And I put the laundry away, too

By Mir
September 26, 2005

This day, it ATTACKED me. Yes. Sometimes days are just calm and orderly and boring; and truth be told, I like them that way. Days where I have to GO and DO and BE and people come to my DOOR and MAKE ME TALK TO THEM, well, this is very challenging to my natural inclination to sit in a dark room and periodically shriek, “The LIGHT! IT BURNS!!”

I especially do not appreciate one of these busy days when my head has been stuffed full of ravioli. Monkey was kind enough to share his cold, and after just a couple days of enjoying my new, more aerodynamic head, I am now weighty with pastasinusitis. (Very serious. Stay back. I sneeze clouds of parmesan.) Of course all I wanted to do today was curl up in bed with a bottle of Nyquil. But it was not to be.

Because I am IN DEMAND, I tell you!

You know, the last time I collected unemployment, my checks were a paltry sum, and I collected the full $2.58 to which I was entitled without ever having to even speak to a human being. I think that’s a lovely system. This time, however… I’ve been flagged. *insert dramatic music here* Maybe it’s because it’s the second time I’ve collected. Maybe it’s because of the circumstances surrounding the end of this last job. Maybe it’s because all the people who were laid off from Taco Bell have already found new jobs. I don’t know. But this time, you know, I could be allowed to collect as much as $2.79, and the government is going to make me WORK for it. More than, you know, I already worked all those years before.

So! I think I mentioned that I’ve already been to the big orientation that lasted an hour. I’m not really sure how they made it last an hour, truthfully, except that it went awfully slow. Here’s a summary of the orientation:
1) You’re here because you don’t have a job.
2) Do what we tell you and you’ll get your money.
3) You need to find another job.
4) Learn how to use a computer if you don’t already know how.
5) Don’t lie.
6) Come in when we tell you to.

It was really exciting. In FACT, it was SO exciting, I was completely THRILLED when they invited me back! Again! Twice, actually! Yes indeed. I got to go back this morning for a “profiling meeting” and I get to go in YET AGAIN on Wednesday for a workshop on… writing resumes and cover letters. On account of our tax dollars at work have determined that as I seek work as a writer, what I really need most is someone to teach me how to… write.

Fortunately, I was in a superlative mood right from the get-go, on account of my cold. So when I arrived at the unemployment office and there wasn’t a single parking space, I only pounded the steering wheel a little. I circled the lot a few times–pausing to wait patiently for a man of approximately 97 who managed to open every single door of his car, rustle around in some papers therein, and then shuffle his way back inside WITHOUT MOVING HIS CAR OR LETTING ME KNOW HE WASN’T LEAVING, THANKS GRANDPA–and eventually parked illegally next to a dying tree (it probably forgot to show up for its profiling session and is no longer allowed to have water).

Once inside, I checked in with a nice lady at the desk.

Me: Hi, I have a 9:00 appointment with Gigi Worklady.
Desk Lady: Okay, please sign in right here.
Me: Sure.
DL: Let’s see… are you Crystal?
Me: No, I’m Mir.
DL: Not Crystal?
Me: No…?
DL: Hmmmm.
Me: Okay, well, uh, I’m signed in.
DL: I wonder where Crystal is.
Me: I’ll just go sit over here….

While I waited, I got to watch a distraught woman in PAJAMAS come in for a session that had started half an hour prior, and when she was informed that she was late and would not be admitted, she went–to put it mildly–apeshit. Her paper SAID it was NOW, and she was ON TIME, and it’s NOT FAIR, and NOT HER FAULT, and there’s NOWHERE TO PARK and TRAFFIC IS BAD and also she doesn’t own any CLOTHES! Of course, she hadn’t brought the letter which supposedly had the incorrect time–as computer-generated notices from government agencies are wont to do–so the staff was less than sympathetic, although I have to say they were a lot nicer than I would’ve been.

(Okay, I made the clothes part up. She seemed perfectly comfortable in her pajamas.)

Finally Gigi came to fetch me, and we headed back to her lavish cubicle. She had a 3-ring binder full of slides that she flipped through for me, explaining that this meeting was to help me in my job search, discuss transferrable skills, blah blah blah, there was more, but I couldn’t concentrate. All I could think–I’m sorry, but it’s true–was, “I am being lectured on finding a job by a woman wearing clothing 2 sizes too small, hot pink lipstick and a tangerine cardigan.” And I knew, even as I was thinking it, that it was shallow and wrong of me, but c’mon, the too-small clothing is one thing, but tangerine and hot pink? Oh, honey; no.

Somewhere in the middle of this session, she looked at my resume and commented that I probably knew more about writing resumes and cover letters than the person who teaches the workshop on it. I smiled my winningest smile and asked if that meant I could be excused from attending. “Oh no,” she said, “that’s mandatory!” Okay. They are nothing if not logical, down there at unemployment! Colorblind, but logical! So logical, that I was duly congratulated on the work I’ve found thus far, but then walked through a demonstration of how to access job listings online right after she told me she didn’t know how to get my resume off of the pen drive I brought with me. Alrighty, then.

So that was fun.

Home again, I had a million things to do and the phone just kept ringing. My daughter has a very busy social calendar, by the way. We are now scheduling playdates two weeks out, unless you’d care to have me notify you in the event of a cancellation….

I finally turned off the ringer and crawled into bed for a nap. At which point a very determined woodpecker came to visit. First he pecked away at the window closest to my head. I banged on the wall and he moved around the corner to a different window. I got up and pounded on THAT wall. He went back to the original window. We kept this up for a while and I finally gave up and went downstairs.

Before I knew it, it was time to pick up the kids. And write a check for an upcoming field trip. I had to note the check on the back cover of my check register, on account of the register is full. (Ah, the joys of online bill paying… I haven’t even reached check 200, and I’ve filled up two registers already.) So, off to the bank. They not only gave me two more blank registers, they have LOLLIPOPS there. I was hoping that they (the lollipops, not the registers) would buy me a few minutes of peace, at home, and it worked out just fine until the children decided that sticky little swords would be ideal for removing each others’ eyes. (I got them back, though. I made broccoli with dinner and made them eat it. HA!)

Then the doorbell kept ringing. Two earnest young people from some sort of dry cleaning valet service who only sort of believed me when I assured them that I try not to buy clothing that requires dry cleaning… and then suggested I see if anyone else in the house wanted to utilize their services. “Wait right here,” I said, “and I’ll go ask my 7-year-old and 5-year-old if they have anything that needs dry cleaning!” I don’t think they’ll be back.

Mail lady, with a small box. UPS guy, with a large box. Land Shark, with a medium box (it was just right).

And now… finally… the kids are asleep, the house is quiet, and as soon as the Nyquil kicks in, I’ll be asleep. I just need to find a way to get all these hunks of garlic bread out of my sheets.


  1. Hula Doula

    Hope you get to feeling better soon.

  2. buffi

    People come to your door for dry cleaning? Where do you live?? I don’t buy dry-clean only clothes either, if I can help it. Some of the most beautiful words in the English language are, “Machine wash…” followed closely by “Tumble dry…”

    Feel better, Mir!

  3. Mike

    If there can be no other comfort, at least bask in this…countless mindless bureaucrats at Unemployment will be sneezing parmesan all over their triplicate forms for the next week or so! :)

  4. Amy-GO

    Since your professionalism and skill level seem to change NOTHING at the unemployment office, I suggest that next time you wear YOUR pajamas. Heck, take the bottle of Nyquil and your pillow, too! Might as well be comfortable while being driven slowly out of your mind. Poor baby. :)

  5. Michele

    …my natural inclination to sit in a dark room and periodically shriek, “The LIGHT! IT BURNS!!”

    That has got to be the BEST line ever written. Or maybe I just think so because I can relate so well?

  6. Bob

    parmesan is just the first stage. Next is the expectoration of olive oil, ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, olives, angel hair pasta, THEN garlic bread. The last stage is a fully grown hairy italian (of your selection) who uses your expectorant to create a restaurant quality meal.

  7. Mit_Moi

    Mir – I hope those are clouds of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and not the nasty, small crumbly, flavorless Kraft stuff **shudder**

    Get well soon and please continue reporting on the unemployment scene … don’t you feel better knowing you have a better shot at the next job than pajama woman? One challenger down, 100,000 to go!

  8. madness

    holy sh*t – you are f’ing hilarious. In fact, I’m still laughing at your finslippy post about not seeing the kids’ faces until dawn unless they’re on fire or bleeding . . . I kept meaning to comment on your blog about that. Then days awkwardly passed, and here I am oddly commenting on it now that you’re like, “What?”

  9. The Other Daw

    Oh, how comforting to realize that the government of a country other than my own hires morons, too. “Can you sit upright? Can you hold (but not necessarily utilize) a pen? You’re HIRED!”

    “Machine washable” and “tumble dry” are, I agree, two of the most beautiful phrases in our language.

    Sadly, the light does, indeed, burn.

    Hope the pastasinusitis clears up soon.

  10. Melanie Lynne Hauser

    Hey! Are you making fun of crazy people who run around in pajamas? Because that would describe every author I know…..

    (Feel better soon!)

  11. Elena

    I have to agree with Michele–sit in a dark room, the…LIGHT! IT BURNS!!! is definitely the most fabulous line being blogged today and in the whole of English literature. In fact, I just forced my husband (the cavefish, you know, those ghostly things without eyes) to listen to it and HE EVEN LAUGHED.

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