Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Doggie Style

I'm exhausted.

Constantly trying to make sure dogs don't bone each other in front of live Web cams for hours is hard work. That's a big part of my new job as a "Camp Counselor" at a doggie day and overnight camp.

Dogs will be dogs and dogs are slutty. I mean, like REALLY slutty. Like more slutty than teenagers and most of the men I encounter and run away from on the weekends. Of course, we probably wouldn't be so strict about it if their parents weren't able to jump on the Internet and see how their little darlings were doing throughout the day. I'm like hell-oooo, your parents can see you boning right now...gross. And, no, I'm not going to give you the Web address so you can watch me at work and point and laugh at me while I constantly separate horny Labs and German Sheppards because that's just creepy. You know what we call the pain in the ass dogs that never stop thrusting? Serial humpers. That's my new insult for the slutty weekend douchebag encounters:

"You're being a total serial humper, asshole. No more talkie. Shoo."


Other parts of my new part time gig include bathing dogs, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing...I'm pretty sure this place is cleaner than my apartment. Ah, uniforms, manual labor and slave wages — go me and my college degree. I'm sure it sounds way awesome to you and you're jealous because you don't get to mop up urine and shit like a doggie janitor, but no joke, I'm actually enjoying it so far. I've lived a strange and meandering existence the past year; one that I've loathed and fought 90 percent of the time, so having a steady job and really working for my paycheck is pretty rewarding.

Of course I'm also suddenly feeling in demand. I was offered another doggie daycare job yesterday, which is full time and I was planning on quitting the first one to take advantage of the second one's full time offer, but then I got another call today about interviewing for an office job. WHAT. THE. HELL. Employers have avoided me like the Black Plague for nearly a goddamn year and now I will have had five interviews and two job offers in two weeks. Ridiculous. Now my biggest concern is not unemployment, but figuring out how I'm going to maneuver through and time this influx of jobs just right in order to grab to best possible opportunity. Hmmm, yes, this would probably be one of the best times to not fuck it up...no pressure.

Also funny? Chelsea Handler's new book "Chelsea, Chelsea, Bang, Bang." I thoroughly snorted and gasped my way through her first two books and with everything else going on in my life, I'm slowly making my way through the third one. I'm a huge fan of this woman. People call me irreverent, but this chick says and writes things that make me blush and go, "Oh hell no, you couldn't pay me enough money to publish information like that about myself for everyone in the world to see."

Even more funny? My 78-year-old aunt purchased this book and started reading it. *hehehehehe* I guess my mom and her were at the bookstore and when she chose Miss Handler's collection of stories as one of her books, my Mom goes, "Uuummm, Lara likes her. I don't think you'll like the language." But, my aunt just said she wanted to give it a try. I nearly fainted when my Mom told me that my aunt was going to embark on this reading adventure mainly because this book is the exact opposite of anything she would ever enjoy reading or find funny. In fact, images of my aunt burning the book in disgust flashed through my head. And, don't act like your grandma wouldn't do the same thing.

Seriously though, the book begins like this: "To my brothers and sisters. What...a bunch of assholes."

Then, the first chapter describes in great detail Chelsea's early discovery and subsequent obsession with masturbation.

Apparently, my aunt laughed at it at first, then put it in a drawer after the fourth chapter deciding that it was too naughty.

While I keep any personal sexual activity private, I still don't think my aunt would be a fan of my writing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Take This Job and Love It

My eyes creaked open at 7:30 a.m. to the sound of one of the least annoying sounding alarms on my cell phone, but of course anything that blares in my ear and wakes me up before I'm good and ready makes me want to punch babies.

I smirked at the T.V. that had unidentified cartoon characters flying across it just below audible level. I'm one of those people that always falls asleep to Nick at Nite or TV Land, which usually results in me waking up to either Dora the Explorer or Bonanza, both of which make you want to roll over and go back to sleep in protest...and punch babies.

Laying there still unable to shake the precious few minutes of actual sleep my body allowed the night before I thought, "do I really want to do this everyday?" Then I remembered that I had no choice and that most people right at that crack-of-dawn moment were already operating heavy machinery in the form of a vehicle, starting their day by barreling down the highway with their coffee to their job that they probably hated.

It's been almost a year since I've had the privilege of having full time employment — something most people take for granted as they trudge to the jobs they hate with their coffee everyday. Though cranky and conditioned to a life that doesn't require me to wake up in time for Good Morning America, I felt lucky to have a reason to be awake that morning. I had an interview, actually TWO interviews in one day. I had one early last week, too, at a coffee shop, but was rejected via voicemail on Friday, which I have the sneaking suspicion prompted the binge drinking, dancing and subsequent day after puking. Judge me if you must, but walk a day in my hole-y, beat up shoes and then tell me you don't want a goddamn drink.

Both jobs are at basically opposite ends of the spectrum — one a full time, entry level office job that requires my degree and the other a part time gig at a doggie day care that requires me to love dogs and everything that goes along with them (i.e. shit, puke and general assclownery). However, they do have one thing in common — I will probably get peed on daily.

I see the good and the bad in all jobs. And, at this point in my hunt, the good is usually the fact that it's a job that will pay me money so I can eat, feed little Andy and not have to move back in with my parents. The bad usually being that the job is going to inevitably suck ass at least some of the time in one way or another, especially right now when the pickings are horrendously slim and I really don't have much of a choice in the matter if I want to live independently.

However, there's always that one good thing or few things that you hang onto to keep your sanity in order to make it at that job and at least attempt to make it enjoyable, especially on those bad days.

Take for instance my job as a newspaper reporter. Journalism is not funny. Not at all. We cover and write things that are either dry, sad or sappy and make it as entertaining to read as possible. Not that I didn't like the job and some of the things I wrote about, because I did, but there really isn't any humor or laughter in it, except for my column, but that was me writing about me. Not many journalistic duties involved.

Because of this, we had to make our own fun; our own humor to keep our spirits up in that job...and also because people are dicks...so quick to complain about EVERYTHING. I remember one lady called and screamed and cried on the phone at me for 10 plus minutes about a photo we ran of a man holding up a dead mountain lion. She claimed that she had to protect her son from the filth that that photo represented and OOOOOOOHHHH the poor mountain lion. First of all, I had no idea what the hell she was talking about because it wasn't the newspaper I wrote for and second of all, for fuck's sake lady, there are far scarier things that your son will come across in his lifetime than a photo of a giant dead cat in a newspaper, such as murder, rape, pillaging and double penetration porn. Stop hysterically screaming at me, lick my ass and get over it.

One of the only tasks that made my co-workers and I laugh was when it came time to publish the "letters to Santa" every Christmas. Little kids would write to Santa at the North Pole and we had the pleasure of reading all of them and typing them word for misspelled word. Some of this shit was hilarious. Those little turds would throw their brothers and sisters under the bus by telling "Santa" all the bad things they had done and suggesting coal for their stockings. We'd read them out loud and crack up until tears came out of our eyes. And, one little sass said, "I want an MP3 player, but not an iPod because, excuse my French, but iPods SUCK!" all in little chicken scratchy, backasswards writing. I nearly fell out of my chair and convulsed on the floor with laughter on that one.

On slower days, we'd also feed our humor hungry souls with in-office '90s dance parties which usually consisted of the techno hits like "Rhythm is a Dancer" or our personal favorite, anything by Blackstreet..."If you take your-love, a-way from-me I'll go craaaaa-zay!"

I laid in bed and smiled at the fond memories when Andy started doing this weird tongue flipping thing with a very concerned look on his face. Then he jumped down off the bed and began to do the hunched over I'm-going-to-puke-all-over-your-beautiful-rug song and dance out in the living room. This caused me to fling myself out of bed and squeal, "Andyandyandyandyandyandyandyandy!" in an octave only dogs can hear while trying to usher him towards the open door, or at the very least, to the kitchen linoleum. Neither one happened. Epic dog owner fail. Fuck. He must have been hungover. Like mother, like son.

So I started my morning scrubbing bright yellow, foamy dog barf off the carpet. But, hey, I haven't been that spry that early in the morning since my high school dancing days when I was spandex clad, in the right leg splits and rocking out to old school Janet Jackson by 7:15 a.m. I was now awake and ready for my interviews.

Both of them went pretty much as well as I could have imagined. I still see the good and the bad in both — expect now I have a more detailed good/bad evaluation than I initially did. But, I'm just really hoping one of these is it for me because I'm an exhausted, beat to a bloody-job-hunting-pulp young woman.

There are a couple other things to be happy about this week as well, but I'll cut this novel off now and save those for later.

All I know is that if I could consistently have a few more days like today thrown in here and there, I think I might just be OK.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Changing My Life

Maya Angelou once said, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

However, while I admire Maya Angelou, I'd rather refer to a conversation that took place between Peter Bretter and Rachel Jansen in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" to explain my situation mainly because I relate to the comedic style of that movie since I've had two different groups of people compare Mila Kunis' character, Rachel Jansen, to me as she blurts out such phrases as "DRACULA MUSICAL!" and "I CAN SEE YOUR HOOOOO-HA!" throughout the movie.

Rachel: "Oh my god, you hate it!" (referring to Peter's job)

Peter: "I fucking hate it...so much!"

Rachel: "So then do something about it."

Peter: "Excuuuse me."

Rachel: "I'm just sayin', if you hate something, change it. Don't dwell."

It's no secret that the twists and turns in my life the past couple of years and mainly the past year have made my existence nearly unbearable at times. And, when you step outside the constant struggle and realize that you're desperately clinging to a couple of things — your family, a few friends, a little shit of a terrier and a small freelance writing gig — in order to keep the tiny shred of sanity you have left intact, it suddenly clicks that while you've been trying to change things for the better for nearly a year, it's obviously not working and it's time to take drastic measures. Yes, I hate my life, but I'm doing some things to change it.

And, dammit, something's gotta give.

Last Wednesday morning, I put on my navy blue Aerosmith t-shirt. I touched the ankles of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry while wearing this shirt a couple of years ago at an Aerosmith concert. Yes, their ankles, slathered in tight, red velvet studded pants and leather. I could see their wrinkles, their pupils, their pores. Even non-Aerosmith fans would agree that that's pretty fucking cool. It was one of those right place, right time moments. Pure luck. We weren't even supposed to be anywhere near this close, but suddenly there I was standing smashed up against the extended stage next to my sister, who was wearing the same shirt modified to stretch over her 7-month prego belly, wide eyed and completely breathless just inches away from living rock and roll legends. I will never forget that night.

I pulled on a pair of jeans. My go-to jeans. They're old, but they feel good and they look good. The ankles are all ripped and frayed from dragging on the ground since I bought them long before I discovered my crazy Russian lady tailor that yells, "You try on!" at me every time I bring her a pair of jeans to shorten up. Us midgees must wear heels AND hem all of our pants. It's a rough life down here.

I slipped into my beloved little blue and white Pumas that Aunt Maryo and Uncle Pete bought me during our all-shoe shopping spree in 2005 — their gift to me for my college graduation. Yeah, I think it's safe to say they know me pretty well. It's doesn't get much better than shoes with a great memory attached.

Then I put on my blue "Golden Girls" zip up hooded sweatshirt. No, not Bea Arthur and the gang who mesmerize me with their marathons on Lifetime, but my high school drill team. Hard core is the word I usually use to describe this team that I was a part of. I roll my eyes with fierce vengeance when I think about most things from high school because holy shit, the stuff you said, thought, did, worried about between the ages of 15 and 18 were absolutely underdeveloped and ridiculous when you look back on it 10 plus years later. It makes you cringe. But, memories of my dancing days don't conjure up the usual eye roll/cringe combination. It was challenging, it kept me striving, it taught me lessons, and I had a lot of successes in dance, and therefore my life since dancing was my life from 13 to 18, while I was a part of that team; while wearing that sweatshirt.

So, shrouded in a mishmash of sloppy fashion, or lack thereof, symbolizing luck, comfort, love, support, hope and success, I drove just over the state line to the Pearson Professional Center and ever so gracefully and confidently bombed the ever living shit out of my graduate business school entrance exam.

Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhh, FUCK.

After talking about going to grad school since I graduated from undergrad nearly five years ago and talking about the actual test since last summer, I finally took the plunge. The first real, drastic step towards a drastic change and I totally sucked it up. At first I was moderately upset and was kinda weepy and annoying and psycho about it, but hours...and several beers later, I just said, whatever will be, will be.

There are other factors that get you into grad school — excellent GPA, essays, recommendation letters, work experience — all of which I have or could pull off. I can walk into a room full of strangers, get any one of them to form a relationship with me almost immediately and tell me highly personal things about their life through casual conversation. I can turn those casual conversations into entertaining, yet non offensive prose. I can write a mean, award-winning newspaper column. I can switch gears and write from the advertising point of view, too. I get things done, I work hard and I have a nearly photographic memory, but I can't take a goddamn standardized test and I probably never will be able to.

It's just one of those things. Even if I did have time to retake that dirty, soul sucking whore of a test, which I don't, I'd probably still blow it because no matter how much I prepare, I'm just a bad standardized test taker. And, while I'm well aware that some schools, perhaps all of the ones I really want to go to, will reject me because of that shitty ass test score, I refuse to be defined by a test that measures absolutely nothing related to my success in business. Perhaps I suck at answering six bajillion obscure math problems in an hour, but I excel at what I do and I would kick ass in business school and beyond. I just need someone to look past the score, have mercy on my soul, take a chance on me...whatever you want to call it. If not, I guess it's on to plan E for my life.

I'm just glad that it's over and can now dream about other things besides quadratic equations. In between resisting the urge to firebomb all books that mention GMAT data sufficiency and starting the daunting grad school application process, I squeezed in a trip to Houston to visit my friend, Tyler. I booked it right around the same time I scheduled the test because I knew I would need it. Warm weather, sunshine and good company does a depressed body good.

So, after a weekend of laughing at Tyler's roommate's drunken shenanigans, enjoying the sun, visiting the downtown aquarium and Kemah Boardwalk, riding a rollercoaster, taking a ride on a giant, loud Jock Jams album playing speedboat into Galveston Bay, eating a sexy, garlic covered sirloin, visiting a couple bars and clubs, listening to an excellent, guy-liner-wearing cover band call Blue Finger Disco, running into my R.A. from the dorms my freshman year at K-State (yeah, in Houston, weird), slightly ghetto-izing my vocabulary with the addition of "Do work," "boo boo" and "creep walking," being slightly (read: incredibly) frightened by the way some men really view women and the world through far too many all-guy-with-a-lone-girl conversations and just genuinely enjoying the company of a great friend that I love dearly and has a special place in my heart, I'm home...

...And I'm not happy about it.

Unemployment completely dries up once and for all next week. I still don't have a steady job that will allow me to live even a humble lifestyle. Since rejection has come from every single outlet, method and business I can think of from walk-ins, blind, reckless resume flinging and journalism jobs to friend and family recommendations and connections, waiting tables, stocking shelves at a craft store, selling shoes and cleaning up shit at a doggie daycare, I'm just not sure what my next move should be. Sweet christ, what the hell do I have to do get hired somewhere, anywhere? Can I get a craptastic $8 an hour income please?! My education and my pride have long since fallen away. I just need some money coming in so I can pay the rent and eat.

Le sigh, fucking wanka, shit, ass, head-in-hole, get me out of here because reality sucks.

But, like I said, I'm changing my life and dear lord, something's gotta give...preferably, like, NOW.

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