February 1991

start runningI had an opportunity to work as a consultant at one of the big firms in New York, but I think one consultant in the family is enough, so my acceptance decision deadline came and went on January 15th along with Saddam Hussein’s deadline to get out of Kuwait. I was home alone when the war started. It was so bizarre  to watch the first attacks on Iraq live on CNN. I recorded it on the VCR so Lou could see it after he returned from one of his trips to PA. The CNN reporter was very professional, but I could tell he was freaking out because he was supposed to have gotten out before the fighting began, and was stuck in the hotel with the bombs going off all around. I imagine it was horrifying to feel that helpless and vulnerable, trying to seek a false sense of shelter under a table.

I don’t know what I’m going to do after graduation. I’m still working part time at the Franklin Mint. I almost get the feeling that they like me too much to hire me permanently, and think I would be better off somewhere else. They had me interview with a manager that I know, but currently don’t work with. He unexpectedly called me into his office a little before 5:00pm for an impromptu interview, which lasted for several hours. At school, we would call this tactic a stress interview. He asked me normal questions at first, and made reference to all I have accomplished as an intern and part time employee, but then got deep into personality issues. He flat out accused me of being too nice, noting that he sees me in the corridors laughing and smiling when I talk to people. He said I would be like a flounder in the ocean and would be eaten up by the sharks there. He even drew a diagram on the chalkboard in his office, illustrating me standing on the bank of a fast moving river, and a raft coming downstream. He then barked out another rapid-fire interrogation question, “How are you going to get on that raft?”  I may have unwittingly smiled when I replied, “I better start running now.”  He seemed satisfied with my answer, but it made me realize that I’d better start running to find another place to work. I have a job there if I want it for a good salary. There’s no fancy title though, unless someone quits. In reality, people quit or get fired there all the time, so I’m not really worried about job titles or promotional opportunities. It’s more a matter of how I want to spend my working hours: happy or stressed.

According to my doctor, I already have stress-related problems. As if my neck pain and headaches are not enough, I keep getting abdominal cramps and diarrhea. They say it is irritable bowel syndrome, and to drink a fiber supplement. I can’t even drink coffee anymore, because as soon as I do, my gut cramps up and I have to run to the bathroom. I manage to get through the days without taking anything for my neck or headaches, but it isn’t easy. I can’t take any medications and still go to school, work and drive, because the muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and painkillers they gave me all make me a bit sleepy. Lou says that they make me dopey, too, and that they change my personality in a way he doesn’t like. So, I don’t take them often at home either. I keep trying different meds to see if I can find ones that get rid of the pain, but don’t mess up my head or personality. I’m beginning to think that these meds only work because they mess your head up, and that they don’t really do anything else. I’ve gone for massages a few times, and that really seems to help loosen up the knots that I have in my neck and shoulder muscles. Lou will only rub my muscles for about a minute before he turns the massage into sex. He says he’s just not good at the massage thing. He doesn’t complain when I get a professional massage, though. It’s just my own issue of not wanting to spend the money.

We’re not poor, by any means; we have two relatively new cars, and just about all the rooms in the house have been remodeled and decorated. We installed plush light grey carpet throughout the top floor, have a burgundy Chesterfield leather furniture set in the living room, and have refinished and reupholstered Lou’s mother’s old dining room set.  We also bought a new stereo system, with a CD player, and huge floor speakers. We were a little bit leery about the CD player; Lou wanted to get a record player as well, but the guy in the store convinced us that CD technology was the way to go. We still have a pile of 8-track tapes, as well as our collection of LPs we can’t use, but the cassettes work in the cars, so those aren’t a loss. We only have a handful of CDs so far, but they sound awesome on the stereo.

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