My House is Broken and My Car is Gimpy

The house that I live in has both a front door and a back door, and I’m the only one in the house who uses the back door because I park my car back there. On Sunday morning, I went out back to shovel the driveway after the snowstorm, and when I went to go back inside, I noticed that the deadbolt looked a little weird.

ImageI took a picture of it and locked the door behind me because, as much as I didn’t want to think about it, it looked like a break-in attempt. The next day when my roommates came home, I showed them the picture. “I don’t want to be an alarmist,” I said. “But I think someone tried to break into the house.”

My roommates agreed and we were all pretty unnerved. I was very thankful that, due to the snow, my car was parked around the corner instead of next to the door like it usually is. While there’s nothing really worth stealing in it, I don’t know that that would have mattered. Since then, a new deadbolt had been purchased and “Beware of Dog” signs are up on both doors. Sometimes, we get a reminder that we live in a city. I’m just glad it wasn’t a more brutal reminder.

Today, as all of America is aware, was brutally cold. I think it was five degrees or something when I got in my car to pick up produce and then head to work. My car seemed to be driving kind of weird, but besides the fact that my car got inspected a week ago and passed, I also didn’t think much of it because people all over Facebook were complaining about how the extreme cold was affecting their cars. So I ran my errand and drove to WalMart. As I unloaded the groceries, I noticed the my right rear tire looked weird. I looked closer, and what I saw was this:

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Not good. After I let Jackie, with whom I was switching, know what was going on, I called AAA to come and help me change my tire. I’d never had a flat before and I had no idea what to do. They told me that they could certainly help me, but they were running behind and it would probably be about three hours. This made me grateful that I had managed to get to work before noticing the tire; at least I could work while I waited. As it happened, the guy arrived less than an hour later and made quick work of my tire. As he got back in his car, he called, “Have a better day!”

So tomorrow I get to have my tire looked at/repaired before I take my long trek to my first rehearsal for August: Osage County. I am SO excited to get started on this show!

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We’re Not Playing Anymore

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This past week has been a week of realizing that everyone around me is growing up. Last Sunday, I drove back to my hometown to attend my friends Lauren and Brent’s wedding. I went to high school with both of them, and on Sunday, they married each other.

This marks the third friend’s wedding I’ve attended. For my friend Kendra, who is two years older than me, it was a day where I watched my slightly older friend do something that slightly older people did. But for my other friends, who are the same age as me, it just feels like it’s a really elaborate game of dress up. Instead of being in the playroom or the backyard by ourselves and wearing old dance costumes, we’re all dressed up in big-person clothes that fit us and we’re in a public place with a lot of other people and official, legally binding words are being said. And even though I knew the wedding was coming and what was going to happen, both times I’ve been standing there going, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?” It hasn’t seemed real, though it unquestionably is. At my table, I was the only one who was not married, about to be married, or had marriage on the mind.

This feeling only increased today. My aforementioned friend Kendra had her baby shower today. Her BABY SHOWER. Very soon, a little boy with half her DNA will enter the world and she and her husband will be responsible for keeping that little boy alive. Believe me, I totally believe in their ability to do this, but it’s still a bit jarring to realize that this is the same girl with whom I shared a tiny dorm room my sophomore year where we ate food that was bad for us and kept Law and Order: SVU on all day every Tuesday.

But while I’m not taking those kind of huge, very public steps, I’m still taking some of my own. I’m looking at changing jobs for the millionth time this year, auditions for my play are happening in two weeks, and today, I took my very first antidepressant pill in attempt to get my life back. I guess I’m a real adult, too, in my own way.

Bye Bye, Sarah…

It’s been five days, almost to the hour, since I closed Time Stands Still.

I mentioned in my first entry about the show how scary it was because it was a challenging show. Three days before the performance, however, I was scared for another reason: people still did not know their lines. Because I was so scared by the script, I had my lines memorized really REALLY early, so it was frustrating and terrifying to me that just days before the show, I was still begging my costars to run parts of scenes with me because cues weren’t being picked up. I wanted so badly for the show to be good, and by the day of the last rehearsal, the show seemed to have fallen apart. But during the final rehearsal itself, the show kind of fixed itself. It wasn’t perfect, but being a superstitious theatre person, I was okay with that.

I think that, barring shows at my college, this was the show where I had the most people coming to see me. This made me both more nervous and more excited, and backstage before the matinee, my heart was beating so fast and all I could say was “I’m so nervous. I’m so nervous.”

The first show- which was attended by mom, my friends Kara and Meg, and my therapist- went pretty well. All throughout the rehearsal process, our director had been trying to get us to pick up the pace, and our nerves finally made us do that. The show itself is very emotional, but my character is not, and the electric charge of the show was making me feel intense emotions that I had to work not to show. My mom and I had dinner together before I had to report back to the theatre to have my gruesome makeup retouched. The second show- which was seen by my significant other and my friends Jamie, Maria, and Jackie- went just as well as the first. Since that was our final show, I missed saying lines as soon as they left my mouth. I could feel Sarah slipping away from me, and when I exited after my bow, I started crying.

Something that amazed me was that when people came over to me after the show and told me that I did a great job, I felt like I deserved it. Usually I’m really awkward about receiving compliments about my performances, but I just wasn’t this time.

This show has been such a growing experience for me. While I always work hard during shows, I really pushed myself for this one. I was terrified that I wouldn’t know my lines on time, so I used every spare moment and was memorized ten days early.  Even with my three weeks of bronchitis/cold/recovery, I did what I could to lower my vocal register and make myself sound older. I tried to be more in my body, unlike the awkward 20-something that I am. I learned how to walk with crutches and a cane and how to do a stunt fall while wearing a leg brace, without hurting myself. I researched PTSD and the locations where Sarah travels to for work. I put SO much work into this part and I feel like it came through, at least for the most part, in my performance. Finally during the last few days, I felt like I was skillfully playing a woman sixteen years my senior. For the first time in my life, I thought, without prompting, “I am a good actor.” And that in itself is a huge step.

I miss the show like crazy. I miss playing Sarah and I miss playing opposite my costars. I miss rehearsals to look forward to after a long day of teaching and I miss writing about Sarah and her life in my notebook. I just miss it.

Aside

Funeral Day and Related Experiences

This past Friday, my Uncle Joe lost his battle with cancer. While his death was expected, it was still jarring and sad to get the call from my mom that morning saying that he would probably pass away that day, which he did in the afternoon. My mom and grandparents were there, with my aunt (the one who just got married) on the way.

At the beginning of the month, knowing that this was probably going to happen soon, I e-mailed both of my bosses and let them know that when it did, I wanted to be with my family. My boss at Big Famous University answered with, “Oh, absolutely, no problem, just let me know.” My boss at the tours, though, wrote, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a cover for you. This is kind of inconvenient.”

Um… I apologize if my life and, more importantly, my uncle’s death, is getting in the way of my job, which, as it happens, does not really impact society. Even when I found out the date of the funeral, my boss whined about helping me get a cover. I asked if someone was on call, since those people are there to cover in emergencies. “Well yeah,” my boss said. “But I don’t want to use him.” In the end, a different coworker cancelled her plans to cover both of my shifts. Then, as if that weren’t enough, I was asked to do a practice tour at 3:45 this afternoon. I said no.

Because most of my family were coming in from several hours a day, including my parents and sister, I told my mom that if anyone needed a place to stay, they could stay the night with me. My cousin Laura ended up taking me up on that offer. She and my uncle Merritt booked a flight from North Carolina which was scheduled to get in around 12:05. Late, but not obscene, and I offered to pick them up from the airport. But then it became so when the flight was delayed and their plane was scheduled to get in at 1:30. Now, generally, I am a night owl, but lately, I’ve been zonked out by 11, so around 10:30 last night, I took a nap so I’d be alert while driving.

I met Laura and Merritt in the airport and we hopped in my car and went to leave the parking lot… and didn’t for twenty minutes. For some reason, the gates where you paid for your parking were causing huge problems. Besides two planes from Chicago getting in at the same time, only three stations were open, making the lines really long, and the computer system must have been down or something, because two supervisors were running back and forth between stations, hitting buttons on the computer. The lines that were moving (not ours) took about five minutes per car, taking a million pictures of their license plates and seemingly interrogating them about their departure. The person in front of us was having some issues. We didn’t know what was going on except that we weren’t moving. We decided to back out and try the credit card lane, but as soon as the decision was made, a jerk decided to block us in, making moving impossible. We tried to motion for him to let us out, but he pretended to be confused. Meanwhile, the person in front of us was being handed back his credit card as he gesticulated angrily. At last, the car behind us moved when it benefited him and I pulled into the credit card lane. Merritt took my card and the pay stub and fed both into the machine. Once it was accepted and the gate went up, we gunned it out of there. It had taken twenty minutes.

Because the plane got in so much later, Laura and I had decided to book a hotel room at the same place where her mom and Merritt were staying. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gotten to my place until 3:30 am at the earliest and would’ve had to wake up earlier to get to the funeral home. So we arrived at the hotel around three, my aunt Debbie met us in the lobby to give us our key, and I was asleep about twenty minutes later.

I got up at 8:15 to find Laura already getting ready. By the time Aunt Debbie arrived to take her to go get our grandmother, I was ready to go get breakfast. I had expected to go to the dining room, gather food from the buffet, and chill in my room until I had to leave. So I went over to the breakfast room with only my meal voucher and my room key to discover that it was basically a restaurant. Like, a sit-down, give-a-tip restaurant; good thing I hadn’t shown up in my puppy dog pajamas. I didn’t know what to do. Besides the fact that I didn’t have my wallet, my wallet had no money in it. Finally, after a long internal debate, I snuck away after eating my breakfast, grabbed my wallet, visited an ATM, had the girl at the desk break my twenty, and slipped back into the dining room to put the tip on the table.

I left immediately after that, checking out of the hotel and heading to the funeral home. I was very, very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect from anyone, and it was scary. But it wasn’t too bad. It was hard to see my mom, aunt, and grandmother getting upset, but the service was nice and short and I met some relatives who had last seen me when I was knee-high. It was great to see how many people came to remember my uncle- not only family, but his friends from high school, his co-workers, the three bosses from his workplace, my grandparents’ friends, and even some of my relatives from my dad’s side. There was a lot of love in that room.

I sat in the second row with Allie, Laura, Merritt, and my dad. In front of us were my mom, my aunt, and my grandparents. There was one extra seat in their row and I kept thinking that it represented the person who was no longer able to take that seat in their family. The service, as I mentioned, was short, and Allie, Laura, and I stumbled through it, since it was a Catholic service and none of us are Catholic. Once the service was over, we hung around a little as people trickled over to the hotel where the luncheon was being held.

There were fewer people at the luncheon and it was a nice time. It felt like people had left their outward grieving at the funeral home, and as far as I experienced, normal conversation was had. My mom and aunt had made up a scrapbook of pictures of Joe and we asked people to write good memories on slips of paper to be alternated with photos.

Laura, Debbie, and I accompanied my grandparents back to their house and stayed for a little bit, but we were all exhausted. I’m very grateful to be able to sleep in tomorrow, because I was ready to go to bed around one in the afternoon. I can’t even imagine how tired my mom and aunt were, since they’d been driving back and forth for weeks, for hours on end.

My uncle’s death made us all really sad, but it’s also good that he’s not suffering anymore, as I heard my grandmother say at the funeral. Now it’s time for those who were close to him to struggle back to normal life, knowing that at least his pain has ended.

Life/Job

There have been a lot of mix-ups in my tourguiding job lately. On Tuesday, we had one too many guides for a tour (a mistake that is certainly preferable to this morning’s situation, when a group of 60 kids and teachers showed up and no guides had been assigned to them.) Also on Tuesday, I was assigned to give a 11:15 scavenger hunt to a group that had a tour before the hunt. The group was supposed to leave for the tour at 10 am. They were 25 minutes late and, upon arriving, required a bathroom stop, which always takes an extra half hour. As soon as a group is late, we tour guides instantly start axing stops, because we are required to get the tour back by the time on our sheet. However, the guide leading this tour elected to give the group the full 75-minute tour and give them a shorter scavenger hunt time, since you can’t fill out the hunt without learning about the answers, which you get on the tour.

This was a good, solid choice on the guide’s part. After we finished the hunt, I went to my boss’ apartment to drop off the hunt supplies and pick up some more uniforms. On the way up, she asked how the tour went. I explained to her the situation and she leveled me with a stare. “So you DIDN’T offer to give them extra time on their scavenger hunt?” I told her no, we kept it in its alloted slot. “Well, did the other guide have somewhere to be or something afterward?” I knew she didn’t, but I didn’t want to throw her under the bus, so I said, “Yeah, I think she did.” “Hm,” my boss said. “I’ll have to talk to her about that.” The interrogation continued and it was obvious that the other guide and I could do absolutely no right by this woman.

This morning, I caught up with the same guide, who reported that she had been chewed out over e-mail by our boss. Besides berating the guide about all the things that had been covered with me, the boss also asked the guide if she had somewhere she had to be the day of the mix-up. The guide told her no. “Well, good,” the boss said. “Because you’d need to clear that with me. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have been able to add an extra 45 minutes to your shift.”

Say what?

Now, I like this job. It’s a nice job for an actor to have because it allows me to sort of do what I love. But this is still an entry-level position. A high schooler could do this job. So what on earth makes my boss think that we need to dedicate our entire lives to this not-even-a-career? This past week, I was told (not asked) that I was being given an extra tour. I had scheduled my therapy for that time slot but, not saying a peep to my boss, rescheduled my session for Wednesday and took the extra tour. I was then asked on Tuesday to give a tour during my rescheduled therapy time slot. This time I said no.

I am very dedicated to my jobs. Besides the fact that I need the money, I’m a chronic people-pleaser, so I like to say yes to any shift that comes around. But I do have a life outside of my jobs; I learned back in March that working so much that you don’t have a life is not healthy. So after I get my monthly schedule, I plan the rest of my day around my shifts. And while I understand that there are emergencies, I don’t get why this boss expects me to have an extra 45 minutes to several hours to add to my already-present shift. I’m a tour guide, not a doctor; my job is not so important to society that I should expect to drop everything at a moment’s notice to go into work. It seems to me that she wants to be notified of every little conflict, but I have to wonder- if I am having lunch with a friend, do I need to tell her that in case she decides to give me a tour? She’s denied people going to important doctor’s appointments in the recent past, deeming the request “ridiculous.”

Having had so many jobs in the past year, I know better than most people how insane the job market is. It’s hard to get a job, but it’s just as hard to work the job you eventually get. Even at entry-level positions, they’re now expecting you to dedicate your life to these jobs. They don’t ask you to take a shift- they tell you that you’re taking it. Certainly, we’re all strapped for cash and most twenty-somethings I know are ready and willing to fill in an emergency shift. But the fact is that we’re still people. Taking a day off every few weeks to spend with friends or family shouldn’t be considered a crime, and taking a few hours to go to the doctor should be allowed to be put BEFORE the job. How can employers expect their employees to work up to the level demanded of them if they’re run ragged? For the past few weeks, I’ve worked five to six days a week, sometimes doing two jobs a day, and that is perfectly fine with me. I can handle that. But I wish that that seventh day, the one that I cherish during the rest of the week and milk when it finally arrives, wasn’t seen as me being lazy. Perhaps if these jobs paid us enough to allow us to only have one job, the story would be different. But as it is, we twenty-somethings need to have at LEAST two positions to keep our heads above water, and I think it’s only going to get worse.

AT LAST!

It has happened. I thought it never would, but at last, it has…

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I HAVE JOINED THE WORLD OF SMARTPHONE USERS!

I had heard of these things called “apps” but never seen one. How beautiful…

My phone makes pretty sounds when I get emails and text messages, making me feel oh-so-popular and loved.

My phone is sleek. My phone can still fit in my front pants pocket. My phone has owls as the background.

MY PHONE IS AWESOME.

Ice Cream Trucks Mean It’s a Neighborhood

Over the past few days, I’ve been slowly moving into my new place, which is about 20-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from my old apartment. It was probably the smoothest move-out I’ve had yet. As I talked about last summer, I’m pretty awful at moving, so this time, I was really trying to be thorough. For the most part, I was good, though as today has been going on, I’ve been remembering the things I left in the fridge. Oops :/

My new place is actually IN Philadelphia; for the past five years, I’ve been living in the suburbs of the city. The area where I now live is still residential, but is in an area much, much busier than I’ve ever lived in before. Yesterday as my dad was helping me move and we drove down the street, I kept saying things like, “Look! A laundromat! A restaurant! A store! Sidewalks!” and my dad said, “This is a neighborhood.” As if to prove it, an ice cream truck drives by about four times a day. Ice cream trucks are the final word on whether a place is a neighborhood.

I’m living with two friends (a guy and a girl, who are a couple) from college and a guy I just met yesterday. It’s a small house as opposed to an apartment, with a garage and everything. My room is much smaller than my last room, but it’s nice and it’s ALL MINE. This is the first time in five years, save for the summer months, that I have not had a roommate. While I loved all of my roommates, I am so happy to finally have my own space, and for the lowest price I’ve paid yet.

Part of the reason for choosing this place out of the three I had on the table was that it is near to a subway station. At all my other places, I took at least two modes of transportation, usually with an added long walk, to work. Here, I can take one train to a stop very close to my jobs. Today was the first day I was trying out the new station. I left an hour, just in case, because the place is HUGE, with a multi-level parking garage. But it wasn’t hard to figure out, and the ride to work is only 25 minutes- hooray!

But my journey came to a screeching- or rather, a shattering- halt before I even pulled out of the driveway. Our garage/small driveway is behind the house, and there is a gate on each side that, if you wish, can join together and lock people away from your property. Just before I went to bed last night, I noted that someone had parked really stupidly right behind our driveway, and I made a note to myself to be careful when pulling out of the driveway. I remembered this as I was on my way to work today, but unfortunately, being super concentrated on not crashing into the stupid person’s car took my attention away from the Problem Child Gate, which, even after living here for less than 48 hours, I have figured out likes to swing around willy-nilly. So this morning, the PCG had decided to try to hug my car, and as I backed out, the edge of the gate came into contact with my left side-view mirror and smashed it to pieces.
This was bad. It was bad because my dad was going to be mad at me, but also because, if you remember, I’ve just moved to a busy area, where having all your mirrors in good working order is kind of required. I made it to the transportation center in one piece, but knew I’d have to do something about it after work.

Getting home after work was an episode, though. I take the subway a lot, but I only ever take it between 2nd and 34th Streets. The stop near my house is across the river from 2nd Street, all the way at the end of the line, but I’d always seen 2nd Street (and the river) as the final stop. So even though I got on the right train home, heading across the river, I panicked, second-guessed myself, and changed trains, riding for twelve incorrect subway stops (about twenty extra minutes) before realizing that I had been right the first time and taking another 50-minute ride back to my actual stop. *sigh*

When I got home, I had to add an auto shop stop to my already-planned grocery shopping, but as it turned out, I had to go to THREE auto shops… none of which had what I needed (a temporary mirror.) I went home, put away my groceries, and talked to my dad, who said that for my own safety, I HAD to get a replacement mirror of some kind before I drove around tomorrow. I knew he was right, so I tied back PCG and drove off again, to Target for tape and some sort of cheap mirror. Pathetic, yes, but all I can do at the moment.

Do you know how hard it is to find a mirror? I’ll tell you- REALLY HARD. I figured I’d just buy a cheap makeup case or locker mirror and fasten it to my car, but they apparently don’t sell those at the moment. The only mirrors I found were magnifying mirrors, which wouldn’t make my driving any safer, or super fancy (expensive) decorative mirrors. But FINALLY, after about forty-five minutes, I came across a large hand-held mirror. I thought it might be too big, but it’s actually the perfect size, and when I got home, I stepped on the handle and snapped it off, removed blue plastic from around the edges and back, and package-taped the mirror over the shattered remains of my side-view mirror… and it actually doesn’t look as stupid as I thought. It still kind of looks like someone who was really desperate fixed it up, but I don’t think it could have looked any better.

So now that THAT drama is over, I have to concentrate on memorizing this new script for work (a ghost tour, run by the same company I already work for.) I can’t wait until my first test is over- then I can return to normal life, which involves decorating my new room, reading, and not crashing into gates.

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