Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Three Ways

I stole this from Paca over a year ago and never got around to finishing it. Still here it is, my life in threes:

3 Ways I am a stereotypical wife
I do most of the cooking and meal planning, as well as the grocery shopping.
I have way more shoes and clothes than Ash does.
I like my towels folded a certain way and put in a certain place.

3 Things I'd like to hear:
"Congratulations on winning the Powerball jackpot, Katze!"
"The sellers of your dream house have agreed to sell it to you for $1 because they just want to make you happy."
"All federal student loans are being forgiven, effective immediately."

3 Things I'd like to be able to say
"We love living in Munich."
"I love my job."
"Don't worry Mom and Dad, we can take care of you. Just go ahead and retire."

3 Debates that shouldn't be a matter of left versus right

Climate change, health care, education.

3 People I have been smitten with in my life (embarassing or not) other than my husband:
Because it's more fun to hear about the horrible dates than to hear a story that goes "He was great, but it just wasn't right", here are three terrible episodes from my romantic past.

When I was on the Congress Bundestag program, I made friends with another exchange student who lived in the same region of Germany (though not particularly close by), and promptly developed the most merciless crush and unrequited crush on his host brother. Ditto for this friend of one of the guys who lived in the apartment next door to my first apartment. And finally, I was totally mad about this guy who I dated for a short period of time before I met Finbar. This one was not unrequited, and I thought things were going along quite nicely when all of a sudden I found myself dumped because (according to the angsty break up note-- a NOTE!)he was just too worried that we might get serious and then he'd have to give up all of his dreams and get married. May I note, please, that we were 19 years old when we were dating? And that I certainly didn't have any such plans in mind, and that even if I had, I most definitely did NOT have "become a housewife in rural Ohio" as one of my dreams for the future.

3 Things I wish were true:
That Ash and I both had jobs we love and made enough doing them to do most of the things we would like to do without any worry about money.
That the people we love will always be well and always be with us.
That people always get what they deserve -- or at least that the people who deserve it most would get the good things.

3 Things I wish were false
That we will not finish paying our student loans until after our children, should we have any, go to college.
That our country is terribly divided.
That the idea of America of a meritocracy is akin to a fairy tale.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Your Call is Important to Us

One of my friends at work has the unfortunate job of returning customer calls routed to our department from my company's 1-800 number. It's not that the calls are particularly onerous or time-consuming-- she only gets a handful a day. It's more the occasional crazy that pops up from time to time.

For example...

A gentleman left a voicemail saying "My name is Unstable McNeedsadrink. Please return my call at 893 555-1234." No other information to indicate why he was calling, what company he was calling from, or anything else. This happens more frequently than you might imagine. Apparently people think we're just a small mom and pop shop with a handful of customers that we all know by name. Let's just say that we're no Microsoft,but we are the largest company in our industry.

If someone's going to help Mr. Needsadrink with whatever he needs help with, a little detective work is in order. So my coworker dials his number, intending to find out what he wants and re-route him to the appropriate person.

"Hello, this is Kristen Reed calling from My Company. I'm returning your call from earlier--"

[Mr. Needsadrink interrupts] "Take me off your list"

"I'm sorry?"

"I don't want whatever you're selling. Take me off your list."

"Oh, this is not a sales call, you --"

[Mr. Needsadrink interrupts angrily] " I TOLD YOU TO TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST!" [slams down the phone]

Kristen is just waiting for the day when he calls back to yell at someone because "no one is returning his calls".


Monday, June 08, 2009

Memories Redux

10 years ago today: June 8, 1999: I was working full time at Avon. Worst. Job. Ever. (And I've worked fast food and done a stint in the KMart Layaway, so that's saying something.) At the same time, I was tutoring a high school student in German during the week and babysitting on most weekend nights. This was also the summer that a friend of a friend introduced me to her au pair, who had just arrived from Germany and was feeling a little shell-shocked. We started hanging out with each other on a regular basis, speaking German and shopping at Old Navy. Claudia, the au pair, used to tease me because I would always swear that I wanted to buy something "different", and would always end up buying khaki shorts and dark blue, black, and white tops. My wardrobe certainly was neutral that summer.

5 years ago today: June 8, 2004. I was planning my move to Our Fair City with Hulio. We were getting ready to meet here for an apartment hunting trip, and I was not at all certain where the law school was, what sort of neighborhood it might be in, or where we should be looking to live. Hulio was not at all certain whether or not she was actually going to come with me. We laugh sometimes at the conversations she would have with people who asked her why she moved here: "Well, my best friend goes to law school here." "Ummmm... OK. So, why did you move here again?"


So, um, actually I was in Our Fair City, getting ready to leave for Sweden in about a week's time. It would have been about this point that I learned from my student loan lender that, in fact, they would NOT be disbursing my loans because the program in Sweden wasn't considered "academic in nature". Which is ludicrous on several levels, first and foremost because the program required something like six hours of class per day. Fortunately/ Unfortunately, depending on how you look at things, I'd already put the course fees on my credit card. It had seemed like the expedient course of action at the time, what with needing to be able to pay in Swedish Kronor and not yet having the student loans I'd been promised in hand. I am still paying off that credit card today-- that's the unfortunate part. On the other hand, the fact that I had already paid the non-refundable fee meant that there was no backing out, so I couldn't feel too guilty about going ahead with the plans despite the lack of funding. I had an amazing summer and met Luneray, and that wouldn't have happened if I'd found out about the no-student-loans thing earlier.

On a side note, I can tell you exactly what I wasn't doing on June 8, 2004: packing for my trip to Sweden. I remember Hulio yelling at me, and I made a bet with her that I could go from "nothing is ready to go" to "let's leave for the airport" in less than two hours. I totally won that bet. I AM THE QUEEN OF PACKING FOR LONG TRIPS!! Of course, I am correspondingly bad at packing for short trips.

1 year ago today: June 8, 2008: According to my blog, I went to see Iron Man.

Yesterday: Ash and I went to buy a new bike helmet for him and ended up buying a bike for me. Then we took the new bikes to the park and rode them on the bike trail. This was the first time I was on a bike since I borrowed Luneray's bike in Sweden. I've never really spent any time on a bike in the US, so I kept catching these gentle waves of cognitive dissonance. It was kind of weird, nerve-wracking, and annoying to share the path with pedestrians at the park, because, you see, they don't know the Rules of the Road... that I learned in Germany. I had to laugh at myself because I was irritated that the walkers didn't keep to the right, and I kept wanting to ring my (non-existent) bike bell to make them move over. Another somewhat frightening bit of habit I struggled with was my inability to remember that THIS BIKE DOES NOT HAVE COASTER BRAKES. See, every other bike I've ridden had coaster brakes, and I would want to slow down, encounter no resistance on the back pedal and my heart would skip a beat while I tried to make the hand brakes work without causing myself to flip over the handlebars. I am clearly a menace who should not be on the road/ bike path. And Ash kept turning around to tell me to go faster. I think he might be trying to get my life insurance money, but the joke's on him because I didn't take out a big enough policy to pay off all of my debts. HAHAHAHA!

Tomorrow: Work. Ick. I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm very grateful to have a job at all. But I'm not sure that where I am is a good place for me. I'm bored AND stressed all the time, which is a very bad combination. There was apparently some drama today, but I was working from home, so I'll have to get the blow-by-blow tomorrow.

5 snacks I enjoy: Any cereal with a cartoon figure on the box, popsicles, Grie├čbrei, sweet popcorn, and Twizzlers.

5 bands that I know the lyrics to most of their songs: Patty Griffin, REM, U2, Billy Joel,

5 things I would do with $100,000,000: Pay off student loan debt for myself and several of my dear friends, give my parents enough money so that they could quit their crappy jobs and do something that makes them happy, set up a scholarship fund, travel, buy a home.

5 locations I'd like to run away to: Iceland, Germany (specifically to my little town in Bavaria), Hawaii, Finland, .

5 bad habits I have:
- Too impatient and not good enough at hiding it.
- Chewing my pens and pencils
- Procrastinating
- Staying up too late.
- Being hesitant about important things.

5 things I like doing: travelling, learning new languages, eating, spending time with close friends,

5 things I would never wear:
A halter top, those pointy toed super high-high heels that have been so popular lately, a micro-mini skirt, a baseball cap facing any way other than forward, one of those "maxi dresses" that look like someone sewed a tablecloth together and added some straps.

5 TV shows I like: Iron Chef (only the Japanese version, and I am still angry that I can't watch on Food Network anymore and can't buy the show on DVD), Scrubs, The Daily Show, Clean House, Friends

5 movies I like: Amelie, Mary Poppins, Office Space, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Big Lebowski

5 biggest joys of the moment: Being married to my perfect match, sunshine, getting a break from teaching that allows me to get some physical activity for a change, new books waiting to be read, Jenna's inability to act sane at all anymore (she's just too cute).

5 favorite toys: My laptop, my knitting, my new bike!, my french press (made some seriously awesome coffee this morning), Katamari.