Friday, July 22, 2011

...however, we do have a modeling job available...

I have always been proud of my ability to laugh at myself.

When crushing, life-altering situations arise (ie. missing an episode of “The Bachelorette” or arriving at Chilis ten minutes after closing) I am pretty good at using laughter to cope. However, for some reason I tend to get embarrassed by really small, stupid things. Things that should not be embarrassing, but for some reason are! I cringe at memories of strutting around campus confidently, only to find out later that my backpack was partially unzipped the entire time. Why is this so mortifying to me!? It’s not like anything particularly incriminating was exposed. Well, aside from the Chelsea Handler paperback and melted fruit-by-the-foot tucked in with my Health Science textbooks…

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a lot of free time, but it seems I’ve recently had more than my fair share of these experiences. Here are some highlights- or to be more accurate- lowlights.

Since I have yet to find a job, I’ve dedicated myself to being the best housewife possible. I’ve actually begun sorting laundry into appropriate color loads before washing, vacuuming the carpets before the visible toast crumbs/popcorn kernels/dirt clods appear and cooking dinners that require the chopping and stirring of ingredients, as opposed to pressing “high-3 mins” on the microwave.  As part of this “ideal housewife” persona, I’ve also taken it upon myself to regularly visit our apartment clubhouse gym.

I’m usually the only one there. The Barossa Apartment residents seem to prefer carne asada fiestas over the Stair Master. (Actually, I do too. I just can’t afford to buy bigger clothes.) The other day I actually had a work out companion. A Black or maybe part Hispanic boy in a do-rag who looked about 15 years old was pumping some iron. He was probably getting ready for nearby Aqua Fria High School’s football season. I had been going strong on the treadmill due to extra energy provided by a few bagels and an excellent workout playlist. I needed a drink, so I stopped and removed my headphones. To my horror, my music was blasting for all (well, both) to hear. The weight room was too quiet, and my ipod volume too loud. The song was sort of tinny and far away sounding, but every lyric and note was easily being heard by Mr. Aqua Fria High, who gave me a curious look when I sheepishly paused the music, cutting off the upbeat chorus of a song that came straight from the Space Jam soundtrack. I felt myself turn red. Why did this embarrass me so much? Again, this was not even a big deal! I quickly reviewed the songs in my previous lineup to assess the damage. Katy Perry, Lil’ Wayne, some random Fleetwood Mac… not too bad. Uh oh. Not only had I listened to Tupac’s “Life Goes On”, I had listened to it twice in a row. (In my defense, it has a good running beat.) I thought of Aqua Fria High watching me, a painfully white girl, thumping out a 12 minute mile to a tribute to victims of the streets and homies doing life etc. No doubt this kid had more street cred in his pinky finger than I’ll ever have in my life. I imagined him shaking his head in dissaproval. “She knows nothing about the hood life,” he’d be thinking. Ugh, and then there was the Space Jam song…

Yesterday I was applying for jobs via Craigslist. One job in particular asked for a resume and a picture. I couldn’t find a decent picture of myself- all recent pictures seem to be of me in my Yellowstone t-shirt. I decided to take matters into my own hands (or hand, I guess) and take a picture of myself to upload. I came up with a decent shot (again-decent, not great-this is important) and sent it along with my resume. I made sure to crop out most of my arm that was extended out towards the camera.
(Notice the obviously outstretched arm-
dead giveaway that it was self-taken. 
The messy kitchen has been cropped out)

Now I don’t know what posessed me to do this. I don’t know if it was a sudden surge of confidence due to endorphins from the treadmill, or my increased alone time making me crazy. For some reason, I felt it might be a good idea to attach this “head shot” to my email responses to all my application emails- even though no others asked for one. Again, I don’t know what I was thinking! I mean, how tacky is that, right?! I thought about it for the rest of the day, wishing I could retract those emails. I personally would jump at the chance to make fun of someone for sending an unrequested picture with her cover letter. Especially since it wasn’t even a nice, professional picture. It was a crappy self-taken shot with a messy kitchen in the background.

Before I went to bed last night, I checked my email. I had gotten a response! I opened it.

“Carolyn, the receptionist position has already been filled. However we do have a modeling job available. ;) Sincerely, Joe Something-or-Other”

Oh my gosh. I totally got called out. I wasn’t fooled for a second. This was not a modeling job offer. Believe me, I watch a lot of “America’s Next Top Model”-mine was no gig-worthy head shot. This email was a blatant stab at my bad behavior and I completely deserved it! The job was at a Collision Repair company, for heaven sakes. Unless this modeling job was for MySpace, Joe Something-or-Other was making fun of me. Lesson learned.

The last awkward instance happened while interviewing for a job. It wasn’t a typical interview at an office. The company hadn’t fired my predecessor yet so our meeting was covert in nature; I was to meet my interviewer at a local coffee shop. I arrived 45 minutes early. (I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get there and wanted to be safe.) I filled the time by looking Susan (my interviewer) up on Facebook. I was slightly worried I wouldn’t know who she was. For all I knew, she could already be there, nestled up in a booth with a laptop and cappuccino. It’s not like we’d both arranged to appear with red roses or anything. When she arrived, I stood up.

“Hi Susan,” I greeted her in my most personable, “hire-me” voice. She greeted me warmly and we exchanged a solid handshake. (I pride myself on my firm handshake.) Then I ruined it.

“I stalked you on Facebook,” I blurted out. It was silent for a good seven seconds. Which is a long time when you’re suddenly being watched by every poem reading hippie in the place. “You know, so I’d know who you were…” I fumbled, trailing off.

“Oh!” She sounded a bit alarmed. It was quiet for another few seconds. Crap, that one really did not land.

Despite my facebook blunder, the interview went pretty well. Although about halfway through I realized that everybody in the coffee shop had tuned in to my interview. Not only was I trying to convince Susan that I had what it took to be a fabulous assistant, I was performing for all of “The Urban Bean’s” staff/customers as well. At one point I said something really cliché- something about taking the initiative- and I could have sworn I heard a snort/chuckle coming from behind a bearded man’s laptop.

I’ll find out about the job next week. I may have humiliated myself at the interview, but at least I didn’t send them a picture.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Legend of Joe Greeson

Aside from throbbing zits that won't pop and DVDs that skip during the climax of "Prison Break", there is nothing more frustrating to me than rental housing contracts.

If I were a property manager, I like to think I'd be empathetic (not to mention Christlike) enough to work with tenants and be flexible with exit dates and liberal about additional fees. Especially if said tenants were absolute model renters. Renters who always got their full rent check mailed weeks in advance. Renters who put up with a kimono wearing techno enthusiast living upstairs for six months. Renters who literally went through four paper towel rolls, three Windex bottles and a gallon of bleach the day before cleaning check.

As you can probably guess, this was not the case with our previous landlord. Our contract was about as thick as a National Geographic and peppered with nit-picky clauses and addendums. Every detail was spelled out down to the last nail hole and cobweb. ($5 a pop if either are found after check out.) Another annoying little clause was brought to our attention when we found out we were moving. The contract stated that not only were we responsible to pay a nice little "early exit fee", we also had to find a new tenant to take over the remaining months on our contract. So the Craigslist ad was written and fortunately the calls/emails started coming in.

When we got the first email from "Single White Guy", we dismissed it as a joke. Craigslist responses are notorious for being scams, after all. (After recently applying to about 40 jobs via Craigslist, the only response I got was from some character named Jose Pancreas offering me $1,000/week to work from home. This was all in broken English, of course, and ended by asking for my Social Security number and bank account info. Jose Pancreas? I'd just love to know what was going through that hacker's mind when he came up with that creative little Latino name/vital organ combo...)

Okay, back to "Single White Guy." In his email, Joe Greeson introduced himself in great detail, making sure to include all important information including his height (5'10") weight (180-185 lbs) and the fact that he works out often. With weights. (I'm dead serious here.) He then explained that he was a retired Fidelity Securities Trader with an excellent credit score and solid references. Sick of the crime rate in Tuscon AZ, he was looking to move up to Provo. This single white guy was extremely interested in the apartment and expressed a desire to come look at it ASAP.

Like I said, we assumed this email was a scam, so we had a good laugh then forgot about it. But then, like a true business professional would, Joe Greeson decided to take the initiative and placed a follow up call. He chatted Brock up for a good 30 minutes, furiously selling himself the whole time. The phone call ended up with arrangements made for Joe to come see the apartment in a few days. I don't know if I'd drive 14 hours plus just to see a ground level apartment in South Provo, but hey if the guy wants to take over our contract, I'm all for it!

The next day was a Sunday. Brock and I were still up in Idaho at Brock's family's cabin, but we were planning on leaving the following day. We got a call from Joe that evening. Really, how on-the-ball is this guy? He actually wanted to check in with us and let us know that he had just arrived in Provo. He continued by informing us that he was exhausted from driving all day and going to bed early. Whew, thanks for the info, Greeson. Good thing you let us know; we had been planning on a nice phone chat later that night. Just kidding. Brock sent him a text explaining that we'd be home the next day and he could drop by then.

On Monday night, we rolled back into town. I dashed straight to the mailbox and began rifling through the J Crew catalogs and Costco leaflets, in search of the NetFlix Prison Break DVD. It was there! I was so excited to get Season 2 started, I almost didn't notice the small note scribbled on a piece of Travelodge stationary. In shaky, old man (white man, to be specific) handwriting, it said:

"Hi. I'm on my way back to Arizona. This town is trashier than Arizona. -Joe"

Really Joe? You drove 14 hours to look at the outside of our apartment, only to turn around and leave hours later? I was overcome with a variety of emotions. I was shocked that somebody (a supposedly successful businessman none the less) would actually make that much effort for a $625/month apartment. I mean, between the hours spent drafting that email, keeping in touch via cell phone on a daily basis, and the 14 hours he spent driving up, this ordeal was a time commitment! I was hurt that after only minutes in my hometown, he decided it was trashy. On that note, I was confused. What could he have possibly seen that would convince him that Provo is trashier than Tucson? I mean, unless he took a scenic stroll by the Provo Town Center mall... Still, overall Provo is a pretty nice area, right?  Lastly, I felt violated. How creepy is that? Some old dude was lurking around the outside of our house, probably trying to look in windows. He probably looked through our mail as he left his note. Ewww. 

We've now been moved out for over a week. We still haven't sold our contract, but we actually only have a month left on our lease so it's not really a huge deal. We would like to give Joe Greeson- Tucson's infamous "Single White Guy"- a huge thank you for providing us with jokes that still haven't gotten old. Not quite, at least. 

You stay classy, Joe Greeson.

Friday, July 8, 2011

4th of July/My Birthday

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much of a birthday this year. With all the hassles of moving/getting situated, I figured the early July holidays would kind of get pushed under the rug. And I was fine with that! From all the "grown up" experiences we've had lately (moving, buying a freaking couch etc.), not to mention the new stuff (again, new apartment, new couch etc.), I feel like I have already had a lifetime's worth of birthdays. But of course, my sweetheart of a husband wasn't going to let this quarter century event go by uncelebrated. I always think of the 4th of July and my birthday as one long holiday, so here are pics from both days.

 We ventured to downtown Phoenix for some sort of 4th of July celebration. As was expected, there were plenty of ice cream cones enjoyed and Neil Diamond songs played. Turns out Phoenix doesn't magically get cool when the sun goes down. After a few sweaty hours, we bailed early and didn't actually see any fireworks.

 Brock posing in front of some sort of military aircraft. 
 The morning of my birthday, Brock made me breakfast. Yes I am one of those people who eats ketchup with everything. I also may or may not have consumed an entire jar of jam with my pancakes. Hey, you only turn 25 once.
This car was NOT a birthday present. However, it's arrival did conveniently correspond with my birthday so this picture is being posted here. It is a Mazda CX-7 and it's most appreciated feature is definitely the great air conditioning. 

Brock is the absolute best gift-giver. Yes, I am incredibly easy to buy for; there is ALWAYS something I am wanting and I'm usually pretty vocal about it. Brock just happens to remember things and then go about getting them in a secretive sneaky way so I'm always surprised. These sandals were much needed, as my usual flip flops have recently turned my feet into a blistered mess. These sunglasses are not the actual sunglasses Brock got me, but mine are down in the car and I'm not about to venture into the 110 degree heat to snap a picture.  When I expressed a desire for "moderately priced sunglasses", I didn't actually think I would get some anytime soon. Once again, home run by Brock.

 Brock made me the cutest, tastiest birthday cake ever. There were only 24 candles on it, but who wants to buy 2 24 count packages for just one candle? We're on a budget here...
 Thanks to the generosity of certain family members, I got myself a new and much needed wallet and purse. The purse looks sort of like either a scripture case or something you'd strap onto the side of a horse. I love it.
After a day at the pool, shopping, dinner out and an Armegeddon-esque dust storm, we returned home to enjoy Brock's culinary creation. Take special note of the Yellowstone shirt I am wearing. I have now worn that shirt every night for 6 days straight. Best $7 I ever spent.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

115 Degrees is Hotter than I Thought it Would Be...

It's official. We are now officially residents of the state of Arizona. Like any major change in life, it will take some getting used to, but I think we're really gonna love it here. The move turned out to be quite the process. Luckily the gallons of sweat I lost didn't cause any water damage to the camera. Here are just a few pictures that were taken between fits of heat exhaustion. 
I orchestrated a little farewell dinner with some of my best friends the night before we left. All my clothes were literally buried 8 feet deep in the back of a Uhaul, so above outfit was resourcefully purchased (for under $20) beforehand. I didn't feel it was proper to bid farewell in the sweaty and stained shorts/plaid shirt combo I'd been sporting for literally three days. These girls are the best, hands down, and I'll miss them a lot.
Pumping gas in Kingman, AZ. Confession: the only reason I included this picture is because I think I look delightfully (and misleadingly) waif-ish and thin, like a withering reed about to blow away in the hot Arizona wind. Sorry Kingman- Mary Kate Olsen was not at your Texaco last weekend.

 Someone call the Lifetime channel- here is some quality acting. Brock displays his disgust at how expensive the Uhaul was to fill up. That $99 tank was one of many we burned through on the 12 hour drive.

 This was a fake smile. I repeat- fake smile. This picture was taken between emotional breakdowns- apparently moving sloppily packed boxes up three flights of stairs in 115 degree heat was among life's toughest challenges for me. Pathetic, I know. 

This time, Brock is not acting. This completely candid picture doesn't do the situation justice- there were way more boxes and much more sweat. Brock is seriously the hardest worker I know. I am a dang lucky girl.
 Finally, our apartment started to take shape. Here are some more pictures.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Lesson in Frugality: The Tower Motel

In preparation for our recent California trip, and in a typical attempt to be cheap, Brock and I booked a Long Beach hotel via It was called the "Carlton"(not to be confused with the Ritz Carlton, although the owner was probably hoping for just that) and while we knew it wouldn't be the Marriot (or Ritz for that matter), for $40/night all we expected was a relatively disease-free bed and mainly leak-free roof over our heads. It's not like we were planning on spending much time there anyway. We had an ocean to swim in and high speed roller coasters to ride, right?

After a long and satisfying beach day, Google maps led us to The Carlton. It surprisingly didn't look that bad! It was down the street from a nice little LDS church, in fact. Aside from a heap of stained living room furniture in the corner of the parking lot, the place looked quite upstanding. I waited in the car while Brock went to the office to check us in. I patiently waited in the car, admiring the glittery font "Carlton Motel" was written in on the side of the building.

After about ten minutes, Brock came back to the car with no room key. Apparently the Middle Eastern man in the office (who spoke about ten words of English and apparently actually lived in the hotel office-there was a sweaty looking cot and a bunch of old blankets/clothes behind the front desk) told Brock that our reservation had been moved to another hotel about five minutes away called the Tower Motel. There was no room in the inn for these lowly travelers.

We drove to the address the man had given us. At first we weren't too worried, but as we drove further and further into downtown Long Beach, we grew increasingly apprehensive. The street was getting pretty ghetto- there were payday loan centers and tattoo parlors everywhere. Not to mention the hoodrats hanging out on every corner. We pulled up to the Tower Motel, conveniently located right between an auto parts store and a bus stop. The bus stop was housing what seemed to be the cast of a Dr. Dre rap video. They leered at us creepily as we passed. (Or at least, in my mind they did.) I wanted to snap a picture, but I didn't want a gun pulled on us. We didn't even slow down. This just wasn't gonna work. The picture doesn't do the place justice- I'm pretty sure there was an actual drug deal going on across the street. Needless to stay, we aborted that mission and booked a last minute room at the Marriott. Maybe it was a bit more than $40/night, but hey I'll take a slightly lighter (but most importantly- still in my posession) wallet over a case of Syphilis any day.