Monday, January 20, 2014

Childhood Reminiscing Session #3: Laws of Physics

Starting in 6th grade, school stress and assignments began to take its toll on my sleeping habits.  Foothill Middle School isn't exactly the easiest school out there in terms of homework load.  I remember having to construct pyramids for history class, do reports on specific countries for geography, do daily write-ups for science, do a seemingly endless number of word problems for math, do research papers for P.E., practice my part in orchestra, try to learn a new language, etc.  I would say that my troubles with sleeping began during these formative years.  As more homework assignments started rolling in, I began staying up later and getting up earlier.  I would wake up in the middle of the night worrying about due dates and presentations in class.  Even when I was exhausted, I had difficulty shutting off my brain enough to fall asleep.

The insomnia only escalated further when I hit high school and began attending early morning seminary.  Every morning, I rolled out of bed at 4:25 AM so that I could shower, get dressed, dry my hair, eat breakfast, get any last minute homework done, and be at the Northgate Chapel on time for 6:00 seminary.  When I came home from school, I sat at the table and did all of my homework until I finished late in the evening.  Unlike some high schools in the area, we did not have block schedules where we only had certain classes on specific days of the week.  We had all of our classes every day.  Each day we were assigned a new homework load, and I was not one to skip out on assignments or only do them halfway.  After finishing all of my homework as best I could, I would steal into bed around 10:00 or 11:00 at night just to toss and turn and get up the next morning at 4:25 to start the whole process over again.

One day during my sophomore year of high school, I had had a particularly troublesome night sleep.  I had gone to bed only a couple of hours before getting up to get ready that morning.  As usual, I rolled out of bed when my alarm went off at 4:25.  My eyes remained closed during the entirety of the hot shower that followed.  I got ready without even really noticing what I was putting on.  My Dad took me to seminary where I sat in silence, eyes glassy and chin resting on my arm.  The kids with cars then drove us over to the school where we started our A Period classes at 7:00 AM, mine being Chemistry.  I sat down in my assigned seat in the front row of the classroom.  Mr. Moniz turned the lights off while we watched a short film on elements combining to make molecules.  I could feel myself drifting...I vaguely remember hearing Mr. Moniz say, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."  A question flitted across my mind as to why we were talking about physics in chemistry.  Then I was rudely pulled out of my stupor by a loud THWACK on my desk.  My head shot up, my arms flew out to my sides, and I looked up to find Mr. Moniz standing over me with a ruler in hand.  "See!" He exclaimed, "That was quite the reaction!"

Needless to say, I never fell asleep in class again no matter how tired I least not until college :)

An Eventful Week

I went to Utah this past week for my old roommate Melissa's wedding.  Since the cheapest flights I could find ran from Wednesday to Saturday, I figured I would use the extra time in Utah to set up interviews.  I sent out my resume to several law firms and corporate legal departments.  One responded.   Considering the small number of applications I sent out, I figured that was actually a pretty good ratio.  After speaking with the HR person, the interview was set up for 2:00 on Wednesday.

So I got up at 3:00 AM on Wednesday so I could have time to make myself look professional for my interview but also make my 6:00 AM flight in time.  Mom drove me to the Oakland airport and I arrived there at 5:15.  I've never been anywhere close to late for a flight but I guess we all need to have the experience of just barely making it sometime.  I stood in the security line for 40 minutes.  I'm pretty sure we all wanted to slap the lady in front of us who decided to drop her ID in her large purse before entering the security line and then spend five minutes searching for it when she made it up to the desk.  I finally got through the line at 5:55 and then practically ran in my heels all the way to my gate.  They were just about to close the doors when I shuffled down the hallway, panting and a little warm in my disheveled business attire.

We landed around 8:30 in Salt Lake.  I had made a reservation for a rental car at Advantage so I walked down the stairs to the rental car section of the airport.  Let me just say that getting a rental car when you are four months shy of 25 years of age is the most aggravating thing ever.  They add $25 a day to your fees when you are underage.  Not only that, rental car companies usually only accept credit cards for payment with a few exceptions for debit cards. Since I only have a debit card, Advantage required that I put down a $350 deposit for a credit check.  I wasn't about to do that so the lady behind the counter suggested I try Thrifty.  Their deposit was much smaller and they gave me a free upgrade to a Mustang Convertible.  So I went and picked up the keys, put my luggage in the car, and was just about to pull away when I realized that I couldn't change gears in the car.  I tried and tried to put the car into reverse but the dumb thing wouldn't budge.  Feeling like an idiot, I went back up to the Thrifty window and told them I couldn't figure out how to change gears.  The girl behind the counter came out to show me how it worked.  Only thing is, she couldn't figure it out either.  Needless to say, I felt slightly better about myself.  She called someone else to come and try and it didn't work for him either.  Just when he was about to suggest that I rent another car, his knee bumped the steering wheel and he was able to put the car in reverse.  I guess the steering wheel was locked.

So, feeling slightly out of place in a car that was just a tad different from my own, I pulled out of the parking lot and headed to my sister's in Saratoga Springs.  Having eaten only peanuts on my Southwest flight that day, I was happy to have a bite to eat at my sister's before heading to downtown Salt Lake for my interview.  I arrived at the parking garage at 1:15.  I walked around the corner into a ritzy office building.  I took the elevator up to the 9th floor where the doors opened into the most classy office space I've ever set eyes on.  After waiting for a moment in an extremely comfy chair next to the receptionist's desk, I was guided by the HR person into a conference room with a large glossy table and a panoramic view of Salt Lake.  She sat across the table from me and asked me questions about my experience for 30 minutes.  She told me that as a corporate paralegal in this firm, I would be working for the 15 corporate lawyers who worked there.  At around 2:00, the door opened and seven lawyers came streaming into the room.  All of them had copies of my resume on hand that they had highlighted and marked up so they could ask me questions.  More lawyers streamed in and out as the interview went on.  After about an hour of sitting there being grilled by experienced attorneys (grilled is probably the wrong word; they were actually all surprisingly nice), they all shook my hand and left the room.  The HR person told me she thought that the interview went well and that they seemed impressed.  She even called it "delightful."  While I had other words to describe it, I did feel good about it.  Even if I don't get this job, I am grateful for that experience.  I feel good that such a big prestigious firm even considered me as a possible candidate.  If I can get an interview there, I can get an interview anywhere.

I spent the night and the next day feeling quite confident and proud of myself.  The next morning I drove to Provo in my Mustang Convertible for Melissa's "Bachelorette Party" at Kneaders and to see some other old friends.  It was great to get all of my freshman year roommates, the Domestic Goddesses as we call ourselves, all together again.  These girls helped me to break out of my shy little shell and I am grateful for their friendship.
But when we become too prideful, we all need to be humbled, I suppose.  First, my mom called me and told me she thought I had forgotten my temple recommend, which on closer inspection of my wallet, I found that that was true.  I had to call my bishop and the Draper Temple so I could attend the sealing.  Second, as I was driving to the Draper Temple the next morning to go to Melissa and Curtis' sealing, I had a little incident on the road.  As I was making a right turn on a narrow road, I had a little brush with a semi-truck that was coming the opposite direction.  My front left fender grazed one of it's wheels and put a pretty serious "dent" just above my front left wheel.  Okay, it was a little more than a dent.  I pulled off the road just around the corner and sat in stunned silence for a while before calling my mom.  Mom told me I needed to get to the temple to make it in time for the wedding and that I should just try to forget about it until I could focus on it fully.  So I continued on my way, hearing something scrape under the car every time I hit a bump.  This was not good.
But I made it to the temple on time and was pleasantly surprised to see my friend Jen's Dad behind the front desk.  It's always nice to see an unexpected familiar face when you're in the depths of despair.  I found all of my old roommates sitting there.  They consoled me about my recent hardship and told me it was going to be okay.  The sealing was beautiful and I was thankful that I was able to be there for Melissa's special day.
Kory, Sandee, Caitlin, Melissa, Shauntelle, and me at the Draper Temple.
On the way back to Brigitte's from the luncheon, the stress and emotions of the day finally caught up with me.  I sobbed into Brigitte's shoulder when I arrived at her house.  Everyone kept telling me that everything was going to be alright, but how could it be?  I had just caused serious damage to someone else's property!  I'd have to call the rental place and tell them about my stupidity!  I'd have to pay the deductible and my insurance premiums would go up!  But things become a little clearer as time goes on.  I realized after talking to my insurance agent that, yeah, this was going to cost me some money but it could have been a lot worse.  I could have been injured but I wasn't actually hurt at all...physically anyway.  So I continued on with all my plans and had a cinnamon roll and big slice of chocolate cake at the reception with the rest of the Domestic Goddesses.  I was able to chat and laugh late into the night with my sister.  I was able to see old friends that I rarely see since I graduated from BYU.  Despite a few minor (and major) hiccups, it was a great trip and a vacation that was well worth the trouble.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: A Year in Perspective

Uh, can you believe it's 2014?!  2013 flew by faster than any other year in my life.  Like any year, there were ups and downs and twists and turns but, for the most part, it was a good year for me. It was a year filled with big momentous occasions as well as several small victories.  Here are some of the things that happened this year that gave me cause for celebration:
  •  Disneyland:  Going to Disneyland in February was the first pleasure trip I paid for all on my own.  I bought my own tickets to Utah but those trips were to visit family and friends, not to see the sights and to focus primarily on amusement.  This trip was all about having fun and taking a break from adulthood for just a few days.
  • Becoming a Notary:  When Melodie's notarial authority was up for renewal, it was decided that I would take over the role of notary within the office.  So I went to an all-day class, passed the test, and got a letter from the California Secretary of State stating that I was now officially a notary public.  I had to go to the courthouse in Martinez and swear that I would uphold the Constitution.  I felt so official and grown-up ;).
  • Going through the temple for the first time:  No, I'm not going on a mission and I'm not getting married just yet, but I wanted to go through the temple.  So I did.  And it has been great to be able to progress a little more and to go with family members to the temple.
  • Washington, D.C.:  This was another pleasure trip I paid for all on my own.  I had always wanted to go to the nation's capital and experience the history found there.  So when I saw surprisingly cheap tickets to the east coast on sale from Virgin Airlines, I decided that this was as good a time to go as any.  Luckily I have friends who live in Washington, D.C. who were willing to let me stay with them while I wandered around the city for a few days.  It was just about the best vacation ever!
  • Getting a driver's license:  Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I got my license to drive a car a good eight years after I could have gotten it.  But better late than never, right?  I drove on the freeway for the first time this year.  After I exited and we were driving the streets of Pittsburg, Mom asked me if I was proud of myself.  "If I were 16 years old, I would be."  Nevertheless, I have a driver's license now.  Who cares if I happened to be 24 when I got it?
  • Becoming certified on Accounting software:  I work for an accountant/lawyer.  I was hired for the legal side of the business but I ended up doing mostly accounting/bookkeeping work.  As a result, I had to become certified on a new accounting software that we would be implementing in 2013.  Who would have thought I would ever be certified in accounting software?
  • Becoming a "certificated" paralegal:  I finished my paralegal program!  I just got my certificate in the mail a couple of days ago!  It feels wonderful to be done with school and to actually be a somewhat marketable member of the workforce!
  • Leasing a car:  My Dad and I set out a couple of Saturdays ago to test drive some cars.  I wasn't planning on buying anything that day.  I was just going to see what cars I liked the most and what felt the best to drive.  So I test drove the Chevy Cruze and then the Kia Optima.  Both were nice cars that I actually really liked.  But then we headed over to the Honda dealership and I test drove a 2014 Honda Accord.  For some reason, this car just felt right.  It felt easy to drive, I liked the way it looked, and it has a camera that shows what is behind you when you're in reverse.  The triple threat.  So we went inside, they crunched some numbers, and I decided to lease a 2014 Honda Accord.  I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to be able to drive to the store on my own, to drive myself to church and work, to not have to ask for rides to activities...FREEDOM IS MINE!!!!!
    Just look at that beauty!
Happy New Year!  Let's hope 2014 is even better than the last!