Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Rejection and An Offer

Who would have known that un(der)employment would feel so exhausting?  I certainly didn't expect to be so overwhelmed by day-to-day living.  Yet, this post-graduate life often surprises me.
Greta and I visited a local family farm to celebrate the autumn season.  These cows make me homesick for România.
Despite the occasional crippling episodes of feeling useless and ulcer-inducing worries about finances, there are benefits to an open schedule.  In between my duties as Greta's private chauffeur, I've started on a few additional furniture makeovers.  Even though my current workshop (our garage) has been stingingly cold these past several days, enough layers and a plethora of podcasts to keep me company have made the atmosphere quite nice.

I've also been able to spend a good amount of time with my family without worrying about job obligations.  Two weekends ago, I traveled with my parents and sisters to visit our brother David at college, and this past weekend we visited my sister Annie and her boyfriend at my old stomping grounds.  I do appreciate long, scenic car trips, especially after 12+ train trips I endured in Eastern Europe.  Moreover, in an attempt to stay connected to the realm of Humanities, I've tried to maximize my travel time by listening to audiobooks in the car.  (Thank God I kept my portable CD player from junior high days gone by).
Graceful Peacocks
At any rate, I'm doing my best to remain positive about my current state of life, but impending bills are increasing the urgency of my perpetual (and, admittedly) half-hearted job search.  This endeavor was half-hearted because up until today, I felt lukewarm about searching for work as I had already applied to a prestigious company I expected to be a perfect fit: Creative work place.  Literature.  40K annually and a full benefit package.  Um, yes please?!  I'd poured myself into the application and patiently awaited a response from the company.  Today, after weeks of waiting, I was informed via email that I was "one of 90 qualified applicants" for the position and after "carefully considering a talented pool of applications, we've offered the position to someone else."

Enter: Disappointment. *sigh*

I knew the job was a long-shot for a fresh graduate, but I had at least hoped for an interview.  That's what bothers me the most, actually.  If nothing else, being given the chance to interview for a job of this prestige would certainly allow me a little boost into the professional world...  That being said, it's no use to cry over rejection (and to be clear, I didn't cry about this; my retaliation came in the fashion of a motherlode of potstickers wolfed down to Emily Vancamp kicking ass in Revenge) and this turn of events simply opens me to something else.

I do have a job offer, actually, as a sushi waitress.  In high school, I worked for YX, a lovely Chinese woman a local take out restaurant I will refer to as "the Wok."  I've since visited YX and learned that she is opening a brand new Japanese restaurant in a neighboring town; she hired me on the spot, delightedly. The grand opening is tomorrow; in less than 24 hours, I will find myself in a position similar to one I experienced as a junior in high school, beginning a new job in a restaurant managed by YX.  I love my boss, so I suppose I have a lot to be thankful for.  I doubt I'll be pulling in 40K a year by waiting tables, but it's infinitely better than going $4.37 under in my checking account, as I did just last night.

I'll be updating with photos of my furniture once it's finished.  I have yet to sell my piano bench, as my Craiglist buyer backed out the day before our deal.  If you're reading this and want the bench in my last post... say something, please.  :)

Until next time,
Greta took this picture of me among the vines during our visit to Winona.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Furniture Facelift

I’ve taken up a new hobby.  Long term boredom does that to people.  (After all, I can only sit through so much Dr. Phil... I do have my limits). 

Furniture just might be my calling.  
Before: Broken, nondescript, generally gross
After: Cute, quilted, shabby chic
I’m really happy with how my piano bench turned out.  It was a spontaneous endeavor, and I finished the project only two days after I spotting the bench at Goodwill.  I stopped at the hardware store for new hinges, brushes, and paint and eagerly began my new project.  I removed the ripped vinyl cushion (with spongy foam spilling out... eew) and dissembled everything before sanding, painting, and treating the wood with my homemade beeswax and olive oil polish.  The most challenging task was the cushion, and the creative gears in my mind were set ablaze as I *nearly *started from scratch, having thrown out the deteriorating, yellowed original.  (I did have a board to use as a base and size reference).  At any rate, I built the cushion with hand towels, cotton stuffing, a piece of cardboard, tape, a plastic  bag, a pillow case, and a quilted pair of pajama pants I never wear.  Layering was key for creating the shape, while meticulous hand-sewing held everything in place.  My fingers were nicked in the process, but it payed off.  I love it!

Cushion completed, I assembled all the parts and found myself with a lovely albeit creaky bench.  Über creaky.  And no one wants a creaky piano bench... the instrument should be making the notes, not the bench!  Anyway, I fixed that problem with a little vaseline between the joints.  It’s quiet now, and oh-so-pretty!

The next step is finding a venue to sell this bench and other projects for profit.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Mildly Humiliating Visit to Shell Station

I have little structure in my life these days, owing to my general unemployment and weakness for Youtube. I do, however, take part in a quad-weekly ritual with my sister... In other words, I drive her to dance four times a week.  I look forward to these car rides, jamming along to our mix CDs or attempting to learn Pimsleur's French.  But it's nice to spend time with my sister and I'm more awake and presentable than when I drop her off at school in the morning.  Then, I'm usually barefoot with a bathrobe thrown over whatever I slept in the night before... not always a pretty sight.  

While she's dancing, I  usually loiter at the Barnes & Noble across the road, perusing novels that I don't intend on buying–-or at least not now, while I'm up to my eyeballs in debt.  I love the atmosphere in the bookstore, the aroma of fresh paper and coffee wafting over the pages I'm so careful to keep immaculate.  I've almost finished the novel I've been at for the past couple of weeks.  I came across the book this summer; the cover caught my eye and I took a photo to look up the authors (it's co-authored) later, as I didn't get much from the Hungarian translation.  At any rate, in English it's called The Circle.
I love bookshops, but they just aren't as fun when you can't read the language.
The sequel to The Circle has already been released in Hungarian, but won't come to the US until January.  Boo.
Tonight, however, I dropped off Greta and immediately drove to my friend Elizabeth's house to sew.  Elizabeth is an incredible seamstress and costumer who I've had the privilege to assist on a flexibly regular basis since I've returned from Europe.  (I enjoy this arrangement for several reasons: 1) I get to hang out with Elizabeth, 2) I can practice sewing, and 3) I earn a little income while engaging in the previous reasons).  She was in a bind tonight; her client's order needed to be filled, stat, but a wasp sting to her hand rendered her helpless against pulling 4 layers of fabric (3 of them velvet) through a sewing machine.  Thus, The Circle will wait until tomorrow evening.

After almost two hours at Elizabeth's, I picked up Greta from her studio and noticed the gas gauge pointing ominously towards empty.  I hadn't driven this car before as it is my brother's, and I generally drive our family car.  Recently, though, that car has been groaning more fitfully than can be ignored so I've been getting used to this car's quirks.  Like gunning the gas to go more than 15 miles per hour.  Or like having to jiggle around the gear shift to get it to move.  Anyway, I pulled into a Shell Station near the studio and beelined inside (as I'd just noticed how full my bladder had become).  Exiting the nearly empty gas station, I looked out towards the car.  For some reason, I'd managed to leave a good at 5 feet between the car and the pump.  I shrugged, swiped my card, removed the nozzle, selected the grade... and promptly realized that I'd never actually bought gas with this car as I unsuccessfully attempted to open the fuel door.  Neither prodding nor pulling nor clawing nor asking my sister to use her substantially longer nails to pry it open actually worked.  It was like a lidless magic box, only less enchanting and more harmful to the environment.  As I stood stupidly staring at the fuel door, the cashier I had brushed past for the restroom walked over to the pump:
Him:  Um, you planning to buy gas tonight?  I'm about to close up shop.
Me: Yes, I want to... I just can't open the, um, thing here? ...It's my brother's car.  It's stuck or something.
Him: Uh, could you open the driver's door?
Me: *opens door*
Him: *pushes lever, fuel door opens*
Me: Ah...
He walked back into the station and I noticed Greta chortling from inside the car.  I didn't blame her: I was decked out in teal harem pants and an obnoxiously colorful indigenous sweater with a pointy, elf-like hood.  I bore a passing resemblance to a poor, lost, circus performer, apparently inept with motor vehicles.

The verdict to this experience is that I'll be going there again never.  That is all.