Category Archives: work

Confessions of a night owl

I’ve always been a bit of a late-night junkie.

When people in my family hit puberty, we lose the ability to sleep. It’s like clockwork, really. HORMONES BAM WHY DO YOU NEED SLEEP? It’s impossible to FALL asleep, and once you’re there, you have to be very, very careful to STAY asleep, because once you wake up, all bets are off. You might get an hour’s sleep, or six hours, but if you wake up too much, there’s no falling back to sleep. Or you might wake fully up for no reason at 3 a.m. and there you have it, then! That’s all the sleep you need! (It’s not. Not at all. You’re sleepwalking all day and you yell at people, and sometimes walls and/or your own feet for being stumbly.)

My grandmother and great-aunt never used their beds because why bother? They slept in their recliners with the televisions on. That way, they figured, if they woke up, they could at least watch some fine late-night television. My dad’s currently getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night. That’s actually quite a bit for him.

(Ironically, Mom sleeps like the dead. She’s in bed every night by 9 and up by 4-5 a.m. and she’s one of those “I’m up, let’s sing songs of little BIRDIES!” people that make you want to throw things. Talk about opposites attracting.)

A normal 9-5 workday never worked out for me. I hate alarms. I hate getting up early. I hate going to bed before I’m tired. If you’re an insomniac to begin with, going to bed when you’re not even tired is a waste of time. You just lie there and every stupid thing you’ve said in your ENTIRE LIFE goes through your mind.

I was a little nervous about the new job. See, I’m working weird hours now – til 1am three weekdays a week and over 10-hour days on the weekend days (I have to get up kind of early those days, but I get out at 8.) I worked the late shift at the answering service quite a few times over the years, and it never bothered me that much (things always slowed down a lot, and mostly we could chat and laugh, which was always good) but a job where you were actually WORKING and expected to be MENTALLY ALERT until 1 a.m.? Eeesh.

Well. Come to find out, this works PERFECTLY for me. Who knew the solution to over almost 30 years of insomnia is shifting your sleeping/waking hours? (FINE, I’m sure some scientist knew this. Everyone has Circadian rhythms, right? Well, who’s to say mine aren’t much different from everyone else’s? I mean, my brain seems to run at a different weirdo speed than most of the world; I wouldn’t be surprised if my rhythms are all off, as well.)

It took a bit of getting used to (a month or two, to be honest) but come to find out this is kind of perfection. I get to go to bed when I’m tired. I only have to set the alarm twice a week. I can let myself sleep as late as I want 5 days a week. Let that sink in – I can sleep until NOON if I want to FIVE DAYS A WEEK. (I don’t – I usually get up between 9:30-10 – but I COULD.) I’m actually perfectly alert until 1 a.m. (well, most nights – some nights the copyediting and proofreading is very, very dry, and my most favorite cheerful goofballs happen to have the night off, and there’s a lot of hurry up and wait, and on those nights I get a little yawny. But who wouldn’t, even during a normal day of work?) Then I get to go home, and it takes about an hour to unwind, and I’m off to bed. AND I CAN ACTUALLY SLEEP. I’ve been getting almost 8 hours of sleep a night for months. IT IS GLORIOUS.

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let's be honest.)

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let’s be honest.)

(Well, side note, not EVERY night; there’s a certain cat who’s QUITE sure that once the sun comes up, it’s playtime. So he leaps into my bed and tromps all over me and says “MEOW MEOW MEOW” all up in my face and I say sleepily “No no good boy go lay dooooown” and he is VERY EXCITED to hear my voice and then there is MORE tromping and meowing and “HEY MOM HEY MOOOOOM maybe it is time for wet food? Mom mom MOOOM! Meow meow meow PURR IN YOUR FAAAACE!” and sometimes there’s tickling my nose with his whiskers, which is not optimal, and sometimes even WORSE, there’s licking of my forehead, which he knows makes me giggle and squirm and put my head under the covers. That’s a VERY fun game for him because it means he’s won! Man, is that guy lucky I adore him.)

BUT! If you work nights (or want to sleep many hours into the sunrise) you have to follow many rules, such as:

  • DARKNESS! I had dark curtains but they weren’t enough. Em recommended blackout curtains and I got some for Christmas. They make ALL the difference. Those, plus closing all the bedroom doors most of the way (sadly, not all of the way, because there’s a certain cat in this household – YES, the same cat mentioned ABOVE – who cannot bear closed doors and would caterwaul and throw himself at the doors until I opened them, and that’s not going to help you sleep, because he needs to come and go or he can’t handle his FEEEEELINGS – are keeping my room dark like a TOMB and it is GLORIOUS.
  • QUIETNESS! There’s only so much of this I can get, because of the cat, you see, but quietness is important. I live on a somewhat-busy street, and the cars start being loud early, as do the children waiting for the bus and the upstairs neighbor who has a normal schedule and gets up early in the morning. I have mostly solved this with a very loud fan. I suppose I could use a white noise machine, but those make me nervous. Someone gave me one once, and my choices were “forest” (every now and then this very loud frog would be all “RIBBIT!” and how is that white noise?), “ocean” (which would have been fine but whoever recorded this put on screechy seagulls and also it made me have to pee all night), “wind” (which kept having these gusts which made me think the house was about to fall down and I was having nightmares about Auntie Em and the storm cellar) and “storm” (rain is soothing, except for the having to pee part, but random VERY LOUD THUNDERCLAPS are not. I’M AWAKE NOW IS MY HOUSE ON FIRE?) So I just turn on my fan and angle it away from my bed and it makes just enough whooshy white noise that I don’t hear much of anything except for the time some man came to my house trying to collect a debt from the prior tenant and knocked on my door AND all the windows (and you can be sure I reamed him a new one and he left apologizing and I think is so scared of me now he will never return.)
  • MEDICALLY INDUCED COMA! OK, so this one might not be for all of you, but I’ve been on meds for my sleeping issues for…oh, most of my adult life, and I take a teeny tiny pill every night that helps tip me over into slumberville. It doesn’t always work, but I’d say 90/100 times it does the trick. Aaah, prescription zzzzzs.
  • BEING COMFORTABLE! Comfortable sleep clothes are a MUST. You can take your sexy negligees and wear ‘em to your heart’s content, my friends, I’m wearing flannel and t-shirts and, on very cold nights, a sweater over that, and maybe furry socks. And sometimes the cat is allowed under the covers because he is a warm little furry hot water bottle. You also need to know what kind of covers you need. Lots? Few? (Me, I’m a 4,000 blanket person. I like to feel MUMMIFIED under blankets. So I can barely MOVE. It is just my best thing.) How about pillows. Squishy? Hard? Feather? Foam? GET YOURSELF COMFY, YO. The more your bed’s a happy safe haven, the more you’re going to want to stay in it longer. There’s nothing worse than waking up because you’re freezing or in a pool of sweat. Plan ahead. And, related to this…
  • DO NOT DRINK ALL THE BEVERAGES BEFORE BED. Seriously, do you want to crawl out of that warm little cocoon you’ve so carefully constructed to pee like 14 times all night long? Especially when you KNOW when you get back the cat will have taken the warm spot in the bed and then you have to move him and he’s all “MEOW MOM YOU ARE THE WOOOORST” and then decides “Well, I’m awake, can I climb on you like you’re a mountain? Who cares, I’m gonna” and it takes forever to get back to sleep. Just curtail your orange soda after a certain time of night. You’ll be fine, my little gumdrops. You can drink all the soda in the morning, if you want. I won’t tell anyone.

SO, to sum up: I am getting the best sleep in my life by working weird hours. And when I tell people what hours I work, I get that face. That “oh, I feel so BAD for you” face. But I get to work with people who are ALSO happy to be working weird hours, and we’re kind of like kids who get to stay up all night and sleep in all day, and if anyone says anything about it we can say “I WORK NIGHTS” and this makes people kind of back away from you as if you might be radioactive (you kind of might) but little do they know, you’re actually kind of working the best hours ever.

(This all might be moot if you have children, or are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t understand weird hours. I decided about a month into this I was only allowed to date either other newspaper people, or writers, or maybe people who do long-distance truck-driving because who else is going to be up at these hours?)

Also, there is nothing better than doing errands in the middle of the day on a Thursday. NO ONE IS IN THE STORES! You can get in and out and it is like MAGIC! Yes, all of the employees think you’re unemployed, but who cares? YOU WIN QUICK SHOPPERY! Also, if you leave work at 1 a.m., no one’s on the roads, so you can drive really slow when the weather’s bad and NO ONE IS THERE TO CARE! It’s all very “I own the world, this is mine now” and empowering.

Now you know a secret: people working at night don’t always hate it, after all. Just don’t tell anyone. Then EVERYONE will want to work nights, and who’d open the stores early then? THE WHOLE AMERICAN ECONOMY WOULD COLLAPSE. I’d feel TERRIBLE. Eek!

And if anything goes on before, say, 10am on a weekday, you guys will let me know, right? Good, good. Much appreciated. All the love. *smooooch*


The new kid in town

Moving to a new area (especially after spending over a decade in the last area) there’s a bit of a transitional period. I mean, more than you have to unpack everything and put everything away and figure out where the closest grocery store is. Of course I’ve done that. If I hadn’t, I’d probably have starved to death by now (or tripped over a box in my living room and broken my neck and Dumbcat would have eaten my face.)

I WILL EAT YOUR FAYCE, MOMME.

I WILL EAT YOUR FAYCE, MOMME.

No, it’s more the little things you have to get used to and relearn about your new place before you can feel truly at home there. Those are the things that keep popping up and tripping you up and reminding you that you’re a newbie.

THINGS THAT KEEP CONFUSING AND UPSETTING (AND SOMETIMES DELIGHTING) ME IN MY NEW HOME!

  • Where all the local towns are. I have to ask people at work this ALL! THE! TIME! A lot of my job is sorting towns on this one website by county (we serve a tri-county area, with a few forays into the other surrounding counties) and I have to look up all these towns online to find out where they are, and I’m forever asking my coworkers “OMG WHERE IS COPENHAGEN!” (Side note: Copenhagen is actually a town here, not just a town in Denmark. TRUE FACTS!) And then they explain to be “that’s south of us” or whatever and I have no sense of direction and they have to show it to me on a map and I’m still all “where is north” and then they all laugh at me because I am a freak of nature but also lovable like a stuffed animal made of hugs.

    Also, see Theresa? You pronounce the "h." THE-resa. I have a LOT to learn.

    Also, see Theresa? You pronounce the “h.” THE-resa. I have a LOT to learn.

  • The local news. We have one local news channel (THIS IS OUR COMPETITION! We watch this broadcast in the newsroom at night to make sure we have all of the big stories. And if we had them first, we like to say “WE SCOOPED YOU!” OK, fine, I’m the only one who says that. But I say it with a LOT of enthusiasm.) The local news is fine (they make a lot of typos on their website, which I like to point out and laugh at) except they have this local sports guy who makes me want to light both my eyeballs and eardrums on fire. His name is Busler. I don’t know what his first name is. (The website says it’s Mel.) He looks and talks like Champ from Anchorman. And he does this thing called “Busler’s Beauties” where he narrates sports plays with things like “Uh-oh! Spaghettios!” when someone falls down in a really obnoxious voice. According to my coworkers, who also think he’s got the most annoying voice ever, he’s a very generous guy who raises a lot of money locally for charities, so I suppose I shouldn’t pick on him. But when his segment of the news comes on, I always say “CAN WE TURN OFF THE NEWS NOW?” and coworker R. always says “Oh, yes, SORRY AMY!” because he knows Busler’s Beauties makes me want to stab kittens.
    Doesn't goold old Mel Busler...

    Doesn’t goold old Mel Busler…

    ...look like Champ from "Anchorman?" I totally want the WWNY team to get in a rumble with PBS. I would watch that.

    …look like Champ from “Anchorman?” I totally want the WWNY team to get in a rumble with PBS. I would watch that.

  • The local commercials. This should be a side-note to the last one, because good old Mel Busler does about 3/4 of the local commercials. He’s selling cars and vacations and who even knows what else. Also, there’s this one local commercial where a car company has their kids (grandkids? I don’t even know) do the commercial, and the little girl says “IT’S CRAAAAAZY!” with this weird look to and then away from the camera and the finger-around-her-ear gesture that signifies crazy and it makes me insane so I guess the fact that it MAKES me crazy means it’s working. I’m used to local commercials starring my friends (one of the best parts of being friends with the actors in the area!) so seeing these is jarring and weirdo-times.

    (This one actually isn’t THAT cheesy, but it provides you some local flavor. And now you totally all want frozen yogurt, don’t you? I’ve been to this place. It was a weird time of the day and most of the good flavors were gone but if I go back on another day I’m sure I’ll have better luck with it. There really are a billion toppings.)
  • Local stores and restaurants. FIRST you have to deal with the fact that you miss all of your favorite restaurants (Ala Shanghai – *sniff*) and find NEW favorite restaurants (I’ve found some that will do, but none that I’m crazy about yet. However, I’ve only been here 5 months.) Then you have to find your way amongst new and perplexing stores. There’s a store here called Herb Philipson’s (which seems like kind of a outdoorsy Big Lots? Like, it sells a lot of camo gear, but also random bins of sunscreen? I don’t even know.) I cannot remember the name of Herb Philipson’s to save my life. So whenever I talk about it I call it Harvey Fierstein’s. Dad always says, “IT IS NOT HARVEY FIERSTEIN’S!” So now of COURSE I call it that ALL! THE! TIME! (In this town’s defense, I have to applaud it for its shopping and restaurant choices. We have more shopping and eating venues here than you’d imagine. It’s kind of impressive.)
    It's Herb Philipson's!

    It’s Herb Philipson’s!

    Not Harvey Fierstein's! I AM SHOCKED WITH YOU, AMY!

    Not Harvey Fierstein’s! I AM SHOCKED WITH YOU, AMY!

  • Finding a new local radio station. I had FINALLY found a station I loved in Albany, with a nice mix of alt-folksy-rock and sometimes they’d play Pink, and now I have to start all over again. I’ve found one that randomly plays “Oops I Did It Again” and then five seconds later plays “Pour Some Sugar on Me” so I like that it’s unpredictable, but I need an alternative channel for my Brandi Carlile days. I don’t think we have that here. SIGH SIGH. Yeah, I know, that’s what the music on your phone is for, but I really like not knowing what’s coming up on the radio. It’s like a Magic 8-Ball of music for me. I’m easily amused.
  • Learning all the local lore. In Albany, you had Mayor McCheese, with the most prodigious orange tan (who left office right before I moved away.) Now I have to get used to our NEW mayor, who has a blog and owns a bar and is said to have an eye for the lay-deez. I have to re-learn things like “don’t eat there, because food poisoning” and “this is where the best coffee is” and “don’t trust that, because LIES” and “OMG, that’s the part of town where you’re going to get hooked on heroin, don’t drive there” and “that’s a stabmurderer, don’t slow down, JUST KEEP DRIVING.”
    This is my current mayor. He's nowhere near orange enough to be a mayor.

    This is my current mayor. He’s nowhere near orange enough to be a mayor.

    Right, Former Mayor McCheese?

    Right, Former Mayor McCheese?

I’m sure there are many more, but these are the ones that keep standing out. I say “HELP ME I AM NEW!” over and over at work, and my coworkers, who are sparkly-shiny-wonderful, always help, which is reason number 47 billion and 4 that I love them more than anything. They want me to fit in. I love that about them. (And in return, I tell them stories about my hometown, which is one of the counties we cover now and then, and sometimes I know people we write about because they’re someone I remember from my childhood so I give them the inside scoop and it makes them laugh.)

Until next time, my little chickadees. May you find a radio station that’s always playing your favorite songs and may you visit Harvey Fierstein’s, where I assume they would sell feather boas and FABULOUS false eyelash kits at an amazing discount!


It’s like my own personal episode of COPS every night.

A newspaper-thing that’s always intrigued me, ever since I was younger, is the cop briefs.

Don’t even deny they intrigue you as well. If you haven’t read them for entertainment value, you’ve read them to see if anyone you know was arrested. They’re vicarious sordidness, aren’t they?

Cop brieffffffs! (Don't Google "cop briefs" unless you want to see a lot of men's underpants, my friends.)

Cop brieffffffs! (Don’t Google “cop briefs” unless you want to see a lot of men’s underpants, my friends.)

Oh, in case you don’t have these where you are (doesn’t everyone have these? I’d assume yes, but you know what they say about assuming…) cop briefs are those quick little blurbs in the paper that say something like “John Doe, 46, of Somewheresville, was arrested by state police on Saturday at 1:02 a.m. He was charged with lewd lewdness, crazy loudness, and public urination.” Things like that.

One of my (many) jobs at the paper is to put certain things online immediately, as soon as they’re proofread. Major stories, some wire stories that we think people will be interested in, and the cop briefs. Cop briefs are *very* popular around here. (I don’t know if it’s just around here. I think they’re probably popular everywhere. People are alike all over. Somewhat nosy.)

I almost immediately realized that the cop briefs were both the funniest and saddest things I would be reading at the paper.

Things that seem surprisingly popular around here, so much so that they’re probably 75% or more of our cop briefs:

  • heroin-related crimes (heroin is HUGE around here. Apparently locals really enjoy riding the horse. Who knew?)
  • Meth-related crimes (cookin’ the meth, yo, cookin’ the meth)
  • drunk driving
  • domestic violence
  • child molestation (yes, I know…shudder)
  • petit larceny
  • check forgery

SIDE NOTE: There is a 50/50 split at work of people who say “petit” (just like it looks – “pet it”, like you would do to a cat, specifically, Dumbcat, who ALWAYS wants petting) larceny and who say “petty” larceny. I’m in the latter camp – too many years of French classes drilled the latter pronunciation into my head. But the “pet it” people are as adamant about their choice as the “petty” people are. I find this fascinating.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: We have a road here named “Gotham Street.” How would you say that? I’d assume, based on the world’s consumption of Batman-related things, you’d say “Gaw-thumb”, right? Nope. Here, it’s “Goe-thumb.” This makes me laugh. Like, a lot.

"It's GAW-thumb! DID MY PARENTS DIE FOR THIS!?!?!?"

“It’s GAW-thumb! DID MY PARENTS DIE FOR THIS!?!?!?”

So. Most of the cop briefs are for the things above. It’s gotten so second-hand that I’m all “ho-hum, another trailer exploded because they were cooking meth in it.” The domestic violence and child molestation ones bother me, I’m not going to lie. I don’t know if I’ll ever get inured to those. I think if the day comes that I am, I’m done. Roll me up and throw me in the sea.

My favorites, however, are the petit larceny ones. Specifically, the FUNNY petit larceny ones. Yes, yes. I know. Stealing’s not all that funny. But when you’re hanging your hat on dark humor, you take it where you can get it, you know?

There was…

  • the man who bought a bunch of crap at Walmart with counterfeit $100s, got caught, got arrested, got an appearance ticket, then THREE DAYS LATER got caught AGAIN for trying to buy MORE THINGS with a counterfeit $100. (Vitamins. He was trying to buy vitamins at the drug store.) This time, the cops were all “yeah…think we’ll keep you” and he had $50,000 bail, or something. We were all, “Hee! You know he’s saying ‘oh! $50k? I HAVE THAT! Do you take $100s?'”

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

  • the woman who decided she HAD TO HAVE the Keurig from her hotel room, so she put it in her bag and was all “gonna gooooo now” but got caught (not sure how…but based on future info, I’m guessing it was just poking on out of her bag, she doesn’t seem the brightest) and when the cops showed up she had a PLETHORA of wee bags of meth on her. Now, my thought: if you’re packing, like, MULTIPLE bags of meth? Probably don’t also steal the Keurig from your hotel room. You can buy one from your meth money later, and you want to keep a low profile, you know? You don’t need that Keurig right now. No. You don’t. Put it down. PUT IT DOWNNNN.

    "If it's in the hotel room, it's mine, right? I'm just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR CRACK COCAINE."

    “If it’s in the hotel room, it’s mine, right? I’m just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR METH.”

  • the guy who got arrested at his home for stealing something but then resisted arrest, and then his mother got arrested for trying to stop the cops from arresting him, and then SHE resisted arrest as WELL, and then his BROTHER tried to stop the cops from arresting his MOM and then resisted his OWN arrest. So, we’re three for three, then. Good show, folks.
  • the woman that got arrested for stealing a Dr. Pepper and some Cracker Jack from the convenience store. That one just made me sad. It was less than $4 of stuff. I kind of wanted to find her and give her $5 and tell her to keep the change.
  • The woman that just walked right out of the grocery store with something called a “mega meat savings pack.” This one was kind of the best, because the reporter who was on cops that night was on the phone with the police station, and we overheard him say, “I’d like a little more detail about this petit larceny of the ‘mega meat savings pack?'” And Coworker R. and I (BTW, I’m quite convinced Coworker R. and I are siblings separated at birth) at the exact same time said “Mega meat savings pack?” and got the giggles. And then the poor reporter was trying to hold it together while he was talking to the cops, but it was like on “Saturday Night Live” when everyone gets the giggles and no one can behave. Church-giggles, is what it was. And when he got off the phone, he was all “YOU GUYS” and I was all “MEGA MEAT SAVINGS PACK!” and even now I can’t say that without laughing like a looney.

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

  • The couple that got arrested for stealing a shopping cart filled with camping supplies from Walmart (Walmart gets stolen from, on average, 47 bajillion times a week…ok, I’m exaggerating, it’s like 47 KABILLION times a week) and then after listing all the things that were stolen, like “Sterno, a tent, tent poles, marshmallows, an inflatable mattress” it also listed “sexual lubricant.” Heh. Well, I guess the point of couples camping is that it’s (turn your eyes away, kiddos) fucking in tents. Or maybe they had some other campy use for that lubricant; I don’t really do outdoorsy well, so I couldn’t begin to tell you. Like, maybe it keeps away bears, you don’t know.

    "QUICK! GET THE K-Y!"

    “QUICK! GET THE K-Y!”

Probably the best, though, which was NOT petit larceny related, was the chick who foiled a kidnapper.

YES! A man called the cops, and said “someone tried to kidnap my ladyfriend in front of the convenience store!” so the cops were all on red alert and ran over and took statements and there was a lookout for a black SUV with a couple of nefarious white guys in it, and the woman was all “I left the store, they tried to pull me into their SUV, I fought ‘em off with my sweet ninja moves” (I might be making that part up a little, but it was something to that effect.)

Everyone on our Facebook page, when we posted the story, FREAKED OUT. “Why are the cops hiding something from us?” “It’s like they WANT us to be kidnapped!” “FIND THESE EVILDOERS!” “CASTRATE THEM WITH RUSTY GARDEN SHEARS!” (Again, I might be making that part up a little.)

There was no news for a day or two…then the truth came out.

So, the chick had a job interview across the street from the convenience store. She and her boyfriend showed up early. Because she had time to kill, she proceeded to get very drunk (…yeah, I don’t know, either) and then she somehow lost her boyfriend in the convenience store. Convinced he’d left without her, she went in the parking lot, angry at him. When he came out looking for her, she was all, “YOU ABANDONED ME. And…um…because you did that, SOMEONE TRIED TO KIDNAP ME. I hope you’re HAPPY, Frank.” (His name wasn’t Frank. Like I remember his name. Please.)

So the boyfriend, who wasn’t (I’m assuming) drunk, was all, “babe, I was just inside this convenience store, how did you lose me? And more importantly, WE GOTTA CALL THE COPS ABOUT THIS KIDNAPPING.” And, mired in her web of drunken lies, she said, “Um. Yeeees? Yes, sure we sure do. Those dirty kidnappers who totally tried to kidnap me just now heh heh I’m not even lying at all even a little bit.”

The cops then broke her down after intense questioning (I’m guessing “intense” was just they looked at her seriously and she was all “OMG I AM SO SORRY” and started crying, she’s not really the criminal mastermind type, is she?) and she was charged with wasting police resources and reporting a false claim and inciting a riot. I made up that last one because it sounded cool. And, I have to assume, she did not get the job, probably. Unless the job was “professional drunken parking-lot kidnap liar,” in which case, she NAILED the interview (and I’m guessing there wasn’t much competition.)

As you can expect if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I totally crack up over these kinds of stories. And I tell ALL my coworkers about them. “DEAR COWORKERS!” I say, and proceed to tell them the latest transgression in a VERY dramatic reading, which I like to think is appreciated by all. (Or, if it’s not, they’re too polite to tell me to shush it.)

What have we learned?

If you do something stupid, your name’s going to be in the paper. THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING!

(Also, just an FYI, we have computerized archives going back to the 80s. So don’t be thinking I won’t look you up and see if you were ever in the cop briefs. I SO WILL. This is like the next step in Googling one’s date. Newspaper-archive-searching one’s date. I am not going out with someone and then finding out after I’m head-over-heels he deals meth out of his nasty meth-trailer. I also, by the way, researched my apartment to see if it was a murder house. What, like you wouldn’t. It was never a murder house. But it WAS a drug house in the 90s. So if I find any little packets crammed in the corners, I’m going to probably not eat those, then.)

So…probably don’t do stupid things, my little gumdrops. Or someone, somewhere, is laughing HYSTERICALLY at you at the copydesk of a paper with their amazing coworkers they love more than all the cheese in the world. (ALL the cheese. And there’s a lot of cheese in the world, is how much those coworkers are loved.)

Thus endeth the lesson.

(Oh, and I guess also bring K-Y jelly camping? I don’t even know about that one.)


I have a fancy nametag and EVERYTHING.

You’re totally right, anthropomorphic computer equipment. Thanks for the reminder. Stop talking about me behind my back, though, you’ll give me a complex and scare the cat.

Things have been a bit upended thisaway. Completely upended, actually. To the point that I have to reschedule the time I sleep and eat and such. Plus a gigantic move to a new town, and a whole new apartment, and a new town to learn, and a new JOB to learn, and and and…

I’m a bit chicken-head-cut-off here.

Overall, all’s well. I miss Albany, and I really miss my people there, but am learning my new home. My job makes it worthwhile; it’s a fantastic job. I love my coworkers, who are intelligent and sarcastic and make me laugh until I snort pretty much daily. I love the work, because it’s never the same and I get to be all crack-the-whippy about grammar issues and I get to be the night-and-weekend social media person, things I love doing AND I GET PAID FOR THEM. How often do you get to do things that you like, and get paid for them? I love the building, which is old and historic and filled with the best of newspapery ghosts whispering “extra, extra.” I like that my apartment is literally four minutes from my job, which will be fantastic when the snow falls (and that could be any day now…it’s getting chilly here.) I like that I know the news because I have to proofread all the stories so I’m all knowledgeable about what’s going on in the world. (Some days, I wish I wasn’t as knowledgeable. There’s a lotta shit going down right now, yo.) I like when the phone rings I get to answer it with “Newsdesk, Amy speaking.” I like that I had a hand in 5/7 of the newspapers that come out in this city every week. (5/7 only because I get two days off each week, not because I’m a slacker.) I like that when people ask what I do, and I say “I work for the paper,” they get an impressed look on their faces for the first time in my LIFE. I like that I look forward to going to work every day. Every single damn day. They even gave me a nametag with my PHOTO on it so I am all OFFICIAL.

This is NOT from my paper, but from my beloved cousin S.'s paper. I asked her if perhaps a tutor was revived IN the Tudor; the answer was no, sadly.

This is NOT from my paper, but from my beloved cousin S.’s paper. I asked her if perhaps a tutor was revived IN the Tudor; the answer was no, sadly.

I’m getting used to a nights-and-weekends schedule; there are pros and cons to it. Nice to only have to set the alarm a couple times a week, but working until the wee hours still makes me a little loopy. I assume I’ll get used to it eventually and stop being so yawny all the time.

My new place is amazing. Roomy and beautiful and old. Dumbcat and I have moved right in. This morning, he realized if he sleeps right on a register grate, the hot air from the furnace is ALL HIS. I walked by and laughed so hard I hurt my stomach. He had a look on his face as if he’d discovered pirate gold. “ALL HEET! ALL MYNE! MOM, IS SO GUDE!” My birthday present from my parents this year was – are you ready? – MY OWN WASHER-DRYER. I don’t have to leave the house to wash my clothes! I FEEL LIKE A MILLIONAIRE!!!

Random apartment photos! Ignore the cat-hairy floor. LOOK AT ALL THE ROOM I HAVE!

Random apartment photos! Ignore the cat-hairy floor. LOOK AT ALL THE ROOM I HAVE!

Bookcase! Bedroom! All the space!

Bookcase! Bedroom! All the space!

Kitchen! Frog-thing hanging on the wall! SO MUCH SPACE OMG!

Kitchen! Frog-thing hanging on the wall! Random Amy-shoes on the floor! SO MUCH SPACE OMG!

I have also purchased many bookcases and filled them with many books. And there is room for MORE books (which is secretly why I purchased VERY tall bookcases.) Gigantic book sale going on at the library starting next week, yo. Guess who’ll be there? ME ME ME. (Dude, fifty-cent paperbacks and dollar hardcovers? Like I’d NOT be there. Please.)

Two of my 6 bookcases. The guy at the store where I bought bookcases was all "are these for books? YOU OWN THIS MANY BOOKS?" Heh. Yeah, kind of.

Two of my six bookcases. The guy at the store where I bought bookcases was all “are these for books? YOU OWN THIS MANY BOOKS?” Heh. Yeah, kind of more than that many.

SIDE NOTE: I haven’t had time to read a single book since I moved. Not one. I KNOW. It’s kind of a travesty, yeah? I’m hoping to chisel out a little more time for that sometime soon. I also haven’t written a single poem. NOT ONE. Another thing I need to get a move on. I have scraps of phrasing scribbled on a million post-its all over this place. I need to turn them into something.

Very little theater here (at least compared to what I’m used to in Albany) but a decent amount if I make a bit of a drive. Went to a concert in Potsdam last night – about an hour and a half away – which was totally worth the trip. (Postmodern Jukebox – if you live on the internet like I do, you’re sure to have heard of them. They’re the ones that take pop songs and make them all swing-y or blues-y or big-band-y. They’re fantastic live, and they’re on tour, so I highly recommend if they come by you, go see them!)

Terribly actiony shot. They were very move-y. Such a wonderful show.

Terribly actiony shot. They were very move-y. Such a wonderful show.

This was my favorite song they played:

(Also, we totally had a singalong to a “Baby’s Got Back” mashup that made me laugh and laugh. And YES, I sang along. Of course I did.)

All in all – all’s well. Some sadnesses, sure. When are there not? Those weigh heavy on my mind. It’s funny how the little sads weigh so much more than the big happys, isn’t it? Relatively-speaking, they should all weigh the same, like the pound of feathers and the pound of lead in that oft-repeated brain teaser.

So: yes. Alive: check. Well: check. In the middle of a billion things, most of them completely different than anything I’ve ever done or dealt with before: check. Mostly remaining upright throughout all of them and not collapsing into a pool of puddly tears: check (mostly, so I’m counting it as a win.)

I keep thinking of things I should blog, like things you learn working at a newspaper, and things you learn running a newspaper’s Facebook page, and I think Dumbcat wants to talk to you about how it is living in the new apartment, and I want to tell you about the new town, and the new library, and all the local fauna here (holy crap with the fauna that seem to live in my backyard exclusively!) but it’ll have to wait for another day. Hoping that’ll happen sooner than later.

Here is a teaser of local fauna. A GIGANTIC SKUNK WAS LIVING IN MY BACK YARD FOR A WHILE, YOU GUYS HOLY HELL.

Here is a teaser of local fauna. A GIGANTIC SKUNK WAS LIVING IN MY BACK YARD FOR A WHILE, YOU GUYS. HOLY HELL.

Happy Wednesday, people of the blog. Hope you’re all happy and healthy and wise. Wealthy would be nice, too, but let’s not push it. How about JUST wealthy enough to afford delicious HoHos. There you go, then.


When it rains, it pours. And I never remember my umbrella.

The universe has a funny way of loading a lot on you all at once and then saying, “‘kay, I’m going to leave you to figure this out…good luck with that” and then taking off to traipse through the celestial flowers or whatever the universe does on its day off.

2014, so far, has been the year of both getting my ass kicked and kicking ass back. Gigantic highs and huge old lows.

I went to the land of the Finns…

Where I was amazed by the fact that you could TOUCH LEMURS (well, illegally, but still, it wasn't like anyone stopped you...)

Where I was amazed by the fact that you could TOUCH LEMURS (well, illegally, but still, it wasn’t like anyone stopped you…)

...and I got to see this in really real person...

…and I got to see this in really real person…

...and I got to hang out with my most favorite little Finnish girl in the whole world...

…and I got to hang out with my most favorite little Finnish girl in the whole world…

...and Andreas evilly tried to poison everyone with windshield washer fluid in a Coke bottle...

…and Andreas evilly tried to poison everyone with windshield washer fluid in a Coke bottle…

...and I got to sleep with this guy...

…and I got to sleep with this guy…

...this lovely lady...

…this lovely lady…

...and the two most perfect red pups in all the world.

…and the two most perfect red pups in all the world.

Then things kind of went to shit once I got home…in a nutshell, I was let go from an amazing job and all-too-quickly took a job that was offered, mostly out of fear of not having one. To say it was a nightmare is to speak a little too well of what went on at that job. But, professional grown-up ladies don’t badmouth places of employment, right? Right.

I put up with what I think can correctly be called Emotional Abusetown for four months, and then quit. Without a backup plan. Because sometimes you need to run. I mean, come on, Kenny Rogers taught me that when I was a wee Amy, right? I’m still not sure when to hold ‘em or fold ‘em, but I am VERY good at knowing when to run. Even when it doesn’t seem like a good idea because you won’t have health insurance in your life on the lam.

However, the universe (good old universe) decided maybe I didn’t have ENOUGH going on, so threw in the MOST EPIC CURVEBALL.

It said a lot about Emotional Abusetown that after three days there, I started jobhunting again. I applied near, and when nothing seemed to be coming of it, I applied far. And I decided to stretch a little for the kinds of jobs I wanted, not just settle for the kinds of jobs I could do, but wouldn’t be all that soul-enhancing. What the hell, right?

So when I got a call from a newspaper wanting me to do a phone interview in the middle of the day one day, I looked around for the hidden cameras. People like me didn’t get calls from newspapers, right? Unless it was a person wanting them to SUBSCRIBE to the newspaper.

Over a few weeks, I actually got calls from TWO newspapers. I had multiple phone interviews and one full-day in-person interview. (Yes, you read that right. The interview was – withour the slightest bit of hyperbole – six and a half hours long. It was almost an entire workday. And I did work, too. It was as if I was actually working for quite a bit of the day.)

Hey, guess what?

Both papers hired me.

One paid so little I couldn’t afford to take the job without taking another job (at least part-time, if not close to full-time) to make ends meet. It would have been a very good job. It was a reporter position for my hometown paper, the paper I read growing up that taught me to love newsprint. But it’s a very small town, and a small-town newspaper can’t afford to pay much. I said no, but sadly.

The other paid better, but not as much as I’m used to making. There was a lot of thinking involved. When the editor called with the job offer and explained that, in order to get me to say yes, he’d moved some things around and added on some extra things here and there just to bump up the bottom line…well. How can you say no to that?

So of course I said yes. I am their newest copy editor, and will also be doing some social media, and maybe some writing and reviewing, if the need arises.

Thing is…the really HARD thing is…

…the job is here.

You know I love it here in the Capital District. It’s home, and it’s been home for 12 years (12 years this weekend, actually – I moved here Labor Day weekend 2002.) My heart is here. That’s never happened anywhere I’ve lived, this sense of pride and ownership of place. I’m completely at home here. I feel very safe here.

But, around the time I got back from my adventure overseas, I’d started to get the itch.

Do you get this? This itch that something’s off, and something needs to change? It’s not something small, like, something that can be fixed by going out and buying a new outfit or a getting a kicky haircut (although those itches happen, too, sometimes.) This is a bigger itch, where you don’t feel comfortable in your skin, and something BIG needs to change. I used to get this quite often, which was ok, because when I was younger, I changed jobs or apartments or cities on the regular. But it seems you don’t outgrow the itch. It still shows up out of nowhere and starts bumping around your head like a fly made stupid with autumn.

I thought that finding a new job would satisfy it, and it would – it will. But the universe is, if anything, a trickster. So the universe said, “Sure! Here’s a new job. The new job is, actually, a job you’ve been dreaming of for, oh, only your whole LIFE. But here’s the catch – you have to move three hours away to a town where you only know one person and that you’ve never been in for more than half an hour. Also, the winters are kind of cuckoo-bananas. So, how are you going to handle THAT?”

I’m handling that by spending the last week packing everything I own…

This is my living room right now. Say hello to Mount St. Amy. It's insurmountable.

This is my living room right now. Say hello to Mount St. Amy. It’s insurmountable. Believe me, Dumbcat has tried. And failed.

…cancelling all my utilities, apartment-hunting, saying goodbye to people, quitting my two part-time jobs, sleeping too little, fretting too much, trying to get Dumbcat to understand I will NOT be leaving him behind so he doesn’t have to cling to me like a remora, and getting ready to leave my home for my new town.

I somehow had the best luck in the world and found the perfect apartment with the very first one I saw – really close to work, in a nice area, wood floors, fireplace, a ton of space, a yard, a porch…and only a wee bit more than I’m paying now. And the new landlord seems delightful. She gave it to me almost immediately, even though other people had applied. I think she knew it was a me-place as much as I did. It has good vibes. And it’s almost 100 years old! I have old-building love. Always have.

The town is about a third of the size of where I live now, but has a lot of history and is well-appointed – lots of shopping, lots of green space, beautiful old buildings, a zoo(!). Two of my most beloved people live within an hour of my new place, so I’ll get to see them more often, and I’m an hour closer to my family.

And, it all comes down to this: I’m ready for a grand adventure.

This is a job I’ll love, and dammit, I’ll be GOOD at this. The apartment is great. I don’t have anything I can’t leave here – I love it, but it’s not like I have family I can’t uproot, or something along those lines. I’m ripe for a change, and when better to make one?

In two days, my family will show up with trucks and trailers and such and we will have a day of MUCH physical labor…and by the end of it, I will be the newest resident of Watertown, NY, with a new job waiting for me just a few days later.

*deep breaths*

It all happens at once, or not at all…I guess I got the all at once this year.

Onward and upward.

(P.S. – apparently, it pays to be a grammar nerd. GO ME!)

 


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