Sunday, July 2, 2017

Acts of God

I don't necessarily want to make this post about God, but it seemed like an appropriate way to frame this incredibly long story what the hell?

A short time ago I had sold things on eBay in order to acquire enough cash to buy a more expensive thing that I otherwise would not be able to afford. Ten other people were watching the auction of the thing that I wanted, and it was the least expensive example of the thing that I had seen in quite some time. 

The things I had sold left me about $50 short of the thing, which was a manageable amount to charge to the credit card. However, that was based on the assumption that I would be paid for the two things that I had sold on eBay prior to buying my thing. Buyer number one paid me $32 immediately, but after three whole days I had not received the $95 from my second buyer, and so I was faced with the decision to either buy the thing I wanted and assume I would be paid shortly thereafter (eBay warns non-paying bidders after two days) or allow the thing I wanted to fall into the hands of someone who actually had the money to pay for the thing.

I chose the first option. I bought the thing. Because life is short and I wanted the thing and I felt that I had suffered enough this year so I deserved some retail therapy.

I waited one more day for my $95 payment to arrive so I could pay for the thing that I had agreed to buy. That payment did not come. Six months earlier I had sold something on eBay for a nice chunk of change (about $70 or so) and the seller flat-out refused to pay. He told me so himself. Not because there was anything wrong with my item, mind you. He just didn't want it anymore. 

With that deadbeat bidder at the front of my mind, and a three-figure debt hanging over my head (oh, the irony) I could not sleep. And I did something I had not done in over a decade. 

I prayed.

Not for anything impossible or improbable or selfish*. I didn't even pray for a better job so that I could be a better provider for my family. I didn't want anything I wasn't entitled to already. Just make the man pay me the $95 for his item so I don't have to bankrupt my family over a baseball card. Kthx. 

*your definition of "selfish" may vary

I awoke the next morning to... a minor miracle. The seller had paid me late the night before, at 1:30am. Around the time that I had prayed.


Bleary-eyed from a lack of sleep (and my contact lenses) I went straight to my computer to happily pay for my thing. I only have to charge $50! This is great! Yay God!

And then...

After I pressed 'pay' I noticed something. eBay had defaulted my payment method to my credit card, bypassing PayPal altogether. The entire thing had been charged.

Oh, but the good lord was only warming up...

That Saturday was the end of my 7 year-old's soccer season and my 5 year-old's gym season. Initially the "soccer-rama" was scheduled to start at about the same time as the gym class and it would have been a logistical headache getting both girls ready for (and bringing them to) both things at the same time. Especially since I don't drive.

But by the end of the week soccer-rama had been rescheduled to start at 8:30 am, which is when it started last year. It's basically a one-day tournament in which all four teams play (abbreviated) games against each other while volunteers (including one very hot blonde volunteer) cook burgers, sausages, and other stuff and a DJ blasts kid-friendly hip-hop.

When the games were over all of the little girls from all of the teams danced to this dumb (but fairly harmless) song. My father-in-law couldn't help but complain "This is music?" He said to me, as every other parent filmed the dancing kids with their phones.

Once the trophies were awarded to the winning teams (definitely not my daughter's bunch of Bad News Bears) we had to hit the road for my five year-old's gym show. While everyone else headed for the car(s) I ducked into the school to use the little boy's room. When I left the school a minute later, a downpour had started. 

It's been a relentlessly rainy year here in Jersey, so this was no surprise. I was actually thankful that the rain had held off until after my daughter's games were over. Gym class was indoors, so it had all worked out okay. Until...

The girls wanted to go to their grandparents' house afterward. I was already exhausted from waking up early, and I expected that we'd go there the next day for Father's Day, so I decided to stay home. I took a nap, cleaned up a bit...turned my brain off for a while. 

My wife and kids came back a few hours later. "Uh..did you see the backyard?" 

I had not. I had no idea why she'd even ask that - until I looked outside the back window.

Our tree had split in the storm, and a large, thick branch had collapsed over the neighbor's nice white fence. (I'd post a pic but my phone broke.)

I hadn't heard the tree fall, nor the neighbor who had visited at least once and left us a note written on an index card and inserted into an envelope.

My wife called her father immediately and asked him what we do. Because he always knows what to do in these situations. He told us who to call, and we informed the neighbor. The insurance adjuster would be available Monday, and we'd deal with it then.

It was decided that since the girls had visited Poppy on Saturday we didn't have to go there on Sunday/Father's Day. In fact, this was the first weekend day in at least two months that we didn't have to go anywhere. That morning my daughters gave me their custom-created cards, and my wife started cleaning the living room. She had all of the girls' toys sorted into piles so that we could discard some of the ones they no longer play with.

I used that time to call my mother (on D's phone, since mine finally died the previous week, and we had yet to set aside the time or money to replace it) About ten seconds after I handed the phone back to D, the house phone rang. Her mother called. Frantic. One of those "get over here right away!!" calls.

Pop had been celebrating Father's Day with his other daughter. He had just opened a Father's Day card when a sudden stomach pain sent him into the bathroom. She asked if he was okay. He answered that question with an unfamiliar and frightening "NO!"

And then he fainted. His 6' 5", 300lb frame fell headfirst into the bathroom wall. 

An ambulance rushed him to the hospital. I stayed home with my daughters while his daughters tended to their fallen father. My seven year-old asked me "Is Poppy gonna die?" I didn't know. I told her that. 

Around 4pm the house phone rang. My wife called with an update. She said he was responsive in the ambulance. She held his face and told him she was there. He grunted and nodded in acknowledgement. I told my daughter Poppy's going to be okay. They're running some tests. Mommy will be home soon and Pop will be okay. He's a veteran. He's tough.

Later that night my wife called again. "He's gone."

Pop was the closest thing I've ever had to a father figure. He could be a grump at times and a goofball at times, and I wasn't always thrilled with the stuff he would teach my daughters, or the junk food he'd feed them. But he was the glue that held our family together. His daily child care allowed my wife to go to her time-sucking job an hour away and allowed me to go to my soul-sucking job a half hour away. He fixed anything that broke, took our car in for repairs, and paid for everything out of his own pocket. 

The weekend prior he had bought us two brand-new air conditioners and installed one in our living room. When I tried (and failed) to install the other one in my upstairs room, he did so the next day. I had asked D if he could maybe finally look into putting together the elliptical machine that my mom had bought for me last year. She said he had looked at it, but that it was more complicated than he thought and so he'd have to do that another day.

That day never came.

Every time Pop gave me a ride to or from work (which was at least once a week) we'd talk about baseball. None of his kids ever cared about baseball, and when he started collecting baseball cards from the 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers his wife had no idea why "You don't like baseball." She said. But he did, he just never had anyone to share it with. And neither did I.

The last time we talked about baseball he had asked about Aaron Judge, the gigantic rookie slugger for the New York Yankees. He asked me how much a Judge rookie card would be worth, and if I had any. I told him I had one

I was too embarrassed to tell him that I had sold my best Judge rookie card for $500 last year - when it is now selling for five times that amount. I also never told him that the Judge card I kept was from the 2017 Topps Heritage set, which was an exact replica of his favorite set from 1968. 

It would have been fun to share this with him, but my wife doesn't want her parents to know how much money we spend on ourselves. I don't have a working phone, or new clothes (she had to buy some funeral attire for me) or my own dresser. My mattress is ten years old and has a giant crater right under my lower back (as if I didn't have trouble sleeping already.) The living room couch is nearly as old, and even more damaged. I told D I'd buy her one for our anniversary but, as always, she declined. She said her father had mentioned that he'll get us a new couch sometime soon.

When I told my mother that Pop died, she offered to come to NJ and watch the girls so D and I could go to the wake, the funeral, and any other family functions. My mom will be 75 this year. She's overweight and her knees are shot. She can barely walk without a cane, and she can't drive too far out of her town. My sister had to drive her here, drop her off, and drive back to Connecticut.

Mom brought bags of clothes, food, and a blow-up mattress with her. What she didn't bring was her medication. She was even more achy and tired than usual. Her blood pressure was way up, despite the fact that the girls went to all the family funeral stuff and she didn't watch them as much as she'd thought.

The funeral was Friday, and it was muggy as hell. Mom was a sweaty mess in the church and after she rejected my offer of water four times I finally got up and fetched her a cup. I took a long look around the room - my father in law lying in a coffin in front of me, my mother dehydrating next to me. Holy shit. This is a dress rehearsal. This is practice.

The big one is coming. Once my mother goes.. that's it. Game over. I got next.

As it is, I can count on one hand all of the things that bring me joy in this world:

My daughters even though they fight and they don't listen and they're on YouTube way too much - especially my 7 year old, who spazzes out if she cant play Minecraft or watch Minecraft-related videos. 

Baseball cards even though D continually guilt trips me about any purchase over $10. I've consolidated much of my collection, narrowed my focus, and sold a great deal of great cards (often prematurely) to self-fund, because I cannot and will not stop collecting. It is the beating heart of my meager existence. 

Fall Out Boy even though I listened to their new song exactly once and have no plans to buy their forthcoming album. Also, D informed me sometime last year that we have free concert tickets due to some class action lawsuit against Ticketbastard and she asked me if I wanted to go see FOB when they were in NJ. I decided I was too old and uncool for that crowd, and so I passed.

Caffeinated beverages which is pretty much Monster at this point, since I've lost my taste for colas, and Mountain Dew is starting to wear on me. Apparently Monster discontinued my favorite flavor because I can't find it anywhere anymore. But I still buy the other ones, because it's nearly impossible to get through a work day without one.

Sleeping which is much harder to do on my worn-out mattress. After another argument with the wife last night about how we can't afford a new bed/couch because I can't stop spending money.. I decided to flip my mattress over rather than simply turning it around. That seemed to work okay - for one night, at least.

There are some things that can be occasionally enjoyable, depending on my mood. And then there are other things that I've lost my passion for, such as:

Writing/blogging which I'm never able to do anymore because I'm constantly busy and/or interrupted. I've been writing this since noon, and I know it's waaay too long, but I've had a lot on my mind and I'm not sure if/when I'll write again. Four day weekends don't grow on trees - and even if they did, the tree would probably collapse in a storm and all the four day weekends would blow away. I had hoped to return only when I had something positive to report, but apparently that's never going to happen.

Sports I rarely even watch the games anymore, and I can't remember the last time I looked at the standings. My father in law knew more about who had won the night before than I did. "The Tigers won, the Red Sox won, and the Yankees lost. Great day!" I'm pretty much done with hockey, for reasons I won't bore you with. A major hockey card and memorabilia purge is well underway. 

Taryn My previously cynical view of so-called "internet celebrities" has reasserted itself. A few months ago she dropped a couple hints on Instagram that had me on the edge of my seat. I really wanted to know what was going on with her (I had even planned to write a blog post addressed to Sam Lupin asking for her expert medical opinion) but Taryn never explained herself. Well, that's not exactly correct. She apparently decided to share whatever it was on Instagram Stories, not YouTube. I do not have access to Instagram Stories. I was quite annoyed. 

And then she did the same thing with a second topic. After weeks of not posting any videos on YouTube she promised one would be coming soon. Finally she bestowed upon us a video about... Trump's tweet typo. Bor-ring. (Also, when some of her followers suddenly discovered that the "Hot 4 Hillary" girl had political opinions that didn't jive with their own they spewed venom at her - and her half-hearted defense was disappointing.)

It's like...if you're trying to please your audience, then be more present and accessible. If you're just going to travel the world, drinking fine wine and staying in five-star hotels then why do you care if some asshat decides to unfollow you? (Also, how the fuck does she have the coin for this kind of lifestyle? She's a "content creator" who hardly ever creates content. Who pays these social media stars anyhow?)

At least she distracted me from obsessing over Joy. I still peek at her Insta from time to time, just to see what's up. She moved from a blue state to a red state and she posted a workout video which got an alarmingly low like/dislike rate. In fact a comment someone left on her video got as many likes as the vid itself - and I dont think "holy hell you're skinny" was meant as a compliment.

I think of her a lot less than I used to, but I've always wondered how she can trust in God through all the dark times in her life. She's still single (which is a sin in and of itself) and I assume she's still dealing with her mental and physical health issues - though she's got a hell of a lot going for her. 

What does she think of God when innocent people are murdered in a school, or a church, or a movie theater? What does she think about the crumbling discourse in our country, the total lack of respect and empathy we have for anyone who has differing opinions, the countless ways that technology (which Taryn has so much faith in) can destroy our social skills, our democracy, and our society? What the hell does she think about our godless "leader" and those that obey his every word above all else (like some of my in-laws.)

This is why I'll never forget Joy. Because long after any personal feelings for her have faded, and long after I've stopped envying her health and fitness regimen, and long after I've lost the need to know what's going on in her life, I will take stock of my life and wish that I had her optimism, her resiliency, her faith. 


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Talking and saying nothing, man. It is an art I have not mastered.

I've decided that this will be my last blog post here. There are a number of reasons for this.

It has been obvious to me for a while that I really have nothing interesting to say here. I'm not being dramatic or fishing for compliments, I'm just stating the truth. This blog has always been my release, my journal. I don't want to keep complaining about my personal life. You know that story. I don't want to keep complaining about my job or my financial situation. You know that story, too.

So what topics does that leave? Music? Tried that. I'm too old for the crap you hear on top 40 (except Fall Out Boy, natch) and I'm too young (and too liberal, apparently) to join in the music discussions on the blogosphere. 

Politics? God, no. I'm trying to get away from that shit. We're all too entrenched in our partisanship anyhow. There was a well thought out (and frankly necessary) ESPN article about this issue as it pertains to Colin Kaepernick. Naturally, both sides missed the point.

I've been quite fortunate lately, in that I haven't had to encounter my in-laws (or my own "sister" and her husband).. but that luck will run out soon. Niece's birthday. Easter. Other niece's college graduation. Brother-in-law's birthday. All in the next two months. My only hope is that by then we'll be able to chant "Lock him up!"

I do enjoy talking and writing about sports, as you know. Part of the reason why I feel the need to cast aside this blog is because baseball season is about to start, and the hockey playoffs will soon follow. I'm sure I'll discuss those things on my other blog "The Collector", which was created in large part so that you all wouldn't have to slog through content that doesn't interest you.

I wish I could discuss books I've read or movies I've watched.. but the last movie I saw was Catching Fire last weekend. Yes, it was just as enjoyable the fourth time - and on basic cable with commercial interruption. I watched it while sorting a pile of sports cards and munching on Girl Scout cookies. Good times.

When I was in Connecticut I started reading Confessions of a Dumb, White Guy by Matt Shifley aka Mr. Shife. It's probably the first book I started in two years. I'll read more of it over Easter weekend (and hopefully before then.) Perhaps I'll post again when I finish reading, but I'm just as likely to comment on his blog or leave a review on Goodreads.

A few weeks ago I saw commercials for a movie called Before I Fall. I knew this was based on a YA novel, and I knew I had a copy of said novel.. but nothing about the film looked familiar. How long ago did I read the book? Did I ever finish it? Is the movie drastically different? Or did the story simply not resonate with me enough to recognize it when I saw it? I honestly have no idea.

There are a lot of books in my collection that would probably be better suited for teenage girls - though anything by John Green and possibly even the Divergent series supersedes such classification. Fortunately I have two young daughters who will be teens far too soon and might be interested in what will (by then) be two decade old literature.

I suppose I could share more about how unsatisfying and lonely my family life is, and how I can never get my girls to listen, or put away their toys, or put down the tablet, or eat their dinner. But those difficulties are hardly unique to my life.

The only other subject I enjoy writing about is my crush - whoever it happens to be at the time. But the four of you have heard much more than you ever wanted to about which women interest me, and why. I really should stop publicizing my juvenile thoughts. I don't want to seem like a psycho.

(that's her xbf, btw)

Andso I figured this was the best time to just slink away, while everyone's attention is focused on the alphabet blogging challenge, or the Final Four, or the actual start of spring in this part of the world (forget what the calendar says.)

I'll still comment on blogs as often as I can, and I won't delete this blog or any of the posts. Not yet. But I don't see a reason to continue writing here.

Thanks for reading this, everyone. I'll talk to you again soon.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Custom Card Crush

Sometimes I wish I had learned Photoshop.. or maybe not. 

I've met a couple of sports card collectors on the blogosphere who have a talent for creating custom-made trading cards. Once such blogger is Corky, author of the blog Pack War. He fulfilled nearly my whole wish list of custom cards. Most of them were female athletes who are fairly well known but have few if any actual collectibles (women's sports aren't exactly in high demand in the collectibles market, unfortunately.) 

If you're interested in some of the sports stars Corky customized I shared them on my other blog.  

Because I'm still very much a teenage boy at heart, I had also requested some custom cards of my favorite female celebrities (i.e. non athletes) Corky came through with this gem:

Awww yeah!

I gave the option of this "Color TV" design from the 1955 Bowman baseball card set, or a more modern Hi-Def flatscreen style. Corky opted for the classic look. Excellent choice.

Not sure where he found this pic (edit - it was her video for "Change It Up") but the colors really pop. This is why I'm glad I never learned Photoshop - if I knew how to make things like this, I'd never do anything else.

If I'm ever able to procure a physical copy, I might just send it to Taryn for an autograph. People send her things sometimes (such as SpongeBob undies) and when I first became a fan I stumbled on her Patreon page, in which she offers to send you a signed (and defaced) headshot if you contribute to her creations.

Speaking of creations.. many thanks to Corky for combining two of my favorite things: classic baseball cards and Taryn Southern. This absolutely made my day :-)


Friday, February 10, 2017

Love, Taryn

This isn't going to make much sense if you haven't read my previous post..and I don't usually post on back-to-back days, but...

As a rule, I do not comment on things (other than blog posts). I don't tweet, I don't do Facebook, and I never comment on news articles. I try not to even read other comments because it stresses me out. When I feel like I have something to say, I say it here or I bother D with it because the last thing my life needs is a flame war with a total stranger.

Even when I have something positive to say, I bite my tongue.  I am still the incredibly awkward boy I was in school. Constantly worried about being misunderstood, or ridiculed. When I met a girl I liked, either in real life (Angela) or online (Joy) I tried desperately to be cool, before quickly realizing I don't have the first clue how to do anything but overreact and overthink. I spared myself a great deal of humiliation with one, I completely f*cked up with the other. Andso I keep my mouth shut. 

Except...I didn't follow my rule yesterday. I poured my heart out to a girl I like. 

I commented on Taryn's video.

I really enjoyed this video. It might be an ad, but IMO it's more effective at selling Taryn Southern - and I'm already a loyal consumer. The fun, silly videos are great (and I miss them - please do more!) but this sort of summarizes what you're all about - taking risks, following your own path, being your own boss. Not to mention all of the charitable work you've done, with Tribe of Good and VR-related projects. Keep being that strong, defiant, kind-hearted woman we all love. (And throw us an 80's cover once in a while ;-)

She does reply occasionally, though it's often first-come, first-serve. I was not expecting a reply, nor was I going to worry myself over the lack of one. I had lots of other stuff on my mind.

But while I was opening a package of baseball cards I acquired in a trade with a blogger, this notification popped up.

Taryn Southern replied to your comment

Taryn Southern
1:49 PM
This is the sweetest message Chris!! Thank you so much.

At this time I would like to announce my retirement from the world of YouTube commenting. 

This might just be enough to get me through the awful day that awaits me tomorrow.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Job Mojo

Hello! Yes, I'm still here. Not hibernating (as I've been known to do) just really busy. And sick. I caught a pretty nasty cold/sinus infection around the holidays that just started going away this week... and there was some other major distraction that ended up being a non-event (more on that later) so free time has been scarce. But I didn't mean to go away for a whole month. Honest.

Hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season. My holidays were predictably painful, though I did get to sit out one or two family functions due to illness. The girls got a truckload of presents and they don't play with them nearly as much as they should because they're either watching videos on the tablet (which we're trying to limit them on) or they're watching Nickelodeon. Sometime around Christmas, my 7 year old started watching shows with actual human actors - instead of their old animated favorites like SpongeBob and The Loud House. So now my girls watch Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn and School of Rock. I've watched a couple episodes of each and here are my thoughts:

Nicky, Ricky, etc is about 10 year-old quads with very different personalities. Their mother is played by Allison Munn, who played Amanda Bynes' bff on What I Like About You. I was sooo in love with Amanda back in the day. Sigh...I am officially old.  

The parents own a sporting goods store, which is interesting to me, and their dad is as dopey as every other adult male on Nickelodeon. At first I thought it was a Dan Schneider show.. but there's not enough slapstick. 

I don't know how old you were when you started to actively notice and pursue people of the opposite/preferred sex, but I was definitely older than 10. That said, Dicky is my dude cause he's always macking on the ladies and talking about junk food. 

I'm less familiar with School of Rock, which seems to be about kids who attend some type of learning facility that focuses on some type of music. I'm guessing the show is a take-off on the movie of the same name, and I'm also guessing that it would be funnier with Jack Black. 

Pete Wentz appeared on an episode of School Of Rock, and I didn't see it because my daughters weren't watching it at the time. I'd feel silly watching the episode On Demand without them asking for it but if it doesn't re-run soon I might have to YouTube it. 

Also, Jade Pettyjohn is a future cutie. Much too young for me, obviously (my last Nickelodeon "crush" was Victoria Justice) but it's good to know that the Nick pipeline keeps pumping out pretties. nasty cough and congestion caused me to miss two work days - one voluntary and one mandatory, when one of the attorneys sent me home early on a Monday and told me not to come back until I saw a doctor. I was tempted to use that as motivation to never, ever see a doctor and thus never come back to the firm.. but I had another idea instead.

I've been checking job listings on and off for years, and I had planned to apply for jobs on the three-day weekends of Christmas and New Year's. There was only one that I was able to apply for, but it was a good one. And for the past week or two I didn't want to mention it to anyone because I didn't want to mess with the mojo. You see, every time I apply for a job that sounds good, I tell my mother. And I get her all excited like I'm going to get a better job, move up the corporate ladder, make more money, and be less miserable. 

Never happens. I never get a call back, and I almost never even get an e-mail. It gets old telling her that I didn't get the job, andso with this one I simply didn't tell her about it. I haven't talked to her since before I applied because.. mojo.

Sure enough, I got a call back. They wanted me to come in for an interview Friday afternoon. Normally this would not be a problem - my wife has Fridays off, and I get home around 1pm. Except, because my boss made me stay home on a Tuesday, my wife had to stay home and take me to the doctor. Which meant she had to make up the time...on Friday. Which meant that I had to ask them to reschedule the interview for this past Monday. 

The woman I spoke to said her boss wanted to wrap up the interviews that week, but she put me on hold and asked someone (her boss?) if I can come in Monday. He/they agreed. And so I spent the weekend working myself into a frenzy because I absolutely had to nail this interview. It is practically impossible to find a full-time job in my town that I'm actually qualified for - all the want ads are for food service or accounting. 

So I went in for the interview on Monday. I nailed it. There were three people, none of them the big boss (though I think one was the boss's son) and it went really well. I'm never one to feel confident or optimistic, but I did. And sure enough, that evening I got a call back for a second interview. They wanted me to come in at 10am the next day, but I had to ask for yet another reschedule because I work until 2pm on Tuesdays and I don't get home until 3pm (because my office is four towns away and I have to ride the bus for 20 minutes and then walk for 30+ mins - which I would never have to do again if I got this job.)

Interview #2 was with the bossman, in his office (which was basically a shrine to Italian soccer.) He said he wanted to meet "everyone" who got a second interview and get to know them, but it felt like he did a lot more talking than me. He went over compensation, perks, duties, etc... basically if I got the job I'd be directing calls to other people instead of handling issues myself like I do now (yass!) I thought the second interview went well, though I didn't quite have the same positive vibe afterward. Bossman said he'd let me know either way by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, I still had to show up at my current job and do a passable amount of collection calls. It was quite a struggle to prevent myself from acting like I had one foot out the door - especially when our biggest client was getting on my case. I had to take a phone call from this annoying woman when I should have been preparing for interview #2. Really, really wish I could have quit on the spot, Scarface-style (warning:F-bombs)

..especially on Friday when I wandered about the office bored out of my mind and I heard the sounds of a live broadcast emanating from the front of the office. Our receptionist was watching the inauguration. You have got to be f*cking kidding me I muttered. But I soon realized that this made sense --the last time she was listening to a live event at work it was a World Cup soccer match between the US and Germany. I was watching the gamecast on my computer screen (without sound) and the instant that Germany scored I heard her shout and celebrate. Whose side are you on, lady?

Color me shocked that a 60 year-old German woman is supporting Drumpf. Unfortunately she's the one with the knockout figure so #conflicted. (not really!)

Actually I'm more conflicted about my "work mom". She had to deal with the annoying client too, and our boss is a lot harder on her than he is on me (or maybe she's more sensitive?) And when I had to leave early on Tuesday for my interview she was the one left to deal with those MFers.

For the past year or so, she's been quietly complaining to me that she's miserable there, that everyone is miserable, and that the firm isn't nearly what it used to be. The lawyers are more stingy and nasty, the atmosphere is toxic... and she can't leave because she's got a mom with Alzheimer's who needs constant care. More than a few times she's encouraged me to look for another job, a better situation, and I hadn't been looking for quite a while. I can't even remember the last time we had that conversation... before this week

On Wednesday she came in to my office to vent about how our boss was awful to her after I left. I apologized for leaving and said I had an appointment, but after she restarted her speech about how much she hated our office and wanted to leave she asked if I was looking for another job. Don't tell her. Don't say a word. Remember your mojo.

Now you might be thinking that this "mojo" business is silly. Random things don't dictate results that are beyond your control. And that's what I said... on Election night. Every damn poll said Hillary Clinton was going to win. I was cautiously optimistic, but even at her worst she had never been behind in any poll. And when she started losing states everyone assumed she'd win I had an impulse to change the mojo: Sit somewhere else. Take your hat off. Go upstairs. Eat something. Don't use that cup, that's a loser cup. Until I realized how ridiculous that was and common sense told me that nothing I did would influence the results in any way (not even voting!)

And so I sat in the same seat, left my hat on, didn't eat, and didn't go upstairs.

I'm sorry, America.This is all my fault. Whatever happens in the next four years is because I stubbornly defied the mojo.

And I know it works because last Sunday I was watching the Packers-Cowboys game at the in-laws and guzzling cans of Mountain Dew while the Packers were winning. I had finished my fourth when the Cowboys started rolling and eventually tied the game. 

I. Hate. The. Cowboys. Always have. And while I'm a little pissed at Packers fans lately, I still love the team. So when I got the impulse to drink a fifth Mountain Dew - and initially told myself that was too much - I knew I had to take one for the team.

You owe me one, Cheeseheads.

Back to Wednesday. I could have - should have - kept my mouth shut about going on an interview. But for some reason, when she pressed me about applying for jobs I held my index finger to my mouth. You did? She whispered. Is that where you were yesterday? I nodded. Still technically didn't say anything...but then she asked questions, and I had to answer. I gave up the game. I defied the mojo.

I told her that they were going to let me know by the end of the week if I got the job or not. I didn't hear anything on Thursday, and I wasn't expecting to. When I woke up Friday morning I immediately felt sad. I knew it was going to be a shitty day when I realized that Barack Obama was no longer our president. The job thing probably wasn't happening, either.

I left my phone on at work, just in case I got "the call". Work Mom asked me almost immediately if I had heard anything. Not yet. I replied. She asked again three hours later. Still nothing.

It's at that point that she started her sad story about how miserable she is at work and at home, and how she can't take it anymore.. and I nodded sympathetically. But in the background I could hear the coronation of King Donald.. and then I remembered that during the election she co-signed on our bookkeeper's comment that Hillary Clinton should be in jail. 

And as Work Mom continued on about how we have to get out of here and she's praying for me to get this job, blah blah blah... I'm looking at her like You voted for Trump, didn't you?

A short time later I finished off the water in the water cooler. It is customary for the one who empties the water jug to refill it, but in that moment I was thinking you're all self-reliant Republicans, you do it. Besides, receptionist lady and bookkeeper bitch are both in better shape than me, and I don't subscribe to antiquated gender roles. 

But of course, when work mom asked in her sweet, pleading voice if I could please refill the water cooler jug I acquiesced. Because I don't have it in me to be a heartless jerk.

It's bad mojo, after all.

Not that it mattered. Friday came and went without a phone call. I had a faint hope that they might consider Saturday the "end of the week" since their office is open until 1pm.. but no call came Saturday, either. Maybe I'll hear from them on Monday but if not I'll call them to follow up, and to make them tell me the bad news. To confirm what I already suspected.

I'm never going to get a better job, I'm never going to move up the corporate ladder, I'm never going to make more money, and I will always be miserable. 

At least Work Mom is stuck here with me.