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May 2009

HI. MY NAME IS ASHLEY, & I HAVE A JOB.

You don't understand. This is still a novelty to me. SIX MONTHS without a job, I mean this wasn't some little blip in between jobs people, this was UNEMPLOYMENT!!!!! There were many explanation marks and capital letters involved too I might add. So now that it's over, now that this thing that literally changed the shape of my life is gone, now I guess it's time to readjust. And the folks who know me, well they know that change isn't typically my number one favorite thing.

 

There are so many little things I simply forgot about. First of all, turns out I forgot about things like a BEDTIME. And how if I didn't give myself one then I'm going to feel like roadkill in the morning. I mean, when you don't have a job for six months, the only thing you're getting up for is the Ellen show so you're not exactly worried about hitting the sack at a decent hour. And even that I had on DVR so it wasn't like I was stressed if I slept through it. Now there are alarm clocks, and things you will be late for, and OMG I HAVE TO GO TO WORK TODAY. Adam of course feels no sympathy. I hoped he might feign some sympathy for me, I mean come on, at least pretend to feel my pain, but no.

What a hard ass.

Suddenly I think about things like chores, or errands, and they totally overwhelm me. When I was working full time after college I was this super multi-tasker, doing things on lunch, running errands after work, coming in early to get off early to make it to some appointment. I had lists, and reminders, and a day planner that would make doves cry (and yes I am aware that makes NO sense). Now I'm just brain dead. Like, "WAIT. You want me to go to work, and then before coming home you want me to stop at the store? HOW CAN I FIT THIS ALL INTO ONE DAY!?!?!?!"

Needless to say, Adam is still not providing me with any sympathy.

 

In all reality this will probably only take about a week to get back into the groove. I'm stubborn by nature, but luckily not incompetent. Before I know it I'll be all, "Unemployment, what was that like? Look at me baking a cake, working, training the dog and knitting you a sweater all at the same time!" But until then, you bet I'm gonna whine, and complain, and scratch my head in public while looking really lost. Oh, and sigh loudly and dramatically for no apparent reason.

Because obviously I am the queen of rationality.

 


WHAT'S MY ANIMAL?

There is this married couple that Adam and I are friends with who happen to be really tall ass human beings. Somewhere in their relationship, being both very very tall, they seemed to latch onto the giraffe as their favorite animal. The animal that represents them as human beings, and probably a couple. Most likely in a, "HEY! THAT ANIMAL IS FREAKISHLY TALL LIKE WE ARE!" Sort of way that's fucking adorable. They have tastefully incorporate giraffe images and a decoration here or there through the house that looks oh-so-lovely, and only after visiting them a couple times are you even able to realize they have a thing for the long necked beasts. So sly these tall folks are.

I'm jealous. I want an animal that represents my entire essence. I want to have an animal that adorably represents who Adam and I are as people, and our connection to each other. Where's my cute animal damn it?

I mean, what animal has issues with control, OCD, freakishly curly hair, a large honker, likes to read and has a big back end? Answer. There isn't one. Out of desperation I'd go with a dog as our animal, since we have one and all, but who doesn't have pictures of their dog? LAME. Lacking originality. We need something more clever, unique to us. Adam says our animal should be the platypus. When I asked him why, he said because no one would see it coming.

He might be onto something. 



I CAN'T STOP. IT FEELS TOO GOOD.

It's kinda embarrassing to admit, but the last half of yesterday I just wondered how Oly was coping with me being at work. Was she lonely? Did she destroy the kitchen? Did she think I hated her and left her to rot? Can she ever forgive me for needing employment? I mean, from the moment we brought her home it was just the two of us 40+ hours a week being buddies. Playing fetch, training, walking, and mostly cuddling. There just aren't enough hours in the day for puppy cuddling if you ask me. Especially with a dog as soft as Oly. Have you met a softer face?

No. The answer is most definitely no.  


I know that I might regret letting Oly up on our bed in the future when she's this beastly full grown dog, but for now I can't help but want to spoon her. I mean, I am working again, which means that our morning ritual of coffee, tv and cuddle time is over. So who can blame me for dragging her onto our bed for some one-on-one time? Comforters can be washed. Puppy cuddles are far too precious to miss.

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CAN YOU GUESS WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT ME TODAY?

Here's a hint. This hasn't happened to me in almost 6 months.

You guess yet? Come on this one's easy...

Fine I'll just tell you. Today I got dressed, made a lunch, and WENT TO WORK. TO THE PLACE WHERE I AM EMPLOYED. Did you catch that? Is this sinking in yet? If not let me spell it out for you.

After almost 6 MONTHS of hunting for jobs, after nearly half a year of sitting in interviews for jobs I didn't even want, I finally found someone willing to employ me. And, better yet, I even like the company! I start today with a week of training and shadowing (the worst part of a new job if you ask me), and then next week they take off the training wheels. The job is with a really cool Northwest company (sorry, I wont tell you who they are though and this is why), someone who is producing an amazing product, and even keeping it green. Right now it's only 30 hours a week, but I've been told that I'll be able to move up to full time providing I don't turn out to be totally incompetent or something. Here's to hoping!

Honestly, it feels kinda weird to be going to work again. I had begun to accept and understand unemployment. I had schedules, plans, and a budget like you wouldn't believe. One of the best parts of finally having a job again? Now when people ask me what I do, I finally have something to tell them. No more pity face. I fucking hated the pity face. Listen up people, before you give the pity face to the unemployed, realize that it helps nothing. They don't want your pity face. They want a reference, a contact, or rent money. Use your pity face on those who need it, like deformed puppies, or legless children. 

All I can say now is NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. If I can find a job in this economy, you can too.

Happy Hunting.



TURNS OUT I'M A MASTER CLAMMER

I'm a meat eater. I don't discriminate against certain types of meat either. I'm an equal opportunity consumer of all protein. So when I got a chance this weekend to try my hand at clam digging, I said HELL'S YES and dug in with visions of a clam dinner in my future.

When it comes to hunting for my own dinner the most I'd tried my hand at so far had been fishing. I've been many, many times in my past, usually without any actual luck. As Adam likes to pipe in when I'm feeling especially frustrated, "It's called fishing, not catching Ashley." And each time I hear that phrase, it takes all my will power to restrain myself from using Adam's big toe as my bait.

I assumed clamming would be as equally frustrating as fishing. I mean, think about it. Miles of low tide sand that ALL LOOKS ALIKE. I assumed it would be impossible to figure out where the tiny little clams live in all that sand. At least as equally hard as trying to hook a little fish in tons of dark deep water. But no worries kids because turns out it's not only easy to find those little clammies, but I have super clam skills! I found clams with a flick of the rake, with my bare hands, and I even found a few with my feet. It was so fun even Oly got in on the action and found a clam. You'd assume that clamming can't be that hard if the dog can snag one. But it turns out Adam isn't as talented at clam detection as the ladies in this household. We mostly brought home the dinner, and Adam became our bucket bitch. In the end I like to think of his clam inadequacy as payback for all those damn "fishing not catching" comments. 

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Oly's first clam!



WE SEEM TO ENJOY THE PAIN

Adam and I clearly have short memories. A week ago today we were packing the car, and heading south on a road trip that almost killed us. So, obviously the smartest thing to do is pack the car back up, hitch up the boat that recently traveled through three states, and head back on the road. This time though it's the WA coast we're after, and seeing how Oly is 700 times a better dog while camping than at home, it's enough to encourage me to go through with it while the memories of last weekend are still fresh in my mind.

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Wish us luck.

HAPPY 25TH. IT'S ONLY DOWNHILL FROM HERE FOLKS

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When you're single people always tell you that you'll never meet anyone of importance or worth at a bar. Only sleazy, slutty, kitten murdering, evil people lurk at bars. BEWARE OF THE BAR MEN friends scream at you. It's not true. Sometimes you can get picked up at the airport by friends, driven directly to a bar, and be set up with a stranger that completely rearranges your entire life.

Looking back, I never would have imagined that the cute, funny guy I met that night would come to mean so much. That we would find a kindred love for things like the outdoors, four legged furry friends, a random love of all types of music, small town living, bad tv, cooking, eating like a poor person, fishing, adventures, laughing, and each other. Who knew that a person existed out there who fully understood the more quirky sides of me? Someone I could dance around in my underwear with, spend hours talking to while sitting on the kitchen floor, someone willing to attend dorky concerts with, go on outrageous adventures, and mostly just laugh with.

You saved me. You picked me up off the floor when all I could see was my failure, you held me and told me that it would be ok, that we would be ok. And then you made it ok. You've stood by me, encouraged me, believed in me, and I have never truly had that before. In a short time we've been through a world-wind of nonsense, and yet here we are.

There is no other person in this world I would rather share this journey with. 

Happy Birthday



IT WAS LONG, WE WERE TIRED, & THEN MY BUTT WENT NUMB

Adam and I have apparently lost our minds. When my father told us he would give us his old boat, but couldn't drive it to us until July, turns out we have the patience of a three year old and cannot wait even a second for a free boat to be hand delivered. Instead we needed it NOW, TODAY, MUST HAVE BOAT THIS INSTANT. So no Dad, no worries, Adam and I are mental and we'll just drive to Sacramento, CA and back IN A SINGLE WEEKEND to take that boat off your hands.

So we took off with camping gear, and our pup in tow to meet my dad and our new boat at my aunts house in Sacramento, CA. Let the journey begin.

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As we started out I wanted to document the amazing greenness that is WA and OR because I knew the minute we passed from OR to CA it was going to turn brown and sad looking. I might need photographic evidence that somewhere things were still thriving. Californians claim their vegetation is "golden brown," I call it, "dead things everywhere." 

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Honestly we worried how Oly would take to multiple hours in a car for consecutive days in a row. I mean this is a dog who at 5pm like clockwork loses her mind and becomes the spawn of Satan. I had visions of 5pm hitting us while we were still on the road and just giving in and dropping her off at the nearest shelter. Turns out there was no need to give Oly up for adoption because riding in the car is her favorite place in the whole world to sleep. This was basically how Oly stayed the entire trip. Slunched over in a combination of weird positions.

But none came close to as funny as this image of Oly looking like a drunken bum who got wasted on three 40's and then passed out on the side of the 7-11. 


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We stopped at the Valley of the Rogue State Park in OR for a night of campfires and sleeping in a tent. Camping taught us that Oly isn't a fan of things like peeing on a leash, the noises a fire makes, the noises anyone else makes in the dark near our campsite, and being left alone with Adam in the dark. It's ok sweetie, I get scared being along with him in the dark too.

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One thing Oly LOVED about camping? Sleeping in a tent. Sleeping in a tent as close to Adam's face as possible. It kinda makes me wish she slept in our bed every night. But then I snap back to reality and the world is right again.

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Friday drive 350 miles to Rogue River, OR. Saturday drive 350 miles to Sacramento, CA. Once you arrive feeling like absolute death, say hi to family but walk right past them, head directly into the pool, and don't get out until your hands are so wrinkled you can't form a fist any longer. Should we have maybe stayed longer than one night? Yes. Would a day of rest rejuvenated our souls? Totally. Did we do this? Of course not.  

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When we originally made these plans for the trip we thought we'd drive to OR, then to CA, then on Sunday we'd get up early and drive the whole stretch back in one day. We're talking probably close to 13 or so hours straight and we thought it wouldn't be hard at all. Thankfully 20 minutes into our drive on Sunday we realized there was no way in hell we had the stamina to make the whole drive in a single day. So, we ended up back at the Valley of the Rogue State Park, because apparently we couldn't get enough of it the first time. Did we have clothes for this extra stop? Extra food? Firewood? Water? No of course not. That would have been far to easy.

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So on Monday it's back into the car for the FOURTH day in a row. Another 350 miles stretch before us. By now we want a shower, we want a meal that isn't fast food, and I ached for the sight of our front door. So what happens when we're 30 miles from home? Of course, completely stopped traffic. It's moments like that where your ass is totally numb, you are starving, where you can feel the grit building up on your face with each passing second, and you figure it would be more painful to stay in that car than it would to throw yourself in front of a semi and just end it all.

In the end we got a free boat. Something that will increase our happiness level dramatically for the rest of the summer, but I swear if I never go on another road trip for the rest of my days I will die a happy woman.