Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The end is the beginning.

My last day working for The Man ended relatively anticlimactically. I came home to a sleeping S who swore, despite the mountains of boxes and desert gear, that he had cleaned. A thunderstorm last night set our a/c settings awry, so it was 78 degrees downstairs, 178 upstairs, and the unbearable heat and mess made me feel irritable and lazy.

But earlier today I was escorted out of the building, having just signed my good-bye papers. I could see the static display through the glass doors, the same airplane I've been staring at since August. But seeing it today gave me a thrill. Today was an ordinary day for everyone in the building except me. I was never coming back. I wanted to yell and run out the door, but I don't think security would have been nearly as excited as I was.

It was a far more pleasant exit than the one I had in the tunnel. The person I gave my badge to there seemed to think it was strange I didn't have anyone to call who could escort me out. My people worked nights on the floor, but that didn't seem to make my situation any more understandable to him. He commandeered someone from another cubicle to walk me out. We made small talk as we moved down the hall, and after holding the door open for me past the check point he unceremoniously slammed the door shut so hard I thought to myself, "Nobody gets in to see the wizard! Not no way, not no how!" No goodbyes, no farewell, nothing. S got a picture signed by the people he worked with and a really nice plaque. I got a pair of noise-cancelling Bose headphones, because I lack the moral fiber to feel bad about not giving them back to the tunnel.

At my final out today the girl was not excited about my paperwork. She made copies of everything, handed me a stack of papers, and softly said, "Good luck." I'm sure that this happens every day for her, watching people coming and going. I grinned at her as I left. After I turned out of the doorway I looked down the hall in all directions, and skipped---yes, skipped---all the way down the hall. Free! I sped all the way to the gym, rendering my final salute to the man in the car next to mine as I grabbed clothes out of the trunk, ripped off my uniform, changed into civvies, and scampered back out.


After the wretched heat of the house was fixed, and some boxes were stacked more neatly in the closet, we went for sushi. I mentioned to S over our potstickers that my feelings are swinging long and wide, between terror and elation. Strangely, though, I never had a second thought about this decision. Once I came to grips with the fact that this really is what I want, it was scandalously easy to begin making the transition. I'm a little sore about the fact that I managed to make one (1) friend the entire time I worked here. But over the past six years I've met more awesome people than I can count. I can't be too upset about it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Strange things I'm really excited about.

1. Flash drives. S is looking at getting me a teeny tiny new computer for my big new life, and if I'm going to have a computer that small I'll need a flash drive for files. Now that I'll be allowed to carry one around, I'm super amused at how nifty these things can get. Like:

2. Carrying around my cell phone. I often wonder how I managed without a cell phone. Considering how hard-core people seem to be at screening their calls, life was probably much the same, minus standing around muttering, "Pick up the phone..." That being said, the need for a cell phone has been rather dire this week. S has things to do, I have things to do in the same area, so we carpool. Lines of communication are scrambled, or non-existent, and we spend the next four hours trying to figure out where the other one is. Soon, in a matter of days, I'll be allowed to carry my phone at all times. This doesn't mean I'll get a hold of people any faster, it just means I have one more thing in my arsenal to throw when I get frustrated while looking for those people.

3. Earrings. I don't usually wear earrings, I don't own any plain enough to wear at work. Before this job I wore them all the time, four gauges that you could see through. I don't think I'm going to get back up to that extreme. But I am getting my cartilage pierced, and I can't effing wait.

4. Oh my god shoes. Who can't wait to wear cute shoes all the time? This kid. These shoes:

Because they don't look like you could comfortably run two or three miles in them. And that's awesome.

Monday, May 18, 2009

His X-man power is keeping us on the grid.

Now S is back, and things have started working again. Rather than being pleased, I'm kind of infuriated. It's not that he's fixing anything. Most of the stuff he just turns on and it magically does what it's supposed to. Like the paper shredder, which I yelled at and gave the finger to for a solid five minutes after S shredded 135 days' worth of junk mail. Or his mouse, which started working when he was playing with his new computer monitors at 3AM (jet lag), so I wasn't there to witness the frustration of that little electronic miracle.

With five business days left, I'm feeling messy and out-of-sorts. Outprocessing has turned out to be anti-climactic. Ninety percent of outprocessing is automatic, making it the easiest transition I've had to make in the past six years. It's ironic.

I'm not really sure what I'll be doing until school starts in August. My leave ends at the beginning of July, at the end of July we're going to a friend's wedding, and then school. It feels like it'll all be just that fast, too. My first summer vacation in years, and it's just gonna zing on by.

When S left I filled my time with projects, and I took two math classes. I'm pretty sure this trend will continue into the summer. I have the wedding present to finish (The Afghan of DOOM, as I call it.), and my June math class. The closet needs...firebombed. But I think I'll settle for simply organizing it. That's a monumental project in and of itself, I may well need my entire summer to finish.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Typing on the last working computer in the house.

Part of what sucks so hard about your significant other being goddoesn'tknowhowmanythousandsofmiles away is how it just absolutely screws with your life. It's like being in a really awful sitcom, where you're sure that someone is pointing and laughing at you, and if you find that someone you're going to punch them until you can't lift your arm anymore. I would imagine that if Nancy from Weeds was a real person, this is how she would feel in almost every episode. And I admit, when she realizes her new dude works for the DEA I howled with laughter.

Aside from what can only be described as rips in the space/time continuum (more on that in a minute), there is an unbelievable amount of stuff that I take for granted while S is here. I'm a self-sufficient human being, I have to be to have made it this far, but life truly is easier when there's someone else you can lay a burden or two on. He does the yard work, he knows how to work our thermostat (which is harder to program than a nuclear missile), and computer stuff...don't get me started on all the problems I've had with the computers.

There's also the here-I-just-saved-you-from-something-unpleasant factor that comes with living with him. A couple weeks before he left he came up to me and handed me my iPod. "Look what I almost washed. Good thing I checked your pockets." Good thing indeed. About three weeks after he was gone, there was a mysterious thudding, banging noise coming from the dryer. An inspection of the contents revealed nothing. That would be because my iPod was securely contained in the zippered pocket of my jacket. Three days after that my first thought on waking was, "I WASHED MY IPOD." The realization was sickeningly clear, and as I blearily pawed through the clothes in the dryer I felt it. When I unzipped the pocket little pieces of the headphones tumbled out, and my iPod refused to come to life. Dead, dead, dead. And nobody to blame but myself. Sure, I got a shiny new iPod out of it, one that I like infinitely more than my old one, but I would have rather spent that money on something else, something that didn't make me feel like a complete waste.

And then the time thing. I don't even know what we do when we're together, but my days usually end with me going to bed two hours later than I had planned. Sometimes I wonder why we even have a house, because we'll spend hours away from home doing...what? I don't even know. When he's gone all that busy-ness goes with him, and I have nothing but obscene amounts of time on my hands. I remedied this by registering for a couple classes, giving myself some big knitting projects, loading my Netflix queue with mindless brain candy, and making some new non-work-related friends. In spite of this there are still weird spaces in my days. I look at the clock and think to myself, "I need to leave in an hour." I don't know where this hour goes, I don't even move, but I suddenly look up and see that I should have left ten minutes ago, and I'm not any closer to being ready than I was when I told myself what time I should leave. I have more time, but I'm doing less with it, and so it escapes me in big amnesiac gaps. Not all the time, though. More often than not I'm looking at the clock and screaming, "OH MY GOD IT'S ONLY FEBRUARY???????"

I get really tired of people telling me the time will go by quickly. Maybe they should be more specific about what part of time they're referencing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The guy who got shot down over Russia.

13 business days to go.

In my line of work, quitting is like going through the Stargate. At the risk of undue amounts of geekery, hear me out. You don't know what it's like on the other side. You see other people do it, and they seem to be okay, but you still wonder if it's for you. And nobody ever really comes back from it.

So, maybe not like the Stargate? I don't know, I've only seen the movie. But you get what I'm saying. I've seen people quit this job and go onto another life, a life that's usually thousands of miles away from where I am. Most of those people seem pretty happy. They're still alive (always a plus, right?), and they aren't living in an institution. So by all means I should be all right when my comes, too.


I registered for some more classes today. I'm going back to school as a science major, which is particularly terrifying for me because, until recently, my highest grade in math usually hovered between a C and a B. That's not terrible, I've never failed a class, but having been told from a very young age that I'm "just not a math person," I stuck that label on my forehead, owned it, lived it, loved it. I could shrug off not being able to cook something because I couldn't subtract, add, multiply, or divide fractions. How important are numbers to someone like me, someone who loves to read, who enjoys art museums, who was practically born to be a liberal arts major?

The answer, in case you haven't been paying attention to the world and finance, is pretty effing important.

If you believe the hype that you can't get a good job without a college degree, then let me add to that by saying that the college degree you have better be science-related. As someone who sailed through college and walked out with a beyond useless B.A., I am completely kicking myself for not trying harder, for believing any person who ever said to me, "Well, it's all right. Math isn't for everyone."

I'm the type who can't forgive people who chronically misspell words, or whose grammar is practically indecipherable. People who don't understand basic geography KILL me. My soul honestly hurts when I hear someone say, "Who is Francis Gary Powers?" If this is the type of thing that's making me lose faith in humanity, how can I expect to skate by not knowing even the most basic of math skills?

I've picked a major in the medical field, and I have to have precalculus. The highest math I've ever taken was Algebra II. In high school. Thirteen years ago. Jesus. But I'm happy to report that I've gone back to class, and my last two math grades were both A's, and not even struggling, oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-the-miracle-that-just-happened A's. I took the class, I understood what was going on, and I did well. I think that it might even stand to reason that I can no longer say with confidence that I am not a math person. It may not be my favorite subject, but I can survive it. And yes, now I am able to figure out fractions.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

in the beginning

In my worst times I come to the Internet for advice, because that's what everyone with a computer and a connection to the intarwebz seems to do these days (it's why Web MD is super popular). I'm sure all of those people were also confronted with what I found out every time it's 2AM, I can't sleep, and I'm frantically asking Google things like, "What should I do with my life?"

The Internet doesn't know the answer to this any better than I do.

But people do this every day. Isn't there a blog somewhere with someone in the exact same predicament as me?

Aside from this one, I mean.

I don't like talking about my job. Not just because I'm not supposed to talk about it, but because there's a whole slew of people out there waiting to judge me because of it. But if you understand what "terminal leave" is, and you get it when I say, "I have 15 business days until my terminal leave starts," then you have an idea of what I do.

Air. Not ground or water.

So, here I am, on the cusp of a new beginning. I'm quitting my job, and in August I'm going to school (the fightin'...Road Runners?) for Clinical Lab Sciences. Huh zah. When I'm not crouching in the corner in fear over what the future holds, I enjoy knitting and reading. I'm also a huge fan of random information, reading Wikipedia, British royalty, and Pearl Jam. I've seen the latter four times in concert. I have two cats and a husband, who I heart immensely.

And I have never been so terrified or exhilarated in my life.