Okay, this post is not “By Katie,” as it automatically notes above. Anything in this post rudely interjected by me (Katie) will appear in this lovely green italic font. I can do that because it’s my blog. Our special guest poster for today is my dear friend Stacy.
Okay, I’ve actually only known her a few months, but since she was hand-picked by Erin and me to replace Erin here in Gray Cubicle Land when she moved off to Frederick, MD, we knew we’d all get along.
And we do. Swimmingly. It’s people like Stacy who make it a little harder for me to leave this place. Lucky for me, she’s decided to relieve some of that burden. In light of this whole Costa Rica thing, people frequently ask, “How can you leave a great job and go work for nothing??” To that I say, “Define ‘nothing.'” As yet another twenty-something struggling with a crisis-of-career faith, I think Stacy can provide some much-needed inspiration – and perhaps even clarification – about what makes “nothing” so damn great.
So here she is:
If I were superstitious, I’d say this tripod of cubicles is cursed.
The third leg of the tripod, Ms. Middle Chair, has been empty for months. I suspect its former occupant became some sort of Russian spy, Congolese chimpanzee charmer, or a hapless, ham-fisted victim who plunged to her death while trying to snap a perfect shot.
Whatever the cause, after just four months of staring at Erin’s derelict potted plant…
…and watching Katie’s ever-growing stack of ne’er-to-be-recycled Starbucks sleeves…
…I’ve got the “itch.”
“Isn’t there a cream for that,” you ask?
Not for this itch. The only cure is ACTION!
Am I accompanying these two brave ladies on their Costa Rican adventure? No…but I am doing something that might raise a few eyebrows: I’m going back to school…to become a park ranger.
I know that might sound anticlimactic, but as Katie often reminds me, “The heart wants what it wants.”
(Thanks for that picture, Stac. Really.)
I know that, in a hopeless economy, I should be content with my first bachelor’s degree and cling desperately to gainful employment. I know that it makes no sense to go back to school to enter a field that pays less than what I’m making now.
But I keep remembering what this Yellowstone park ranger said during a conversation with my man:
My Man: “This must be an awesome gig, right?”
Park Ranger: “I love it. Every day is an adventure.”
My Man: “But you won’t get rich doing it, huh?”
Park Ranger: “No…” (contemplative pause) “But I’m rich in other ways.”
Hell yeah, she gets to wear a really cool hat!
Rich in other ways? Wow.
I once thought I was rich, pre-this job, when I worked in insurance. Insurance was great, except for the whole “being at work” part. Hmm…How can I put this?
I read, grasped, and regurgitated insurance forms – you know, those nasty things most people immediately shred or file away in some dusty bin or bake into a fruit cake – for FIVE YEARS.
I lived for Fridays. I dreaded Mondays. I stopped laughing. I needed a stiff drink every day after work. I started talking in my sleep. I forgot who I was and what I wanted.
When I finally reached a breaking point, I called my mom. “If you stay in insurance, you’ll just be a rich alcoholic,” she said.
So I took a 50% pay cut and took the environmental writing gig here, next to Erin’s dead plant, empty Ms. Middle Chair, and Katie’s corrugated cardboard coffee sleeves.
It’s been a great run. I like my job, but it feels like a segue, like something’s pulling me in another direction. I’ve spent too long trapped in cubicles, and now I want to play in the woods.
Is it wrong for our dreams to evolve? Is it worse to listen, or to ignore? Am I crazy? Are we crazy?
Time might tell. All I know is that, in about a month, these three cubicles will all be empty, and Katie, Erin, and I will be unemployed but pursuing richness in other ways.
I’ll leave you with my mantra, from The Avett Brothers’ Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise:
After spending the last two weeks of my life negotiating, bargaining, pleading, and possibly even making thinly-veiled threats against a coworkers’ family in a vain effort to hash out this one teeny-tiny, cosmically insignificant newsletter article on health care program management (yes, the same one I mentioned way back here), I have come to the conclusion that words are primitive, ineffectual communication tools.
Much like the homeless guy in Baker Park who mutters and makes borderline lewd gestures at the birds, you know language is trying to accomplish something, you just can’t quite tell what. (True story, by the way. Frederick homeless people, you so crazy.)
As such, I will no longer be wasting my time with it. I am so over words.
From now on, friends, my main mode of communication will be through bar graphs and pie charts — and the occasional Venn Diagram to keep things sassy.
So, I could devote the next 30-45 minutes on this post trying to relay to you how I’m feeling this morning… or I could just sum things up in five minutes with a handy-dandy pie chart.
Hmm, what to do?
Voila! Such is the awe-inspiring magic of Microsoft Office Excel 2007. Bask in its glory.
Seriously, I said bask.
And since that felt oh so good, I believe I’ll do another one.
I think I feel a bar graph coming on… Yep, here it comes…
Nice, right? It’s easy, gets to the point, leaves no room for misinterpretation.
I don’t want to brag, but I think I’m revolutionizing communication here, people.
So, I know you guys have had a whole weekend to forget entirely about any of my earlier posts (or possibly the fact that I even exist), but try to keep up with me here…
Remember the job I mentioned here, here, and kinda-sorta here?
The boring one with the great coffee and gross lack of supervision?
The one I just got three weeks ago?
Well… I quit it yesterday. Ha!
How could I do that, you ask?
Well, I’d love to say there was a reason, but I just… I just don’t know what got into me.
The last thing I remember was sitting at my desk and the woman in the next cubicle over was slurping her soup, and it was just so maddening to listen to the constant sluuurp, sluuurp, sluuurp that I didn’t even notice when my eye started twitching. And, well, I guess I just sort of lost it after that…
My memory of the incident’s pretty fuzzy, but the police reports say that I climbed up on my desk, took off one of my high heels and held it like a gun while making bullet noises—pshew pshew pshew!—at coworkers.
And, for the record, apparently security guards are authorized to use brute force—fortunately, I’m wiggly like a greased piglet, so when they tried to tackle me, they only ended up being able to hold onto my feet. Which, of course, just ended in an awkward (but kind of fun) situation where they wheelbarrowed me around the office for a minute or two. Then I think I managed to latch onto the water cooler and pull it over before they dragged me, kicking and screaming, out of the building.
But, seriously, how awesome would that have been?
Even if it didn’t happen like that exactly, rest assured, it did still happen. I just chose to go the far more pathetic route of sweating profusely and groveling for their forgiveness in between repeated apologies. (I’m easily guilted, which makes me wretched at break-ups of any kind. Seriously, ask any of my ex-boyfriends. )
Ok, and I didn’t quit on the spot exactly as inform them in stuttering, broken English (I’m like an ESL student when I’m nervous) that I would not, in fact, be making any appearances—special guest or otherwise—in the office after early August.
So maybe it doesn’t make as entertaining a story as going out in a glorious blaze of psychotic, law-enforcement-induced fury, but still. I did it.
The more pressing question than how I quit is probably why…
Well that, dear friends, will be revealed here very, very shortly. Just bear with us a little bit longer.
Suffice it to say, after years and years of complaining about mediocre desk jockey jobs, I’m making the conscious choice to try out something different.
And who knows where it’ll lead? I may very well end up at a desk job again (and, if so, please disregard this post, potential employer!), but I feel I owe it to myself to try something new and see what happens.
And maybe I’ll have an adventure or two. And maybe I’ll learn something about myself. And maybe by the time I’m back from wherever I end up, I’ll be settled down and ready for that nice, comfy desk job.
So I might as well tell you now – because, Lord knows, you guys will find out soon enough – that I have a lot of quirks.
Like, for instance, I’m a gum addict who chews at least two pieces at a time. At least. I’ve cut back from my pack-a-day habit, but I could still easily fritter away hours a day contentedly gnawing, like a golden retriever, on a massive wad of gum until I have sucked every last flavor crystal out of it. And I’ll even mix flavors, too.
Peppermint and bubblegum? I ain’t skerred.
Anyhoo, somewhere near the top of my long, long list of neurotic quirks are sponges.
More specifically, gross sponges.
I think it has to do with being somewhat of a germophobe, but I have what can only be described as a “thing” about them. So much so that I even listed it in my “Who the heck is Erin?”section off to the right of this post.
Seriously, take a look. I’ll wait…
See? It’s right there. And why? Because it’s something I feel you should know about me before we go any further in this relationship.
And it’s sponges specifically — I don’t even mind germs in most other forms really. But, for some reason, if there’s a two-day-old sponge lurking around that smells even slightly funky, game over.
And what is that old sponge smell anyway? It’s like a combination of mildew, wet dog and the inside of an old Civil War trunk all in one. I guarantee you we eat nothing in our house that might ever potentially produce that smell. So where does it magically come from?
Ok, I feel you’ve been appropriately briefed on my deep-seated sponge issues. Moving on…
So, ladies and gentlemen, imagine my complete and utter horror when I innocently stop by the office breakroom to wash a coffee cup and come face-to-face with…
What IS that??
Going against every natural instinct for self-preservation, I chance a closer look.
I know it’s blurry. But I wasn’t sticking around for a second shot.
I immediately whip my palms to my face in self-defense, shut my eyes tight and turn my head away with my mouth frozen in a silent scream like you see every female victim do in Hitchcock movies.
Do people in the office actually use this? And how, in this modern-day era of advanced health awareness and disease prevention, is this moldy, bacteria-infested zombie-sponge acceptable??
This will haunt every fiber of my being for a long, long time.
This morning I almost left the house wearing two different shoes.
After playing hookie yesterday, my sluggish mind was apparently confused about why I was going back to work after only one day off, and it decided to play a little prank.
Luckily I heard the weather report just before heading out the door – cream-laden coffee in one hand, peanut butter and jelly toast in the other. Today it’s going to be “oppressively hot and humid.” Oppressively. My black pants had to go.
I scrambled back into my closet to grab a skirt (when it’s this hot and humid, I do what I can to aerate), and it wasn’t until I went to slip my sandals back on that I noticed they were different.
I immediately realized 2 things:
1. I need to start weaning myself off of my caffeine addiction. When I can’t even manage to put on matching shoes before I’ve had my daily dose, we have a problem.
2. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this 9-5 business.
Anyone want to take on an apprentice in a specialty trade? I’m good at sales, decent at writing, I’m creative, I know how to fix watches, and I can type like a million words a minute.
Just don’t ask me to wear matching shoes.
*It has been brought to my attention that it’s been awhile since I’ve updated you on Alaina’s kitchen. I will try to have something for you by tonight – if you’re interested in finding a unique flooring product, don’t miss this one! In the meantime, you can read about demolishing her kitchen here, behind-the-scenes action here, the countertop selection here, and a progress check here.
6:45-8:30: Commute is especially heinous due to a lane closure. Creep… ever… so… slowly… past three tanned, smiling construction workers who appear to be joking with one other. Briefly consider pulling over to the shoulder, kicking off my heels as I leap over the concrete barricade, and slapping on a hard hat.
8:30: Arrive at work. Le sigh.
8:31-8:40: Start day with a cup of coffee and Facebook. Hello, notifications!
8:40-8:45: Officially all caught up on Facebook. Time for second cup of coffee.
8:45-8:48: Eat banana after carefully inspecting suspicious-looking bruised spot on it for several minutes. Throw offending part in the trash.
8:48-10:00: Surf the Interwebs while intermittently texting Katie. Google “Three’s Company TV theme lyrics”. Ahhh, so that’s what they’re singing.
10:00-10:02: Third cup of coffee. Starting to sweat profusely.
10:02-10:03: Am asked to do actual work. How rude is that?
10:03-10:20: Do work. Grudgingly.
10:20-10:22: Man, is it lunchtime yet? Start rummaging through my lunch bag. Eat carrot sticks. So not satisfying.
10:22-10:24: Google “Maryland state song” out of curiosity. Wow, there’s about 20 stanzas and I don’t understand any of it except “Maryland! My Maryland!”. Come up with a pretty rockin’ tune for the lyrics. If the real song isn’t close to my version, it should be.
10:24-10:25: Check Facebook. Comment on a few posts. “Like” a few others. Yadda, yadda.
10:25-10:26: Am asked to “jazz up” a technical article about health care program management.
10:26-10:32: Stare blankly at open Word document. They can’t be serious. There is literally no amount of sorcery or dark witchcraft I could conjure up that would make this topic any less boring.
10:32:10: Start to typ—
10:32:12: Lord a-mercy! Bathroom break. NOW.
10:38: Return from bathroom. Man, I really had to pee after three cups of coffee. Kinda sneaks up on you all of a sudden, doesn’t it?
10:38-10:39: Have awkward stand-off in lobby when office door doesn’t open while sour-faced receptionist watches. You’re quite the jokester, defunct key fob.
10:39-10:40: Google “how electronic key fobs work” out of curiosity. Turns out I wasn’t really all that interested in knowing.
10:40-10:42: Now is it lunchtime? Again rummage through my lunch bag. Break down and buy bag of pretzels out of the vending machine, which ends up breaking down to roughly 75 cents per pretzel.
10:42-10:43: Pass by coffee machine and consider fourth cup, then decide against it. Already have visible sweat rings around my armpits. Best not to tempt fate.
10:43: Notice that my right shoe squeaks audibly. Get embarrassed and try to hobble awkwardly without squeaking back to my cubicle. Mission: Failed.
10:43-10:47: Overhear someone quietly say my name but can’t hear the context. Wait, what are they saying? Was it good? Bad? Ponder that obsessively for a while.
10:47: Hear the rustlings of a candy wrapper opening. Sounds like chocolate. Wait, a Hershey’s Kiss, maybe? Are there more where it came from? And if so, where? For the love o’ God, WHERE??
10:47-10:49: Take a victory lap around the office out of sheer boredom and somehow end up back at bathroom. Oops, someone’s in a stall. Hang around uncomfortably while acting like I’m checking my makeup and then hightail it out of there as soon as an appropriate amount of time has passed. I’m not a communal bathroom dweller.
10:49-10:50: Check Facebook. Then e-mail. Then Facebook again. Seriously, where is everyone??
10:50-11:00: Break down and eat my lunch — but quietly, so that no one else can overhear, and hence judge, me.
11:00: Decide to post about my morning on Domestiphobia.net.
Since Katie’s agreed to let me horn in on her labor of love here (which, I guess, is now our labor of love) and bask in the reflected glory of her hard work, I feel I should at least introduce myself and make everyone’s acquaintance before I start cranking out posts about how much I love garlic, hate ‘chick lit’, yadda, yadda. ‘Cause my mama raised me right…
So, greetings, new friends!
My name’s Erin, I’m 28, a Scorpio (if you’re into that sort of thing) and, while I’d love to divulge all the juicy details of my incredibly fascinating career, I don’t really have one to speak of just yet. For the most part, my “career path” has been more of a loose term to describe the random assortment of desk chairs I’ve warmed when I wasn’t pillaging unsupervised candy dishes and daydreaming about what I really want to be when I grow up.
In fact, I’m writing this at work right now. Don’t narc on me, eh?
Here is my work phone. It has many complicated buttons that frighten and confuse me. This concludes the tour of my cubicle.
Granted, my status as a professional benchwarmer might be changing here soon, but we’ll save that for a later post…
Where was I?
I live with my husband of two years, Elliot (or, as I lovingly call him, “Chuckles”), and two neurotic cats.
The hubs has a ridiculous number of hobbies, including being a private pilot, and travels a lot for work, so I have lots of free time to revel in all sorts of shameful single behavior — hello, four hour Millionaire Matchmaker marathon! — and dream up home improvement projects for him to do when he gets back.
Our military background – me growing up an Air Force brat and the hubs serving 10 years in the Army – has saddled us with a nasty case of location ADD. Which might explain why, about two months ago, we traded in a three-year-old mortgage on a nice, cozy 3 BR/2 BA rancher in the Dirty South…
…for a 700 square-foot, one-bedroom apartment above a noisy bar in downtown Frederick, MD.
Bold? Daring? Entirely ill-conceived?
All of the above. But that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?
I enjoy good food, good books, good wine (and even mediocre wine), writing, being outdoors, 1930s slang, snarky celebrity gossip, and many other things that I’m sure will reveal themselves in due time.
But, even more so, I love, love, love new experiences – whether it’s tasting unpronounce-able foreign cuisine, trying my hand at potentially disastrous DIY crafts, or traveling to new places (hmm, foreshadowing, mayhaps?).
And now I love you guys, too. But be warned, I’m a jealous, vindictive lover when scorned.
So, if you’re a kindred soul who craves a little adventure in life, is willing to try new things and capable of laughing off failures (and sharing them with us so we can laugh at you, too), and can appreciate – or at least tolerate – cheesy movie and song references, we’re going to get along just swimmingly.
And that’s me in a nutshell.
Help! I’m in a nutshell! How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell?
Hello, Austin Powers? Anyone?
Better buckle up, folks, ’cause outdated pop culture cliches are what I’m all about.
…to try and please me. I love you just the way you are.
oooOOOoooo ooh yeah.
Sing it. You know you want to.
I’m guessing you might be noticing a couple changes around here. The site title, for one. As sad as it makes me, this site will no longer be called Domesticating Kate. You will be automatically redirected to domestiphobia.net from now on.
Most people who know me – okay, all people who know me – who read the site have pointed out that my name is not Kate. My name is, and always will be, plain Katie. Also, this will no longer be just my site. I’ve taken on a partner in crime because frankly, this is a lot of work. I love it, but other parts of my life were getting neglected. Finally, I feel like this name much more closely depicts a “truer” version of who I really am.
We’re still in the process of adjusting the “about” section and other categories of the site, so you’ll understand more of what I mean as we progress. Oh, and the “big news” is still to come. Just workin’ out the deets’.
Let it be known that sharing the site is not the same as quitting a project. I’m simply readjusting to meet my needs.
Hopefully Erin will get a chance to introduce herself later today, and then we’ll get back to the fun stuff. I have been going through a lot of photos lately, so don’t hang up.
Here are some random Hawaii surfboards to tide you over: