Friday, February 13, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

When you're furloughed in Frisco and it's February, you take a financial challenge

February is the shortest month and so I've always considered it to be the best for making life changes: taking a break from drinking, promising to work out more, and, for me, saving money. If you can do it for one month--28 days to be exact--you can feel good about yourself, even if on March 1 you're guzzling beer from a pitcher or turning into an inert blob on your couch. It's the small triumphs that matter.

And that's why I'm challenging myself to end February with a larger balance in my checking account than I started with. Yes, I'm going to try to save money. Yikes. I've been furloughed for a month and my salary has been reduced, but I'm taking all of this as a further challenge to spend my money more wisely.

Wish me luck. I will need it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When you're furloughed in Frisco, you go to happy hour

Actually, when you're furloughed you stay home and start drinking at 3. When you're back at work after the furlough, you go to happy hour. And so we did, on Tuesday, at a great little place called Jade.

First of all, there's a waterfall. Inside. Second, look at these prices:

There was also FREE parking right in front of the bar. Could it get any better? It did. Our bartender was fantastic and made us free shots after we told her about the blog.

A tantalizing blend of Vanilla Vodka, Melon Liqueur, fresh Lemon, Lime, and Pineapple Juices
A tantalizing blend of Vanilla Vodka, Melon Liqueur, fresh Lemon, Lime, and Pineapple Juices

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When you're furloughed in scrub toilets?

Man. (Imagine I just said that in a whiney, defeated voice).


So I guess I should just be glad that I even have a job right now... Because, I could, you know, be furloughed or something. Although, if I were furloughed, I'd probably be playing Rock Band at home in jeans and flip-flops instead of balancing budgets in my office wearing "work clothes" and uncomfortable pointy-toed boots (which I really need to get rid of, by the way).

Maybe if they paid me a full paycheck I wouldn't be annoyed right now. But they haven't, so I am.

I just found out that come June 30th, I will spend three days scrubbing toilets and showers in order to get our building ready for the next bunch of students to move-in. Why? Oh, well, because our budget has been cut and we can no longer afford to have a janitorial service come through. That's why. So I have to do it. I have to do that, and clean the disgusting rooms that students leave behind. No, it's not just me. I'll be just one of several co-workers (none of us janitors and all of us with advanced degrees) to tackle this job. But still.

I really didn't sign up for this. I didn't leave my cushy job across the bay (doesn't it kill you that hindesight is 20-20) to jump on board the train-wreck express. I can take the elimination of matching 403b retirement contributions. I can clearly take being furloughed. I am even taking a 5% salary cut, effective February 1st, and ending...well...never. But scrubbing disgusting freshmen toilets?! I just don't know if I can do that.

Everybody has a line that they can't cross. I don't know, but I'm feeling like I might have just encountered mine.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Like Sand Through the Hourglass, So Are the Days of Our Lives

When I was in high school, Days of Our Lives came on from 3:00-4:00 every weekday afternoon. I got out of school at 3:10 and my sister and I would be home most days to catch the last half hour of the show (after school activities…pshaw!). It was the perfect entertainment for a melodramatic teenager: love affairs gone awry, crazy villains controlling people’s minds, unbelievable story lines. So of course, on furlough, I figured it was the perfect time to revisit these old habits.

Besides, even though it’s been 10 years since I watched the show, I should be able to catch up on all the action with a few episodes, right? Everyone knows that nothing really ever changes on a soap opera.

Well, yes and no.

Hope and Bo are still around, and although Bo is having psychic premonitions, nothing much seems to have changed. Except that Hope is now on speaking terms with Stefano, a man who, if I remember correctly, implanted a chip in her brain to make her think she was someone else, almost ruining things with Bo. What a jerk.

Some character I don't know is trying to convince a pregnant teenager to give the baby to her. Kate is ending an affair with a much-younger man after battling cancer (that’s new!). Sammy, Carrie, and Austin and their never-ending love triangle (made even more awkward by the fact that Sammy and Carrie are half-sisters) have entirely disappeared


And still, no one is gay. Things in Salem are complicated, but not that complicated.

If anything can speak to the nature of Days of Our Lives, I think it’s SoapCentral’s attempt at making sense of the relationships on the show. They’ve created a quite thorough set of family trees for the main families on the show. The family trees get so complicated, that they've written a key to help people better understand the relationships between characters. It looks like this:

m. Married
c. Child
a. Affair
r. Rape

A category for rape? Wow. They don't have a category for what happens when someone is born after Stefano creates a baby with stolen egg and sperm, but I guess that’s probably another discussion entirely.

The familiarity of Days was a bit comforting, I have to admit—the melodramatic story lines, the familiar faces, the fact that nothing, ever, really happens in a single episode. And at the end of the episode, listening to the same theme song they used ten years ago, watching the hourglass spinning as the credits rolled by, I could be thankful that no matter how bad my life was, it was always a little better than the mess I had just witnessed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

When you're Furloughed in Frisco, you take to the stage!

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. Tonight I make my debut at the infamous J'Lo Bennifer, super-star extraordinaire, ex-wife of many, and possible murderer of one.

You know you're intrigued. You know you want to go and see me in all my lipsticked glory as I deliver jewels of lines like:

"If it weren’t for this brilliant mystery writer, I wouldn’t have the starring role of ‘Nancy Drew, Valley-Girl Detective,’ in the upcoming music video based on Agatha’s new book, DEADER THAN A DOORNAIL."

But alas, this engagement is one night only, and all 140 tickets to "Murder in the Library" (performed in the San Leandro Public Library, of course) were given away (free) within 24 hours!

Did J'Lo Bennifer do it? Did I kill Agatha Mystery because she was having an affair with my my fifth husband, Rocky? Or was it the Governator? He's a character in the play you know, and it's quite possible he's the culprit. After all, Agatha was blackmailing him. The poor thing has a terrible gambling problem and didn't want Ms. Mystery to write about his obsession with lottery tickets in her next novel...

I'm sorry my furlouged friends, I really should have said something sooner about this brilliant opportunity for free entertainment. Lot's of Groceries didn't even get one of the highly sought after tickets! Unfortunately, you won't be able to help solve the mystery yourselves and will just have to wait to find out who did it...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When you're furloughed in Frisco, President Obama makes your day

Lots has happened since my last post: we went back to work (but won't be paid until February), we had another momentous last-minute staff meeting (more on that later), we went back to Pop's (although ditched out on Bacon Night 48 hours later), and discovered a happy hour special down the hill from work that rivals Pop's (and if you can believe it, the place doesn't smell like an outhouse).

But the most important thing that's happened since I last wrote took place today. It's Obama Day and I've been celebrating since 5:30 am. Truth be told, I was so excited for today's festivities that I couldn't sleep last night. I just couldn't wait to wake up and watch Barack take the helm of our country.

The Inauguration was beautiful. And I guess great minds think alike, because at each of the Inaugural Balls Barack and Michelle danced to "At Last" - the same song that I walked down the aisle to at my wedding! I hosted a viewing party today at work and the cafe was packed with students, faculty, and staff. I almost called in sick because I wanted to watch the Inauguration without being interrupted, but I'm so glad I didn't. It was really nice for our community to come together to commemorate such a joyous event - especially considering that the last two times the staff has been drawn together ended negatively, resulting in lower team morale.

But today we celebrated and I'm still on a high.

Lots of Groceries and I marked the occasion with a fantastic bottle of champagne (90 points at BevMo) and spaghetti with Lots of Groceries' homemade sauce. Yum! We even toasted our new President!

I'm so proud today. And so happy. And so thankful! I hope the next four years bring a renewed sense of purpose and optimism to the country.

Happy Obama Day everyone!