Perhaps I Should Have Done More Crossword Puzzles?

Oh my goodness, I had a near-life experience not two hours ago. I was at Crossroads mall enjoying a Starbucks beverage and a piece of milk chocolate when the urge to browse came over me. I walked into Pier 1 Imports and sniffed the candles. I strolled into Dress Barn but left because the store stank like nasty cigarettes (there are good-smelling cigarettes and bad-smelling ones. I have a friend who smokes Benson & Hedges and the smell never gives him away. I once walked by someone I had seen smoking Marlboro Reds and it smelled like she rolled around in an ashtray). I walked quickly by the Shoe Emporium and tried not to notice the gigantic red 50% OFF SALE NOW signs covering the windows in proper garish bomb shelter fashion. Browse indeed, but nothing did I buy.

On my way out the door I remembered that I had a check to deposit so I stopped by the ATM in the courtyard. There was someone servicing the machine so I thought I’d just grab an envelope and endorse my check while I waited for him to finish. As I was reaching for the envelope I kid you not his hand darted to his hip under his jacket and I bet you dollars to doughnuts he was reaching for a gun.

It’s entirely possible he was reaching for a key or something but in the millisecond of near mistaken-motive terror my mind went WILD imagining all the varied and outlandish things that could have happened at that moment. He could have pulled a gun on me, I could have been arrested, he could have pistol-whipped me, he could have been noticing a crime right behind me and shoved me out of the way before saving the day, he could have been reaching into his pocket to grab a piece of gum and then offer one to me. Truly, the possibilities were staggering and entirely entertaining. Once he finished he reassembled the machine and walked away. I deposited my check and drove back to work and here I sit.

I love it when things like that happen. I bet that guy has no idea he’s being featured in a blog today or that he nearly scared the living life out of me. He’s probably eating a sandwich right now with no thoughts whatsoever for nasty cigarettes or saving the day. I wish I could have written to detail how he pulled a gun on me and then how, using a series of complicated and archaic martial arts moves Jason Bourne himself would be proud of, I disarmed him and calmly went about depositing my money. No such luck.

Myself, being more possessed of a tendency to write about martial arts more than practice them, would most likely end up a mewling pile of tears if faced with a gun. My brain, though, is like every action movie you’ve ever loved playing at the same time all the time. This means that during the average conversation with me I’ve imagined at least three death-match type scenarios and at least one spy scenario while talking to you. I may be soft and squishy on the outside but on the inside I am a force to be reckoned with (and as such may be the perfect evidence in the argument that young children should not be exposed to violent movies. When I was 7 years old my favorite movie was Terminator 2: Judgment Day).

Throwing Sheep Used to Be Such a Dignified Past-Time

Life as a recruiter can be really fun. For instance, when we attend career fairs the participating companies frequently give away fun stuff like shirts, mugs, and candy. It’s a great feeling to extend a job offer to someone and then cross the open position off the white board.

Life as a recruiter can also be abysmally futile. In the seven months I’ve been employed as a recruiter I have seen people quit after one week on the job, thereby necessitating yet another search to find the exact same kind of candidate. I have also seen people quit because of mental breakdowns, extreme aversions to the management, and health problems. Trust me, it’s not all mugs and candy.

Today evidenced one of the happy little coincidences that pop up every now and again in the life of a recruiter. I opened my email Inbox this morning and was stunned to see the resume of a person with a very familiar name. I checked the resume and was soon certain that I knew the person. In fact, I had gone to high school with this person. Believe it or not, I had actually dated this person.

I was so blown away I simply had to confirm the truth of my discovery so I emailed the person asking which high school he had attended. He replied with the name of our high school and then asked if he was correct about my maiden name. I obviously will not be conducting his interview but it will be interesting to see whether he gets hired.

Funny enough, this is not the first time I’ve run into the resume of a person I knew in high school. The first time this happened I found the resume of my friend’s ex-boyfriend. Of course, I promptly called and told her and she proceeded to drill me about whether or not he was hire-able. We (meaning my boss and I) ultimately decided not to hire him but it was still entertaining to find his resume.

I have found many of the resumes written by people I attended high school with. It’s always interesting to see what people have done with their lives, a bit like Facebook-stalking only in a professional way. I haven’t spoken with these people in years and yet I know their college GPA, their address, and where they’ve worked for the past however-many years (if people realized how many people have access to their address when they post their resumes online I think they’d be more careful).

It amuses me to think that, because of Facebook, my high school’s 10-year reunion will be more like a “Say Hi to Me in Person Instead of Writing on My Wall” party. This again (meaning for the 2nd time since September) brings up the issue of the Internet’s impact on intimacy and friendship. On this blog I share almost every inane detail about my life and yet it’s quite one-sided, isn’t it? Since starting this blog I’ve decided that I don’t mind that one-way intimacy aspect of blogging but I still wonder about its impact.

I follow the blogs of many people whom I’ve never met yet because of their blogs I feel a kind of closeness to them. It’s peculiar to say the least, to have such affection for people I’ve never met. Likewise, Facebook affords a comfortably distant way to stay “close” to people I’ve known at various points in my life but who could never really be considered “friends”. I enjoy quiz challenges and a good SuperPoke (no, not like that) as much as the next girl but I can’t help but let my mind run to extremist dystopian fantasies involving a future where no one ever leaves the house and all interaction is filtered through a computer.

Then again, if my future daughter grows up in that kind of world I may not have to worry so much about her when she starts dating. At the worst, her computer could catch a virus but that’s what firewalls are for, yes? I could make a really inappropriate joke about using protection and whatnot but because I’m classy I’ll just snicker about that in the privacy of my own mind, thank you. If you would like to make a joke, however, by all means the floor is yours.

Puppies on Parade

I feel like such a fool, and yet still have room to find myself extraordinary. One wonders how I manage it all…I woke up this morning and went about my normal routine. I made coffee, put in my contacts, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and put on my makeup. As I was walking into my room to get dressed a hint of white caught my eye. I peeked out the window and lo and behold it was snowing! The snow had covered the roads so I knew leaving for work was no longer an option. I rattled off an email to my bosses and crawled back into bed.

I feel foolish because it took me 30 minutes to notice it was snowing outside. The reason I feel extraordinary is that I was able to go back to sleep after drinking half a cup of coffee. My husband, who cannot ever go back to sleep, secretly seethes with jealousy.

Now, don’t come stalking us, but here is a picture of our lovely home all wintry and cute-like. You may or may not agree but I am possessed of the opinion that my house is cute as a button, especially when it looks like it’s frosted with cream cheese icing. We’ll consider this photographic proof of why I’m working from home today, shall we?
Alas, I know you’re all dying to know about the puppy. “Enough with your silliness, Erika! We want Doc!” you all cry. Don’t worry, I shan’t disappoint. Doc had his staples removed on Friday without any fanfare at all. They took him into a back room while I leafed through a “Dog Illustrated” magazine and five minutes later he came back sans hardware. The vet technician pronounced him healthy and ready to resume life as a puppy. I brought him home, bathed him, and life’s been dandy.

His scar is still rather prominent but it’s healing nicely and after a swim in the river yesterday it’s very clean. He’s really happy about being outside and free again and Wes and I are happy our house no longer smells like nasty puppy. As promised last week, here’s a picture of Doc in his newly refurbished kennel outside:

You can barely see him against the straw. Wes calls it Labrador camouflage. When you look out the window you can barely tell where he is sometimes. He’s very warm and snugly in the straw and likes carrying it around in his mouth like a parade baton. He tried digging under it (probably looking for a rocky snack) but when all he found was concrete he gave up and hasn’t tried since.

By the by, we didn’t get “Knocked Up” last weekend. I miscalculated its position in our Netflix queue and it didn’t arrive in time. Maybe we’ll watch it next weekend.

I think the highlight of last weekend (because every weekend needs a highlight) was last night. I made homemade custard pie and we played “Guitar Hero” on Wes’ X-Box. It was surprisingly fun though it sadly aggravated my carpal tunnel. I know it wasn’t real but it was a kick to play “Bulls on Parade” with the animated Tom Morello.

I hit 94% of the notes and was ecstatic to finally have found a video game that Wes doesn’t immediately beat me horribly at. He’s way too good and I’m way too competitive for us to normally enjoy playing video games together so it was pleasing to find a game we could both enjoy. I have no doubt that next week Wes will have graduated to the Hard level while I’ll still be stuck in Easy-ville but for now I’ll take what I can get.

I Do My Little Turn on the Catwalk

This morning found me in possession of some spare time so I used it to take Doc for a quick little walk down the street and back. I was not expecting, however, to return to middle school during the course of that walk.

Some of you may remember that back in the rosy pre-rock removal surgery days Doc and I took a walk every morning at 6:30am. We walked by several groups of high school, middle school, and elementary school students waiting at street corners for the bus. Most of the time they let us pass without comment, sometimes they hazarded guesses about either my or Doc’s heritage, but mostly it was live and let live and I liked it that way.

I have a lingering fear of being made fun of. I know intellectually that it’s completely preposterous, but there is still a small part of me that gets anxious every time we pass by a group of kids. Until now my fear was unjustified but this morning everything changed.

Doc was wearing his very battered cone (which I had to further trim last night due to stress fractures. It’s so pared down it’s almost for show at this point) and we were taking a quick little walk and minding our own business. We passed a group of high school students and suddenly there was a burst of rapid-fire commentary along the lines of, “That looks ridiculous” “That’s so cruel!” and “Why does he have to wear that?!”. It made me feel very embarrassed and all of a sudden I was back in middle school and feeling the need to hide in the music room so as to escape the mockery of my peers.

We passed them and headed to the end of the street and then turned around, thereby walking by the mouthy group again. They started back up with their loud noises and something in my brain clicked. It was the sudden and liberating epiphany that I am 22 freaking years old and I am too old to be embarrassed by a bunch of guys who likely have yet to meet their first chest hair.

So I did what any self-respecting woman would do: I threw my shoulders back, put my hands at my sides and strutted along that section of concrete sidewalk like it was a catwalk in Milan. I am pretty sure that did nothing to put anyone in their place but it sure made me feel better.

Regardless of my newfound disregard for the opinions of prepubescent boys waiting for the bus, I will be very happy to get Doc out of his cone and back into our normal routine. We all miss our daily walks (and so do our waistlines!) and I miss the glorious ability to bathe my dog when he reeks. Wes filled Doc’s outdoor kennel with straw and I promise to post pictures of Doc inside it because I kid you not, it looks like the world’s largest bird nest. I have the sneaking suspicion that a Labrador with an abundance of spare time and access to a lot of straw is going to yield some awesome pictures.