day 43, folks. The neighbor got a job. Good for her, right? Good for her. Good. For. Her.

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Reflections on Morning

I stood in silence; gingerly sipping the hot coffee I had poured myself in my Grumpy the Dwarf mug. The living room was dark, save for the new day’s first rays of sunlight weaving their way through the maple trees in the front yard and into the big picture window, dispersing through patterns made by the thinning 10 year-old curtains and illuminating random spots on my face and bare chest.  I stood. Listening to the birds. Sipping bitter coffee. Staring at the motionless trees. Waiting for a breeze to stir the leaves and make time begin again.

“Y’alright?” Her voice startled me, but only enough to raise my eyebrows.  She was standing in the hallway where the morning light had yet to reach. Through the grayness, I could make out her squinty, tired eyes. Her rainbow-striped undershorts. Her folded arms overtop of my favorite Buffalo Bills t-shirt.  Her tussled nest of red hair.

“Yup,” I replied. “What’re you doing up?”

“Gotta pee,” she said. Then disappeared back into the dark hallway, followed by a new beam of morning light bursting from beyond the maple trees, radiating the spot where she had only a moment ago been standing.

From the kitchen, the dog let out an anxious whine and tap-danced in circles in front of the back door. My coffee, having cooled enough for me to gulp, was almost gone. The sun had risen. The birds had calmed. I noticed the leaves rustling in the distance. The breeze had come. I didn’t notice when.

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Unemployed, Day 41

Woke up frowning. One of those days when I need something substantial to do. I feel the creativity and potential stirring inside me like a firefly trapped in a jar. When I can’t relieve the pressure, I become restless. The restlessness turns to anger. Anger and guilt. Guilt and frustration. Frustration and sadness.

I’ve applied to 3 new job opportunities this morning: one here in Richmond, one in Raleigh, one in Charlotte. Each of those being long shots, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right? Truthfully, it does hurt to try. It hurts a lot. It hurts my stomach. It hurts my heart. It hurts my spirit. Every time I get a rejection email, it hurts. To the tips of my toes, it hurts.

Sleep didn’t come easy last night. It hasn’t for awhile, but last night’s worries kept me staring into the darkness for hours. At one point, I thought I was sleeping because I couldn’t tell if my eyes were opened or closed. So I poked one with my finger. It was open.

This is Day 41, folks. Open the lid and let me out. Or at least give me some breathing holes.

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Another wave of nervousness and anguish hit me yesterday. Every now and then the reality of the joblessness sets in. Usually when I see the unpaid stack of bills on my desk or my empty fridge. Yesterday, the raw emotion hit me in the car on the way to my mall job. I hate when it catches me off-guard like that. Speeding down the highway, your mind zones out and focuses on the whatifs.  Except the whatifs are turning into the whaddawegonnadowhens.  Because, really, what are we going to do when the money and the credit runs out?

To my best recollection, this is only the 4th time in my 30 years that the uncertainty of what the future may hold has turned me into a nervous, emotional mess. The first time was adolescence. Everyone gets a ride on that roller coaster. But remember the awkwardness? The embarrassment? The flannel? The way you were prone to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat or if your neighbor messed up the baseball cards you spent hours sequencing by team, name and number? Any event that your parents didn’t let you attend was a signal that the end of the world was nigh. And you responded accordingly. With fits of rage, tears, and a pen and paper. Locking yourself in your room and blasting Nirvana’s Nevermind because somehow, “I’m so happy/’Cause today I’ve found my friends/They’re in my head” spoke to you with an understanding and compassion that nobody else could. (True story: I just stopped writing so I could put on my vinyl copy of Nevermind. It still holds up, by the way). Maybe that’s just the way puberty played itself out for me. All 4 years of it, from 12-ish to 16-ish

There have been a few other times in my life when I’ve felt so nervous, unsure and scared, but none have lasted as long as adolescence. One of those times was when I met the girl who would become my wife. That sent me into an emotional whirlpool for a good 6 months before I could regain the ability to form a proper sentence.

The point is, I need to find a job. For my own sanity. For my own emotional well-being. For my need to pay bills. So I can stop writing blogs about being unemployed and start writing silly, nonsensical posts that have dragons, pandas, fictional Beatles adventures and curse words because I won’t have to worry about what a potential employer may find in them. The Memorial Day week, and the week leading up to it, has been a complete hiatus of job postings. I think everyone is enjoying the weather. The pool. The boat shoes. The pastel shits. The burgers. I’ll be here, eagerly available to work, when you finish off that potato salad.

This is Day 40, folks. Morgan Spurlock can only handle 30 Days. Happy Memorial Day. Remember those who are serving and those who have fallen in defense and protection of our country. Gotta flip to side 2 of Nevermind.

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Summer never came soon enough. Where we lived, winter overstayed its welcome, until finally giving up its snowy grip around Easter. Spring was a fleeting week or two when the snow melted, making the air smell like thawing mud. May would arrive with yellow dandelions and a few honeybees buzzing around your head. When mom put the first tomato plant in the ground, swimming was right around the corner.

I loved to swim. Still do. I always wondered how my body would react to the first swim of the season because it had been almost a year since I’d last participated in the summer activity. Could I even stay afloat anymore? What if my young brain purged all the swimming skills to make room for multiplication tables and conjunctions? Could I completely forget how to swim and sink like a stone? It didn’t matter. As long as I was in the water, it’d be happy way to go. But swimming is like riding a bike. You never forget the motions. The balance. The fun.

I think my father was from the school of “Throw His Ass in the Water When He’s a Toddler.” That’s one way to see if I had the legs to swim, I guess. We used to spend our short Western New York summers at a campground on a lake. I’d follow my father into the water, climbing on his back and shrieking, “Throw me!”  He’d pick me up and toss me as far as he could into the cool, murky green lake. Flying through the air, exaggeratedly holding my breath and flailing like I’d lost the bones in my little limbs. Crashing into the lake. Sitting underwater for just a few seconds to take it all in before breaking the surface, gasping for air. Giggling. Wiping water from my eyes and the snot from my nose. “Do it again!”

It hurt to open my eyes underwater, but I did anyway. I liked to look at the small fish that seemed so disrupted by my presence in their home. I pretended I was a Godzilla and they played the Japanese townsfolk. I wondered if their eyes also hurt from having to keep them open underwater all the time. One time, as he was floating around, a fish bit my father’s nipple. I remember how amazed he was that a fish thought his nipple looked like a worm and how much he said it hurt. He didn’t stop talking about it for a week.

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