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This week I am staying at the condo that my parents bought my sister.  She’s out of town so someone needs to watch her super hyper Shitzu.  The Shitzu acts like it didn’t get enough oxygen in the womb.

Prior to this week I had only been to this condo once.  The condo is a really big tension point between my family members.  I work seven days a week so I can afford to pay rent, and because she “can’t” do such a thing, they hand her a place to live rent free.  I feel like I was punished for being a hard worker.

My jealousy has only been fueled by staying there.  The hardwood floors, granite counter tops, the jacuzzi tub, the huge amazing balcony with a breathtaking view of the little lake.  I could sit there and eat my breakfast every morning.  I could live in that condo and have it easy.  It’s not fair.  I could never afford an apartment like that.

I think I’d be less frustrated with the situation if she appreciated what she had instead of acting like the world owes it to her.  She’s also not taking care of the place at all.  I feel like the least she could do is keep up with the place after being given such a gift.  I also feel like she could at least rent out the second bedroom to pay the mortgage my parents took out for her.

My life would be so easy if I didn’t have to pay rent.  I’m sick of working so much.  I’m sick of making my own way.

Since my friend Tommy lives in the same complex, he walked over to hang out for a bit last night.  We sat on the balcony and drank 312 as the storms rolled in and lightning raced across the dark sky.  Have I told you I’m addicted to being outside?  I need a patio, doc.  It’s for my sanity.

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Trees

Written 4/21/12

Dating someone is like relocating your trees next to each other.  The closer you are, and the longer you stay together, the more the roots entwine themselves together.  Above your trunks, your branches, like your friends, grow closer.  If you stay there long enough, two branches might even grow together and become one.  This means that the longer and closer and stronger a relationship is, the harder it is to remove that other person and all the memories of him when the relationship inevitably ends.

Bob broke up with me today.  I feel blind-sided, even though I knew our relationship wasn’t perfect. I feel like the task of separating our belongings would be like climbing Mount Everest.  I feel like I no longer have the right to the friends that I’ve kept company with for the past two years.  Thinking about telling my family, who loved him, makes me sick to my stomach.  I feel… lost.

Just today I found a 10 karat gold ring at my parents’ house.  It’s a men’s ring, from several boyfriends past, inscribed with the words “I promise” on the inside.  I didn’t buy the ring.  You see, the other woman got it for him and I happened to find it.  I wanted to sell it for some drinking money but all the gold dealers are closed for the night.  Instead, I think I’ll pin it to my wall as a constant reminder that all men are assholes, and love is a cruel mistress.

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Who are you wearing?!

The other day was the first time I ever felt like my tattoos were wearing me.

It’s not a secret that I love fashion and everything to do with it.  In order to get a few summer staples in my wardrobe, I was out shopping for the Perfect Summer Maxi Dress.  As elusive as they may be, they DO exist and occasionally they do so in my price range.  I found a few I liked, a striped one, a beige colored lace one, and one with a colorful ethnic print on it that I absolutely adored.  Yes, it matched everything I imagined and wished for ever since I pinned one similer to my pinterest.

I wanted it.  I had to have it.  So I raced off to the dressing room.

I threw open the door, and stripped down, pulling it over my head as I faced away from the mirror.

As I turned around and brought my eyes upwards, I looked in horror.  No, it was all wrong.  It was terrible in fact.  It wasn’t the cut, nor the pattern… it was me…

My tattoos were clashing with the dress pattern.  There was so much going on in the dress and now that I have my chest piece, my half sleeve, and work on my shoulder, I had a lot going on too.  It was like when those crazy interior designers insist that the striped couch totally works with your paisly wallpaper, even though only an equally crazy fashionably client would agree.

So I put the dress back and ended up buying the lace maxi dress instead.  It let my tattoos become the focal point.  At the check out line the cashier commented on how pretty and feminine the dress was.  She congratulated me on a great find.  “Thanks, I do love feminine dresses,” I said, but in the back of my mind I was still dreaming of that patterned dress.  The one I would never buy or be able to wear.

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With the flip of a coin

The decision I knew was coming has arrived.  I received a call from the 9-1-1 dispatch center, telling me they are finally moving forward and asking if I am still interested in the position.

Starting pay of 47 grand a year?  That’s a lot of money, what degree-less 24 year old wouldn’t be interested in the position?  It’s taken over a year of testing and waiting, that’s some dedication.

Now the downside is that if I took the position, the sporadic switching of shifts that occurs for the first 2 years would prevent me from being able to take classes towards my bachelor’s degree.  So this has become a huge life path decision, do I take a decent paying job now, or finish school and become a well payed mechanical engineer?

I brought this up after receiving the call during Calculus 3 study group.  Surrounded by four individuals who were withdrawn enough from me that they would have unbiased opinions, I felt that they could give me sound advice, particularly because most of them are planning on entering engineering fields themselves.

Immediately Eric asks the salary and starts crunching numbers on his TI-84 graphing calculator while Marcus is telling me that math changes and it’s hard to get back into.  “Two years off of school might be too long, you’d have to reteach yourself Calc 1-3 and Physics.”

“But my last math class before this one was in 2008, so it was 4 years without math before this semester, and while it’s more work, but I’m doing just fine,” I pointed out.

“10 years,” Eric says.  “At about the 10 year mark, you’d break even financially, including the tuition at UIC.  And at that point you’d be making way more as a mechanical engineer.”

“We need to flip a coin,” Marcus says, “It will tell you your fate, if you should take the job or not.”

I thought about this, and I liked the idea.  Math students love flipping coins.  Statistically heads and tails have an equal chance of coming up, so what if something of a higher power causes one side to come up over the other?  I believe that our fate is predetermined and since I’m having a hard time deciding on which choice would be best for me because of the inevitable unforeseen circumstances, maybe the flip of a coin is exactly what I need to point me in the right direction.

Marcus pulls out a quarter and shows me the coin.  “Heads, you take the job.  Tails, you keep going to school.”

With that, he flips it in the air and catches it in his palm.  All five of us lean our heads towards Marcus’s closed fist.

He opens it slowly, “Tails.  Don’t take it.”

“What if you flipped it again and it says something different?” I ask.

Eric’s friend says, “That’s not how it’s supposed to work.  Whatever you hoped for when the coin was in the air is the decision you should make.”

“But I wasn’t hoping, I was just waiting.”

And that is the story of how the choice was made to turn down the well paying job.  The moral is, don’t play a coin flip game with someone who is a fatalist.

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Exhaustion

I feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day.  My laundry list of things to do is never ending.  It’s hard when you don’t have a day off, to do things like, get your oil changed, or take the cats to the vet.  

Speaking of, my cat Little has been contributing to my sleep deprivation.  Cady and my apartment is never a uniform temperature.  The living room, which has the thermostat, is always warmer, which makes our bedrooms colder.  Little doesn’t like to be cold, so he wakes me up a dozen times a night to let him under the covers.  Then he gets too hot so he goes to sit by the window.  Then he gets cold.  Repeat.

Lately, when I’m not at work, which you can assume is always, I am re-teaching myself physics.  Why physics?  Well to be honest, I haven’t touched the stuff since 2008, and I remember very little.  Since I am wholeheartedly pursuing an engineering degree, physics is necessary.  Working problems again has been reminding me just how much I actually like physics.

I mean, you can give me these numbers, and then I can figure out these other numbers?  Like if there is a car accident, and you tell me how fast each car was doing, and the rate at which is was de-accelerating, and how long they had their foot on the brakes, I can tell you how fast they were going when they collided?  AND the force at which they hit?  Woah.  Mind-blowing.  Mind-fucking-blowing.

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Christmas Time

A close friend of mine got the best Christmas gift he could ever hope for.

“Would you like to see her?” he asked, rushing to pull up a photo on the computer.

“Her?  That suggests it’s either a boat, plane, or something living,” I responded.

“It’s the best kind of her,” he said and turned his monitor around so I could see a pretty adolescent girl with a striking resemblance to his 15 year old daughter.  He explained that eighteen years ago he gave up a daughter for adoption, and a week ago his wife received a call from her.  His eyes were tearing up as he talked about the reunion and the similarities between her and his 15 year old.

I’ve never really been too crazy about Christmas, but it is a special time of year.  Customers are more generous, people beam with happiness as if they are deranged over nothing in particular, and the snow that people bitch about the rest of the year suddenly becomes this magical, welcome gift, like powdered sugar on a favorite dessert.

I think I would like Christmas a lot more if no one ever got me a gift, so that I didn’t feel obligated to get them a gift.  I don’t like Christmas shopping because there is a time crunch to buy the perfect gift, and I never make that deadline.  Anything less than the perfect gift is simply unacceptable.  I mean really, what’s the point in giving gift cards?  I love buying small gifts for people to say I am thinking about them, but getting a gift for every person I care about drains my finances, and when people are buying gift cards for each other, I feel like it’s just money better spent elsewhere.

Well, this Grinch is going to crawl back in her cave now.  I hope every one truly does have a happy holiday season though, no matter what you celebrate.

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Sometimes we just feel like writing

The semester has come to a much welcomed close.  I believe I have earned straight As which is good.  This past week was finals, plus I was working a lot, so I’m kind of burnt out.  Next week won’t be any better because my manager is on vacation and she wants me to pick up hours.

I did not get the dispatch job I was trying for.  The letter came in the mail the other day, and I figured I would get that out there before I got more questions about it.  Really, I am okay with this.  I never wanted the job in the first place, and maybe this is a sign that I should be focusing on school.

I did however get a raise at work.  They determined I was grossly underpaid during their recent compensation study.  Go figure, four years of being underpaid.

I will be quitting serving by spring semester because I will be taking Biology, Engineering Graphics, and Calculus III and my schedule does not permit for having two jobs.  I’m excited about taking a chunk of classes again and I can’t wait to go back to school full time.

The good news is that quitting serving will mean I will have Saturday nights off again.  Woah, does that mean I can have a social life?  I’m really looking forward to it.  I know that most of my friends have been slowing down and going out less, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hit the bar scene Saturday nights again.  Having a partial weekend off means that I’ll be able to visit people who no longer live nearby including Brian and Lauren.  THAT I am really excited about.

Occasionally I get disheartened by the fact that I have about 6 semesters left for school.  I see the people I went to high school with established in their professional lives, and I can’t help but feel like I missed the bus.  I missed the bus in both directions.  These past 4 years I wasn’t partying and having a good time, but I wasn’t moving towards a grown up life either.  Can I go back and have do-overs?  Can I go back and have my generous scholarship?  Can I go back and invest time where I should have invested it?  In the right friendships and the right goals?

Nothing like coffee and regret to start off your Saturday morning.

 

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Hollow Evenings

My mother always said to never depend on a guy.  “Once you expect them to be there is when they are gone.”  I can’t blame her, her dad died when she was young, and her siblings were even younger.  He did not make the choice, but he left her mom alone and unable to care for their family.

I think her words resonate a little too strongly in my head sometimes.  It’s not that I have to do everything myself, but I won’t rely on anyone else.  Yes, I’ll work two jobs, I’ll go to school, I’ll do this myself, because what if I put my faith in you and you disappear?  I crunch numbers, I save my pennies so that my 5 year plan can include only me, but if it includes you too, hey that’s great.

I’d rather support a husband than trust a husband to support me the rest of my life.  I’d rather support a husband who makes minimum wage and loves his job, than be married to a man making six figures who hates his job.

I’ve been stressed lately.  When I’m stressed my dreams change.  They become confusing, panick-filled situations that lack any coherant progression or time line.  I’m at work or at home, and I’m lost.  I can’t understand what people are saying.  Every day tasks become insurmountable feats.  My emotions run wild.

Tonight Cady and I are hosting a post-Halloween costume party.  I have a feeling it’s going to be big, it’s too late to cancel, and I want nothing to do with a party right now.

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Old Apartment, Florida, New Apartment

Just a quick general update.

I no longer love the place where I’m living.  Having a landlord who fixes absolutely nothing takes a toll on you.  Before I left on vacation a pipe broke in my kitchen.  My landlord rushed over, but 20 minutes was enough time for the kitchen to flood, and then all the water to rush down into the basement and flood there as well.  None of my things were damaged really, but the apartment was a wreck.  Water even got inside my furnace, breaking my air conditioning.  Instead of cleaning this whole mess like his duty, the landlord left my dad and I with a wet vac.  He also did not tear down any of the now soaked drywall or replace anything in the apartment, so now a couple months later, the whole place smells like mildew.  The air conditioner is still broken, which I have really appreciated in this 90 degree weather.

My trip to Florida was amazing and relaxing and everything I needed.  The first half of the trip we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Boca Raton Resort.  The beach club was amazing.  We were able to take the water shuttle to their private beach, where they also had 3 pools.  The atmosphere in the hotel was a little stuffy with an “old money” feel, but overall everything was very nice.  The second half of the trip we stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 hotel at Fort Lauderdale.  I thought the hotel was a better fit for us, we had a lush room with a balcony that had an amazing view.  Generally I wasn’t too crazy about Fort Lauderdale itself though.  I found it too be too touristy.

Some noteworthy restaurants- Whale’s Rib in Deerfield Beach, Fl; City Fish in Boca Raton; Yokohama Sushi in Boca Raton

Since I hate my apartment now, I decided not to sign a new lease.  I will be moving in with Miss Cady!  I’m pretty excited.  The unit is a 2 bedroom 2 bath in the town that I work in.  I think it’s going to be the perfect place to make us feel like we have a home.  The apartment is really huge, and I really like the way we are planning on furnishing it.  We get the keys September 10th, but I think my big move will be September 18th.

That’s about it for my little update!  I’m still working at going to school.  I’m taking History of Civilization and Speech 101 this semester.  Oh!  And my GPA is a 3.82!  I’m hoping to get it to go even higher this semester by getting As in both my classes.

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My Dad the Bird Man

My dad is an animal person.  Specifically he is a crazy bird man.  I am clearly the daughter of a crazy bird man.

When I was little, going to a bird show or fair was a regular occasion.  One time my dad gave a bird he bred to a friend, the friend entered it in a show and it one first place.  My dad breeds solid birds.  He breeds anything from exotic looking Lady Gouldians, to canaries that are so white they look like snow.  He doesn’t breed for money, I can’t remember the last time he actually sold a bird.  He breeds birds like European Gold Finches and Chaffinches so that when he sits in his free-fly aviary, among the rejected Christmas trees he collects yearly to provide the birds places to nest and the fountain that provides the birds regular fresh water, he feels like he’s back home in Macedonia.

I love his aviary.  I grew up in that building.  My mom has a picture of me, about 5 years old, smiling a gap-toothed grin bigger than anything.  I’m sitting on the floor of my dad’s aviary, holding something or other he needed help with.  My first pet was a bird born in his aviary.  The mother bird rejected the eggs, so my dad put them in an incubator.  I remember the Saturday morning so clearly when my dad brought me out to the aviary to show me a tiny baby button quail freshly hatched, peeping for food.  It was so fragile against his strong hands, still damp and scared of the world.  Creatively, I named him Peep Peep.

The pursuit of the best, healthiest birds is one my dad takes seriously.  When I was about 7 my whole family drove from Chicago to Niagra Falls to pick up a shipment of birds.  My dad is currently planning a trip to Michigan to buy about ten birds.  For me, this sounds normal.  He has birds that have come from import stations and breeders from Florida all the way to California.

Recently I told my dad I was missing the sound of birds in the morning.  I used to wake up every morning to the cheerful chatter when I lived with my parents.  I saw this bird at Petsmart that turned my head, a Red-Cheeked Cordon Blue.  A stunning bird from Africa, the Red-Cheeked Cordon Blue is not the most common in the area, but it’s what I want.

My dad scoured the bird fair yesterday, but unfortunately there were no Cordon Blues.  He emailed people, checked websites.  He called a few places in Chicago with no luck.  Then he calls his friend in California who has a bunch of freshly imported ones.  I knew he’d find them, because that is what a crazy bird man does best.

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