Sunday, March 30, 2008

Better news!

I have been hampered by computer problems.  I was in Michigan for awhile, without access to a machine, and when I got home I found mine to be completely useless.  Robert is infuriated by long waits for websites to load.  He blames this on spyware and viruses and has installed all sorts of programs to rout these evils out.  These programs result in a fifteen-minute battle of the anti-program programs before you can get to any site.  (I believe this is why his own computer finally screamed and died, and he's been using mine for the last year.)  Robert also blames slowness on aol (which I still use because I'm used to it, even though we have cable now and don't really need it) and Windows.  

So while I was gone Robert bought a new Mac computer which, of course, doesn't use Windows.  When he hooked up his new machine and mine to a router, his worked fine, but something happened to mine.  My Internet connection flickers and I get booted off after about half a minute.  Then my mouse pointer got stuck and I couldn't get off the opening page.  All this is boring to you (and to me too, believe me) so all I'll say is that Robert is still plugging away trying to figure out how to fix the problem.  I can use his computer to write this and to check my e-mail, but I can't share pictures, I can't get at my address lists or my writing projects, and this computer isn't compatible with our printers!   ARGH!!!  

I sent you all an e-mail from my friend Colleen's house when I was in Michigan and Mom was in the hospital.  I suppose that was the low point, but things are a little better now.  Mom is on the mend physically.  She handled the surgery well and is back at Tendercare now.  She is still very weak and depressed, but there is a psychologist who visits her and she hopes he can help her get her head around what is happening to her.  She likes company but in very short spurts.   After I wrote to you, she had a really good day.  I sat with her and read her letters and she was even laughing from time to time, telling me stories.  Then the next day she was wiped out and slept all day.  She goes up and down.  Keep sending her good thoughts.  I hope I'll be able to see her again in May.

Part of my mission when I was there was to corral her three remaining kitties and bring them to New York.  I spent the week cooing at them, petting them, and gaining their trust (and they are NOT very trusting kitties).  After that, it felt awful to have to grab them and stuff them into cages.  I had to set up elaborate structures of storm windows propped up against chairs to herd them in the right direction.  Even wearing arm-length oven mitts, some Franny blood was shed in the struggle, but I was successful in the end.  Mousie, Pussyfoots and Foggy are now living at the shelter where they seem to be quite comfortable.  I will visit them today, bearing catnip mice and a hairbrush.  

I have been enjoying working at the foundry very much.  It feels wonderful to get up in the morning with a PURPOSE.  But even if they could afford to pay me and I was working there full-time, I wouldn't make enough money to cover my portion of our expenses.  (I do think that in a few more months, the foundry's finances will be much stronger.   If I had money to invest in a new business enterprise, I would invest it there!)  This fussing about money causes me to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic.  I really enjoy the work and the people I work with, and if I didn't have to make our steep monthly car payment, I could do it.  Robert says we could pay the balance off out of savings, but I hate not having any kind of emergency fund to fall back on.

So in spite of the fact that I LOVE this job I realized I have had to keep an open mind about finding another one.  I have continued searching and sending out resumes, but I've gotten no nibbles.  I went to the county employment office for career counseling and spoke to a woman who told me to visualize my perfect job.  So I did.  The perfect job for me would be close to my home.  It would be in a law-related field, where I could use my license, but I wouldn't necessarily be responsible for my own caseload.  I  am tired of working at the office for ten hours, then bringing piles of papers home with me every night.  (I did that for fifteen years, and that was long enough!)  I enjoyed managing law offices (that's what I did at my legal aid jobs) and being the person who figures out what needs to be done and how best to do it for litigators (which is what I did at Robert's law firm).  I prefer not to work for the interests of corporations or insurance companies against regular folks, and I 'd love to work with people who are civil to one another.  (This is more of a rarity in law offices than you may realize.)  

So in a perfect world, where there are unicorns and fairies and rainbows everywhere, I suppose such a job exists.     

My friend Lindy sent me a kind of prayer thing (which I'd like to look at again now, but it's on my computer).  She said she envisioned the perfect job for me arriving JUST as my unemployment insurance ran out.  It ran out this week.

Last Friday I got an e-mail from someone who said, "I saw your resume on the 'net.  Give me a call."  So I did, and I had an interview on Friday at a one-person law firm across the river in Newburgh, only three miles from our house.  This guy is named Charles.  He's my age, and doesn't think people over fifty are dinosaurs.  (The career counselor told me this is the main reason I'm not getting offers.)  Charles said he's looking for someone who can run his office when he's gone (he is gone for months at a time), delegate work, and keep track of deadlines.   He needs someone who can step in and handle some attorney-type things when necessary, but he only carries 50 cases.  This means it's a nine-to-five job -- and it has benefits!  He said, "You're much more than I was even looking for," and I said, "You're exactly what I've been looking for," and he said, "OK. I am going to spend the weekend trying to figure out how I can pay you what you're worth."  Oh yeah, and while I was waiting for my interview I talked with the receptionist, who said, "The best thing about working here is that everybody is SO NICE!"

Thanks, Lindy!

We'll see what happens when I speak to him again tomorrow.  Anything he offers (and he seems to have a very successful practice) will be more than I can make at the foundry.  I am already sick about telling Insun.  We have been working on the most fun sculptures!  We are fabricating a centipede for Tom Otterness. It is about a yard long and has 56 little feet.  At the same time we are making two other centipedes but they are twelve times that size!  They will be 28 feet long, and when they're done, Insun wants a photograph of all of us, riding them.  We're doing a man and a lady centipede (the lady has a hair bow and high heels; the man wears a bowler).  I have some photos to show you of the tiny wax shoes next to the big wax shoes.  They are cute, but I am sure we'll be SICK TO DEATH of any size wax shoe pretty soon.  

Robert and I did a fun thing on Monday.  On the way home from an Easter visit with his family in Maryland, we stopped in NYC to attend the preview of the graphic novel that I wrote about last time.  I am always very nervous driving in the City, but we had no problem -- we even found a parking space right in front of the theater!  We had a delicious meal at an Indian restaurant, then went to see the show.  We recognized a few of the artists who were at the shoot we did in Philadelphia, and they all seemed to remember us (since we were the only gray-hairs, I suppose).  We watched four episodes of "non-filmic cinema" (yes, Jenny Walker, that's what they called it).  The second one was one of the stories from the book.  We had only seen a few of the photographs before.  They took pictures in the underground tunnels and endless hallways filled with debris and with the ceilings falling down, and used the photographs of the actors to tell the story.  They did all kinds of interesting things to the photographs.  One particularly spooky one was of old chairs and wheelchairs tumbling through space down one of the hallways, and in other pictures you could see the shadows of the floating chairs.  It was a lot of fun and the theater was completely filled. 

Afterward we talked to Bryan, the filmmaker who'd told me my story was going to be in the book.  He was very apologetic.  He said, "I didn't have enough time!"  Since they didn't mention my story (which is called "Marjorie's Sister"), I figured that they'd decided not to use it, but he assured me it is in the book, the photographs are fabulous, and I'll really be pleased with it.    Bryan didn't have time to convert it to PowerPoint, or whatever they used to make the version they showed at the theater.  Then later, when I was standing in line for the ladies' room later, a young woman said, "Hey! I heard you're one of the writers!"  So that was fun--in my whole life I never imagined I'd be part of the New York City arts scene!  Still no word when the finished product is actually going to hit the bookstores.

There's more, but I have too much to do.  Hopefully, soon I'll have my computer back again, or maybe even a new one (my birthday's coming up, you know) and I'll send you some pictures --and maybe some more good news.

Happy spring!


F and R.