February, 2009

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No sleep, shower, or toothbrush

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I made it to Pennsylvania, and am currently in a true, authentic farmhouse in Amish country. I am so tired, I can barely type.

The drive was very long but fairly uneventful, save me holding my breath for an entire mile of highway, and Paul and me adding whistle solos to various songs on the radio, and Graham calling my choice of tunes “sad bastard music.” We kept ourselves awake listening to podcasts and eating my secret shame, Ritz Cracker Cheese Sandwiches.

I held up really well until about 4am, when all energy, logic, and self-esteem flew out the window. For example, when Paul asked me what kind of a car I would be, if I could be a car, I answered sadly, “Probably a minivan, because it’s slow on hills, and sensible, and large.” I followed this statement with the declaration that I will probably never get asked out on another date ever again. Both guys rolled their eyes and DIDN’T EVEN PITY ME.

I’m about to slip into sleep for a bit, but I will have to wake up in time to combat the mange that is my current physical state.

Dutch baby

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

It occurs to me that I haven’t mentioned what’s happening tonight, have I?

Tonight, I am leaving on a road trip, traversing with PZC and the Handy Graham to their motherland – a distant, foreign place called PENNSYLVANIA.  I have never been there.  I’ve never really had any huge desire to go.  But now that the time is upon me, I have to say that I am looking forward to exploring “the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country,” otherwise known as Lancaster County.  I hope that I see all sorts of Dutch things, like windmills, tulips, wooden clogs, and drugs.

Looking at the map, there’s a town called Intercourse, and another called Paradise, and even one called Fertility.  Those Amish must be onto something.

It is a 760-mile journey, and we’re leaving tonight at 7:30pm, driving through the dark in my trusty Honda.  Is this insane?  Am I too old ladyish for such shenanigans?  Yes.  But it’s something that we’ve been planning for a long time, and there’s no way that I would miss my friend Rebecca’s wedding in Lancaster on Saturday.  So we’ll drive tonight, and come back on Sunday.

Paul tells me that I should get excited about a miraculous gas station called Wawa.  I can’t even type that without laughing.  I looked them up online, and their current slogan is “Gottahava Wawa.”  Trust me – I’ve already said it at least 15 times, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

The next time you hear from me, I will have experienced Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, before arriving in the heart of Pennsylvania.  This is ridiculous.  I KNOW.

Man! I feel like a woman.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

When I lived in Seattle, I was very, very independent. I lived alone. I paid my bills. I assembled my own Target furniture. When I dropped off my car for a repair in Ballard, I walked the 3 ½ miles to work rather than call for a ride. It wasn’t that people weren’t willing to help – because I had amazing people in my life there – it was more of my own attitude, the attitude that had been modeled to me. The liberated, liberal upper left-hand corner of the nation requires a certain self-sufficiency.

Seattle taught me to take care of myself. Seattle expected me to take care of myself.

Let me tell you what I love about living in Nashville – chivalry is not dead. Men get the doors – front doors, car doors, office doors. If there is something heavy to be carried, a man won’t let a woman carry it – even if she is capable. When a girl needed a chair at 3 Crow Bar, Hunter jumped out of his seat to offer it up. When Julie, Mel, and I have needed various things hung on our walls, Josh and Paul have been at the ready. When the kitchen drawer broke and all of the pans crashed onto my foot (and I swore and maybe cried for a second), Seth told me that he would take care of it – and he fixed the drawer. IT WAS A MIRACLE!

Because I have never been taught to expect these kindnesses, every favor feels like a marvel. Even when I was walking on a sidewalk with a guy, and he switched places with me so I would be further from traffic, and I thought, “That’s ridiculous – if a car swerves, WE’RE BOTH DEAD – why the effort?” – still, there was a little part of my spirit that felt so appreciative.

In Seattle, the feminist culture taught me to never rely on a man, and how to stand on my own two feet – and I’m glad. I prefer to drive. I can order my own meal, thank you very much. I am well-practiced in balancing stacks of papers, groceries, books, and a tray of lattes, all the while teetering on high heels.

But Nashville is teaching me what it means to open up to those sweet souls who treat me with kindness, just because – just because I’m a woman, and just because they care. As a result, my hard, independent, feminist heart is softening, and growing, and more willing to receive.

But promise me – the moment I start singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” give me a swift punch in the throat.

Welcome to the JAM House

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Do you have any idea how much I appreciate you, my dear readers? You’re a bunch of little sweeties.

In the past couple of days, I have gotten so many amazing, caring, encouraging messages from so many of you – via blog comment, Facebook message, voicemail, email, text, or booty slap (okay, that’s just my roommate Julie). I am overwhelmed. Thank you for your words. Thank you for your support. Thank you for passing along job leads and treating me to wine and assuring me that I will not wind up homeless.

I’ve been a busy little bee, applying for jobs and researching companies and updating my resume. It’s actually been very fun. I was able to go running yesterday afternoon, and walked 6 miles through the woods in Percy Warner Park today. I’ve relished the quiet time in my sweats, and feel peaceful and hopeful and content.

Perhaps it is foolish for me to be hopeful right now. There are currently 50,000 people out of work in Nashville, and I know of individuals who remain jobless for months and months and months. But I am choosing to believe that there is not just some random position for me, but that there is an awesome fit.

It feels like it’s time.

But until then, this is where I’m spending my days. How could I complain?


JAM House from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

Yes, I realize that this video isn’t all that exciting, but it’s mostly for our parents – hello parentals! Bedroom #1 is Mel’s, bedroom #2 is Julie’s, and I reside in the Princess Tower upstairs. Things to notice: the washcloths on the staircase that are soaking up a red wine spill, the file cabinet built into my bedroom wall, and the grill on the deck covered with a camouflage tarp (not that you could see it?).

A new season

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I am sitting in my pajamas in our gigantic den, basking in the sunlight that is shining through the windows.  I have coffee.  My feet are in my old wool socks, and I can hear the whir of the washing machine in the basement.  I have done the dishes, started the laundry, put the mail in the mailbox, and am about to get going on some serious job applications.

I think that I might love being unemployed.

But let’s be real.  There’s always the money thing.  I am broke as a joke.

So on Saturday, the Running Club gave me the inspiration to attempt going an entire week – 7 whole days – without spending a single penny.  In preparation, I took out my car and gassed it up (with the $20 bill my mom sent me in a Valentine’s Day card – thanks Mom!), picked up my prescription at Wal-Mart ($4 for the generic drugs), and went home to hunker down.

Actually, I didn’t “hunker down.”  I told PZC that I was “girding up my loins”… after which I had to ask him
a)    What are loins? and
b)    Do I have them?

I wrote checks for the bills that are due (including my rent, and a monstrosity of a heating bill… what on EARTH, February?), and organized my pantry, taking stock of the food that I have.  If my cupboard is any indication, it appears that this week, I will be eating diced tomatoes, raisins, and a small packet of peanuts from my last Southwest flight.

Good thing we had a housewarming party on Friday night, and have tons of leftover beer!  If Yuengling doesn’t count as sustenance, I don’t know what does.

Truly, this will be an experiment of epic proportions.  I cannot remember a time that I went an entire week without spending any money.  But I am confident that I can do it – and I am going to do it with panache.

- – - – - – - -

By the way…

I am still not scared.  I know that I will survive this season of unemployment, however long it lasts.  I am hopeful that this is the beginning of something good – and although I do not believe that “everything happens for a reason,” I want to believe that “nothing is ever wasted.”

Including those Southwest peanuts.

Allowing myself one day to wallow

Friday, February 20th, 2009

After being sent home at 1:30 yesterday afternoon, I put on my sweats and made a cheesecake. Then I fell asleep around 5:30, not waking up until 9pm. I felt like hell and looked like death, all sweaty and splotchy-faced. Then I took 3 doses of nighttime cold medicine and slept from 11pm until 10am.

When I woke up this morning, I made some coffee and walked around the house, looking at things. “Oh, look. There are my books. And there is the coffee table. I will start the dishwasher. It is sunny outside. The floor is dirty.” Then I went to Wal-Mart and bought some paper plates and plastic forks, and came home and made this sign:

cimg1176

Yes, I free-handed those fancy recycle arrows. I clearly have time on my hands.

We are having our long-awaited housewarming party tonight, and so I’ve been busy preparing for 100 people to descend. Mostly, that means walking around and looking at things and thinking thoughts.

It’s been sort of a pathetic day.

And so, I, Annie, hereby swear that, until I find a job again, I will:
- Wake up at a decent hour every day.
- Take showers, even though I might not need to.
- Diligently search for work.
- Keep on blogging. A girl needs SOME kind of purpose to her days.
- Do whatever it takes to pay my rent, even if it means taking a job at an extermination company. I probably won’t work for a sewage company, though. I have to draw the line somewhere.
- Hope and hope and hope, and not get mad at everyone who has income, and smile every day, even when I feel like kicking The Man in the balls.

Um. Happy weekend, jolly readers.

“Bolt the doors.”

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I am blogging to say that I cannot blog today. I am too busy dead-bolting the office doors to keep the press away, abandoning my front-lines lobby perch, and hunkering down in the back at a desk with a spectacular view.

Yes, seriously. It’s been very exciting – in an “I might vomit” kind of way.

That is all I can say at the moment.

I do not have the vocabulary to understand what is going on, but all I can say is that the mood in my financial office today is “terrified” and “frantic.” It is times like this that make me glad that I have no money to speak of, because money makes certain people greedy and fearful.

And when those people screw up, it leaves a lot of honest, hard-working, generous individuals screwed over. My heart hurts for my co-workers.

The Bad, the Good

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Bad: It is Monday.
Good: It is a holiday, and GRETA IS HERE!
Bad: My car got towed on Friday night.
Good: I didn’t really feel upset about it.
Bad: Probably because it’s already been STOLEN three times.
Good: We got it back.
Bad: It cost a lot of money.
Good: I had enough money in my account to pay for it.
Bad: I now have $1.86 – in change – to last me until my next paycheck.
Good: Friends have spotted me for everything from a spring-form pan to a DiGiorno pizza.
Bad: These are the things I spend my money on.
Good: The spring-form pan helped me make a chocolate marble cheesecake.
Bad: It didn’t really look marbleized.
Good: Holy Christmas, it tasted good.
Bad: I’ve consumed a lot of calories this weekend.
Good: I’ve burned them off.
Bad: I have run so much, I can’t really bend my knees today.
Good: Runner’s booty, here I come.
Bad: All the same, I had some moments of physical insecurity.
Good: A favorite boy said some very nice things, unprompted.
Bad: I cried at the Bluebird on Saturday night.
Good: Because Josh and Meg were so good.
Bad: I’ve been feeling discouraged about the whole music thing.
Good: Greta and I got pulled into a spontaneous pickin’ party down in Leiper’s Fork, and each played 3 of our songs, and the people walking past were smiling, and my heart felt happy, and the old cowboy loved us, and I was reminded that no matter how much I threaten… I could never quit doing music.
Bad: I’m still in bed.
Good: I’m still in bed.
Bad: I have to get up now.
Good: Because Greta and I are going on a long walk.
Bad: My world is better when Greta is around – and she does not live here.
Good: My world is better when Greta is around – and she is still here today.

As of tonight

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Number of times my car has been towed: 1

In the spirit of tomorrow’s holiday

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Here in America, we are taught that all men are created equal.

So no one should be “out of one’s league,” right?

We try to pretend that everyone deserves a fair shot – that there are no “leagues” – but when it comes to love, we employ our own silent caste system. We say that attraction is not the most important thing, but our relationships (and sometimes lack of relationships) tell a different story. We agree with John Lennon and sing, “All you need is love” – yeah, that… and a job, and a hot body, and chemistry, and a quick wit, and these days, a blood test.

I don’t know how anyone ever gets married.

Don’t get me wrong – these are not the rantings of a bitter and cynical woman. I WANT to fall in love – those of you who know me know that my heart is still soft. I hope that it happens for me someday. But I’m perplexed. I don’t understand how it ever happens – how the stars align, bringing the right people together at the right time. I don’t want to settle – but as Andy Merrick recently wrote:

“We’re acting like a contestant on Deal Or No Deal. We’re making this a game. We KNOW you’re interested in us. We have you. Maybe you’re the $500,000 case. But we’re greedy. We think there’s a $1,000,000 case out there. We don’t know for sure, but we’re hoping.”

Are we being ridiculous? Are we hoping for something that just does not exist? It’s like we’re designing our own paint-by-number mates, and unless everything fits just perfectly – the exact perfect color within the exact perfect lines – then we hold out for something (and someone) “better.”

Sheesh. I wish it was easy – easy like Sunday morning.

But never fear! Contrary to what many men assume about single women, I am not going to spend Valentine’s Day crying in my pajamas, eating peanut butter off of a spoon and cursing the boy who broke my heart in high school. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I get a little bit sad about being single, but it seems to me that I’m in good company. And this year, my holiday weekend is full of so many delightful things, it’s insane.

My favorite little wood sprite (and the closest thing I have to a soul-mate), Greta Girl, is flying in tonight.

greta

Seriously, could I HAVE a cuter friend?

A group of us are spending Valentine’s Day at the Bluebird Café to hear Josh and Meg play – Lovebirds at the Bluebird (awwww!).

joshmeg

Aren’t they the best? I want them to adopt me. They kind of already have. I’m practically their love child.

We’re attending Charlie Hardin‘s CD release at the Rutledge on Monday night.

charlie

Charlie is one of my favorite musical discoveries here in Nashville – amazing songs, and an astounding voice. If you live here, you should come to this show. His EP is called “Hollywood Be Thy Name” – how could it NOT be good?

Also, I plan on exercising my love languages several times this weekend.

wineandcheese

Because after all, all you need is love… and in my case, some beautiful friends and a glass of Syrah.