Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm sick of writing about work... you're getting a meme since I don't quite have a life outside of work yet. I saw this on the internets and I'm making it my own.

Who was your first love?
Chad, who was also my first real friend. We met in preschool and formed the "High Top Club"--of course you could only be a member if you had high tops. (Mine were Punky Brewster.) I loved him so much that I wanted to spend all of my time with him. But, we only had preschool part of the week so on the days I wasn't at school, I had my imaginary friend, Chad... which created lots of confusion. Which Chad heard that story? Which Chad was playing London Bridges with me? He had the coolest parents too--his mom was a policewoman and his dad worked for an educational toy company (Chad had lots of cool learning friendly toys) and his dad looked like Dave Grohl in the Foo Fighter's Monkey Wrench video (I figured that out as a teenager). We went to the same elementary school until second grade when he went to public school and I stayed in private school. But, in an interesting twist of fate, we went to the same high school and in my 14 year old nostalgic mind, he was as cute as ever. He heard about my infatuation and told his mom he was going to ask me to the homecoming dance. She (get this!) told him that he was too immature and I was too nice to go with an immature boy like him. He didn't ask me. I'm still pretty darn pissed off with his mom for that one. He's now married... to a 40 year old... who's been divorced twice and has a son who's 19 (we're 24!). I'm not trying to be judgmental but come on.

Who was your first kiss and when?
I'm going to be vague. I was in college (I was terrified of boys all through high school... oh wait, I'm still terrified of them) and it was someone I should not have been kissing... so much so that I started laughing in the midst of it. His tongue hit my teeth. I'm mortified just thinking about it.

Who was your first prom date?
Andy. This one was a doozy. He was my ex-best friend's ex-boyfriend--and we became ex-best friends while she was dating him. And at the time, my friend (a different friend!) was in love with him and he was asking for her advice about asking me and trying to date me. I wanted nothing to do with him--because of the whole ex-best friend's ex-boyfriend thing. And of course, I didn't know that my friend liked him so I was spouting how uninterested I was (she told me years later that she was really trying hard not to hate me during all of that). But, he asked me in a really sweet way--my favorite fruit is the beautiful banana so he spelled out PROM? in bananas on my front porch. The dot on the question mark was a pineapple with a note from him. And hell if I was going to miss my first prom. We went and I tried very very carefully to avoid his amorous intentions i.e. feeling up my leg while we were dancing. It was pretty horrid but I had a great dress (black strapless--something I would still wear to this day) and I had loaves of banana bread hanging out in my freezer for months.

Who was your first roommate?
Rebecca i.e. Becca i.e. Rebs i.e. Berecca She was my freshman year roommate and we stayed together for a second year. She was Interesting (with a capital I) and Unique and Cute and Little and even though we got along really well, I always felt either not cool enough or jealous of her coolness. But, it was still a really good experience--considering we got randomly put together freshmen year.

What was your first job?
Cashier at the high school indoor pool. I hung out with a lot of swimmers in high school who all became lifeguards and all went to work at the pool. I didn't want to be left out but couldn't swim worth a darn. Thus, I became the pool's cashier and became very good at making change.

What was your first car?
Scooty McDrive, a 1992 white stick shift Saturn. I bought it with my own money, paid car insurance for it, decorated it with all of the bumper stickers I had been saving up for years and it died 7 months later. We replaced the engine (MISTAKE! HUGE MISTAKE!) and it continued to die during inopportune moments. It was so traumatic--that piece of shit broke my heart.

When did you go to your first funeral?
Sadly, I've been going to funerals all my life. The first significant one was my paternal grandfather's funeral when I was in kindergarten. I don't remember a lot about it but I do remember the wake and the fact that it smelled like flowers and tears (I'm still not sure how I came up with tears.) I couldn't handle being in the room (and my mom was too busy taking care of my dad who was a mess) so I went with my cousin and sat in the funeral home's kitchen.

How old were you when you first moved away from your hometown?
18 I suppose.... when I moved to the dorms

Who was your first-grade teacher?
Miss Gray. In true parochial school form, she was mean and horrible. At the time I liked her but looking back on it, she shouldn't have done a lot of the things she did... like duct taping a kid's hands to his desk for an entire afternoon so he stopped fidgeting.

When you snuck out of the house for the first time, who was it with?
Me? Sneak out of the house? Ha! Never! (No, really, I'm not being sarcastic.) Not only did I never sneak out of the house, I thought never even occurred to me.

Who was the first person to send you flowers?
My parents. My mom looooves sending flowers. So much so that whenever I move anywhere, she immediately finds a local florist... just in case.

When was the first time you got drunk?
Spring semester of my freshmen year of college. My friend had a bottle of Amaretto and I had some Capri Sun juice pouches. Five girls from my floor and I played Asshole with shots of Amaretto with a Capri Sun chaser. Disgusting and hilarious! When I got "sobered" up, I felt incredibly guilty and began emailing my high school friends (who were nondrinkers with me back in high school) about the horrible thing I had done. Turns out, they had all basically done the same.

What was the first thing you did this morning?
Hit the snooze button, realized I was cold and happily pulled my down comforter up and snuggled in. Then finally got up and rushed rushed rushed so I wouldn't be late for work.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Can't Feel My Hands

It's been four weeks since I started my job and I've realized that I've become a somewhat settled person. I make myself dinner (last night I roasted vegetables and made polenta!), I pack myself lunch (leftover veggies and polenta!), I clean my apartment on a regular basis and I'm going to bed at 11pm every night, which is very very early for me. I don't have many friends (many? err, any) so when I get done with work, I go home, make dinner, read a book, clean up my kitchen, watch some tv, watch the local news (and develop a crush on the dreamy sports guy) and go to bed.

Now that I am settled, I can focus my attentions and my obsessive thoughts on the things that really matter in life--like my office chair. My office chair weighs heavily on my mind for a good five hours a day. The problem? I cannot for the life of me, find a way to sit in it and be comfortable. It's not like I'm new to the "sit on a chair for 8 hours" game; I spent every summer during college sitting at a desk, starring at a computer and taking customer service calls every day. But, those were the really nice, big comfy chairs, much like this:
However, that was a big, important company who could afford nice, big comfy chairs. I now work in an underfunded library. My office chair now looks like this:
There are lots of levers and knobs but I have no idea how I'm supposed to be angling the seat or adjusting the height of the seat or the backrest or changing the angle on the backrest so that my arms and hands stop going numb and my shoulders stop aching. I'm kind of obsessed right now... I've googled "Proper chair alignment" (and found a handy spine website!). I've adjusted the seat so that it's on a downward angle (which is supposedly helpful but really just makes me worry I'm going to slide out of my chair). I've even started using the ridiculous, large plastic footrest that my predecessor left under her desk. I am constantly shifting around, rolling my shoulders back at the desk, stretching in the staff room.... Nothing is helping. Perhaps I need a pillow? Or perhaps I am too tall for my chair and need a different chair. Maybe I should try an exercise ball.

Or maybe I should find something more interesting to write on my blog. I bet you guys are just clamoring for those blog entries about guys who are jerks, aren't you? Well, I apologize. My interest is now on jerk chairs. Not to be confused with jerk chicken...

God I need to get a life.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Ex

I've decided that being the new gal at the library is kind of like being the new girlfriend and part of being the new girlfriend is meeting all of your significant other's friends (i.e. new patrons, even staff members.) And slowly, as the relationship progresses and you start getting to know the friends, you start to learn about the one who came before you, like this dude's ex-girlfriend. You can find out if this ex girlfriend was a psychopath, a complete sweetheart, a bitch, a heart breaker who left him just a shell of a man, etc.

When I interviewed for the job, I was told that Miss Erika was dating a guy who lived in Arizona and he kept sending her job ads and finally she applied for one, got it, gave her two weeks and is now probably sweating her butt off. She had been working at the library for about six years and started right out of grad school. A good amount of information but still, not very helpful. Well, I've been in my new relationship for about three weeks and slowly but surely I am learning about Miss Erika i.e. the library's ex. I've heard about her from patrons and even the school librarian I visited yesterday and I've compiled what I've learned in a handy dandy list.

1) She has a massive amount of stickers (really, like three drawers full) and she would let the wee ones take them all out and choose which one they wanted, which would of course take a significant amount of time. One parent said, "It's a new era. Do what you want but please just give them one, otherwise we'll be here all day."

2) According to the school librarian at the elementary school I visited yesterday, if you gave her 30 minutes for a presentation, she would take all 30 minutes. As the school librarian pointed out, at times it was painful... particularly when she had about 20 minutes of material and she was talking to kindergarten classes.

3) She kept a bottle of bubbles in her desk drawer and she would blow bubbles at the kids on request.

4) This one is a doozy--so odd that I felt compelled to write this entry. A little girl named Grace came in this morning with her mom and kept saying "Copy" to me. "Copy copy copy" (although at first it sounded like she was saying "Coffee" and I was thinking "Yes, Coffee. Gooood Coffee.") and I looked at her mom, kind of puzzled. So her mom explains to me that Miss Erika used to let her daughter make copies of coloring sheets with the copy machine. Her daughter is 3 years old... Whhhhaaaaaaaaaaaa? This is weird, right? And really not a good idea when you think about it, right? Or am I just being a curmudgeon?

This *gestures to above numbered list* is worrisome. These tactics seemed to go over well. Miss Erika was well-liked (to pull a Willie Loman). It's also worrisome because that isn't at all my style. And I don't want it to be my style. I'm not the bubble blowing type, just like I am not the seasonal sweater, cat themed jumper wearing kind of gal. And I do not think it's fun or appropriate to let a three year old use a very expensive piece of office equipment as a toy. (Wow, curmudgeon alert!) I can be a good children's librarian despite that, though, right? I can be well-liked too, right? Eeekk.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Working Stiff

Yikes, it's been a long time, hasn't it? Sorry!!! First of all, thank you guys so much for all of the kind comments and putting up with my whining and worrying. You guys made me feel much better about everything and I definitely survived the move and first few days because of it.

Now, regarding my life in this new city. Basically my life can be separated into two categories: Work and Not Work. Let's start with work.

So far, so good. I know that's vague but it's the best way to describe it. At this point, I really like my job. I like most of my patrons and my coworkers are great... at least 15-20 years older than me, but great. And I feel like I'm doing a good job at my job. When I was talking to my mom after my first week and I told her that so far, everything was fine, she said, "I'm shocked that you're not miserable... you're supposed to be miserable and overwhelmed for the first few months." Here's the thing, there isn't any programs going on and I haven't learned anything about selecting, ordering or budgeting. But here's what happens in the next three months: School lets out this Friday and the average number of people in the children's room will increase by leaps and bounds. Registration starts for the summer reading program this Saturday. We'll have programs every Wednesday and then massive crowds in the children's room. Then, in July, I have four storytimes for 3-5 year olds and I need to prepare those and also prepare crafts-50 for each week. And I'm the one who gets to cut out all of the pieces for said crafts. Then, in August, I get to host picnics every Wednesday with stories for all ages and games. So, right now, my job is great. As I told my mom, talk to me in July and see how I'm feeling.

But, like I was saying before, right now, I'm great. I'm having a ton of fun getting to know all my little ones and today I did my very first school visit. It was an exhausting blast. I did a summer reading program presentation for an elementary school in town. The theme of the summer reading program is "Get a Clue @ your library" (unfortunately not @ your library, bitches :)) so I wore a trench coat (borrowed from the assistant director's husband) and a ridiculous Sherlock Holmes-esque hat and I carried a little flip top notebook. And of course, the kids got to help me solve "mysteries" i.e. "How do you keep a skunk from smelling?" (Plug his nose :)). And I had a powerpoint presentation to tell them the ins and outs of the program and then I did booktalks. Again, exhausting but a total blast. My favorite part of the day was with the 2nd and 3rd graders. They were the biggest group and yet they were the best listeners. They had just received their yearbooks and after my presentation, they were all going to gym (which was next door) to have their teachers sign their yearbooks. And, get this! They wanted me to sign their yearbooks!!!! It was SO COOL. So I was signing things like "Reading Rocks! Miss Katie" "Keep Reading! Miss Katie" and the classic "Have a great summer... @ the library! Miss Katie" Soooooo fun :) It's really hard not to love your job when little kids are asking for you autograph :)

In other work related news, I now understand why people drink coffee when they go to work. For my first five days of work, I stayed away from all things caffeine but then I slept like crap on Tuesday night and stopped at Starbucks on Wednesday morning (and the barista was so cute!). Then I busted out my coffee machine Thursday and made myself what I think was probably a pretty strong cup o' joe. And since then, I've had some form of caffeine every morning. Holy shit it's amazing how much more I get done! I'm sitting at my desk, all perky, ready to work and even though my attention span is about two seconds long, it is so much easier making it through the morning! I'm doing that peppy, cheery, children's librarian thing--if you threw a apple themed jumper on me, I'd be your stereotypical kiddie librarian!

Now, onto the not work section of this entry (which is getting quite long... are you guys asleep yet?)

I love my apartment. I really do. I'm slowly but surely getting settled (just ignore the seven or so unpacked boxes in my spare room). I've got curtains up in my living room and coordinating pillows. It's great--I promise I'll post pictures soon. I feel at home there and And it's a good thing because I never leave it. As expected, my social life is desolate. To quote one of my co-workers, "So, you don't know anyone here? Well, good luck meeting anyone." She speaks the truth. I have no idea how to meet anyone.

Actually, I've met quite a few people--they're just middle aged. Now, I like middle aged people. As an only child who spent most of her time hanging out with grownups, I like middle aged people but these people are not middle aged in a fun way. They're middle aged in a "Oh my daughter, she's so liberal. They're all liberal when they go to college" way. This afternoon, I met a woman who lives in my apartment complex and she was talking about how horrible our apartment complex was and how nothing ever got fixed and at first I was worried and then I realized that she has never lived in Madison so our standards are a bit different (my apartment is beautiful, pristine even.) Then she told me that there was a librarian named Dan who lived upstairs in her building. First thought "A manbrarian!" Second thought: "Ugh, a manbrarian." But, she did tell me about the Cultural Center... which has events like "Backyard Bijou" where they show movies like Pillow Talk, Viva Las Vegas and Charade in the backyard of a historic house in town. I will definitely be attending Backyard Bijou events. Living in this uppity little city (I speak the truth.) has its advantages.