Fast Food

I just went through eight hours of management training (which wasn’t so bad, surprisingly), and some of the activities required me to go tripping down memory lane to jobs I’ve had in the past.

All through my undergraduate years, I worked in fast food. I probably shouldn’t name the names of the places for fear of being sued, but one of them was THE fast food place, then there was one of the big-time pizza places, and finally there was one of the big-time ice cream places.

While some of my coworkers were high school or college students, some were career fast foodies. There are some really interesting characters in fast food. Some of the managers were awesome, and some were asshats. It’s about like anywhere else I guess, but then again, in some ways it’s not.

The customers are one way it’s not. While working in an office gets boring sometimes, I will say I am thankful for one major feature of office work: The door. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can walk into a fast food place.

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The Marriage that Almost Wasn’t

Today was my 17th wedding anniversary.

Since we are heathens, we were married in a civil ceremony at the Durham County Jail in 2001. The magistrate worked at the jail instead of the courthouse on weekends, so we packed up our witnesses and trekked to the jailhouse to get married.

Before that, we lived together for almost a year. But how it all happened is the story I want to tell now.

Dan and I are both dumb as bricks when it comes to love.

We were friends for years before we started dating. We met in karate class when I was 14 and he was 17. We didn’t always get along so well, particularly since I was the teacher’s pet and Dan thought that was unfair. We also had some pretty severe rivalry going on when it came to video games (he called me button masher) and Magic: The Gathering (I called him you cheatin’ bastard).

I went away to college for two years and then transferred back to the community college in our hometown. We were both seeing other people by then, but not really liking them all that much. I saw him at karate and on campus, and we ran around with the same gang of nerds.

By the summer of 1997, we ended up hanging out together more and more often. We liked a lot of the same things: hobbies, music, movies…often we complained to each other about what we didn’t have in common with the people we were dating.

I knew by then that I was attracted to Dan, but I didn’t want to screw up our friendship by acting on it. It took one if my girlfriends stabbing me in the back to get me and Dan together.

She had the same birthday as him, so on their birthday I took them out drinking. Now one thing everyone knows about Dan is that he’s a cheap date. A few beers and he is in lala-land.

On the way home I stopped to go into a store for snacks, and Dan was asleep…er maybe passed out… in the back seat. When I came out this hooker was trying to put the moves on him. She knew I was interested and tried to poach my future husband, the bitch.

I drove home in a fury, and the next day I had to explain to him what happened and why I sent my ex-friend home early and was not speaking to her. So that was how we ended up dating.

Fast forward three years later: Dan graduated in December and I was set to graduate in May. Both of us were looking for jobs. I was interviewing with just about anywhere for practice, but by the end, I had job offers in three different cities.

Dan accepted an offer in North Carolina. When he was weeks away from moving, we had a long-overdue talk about our plans. I thought that because he hadn’t asked me if I wanted to join him in NC, it meant that we were either going to try the long distance thing or split up. He thought that since I was interviewing all over, I was going off to do my own thing.

In this talk it became known that of course he wanted me to come to NC with him and of course I was perfectly willing to turn down three job offers. Like I said, dumb as a brick.

I moved my stuff down that May into his apartment where he had one chair and a cardboard box for a TV stand. We got married the next March and here we are, 17 years later.

I don’t believe in love at first sight or soul mates or any of that nonsense. But I do believe I ended up with the one person I want to spend the rest of my life with. We make each other laugh and get each other through the hard times. We’re comfortable together, like that favorite chair with your butt imprint, the one that makes you give the side-eye to any guest who tries to sit in it.

I’m not great at being romantic, obviously, but somehow I ended up with an amazing husband, partner, and best friend anyway.

Happy 17th Mr. F! With all my crazy-ass love.

 

Demon Spawn

I mentioned earlier that I have two kids: a seven-year-old daughter (Isa) and a son who will be two in the fall (Rory).

Isa is our unicorn child. Although her babyhood was tough (she got all her teeth early and at once; literally ten were coming in at the same time), toddlerhood and early childhood haven’t been that difficult on us as parents. She’s a conscientious kid. Empathetic, sensitive, mostly well-behaved, smart for her age…yes I’m bragging, but I’m also trying to set the tone for a comparison.

Rory is a handful as a toddler. His babyhood wasn’t as hard as hers, but now that he is mobile it seems like he feels a magnetic pull toward anything and everything he isn’t supposed to have. Electrical outlets, light switches, lamps, dangerous toys, chemicals, sharp things, high things… A large part of raising Rory is following him around, removing him from the latest dangerous situation, and then comforting him when he screams his baby-rage to the heavens because you’ve thwarted him from killing himself for the 8th time that day. He also likes to throw adorable tantrums: picking up toys and throwing them, shoving things over, and stomping through the house on his chubby little legs.

He’s adorable and snuggly, too, so that helps a lot. But I’m guessing that his childhood will be tougher than his sister’s. I can already see him at preschool drinking the paint and deftly shoving craft materials into outlets.

Some people chalk this up to boys versus girls, but I don’t buy that. I have it on very good authority that female children can also be challenging. Neither of my kids can compare to their mother when it comes to behavior. Yes, moi. You know that age-old joke (or wish) where your parents say “I hope you have one just like you”? That happened to my mother, and I just hope Rory never reaches my level.

I thought I’d share some stories about my childhood antics since they are pretty amusing. I don’t even remember being the subject of some of them, but I do remember bits and pieces, and the rest I know from my mom telling them. I’ll start with some of the more innocuous ones.

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What publishers do

I’ve been in scholarly publishing for almost 18 years (nearly all of them in production or management), and one reason I enjoy it is that there is always something new to learn. This article has a nifty list!

Right now I’m still learning about my new job and doing a lot of  hands-on production work, management, and user support for our publishing systems. In the past, I did a little of everything involving management, production work, author and editor education/support, training everybody and their brother, enforcing standards or trying to real hard, rights and permissions work, art processing, and various other odds and ends.

Even though I’ve never felt like publishing or management are my “calling,” it doesn’t get boring, and if it does, it doesn’t stay boring for long. The other bonus about the job is that when you have downtime, you’re surrounded by stuff to read.

 

 

 

Allergies: We’re Not Making This Up

Since my last post, thankfully, things worked themselves out. Our landlord is turning out to be a super guy. He offered the would-be tenants and their dog another place he manages; it doesn’t have a fence so he is going to build them one. So it’s great news for us; we can stay indefinitely. He told us he would not rent to a family with pets as long as we’re living there.

When it comes to allergies, everyone is different, but people seem to fall into two camps: those who get better due to exposure, and those who get worse. The ones who get better are the ones who might get used to their own pet, or can handle a certain breed. Or maybe they grow out of their allergies in adulthood. This doesn’t happen for the ones who get worse. They just…well, get worse. Exposure makes them miserable and can eventually damage their lungs, or set off other allergies.

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