The big news on this end is that, besides having internet at home again, I am now a working woman. I’ve started a job, nay!, a career and Dave is honing his skills as a house-husband. He grocery shops, walks the dog, makes the bed, and whips up a mean quiche. I’m expecting to come home some day soon and find the house spotless with David putting the finishing touches on a candlelit dinner…wearing nothing but an apron! Depending on what’s for dinner and how he’s positioned when I walk it, it’s either a dream come true or an unsanitary nightmare.
And while he perfects his role as the supportive spouse, I’m trying mightily to adjust to the schedule of a working woman with a very demanding Real Boy. I’m still committed to my new yoga studio, helped in part by my girl-crush on the instructor (her voice is so SOOTHING and her tattoo is a work of art!) and I’m training for a 5K obstacle course. I set my alarm for six a.m. or earlier! I don’t take naps (unless I happen to fall asleep during that meditation part at the end of yoga) and I get dressed every, single day. It’s a revolution around here, try and keep up.
But even with all this enthusiasm mustered, it’s hard to smile through all the awkward beginnings of a new job. You know the ones I mean? Trying to be the best, most interesting and interested, capable and inquisitive, well-dressed but not over-dressed, cheerful and enthusiastic version of yourself while in reality you have no idea how the computer system works, which forms to use, why you wore these shoes or how you are going to make it through this without becoming a coffee drinker. I felt somehow more justified in my new-job confusion when I was a bit younger, fresh out of school, not expected to have much life experience.
But now, with just a few more years tacked on, I feel a bit more responsibility to pick up on things quickly and when asked what I was doing previous to this position I can’t use school as an excuse. Sometimes, when I’m a good mood, I give the sunniest portrayal of the last two years. I was traveling, reading, tutoring, sleeping in, baking, blogging, living the life. When I’m feeling a bit more gruff or self-conscious, the most I can do is channel the spirit of my dear friend Sherry and answer as simply as possible. Once, during our first year of ‘housewifery‘ we were attempting to breach the fortress of immigration that is the Cardiff, Wales airport. The officer questioned us, very nosily in my opinion, about where and with whom we were staying and then headed into the murky territory of what jobs we held in the Netherlands that would assure we would return there.
Sherry: “Well, our husbands play ice hockey.”
Officer: “Right. But what do you do?”
Officer: looks puzzled
Me: trying to interject helpfully “You see, we go to the gym, we ride our bikes downtown, we read books, we grocery shop. We’re professional housewives.”
Officer: still looking puzzled “Right. But what do you DO?”
Sherry: exasperated “Look buddy. We just HANG OUT.”
Officer: stamps our passports and lets us in, somehow not puzzled anymore “Right.”
So once again, the onset of autumn (100 degree autumn) finds me navigating a somewhat foreign country: the full-time workforce. And just as I have spent some of my days each autumn for the last two years interacting clumsily, trying to decipher what seems like some kind of code, and sitting in rooms full of people who are not speaking English, so I continue the tradition for a third year with this new job. Which is, for those who will ask, helping refugees find work. Even more difficult than it sounds.
In a perfect culmination of my first two awkward days, my boss came from L.A. to take us out to lunch and discuss the plan of action. His choice was Japanese, and since I’m the only person in California who isn’t cool enough to like sushi, I zipped my lip. And when chopsticks were the only utensil presented, I kept it zipped in hopes that the reasonable proprietors of this establishment would bring a fork, spoon or even a spork when they delivered me the only non-sushi dish on the menu, noodles. And when said noodles arrived without spoon, fork, or spork I dove in with chopsticks despite the fact that I cannot successfully use them except in stabbing manner. I slurped, twisted, pinched and smiled my way through that lunch, appreciated the irony but vowing to swallow my pride next time and as for a fork, making it easier to swallow my lunch.