MOVarazzi

Thursday, May 31, 2012

784. Muse Shows Up For A Job Interview

“What are you doing?” I hiss at Muse, “You look ridiculous!” 

“I read your blog, and that was totally funny, the whole flight attendant/ interview thing, so I thought I would get a job as a flight attendant, too!”  She smiled wide, her perfect teeth glistening like giant Arctic Polar bear fangs, only prettier.  And pointier. 
“Muse, if you had bothered to read the entire post, it was a flashback.  I didn’t go to that job interview yesterday, I went to it when I was, like, 23.  Get a grip.” 

“Who cares?  I think it would be a fun job.  I know they would hire me.  You said something in your blog about ‘looking the part’ so I thought I would wear this cute little dress.  Do I look like a Sky Goddess?” 
“They don’t call them that anymore.  You need to learn the current politically correct lingo.  They call them stewardesses.  Wait, no, I mean flight attendants.” 

“Whatever.  Do you think I might meet some cute pilot?” 
Oh, God, here we go.  How to tell Muse that most pilots are total geeks? 

“Muse, I have something to tell—”
“I would looooooovvvvvvvve to meet some hot, geeky pilot!  Rarh!  I just love their dorky haircuts!  Yes.” 


Muse grinned wickedly. 

“Muse, no.  I don’t think the hostile skies are the right place for you.” 
“Hostile?  I thought they were supposed to be friendly?” 

“Muse, seriously.  They do a background check.  You have a jail record, remember?” 
“Oh, that?  You’re still hung up on that?  No one cares about jail anymore, MOV, jail is so passé.  We are all about second chances.”  She nodded solemnly. 

“Yeah, uh, no.  No one is gonna hire you.  Especially in that get-up.  What is this—1962?” 
Just then, her iPhone rang.  The ring tone was Devo’s “Whip It.”  I can’t say that I was surprised. 

“Hello, Muse here.”
“Mrh   jruhqiuwzd  aosdhoq3trhiqeui  asdoirhjqotrhuiqoh.” 

“Yes, uh, huh, go on …” 
“kjerhiu3 bhdizre wqiweuti3uijsdgjkeqhrt …”

“Okay, sure, what does that mean?” 
“Pkeajbhfriuqeksdj agieqriu3e akjgtnie eetohnwei.”  

“Got it.  Right.  Thanks!” 
“Muse, who was that?” 

“Delta Airlines!  I have a new job!” 
(to be continued ... )


MOV    
(“Muse’s Original Victim”)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

783. My Interview With USAir

I never told you this story. 


When I was fresh out of college, I worked a string of dead-end jobs.  Knowing I loved to travel, my father helpfully suggested that a job with the airlines would provide international flight benefits, something my current job at a local gym most certainly did not.  When I saw an ad for USAir flight attendant interviews a month later, I showed up for the cattle call. 

Being the Virgo that I am, I got there 10 minutes early. 


There was no need to ask the front desk girl where the interviews were being held, as the line of airline hopefuls literally snaked around the building.  I almost cried.  There was no way I was getting in. 



I looked down at the ad in my hand and noticed it said interviews were being held Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  Today was only Monday.  I could come back tomorrow and be the first in line. 


The next morning, I put on the same navy interview suit, the same strand of pearls, the same navy pumps.  My résumé was in my leather attaché.  I was ready. 
I was two hours early this time.  Not only was no one there yet, the morning newspapers had not even been delivered to the lobby.  I asked the front desk girl where I should line up.  She was prepared.  After yesterday’s massive turn-out (they’d had to turn people away), they implemented a numbering system.  She handed me a sign-in sheet and a ticket number:  1. 


I wanted to kiss the ticket:  I knew it was the ticket to my future. 




I bought a latte at the Starbucks in the hotel lobby, and then I sat down on a bench outside the conference room and waited.  

I did not have to wait long.  Apparently, other people from the previous day had had the identical experience I had, so they arrived within minutes of me.  In half an hour, the line was again out the door.  I stood there smiling, chatting with other wannabe flight attendants, and generally sizing up the competition.  Her suit is red, bold choice, but too much of a risk.  She has her hair in a French braid, looks sharp.  He is wearing Converse high-tops with his suit—interview suicide.    

As the clock crept closer to 8 AM, a uniformed man walked through the line calling out, “If you don’t have language skills, you can go home right now!  And I don’t mean seventh grade Spanish, folks!  If you are not native speaker fluent, get out of line and go home!” 

Several people got out of line and headed toward the door.  I started second-guessing myself.  I considered myself to be good in Spanish, but native speaker?  That was a stretch.  But I had already given up two days to be here.  What were the chances that they would have language interviews on the very first day?  And what if your second language was Korean or Russian or Swahili?  I doubted the airline would have the right language testing for all the possibilities on the very first day.  I could wing it for now and maybe hire a tutor before I got to the next interview. 
It was now 8:30.  I really had to use the bathroom before the interviews started at 9 AM.  Since they had given us numbers, and since I had struck up a conversation with the people behind me in line, I felt confident that I could go to the restroom and come right back.  “Will you hold my place?” I asked a girl named Kristina.  “Sure, no problemo.”  Damn, she was already showing off her native speaker fluency skills. 

There was no one else in the ladies room.  I think other people were afraid to leave the line.
As I walked out of the stall and to the sink to wash my hands, I noticed a blond woman in a dark suit fixing her lipstick.  Her hair was down.  From everything I had heard, I knew the airlines preferred for women to have their hair back, and indeed, mine was swept up in a tight chignon.  Not only that, but she had a huge run in the back of her stockings. 
Did she know, did she not know, how could she not know?  I didn’t mean to, but I found myself staring in the mirror at the woman’s reflection. 

Should I say something?  I happened to have a few rubber-bands in my purse, she could put her hair up in a quick ponytail—there was still time.  And maybe the hotel gift shop stocked panty hose, although they might not actually be open before 10 AM.  I agonized about what to do.  She was after all, my competition. 
She caught me looking at her.  She turned around to face me, and said pleasantly, “Hello.” 

I was embarrassed that I had been staring at her.  Then I saw her number crumpled on the sink counter:  1004.  No wonder she decided to use the bathroom right now, there was no danger of her losing her place in line.  She was dead last.  There was absolutely no way she was even getting in there today.  I began to feel very smug about the number 1 ticket in my suit pocket. 
“How’s it going?” I mumbled to her.  Then I turned and left. 

Kristina had saved my place in line.  “Did I miss anything?” I asked her. 
“Well, Language Guy came around again.  More people left.” 

Finally, at 9 AM on the dot, they called in the first group, numbers 1-50.  Imagine my surprise when Miss No-Ponytail-Run-In-Stockings from the bathroom was already standing in the conference room.  I had seen her number on the counter.  I knew there was no way she was supposed to be here.  She had obviously tipped some underpaid busboy to let her in a back door.  I was outraged that a cheater like her who wore run stockings and her hair down could worm her way into the interview, instead of getting here early and waiting like everyone else.  I really wanted to say something to the person in charge.  In the end, though, I decided to keep my mouth shut.  It was an internal struggle for me, because I kept asking myself:  Would USAir even want someone like her representing them?

Apparently so.  “Welcome,” said Miss No-Ponytail-Run-In-Stockings to our group.  “My name in Angela, and I am a recruiter for USAir.”  There were two other recruiters with her.  I don’t remember their names.    
I could feel my face turn every shade of crimson.  That must not have been her number on the counter after all.  I was slowly realizing that it most likely belonged to one of those non-fluent language speakers who left early. 




Angela told us to give a two-minute speech about why we wanted to be flight attendants.  I was, naturally, first.  I could feel her eyes boring through me.  The other two recruiters sat like wax statues while I spoke, but Angela scribbled something in her notebook.  I was sure it read:  Makes inappropriate eye contact.  Does not help others.  Not a good candidate.

Do I need to tell you that I did not get the job? 

MOV
(Aside:  I was hired by Continental a few months later.  I eventually made my career as a flight attendant with United, and I wore my hair down sometimes and was know to have a run in my stockings once or twice.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

782. Dear Clutter ...

Dear Clutter,

I want you out.  There, I said it. 
I know you probably thought I liked you, but the truth is:  I never have.  And it is not very nice of you to bring all your friends, especially Stray Papers, Extra Junk, Random Stuff, and Miscellaneous (I don’t know her last name, but you know who I’m talking about).  I am sick of hosting all of you.  It’s time to go. 

I might have mentioned once or a hundred times that I am a Virgo.  Which is why it makes me very uncomfortable to have you and your pals here so often. 
Surely there is somewhere else you could go?  I know how you like to—what do you call it— go “antiquing”?  I’ve seen you through the window of those second-hand stores; they like you there.  They need you there.  You are familiar to them. 

The Husband and I have had long discussions about you, and there is only one conclusion:  we hate you.  Now please leave.    

Love,
MOV
p.s. If you drive by and happen to notice that Empty Space has taken your place, try not to be offended.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

781. This Is The Day That I Will Be Contacted

When I started my blog, my goal was to write every day for one year.  I knew that was a bit ambitious and that I would most likely miss some days, so I promised myself I would write two or three the next time to make up for it.  Notice I say my goal was to write every day.  I never said my goal was to write something consistently great.    
But that has somehow morphed into my new goal. 

It is not enough now to just write, now the goal is to write something great. 
I want my writing to stick with you and haunt you, like that renegade piece of popcorn that lodged in between your back molars and now you can’t get it out and you are dying for some dental floss but you are still at work so you try your best to get it out with the side of your tongue, then the clean edge of your pencil eraser, and finally your car key, but the kernel is permanently wedged.   It mocks you, saying, “Here I am!  You can’t escape me!  Even when you don’t want to think about me, here I am!”

 
Yeah, that is what my writing strives to be.  
           
So, what I am saying is:  I live in fear that the one day I write something brilliant will be the day no one reads my blog.  And the one day I write something cutesie about my kids and how adorable they are will be the day the Very Important Magazine Editor clicks over. 



MOV

Thursday, May 24, 2012

780. Mommy Guilt

“You’re the Best Mom Ever,” enthuses Tall sometimes, usually after I let him eat a huge bag of chips right before dinner ... 

... or allow him to watch three back-to-back episodes of “Pokemon: The Dark Avengers Battle” on a Saturday morning ... 

... or don’t stop him and his pals from smearing massive amounts of mud all themselves while they emulate combat Army soldiers in the fierce suburban jungle that is our backyard. 




Best Mom Ever does not have the positive connotations it once did.  Best Mom Ever is kinda synonymous with lazy.    


I think back to a happy, airbrushed time, a time when I was pregnant with Tall and dreaming of what our future life together would look like. 






My fondest wish was that my baby would someday look up at me, give me a hug full of gratitude, and whisper, “You’re the Best Mom Ever.” 




This honor would be earned after I had built an entire train set out of toothpicks ...




... or made three hundred cupcakes from scratch for the school fundraiser ...










... or turned in all my frequent flier miles to fly my child to Rome to study ancient ruins.  In short, the special words (Best Mom Ever) would not merely be given to me to assuage the ramifications of my distinct lack of parenting skills.  In my pre-baby haze, I had hoped the shiny title would actually be hard-won. 
After eight years on the parenting front, I have grown accustomed to the moniker of Worst Mom Ever.  Worst Mom Ever forces the kids do their homework, make their beds, brush their teeth, write thank you notes.  Worst Mom Ever is all about good judgment, no cavities, and a perpetual ban on fun.  Worst Mom Ever does not waste money on action figures placed seductively at child's eye level at Target. 
Worst Mom Ever has pretty much taken up permanent residence in our household.    
I struggle with the latent Mommy Guilt associated with Worst Mom Ever.  Who wants to be the one everybody hates?  It is so much easier to be Best Mom Ever and let the kids have ice-cream for breakfast. 

Who matters most in this scenario—me or them?  My feelings or their well-being? 


“Eat your carrots, Short.” 


“I hate you, Mommy!” 



Ah, yes, the familiar anthem of motherhood.  I adjust my Worst Mom Ever tiara, and smile. 




MOV 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

779. Muse Found

After being tipped off by my friend Andrea that Muse might’ve gone to Target, The Husband eagerly and wholeheartedly agreed to let me borrow his truck to track her down. 

“Let me get this straight:  she stole your car, you want to go after her, and you want my truck?” 
“That’s right,” I nodded.  “Where are your keys?” 

“Umm, no.  You’re not using my truck.” 
“Why not?” 

“Why not?  Because I don’t want you driving over there.” 
“How exactly am I supposed to get my car back?” 

“Maybe you should’ve thought of that before you left your keys in the ignition.” 
“They weren’t in the ignition, they were in the keyhole of the trunk.” 

“Okay, whatever.  So, let’s say, hypothetically, I loan you the truck, you find her, and then you get the car back …” 
“Yay!  That’s the plan!” 

“How are you going to drive two vehicles home?” 
“Wait—what?” 

“You drive the truck to Target, you find her, you get the car, how are you going to drive the car and the truck?” 
“Oh.  I guess I didn’t think of that.  All right, Plan B.  You drive me over there, I track her down, and then I drive the car home and you drive the truck.” 

“I don’t feel like spending my entire evening chasing Muse around Target, and with both kids, no less.  And how do you even know that’s where she went?” 
“I don’t.  But my friend Andrea said …” 

“Forget it.”  He walked out of the room. 
This had happened once or twice in our decade-long marriage:  we had disagreed.  I did what anyone would do in my shoes.  I walked over to 7-11 to buy some M&Ms for renewed strength and emergency sustenance.

I was just about to complain to the manager that they were out of Peanut M&Ms when I happened to catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my non-mascared eye.

“Muse!  What are you doing here?!” 

She was holding the last King Size bag of Peanut M&Ms.  She shrugged and responded predictably, “I needed some chocolate.” 
“Where’s my car, Muse?” 

“It’s out front.  Here, here are the keys.”  She handed them to me.  They felt cold.      
I went over to the front plate glass window to see if my car was there or if she was lying.  My car was there, and it looked like she’d even had it washed and waxed.  That was unexpected. 

I turned back to face her.  “Thanks, Muse, thanks for getting my car washed.” 
“Excuse me?” replied the 7-11 manager. 

“Oh, I’m sorry, I was talking to my friend.” 

“Your friend?” 
I looked around.  The place was empty.  And she’d taken the M&Ms. 

MOV

Monday, May 21, 2012

778. Muse Returns

I went to get the rest of my groceries out of the car, and there she was. 

“Muse!  WOW!  I am so glad to see you.  Where have you been?” 
She stepped out and regarded me with a look that could only be called disdain. 
“What’s this I hear about pose-it notes?” 

“Pose-it notes?  You mean post-it notes?” 

“Oh, they’re called post-it notes?  Huh.  That doesn’t make much sense.  Okay, anyway, someone told me you’re not writing in your nice journal from Paradise?” 
“You mean Paris?” 

“Isn’t that what I just said?” 
I stepped a bit closer to find out if I could smell any alcohol this time.  Nada. 

“Muse, if I write in the leather journal, I might mess it up.  But a pose-it note, who cares?” 
“Pose-it?  So that is the right word?” 

“Stop.  You know what I mean.  I can throw a post-it note in the trash.” 
I smiled wide, revealing teeth that were not magazine model perfect, but orthodontist passable. 

“Are you telling me now that you don’t recycle?” 
“What?” 

“You throw my extra ideas away?” 
“No!  I mean, I save them all!  I would never throw your ideas away.  Your ideas are brilliant!” 

She stared at me for a very long time.  “You are really hard to read, MOV.” 
“I could say the same thing about you, Muse.  I never know when you are giving me a real idea or just messing with me.” 

“Why would I do that?” she demanded, her eyes suddenly wild with rage. 
“Oh, Muse, I know you have a wicked sense of humor.  Hey, are you going to be here for a minute?  I can go grab my new red journal, but this ice-cream’s melting.  Let me go stick it in the fridge.” 

“I’ll tell you where to stick something,” she mumbled. 
“Excuse me?” 

“I said, I’ll wait right here.” 
“Promise?” 

“Sure.” 
“Okay, be right back!” 

I was away less than a minute.  Of course she was gone. 
But so was my car.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

777. Queen Virgo Owns 12 Journals

I’m a writer.  This makes it super-duper easy for people to buy me gifts:  they just get me something writer-ish.  Mostly they get me pens or journals.  They never give me erasers.  Erasers would be very insulting.



My brother got me a gorgeous red leather journal from Paris recently.  (I believe the French people call them “zhur-nals.”) 
What makes this even more impressive was that besides it not even being my birthday or a national holiday, he actually went to Paris and bought it (not the sole purpose of the trip, I hope, but a lovely gesture nonetheless).  Every day, I look at that journal and promise to write something profound in it.  Every day, I break my promise.  And the next every day, I remake the promise. 

My high-school boyfriend got me a Waterman pen when I graduated.  A Waterman pen says you will write something serious, something real.  A Waterman pen practically wants to get married to a red leather zhur-nal from Paris. 


My step-mother sends me lovely journals from the high-end stationery store, Papyrus.  I think she does not realize we have Papyrus here in Crazy Town mall, about a 5 minute drive from my house.  She thinks the Papyrus near her in Denver is the only one. 

My sister once gave me a tape-recorder (“In case you can’t get to a pen, or in case the idea is too fast”).  Yeah, ‘cause my ideas are like Nascar racers, they leave tire tracks on your feet. 


Queen Virgo eyes the lovely stack of (unopened) journals, pristine in their originalness.
 

She kisses the Waterman pen, and sets it (still full of ink) next to its lovely twin (a gift from the college boyfriend). 


And right then, she has a magnificent idea for a blog.  She reaches for her trusty "Special Deluxe" pen …


… and then she grabs the one type of paper she uses to write down 100% of her ideas:  

But she will never throw away the journals.       
MOV

Friday, May 18, 2012

776. How To Raise Money For Lots of People Super Easily

My sons’ school (Crazy Town Elementary) had a black tie fundraiser the other night.  We didn’t really feel like going, but we had already bought tickets, so we went anyway because we did not want to waste the money.

We arrived early, went to the check-in/ registration table, and picked up our nametags.  As usual, my name was misspelled (MVO).  I let it slide.   I thought it might be fun listening to people mispronounce my name all night.    
I noticed right away that there was a raffle with prizes.  The prizes were:  a winery tour (!), a pearl and diamond necklace (!!), an iPad, a two night hotel stay at the Hyatt (where the event was being held), a day at a local spa, and many others.  You were allowed to buy as many tickets as you liked, but the tickets cost $50 each.  I thought about buying half a ticket and doing a time share with someone if I found out I won the necklace (“You can have the necklace on days with no letter ‘R’ in them”).

I started thinking about how much those prizes must have cost for the businesses to donate them.  The program for the evening proclaimed the prizes to have a combined total value of $25,000.  There were approximately 200 of us at the event, at a price of $200 per ticket.  I am guessing that the dinner itself (a pasta buffet) actually cost around $100/ each, which leaves the school to profit at $100 per person, or $20,000 overall.  The lady in charge of the raffles told me they were hoping to raise at least $5000 in ticket sales.    
I tapped The Husband on the elbow (he is tall, so his shoulder is pretty much out of tapping range for me).  “Sweetie!  If the prizes are worth $25,000, why don’t local businesses who gave the prizes just give money, use it as a tax donation, and I can stay home and not spend a penny!” 


MOV’s great plan 


Before (the old way of doing things): 






New Improved Way: 




 
I know:  I’m a genius.  I think I get it from my kids.      

"MVO"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

775. Eco Lessons for All

"Mommy," called out Short in that sing-song way that only five-year-olds can, "you put that paper towel roll in the trash.  It can go in recycling.  You need to get it out." 

I had to smile.  Not only had he inherited his Good Recycling Instincts from my side of the family (my sister is best friends with Al Gore's picture), but my darling son had obviously inherited his Bossy Ways from my gene pool, too.   

I did as instructed, thus saving the paper towel roll from decades in the landfill and giving it a new life as, well, maybe another paper towel roll.  

I leaned in and gave my son a hug.  "Thank you for being green, Short.  Good job!" 

"Mommy, we're so green, we're blue." 

I laughed.  I had no idea what it meant, but I know a catchy slogan when I hear one.    "Short, what does that even mean?" 

He rolled his eyes (not to worry, I have been a victim of a kindergartner's eye rolling before), and replied,  "If we say we're green, that doesn't really help anything, except maybe the clouds.  But if you are blue!  YES!  The ocean is blue and helping the evironmentals really helps all animals including birds or turtles or Ninja warriors.  Because The Earth is covered in 429% water. That means only about 1% is green.  Now do you understand?" 

I had to smile.  I was proud of his explaining skills and his environmentalist attitude, but I was even prouder of his math skills. 

Another gift from the MOV family DNA. 

MOV

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

774. My Son Is A Foodie

Overheard at the playground (Tall talking to his friend):  Yeah, I like all foods.  As long as they don't end in "egetable." 

WHERE does he get his sense of humor????????



MOV

773. MOV's Rules About Writing

The most important rule of writing:  There are no rules.  Seriously.  I write in first person, second person (you might like writing this way if you tried it) and even third (Queen Virgo has a thing for third person).  I write long, demented, deranged run-on sentences that twist and turn and convulse then back up only to turn around and lead nowhere but then seductively circle back and make no sense but then mysteriously provide a crucial key that unlocks a joke in a later part of the post.  Yeah, I write that.  And fragments. 

I love fragments.  So much!  Fragments audition for my blog.  They stand, waiting patiently on the side of the desk.  Hopeful.  Frisky.  Nonchalant.  Nervous.  Indifferent.  I see them there, primping, straightening out their letters, standing all alone, moving away when another word tries to be polite and make small talk.  Sometimes I just abandon them, tell them I don’t need them, but they grin because they know I’m lying.  They know.    

Surprise!  One will show up. 
Here is another rule:  Show, don’t tell.  My very disheveled 9th grade English teacher would run around the classroom, tapping an imaginary ruler in her hand, then she would cry out, “Show, don’t tell!”  I had no idea what she was talking about.  I didn’t want to look stupid though, by asking the question that the other 99% of the students already knew the answer to, so I would just nod-nod-nod.  Of course, of course, Mrs. Bowles (with your unflattering bowl cut hairstyle), of course!  Show, don’t tell!  I get it! 

I didn’t really get it.  Not then. 
Twenty years later, I had my Oprah Winfrey lightbulb moment when I was explaining to my younger cousin my definition of good writing. 

“Elyse, you should say, ‘I forgot my coat and it began to snow,’ not ‘I am cold.’  You write, ‘The neighbors had a party and blared heavy metal through the paper-thin walls until 3 AM, and of course I had to be up at 6 for work.  No pot of coffee is large enough for me today,’ not ‘I’m tired.’  You write the situation without spelling it out for the reader, you let them make the connections, do the translations, for themselves.” 
Wait—this was what Mrs. Bowles must’ve meant!  Egads! 
Now I felt like Christopher Columbus when he discovered President Lincoln lied about being shot.   

Huh? 
Yeah, there’s another one of my rules:  don’t do the expected thing.  Avoid clichés.  Don’t say, “Raining cats and dogs” (unless you are a cartoonist and you’re going to provide the visual—then by all means!).  Don’t type “It was pouring outside.”  Find a new, creative way to say it.  How about, “The sky growled, it seemed the black clouds were angry at me personally, and then they released their violent gray pellets of water directed maliciously at my pristine new silk dress.  Yes, the one with the rainbow ribbon at the hem.  The irony was not lost on me.” 

How much more interesting than the pedestrian “cats and dogs.”  The reader has read cats and dogs a million gazillion eleventy billion times, he is sick and tired of cats and dogs.  He feels like he was stampeded by a wild herd of clichés, ugly ones with rabies and matted fur.   

And people don’t like to read more than 500 words.  So stop there. 
MOV