31 December 2005

play on?

Things are changing at the Jay Movie Gallery.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned before the likelihood of our store going up a revenue class, resulting in a promotion for me, with benefits and more hours and a higher wage. You know. All the stuff that goes with a promotion.

Change of plans.

As of last night, we're going DOWN a revenue class. So not only will I not be getting a promotion any time soon, but everyone will be getting fewer hours. If I, in a given week, am scheduled for 20 hours or more, Tami will be written up. Already the effects are being felt. I'm working 19 hours next week. And to make matters worse, Anna gave her notice. To keep me under 20 hours, she's bringin in MODs from Farmington to help out. Because I can't be overworked. And no one else on staff can open and close the store yet.

I need to find a different job.

If I look in the Lewiston/Auburn area, then I could commute with Jeremy, making the one-car issue a non-issue. That would involve finding a similar shift though. But then once we get a second vehicle, we're both fueling up twice a week, which is costly. And moving is a pain in the ass. If we scale back to one move a year, I'd be happy.

I hate when plans fall through. Seriously. I should be starting school, which would've made less work acceptable (since financial aid would fill in the gap left from wages unearned). And though Jeremy's got a decent job now, I don't want him to have to support us. We should be buying electronics and junk food with the surplus! Or saving up for something fun. I haven't given that aspect much thought. But I'm drifting from the point. Actually, I think I'm done with the point.

We bought chocolate non-dairy creamer yesterday. VERY VERY WORTHWHILE PURCHASE! It's like drinking a mocha, but without the extra effort. Coffee like candy makes Annie's a shiny happy New Year!

27 December 2005

2005 holiday roundup

'Twas a unique holiday, for certain.

Two weeks prior to Christmas, I received a call from Peter (that's my brother-in-law, in case anyone forgot), saying that he and Lorrie were coming to Maine to surprise everyone for Christmas. And that they needed to be picked up from Portland Jetport at 11:29 P.M. Christmas Eve. And could I possibly do it? Turns out I could! So Christmas Eve we went to Portland to pick up Lorrie and Peter, and immediately drove to Springvale from there, to surprise my mother. We arrived just after midnight. We pounded on the door, and rang the bell as obnoxiously as you would imagine my sister and I are capable of. Mom opened the door, and immediately started crying. Success! From there, their plan was to abduct Mom and make her bring Lorrie and Peter to Milford, to surprise Peter's parents. 30 minutes after arrival, that's exactly what they did. Mom offered the house to us so we could sleep before I had to work tomorrow, but we figured it'd be less hassle to drive back that night. We got to Jay sometime after 3:00 A.M., and went to bed.

Then GOOD MORNING, CHRISTMAS! I was scheduled to work from 3-6. Our plan for the morning and evening otherwise was to watch Dallas all day. But our precious gift from Adelphia changed all that. See, we paid off our cable last week, and I decided to downgrade our service to regular cable, but add DVR as a treat. It was still $35 cheaper per month. Anyway! We exchanged our digital box for a DVR box on the 23rd. Upon hooking it up, we got a surprise: every channel. The regular 80-channel cable we're paying for, PLUS all the digital channels, and every premium channel you can think of! And the ability to record programs off all of them!! We knew that this magnificent gift from god wasn't going to last, that Adelphia would get hip to their boo-boo by the time offices re-opened on the 27th. So we have been recording movies, shows, specials, shit we don't plan to watch, shit we should watch but will become bored with... so Christmas Day was the first day we enjoyed our cable booty. Straight Talk, Cooley High, and the entire season of Breaking Bonaduce. We watched a Christmas special about Christmas specials off of Trio, and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (the one with the mice who sing the song "you (something), and I'll (something else)"). We've got a bunch of stuff waiting to be watched, like Sleepaway Camp 2 and 3, Ninja III: The Domination, a special about the "Big Dig", Polyester, Rhinestone, Cutter's Way, not to mention a spattering of series subscriptions. Not to mention the stuff that's not here yet (like the biography of Patrick Swayze!). Stuff that will filter in every hour, on the hour. I'm exhausted with glee and satisfaction. We had an equally satisfying, though slightly overpriced meal of macaroni and cheese with red hot dogs sliced into it for Christmas dinner, courtesy of Cumberland Farms, the only other establishment other than Movie Gallery that was open in Jay that day.

Jeremy had the 26th off, because he's got the kind of job now that gives him days off for holidays even if the holiday doesn't fall on a work day. I had to open that day, and it was a shift of projects and coffee-drinking. Tami and I got to hang out in the office most of the day and file paperwork, while Andrea ran a register. A perfect Monday. More television was watched. Hamburger Helper was prepared and eaten, with garlic bread and chewy Chips Ahoy! cookies. An enjoyable meal.

Today is back to business. It's our four year dating-aversary. Dataversary. Annadatingry. To celebrate, we will work at our jobs, and watch more of the beautiful television. Life is good.

17 December 2005

celebrating 100 pots!

*bells and whistles*
*streamers and candy*

This morning I'm making my 100th pot of coffee since we've been in Jay - it's the last filter in the pack. And we didn't use any of them for paper towels or napkins (which we tended to do every so often in Washington, cheapening the 100-pot victory).

This morning I'll watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose (coming to your local video store/internet movie list Tuesday!). When Jeremy gets home sometime after 2:00, we're going to go see a movie at the theater! No clue what yet. Probably King Kong or the Narnia film. Or who knows! I have no clue what else might be playing at a theater near me.

I've seen some terrible movies in the recent past. I can enthusiastically tell you to avoid Must Love Dogs (which I liken to a black hole) and Rebound (I will never understand how Martin Lawrence makes money). And if you happen upon the new Snoop Dogg vehicle BossNUp, immediately put the movie back where it was and call 911. In a word, I'd call it a musical. Given the luxury of an entire sentence fragment, I'd call it a huge letdown.

If you can find it, you should rent Saint Ralph. It's Canadian, and Campbell Scott is very Campbell Scotty in it. And it's one of my new favorite movies. I'm not vouching for cinematic whoozits and whatnots, because I was too busy being sucked in to the story. One or two of the scenes are unnecessary, but that won't effect the overall feel. It's funny and heartwarming and just good. Not that you asked, but still.

And Roll Bounce is worth watching.

I'm stopping here, at the risk of turning into Richard Roeper. *shudder*

15 December 2005


There's a price one pays for gainful employment.

Jay Christmas, the stressfest that was scheduled to start this weekend, has been postponed indefinitely. Jeremy's new job involves extensive training...six weeks of it generally. Of course, since the company Jeremy works for is SO busy and doing SO good, they need people trained ASAP and have condensed the training into three weeks. Which means weekends. Which also means time-and-a-half this Saturday, as they had to spring it on everyone last-minute. But it also means that I would be left to tend to Christmas by myself. Between not being able to afford Christmas and not wanting family to spend the weekend at our apartment, we had no problem nixing the event. Jeremy's parents seemed relieved. My mother seemed disappointed.

So we'll maybe do something small and last-minute, which is perfectly okay by me. This isn't the year for a big ol' Christmas. Maybe a Dallas marathon, punctuated with egg nog and pizza. (that might be the first time I've ever written the word punctuated. I had to look it up to confirm the spelling. Thanks, www.dictionary.com!)

I just finished Al Franken's The Truth (with jokes). WOW! The second half will blow you away. Read it. If you have a chance, I mean. Sorry, I don't mean to dictate your actions. Please stop looking at me.

12 December 2005

home alone (no culkins in sight)

Jeremy is at work. At least I hope he's at work, having been able to clearly navigate the internet directions to his place of employment.

It's not that we entertain each other much most weekday mornings, but his lack of presence is duly noted, and I have no idea what to do with my day. I slept as long as was humanly possible (I got up at ten), provided that our inflatable bed is slowly dying (I woke up on the floor, surrounded by half-inflated bed parts...I was in the inflate-a-bed valley, if you will). So I finished writing about California (obviously, it's right there. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know), and am at a loss. Maybe I should watch a movie. Take a long shower. Jog in place a bit. I don't work until five. I could make a CD or something.


My birthday had more celebration to it than I would've anticipated. Emily threw a small get-together during our scheduled craft time (on Wednesday the 7th), and made mac 'n' cheese with hot dogs. She also supplied me with my first egg nog sullied by something other than coffee. Rum-pa-pum pum! It wasn't too bad really. It was maybe a little rummier than I was ready for, but I can see why festive merrymakers have deemed this a beverage of choice. I got to see some Portland pals, and it was good. We went to the Videoport Christmas Party from there, and had a pretty good time. I maintained my sobriety enough to drive back home afterward, as I had to be at Movie Gallery at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday. That was fun too, actually. Tami bought a box of coffee and a dozen doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts. We scanned items and made merry. That night Jeremy and I each drank a bottle of champagne to start celebrating my birthday early (since I worked the night of the 9th). 4/5th of the way through the bottle, my mother called. I talked to her for 45 minutes, virtually without stress.

The ninth was the day Jeremy got official word on his employment status. That was a nice present.

Today's Monday. Jeremy has the car, and is at work, working, in Lewiston. He is earning a living wage, and we can pay bills soon.

I've got nothing, people. I am going to find something to do.

california, part 3: increasingly passionless narrative

Very quickly, as I've waited too long and no longer care about accurately recording the trip:

Saturday we went to Hobee's for breakfast. They gave me a continent-sized piece of coffee cake with my already well-balanced, food-intensive meal. I got about three bites in before hitting my limit. From there we went to the Rose Garden. San Jose has one, and it's really amazing if you care a lick about gardening. I recommend going in the spring. I took lots of pictures for my and Jeremy's moms, as they love that kind of stuff. I amused myself with pictures of the restrooms and the icy stainless steel toilet seats, and dead flowers.

We drove to Santa Cruz and walked the boardwalk. It was like the picture you have of Califonia from watching it on television. It felt fake. We bypassed the world's largest avocado (not that a quick peek didn't have my vote), and drove back along Route 1. I saw lots of ocean hitting rocky cliffs. That night we went to Henry and Lisa's, where we (read: I) got drunk (not intentionally. Lisa makes an impressively mixerless mixed drink) and had dinner. We watched a movie in their movie theater, then Henry gave me the technology tour of the house. There's a lot of detail I don't remember anymore, but it was amazing. Henry is some kind of technological genius. Everything's wired to something, and he has these extra rooms he makes out of the desire to do something different...I can't even explain it anymore. The technology tour is the one part of this narration that suffers from time. We left just before one, and went immediately to sleep upon arriving home.

Sunday was a calm day. Peter went to Apple, and Lorrie and I watched television. In the afternoon, we went to Valley Fair (I think it what it was called?), the nearby mall, and she bought me some Origins products as an early birthday present. Peter picked us up, and we went back to their place. We tried Alton Brown's mac 'n' cheese recipe for dinner, but I think we used too potent a mustard seed. (brown instead of yellow? I think Lorrie said it makes a difference?) It was okay. We also had some exceptionally good spinach-artichoke dip. Peter retired early that night, and Lorrie and I got a chance to have some quality chitchat. And watch more TV. And a movie. We stayed up plenty late.

The next morning, Peter worked the morning at Apple, and Lorrie (who had the day off) and I slept. At 11:00 they brought me to the airport and took off. I went in and got settled. While having my luggage scanned, an alarm went off nearby. No less than fifty airport employees yelled "FREEZE!" and started charging toward the woman who must've set it off. The airport was silent for minutes after that. Everything stopped, and I stood and shoelessly waited to find out what the hell was going on. About ten minutes later, people started trickling back to the stations they were manning, and things started moving again. I never found out what happened, but it was one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. I got on the plane fine, and sat with an older couple from outside Portland, Oregon. We chatted on and off for the duration of the flight. We got to Boston at 10:30 p.m., where I waited two hours for my bus (it was 45 minutes late. I was convinced I had missed it). It came, we got to Portland at 2:00 a.m., and Jeremy was already there. We drove back to Jay, arriving at 3:30 a.m. I had the next day off, thankfully. And that was my trip.

04 December 2005

not dead yet!

I will not be attending school this spring.

The question is, "Now what?"

Hopefully Jeremy will get this job...we'll find out sometime this week, I imagine. That'd be a reason to stay in the area. I also have the option of staying at Movie Gallery and becoming assistant manager (Tami has informed me that as soon as we move up a revenue class, she's allowed an assistant manager, and she'd like for it to me be). Then I, too, would have a job with benefits and paid vacations, sick days and so on. I'm not sure climbing the Movie Gallery ladder is what I want to do. Jeremy suggested applying at Orono again, and I'm not sold on it. Though it would be easier to get in. Of course, I'm not ready to find out otherwise. One rejection from a UMaine-system school per year, thanks.

I might apply to CMCC. Chuck my other 64 credits out the window, and start afresh towards an associates degree in early childhood education. It's cheaper. Or maybe I should reconsider school altogether.

It's December. The first half of this month is going to be full. My dad's coming to visit Tuesday (unless it snows, in which case he'll come Monday night and stay over, possibly until Wednesday morning. Or he'll show up on the 9th, before I go to work). We'll be in Portland on Wednesday the 7th to make gifts with Emily, then head to the Videoport Christmas Party that night. From there we'll immediately drive home, as I'll have to work at 7:00 a.m. the next day (it's an inventory shift, which means no customers and MAYBE no uniform. And scanning things with Tami. It's a good time, seriously.) I'll work straight through my birthday and into the following week, to prepare for the stress extravaganza that will be Jay Christmas! Our parents, here. Overnight. For a holiday. There's a lot of cleaning to be done, drugs to be taken, traffic to be jumped into... It might be okay. It'll be one day shorter than originally anticipated (which upsets and depresses my mother, but she'll come around eventually. She has no choice.) But after that, we're done. The last two weeks of December are empty. If Jeremy gets the job, he said we'd have an awesome Christmas.

I am fully ready to be done with 2005. I think it's fair to say that Jeremy and I have almost survived the worst year of our lives. 2005, and 26, have been huge letdowns. Into the trash with them! 2006 will be full of rewarding employment, and meals at restaurants. 27 will be the age for rewarding life choices. Though I'll settle for delivery and a steady paycheck. That's why I'm eee-zaaaay (ah ah ah ahh)...

(I'll wrap up California soon. It's been a full week here at the ranch.)