Archive for March, 2012

On dryer ground

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Darn, the dryer still isn’t drying.

It’s been two months since our drama with the dryer began. It started with a service call to Sears, followed by a service call by a vent cleaning company, which led to water dripping through the ceiling because the serviceman who was supposedly cleaning the vent didn’t properly reattach the washing machine’s drainage hose.

Then, we had visits by two contractors to assess the water damage and hopefully get the dryer working again but when it came to the terms of payment, our landlord got hotheaded and made them angry. So neither of them would come back to do the work..

We pleaded and one of the contractors agreed to come back. He reattached the dryer vent hose which we’ll pay for on our own nickel. It’s just not worth the hassle of trying to work through the long-distance landlord.

The reason the dryer didn’t work in the first place is because the owners of the condo bought a dryer that is too big for the closet-type space that it sits in. The one they bought I’m sure would fit perfectly in their 3,500 square foot house with a separate laundry room but it barely squeezes into the 1,600 square foot condo.

We’ve taken off the louvered doors and moved the dryer six inches into the hallway so that the foil hose that leads from the dryer to the vent wouldn’t be kinked. But the hose still has to have a loop in it and that seems to restrict the air flow to the point that the clothes get dizzy from hours of tumbling but they never get dry.

It’s inconvenient to schlep garbage bags of wet clothes to the Laundromat but in the spectrum of household chores, it’s not all that bad. The Laundromat closest to our house has dryers that even on “low” are so hot that I practically need an oven mitt to take the clothes out after my two quarters worth of time. And since I’ve discovered podcasts, I have actually come to look forward to going. I put the clothes in, hop up on the counter in front of the dryer, and listen a broadcast of “Fresh Air” on NPR or a sermon from a favorite pastor.

Watching dryer drum spin the jeans rhythmically around, listening to a message about God, inhaling the fragrance of Bounce dryer sheets…it’s all a rather Zen experience, if it’s not sacrilegious describe it that way. Laundry and enlightenment – it’s a pretty good combination.

The long and the short of it

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Snip, snip and it’s off. And it feels so good.

You see, for the past three years, I’ve been growing out my hair. When it was still short, my daughters told me that it looked stiff and old-lady-ish. That was motivation enough to have me cancel my next haircut and start trying to get some length to my hair. Then, I started looking at other women my age to see what my hairstyle options were. There was a beautiful woman I saw at church whose haircut I admired. She had a lovely chin-length bob. So why not go for that look, I thought?

The problem is that she has good hair and I don’t. When the Bible says that “the very hairs on your head are numbered,” God wouldn’t even need to get into five digits for me, it’s that thin. And saying my hair is in a “pony tail” when it’s pulled back is a misnomer. Mine is much closer to a rat tail in thickness.

So after repeating the long, short, long, short, long cycle of hair length one more time in my life, I have come to the conclusion that short is going to be the way I wear my hair for the rest of my life. As much as I fantasize about having hair like Sonya Vergara, my German heritage just isn’t going to pull it off. If you’ve seen photos of Angela Merkel, you’ll know what I mean.

Like the mortgage that we couldn’t afford, my hair was weighing me down. We lightened up by reducing our living space by about 1000 square feet. Why not do it personally too and lighten up by cutting a few inches off my hair? Once Kim at Solo Hair Design had done her magic and six inches of hair lay on the floor, I felt great.

When Kim cut it, it was like she cut off three years of recession that had been weighing me down. My neck immediately felt longer, I felt like a burden had been lifted from me.

I’m hoping that this lighter feeling translates into a lighter, brighter outlook on life no matter what the headlines say.

Our unemployment report

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Since graduating from San Francisco State last May with a degree in Cinema, our son has been able to cover most of his expenses with part-time work. His most recent gig was with a very small video production company – it was him and one other guy – in Oakland.

The owner didn’t like doing business development, so Ethan was tasked with making cold calls to nonprofits with the goal of generating enough work to keep the business afloat.

He got tips from Steve on how to respond to the typical answers such as “we do all our video in-house” or “we already have someone who handles that for us.” Ethan gave it his best shot and got them some meetings. But new business – at least in the near future – wasn’t forthcoming, so he got laid off.

Then a job prospect appeared; after thinking that he had really fumbled the phone interview for a job at a video game company, he got called back to do a shadowing day. He was shocked and ecstatic.

We checked in with him briefly after he had spent the day at the company. He felt good about how the day had gone; they said they would let him know on Monday.

So on Monday evening when we hadn’t heard from him, I decided to give him a call and see what the news was. As I suspected since he hadn’t called, he didn’t get the job.

He was angry and hurt. “I should have stayed for another year at SF State because then I would have gotten an additional degree in film production that would have really meant something. When I pointed out that this would add at least another $10,000 to his already compounding student loans, he didn’t want to hear it. “Nothing I did is worth anything.”

In the spectrum of the many challenges that life can throw at a person, not getting a job that you had hoped to get – when you’re only 23 – is disappointing but certainly not tragic. But it’s so tough to see you’re child in pain. As a parent, you can’t help but wish you could rush over, give the “owie” a kiss and make it all better. Being a bit of a worry wart, I’m already dreading the day one of our daughters gets dumped by a boy.

Before I sank into a sea of depression with him, Steve got on the phone and tried to help him put things into perspective; to remind him that there will be other opportunities, that God has a plan for him, and it is persevering through the difficulties in life that builds character and humility.

Was he able to hear us at the time? Probably not, but when we checked back in with him a few days later, he was back on the hunt for a job and doing it with more determination and less arrogance. He is willing to take any job that will allow him to not have to move back home and sleep on our couch. With one exception: he can’t bring himself to work at Starbucks for a third time. Oh well, there’s always Peets.