Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One step forward, two steps back

Kismet is feeling a lot better, as evinced by the fact he woke me up twice last night sniffing around looking for a rawhide he had buried and exhumed about a month ago from under my bed.

I, on the other hand, am a bit sore. Evening programs have picked up again (which is part of the reason I have been so lax writing NickiLovesDrama Platinum) and I worked tonight. I tell a ghost story that is set in the Randolph House, possibly the creepiest house in the entire Colonial Williamsburg historical area. Picture a beautiful colonial house, perfectly symmetrical, with a lovely detached kitchen and laundry connected by a passageway. Now picture the entire thing covered in dried blood-red paint. Yeah. It's creepy. Anyway, this is where I work.

The shoes I wear are uncomfortable, not because they're heels (an inch counts!) but because they have no padding in the ball of my foot. I fixed that by inserting insoles, but they made me feel so good that I went swinging down the street at a positively blinding pace, blithely swinging my basket, marveling how two little pieces of plastic can make me feet feel so good when--WHANG, my heel came down on a pebble, my ankle twisted, I landed on my knee and then on my a$$, basket flying, concerned William and Mary runner jogging up to ask if I was okay. Sure. Just embarrassed.

CW protocol insists that security be called for all accidents, so a call was duly made. A few minutes later my supervisor came huffing up "--I've called Kara, she's getting into costume!--" only to be reassured that I was fine, just really embarrassed to be sitting in the middle of Dog Street. The security guard administered an icepack and a large band-aid to my left knee where I skinned it, and I stood up shakily. Sore, achy (I must have pulled on my knee and hip too) but the show must go on. And it did. I had to fill out paperwork for my accident: just in case I should ever sue the Foundation, they can prove that it was totally my fault for not paying attention when I was walking around in daylight on a level, paved street.

But we got through it. And by the end of the night, my insoles had worked their way around to sit on the top of my foot, causing me to rethink this whole thing all together. Maybe tomorrow night I'll just wear my flat militia shoes...I'm sure no one would notice.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trials of Beaglehood

I wanted to write a post about whether or not I feel more/less pressure now that I'm writing for a select audience. NickiLovesDrama Platinum, if you like. Now that it's only the loyalist of loyal readers, I feel like I need to increase the quality of journalism.

But the dog is sick. Proper sick. Can't keep a thing down, not even the fingernail sized treat at the vet, not even water. He's floppy to the point seeming bonelessness and, like a two year old with a fever, cuddly and miserable. I knew something was wrong when I set his food bowl down this evening and he sniffed it and then walked away. So we went to the vet. Luckily (or unluckily, if you like), he had an accident in the exam room, providing the sample needed to determine that he has a parasite. "Did he drink any standing water recently?" the vet asked. "Does the James River count?" I asked, conjuring up hazy memories of a languid Saturday spent beachcombing while the boyfriend cooked dinner. Turns out it does.

So I have a sick beagle on my hand. Right now he mostly wants to sleep and that's fine with me, but I have to make sure he doesn't get dehydrated. I cooked up a big pot of "bland diet" food (rice and lean beef) but he's so sick that a tiny piece came right back up again, along with most of his medicine. Sigh. Poor baby. I think his mom's going to take the morning off so she can monitor and give plenty of cuddlings.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Being Responsible

Right now I'd settle for some apartment-mates who didn't go out on their patio to smoke and hawk loogies into the grass, so that our tranquil nighttime open door is interrupted by the pall of smoke and the occasional "HWAUUUUUK-PTOOOIE!" Very attractive. I'm half tempted to go dump a bucket of water over their heads, but it's going to rain again, so the point would be moot.

Today I went to the dentist, which was very exciting. I just wanted my teeth cleaned, but instead the dentist was going to perform a New Patient Assessment, an Oral Cancer Screening and a Periodontical something or other, which involved him poking me with the pointy dental tool until my gums bled and then informing me I need to floss more. No cavities, but there might be a slight darking of the tooth which could potentially turn into a cavity, so when I come back for my cleaning (no, I didn't get a cleaning: insurance will cover everything except the hours I lose from work, arg) I will get a bottle of fluoride and, probably, miles of dental floss.

I felt very grown up, taking responsibility for my dental health and making an appointment and signing my own release forms. Although I was taken back somewhat to my childhood days when the dentist (who, I swear, was younger than I was) leaned over my open mouth and paused. Oh, wait for it, I thought, here it comes. And sure enough: "Did you know that your tonsils are absolutely enormous? Like--those are the biggest tonsils I've ever seen." Yes, actually, I have heard that before, like the time I had six dental hygenists around me, all gawking at my freakishly large tonsils. They're just there, like my spleen. Potentially annoying, but not really getting in the way. My dentist seemed really concerned that I should get them out as soon as possible, and even recommended an ear, nose and throat doctor to me.

So all systems clear, or so I thought. After work there was a message on my phone from the dentist who had taken my x-ray with him to lunch. At lunch were some other dentists, who had a wee consultation over their BLTs and mostly agreed that I have a cyst or polyp or something in my left sinus. This was the message left on my phone, mind you, not a bland "please call, I would like to speak with you," but an "OH MY GOD YOU HAVE A TUMOR IN YOUR FACE" giving me ample time to imagine myself with half my sinus off like the guy who had the flesh-eating bacteria.

And all my loyal readers know how vain I am about my cheekbones.

Anyway. The dentist assured me that it was nothing to worry about (all right, I may have slightly exaggerated the tone of the message, but it's IN MY FACE y'all, okay?), just a benign cyst probably, but it could cause infection, and he strongly encouraged me to get in touch with that ear, nose, and throat doctor. So it looks like I'm going. Just tonsils, no biggie, but tonsils and potential alien life form stuck up my left nostril, right, I'm there. Arg. Sometimes being an adult sucks.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have to go floss.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Has Anyone Seen My Motivation Recently?

No London for me. After agonizing about how to spend my 36.25 hours of vacation time, I finally decided to take a few days off around Memorial Day and then go home to Wisconsin in July. But when I went to turn in my vacation request, my boss pointed out that it had been due two hours ago. Fine. Guess I won't be going anywhere in May or June then... Mostly I'm mad at myself for procrastinating until after the last second has gone. Lately I haven't been able to get myself motivated to do anything. Writing? Not at all. Looking at jobs or potentially going back to school? Nope, nothing. Even walking the dog is beyond me most days. all I want to do is sleep and read. In that order. I need a vacation--but, as I mentioned, that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

The problem is, I'm very comfortable here in Williamsburg. My jobs keep me busy, so that I'm distracted from the fact that they don't pay very well...I work harder, not smarter, like yer supposed to. So I have the problem identified, the new problem is overcoming the apathy that led to the original problem in the first place. And yet I want to shout: is there really a problem at at, in the first place (second place)? So what if I'm poor and somewhat sleep-deprived, I like my job(s) and it's summer, so make hay while the sun shines. Yet I know I could be doing better. I need to stop being so comfortable and make another where, to what, I don't know. I don't know when I'm likely to find out either...again, that lack of motivation thing again.

But I'm getting itchy feet...a leap of faith might be just what I need.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Year In

It's hard to believe that just over a year ago I arrived in Williamsburg. Living in the historical area, secluded and sheltered, walking to the library to check my email and visiting the local coffee shop on Friday night just to have something to do. A year ago or so, when I was coming back from somewhere, I briefly joined a ghosts tour and listened to a haunting tale of a penitential I tell ghost stories and hand sew shifts by candlelight. It's been a good year. A lot has changed, but it's been a good year. A year where I can honestly say I haven't succumbed to any serious bouts of depression, or made bad choices that I regret. The first year in a long time.

Last week I was cleared on my story, so I worked Thursday night. And again tonight and then tomorrow. I need the money and it's good to tell it in front of an audience. We couldn't find the key to let ourselves into the passage tonight, prompting me to go around the break room asking the Randolph House ghosts to help us find it...they didn't, but security arrived in the nick of time with a bundle of historical keys, and the day was saved. My new story is complicated, there are lots of shifts of intention and focus. I would have written it waaaay differently. But it reads a lot better in the actual haunted house, and it's shorter than my old one, so I'm not quite so dead after the last tour.

Recently though, I've become aware of a job opportunity that I want to apply for...I'll say no more about it right now, however. I'd rather wait until I have something to say. This will impact NickiLovesDrama, though, because I am taking my blog private. Starting soonish, you'll have to have a password to get in. I don't want potential employers to see things I've written here, although I've tried to behave myself. So, loyal readers, if you want to stay loyal, send me an email and I'll let you know when NLD becomes an exclusive members-only club.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Kismet Is My Copilot

I want to put this on a bumper sticker on my car. You know. Make everyone think I'm beeing deep and philosophical and new age-y, when really, Kismet is my beagle. Ha.

anyway. I have so many scratches on my under-forearm right now it looks like I'm doing it on purpose. Lots of pins, all managing to scratch me as I twist another sleeve under my machine, trying to get it stitched in securely. I've been doing coats. An 80th of Foot redcoat, a couple silk coats, a linen coat. All of which have gone out the door posthaste, before I could think to get a picture of them. Which just means I'll have to grab my camera and do some interpreter stalking...what a way to meet my coworkers: "Hey, can I take a picture? I made that coat!"

Other than that, not much going on here. Nicole, Erin and I went shopping last Saturday for Nicole's wedding, and I managed to find a pair of ridiculously huge sunglasses, some nice smelly lotion from Bath and Body Works and shoes. Not shoes I could wear at a wedding, but, well, can never have too many shoes, really. So I've heard. We've got time, after all, wedding's not 'til December, but to hear her talk about it, we're only days away from driving to Florida. Did I mention it's a destination wedding? Oh yes. Florida in December sounds lovely. Of course, there's that other wedding I should probably start thinking about...Samio, would you mind terribly if I wore a petticoat and jacket? My sewing project list for my eighteenth century interpretation is out of control. But if I can manage to get a shift cut out this weekend...I could put it together in a couple hours.

And I'm working tomorrow night. Apparently the evening tours are booked up so fully they're having a bit of a staffing shortage, so I've been called in, even though I'm not cleared yet. I'll be going in early to work out any last minute kinks with the supervisor. Nervous? No. I'm too tired to be nervous. Although it feels sort of like the actor dream: "What are we waiting for?" "For you to get up there and perform the show!"

Then there's London. The question still looms. I had decided not to go, decided to take that money and make another dream come true and take some sailing lessons, but then...yet another friend mentioned she'd be in the city. And I'd probably be staying at a really nice hotel, thanks to a friend's dad's frequent flyer card. Oh so tempting. Did I mention I'm reading The Star of the Sea, which features a lengthy description of a wastrel earl leaving his home on Tite Street, wandring through Chelsea, down to Whitechapel and then Shoreditch? And then loving descriptions of the south bank, names so familiar and dear to me I could nearly walk them in my mind: Wapping, Greenwich, Deptford, Lewisham, Southwark. Southwark! Had to think how to spell that for a second...Suthuk would be better. Ay me. London, you siren.

Friday, April 03, 2009

One Way or another

Yesterday, Kismet safely ensconced at playcare, I found myself with a bonus hour at the end of the working day. I went to the library. I cannot remember the last time I was there. Wandering the stacks, letting one interest leading to another, kneeling on the ground in front of bookshelves pulling out tomes and flipping through them. The smell of dust and ink. The Williamsburg Regional Library is quite awesome for a small-town library, full of books generously donated by enthusiastic readers. I was there, ostensibly, to garner some research material that will assist me in putting together an "impression" of an eighteenth-century woman of the lower-middling sort. There's a lot to learn, apart from the clothes. History of my people, history of the area, just what sort of things would I know? Sewing, yes, cooking, yes, folk remedies, yes, but can I read? Do I comprehend the politics and the policies that are irreversibly pulling the Commonwealth away from the homeland? Items on the to-do list include building a Diderot bedgown and a cap, but they also include learning how to bake Sally Lunn bread over an open fire (sparked with flint and steel, of course) and learning some useful knots.

So in addition to several books about the history of Virginia and the ways that her early settlers entertained themselves, I also got a few novels and a couple books-on-CD which are a godsend at work. I never thought that I'd get bored of my musicals, but even I can only stand so many repetitions of "The Last Five Years." Right now I'm "reading" The Resurrectionist, which is great. The reader is having a little trouble differentiating the various characters, but the story--well, stories, really--is utterly engrossing. And so work went by quickly today. A good thing, since the temperature got into the eighties, and all I wanted to do was head outside and frolic.

This week hasn't been easy, however. Monday we found out that our part-time employee was going to be let go. Her last day was on Wednesday, so we had a little potluck party for her. It was awkward, but I think she appreciated it. Our boss' boss was torn up over having to eliminate a position when she's been fighting so hard to keep us all. We also found out on Monday that another of our employees was involved in a serious car accident, requiring three surgeries on her ankle, knee, hip and spleen, variously. She's out of the ICU, but there hasn't been any discussion about when she'll be going home. So this week has been kind of tense.

I really like working for CW. The company is a fantastic company to work for. Despite recent cutbacks, I still believe they care about their employees, and they encourage a family atmosphere to permeate both the historic area and we behind the scenes. But lately, more and more, I've been coming to accept that I can't stay here. Not in my current capacity. Mostly it has to do with the salary I'm drawing: if I ever want to have a prayer of owning my own home or doing more traveling, I need to make more money. Some of it has to do with the drama of the people I work with. I would love to work in another area of CW, but the mighty hiring freeze continues. Projects I've been presenting to people and ideas I've been nursing have been shot down one after another with the now all too familiar phrase "There's no money." Fair enough. The "economic crisis" (o overused phrase!) will lessen, however, and I will need to be moving on. I don't know what will happen...but something needs to give.