I Hope I Get It

My 9-year-old, Alex, has been bitten hard by the theater bug. He recently auditioned for what will hopefully be his fourth show, a community theater production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In talking with a friend who offered Alex some advice for his audition, I realized how similar the audition process is to a job interview. One of the more salient points was that a director isn’t likely going to know if you’re right for a role as soon as you walk through the door, but he or she will definitely know if you’re wrong for it, regardless of your talent, experience, appearance, or work ethic.

This directly mirrors my experience in hiring and interviewing in the corporate world. No matter how pleasant, well-dressed, or personable an individual is upon first glance, I’m not going to know if he is right for the position until some questions are asked and conversations are had. Conversely there have been times where a candidate looks perfect for the role on paper, but after a minute in a room with her, I’m ready to run away screaming. Because the first and foremost rule of interviewing is…screen out the freaks. That’s not PC, but there is nothing more important – unless you want your life and your employees’ lives to immediately descend into madness and chaos.

I began to reflect on past interview experiences when I was in management with two large healthcare corporations. For the most part I think I was a successful interviewer and hirer. Most of the individuals I brought on board stuck around, did a good job, many eventually moving onto bigger and better things. I don’t recall having to fire anyone who I hired, that was usually the result of cleaning up someone else’s screening failure.

One of my first experiences interviewing was when I was a young team lead on a customer service team. My manager was a thirty-something gay man who didn’t think anyone knew he was gay. Everyone knew he was gay. No one cared. It was the “don’t ask don’t tell” era of the late 90s, but we worked for a very progressive company that had an active LGBT group on site who had meetings at lunch with a little rainbow flag on their table in the break room. Even so, he didn’t speak of it, and I respected that. “Tell us about an obstacle you’ve faced and how you overcame it,” he read from one of the corporate-mandated “behavioral” interview questions.

Our interviewee proceeded to go into great detail about how the greatest obstacle she’d faced was being sexually assaulted, and how she’d worked to overcome it. She wasn’t ungraphic about it. You know the wide-eyed embarrassed face emoji? That was my manager and me. Only his face had turned four thousand shades of red in about ten seconds. We were both repressed, Midwestern, Germanic introverts, and completely unequipped to deal with that revelation. You can’t just come at us with that kind of information. Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live trap door commercial parody? If you haven’t, here it is. http://www.hulu.com/watch/282478 Brilliant. If either of us had access to a trap door button at that moment, we would have both lunged for it like a fumbled football. I believe we both nodded and offered some words of sympathy, and made feverish mental notes to add “WORKPLACE” as a modifier to the word obstacle for the next go-round. 

The best co-manager of all time, Linda, and I were on a continuous hiring spree one summer. Occasionally our micromanaging VP would insist on sitting in, which was always a disaster. The position required a mix of medical and physiology knowledge as well as financial and business acumen. It was tricky to get the right candidate, and we were always excited to find an RN who might fit the bill. VP always asked idiotic questions such as, “What’s your experience with the Microsoft Office suite of products?” One day it paid off, when the dense nurse we were questioning, paused, and said, “I can toggle.” O. M. G. Linda and I knew this would never work after that and a host of other red flags, but at the post-mortem discussion, VP thought we shouldn’t discount her nursing background. We found a way to discount her nursing background and moved on.

Linda and I were usually in perfect sync. Often we knew within the first five minutes that we never wanted to see this person again. A tug-of-war began during those interviews, with me, feeling guilty for bringing the candidate in, cursing the recruiter under my breath for not nipping this in the bud, trying to stretch it into at least a half hour, drawing out information. And Linda, wanting to wrap it up as soon as possible, rushing through our list of topics, skipping half of the questions. “Uh…I think we already covered questions 6, 7, and 8. Do you have any questions for us?”

There was the gentleman I interviewed who spent 15 minutes trying to convince me that our medical underwriting methodology (of which he’d been given the briefest of overviews) was wrong, and continued to badger me about it after I’d made it clear that I wasn’t going to get into an argument with him about it. Thank you for playing. I’ll walk you out now.

Another man came in, had excellent credentials, financial underwriting experience with a major capital firm, a management background. But he asked where all the exits were, asked if the windows were shatterproof, and told us that he didn’t feel the building was “secure.” And kept darting his eyes all over the place. And was very mysterious about why he left his previous job. Nope. No. No.

Passed on the girl who wore low-rise leggings that showed her tramp stamp.

Ditto for the one who smelled like one-part Captain Morgan and two-parts Joe Camel.

Oh, and the woman who said she wouldn’t be able to work most Mondays because her son was in jail and that was the only visiting day. Yeahhhhhh…no.

I really should have kept a journal. These are only a few of the episodes I recall off the top of my head. The firing stories are even better. And the day-to-day stories when my underwriters were intermingled with a large team of the entry-est of entry-level employees. Like people who had to be told to cover their stomach rolls at work. Or were caught doing…things…in the restroom.

My point, I guess, is for anyone interviewing for anything. Don’t get yourself disqualified in the first minute. Don’t scare the interviewer. Don’t be late. Don’t be way early. Take a shower. Don’t answer questions with 50% “likes” and “uhs.” And not to be cold, but no one cares if your cat has pancreatitis, if your husband has a gambling addiction, or if your last boss was a psychopath.


That’s all.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2017

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Insomnimania

Sleep experts say you shouldn’t have a smartphone in your bedroom. That research was validated last night when I fell down the kaleidoscopic rabbit hole held within the confines of an iPhone. The problem is compounded if you have a pair of earbuds within reach, which I did. Here’s all the flotsam that rattled around in my brain when I awakened at 3:30 in the morning, but couldn’t immediately fall back asleep.

“I heard Dancing in the Dark today. That’s a totally underrated Springsteen song. If I were a celebrity of any renown, I’d go on that show Lip Sync Battle with The Rock and Chrissy Teigen, and do that song. Wait, is it The Rock or LL Cool J? I think it’s LL Cool J. But The Rock has been on there, right? I think so. So I’d go on there and dress like a sexy girl version of The Boss in a tight white tee shirt and Levi’s and the big belt buckle and rock the shit out of that song. Then pull up my own guy version of a Courteney Cox at the end to dance with me on stage. Like who would that be? Maybe Jonathan Groff or that guy who played Danny Zuko in Grease Live! But what was he actually wearing in that video? Was it a white tee shirt, or was that just on the Born in the U.S.A. album cover? Let’s find it.”

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark

Definitely worth two watches. “Barry said he was at the concert where that video was made, and that everyone knew some girl was going to be pulled from the audience to dance. I think he’s making that up. Where was this video made?”

Googling “where was dancing in the dark video made.”

“Sure enough. St. Paul Civic Center. Not surprising, he’s been to every concert. Yeah so it’s not a tee shirt he’s wearing, but like a collared white shirt. Superstar me could definitely make that work. I can’t believe no one has done this before. It’s SUCH a great idea. Maybe it’s because it’s so old. And I’m so old. I’m old enough to remember when Bruce Springsteen blew the roof off the place on David Letterman’s last NBC show. What was that? Like 1992? 1993? College for sure. Remember that summer when you used to hang out with that guy Jeff and go over to the Beta house and watch Letterman at 11:30 and then go drink beer on the roof? That was awesome.”

David Letterman Last Show on NBC Part 7

“This is incredible. Paul is tearing up that organ. I should rephrase that. I completely forgot about the drummer. What was his name? Anton Fig! And the dude playing the sax, who is he? I remember him from some old bits. The guitar player too. Remember when Dave would call the office worker he could see in the window across the street? What was her name? Meg? God, was Letterman good. I miss him. Except I saw that picture of him on the beach in Barbados, and now he looks like goddamn angry Santa Claus. We are all old. I haven’t watched the real Glory Days video since probably it was on MTV. I think he was wearing a purple shirt.”

Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days

“How did I remember he was wearing a purple shirt? I don’t remember this baseball intro though. Maybe I do. This is a good song. Hey, there’s Max Weinberg. I always liked him. Dude, those 80’s progression lenses, though. [Shudder]

“Letterman always had fantastic musical guests. Paul Shaffer knew every good band. He got me into the Spin Doctors before the Spin Doctors recorded that horrific song, Two Princes, that played on the radio every ten minutes, and ruined them for me for life. But before that they were really good. I should watch that.”

Spin Doctors – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong (Late Night with David Letterman – 1992)

“There’s Anton again. I wonder if it’s weird with two guys playing drums at the same time? How did they decide if the World’s Most Dangerous Band was going to play along with the musical act? They’re all so damn talented. How cool of a job would that be to go do every night? I wonder what other great performances were on Letterman? I should Google that.

“This EW article has some good ones, but goddammit scroll. Why is it reloading every time I try to get down farther? Warren Zevon number one? Not bloody likely. Ooh, Foo Fighters’ Everlong. I remember that was right after his heart surgery. I watched that live. I think my mom was staying with me after David was born. Sonny and Cher? Seriously? Why won’t this stupid Sonic Youth video pull up? This article is annoying. Fix your website, EW. Idiots. Paste Magazine: 25 Great Musical Performances on David Letterman. What the hell is Paste Magazine anyway? When did that become a thing? Pixies. Never was into them. Counting Crows, Round Here…God I HATE that effing song. No. Hey Pulp, Common People. That’s a good song. That’s on The Mixtape playlist on Apple Music all the time. How good is The Mixtape on Apple Music? That gets me through everything tedious.”

“This. Is. The. Shit. 1995, wow. I never knew what that singer looked like. He’s brooding and cute. He’s smoldering. Yum. And tall. They are killing this. Fabulous lighting too. Paul’s band isn’t sitting in, they’re just owning it themselves. The girl plays the two finger keyboard. I could do that. Blown. Away. What else is on this list? Janelle Monáe. Huh. Let’s give that a whirl.”

“That girl can sing. You can’t just be a good singer, you have to work it, and she does. But I thought the article said she danced on Dave’s desk. I don’t see that. Why isn’t she dancing on the desk? Lying article. Bob Dylan. Meh. Johnny Cash. Always good. Beastie Boys. Fuck yeah. Green Day, Basket Case. Which Green Day song even is that? They all sound the same. Paul McCartney. Well of course he’s on the list. First time he’d performed in the Ed Sullivan Theater since 1964? Well that’s intriguing.”

Paul McCartney – Get Back (Late Show with David Letterman – 2009)

“Oh I remember this. Holy crap. That’s Broadway and 54th. How many people are out there watching this? How many streets are blocked off? That must have been a complete cluster fuck. I’ve been there, there just isn’t that much room. Wow, this is seriously great. How adorable is Sir Paul? He never ages. I wish I could see him when he comes to town. Wonder how I can win tickets? I want like the front row experience without paying $700. Impossible. This is from 2009. You know what’s great? There are maybe a handful of people out there recording it with their stupid phones. Everyone’s just soaking up the performance and the energy of the crowd instead of trying to capture the moment. Leave the video to the professionals. Take pictures with your mind. All you’re gonna get is shitty sound quality and grainy video of the back of people’s heads and THEIR phones. Or even worse iPads. People who shoot video on iPads are the worst of all mankind. Ok that was fun. Who else is on this list? They’re raving about this Future Islands. Who is Future Islands? That’s not the same as The Lonely Island, right? I don’t entirely get them. David enjoys them a lot. Though Andy Samberg has grown on me since Brooklyn Nine-Nine. And the SNL Digital Short they did with Natalie Portman is maybe one of the most brilliant things ever on TV. Let’s see what the Future Islands are.”

Future Islands – Seasons (Late Show with David Letterman – 2014)

“Ok one chord in and I’m hooked. These guys are phenomenal. Is that a guy playing bass or a girl? Who is this singer? He looks old, but acts like a 20-year-old. Who is this fucking guy? How have I not heard this band? This synth stuff is totally my jam. How do they sound this good with just drums, a synthesizer, and a bass? No guitar. Amazing. Dave went absolutely ape shit for them. And this is toward the end of his tenure, when he’s basically just phoning it in. This band, though. The bass player looks like Marla Hooch, and you’ve got disco legs lead singer guy who looks like a gym teacher, and a keyboard player who looks like your company’s IT guy. Yet they hit it out of the park. What now? Mutemath. What’s Mutemath? Wasn’t Cake on Craig Ferguson once and really good?”

Mutemath – Typical (Late Show with David Letterman – 2007)

“Hey, these guys dressed up for the show. I wonder how rock bands decide which crappy old tee shirts to wear to their shows? Huh, you don’t see keytars often, but it works for them. This is a good song. I need to go add this stuff to my Apple Music playlists. But it’s 5:11. I should probably reset my alarm for 6:45 to buy an extra half hour of sleep. If I can sleep. How the hell am I going to go back to sleep?”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz  2016

Bloomin’ Onions

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPeople who eat aggressively fragrant food (think fish, burnt popcorn, fried monkey) in a closed area (think office, airplane, jail cell, or anywhere with limited ventilation) are the absolute worst. Like I put them up there with war criminals, Carrot Top, and people who drive under the speed limit in the left lane. Subjecting your officemates to this kind of  brutality is inconsiderate at best, grounds for immediate dismissal at worst.

Several times this month someone has brought something infested with raw onions from the building cafeteria into our shared workspace. Its invisible and odiferous cloud instantaneously suffocates all of the breathable air in the suite. It spreads faster than a prairie fire, and before you can take cover or react, the noxious fog kicks in the door to your sinuses, bitch slaps them into submission, and threatens to take over your very soul.

And like a tree-hugging dreadlocked second cousin (or confederate-flag wearing step-brother – choose a metaphor based on your political persuasion) at a wedding reception with an open bar, not only is it offensive, but it lingers for hours. Short of a full-on biohazard suit, there is no escaping it. Today I tried to ward off the smell by liberally spraying Static-Guard (a necessary evil here in the Sahara-dry northern winter) over the wall and around my desk, hoping the onion-eater would take note. It masked the smell for about a minute, and then it was back, again relentlessly assaulting my senses.

Thankfully I had to leave early to work from home for the rest of the afternoon so I could give David a ride to his job at Papa Murphy’s, where onions are a given. I’m not sure how to go about preventing this from happening again. I could take the classic Minnesota passive-aggressive route, which would entail posting a sign in the break room or leaving an anonymous note on the reprobate’s desk (i.e. “Your onions are hurting everyone around you.”) Or start a change.org petition to ban onions from the cafeteria, which would negatively affect those who eat onions responsibly.

What I fantasized about today was walking over, taking the plate from the person’s hand, dramatically stuffing it into the trash can, and emptying an entire fire extinguisher on top of it.

Would that be wrong?

© Jennifer Alys Windholz  2016

Leftover Arguments

8:00 in the morning. One kid wants pancakes for breakfast (leftover from yesterday when I was trying to be nice), the other wants leftover macaroni and cheese. Right fucking now. A heated argument over whether or not it’s gross to put fresh raspberries on pancakes. Another about whose turn it is to let the dog out. And yet one more to determine what TV show to watch. Then…the crime of the century. Justin ate Alex’s chips and cheese. The ones that sat out over night, getting stale, the cheese hardening into a rubberlike substance that only non-ionizing microwave radiation can regenerate as an edible substance.

“HE ATE MY LEFTOVER CHIPS AND CHEESE!!!!!!!”

Histrionics ensue. Demands of restitution. Accusations of targeted thievery with malice aforethought. A third party gets involved, telling both of them to quiet down, stepping on them and on someone’s stomach as the aggrieved parties wrestle on the floor. Godzilla on a much smaller scale. More crying, this time in pain.

The kid who already ate a pancake drenched in syrup and raspberries assembles a mountain of tortilla chips and covers it with an avalanche of shredded cheese. These will surely go largely uneaten since he had zero interest in them until his brother sniped them. Now they chirp each other for no reason other than to establish the upper hand going into the next fight.

“You’re stupid.”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes you are.”
“No I’m not. You are. You don’t even know math.”
“That’s because I don’t like to add.”
“Well, you should.”
“You don’t know anything about football.”
“I don’t care. I don’t like football.”
“Well, you should.”

Four. More. Days.

UPDATE: Next fight has already broken out. Over a softcover Scholastic book called Mice on Ice. Who is the rightful owner? I can’t even be the arbiter because I bought it, and several other books for them for Christmas, and I can’t recall who got that particular book. A book that no one has touched for the past three months. Now more valuable than a first edition Mark Twain, all because someone else wants it.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2014

Five People You’ll Meet In A Small Town Bar

DentI spent this weekend at my friend’s lovely lake home (or “cabin” as weekend houses are quaintly called in these parts) in northern Minnesota. For her birthday we had the opportunity to go bar hopping in some nearby small towns. I grew up in a small town in Kansas, so I was not surprised that really the only difference between a bar in rural Minnesota and in rural Kansas is the latitude. Certain elements of the clientele might vary from New England to Florida to Idaho, but I’d venture that in any local watering hole, you’re going to mix and mingle with the following type of folks.

Freedom. Freedom is the townie who probably hooked you up with illegal liquor when you were in high school 25 years ago. Back then he had a pimped out Firebird with a Pioneer stereo system, but now no one knows what he drives because they’ve never seen him anywhere but on his barstool for ten years. Freedom’s wardrobe consists of t-shirts adorned with airbrushed designs of stars, stripes, and bald eagles. He is the epitome of “Murica.” He hasn’t been sober since the Reagan administration, and spends his time wandering around from table to table trying to engage in conversation. His eyes are permanently glassy, bloodshot, and half-open. When Freedom finally manages to slide his wallet back into the pocket of his Wranglers after five minutes of many unsuccessful attempts, the whole bar cheers his effort.

Divorcée. She’s a cougar on the prowl. Recently liberated and enjoying her new lifestyle, Divorcée is down to…flirt. She’s wearing low-rise dark denim with blinged out back pockets, a studded belt, and she teeters on pseudo Jimmy Choo heels. Her new boobs are pushed up high so they spill out of the top of her tight sparkly t-shirt. Big tan, big make-up, big nails, big hair. Everything about her screams high maintenance, yet the local bachelors, all of whom are wearing at least one article of blaze orange or camo clothing, flock to her while she holds court, falling all over themselves to buy her another Cosmo.

Glee. Playing Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls as a high school senior was the apex of Glee’s life, and he’s been trying to recapture the moment ever since. Once every few months the old ball and chain lets him out of diaper duty, and he gathers up his co-workers from the real estate office for happy hour on karaoke night. Everyone checks their phone or goes to the bathroom when he starts belting out show tunes and big band standards that no one under the age of 50 has ever heard. Then he sits down and smugly waits his turn while intoxicated frat boys home for summer break sing an off key rendition of Margaritaville clearly inferior to anything Glee is capable of.

Dancer. Dancer was probably once very pretty, but she’s been rode hard and put away wet. Her weathered skin makes her look like she could be anywhere between the age of 20 and 50. She’s wearing an ill-fitting short skirt, and that roses and barbed wire neck tattoo is dangerously close to her face. A month or two of clean living might add some meat on her bones and make her hair look less like a troll doll, but that just isn’t in the cards right now. Tonight she’s high or drunk or both, and is spending the evening grinding on any and every guy on the dance floor or at the bar. If she doesn’t hurry up and go home with someone, she’s going to get her face rearranged by a jealous girlfriend. 

Rudegirl. Rudegirl is the 40-something who is part of the group from the big city that actually doesn’t get out much unless it involves neighbors and a bonfire, but a milestone birthday or reunion is being celebrated, and this bunch thinks they’re pretty awesome, especially after several rounds of brightly colored shots of alcohol. Rudegirl knows the downtown club scene is way out of her league, so she’s ready to party like a rock star in the sticks where she can lord her purported sophistication over everyone for one night before she has to return to her kids, husband, and laundry back in the cookie cutter suburbs.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2014

Cup Nuts

So one thing I never knew about until David was seven years old, and starting his first year of baseball was protective cups and athletic supporters, or more commonly known as jock straps. I didn’t understand how you put your feet into them, which way the cup was supposed to go, or how they should fit. My husband dealt with it initially, but since then I’ve become relatively well-schooled in the subject since it generally falls to me to get a gaggle of Little Leaguers dressed out pretty much every night May through June.

One thing I have not figured out, and would like someone of the male species, or a retailer to explain, is why the athletic supporters are only sold with a cup? Same with compression shorts. The supporters and shorts are good for one or two seasons at best, but the cups are indestructible. As they should be. So I can easily hose those things down with Lysol and Clorox wipes, and they’re ready to be handed down to the next kid, but the rest of the outfit isn’t suitable for man, child, or beast.

As a result, I’m overrun with cups. I have adult cups, youth cups, and peewee (Yes, the size is actually labeled as peewee. Har.) cups in almost any size. It’s like they multiply, and I find them lurking everywhere.

Last night we had a nut cup crisis before Justin and Alex’s game. Their compression shorts were pretty snug, the cups weren’t staying secure, and resulted in ear-piercing cries of:

“It keeps going sideways!”
“It feels weird!”
“It’s too small!”
“It’s too big!”
“It pinches!”
“It moved AGAIN!”
“It’s gonna move when I run!!!!!”

I had to call in David to give Justin a talk about how it was ok to make, ahem, adjustments, on the field, because guys in the MLB are doing that all the time. He actually had some good big brother advice.

“Justin, the only reason it’s there is to stop you from getting hit in the balls and puking. Just ignore it, and if it moves out of place, put it back. Also, I wear a jock strap.”

Alex’s protests were more vigorous. Finally I told him to just take it out. And he did in the car and now I can’t find it in there.

So that leads us back to the why can’t I just buy a supporter conundrum. I went to two places today, looking for jock straps. The first major sports retailer only had compression shorts (with cups), which were the source of the whole mess. So I bought two supporter/cups at the second location, and then got home to find that someone had taken the damn supporter out of the stupid package, leaving only THE CUP! So now I have to make another trip to return it and I’ve wasted over two hours of my life this week on CUP DRAMA!

In the words of Elaine Benes, “I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.”

Argument Starters

Do you ever find yourself looking for an argument, but you just don’t know how to go about getting one started? Well look no further, because for a limited time, I’ll provide you with ten FREE statements guaranteed to engage and enrage someone close to you. When my sons use these tried and true words, the fireworks begin. These opening salvos are what you need right now to start a meaningful and heated debate with the potential to escalate violently. And if you ACT NOW, I’ll provide you five MORE at absolutely NO COST. That’s right, a total of 15 bona fide pointless and incendiary comments to aggravate someone for no reason other than to provoke a never-ending dialogue that will result in no winner, only heartache.

  1. “Those are really stupid socks.”
  2. “Let’s snuggle with the dog. I get her head.”
  3. “You’ve never hit a triple.”
  4. “I was sitting there!”
  5. “I had it first.”
  6. “A second grader can beat you up.”
  7. “Popcorn smells way better than brownies.”
  8. “You can’t read my mind.”
  9. “You haven’t even seen Step Brothers.”
  10. “I would be a so much better pilot than you.”
  11. “Penny loves me the most.”
  12. “My injuries have been worse than yours.”
  13. “At least I have friends.”
  14. “This show is terrible.”
  15. “Go away.”

BONUS BONUS BONUS!!!
“A bank and an ATM aren’t the same thing.”
“In the NBA All-Star game you have bench players.”
“You had the Kindle charger.”
“You’re cheating.”
“Mom, he said a swear word.”

DISCLAIMER: The writer assumes no responsibility for damage, intentional or otherwise resulting from the usage of the aforementioned verbiage. Effectiveness is not guaranteed, especially on individuals who are mature, rational, and operate with a sense of reason and empathy for others. The user takes full responsibility for consequences that ensue from usage of this material.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2014

Tales From The K

You can’t make up stories that come home from kindergarten.

Alex said to me today while we were eating lunch, “You know what’s really dumb?”

“What?”

“At school this guy was drawing a picture of his dog, but he doesn’t really have a dog. He just thinks he might get one.” (Yes, this “guy.” Not this “kid,” this “guy.” They’re five.)

“Well, that’s okay, maybe he’s thinking about the kind of dog he’d like.”

“Know what else?”

“What?”

“His cat got flushed down the toilet, and it clogged.”

“Oh, that doesn’t sound good.”

“Yeah, and they had to get a new cat. And today Mrs. Frank called me ‘cutie!'”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

A Tale Of Two Pictures

A good way to get a half hour to myself, uninterrupted, when just one kid is around, is to allow Justin or Alex unfettered access to my iPhone. One of their favorite apps is Doodle Buddy. They can draw pictures either with colors or use stamps. Today I found some of their work saved onto the camera roll of my phone. I didn’t even have to ask who did which one.

This is the work of Justin. Fire. Bombs. Eyeballs. Guitars. Basketballs. Skulls. Disco Balls. Four-leaf Clovers. Pots of Gold. Bees. Snakes. Elephants. Racing Flags. Every part of the canvas is covered in this organized bit of chaos.

And Alex's design. Goofy Smiley Faces. Lips. Hearts. Frogs. Witch Hats. Trees. Puppies. Orange Daisies. White Daisies. Strawberries. Butterflies. Lemons. Definitely getting a different vibe from this one.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

I Need A Vacation From His Vacation

My husband is home this week on vacation.

He’s seriously cramping my style. He’s like a goddamn hall monitor. Yesterday afternoon I went to the coffee shop to do some writing, and more importantly, get out of the house because he was driving me insane.

I just went outside to get the mail. He was downstairs taking a nap in his recliner. As soon as he heard the door open, he popped up, and said, “You’re going out again?”

First of all, the last time I was “out” was close to 24 hours ago. Secondly, so what if I was going out? Again. Usually I don’t go rushing out to the mailbox as soon as I hear the mail truck come by, but when my husband is home, he reads the mail. And that’s bad for so many reasons. I filter a lot of the mail. Some things he just doesn’t need to see. Because instead of calmly looking into why our homeowner’s insurance company sent us an invoice for over a thousand dollars, he has to call me at the coffee shop, in a panic.

That type of reaction would be understandable if they had sent Vinnie and Guido to our door, and they were threatening to break his legs if he didn’t give them a cash payment, right fucking now. But it was just a piece of paper. And there was a reasonable explanation, having to do with escrow billing, that he was aware of, but apparently forgot.

And when I called the insurance company (as soon as I got home, as per his request…something that could have easily waited until the next day), and spoke to a very pleasant and helpful representative out of New York, who commented on my non-Minnesota accent, Barry paced back and forth until it was resolved, whisper-sighing “How long should this take?” while I was on the phone, then commented on the rep being my new “BF” once I did finish the conversation.

Today I made an egg sandwich for breakfast. He has made it known how much he dislikes the smell of it. He has asked me three times if I fed the dog. He’s wondered audibly why there is always so much laundry. If I pull a pan out of the cabinet to start dinner, he asks me what I’m doing. If I let the dog out, he reminds me to not forget to let her back in. If I’m watching something on TV, he asks me why I like it.

I was taking a timed on-line test to include on a profile for potential freelance work. Of course that’s when he started to tell me lame jokes until I had to send him away. He’s questioned why I didn’t stop Cameron from eating tortilla chips for breakfast, and then got annoyed when I said, “I don’t know, why didn’t YOU stop him? Weren’t you here too?”

My children are just as bad, but they are…children, even though David is almost 12, and sent me four text messages while I was out yesterday, telling me how much “Penny” missed me, and how sad she was that I wasn’t home.

Since I’ve already successfully intercepted the mail today, I’m going to meet my friend for either a very late lunch or early appetizers. It’s not too soon to drink, I know that.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011