Sunday, September 30, 2007

The hardest part is saying yes 

Although, it may have been something more like, "Sure" or "Why not?" or "Okay, let's do it." I bought a car on Saturday. I test drove a used Accord last week, and while it was a sweet ride, there were a few things I wasn't crazy about, like the way the roof seemed to be a bit too low and cut into my eyeline, or how the top of the speedometer was covered by the steering wheel. Also, there were obviously some scratches on the driver's door that had been touched up pretty badly. So I went up to Toyota of Nashua to look at some Corollas and maybe a Yaris. Why all the way up to Nashua? I'm working with AutoAdvisors, this service my credit union offers for free. The guys go with you to the dealerships and act as your advocate and explain everything to you. Also, they have relationships with specific dealers and can get you a car for a few hundred over invoice in most cases. As it turns out, the guy I worked with is the son of my mother's good friend, Lillian. Good deal for me, because if I wasn't happy with him I didn't have to worry about going to his boss - I could go straight to his mom.

I tried out a dark blue Yaris sedan first. It was so completely adorable. You just want to tickle the fenders and say "Oo's a cute wittle car? Oo's a pwecious wittle car? Is it you? I think it's you." But compact is not the word to describe this thing. I had to adjust the steering wheel to get it off my knees. The instrument panel is in the middle of the dash so you have to look over there to check your speed. And the engine sounds kind of like a lawnmower. The funny thing was that at the Honda dealer the salesman was very nice, but before I could drive anything, he took a copy of my license, got my home phone number, my work phone number and my email address, and then he came along with me. At the Toyota place the guy just said, "Hold on, I'll get a license plate," screwed the thing on, and that was that. He didn't even ask if I had my license on me. My AutoAdvisor joined me because I had no idea where I was going and he said "Just keep driving, they don't know where you live!"

So, the Yaris was out. The next car was an '08 Corolla. The minute I got on the road my heart knew I was buying a Corolla. The thing was to get my head to agree. The one I drove was an LE and the last one left on the lot. The rest were CEs, which were a little cheaper, but didn't have power locks and windows. I could get a CE with the power package, but I'd have to wait and the price would be almost the same as the LE. What's the freakin' point? So I sat there with my mother, the salesman, and my Auto guy thinking, "Hmm, maybe I should wait for the CE, maybe I should test drive some more Hondas, maybe this, maybe that." And then I thought, "Fuck it. I need a car, I like this car, I can afford this car - just say yes and shake the man's hand." So I did. And, like Tracy told me when she signed the lease for her first Escape, I was excited, but I kind of wanted to cry, too.

It didn't really help that everyone and their grandmother was out buying a car on Saturday. The place was packed and it took forever to get the paperwork written up. We expected to get out of there around three. It was close to five when we hit the road. The car is not yet mine - I'm calling the credit union first thing tomorrow to get insurance - but I should be picking it up on Saturday. My AutoAdvisor guy was great. If you have a chance to use a service like that, I highly recommend it, especially if you have no freakin' clue how to go about buying a car, like me.

But I have a car! I can like, be all independent and shit now. This is what it looks like (it's the desert sand mica). I think I'll call her Goldie.

Friday, September 14, 2007


So, that's what happens to your blog when you get a regular nine to five and have no social life. Huh, who'dve thunk it. Four months without an entry. It's a far cry from college when I might post three or four times in a single day.

To sum up - still working at the hospital. although with more responsibility now. Since my partner in crime at check-in left for a cushy job as an office manager at another practice, I inherited most of her little duties (doing the discrepency list, preparing the copays for deposit, etc.) and I'm in charge of a doctor's schedule. I like the girl who replaced her - she's friendly and she caught on really fast, but I hope that she stays on for a good long while because god help me if I ever have to train someone else for my job again. There just isn't enough room up there for three people to work. I felt so freakin' claustrophobic and my workspace was all messy. It really amped up my anxiety level for no other reason other than I can't stand to have my desk cluttered.

I've learned to hate certain things about my commute, mostly the people who pass out free papers at the top of the stairs at the North Station green line stop. I call it "The Gauntlet." I think I mostly just annoyed with myself for finding it annoying, but for fuck's sake, it's a free paper. Free. I know people need to work, but why do you have to stand there impeding traffic, handing the damn things out? Your job can be done by a windowsill, which is where most of the papers not being handed out live until someone walks by and snatches them. I just don't understand. There are several other things I hate, but I'll have to add them in installments because I could take up several pages on that topic alone.

I'm going to try to keep up with the blogging again, just because I miss getting my thoughts down and reading about all the stupid stuff I do in the course of a day. Lately, I've had enough time to fuck around on the chud.com boards after work, so I obviously have enough time to blog. We'll see what happens.

Monday, May 07, 2007

How many times can I use the title "Bad Blogger" before it's not funny anymore? 

The daily grind makes the days go by too fast. Up at five, home at five-thirty, pass out by nine - it's pretty freakin' monotonous (but leaps and bounds better than being unemployed). I'm lucky I get to work with fun people who don't take themselves or the job too seriously. Not that we're tossing files willy-nilly and hiding appointments from patients (although some of the more prickly patients seem to think this is how we run things), but it's nice to be able to joke around in between providing people with fantastic customer service. Or during. Some people appreciate a little levity. Others want to melt your face off with lazers out their eyeballs. Que sera sera.

Another thing I really like about this job: the commute. One would think that a half-hour on the subway and a half-hour on the commuter rail twice a day would be a pain in the ass. One would be correct, but only some of the time. Taking the bus every day on Long Island really desensitized me against the horrors (mostly smells) of public transportation. What I like is that I get to read. I'm going through books so fast I'm re-reading books I already own in between trips to the store. I should probably start going to the library again. I just picked up the new Michael Chabon and I'm really looking forward to starting it.

Pitfalls of the job - lots of places to eat nearby. Starbucks, Boloco, a galleria, several hospitals with good cafeterias, all within walking distance. I try to be good and eat out only once a week, but I'm in love with the Summer Burrito at Boloco. We're getting married next spring. To avoid Starbucks I'm considering buying a stovetop capuccino maker. It's sixty dollars at Bed Bath and Beyond. I'm sure that it will pay for itself in no time, but I have a hard time parting with that much money for an item that performs one very specific task (any Good Eats viewers out there? You know what I'm talking about). Still, maybe the fact that I dreamed about it tells me I should suck it up and buy the damned thing.

Which brings me to pitfall the second: I have money now - more money than I've had in a long time. So far it's mainly been clothes, which I need. I could get away with jeans and a t-shirt at Marders, but not in a doctors' office. But yesterday I was looking for mugs in Pier 1 (When did their mugs get so god-awful ugly? They're all exactly the same - oversized and misshapen, just in different colors.) and I saw a tea set on sale for sixteen dollars. An adorable set with a black and white floral pattern. And I bought it. You know, if I'm going to pay sixteen dollars for a tea set that I'll most likely never use, I might as well buy the capuccino maker for sixty that will get used every day.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And, as the swallows return to Capistrano . . . 

So Sarah returns to blogging. I'd have to check my archives, but I have a feeling I've used some version of that title before. A lot has happened between my last blog and now. I got a job, I went to quite the party at Tracy's new place, Tracy got a newer place because the first place burned down - you know, the usual.

I don't remember how many people came, but if you total up everyone who came and left during the night I'll bet it was around 20, maybe 25. Tracy and I made some dangerously tasty punch with red and green Hawaiian Punch (in Rubbermaid pitchers for easy access). The red had no name but I delighted in telling everyone that the green was called "I Thought It Was Punch, But It's Not." Now, if you don't get that one say it out loud a few times and remember that I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. Also, we loaded it with chunks of pineapple, lime, orange, and some maraschino cherries. I dominated at beer pong with both of my wonderful partners, Tracy and Aaron. I didn't play too many games, though, since the plan was to get pleasantly buzzed, not stumble-down drunk. Strangely enough, the plan worked. Bed time came around 3am. I slept on a cot and shared the guest bedroom with a young gentleman who was a good friend of Jeff''s from college. After the lights were turned off, said young gentleman laid down on the floor instead of his bed and proceeded to vomit on himself. Then he snored. Then he vomitted some more. And he snored again. I was very tired, so it didn't really bother me until some sort of gas escaped while his stomach muscles were pushing up the rest of his Red Bull and Vodka. Sounds I can sleep through, but smells? I took the mattress off the cot and slept on the living room floor, and in the moring entertained everyone with the story of the midnight bomber what bombs at midnight (for you Tick fans out there).

Later in the week (after having sent out e-invites for the next party) Tracy called and asked me to guess how she spent her Valentine's Day. My last guess would have been that she stood outside in her pajamas (okay, her underwear) in the beginnings of an ice storm and watched the back of her apartment burn off. I was like "No way," and she was like, "No, really," and I was like "No fucking way!" I absolutely could not believe it. She lived in an old house that had been converted into first and second floor units. The back of the house was an edition. It was caused by one of three things: faulty electrical wiring, the second floor tenants threw a cigarette out onto their porch, or the crazy kid who used to live there set it on fire (long story). My first thought was "Oh my god, all her books!" Fortunately, none of Tracy and Jeff's stuff was ruined. She thought the mattress and the couches might be smoke damaged but everything aired out nicely. And now they have a multi-level place in Marlborough and have already sent out invitations for another party. I'm just glad that if it had to happen it didn't happen the night of the party, because there were several heavy, inebriated boys passed out in that house and I don't think that Tracy and I could have hauled all their asses out the door.

And, the job. I got a temp-to-hire position at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the dermatology department which is actually located about a block away from the main hospital in a satellite office. I started at the beginning of February and they just hired me last week. My official title is Receptionist/Check-In II. When you go to the doctor's office, I'm the person who checks you in, takes your co-pay, makes sure you have a referral, and makes you fill out that information form you fill out every frickin' time you see your doctor. I also open, which means I get there around 7am, change the dates on the card stampers, unlock the doors, and print up all the paperwork for the next day's patients. I really like the people I work with, I'm never bored, I'm getting paid more than what I got at Marders, and the health plan is fantastic. Not to mention the perks. I got 10% off my iced coffee at JP Licks yesterday just because I was wearing my ID. They offer discount tickets to museums and events and amusement parks, discounts for cell phone plans, all kinds of stuff. I think I might stick with this job for a while.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Never crouch down on the express elevator 

It makes you feel drunk for about five minutes afterward, which might sound like a good thing, but not at 8:30 in the morning after you just ate a bran muffin. (I was rooting around in my bag for my wallet, if you must know)

Well, I'm still at Old Mutual. I did three days last week and it looks like I'll be here until next week. Meg just called and said the hospital job wanted someone with more experience, which is fine because it sounded like a lot of stuff to handle and I really just wanted to apply to get the interview experience. She's going to try and get me an interview for an executive assistant position in a small venture capital company in downtown Boston. She says there's a lot of money in venture capital and the offices at these places are usually really nice. Staying here wouldn't be a problem - the people are really nice and the view is fucking fantastic - but I really want something a little more challenging that doesn't have me chained to a desk all day.

I had the worst meal I have ever had in a restaurant last Friday. It even tops the nasty scallops I had at Bocaccini in Hampton Bays. I went to the Edgewater Cafe with my mom and Brian. It's a few doors down from A Passage to India (I love that place - we should have gone there instead). Underneath the Edgewater Cafe it says "Authentic Mexican Cuisine." Which makes it even more confusing because not only was the meal the worst I've ever been served, it's also the worst Chinese food I've ever had. Let me explain: Mom and Brian's food was okay. "It's not bad, it's just okay," Brian said a few times. I ordered the vegetable fajitas. I thought, "Fajitas: sizzling platters of peppers and onions and, in this case, probably some mushrooms." What I got was a huge plate of broccoli, chunks of green pepper, and limp onions all smothered to within an inch of their lives in some watery brown sauce (here I will mention that there was not one square millimeter left on the plate for fajita construction). I had a few bites and quit. It was so salty it was making my stomach burn. My mom took a bite and made a positive identification. Soy sauce. All over my "Authentic Mexican" fajitas. I should have refused to pay because, seriously, any head chef who would serve that plate of nastiness in his restaurant has no respect for his customers. But I just wanted to leave because we'd gone right after work and was tired, so when I got home I posted a bad review on Yahoo!. It just completely boggles my mind that someone came up with that dish and decided it was fit for human consumption. It wasn't just bad Chinese food, it was like bad homemade Chinese food. In a Mexican restaurant! I swear, this will haunt me until the day I die.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Blogging at 600ft 

I'm temping in Boston! Meg from my staffing agency called and said that a company needed an emergency temp on the 26th and the 29th, and I just spent too much money on Christmas presents, so I said sure, I like money, count me in. I'm on the 53rd floor of the John Hancock building in Copley Square, answering phones and doing misc. busy work for an investment firm. It's mind-numbingly slow right now, but I can deal with it for two days. I'm just happy to be working. Hell, their receptionist is leaving on the 28th. Maybe I can wrangle a job out of this. The view is fantastic. If I looked hard enough (and had a pair of binoculars) I bet I could literally see my house from here. I was going to bring a camera today to take a picture of it, but I forgot it. However, since the top of the building is shrowded in fog, it's no big loss. The only thing that would suck (other than the constant worry in the back of my mind about a fire or a bombing or something) would be riding the express elevator every day. It makes my ears pop and the ride up makes me feel like my spine has compressed about half an inch.

Christmas was quiet. It was me, mom, and Brian watching American Chopper on TLC all the livelong day. I got two really nice blankets, one from Brookstone and one from Pier One, squishy house-socks, Battlestar Galactica season 2.0, 2 cds, a cute scarf, a Stephen King book, several gift cards, and a Fossil watch that I've had my eye on for a few months. The watch has a wide leather band that's almost like a cuff and a big dial with a blue background that has a neat, radiating fish-scale kind of pattern. I always seem to like the men's watches more than most women's watches, so I'm kind of in love with the huge band. It's not for dressy outfits, though. I tried to wear it today and the cuff of my button-down shirt wouldn't fit over it.

One thing I did not get that I really need is a change purse. I bought a new purse last month and it doesn't have a change compartment, so now all my quarters and nickels are rolling around, willy-nilly, with my wallet and my checkbook. Actually, I think it's time to toss the Hood card holder and get a grown-up wallet.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Great Uncle Ernest Gave Me The Bad Touch 

Which is pretty impressive for a guy who's been dead for a couple years. On November 22nd, at about 2:50 am, I woke up out of a deep sleep to find my bed shaking back and forth, and it lasted about five seconds. I can wake up in the middle of the night and be absolutely terrified for no reason at all - thus is the nature of Sarah. Now, imagine my usual nocturnal paranoia coupled with the fact that I couldn't decide whether or not the bed shaking was part of a dream or an actual physical occurrence. My first thought was that it was an earthquake. My second thought had to do with gas line explosions. And since I'm way too into Ghosthunters, my third thought was about the painting my dad had just given me a few days before. He's been evicted (he has a room now and actually got a job, so everything's going okay) and he gave me some things to keep safe that he didn't want to put in storage. One of those things was a painting done by his Uncle Ernest. So there I was thinking that maybe Uncle Ernerst was bored with hanging around the painting and decided to wake me up and say hello. Honestly, if I wasn't rendered incapable of moving because of the fear, I would have woken my mother up and asked if I could sleep in her room.

Eventually I started hearing sirens off in the distance and after a while I went back to sleep. In the morning, this was all over the tv. A chemical plant in Danvers that manufactured inks and solvents blew the fuck up around 2:50 am. Right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I saw the pictures and I expected total carnage, but amazingly, no one was killed. The plant was about 3 miles from my house but apparently people felt the blast as far away as New Hampshire. Here's a fun map: The red star is the Danversport Bakery, which was pretty much demolished. I'm not exactly sure where the plant was, but if you switch to the aerial shot I'm guessing it's one of the large white buildings immediately to the left of the bakery. I feel so bad for the people whose houses and businesses were damaged beyond repair, but at least no one died.

Thanksgiving was a typical Cameron family gathering: loud, with too much food and relentless teasing of my Uncle Bobby and my Aunty Jeannie. Which is exactly how it should be. My cousin Holly came with her son, Nick, who is now four and still as sweet and adorable as he was when I last saw him at age two. I didn't eat breakfast that day, so I grazed a bit too much on the shrimp and crackers and cheese and veggies and dip, so I barely ate any dinner. But two hours later, after picking up my father who usually comes over for dessert, I managed three small slices of pie and slice of cake. I love Thanksgiving.

Last Saturday, Tracy moved to Hopkinton with her boyfriend, Jeff. My little girl is all grown up. On Friday I went out there with her to a job interview in Framingham and then over to the new apartment for a tour and a little cleaning. As far as first apartments go, the place is aces in my book. It's on the first floor of an old Victorian house, two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. All the rooms are nice and big with ten-foot ceilings. There's a whole lot of decorating potential. I suppose I'll have to learn how to drive on the highway now so I can visit.

Oh, and I saw The Fountain over the weekend. I've never been so glad that I saw a movie alone because, seriously, the crying was embarrassing. And since I'm such a glutton for punishment I might go see it again before it leaves the theaters, which will have to be soon because it's really tanking at the box office.

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