February 27, 1999
Now I'm Official


My fortune, from last night's cheap Chinese food:

"Your work interests can capture the highest status or prestige."


It's barely 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, but I am already sitting at the computer, shivering in my little red nightgown, waiting for the Krups to finish huffing and puffing on the kitchen counter beside me. David is still buried up to his nose in blankets, snoozing peacefully, but I've been awake for hours. I've got a broken molar that has been *singing* for days. (Last night it was performing the entire second act of The Marriage of Figaro, complete with accordion solo.)  So I decided to just roll out of bed and start my Saturday. I never sleep late anyway, not even on the weekends: a hold-over from those sleepless days of early motherhood. And weekends have become such a precious commodity once again, now that I'm working, that I don't want to waste a single moment of it.

So ... I'm up. And barring any unforeseen circumstances -- like an earthquake, say, or a drop-in from Ed McMahon -- I plan to spend most of this day on the 'puter. The website needs some serious tweakage, for one thing. The unanswered e-mail continues to pile up in my cyber mailbox. And I need to do some serious ISP *shopping.* (Last night I finally cancelled my dorky, problematic AT&T account; now I need to find a new service provider, here in the Bay Area. Preferably something with a groovy name, like "counterintuitive.com" or "internalmayhem.net.")

So check back, later in the day ... there may actually be something here to read, believe it or don't. (And if there isn't, you can always go back and re-read the bad college poetry again.)

The Krups has finally stopped hissing and spitting  ...  the coffee is ready  ...  the Tylenol is kicking in (and the *opera* has subsided). Let the weekend begin.



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My supervisor dropped a long white envelope onto my desk yesterday morning. "Now you're official," she said.

Inside the envelope was a Mickey Mouse lollipop ... and my first paycheck. An abbreviated paycheck, mind you -- I started the job midway through a pay cycle -- but a paycheck nonetheless.

The first paycheck I've held in my little hands since November.

I was giddy with delight, and immediately called David at his office to gloat. "I'm going to stop at the bank on my way home and deposit the whole thing!" I said happily. As opposed, say, to running right out and blowing the whole thing on CDs or shoes or boxes of cheap chablis.

"See?" he said, for the bazillionth time since I moved here. "I told you that once you got sober, your life would get better."

And he's absolutely correct. This is a recurring theme around The Castle, and an important one: the idea that making sober, responsible decisions about things like work and money and family
actually feels good.

Who woulda thunk it?



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And here's another amazing little revelation: I absotively posilutely LOVE my new job.

Nobody is more surprised about this than *I* am.

Wasn't it just last weekend that I was bitching and moaning about how I "wasn't thrilled" to be a receptionist again, and how I'd been doing the same thing for twenty years, and how I was sure I would be "bored shitless within a month" ... blah blah blah?  (There are certain days of the month when I shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer keyboard. I was in the throes of a major PMS attack last weekend: everything seemed bleak and futile, and I picked fights with everyone I love, and I ate a 44 oz. bag of peanut M&M's pretty much all by myself, and I actually wept over an episode of Nash Bridges, forcryingoutloud. Disregard anything I wrote that weekend.)

But it's true: I actually love my new job.

I love the phones, for one thing. I love it when all the lines are ringing at once: it requires concentration and finesse to keep eleven callers entertained, simultaneously. ("And now, for your listening pleasure, I shall sing a selection of Broadway showtunes.")  I love the little *phone challenges* I set for myself: answering every call on the first ring every time, for instance. (This is particularly impressive when I'm in the LADIES ROOM.) Or never ever saying "I don't know" to a caller's question ... even if I don't know. (Where the hell IS Bacon Island, anyway?)  Or surprising the frequent callers by calling them by name. ("Hiya, Mr. Ilituyiana! Mind if I call you 'Ilit'?")

And I love the fact that I can walk into the office in the morning feeling mildly out-of-sorts -- having the World's Most Ridiculous Hair Day, for instance -- but the moment I sit down at the console and strap on the fakey/cheerful *Receptionist Voice,* I instantly feel better. 

Or at least I SOUND like I do.

It's also nice to be working for a company that regards the receptionist as more than a conduit to voicemail and coffee. I may be the low person on the totem pole, corporately, but I'm not treated that way. The other day my supervisor asked me how I want my name spelled on my business cards. Business cards. Holy shidt! Twenty years of thanklessly answering phones and watering plants, and I'm finally going to have my own business cards! (I said, "I don't care how you spell my name ... but can we change the title to 'Lobby Empress?' ")



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