So I’ve finally been called for a job interview. This is only the second employer to have called me in. The first one, back in September, was an utter disaster from start to finish. (You can read about it here.)
From the get-go, I have the advantage of being a local this time around. The last interview I attended was a 12 hour drive away. That’s right: We drove 24 hours round-trip for nothing. This time, the prospective employer is 22 miles away. Still a bit of a commute during rush hour, I’m told, but at least the job would not require me to move from one end of the state to the other. Also, the other job was in a tiny town up in the mountains, while this one is in a semi-urban area just a mile or two from one of the largest shopping areas around.
Neither the position nor the salary is perfect, but two months of unemployment has a way of making you a bit less selective.
What surprises me is that the interview has been scheduled a month out. That’s right: It won’t occur until just before Christmas. I figure this might be due to a lot of people having time off during the holiday season. Either that or they’re not in any rush to hire anyone. But it works out well for me. As an inveterate worrier, it gives my vivid imagination nearly four weeks to dream up every disastrous scenario ever covered in a B-movie.
Well, an upcoming interview means I need to have an appropriate outfit for the big day. I’ve had the pleasure of slouching about in pullovers and T-shirts for a while now. But the occasion calls for pulling out a white dress shirt, jacket and tie. This means crawling through all the boxes and Rubbermaid containers that have been sitting out in the storage room since our move.
The timing was auspicious, as we also needed to scare up some Christmas decorations. So my wife and I spent part of this Saturday afternoon digging through the accumulated detritus of our lives. I am amazed at how much we still have, considering that we sold or gave away about three-quarters of our possessions to avoid having to move them.
Most of the packing boxes had previously been used by my sister-in-law. One side of a box would be prominently marked TOYS, while the adjacent side would be labelled Kitchen Utensils. This proved to be a lot less confusing than one might think, as my wife’s fine handwriting is easily discernible from her sister’s thick outlined letters, with some of the characters filled in with stripes, spots and little stars.
The boxes were stacked high against every wall. As we reached each box, my wife examined one item at a time, and we passed judgment as to whether we needed it enough to bring it into the house or whether it should remain in its cardboard purgatory until our next move. Do we really need the pair of tongs? No. The potato peeler? No. The egg slicer? No. The ice pick? No.
Eventually, we discovered a box marked Dress Shirts on one side (Games/Books on the other), which turned out to contain both the shirt and the tie I would need. We have plenty of time to get them de-wrinkled.
The afternoon was highly successful. Aside from the dress clothes, we snagged the kitchen towels and chip clips we’ve been missing, along with my winter jacket and my Scrabble set. I plan to bring the latter to Thanksgiving at my parents’ house just a few days from now, as I’ve been put on notice that my teenaged nephew (flying in from Texas with his parents) wants to play board games. I hear that he is bringing his Monopoly set on the plane. I love board games and I’m excited to have a playing partner!
Later in the day, another nephew stopped by to visit, exhausted after his 12-hour shift loading trucks in a warehouse. The poor guy was griping about his rental house and his unemployed roommate. He’s learning to cook, and prepared antelope chili this week with the spoils of one of his friends’ hunting expeditions. Of course he had to call his grandma first to ask whether the meat has to be cooked before adding it to the chili pot.
The problem with his house, he says, is that the washing machine is broken and you can’t run the microwave when the heater is going without blowing the power out.
Here’s a summary of what he had to say about his deadbeat roommate: “I told him ‘you can’t light the incense anymore. I’m sick of cleaning up the ashes and I’m sick of not being able to breathe.’ Nobody knows how to clean. For a long time, he would take everything from the living room, I mean wrappers, cups, and shove it into his bedroom. I couldn’t find my flat hat, it was in the fish tank in his room covered in dust because he took it out of the living room. He cleans stuff with a rag and then leaves the rag on the counter with all the crap on it. Dude, you don’t understand, we don’t have a working washer and dryer. I ask him every time I go to my mom’s ‘you wanna go do some laundry?’ He always says no. Then I see him wearing the same clothes again. I don’t even know if he takes a shower every day.”
Ah, the joys of roommates. How well I remember from my wild and wooly days.
In the evening, we headed over to my sister-in-law’s house for a wonderful taco dinner. My niece, who has been in the holiday spirit since before Halloween, had the Christmas music on while she attempted to select spring semester classes, only to learn that many of the ones she wanted either had a waiting list or were closed entirely. My little grandniece was still wearing her adorable holiday dress in which she had been photographed with Santa earlier in the day. She has quit crawling altogether in the last couple of weeks, but she still walks tentatively, falling on her bottom often as she makes her rounds from one adult to another.
Willie Nelson sang “Blue Christmas” and Donald Duck duetted with Goofy on “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and as I sang along to our little princess, I was reminded of how important it is to soak in every precious moment today as we make the memories of tomorrow.