Haters & Elections. What gives?

My husband made a good point this week. (I know, it had to happen once, right?)  He said that if our nation's politicians were as terrible as their opponents portray them to be in campaign commercials, then our nation is certainly bound for the dumpster no matter who comes out on top in any race.

It's true. Yet...not so true. I am saddened and disgusted by the negativity that comes with each campaign season. I find it so odd that while we are all part of one nation, one of the most free and privileged nations in the world, that when a major election gets under way, people just lose their freaking minds saying and doing anything to rip apart the candidate opposite the one they support. WHY? Why do people feel the need to spread lies and untruths, and are so easily swayed by rumors and resist truth like it's the plague? I witness this each and every day (multiple times a day) here at work. For some reason, people find pleasure in falsities. They'd rather believe something that makes them mad or scared rather than be corrected and learn the truth and feel better. WHY? I don't get it. Why would you want to hate rather than love? Please...someone tell me.

This Presidential campaign has been one of the nastiest and hateful I can remember since I turned 18 and registered to vote.  There's been more use of fear tactics than I recall in past elections and I don't see the point.  Clearly, from my previous posts, I support Barack Obama.  I support him, I respect him, and I'm impressed by the class with which he's run his campaign, and proud to say I voted (early) for him.  Simply put, I think he's the right man for the job. He's run a campaign as adults should. He's talked about what HE can do for our nation and not focused all his efforts on running McCain into the ground. He comes across mature and able to handle the criticism thrown his way, but McCain and Palin seem to not be able to ignore any negative comments thrown their way by the press or Obama's campaign, and they fire back with name-calling and fear tactics.

If elected, Senator Obama will be our nation's first African-American (really!) President. I don't think there's a better man to fill that spot than Barack Obama. It will be an historical moment on so many levels and if it happens, our nation should be able to stand up for him and SEE how far the country has come and be PROUD all at one time.  Unfortunately, given the events of this campaign, that probably won't be the case and instead I fear the US will embarrass itself in front of the world declaring such falsehoods as our President being a terrorist, being an Arab, being a Muslim, or even not a natural-born citizen of the US, etc, etc, etc.  For some reason, those who are filled with the most hate are the ones that yell the loudest during these campaigns. Aside from my obvious bias toward Obama, when things like name-calling and slander ensue, it makes the side perpetrating those acts look desperate...so very desperate.

I can say that because I've been there. Seth likes to argue me into a corner (regardless of what he'll tell you) to the point that by the time we're near the end of a disagreement, he's got me so flustered that even I feel like I don't have a point anymore and totally forgot where I was going with the point I had at the beginning of the conversation. Often I end up just being mean because... where else do I have to go once I feel defeated? It's the classic childish response to start name-calling and pointing fingers over minimal things. Somehow, you feel like you're gaining the lead again just by being mean. You feel powerful behind that meanness even though you're not adding a shred of legitimacy to your argument.  The adult version grows into exaggerating small bits of information until they resemble something so outrageous that you wonder how these people even made it past a minimum-wage paying job. Respectable adults should know better than to resort to such tactics.  It's a shame that this is the example our nation's leaders set for the public. No wonder the people that call our office are so hateful! They don't show respect to the elected official I work for (nor his staff), but why would they when elected officials don't even show respect for each other on a national stage? Adults need examples just like children do.

If you support one of our current Presidential candidates like I do, why don't you share with others WHY you support him? Why don't you take time to be proud of him and brag about what he can do for the country rather than spend a vast majority of your time stirring up crap that's just not true and that can so easily be proven false. We've got this great new thing called the INTERNET which give lies a lifespan of maybe 5 minutes at which point a fact-checker somewhere has called out your lie and can provide an "actually, this is the truth..." that buries a lie 6 feet under for good. There's no point in all the hating. There's no point in the name-calling.

The fact is that either Senator Obama or Senator McCain WILL be our President next week. We, as a nation, need to respect the person who wins no matter who you vote for.  Someone will lose and voters will not all get their way.  I sure didn't the past 2 elections, but I didn't have a tantrum about it. You pick yourself up and you move on no matter who wins. I'll have no choice but to do so if McCain wins, and if you support McCain, then you'll have to pick yourself up if Obama wins. This is our President we're talking about, he deserves the nation to respect him and believe in him if the majority votes him into office.


Obama rally in Raleigh!

Seriously? How could you NOT be inspired by this man. Seriously.

I had the privilege of attending the Obama Vote Early for Change rally in downtown Raleigh today. It's days like today that being a state employee pays off. Working in a building just a block from the rally was handy and wonderful.  I left my office at 9:30am to meet up with Seth at his office which is right on Halifax Mall where the rally was held. We were able to get into the mall a tad early and got a great spot right near the front.  We were right under a press pool and somehow were in an area that wasn't stuffed to the gills with people (good for my anxiety level).  It was chilly and windy, but eventually warmed up to the point I had to shed my coat and hand it off to the hubby. I left my "comfy shoes" in the car and had heels on so I spent most of the rally either on my tip toes or with the heels of my shoes sunk in the soft ground. Not so easy for taking pics, but I think I did well with the camera given my wardrobe circumstances.

The crowd was happy and energized and clearly thrilled to be a part of something so fabulous and important.  Obama came out a little after noon and spoke for 45 minutes or so. It was inspiring just to be within feet of him as he encouraged people to get out and either vote early, vote on November 4th, and/or encourage friends, family, and even neighbors and strangers to be sure to vote. I was proud to be part of a crowd of folks (many of whom couldn't even get close enough to see him, and had to settle for only hearing him) who recognize the need for something and someONE new, fresh, and intelligent to lead our country into a better place. I believe in my heart of hearts that Senator Obama is the man for the job. I get chills listening to him speak. I've never been so excited to participate in an election. I've been of age to vote for several elections now but this one is different. I feel like my vote counts. I feel like everyone's votes count more than ever.  I am proud to be part of something this big and this important both from a historical and political perspective.

I got a ton of great photos at the rally! And I'll leave you with this video. GO VOTE!


A Multitude of Thoughts on Things

This post has no point, so get over it quick before you read any further. I'm just dropping in to point out a few things that I'm a) interested in, b) excited about and c) just sayin'.

First up, Amy Poehler had her baby. YAY! Also...BOO. BOO because it means not as much hilarity on SNL. Hopefully she'll pop in after a little maternity leave, but I'm not sure if she's gone for good yet or not. But really, YAY for a baby!

Second, Obama is going to be in Raleigh on Wednesday right. across. the. street. from my office. Also, right between my hubby's office and my mommy's office. AM SO EXCITED! WILL BE GOING! WILL PROBABLY CRY! No seriously, it's going to be awesome and I'm SO THERE.

Third, Seth and I bought a junk-load of furniture last week. We bought ourselves a new bed, 2 bedside tables, a dresser and a coffee table. We thought furniture buying would come a lot later, but Restoration Hardware was having a 20% off sale and it was just too good to pass up. Here's a pic of our new stuffs (which is all back-ordered except the bed) that we'll get near the end of November.

The picture only gives you an idea of what we got.  The bed is the same except we got one with a lower foot board. Those are the same bedside tables we got, though. 3 drawers for putting junk in here we come! The dresser in the background is the one we got - too bad you can't see more of it. It's a dream. 11 drawers, 8 of which are completely cedar with dovetail joints. The top 3 drawers are felt-lined. ooooo. Anyway that's our stuff,  y'all. I LOVE it. I've been a big fan of mission and craftsman style stuff for a long time and I think this furniture will tickle my fancy for eternity.

We also got this coffee table in the same line of furniture. Clearly, I'm fond of the Larkspur, and there are several other pieces we hope to add in the future. It's a classic look and not a trendy take on mission. YAY RH! It's also worth mentioning that we love, love, love the couch in this photo and have 2 of them on our wishlist for future purchases. Maybe I need to go work at RH and get the dandy employee discount. Hmmm.

So anyway, on to other news. I spent all day Saturday with my mom helping her get her house ready for her big 40th reunion with the NCSU Fellows. She's so excited so I wanted to help her as much as she needed me. She's had so much done to her house in preparation for this event. I don't care what it took to motivate her to get some things updated and renovated, I'm just glad something sparked her and got her going. Let's see...she's had carpets cleaned, pillows made, curtains made, a chair recovered, trim painted, house power-washed, bought a queen-sized bed for guests, repainted a bedroom, had the carpet ripped off the stairs and the hardwood underneath refinished, and got rid of a lot of stuff in the playroom (aka: relative's crap storage central). She and I spent 12 hours (no lie) on Saturday getting the upstairs cleaned out and presentable. She never goes up there so it was dusty and crowded and had turned into a catch-all for things people didn't have room to store at their own homes. It's now a sparkly, clean, organized retreat for her guests coming this weekend! I'm happy that's finally done and I hope my mom feels like some weight has been lifted off of her. I feel that way and it's not my house! I'm glad I took a whole day to help her do whatever she needed. We had as much fun doing it as you can have while cleaning. I think she appreciated the company, too. (Beside my one break down when my dad let Three get out of the house, all was well, but wewillnotrecountthatstoryorIwillgetmadalloveragain).

Another thing...I like Beyonce's new song "If I were a Boy" and I dedicate it to all those idiot ex-boyfriends (well maybe just like 2 or 3 of them) who snoozed and losed and who probably STILL don't know how to treat a woman.

What else? OH! I voted early last Friday! And, I totally VOTED FOR CHANGE. Duh.


On second thought...

I started to write this happy post about how much I love Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and how SNL is the only thing I can count on to make me laugh each week. I started to write that post in an attempt to squash the serious anger and down right hateful feelings I'm having this morning, but as you can see from the few words I've typed just now, coupled with the title of this post, I've swerved off that road of avoidance and have slammed head-first into a post of madness.

I am SO mad. I am SO frustrated. I am SO tired.

I've been going to a psychologist for how many weeks now? I feel like I'm not making any progress. In fact, I am starting to wonder if I'm getting worse? Now I think I'm starting to have panic attacks at night when I try to go to sleep. At first, I thought it was an effect of the Nasonex I take twice a day (once in the morning, once right before bedtime). I've had several episodes where I turn out the light and snuggle down in bed only to realize 20-30 minutes later that I'm a complete mess. I can't describe it, but it feels like someone's injected an insane dose of caffeine directly into my brain. My arms, legs, heart, lungs - everything - feels like it's on crack. I've never done a drug in my life, but I swear this must be what it feels like and I HATE it. In fact, I typically hate medications in general. Advil and Tylenol are the only medications that don't treat me like crap. The rest of them make me jittery and crazy.

But this...this seems to be coming from within...and I can't think of anything scarier at the moment. Last night I got PISSED. I was laying there feeling like I had enough nervous energy to explode. I got up a couple of times to try and break the cycle (which didn't work). I got water, I sat up in bed, I tried to ignore it. Nothing worked. (Eventually, I fell asleep, but it wasn't because I was able to calm myself down. I don't think it's a conincidence that this doesn't seem to occur on Friday or Saturday nights.) That's when I got pissed off. I started to think about work and what it has done to me. I quickly go down this spiral of hate. I hate my job, I hate that people here don't know what this has done to me, I hate what it's done to me, I hate that everyone else in the free world doesn't know what has happened to me, I hate that my very own family doesn't understand or seem to take it seriously, and I hate that it's made me a person that no one wants to hang out with. At least that's how it seems to me.

***NOTE: I wrote the above on Monday. It's now Tuesday. It was even making me mad to write yesterday so I stopped mid-post. I'll finish the entry today, Tuesday, now that I'm feeling better. Let me add that my sweet husband sent me these yesterday which improved my mood dramatically. Also, we bought a whole mess of bedroom furniture from Restoration Hardware after work and I got new shampoo and conditioner from Aveda as well. Ah, the simple smell of Aveda is enough to relax even Secretary Paulson. ***

I went to therapy this morning and spilled my hatred for my job (or the phones specifically). My therapist says that my job is like an abusive husband that I just can't seem to bring myself to leave. She's so right. It's exactly like that. Without the phones all would be fine - but the phones are torture. They're an uncontrollable and unpredictable monster that's been following me around for 3 years. She talks a lot about me needing to learn to give myself permission to do things. Whether it be to leave my job, try working for myself, even buying furniture or picking a paint color. I seem to freeze when I have to make certain types of decisions. It's super annoying.

She thinks I need to start thinking about setting a "last day" here at work and I'm on board with that. It's a little troubling to think about that right now and commit to it since I have no real job prospects, but I'm willing to give myself a date right now and hope that after the elections I'll have a better idea about where I'm headed (or not).

December 19th.

That's the date that I want to set me free. It would make my short-term dreams come true if that was my last day here (job or not), I could have 2 weeks off at Christmas and know I don't have to come back to this job. I could refresh myself and hopefully look forward to the next job. That's the only gigantic question mark at this point. The plan sounds great - except I don't want to cause any financial stress in our household.  When I started saying things that suddenly pulled the rug out from under that date, my therapist said "NO. You can't do that." and I wanted to cry. She was nice about it, but firm, and that was a first. I guess I need some tough love. Seth and my mom will allow me to flex on that date because they are worried about money (and should be to an extent). BUT, I'll get another job somewhere - but until then I'm going to mentally latch onto December 19th and look forward to it as my day to start over.

I changed my mind, I decided posting this clip just can't be skipped. Have you seen anything funnier? Amy Poehler is 3 weeks from her due date and she's busting rhymes like no other. HA! Love it!

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Post in which I describe my weekend

We took yet another trip to the mountains with the in-laws this weekend. For me, I was hoping for a relaxing, stress-free weekend, and the rest of the family was going to ride the VA Creeper trail again. I would like to ride it again, but not this soon. I wanted some R&R as we've had some overly-hectic past few weeks in the office.

We left Friday around 5pm which wasn't ideal, but with less than 3 days of vacation leave remaining, I've got to save it for the holidays so I didn't have the luxury to take Friday off, unfortunately.  We were heading to a mountain cabin of a friend of the Mc's West Jefferson.  I can't remember what time we finally arrived, but it felt pretty late - maybe 9ish or so. We pretty much headed to bed soon after we got there. Obnoxiously, I couldn't shake the "I want my mommy" feeling that night. I had had a terrible day at work and was in a foul mood for most of the day. I had gotten in early and skipped lunch all so I could leave at 4pm.  I left without telling a soul goodbye which was probably weird, but I didn't care. I just wanted to leave. Plus, my boss had pissed me off earlier in the day and I just wasn't up for dishing out fake "have a great weekend and ENTIRE WEEK OFF" niceties.

(Slightly off topic) I've never taken an entire weekend off in these last 3 years except for my honeymoon which was obviously planned WELL in advance of me even knowing about this job. So I get annoyed when others get to take multiple weeks off each year when I'm struggling to take just one day off here and there. I started this job one month before our wedding. Instead of them just NOT PAYING ME for the 6 days I'd be off for my honeymoon, they forced me to go in the negative on vacation leave which then took 6 MONTHS of no vacation time whatsoever for me to make up just to get back to ZERO time off (again). It was wretched. Ever since then, I've never been able to keep up. I didn't get any extra days off at Christmas or Thanksgiving for the first 2 years either, since only 2 out of the 5 of us can be off at the same time. Which is a whole other set of screwed up in itself. Last year, I finally got first dibs on days off at Christmas. I was shocked as it seemed to be a "first ask first get" sort of leave request system. One of my co-workers takes almost a week and a half off at Christmas and has so much leave she can request it an entire year in advance. So it always left me with no option to take days off. ANYWAY, last Christmas I was able to go with the Mc's to PA finally. This year, we're planning on it again, although I'm wondering if I can even make it - going will deplete my leave all over again. Hmmm.

(Back on topic) I LOVE the idea of traveling, and really appreciate a place once I'm back home, but while I'm in the middle of the trip, I'm usually a ball of anxiety and nerves. It's annoying to say the least. My mind want to soak it all in and enjoy it, but it's also worried about the dumbest little things the whole time. I just stress myself out and that's exhausting. I always feel like everyone else is laid-back and casual and here I am trying to squash my pointless anxiety over nothing. It has yet to work. I'm waiting for a vacation where there is NO agenda and I can just do nothing and know that's what I'm supposed to be doing. Are there such vacations?

So Saturday, everyone loaded up bikes and things and headed to VA to ride the Creeper. They didn't leave until 12:30 or 1 and I expected them back between 5 and 6pm. I had the house and TV to myself and lucky for me, Cycle 10 of America's Next Top Model was on MTV - marathon style! I've decided ANTM marathons are the way to watch this show. I got addicted to this show last fall and would TiVo marathons and watch them back to back to back all weekend. Then I tried to TiVo the latest season with one show each week and it just wasn't the same...wasn't as satisfying. I think I watched 7 or 8 episodes on Saturday. I literally didn't get off the couch all day. I took a shower, but that was it. The kitchen and TV area were one big room (like a loft almost) so I didn't even have to leave the room to get food or anything! For the most part, that was great, although I did feel extremely lazy doing it. I wanted to finish a book I've been reading but ANTM wouldn't allow it.

Saturday night we went out to a great restaurant, Fraisers, in West Jefferson for the MIL's birthday dinner. It was really good and we were even able to do some literal window shopping while eating. They were selling these great wooden trees in the restaurant and they had them on display in the windows. MIL and myself each bought 3 of varying heights. Should be a cozy Christmas display this year.

Sunday, we headed to Boone to walk around downtown and do some shopping on and around King Street. What a busy downtown! I'd never really shopped in Boone before. We went to the Mast General Store where there were having a tent sale. I got some Chacos for 40% off! Inside the store, I think I could've bought one of everything and wiped out my entire bank account and been as happy as a clam. They had all the North Face, Patagonia, Danskos, warm, fuzzy, outdoorsy stuff a girl could want! They allowed dogs on leashes to come in the store so Seth brought Three in. She got lots of attention in that store and would get more throughout the day. Who could resist our precious baby.

We got lunch from Our Daily Bread and ate it outside - it was such a beautiful day! While waiting for lunch, a man with 2 Westies came strolling into the yard where we were hanging out! It was so cool! You don't often see Westies and here came 2. One of them was NOT friendly and wanted nothing to do with Three. Her owner had to hold her - she growled and showed her teeth the whole time. The other one was much friendlier and he/she(?) sniffed Three, but they didn't seem to hit it off and were bored with one another in minutes. It was still cute. He told me about his bike trailer that his dogs ride in and how he took them to NYC to join a group of 30-40 other Westies to try to get on the Today show. He was a nice man. Too bad his girl dog was such a bitch. (ha)

In general, a great trip. Totally makes me want to have my OWN mountain house. We seem to know people with mountain cabins and of course, I totally appreciate being able to stay in their homes at no charge, but I'd love to have my own place because one can never be quite as comfortable in other's homes as they can be in their own.  In my advanced age, I think I'd rather have a mountain house than a beach house. Nothing sounds like a better escape from what ails you than a mountain cabin tucked up in the trees away from people!


Woah, BABY!

Perhaps I should take a hint or something, but I find myself surrounded by babies recently. Not terribly recently, but I'd say at least in the last 6 months.  I don't know if I'm actually gravitating towards the subject subconsciously or what, but it seems I find myself reading about or hearing about babies, babies, babies!

I've never really been a huge fan of babies. Probably because they make me nervous. I just feel awkward around them or like I'm going to break them or hold them wrong or make them cry. Then there are kids. Again, I feel intimidated by kids for some reason. I was never a babysitter growing up and during the times my cousins were born I was either too young to know what to do with them, or I was in my awkward teenage years before you start feeling all motherly, so I didn't spend much time with them, and when they were around they made me nervous so I avoided them. Weird, I know. I've just never been one of those girls/women who squealed with excitement when a baby came into the room. In fact, I think in general those kind of women are ones who've HAD a baby and know how exciting it can be to be a new mom. Just like I have a softer spot for puppies and dogs now that I've got my own - I think it's the same way for women and babies.

It's just odd how these tiny, chubby, deliciously cute people have crept into my life and I'm finding myself softening to the idea of maybe having one of my own some day (soon).  Maybe I'm even looking forward to it, too (?) Here's a list of the baby stalking I'm engaged in:

I am totally addicted to Amalah - who is expecting her 2nd child in 5 days. I don't know her personally, but I feel as if I do and I am so excited for her new baby to arrive and getting to know him through her blog entries. After she was on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, I found her blog and pretty much read 5 years worth of entries over the summer. I'm all caught up now and always look forward to her next entry. It's weird, yes.

I also read our friend Anna's blog about being a mom to adorable little Rachel and know she'll have lots more to say when baby #2 arrives very soon!

Another mommy blogger and former co-worker from Meredith whose blog I keep up with is Christy (sorry doods, she's a private blog) who is a new mom to almost 1 year-old Lily. I've learned a lot from Christy & Anna and hope if I'm ever a mom that I'll remember the great tips they've shared.

Melissa (from Real World New Orleans) just found out she's pregnant. I've been reading her blog for more than 5 years and she got married not too long ago and has been trying, trying, TRYING to get pregnant and finally had success. Again, don't know her personally, but she's hilarious and I've just kept up with her blog for years.

We also just found out from 2 sets of friends that they are each expecting their 1st child.

Not to mention our church. Oh goodness. We haven't started going to Sunday school so we don't know any of the younger couples in our church yet, by MY! ARE THEY FERTILE. The young couples sit near the pews we sit in regularly at church and they often get referenced by our pastors as being quite fertile. It seems 5 or 6 of them have been pregnant all at the same time and one of them is apparently pregnant with her 3rd when I swear she just had her 2nd not even 2 seconds ago! It's crazy but they seem to all be excited to have kids together. I'm sure it's nice to know your kids will grow up with your friend's kids.

So we've nailed being parent's to the world's best dog, we've bought ourselves a shiny, new house with 2 spare bedrooms and a big yard, so I guess you might say we're ready if it happens. It DOES sound like fun to decorate a nursery so we'll see what happens.


Winding down during election season

Right now is a huge time of change and transition for me, and a time I've been looking forward to for 3 years.  It's not happening YET, but it's on the horizon and everyday requires thought and consideration of what's to come and how to prepare for the last day(s) of this administration. Yesterday, along with my 4 co-workers, I met with the big boss to discuss transition issues. I has hoping for more information than I got, but until the elections are over, no one really knows what's going to happen, and no one can really make any big moves toward the future. In any case, we talked about jobs and job security, and our feel for what's to come and where we'll be.

For my loyal readers (ha), you know based on previous blog posts, that my job is not what anyone would describe as easy, comfortable, or for that matter, healthy.  I will have been here for 3 years on November 1st and I have no idea how I've managed to make it through.  My husband might argue that I have NOT made it through...at least unscathed. I've changed since I've been here and it hasn't been for the good. The only thing I can look back on and be thankful for is getting to work with nice people, and being forced to really understand how our local, state and federal governments are set up. I will forever value the knowledge I've gained at this job and kick myself in the butt for not knowing it before. Of course, I STILL would never have called a governor's office for answers, help, or to treat someone as my personal punching bag....I'm just sayin'.

I'm actively looking for jobs at this point. I'm willing to admit that I'm 30, have a BA, as well as a certificate in Paralegal Studies and STILL do not know what I want to be when I grow up. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will. Right now, I'm most interested in writing. I know with absolute certainty, that I never ever want to work with the public again. Unless I'm supposed to be working with cheerful, happy folks-....nah, still PASS. I know how brutal other human beings can be, and I wouldn't wish public service on anyone. I want to write and create, and participate with my peers, but I don't want to have to answer to the public. No thank you. I've found a job I'm really interested in although probably do not the most experience although I'm a quick study and could totally handle this job. According to the job description, I qualify; but it would be a step up to a leadership position which, in a way, I think would be good for me. I'm not talking major leader or anything, but certainly more status than I've got now. I'm going to talk to the big boss about it. Hopefully she'll be able to help at least get me an interview.

Transition and change are hard for me, but in the past, I've been able to adapt quickly and deal with it relatively well. Since I've been so plagued by anxiety and fear and panic this year, it's going to be even harder. I have a major fear of even going to a job interview because the last one I went to, I had a panic attack in the middle of and had to cover it up mid-interview. It was terrible. I'm scared to death it'll happen again. I'm working on that with my therapist. I know an interview is inevitable since I will have to have a new job come the end of January (if not before), but I'm still a bit lot scared. I wish I could take 2-3 months off with NO work just to recover and turn back into a normal person, but I've got to get paid, I've got to have health insurance, and I'm sure I'd never want to go back to work if I stopped now. Ah, 'twould be nice.


I Suck at Life

I can't pinpoint the source, but something has caused my anxiety level to shoot through the roof this week - maybe even last week, too, after we got back from Boston.  My first day back to work was last Tuesday and it was the 3rd day of our office being bombarded with calls about the gas shortage in the western part of North Carolina. Since I missed out on most of the calls while we were gone, I sort of got thrown in the ring on Tuesday and had NO IDEA how nasty these callers were. Again. First Asheville, now it was Charlotte.

The first day back from a vacation is always hard because you've usually been gone long enough to have had time to shake the rage and tension from your system. Then you come back and it starts all over again, but that first day is tough to take - it's like no other. The only good part about last week was after Tuesday, we were allowed to shut down the phones Wednesday, Thursday and Friday since people were being so hateful. Callers went straight to voice mail where they were greeted with a recording regarding the gas shortage then allowed to leave a voice mail.  When they were on, we were constantly answering the phones and getting no work done. It was a gift from Heaven not to have to answer phones for 3 days. I've been here 3 years and that's NEVER happened before. We had to check messages every 30 minutes during our normal phone duty and return any calls that weren't about the gas shortage. I'd much rather handle phones like that ALL the time rather than the way we do it now. Most people don't leave messages and if they do, they are usually so self-absorbed, they don't remember to leave either their name, number or what they are calling about. NOTE: To the folks who call and say "My name is Tom and my number is 919-555-5555" and hang up - we ain't calling you back for sport - tell us WHAT YOU WANT and we'll call you back (maybe). People have NO phone etiquette.

In any case, it was refreshing to be off phones for 3 days. I was hoping for a 4th day on Monday, but no suck luck. We've been back on regular phone duty all week. While we're not being run over with nearly as many calls about the gas, calls are still coming in, and the callers are still just as belligerent. Everyday this week, shortly after I've gotten to work, I just melt into a ball of nerves and anxiety. It's miserable. I'm not even on phone duty first thing, but just to hear them ring seems to send me into a tailspin. Oddly enough, I'm the least anxious when I'm actually ON phones which tells me my anxiety builds just knowing what's coming. I hate it. Sometimes I can't believe I've been doing this for 3 years on November 1st. I've tried to leave before - had a job interview once and really wanted the job but didn't get it. The only time I've not had to answer phones was during my first week, one day last year when I had a cold and coughed so much I lost my voice, and the 3 days of last week. That's 8 days in 3 years I've not had to answer phones while I was at work. Geesh.

During my first few sessions of therapy, I talked to my psychologist about my anxiety since that is what bothers me most and is seriously disrupting my life.  She gave me a few tips on dealing with moments of stress and anxiety.  I tried  them out and they seemed to be working, but then this week happened, and my progress seems to have been shot to hell. You know that nervous feeling you got in high school when you had to give an oral presentation? You'd have butterflies, and clammy hands, and no matter what you did you just couldn't relax until it was over? That's me. That's how I've felt this week. Just jittery and nervous for seemingly no reason and with no trigger. I can say for the most part it's probably because of the phones, but then it happens at home, too. Home is the one place that feels anxiety free usually. I can't lose home. It's my haven.

I'm tired of this roller coaster. I don't know how to get a grip on things. I'm literally counting the days until this job is over. I've got October, November, December and most of January. Each day, I think that's no time at all, but right now it seems endless. My mind is crossing off days quicker than the calendar is. I wonder if my next job will help me regain my sense of control over myself?  I wonder if after enough time passes and I slowly start to forget how horrible these phones are if my mind will begin to heal itself?  I wonder if I'll be able to go in public, a job interview, hang out with friends, even simple things like going to a meeting with 20 or less people, will I be able to do any of these things without flipping out? It's scary to think how my anxiety owns me. I have no idea how I got to this place, but it's the worst feeling when you end up planning your life around anxiety or even the fear of anxiety.

Someone who doesn't work in our section made a joke last week about all of us getting PTSD after we leave here. I said "GETTING?!?! How about HAVE?"  Oddly enough, when I told my psychologist about my job she too, mentioned it sounding like PTSD. That's just wrong. I'm not saying I was forced into this job and I take a bit of responsibility for accepting the job, but in my defense, I was NOT told about these phones. If they had told me or I had experienced them before starting work, there's no way I'd have signed on for this. I've almost quit several times, had a resignation letter typed up and everything, but I'm not irresponsible, and I can't abandon my job without having another one waiting in the wings. That makes it hard. I'd love to cash it all in and stay home, but I don't have that luxury, and I don't think it'd be fair to put all the financial responsibility on Seth.  In any case, I have a desire to be happy at work and be happy at home. I want to work - I want to contribute to SOMETHING. I don't think that's asking for much. I hope this job crosses me off as having paid my dues to the "needy," but I'd much rather be on a different kind of team helping the needy. Mostly, our callers just see us as their punching bag and for lack of a better way of putting it, it's ruined me and it's ruined my life.

I don't usually share this stuff with anyone. I guess I felt like the internet would understand.


Stupid is as stupid writes

One of my responsibilities at work is handling the email. We get hundreds of emails a day on average and perhaps thousands if there's a hot topic. A while back, I started collecting snippets from the dumbest of the dumb, the most ignorant of the ignorant, and the funniest of the funny emails in a Word document. We have a "Wall of Shame" here in the office where we pin up the best, weirdest, stupidest, and craziest letters on a bulletin board. It's so full it's 4 or 5 letters deep in most spots. When I first started working here, you could see the background of the bulletin board, but now it just looks like a mess of letters and papers. Truly hilarious if you take the time to read them all. Here's a visual:

Yes, that's a drawing of a Basset Hound with a pacifier in its mouth saying "Home School Sucks," and that sandwich on the right says "Education is a bologna sandwich," and the small postcard near the top is some woman's real-life model of a "Solar Bath House" which has bizarre details such as a skull hanging from a post by the stairs and a carousel hanging on the side of the house for no apparent reason. Lastly, yes, those are leprechauns someone knitted and mailed in on the upper left.

Because I have nothing any more interesting to write than what follows, I've decided to unveil these snippets today. I've provided my personal commentary in italics where necessary (pretty much everywhere). None of the snippets below have been altered in any way, shape or form from the original:


I have a cimpaint with the DMV.

I have been trying to get help on going to college but I keep getting turned down for help. I seen on your tv ad that is it no excuse nobody in North Carolina cannot attend college. (It's completely unclear as to why this person is having trouble getting (in)to college)

My mother is left at home with 5 kids and one on the way. She has sugar and her health is bad. (Her having sugar must be tough on the family)

You can't possibly know what going to North Carolina in 1995 did to my life. (That's the entire email)

(This is from a phone call) "Um, Sen. D's office told me to call ya'll. They said that they are federal and you are state. Um, I don't know what that means, but I need ya'lls heyulp."


Stupid ways to spell “gouging”:

Office Favorite: One person writes that they have Grandma seizures (rather than grand mal seizures)

While my husband were having breakfast at Brueggers on Saturday, a heavy-set black woman came in, made a purchase, then left in the same State vehicle in which she had arrived. Neither I nor my husband feels this is appropriate use of our tax dollars. I would appreciate a response/explanation. (How DARE that State Employee have the NERVE to EAT while WORKING ON A SATURDAY! Did she cause you to look up from your newspaper as you sat in a chair drinking coffee in your sloppy Saturday gear? I'm so sorry. I'm also pretty sure the "heavy-set black woman" about whom you write would be more than happy to cut that millionth of YOUR penny that paid for her to drive that State car and stuff it back in your pinched, sweaty, Republican fingers)

I would also like to get the general statue number, that says he, has to call a certain amount of people in a months time to full-fill his obligation as Governor. (HA!)

My friend told me about a program called "Blah blah blah Page" where the blah blah blah gives a certain "academic" student money to visit and take notes at museums. Is this true? If so how do I go about doing so? (HA!)

I can't even believe these folks - there's soooo much more than this to share, I wish I could post everything we come across that was ridiculous, but the internets would shatter under the sheer volume of stupidity and that might make Al Gore cry.