Long weekend

Dan’s dad has been in town from Phoenix since Friday, so we’ve been out and about all weekend. Friday was pretty low-key; we dropped by Talayna’s for some pizza, then headed back to our place to hang out in the backyard with the fire pit. It was a little too windy, so the party stayed inside, but we had fun – and stayed up way too late nonetheless.

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Photos of the century. Google+ will save photo bursts of 5 or more shots as a GIF. (click the image to see it in motion)

Saturday afternoon, the boys hit up the Loop to grab some food an check out records while I spent a few hours recovering from Friday’s festivities. BFF Lacy and her Mr. were in town from Madison, and she and I hit up our friend Nikki’s wedding while the boys went to a Blues game and drank all the beers!

Sunday was the big family chili day, which I somehow managed to not get any pictures of.

We took today off work and hit up Crown Candy. That place has always been a staple in St. Louis, but it really took off once it was on Man vs. Food. There’s usually a line out the door. We had to wait about 30 minutes for a table, which is nothing.

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Malts and chili. You can’t see it, but there’s about 2 lbs of candy under the table. Don’t worry, we didn’t only get malts and chili; the guys also got roast beef sandwiches, and I had a turkey club the size of my head.

After consuming our body weight in malts and bacon, we went to the zoo to avoid a food coma. Tons of animals were out! We got to see the sea lions being fed, which I’d never watched before. The day started out chilly and overcast, but it warmed up even though the clouds never really took off. We were going try for an A-B brewery tour, but it was closed for Veterans Day.

We weren’t really thinking about the holiday when we planning our outings, so I’m glad that zoo was actually open! I head back to work tomorrow, but was great to walk around the zoo in such wonderful weather without any big crowds.

Next on the agenda: The Silver Ballroom, then a lazy night at home.

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Isn’t it ironic?

Oh, my dear Alanis Morissette, your words are ever-so-true. It is ironic. And annoying.

Last week, I got an early morning call from one my editors at the paper. Never a good sign when you work the night shift. He proceeds to inform my sleep-addled brain that the paper is offering voluntary buyouts in an effort to cut a certain number of positions.

I wake up a little.

Then he says that, although the buyouts are voluntary, at least one position in the newsroom must go and if nobody else takes the buyout, the position getting the axe will be mine.

OK, I’m up.

He gives me a bunch of information about how and why and when all of this is happening. Nothing that really matters much, because none of it will enable me to keep my job or make the fact that I will likely lose it any easier to deal with. The company didn’t make as much money as it hoped to, revenue is to volatile, nobody saw this coming, people will have one week to apply for the buyout, I’ll know what my fate is 12/09, blah blah blah.

Well, crap. If you read my previous post in September about landing this job, you’ll know how excited and relieved I was to to work for a paper again. You’ll also probably know that I was a little apprehensive about taking the job and that I left an incredibly secure and stable job elsewhere to work for the News-Democrat. Looks like I was right to be concerned.

I won’t know what’s happening for a couple of days, but I’m planning my life as if definitely don’t have a job. I’m looking at my options and trying to figure out what to do next. It seems like the only way to guarantee your personal security and well-being these days is to be your own boss. With that in mind, I’m pursuing some freelance opportunities and seriously considering going back to school for a career change.

All I know is that when you’re only 25 and have been laid off three times in two years, something out there isn’t quite right.

Ladies and gentlemen, enter career path #3

So life has been a little hectic lately, and I could write loads and loads about all the craziness pertaining to my work situation, but I’ll spare you some of the details to avoid sounding petty.

Basically, the company I worked for as a software tester decided to randomly cancel all of the workers’ contracts and give us the option to re-apply and interview. Really long story really short, they chose not to bring me back for who knows what reasons.  Me and one other girl had our contracts permanently canceled. Everyone else was rehired.

So, for the second time in less than 12 months, I was jobless. Until today.

Truth be told, I was already looking around for other work. I had probably a dozen resumes out in the jobosphere, which isn’t very many by today’s standards.  I was just hoping to quit my job on my own terms and have other employment lined up before taking the plunge. God apparently had other plans.

I lost my contract on Monday, had a first interview with American Equity Mortgage on Tuesday, had an interview with the VP on Wednesday and got a call offering me a job today (Thursday). And, it’s a “real” job– one that actually has the potential to be a viable career path. In 90 days –assuming all goes well– Dan and I will have medical insurance and benefits again for the first time in a year.

I have to give my best friend, Lacy, a huge shout out here, as I probably wouldn’t have gotten an interview had she not passed my info along to the HR person.

So, starting Monday at 8:30 a.m., I will begin my journey down yet another career path…as a loan processor. It’ll be my job to help people get the money they need to buy a house, a car, etc., and make sure that they filled all their paperwork out correctly. I know that sounds a little dry to a lot of people out there, but it requires the attention to detail and working on deadline that I thrive on. Also, I’ll be helping people get the money they need to accomplish what they want to accomplish.

Last time I lost my job, I felt like a loser and I was a really unpleasant person to be around. I took it personally and wallowed in my own misery. God has given me the opportunity to handle a similar situation with grace and optimism, and I’m thankful that all seems be working out for the best.

Weekend Warriors

Dan and I have had a crazy couple of weekends.  With all of the traveling, company coming into town and catching up we have to do from the aforementioned, we’ve hardly had time to breathe.

Last weekend, my sister came into town so we could take her to her first “real” concerts.  Friday night we hit up the Ting Tings, who were spectacular.  They played a nonstop, hour-plus set of booty-shaking, jazz-hand-inducing music.  I would highly suggest their music to anyone who likes Of Montreal and  Rilo Kiley.

Here’s a sampling:

Saturday, we went to the Art Museum to see the Ming Dynasty exhibit with my parents.  Dan and I are members at the Saint Louis Art Museum, which is a great deal. The museum is free, but the special exhibits cost to see. Our membership got all five of us in for free, which saved $50.  The exhibit was pretty cool– my favorite items were the jewelry and enamelware — but I’m glad that I didn’t have to pay the extra money to get in. I thought the exhibit was a little small when compared with previous ones, but it was a good cultural experience nonetheless.

Sunday, we hit the Pageant up for a second night to see Blue October. Dan said all there is to say about that experience here.

This weekend, Dan and I took Friday off to catch up on some shopping, etc.  We went on a minispree with some of our rebate money and finally got some stuff that we wanted/needed (underwear, t-shirts, shoes, glasses, etc.).

Saturday, we hit up Rolla for my grandma’s birthday/Easter. It was a short, but sweet visit, as all of us had to scurry off to other engagements later in the afternoon. We had some people over from Dan’s work to play Dungeons & Dragons (yeah, I know), then Mom, Dad, my brother and sister all showed up to watch “Band of Brothers,” etc. Sunday, of course, was church and lunch with my family, then dinner in St. Charles with Dan’s.

Basically, what I’m saying is: We’re not doing anything next weekend.

Everyone loves free stuff

Dan and I spent about 20 minutes in the cat toy aisle of Target yesterday debating what do buy for our kittens. This is what we do now.

Losing my job when I did is like getting another stab at summer vacation, which is actually kinda cool. I always took classes and worked during my summer breaks, with the exception of last summer, during which I worked and traveled all the time.

Spending my summer in St. Louis has been really fun so far, mostly because there’s so much fun stuff to do. The best part is that a lot of it is free. You just have to get yourself there. Dan and I have decided that we’re going to do at least one, cool free thing in the city per week. This week, it was the zoo.

The St. Louis Zoo is awesome. It has all kinds of really neat exhibits, my favorite of the day probably being the penguin exhibit. It’s a wonderful combination of cuteness and relief from the summer heat. AND IT’S FREE.

The best thing about going to places like this during the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, is that they’re typically not too crowded. Most of the people there are stay-at-home moms or daycare leaders with groups of little kids. The little kids are hilarious; they get so excited about the simplest things and it always makes me laugh. You and I may have been to the zoo dozens of times; seeing an elephant or a tiger might not be a big deal to us. But for a little kid whose only exposure to those animals has been books or the Discovery Channel, seeing those creatures in person for the first time is something to get worked up about. Watching them experience the zoo was a reminder to look at things with fresh eyes sometimes.

Me feeding a giraffe. Jealous?

Me feeding a giraffe. Jealous?

Oh, you so wanna know.

If you’re friends with me, there’s a good chance you know Dan. He’s chronicled our week here.

It has been long. It has been annoying. It has been painful. Long story short: I got laid off and neither of us have jobs. We blew a tire and hit a deer on the way back to Missouri. My grandma has cancer. Etc.

BUT:

We are OK. If nothing else, we’ve realized that life can always, ALWAYS, be worse.

We filed our paperwork to break our lease and have our apartment here until July 17.  We’re moving in with Dan’s mom, who has some extra space.  We’re applying for jobs in St. Louis like crazy people (with college degrees).

So, don’t worry.  We’re happy to be moving closer to home.  If you know of any jobs anywhere in the Midwest (St. Louis, Chicago, etc.) pass them along to us.

We look forward to seeing you, despite the circumstances.

I can feel the wind in my hair…it’s cold.

Dan and I got a scooter/moped/whatever you want to call it. It’s like a Vespa, and it’s yellow. We spent most of yesterday scooting around town and getting used to driving it. We took it to this restaurant called Panini 38, which is also a wine bar.

I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but Dan got a job doing computer stuff for a care center place. Anyway, we went out and bought a scooter because our hours overlap so oddly that we needed a cheap, CHEAP second mode of transportation.  After going to pick it up and what have you, we spent the rest of the glorious day riding around by the beach in 70+ degree weather. That is, until the sun set.

Dan and I had agreed to try that new restaurant and splurge on a nice dinner to celebrate his new job.  While we were at dinner taking our time to savor our food, the weather became much, much colder.  By the time we finished dinner and hopped on the scooter to go home, the sun was down and it was about 45 degrees.  Add a winds of 35-40 mph and it gets pretty cold.

We were frozen by the time we got home.  But anyway, it was still fun.

Sunday, we went to go see “Be Kind Rewind.” I really, really enjoyed it. It ended up being a little more serious than I thought it was going to be, but still funny.  Michel Gondry’s use of camera tricks for the film is delightful.

Good weekend. It’s storming like mad out right now.