Today was a Good Day

January 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

It’s easy to focus on the negative and that’s why I’m going to take some time to focus on the positive.  After all, today was a good day.  Why is that?  Let me tell you.

Word.

  • I locked in a gym membership at a new gym closer to my apartment that will wind up saving me $17/month compared to my current membership.
  • I had two interviews with two different recruiting agencies.  I took 7 different computer proficiency tests and learned that I type roughly 91 words per minute.
  • Speaking of job interviews, I had one meeting yesterday with a recruiter and have another one tomorrow.  I also have two interviews for jobs NOT related to recruiters on Monday.  Both would be solid positions.
  • Due to the super long and never-ending conversation I had with my insurance company earlier this week (see last post), I was at 90% usage of my cell phone minutes for the month.  Given that I have two weeks left in the cycle and need to be available for potential job calls, I went into Verizon today to see what I could do.  I spoke to customer service and because I’m a longstanding client with a good history, they awarded me with 175 bonus minutes – for free!
  • I dropped my cell phone in the slushy parking lot at Trader Joe’s earlier this week and accidentally left it there while I did my shopping.  Yes, I’m a dumbass and this was the second water related incident I’ve had since I purchased it.  LUCKILY it seems to be working fine (knock on wood) but while I was in Verizon today I decided it was in my best interest to purchase a waterproof case.  Well, since I was getting a discount on my monthly bill from my last employer, I got a 25% discount on the case and saved almost $25.  Now my own dumbassary is completely protected!
  • I had a free coupon for guacamole and chips at Qdoba and decided to redeem it between job interviews.  Since I was really hungry I thought I’d splurge and get a burrito too.  Well apparently my Qdoba card (which I never use and forgot I had) also had a free meal on it so I got the burrito free too!
  • Qdoba happened to be in the same building as my second interview and I was able to avoid going outside in a torrential downpour of snow.
  • After the interviews, I was able to walk around downtown and enjoy the temperatures that were in the 30’s.  It’s the warmest it’s been in forever and felt damn near tropical.
  • For dinner, I met up with an old college friend of mine at a super cheap yet delicious BYOB Thai place and got to catch up.  I haven’t seen her in probably 6 years but it was just like old times and as she just moved to Chicago, we anticipate many more hanging outs in our future.
  • After dinner, I caught the bus right away!  And I didn’t have to wait outside for 30 minutes!
  • This weekend, I get to help two close friends celebrate their birthdays.  Then I have my own birthday to look forward to early next week.  After a great day like today, I feel much more prepared to handle 30!

Yup, today was a good day.

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Insurance Rant

January 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I know I haven’t been posting too much and that’s mostly because I try to abide by the adage that if you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all.  I’m still job searching and while I’ve had at least two interviews a week every week so far this month, nothing has completely come through for me.  I’m trying to stay optimistic though and have two new recruiters I’m meeting with this week so hopefully my phone will continue to ring and I’ll find something sooner rather than later.

The weather also sucks, which of course never helps.  I’ve been logging some good gym time (except today; more on that later) but that’s about the only thing I’ve been doing.  The days seem to run together all too easily and that’s a little crazy.  For instance – I’ll be 30 in 8 days.  That’s even crazier!  It would be a wonderful birthday present to have a job by then but I won’t hold my breath.  I’m saving that to blow out all those damn candles anyway.

Since the days have been blurring together, I’m doing my best to stay on top of my bills.  Don’t worry, credit score, I haven’t missed any yet.  In an effort to keep on the ball, I logged onto my health insurance site earlier today to make a payment for next month.  The company I worked for that closed last month tripled our insurance payments recently so I was forced to get my own independent plan.  It’s not exactly cheap but since my luck would have me falling and breaking every bone in my leg the minute I tried to go sans insurance, I thought it best to remain covered.  I encountered a snafu last month when they double-billed me for my January payment but after spending a good deal of time on the phone, I was assured it had been straightened out.  According to the woman I talked to then, at least.  So while I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t needed to use it, I’ve spent this month blissfully thinking I was fully covered.  Until today.  When I got online to make my payment for February, I was told my policy was cancelled on January 1st.

Excuse me, what?

Can’t they just throw a dog a bone?

Apparently the lady I spoke to last month lied.  Or was confused, or hated me or something.  Even though they kept my original payment for January, they weren’t covering me – obviously, this did not please me.  At the time of my typing this, I have been on the phone for 3 hours, 7 minutes and 17 seconds trying to straighten this out.  I kind of feel like Phoebe in that episode of Friends where she stays on hold three straight days because at some point it just became a matter of principle.  In that episode, she was dismayed to learn that she had dialed an 888 number that wasn’t toll-free.  I sort of feel like that because I’ve used an insane amount of my paltry cell phone minutes to figure this out.  I’m very proud of myself though, I have not cussed or screamed and I’ve only broken down in tears once, so I’m considering myself a winner right now.  It also looks like they’re going to be able to work this out and do so in a way that it does not show I had a lapse in coverage, which is great because in my mind I didn’t.  Apparently this is a lesson in why I should start recording all of my phone conversations.

Why isn’t stuff like dealing with shitty insurance companies and policies taught to us in high school?  I sure think this would have benefited me more than that geology class I was forced to pass.

Okay.  Still on hold and still hoping this will all work out in my favor.  In order for it to REALLY work out in my favor, I’ll get a new job ASAP and it will pay at least some if not most of my insurance for me.  C’mon jobby job job, I know you’re out there!  You wouldn’t want to disappoint an old woman, now would you?

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People Don’t Always Suck

January 20, 2014 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Last night, I ran into Trader Joe’s after spending two hours at the gym.  I was tired, sweaty, hungry and just wanted to go home.  As I was in the check out line, the cashier was making some small talk and asked if I had to work for Martin Luther King Day or if I got the day off.  I ruefully told her I had actually been recently laid off so every day is a day off for me.  While I bagged my groceries, that sneaky girl ran off to the flower section and came back, placing a beautiful purple bouquet in my bag.  She said they were for me, no charge, because she knows how much being laid off sucks.

D'aww!

As if I didn’t love Trader Joe’s enough already.

I almost cried right there.

Things aren’t exactly easy right now and while I’m doing a lot better than I could be, I’ve still been kind of down.  This act of kindness from a complete stranger made my entire week, as I told her before I left.  The flowers are a reminder that good things are out there, and hopefully they’re heading my way!

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Foodie Friday

January 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Hey look!  I remembered this was a thing (at least on my blog)!

What with the whole still not working thing, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking.  And it’s not like I’m not TRYING to find work – duh.  I’ve had three interviews in the last three days and I have another scheduled for Monday, so that’s something.  I’ve also been contracted out to do some content writing for a former client of mine, all of which is at least keeping me busy.  As is the cooking, since it’s not exactly like I’m eating out every night of the week these days.

Soup's On!

Soup’s On!

Soups have been a big hit due to the cold weather and this meal was no exception.  This particular soup was made in the crock pot and featured garbanzo beans, lima beans, kale, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and onions.  The salad was a simple combination of arugula, spinach and romaine lettuce with onions, cranberries, feta cheese and a dark Italian dressing.  The bread shows off my homemade pesto, which I created by putting a cup of basil, half a cup of olive oil, crushed garlic and sunflower seeds into a food processor.  Most pesto recipes call for pine nuts or even walnuts but hey, I was working with what was on hand and trying to avoid going to the grocery.  The sunflower seeds worked and the pesto was a perfect touch to some toasted bread.

As for the spaghetti, to tell the truth that was leftover from I don’t even know when and I found it in my fridge as I was making the pesto.  When I originally made it I mixed kale and peppers in the sauce and then added some vegetarian meatballs.  When I reheated it for this meal I put it all in the oven with a generous layer of cheese on top and it tasted almost as good as new.

My shoestring budget may not allow many trips to restaurants right now but with some creativity and a whole internet’s worth of recipe choices, I can still eat like a queen!

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Don’t Get Your Panties in a Twist

January 15, 2014 at 4:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I spent Saturday at the Field Museum, where I was nursing a bruised hip and a bruised ego after successfully completing my first major fall on the ice this winter.  It happened right as I was getting to the museum so my pants were nice and wet, as were my eyes if I’m to be totally honest.  I tried to use the hand drier in the bathroom to dry said pants and the volunteer coordinator happened to walk in, prompting her to ask if I was practicing my yoga or ballet.  Very funny.  Anyway I sucked it up and made it through the day, though by the end of it I was ready to just catch to train and go home.  And if I had known what I was about to learn, I could have just foregone the pants altogether.

I didn’t take this picture but it pretty much sums it up.

Ah, the train.  There’s always something interesting happening on public transit and of course Saturday was no different.  I didn’t know it at the time but it was No Pants Subway Day and I was in for a treat.  Despite the weather in the 20’s, there were probably close to 80 people in the train station I entered wearing sweaters, coats, hats, gloves, scarves and underwear.  No pants as far as the eye could see.  There were all kinds of entertaining undergarments going on, from tighty whities to boxers to boxer briefs to granny panties.  When the train pulled into the station everyone cheered as they boarded, much to the bemusement and confusion of anyone who was actually wearing pants, myself included.  An older lady asked the pantless guys in front of me what was going on and they said that they lost their luggage at the airport, while a few guys I spoke to at my transfer point simply said it was laundry day.  They also said they were extremely cold, which was kind of obvious if you know what I mean.

Apparently the whole point was to just ride the train in their skivvies and pretend it wasn’t a big deal.  Mission accomplished, I’d say!  It was definitely entertaining and put a smile on my face after a long day, plus some of the eye candy was, shall we say, quite sweet.  Perhaps another similar stunt will be pulled when the weather is warmer?  A girl can only hope.

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Out with the Old

January 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

New Year’s Eve always has this big stigma associated with it, like it’s supposed to be some super amazing night out on the town and everyone’s dreams will all come true because it’s the beginning of a new year.

Party like it's 2014!

Party like it’s 2014!

At least, that’s how it used to seem.  The older I get, the more I kind of detest the idea of spending $100 to go to some shitty club with obnoxious music and overpriced drinks, just to watch the ball drop (and speaking of the ball dropping – don’t even get me started on those morons who stood around Times Square for 15 hours in the freezing weather!).  The last few NYE’s I’ve celebrated have been low-key affairs with some friends of ours, just hanging out and eating dinner.  They were nice but said friends went all fancy on us this year and traveled to Europe so Scott and I decided to get somewhat fancy ourselves.  We got together with another couple we’re friends with and hit a comedy show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.  This is a show in Chicago that’s known for its fast paced improv and I’ve had people telling me about it for years.  It’s also super close to our apartment, so it’s kind of shameful I’d never been before.  This was also really handy because we could just walk the ten minutes home instead of dealing with public transit, drunks in the street or elusive taxi cabs.

We all bought tickets and the night included open beer/wine and a few tables stacked with snacks like sushi, mushroom puffs, cheese and cracker, veggies, chocolates and mini meats I didn’t pay much attention to.  The comedy show didn’t start until 11pm so we spend a little time eating and drinking before being wowed by the talent.  The group performed 30 mini plays in 60 minutes and then we all celebrated with a champagne toast at midnight.  The plays were funny, sad, poignant and just downright silly – a perfect way to spend an evening and an even better way to ring in a new year!

 

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What in the What

January 9, 2014 at 11:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Roadkill?  Nope, footwear.

Roadkill? Nope, footwear.

My wonderful momma bought me some new winter boots while I was visiting for Christmas, which was much appreciated because my old ones leaked.  Not ideal for the snowy season in Chicago.  We found the new boots at an outlet mall on our way to drop me off at the Megabus to head home and since my bags were already oh so packed, we opted to have them shipped on up to my apartment.  They actually made it up here on New Year’s Eve Day, which was perfect because that’s when all the snow started.  And my new boots are amazing – not a drop of water gets in them and they’re so sturdy I can leap giant snow piles in a single bound!

While looking for the perfect fit, I came across some rather atrocious prospects.  In fact, one set some dude tried to sell me were electric – they plugged in to charge and would keep your feet warm as you walked around.  Call me crazy but mixing electricity with water/snow/ice just doesn’t seem like a good idea.  Another pair that cause me to shake my head were these things in the above picture.  At first I thought someone had left a stuffed animal or ugly scarf in the shoe section.  Nope, these were for real.  And really awful.  Or at least, in my opinion.  I won’t pretend to be the most fashionable person out there so maybe they’re actually in style and I’m just woefully behind on the times?

God I hope not.

 

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Cabin Fever

January 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Chicago is in a similar state as much of the nation these days, meaning we’re all basically frozen to our couches.  We’ve had temperatures in the negatives for days and on Monday the wind chill was somewhere around negative 50.  I believe it’s also about that cold on Mars.  Alabamians (is that a word?) had weather in the single digits which I can only assume made them all crawl into holes and wish for instant death.

Next in the forecast - freezing rain.  Man I love Chicago winter!

Next in the forecast – freezing rain. Man I love Chicago winter!

Personally, I didn’t leave my house on Monday.  I guess there are some perks to being laid off after all, huh?  I spent last week unpacking, celebrating New Year’s, going crazy cleaning and preparing for the book club I hosted last Thursday (I’ll post about that later).  So last week I was pretty busy and still getting in the groove of the whole unemployed thing but this week cabin fever has definitely set in.  We can’t get Scott’s car out of his parking spot and since he’s still waiting to be released by the doctor to go back to work after his physical therapy, he’s been stuck here with me.  Luckily the temperature has skyrocketed to non-negative numbers so we can actually leave the house without looking like Jack Nicholson from the end of The Shining.

So.  It’s really weird not working.  I’ve pretty much had a steady job since I was 14 (minus a two-week stint about 3 years ago) and it’s just strange not having any real structure to my day.  Or any source of income.  I feel lazy and sort of worthless but there’s not much I can do about it other than continue to job hunt.  I’ve had some luck and even a second interview at a place I really want to work at yesterday but won’t know anything for sure until the end of the week.  Since I’ve already spent a bunch of time sending out resumes this morning, the rest of today will consist of going to the gym and volunteering at the food pantry.  Of course, it’s not like I have to really go to the gym because just walking to the train in about a foot of snow is a workout enough!

But I’m going anyway just because it’s another excuse to get out of this house.

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She’s Alive!

January 3, 2014 at 9:19 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Yup, I’m still around.  I’ve been busy traveling, Christmas-ing, New Year’s-ing, organizing, cleaning, job applying, interviewing, book club hosting, gym going and hibernating.  I’ll elaborate soon, I promise!

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