Saturday, April 19, 2008

Been There, Done That

This week was a week like no other. It got off to a bang with a normal Sunday, which was notable mostly in that it was normal. We had a little time for breathing at the end of the day. That was nice.

Monday kicked my keester. I finished all our taxes and the news--the news is never good. It wasn't as horrific as some previous years, but it was still bad. Within minutes of finishing the state taxes, I got an email from Penn State telling me, again (because I've heard it before) that they're sure I'm a wonderful writer and editor, but there are lots of writers and editors out there and I'm simply the wrong kind. A textbook writer at a University is simply not "as qualified" as, oh, pretty much English major. Or so it would seem.

Feeling kicked around, I changed into play clothes and went over to Gaye's house to work in the garden. The bird and butterfly box wasn't going well. I had gotten my measurements astonishingly wrong and was, quite simply, digging a really large hole in the wrong place. Gurney's was having a sale on blueberry bushes. Gaye and I made an on-the-spot decision to get into the blueberry-growing business. Besides, I have a single, lonely blueberry bush that wasn't thriving in its perfect soil in a pot. It really wanted to be in the ground with plenty of access to that acidic clay. So I brought over the blueberry bush and plonked it in the center of the hole--mostly to have a place to put the dirt I was now digging out for the proper location of the box. But then I hit a rock. And suffice to say, that after digging out this rock for nearly an hour, I realized that I was simply NOT going to be able to dig out the rock. The rock was staying.

I went and got Gaye and we pondered the situation, and then reluctantly moved the box AGAIN--6 inches more to the west of the original position. At this point, the box is in place. It needs to be shored up in one spot by some of the many rocks that were dug out during the excavation, and in general, we need something to do with those rocks. We need the rest of the blueberry bushes to arrive, so we can fill in the big hole in the spot where the box didn't go, and so that the one bush we do have, doesn't look so lonely.

That said, I checked on the blueberry bush today and in spite of the fact that it was only transplanted 6 days ago, it's sporting all sorts of new growth. It almost screams, "Acidic clay!! Oh!! I'm so happy!!" It's primary rootball sits in nice organic potting soil, but in the pot it was holding way too much moisture, and with the extra moisture wicked away, I suspect it's also happier for that reason.

Anyway, I got ahead of myself because the re-digging of the box didn't happen until Tuesday. So back to Monday afternoon. I went and got the kids and then headed back home where I found an email from a law office I know.

This post is from May 27, 2007:
"Initially I was looking for temporary work, but then an opportunity for a part-time permanent position came up. It's not in education. I haven't done anything like it in years. The pay can't compare to freelancing--but it would be every week, rain or shine. I met and liked the other person in the office. I met and liked the person who would be my boss. If it doesn't come through, I don't know if I'll keep looking for something else. Freelance work, like it always does, has passed through it's difficult pause and there will soon be plenty of work again. But if offered the position, I believe I'll take it. The work would suit me, and getting a supplemental paycheck regularly would suit me, too. I would continue to freelance, but no more taking on two full-time contracts and one more part-time on the side."

There's a WHOLE lot more to the story that doesn't belong on the blog, but in this case, on Monday evening I got an email, and then a phone call, asking if I was still, possibly, maybe, interested in working there while freelancing on the side. And I said, "yes." And so, getting ahead of myself again, I went in on Wednesday and reinterviewed for the job. We'll get back to that.

I still wasn't done with Monday evening. I had a PAC meeting to go to. I went. I ran it. We had a busy conversation. I came home and crashed.

Tuesday I worked most of the day in Gaye's garden getting that box in place so that I could not think about the part-time job. In the afternoon I supervised piano practicing because the annual April recital was coming up and we needed to be ready. Chris was running a focus group for his work, so I led the 11-year-old scouts in a short lesson at the church and then they played football outside until the sun was gone.

Wednesday. Wednesday I dropped the kids off at school, ran over to Target for new pantyhose and a pair of spring shoes since the ones from last spring/summer were shot. I had about 3o minutes before the interview, so I went and got a drink because I was thirsty. And I SPILLED it on the polyester shirt I was wearing. I tried to dab it up, but it's the kind of top that immediately can't be fixed in that situation. I drove around for a few panicked moments and then felt I should go to the interview as is and look for a solution THERE.

Now, I really hit it off with my office mate/office manager there last year and we've exchanged a few emails since, so I showed her the blouse when I got there--still 10 minutes early. She lent me her white sweater. It was perfect. It completely covered the spots and I wouldn't be doing a reinactment of that Tide commercial from the Superbowl.

The interview went fine. I was offered the job. I accepted it. Friday morning we hammered out a schedule for next week. I'll be working around the schedule of the woman who has the job right now for a few weeks while she trains me. Then I can work during the hours the kids are in school.

So, anyway, the interview was Wednesday morning. I was useless for most of the rest of the day. I already knew I had the job and I was very happy. I wanted to find Gaye and tell her what had happened, but she was over at the Senior Crack House Senior Citizen Center. The State College Senior Citizen Center (SCSCC) turns out to be all kinds of fun, full of Mahjong, Scrabble, and regular trips to here and there. They serve a good, cheap lunch, and Gaye is swiftly making lots of friends. When she goes missing, I call there first. (She has since agreed to start carrying her cell phone again.) So I ran home, found out my phone had gone dead, made an appointment with Verizon to get it fixed on Friday (I wasn't in any hurry--for whatever reason, the DSL still worked), hopped out of interview clothing and into jeans, and went downtown. I found Gaye and she agreed to go to JoAnn's fabrics with me. I told her the whole story of the interview adventure. Next to the SCSCC is a goldsmith. I go in and get my rings cleaned. Oooh, shiney. It was a worthwhile whim.

We went to JoAnn's and found a Gentleman Ship's Captain costume to go with the pirate costumes and bought fabric and a lot of buttons for it. Max's play was on Friday and I knew that Thursday was my only shot at sewing it together.

We headed home, picked up the kids, went to piano lessons, had dinner, and I started to cut out fabric. Around this time I got an email reminding me that some dear friends were coming through town this weekend and were spending the night Friday night. I'd totally neglected to write it down. I confessed, but it was all good, and they still came Friday night.

Thursday. Now the week starts to get interesting. I enlist the help of a friend who can sew much better than I and with her help, I get everything done except a small part along one seam, the lace, and the buttons and button holes. I head over to the school and do Reader's Theater with the 2nd graders, take the twins home, and keep sewing. Chris drops off Max at group piano, then picks him up. I think I order pizza or something. It takes me FOREVER but I finally figure out button holes.

However, button holes is the last thing my machine has sewed properly. It hasn't worked since. It jams every which way. I'm at a loss. I start sewing on seven million buttons.

Friday morning. I keep an eye out for Verizon and keep sewing on buttons. I hate sewing buttons. I keep sewing on buttons. Verizon arrives and fixes the problem. It's on their end, so no charge to me. Yay! I talk to the law office and get the schedule for next week. I finish the costume, grab all the stuff for the play, run over to the school, leave the costumes with the woman in charge of the Extended-Day Extravaganza and check the boys out of school-----to get their hair cuts. It was the only time I could do it before the piano recital!! So I just did. We went to the barber, the downtown was crazy. There was a bomb scare of some sort (turned out later to be an experimental insulin pump thing that someone accidentally left somewhere it didn't belong. It had many wires and it looked scary I guess) so they'd emptied the downtown, including the SCSCC. Gaye and I got hold of each other and we picked her up after the hair cuts and took her home. From there we went over to the church where the recital would be so they could practice on the grand piano.

This turned out to be a huge hassle. I won't go into it, but in the end we did get into the building and each boy got to practice their piece at least once on the piano they'd actually be playing on the next day.

We ran back to the school and I left the boys with Chris who'd just arrived. I went to get Gaye and we came back and were treated to a very nice show on the part of the school and the kids. From there Max and Chris went to church to watch the Lip Synch contest and I took the twins and Grandma downtown and we got her car now that the bomb scare was over.

Then the twins and I went and watched the lip synch contest. WONDERFUL! Until Sarah called to say she was on her way. I grabbed the twins and went home and started cleaning. When Chris got there he helped me with the dishes. The place didn't look great, but it looked liveable by the time they got there.

We all wanted to talk and go to sleep simultaneously. Talking won. In the morning (it is now Saturday) we talked and ate and they left an hour and a half later than they meant to. Max and the twins and I got some groceries, dropped off Max at tennis, ran another errand, picked up Max, ran home, made the kids lunch, supervised showers and recital clothing, got us all off to the recital, picked up Gaye, and then . . .

the kids played. And they each did the best they could possibly do. And it was beautiful. By the end we (Chris and I) were each in tears, even though I prayed through most of Max's pieces that he wouldn't be too nervous. Maybe it worked for he was soooo . . . . great :) Just terrific.

This is Miss Irene with some of her students, including Max, far left. He has played with her for three years now.

Here are Ben and Milo with another tiny musician:

Chris is working on the video. There will be DVD's for the grandparents.

After that we went and celebrated at Meyer's Dairy with sundae's and then stopped off at a local farm on the way home to pick up 5 dozen eggs I'd ordered.

We had Quiche Lorraine and Veggie Quiche for dinner with the missionaries--I'd signed up to feed them many weeks before I completely understood the nature of this week.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow is church, followed by a short break, and then a special "Preparing for Priesthood" get together for Max and one of the other "almost a 12-yr-old" boys.

Which is followed by a week in which I start my new part-time job, do the usual piano lessons and stuff, have the kids off from school on Thursday because of parent-teacher conferences, and then on Friday I supervise the volunteers who will be constructing the new school playground (it's just my job just to keep the volunteers happy--and there). There's a Board of Trustees mtg which I will probably have to miss as Sarah and her gang are coming back through and we really want those few hours with them again.

And a week from today? It's easy peasy! Nothing on the schedule but tennis. Oh yeah, and I teach the Relief Society lesson the next day. Well, I'll get that in there somewhere . . . .

Let's make it my goal to keep it that way. Well, only so I can get some gardening done :) Also, hopefully the lawn mower will be fixed early this week because her lawn needs mowing. She gets so much more rain and sun than we do. She already needs a mowing! We'll still have a week or two before we get there.

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