17 February 2015

Hold Like a Tit

I showed up on Wednesday night, just like I did every week, slightly behind schedule. This time though...I had a present for him.

I worked at a company that printed movie posters. Well they printed all kinds of posters, 1-sheets really, and you'll see them posted up at construction sites. We coined our own term for it. Wild-Posting. I loved the clandestine nature of the company, because we worked as a print shop, that Heidelberg just churned out magic; ch-chug-fwpt, ch-chug-fwpt at lightening speed. And every afternoon these duets of 20-something guys would come in and get pallets of 1-sheets, glue and brooms and fill up their trucks to go out at midnight and start plastering promo's all over L.A.; all over the country. it was pretty amazing, I thought. Like a perfectly planned attack of brooms, glue, posters of movies, concerts and album releases, sweeping around cities all over America so that when you drove to work the next day, on your commute, passing the newest construction site, there they would be, like magic.

Anyway, I had a gift. We did the 1-sheet for "Sniper", the Tom Beringer hit of 1993. Maybe hit is too strong a word, sleeper cult classic? Mmmmm, no. It's pretty self-explanatory. I grabbed one of the first-run prints off of the pallet, rolled it, popped into the poster tube and brought it with me to The Synagogue. Ha turned out it was Sniper for sniper.

"Hey! I have a present for you! Here you go. hang in on your wall."

"Yeah, well I've got one for you too. Read the pages I marked by Sunday morning. I'll pick you up at Ohio Street at 9:00 a.m. Don't be late."

"What the fuck!" Is what I said in my head. But "okay," is all that came out of my mouth.

I gave him a poster tube and he gave me a stack of Marine Corp shooting and gun care manuals with the pages  I was to read paper-clipped together. And I thought, oh man it's just like that photography lesson my Dad was going to give me. Books with paper clips - and a quiz. Oh and 9 a.m. call time. This guy was one of those people that if you were late, he left. I would never give him that satisfaction. I knew this much. Just like photography with Dad, this was going to end in tears. probably his, from the sheer frustration of me.

Sunday morning, arrived at 7 a.m. and sat and read. I'm a pretty quick study and I got the gist anyway. 9 a.m. he rolled into the parking lot, I left my car and got in his, off we went. I was going to learn how to shoot a gun. I'm no gun nut, in fact, I donate money to any gun control agency, organization, person, and publication I can. But this was different, this was totally personal. I was going to best his best. He'd been training people to do this for 30 years. I was going to be better than all of them, and I was going to do it with style. High heeled boots, tight jeans, eye make-up , big hair, I was going to be....The Perfect Woman. Dun-da-dun!!! Not for him, but because of him. And then, my real life adventures could begin.I have no idea why I thought that or made that the equation in my head. But I did and my problem is, that for better or worse, I was now married to the idea. It is my 2nd biggest flaw. Maybe my 3rd. Getting married to an idea for far too long.

Doesn't matter. I was in. He made me change my shoes and put my hair back before we could go to the range the following week. But that's a different day.

On this day, I sat at Dave's kitchen table and got schooled. He called the divots (that I thought looked liked penises) on the barrel of the Smith & Wesson 6" revolver, "Tits". So, really my first lesson in perspective. If you invent it, you name it. Asshole.I'm going to invent a bunch of stuff and call them pricks, dicks, and cocks.

Then, of course, came the the questions, and without thinking my hand shot up. As if there was an entire school of people to best sitting at that table all jumping up and shouting "Oh! Oh! Mistah Katahr! Mistah Katahr!" I raised my fucking hand - and he laughed and the air just kept on shifting. It was like it was constantly re-adjusting how I saw him. Always forcing me to readjust my eye. It wouldn't fall into place for another few months. But even then, it never totally solidified.

Can you tell me what B.R.A.S.S. stands for? Hand shoots up. He smiles - his entire face just opens up and he points and says "yes, you in the front." Now it's a game. Every once in a while he looks around as though trying to find another student to call on. We did this for an hour until finally, I passed or he ran out of questions, or, and I think this is the real explanation, he couldn't wait to say, "Now Kimberly, when you hold a pistol, you rest it in your palm like you would hold a tit. Well, I guess in your case, not a tit, but..." and he couldn't say it. I actually saw this man blush, for a moment, he did. He couldn't say to me, hold it like you hold a dick, which is what he realized would be the only point of reference I might have.

If you're going to commit to the idea of referring to firearm parts using female body references, then either go with it or get comfortable with its alternative. Is what I thought. But what I said was, "it's okay, I get it. Not too tight, but you don't want to drop it. " I could actually taste his relief.

Nothing phased this man, so why would this?

Shfting Air

Many years ago I met a man. I hated him.

He yelled, he screamed, all while throwing out directives using a crutch. I knew it by his haircut...he was military and he was an asshole. I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance when I was 9 or 10. When they asked me why in front of my parents, I simply said “Vietnam.” My father told me they can’t make you but don’t be rude, so at least put your hand over your heart. So I did. I was 10 – how much of a protester can you be in 3rd grade?

I grew up with a man who yelled. Bellowed actually. And pointed, not with a crutch, I never saw him on crutches, but with his finger. he jabbed at the air and it was as though he could actually shift the air with his index finger just by jabbing. If I wanted to be yelled at, I could just stay home.I mean that was where my father was - the man who bellowed and shifted the air with his index finger.

The man I met, he bellowed. I found out later, it was drill instructor training. They actually teach people how to yell that way. He wasn't yelling at me, so I stayed and watched. Every week, until they finally took him off the crutches and then I realized he could also make the air shift with his index finger. But again, it wasn't being pointed at me, so I stayed.

A year passed and in that year I have no idea what he did. I could not tell you if I saw him or didn't. I made friends and  lost friends. I went back to school and got a job. Then a different job. Then a different job, you get it. I started to grow up. Just a little. My father stopped bellowing as much and he resisted jabbing at the air for emphasis. It's like I lost that year somehow, but just because it moved so fast - I can't really see it.

Now it's May and he stood at the door to the Synagogue on Sunset and shook everyone's hands when they walked in. He smiled and he laughed - and he made the air shift when he did. He no longer pissed me off. Now he simply fascinated me. People had stories about him. About his wife. About his past and his present. I have absolutely no recollection of any of them because he made the air shift when he laughed and that was good enough for me.

Then it was New Year's and yet one more disappointing date with a boy, not willing to be a man, We'll call him DD - disappointing date. The bellower walked by and said Happy New Year!  And I said, "Happy Fucking New Year," the sarcasm and sadness just rolled off of me and my words. He stopped and simply said, "Yes it is happy. Ain't no big thing." He did. He said that and smiled and laughed, and the air shifted. I saw it as before, but this time, I felt it. And it felt good. Like the first moment of the perfect bath. So I smiled.

Not long after, I don't know, it's hazy and lumped together I had a conversation with him. My disappointing New Year's date (DD) was there. The topic? Perfect women. I was 22 years old, looking at 23 from across Spring and I couldn't really give a shit. But then I said something and the air shifted. It shifted between the bellower and I and DD ceased to exist. What did I say you ask? Hmmmm, it's pretty awesome and it won't matter to anyone else but us. But I'll tell you because it matters to this story, my story and his story.

Remember the topic is perfect women - or more specifically what makes a woman perfect. He was describing someone between Cagney, Lacey, Wonder Woman, and Bo Derek. Dated I know. But then, he wasn't all that young. Except thinking back, I'm currently looking at 45 and he was 48 when this happened, so he wasn't that old either. But this was 23 years ago. It's a lot of math, keep up.

I said the only thing I could think of which had the added benefit of being true. I was a liar, but not this time. "When I was 17 my father felt the best thing for me was to ship me off to my cousins in Israel, because then I would have to go into the Israeli Army and they straightens people out. He thought I needed to be straightened out."

And he asked as fast as he could, "Did you go?" And at the same time he asked I had this sentence dribbling from my mouth,

"...but you can't make somebody get on an international flight, even your minor child against their will. It's kidnapping, so jokes on him. Buy the ticket, I'll never get on that flight." So he asked why? Why wouldn't you go?

"I'm afraid of loud noises. Fireworks make me cry and send me into an intense, chest seizing, mind numbing panic. The tears start falling and I start looking for places to hide. I ran track and was afraid of the starter gun. How in the hell can I go into the army. Also I don't like people telling me what to do. Oh and I don't speak Hebrew."

And he laughed. He laughed so hard and so loud that a small tornado formed in that circle of three. He had tears rolling down his cheeks and in between his laughter, he pointed at me. And I laughed. I know why I laughed, because the thought of me in uniform with an automatic weapon is laughable. But he laughed because I had just insulted everything he stood for. Well not yet everything; there were still SPAM sandwiches, law enforcement, and the government, but for the moment I had unwittingly narrowed it to uniforms and firearms.  And finally he said it. "You are almost the perfect woman. You should learn how to fire a gun, then it wouldn't scare you. Face  your fear and don't be a ninny." He did, he called me a ninny. Which at the time seemed incredibly insulting, but since "Elf" even more so.

And I said "Okay!"

This is just the beginning....

13 September 2011

Things He Said....things I Heard and What It All Meant. Happy Birthday Dad.

This is me...a long time ago.

 This is my Dad...a longer time ago.

Things he used to say to me.

1. You break I fix. That's all you kids know. You break - I fix
2. Pick that up. The maid doesn't arrive until 2056.
3. Don't eat out of the carton, somebody else might want some.
4. Oh really, you don't want that? Well more for me then.
5. Look I've got one foot in the grave as it is - so don't push me.
6. How can you walk right by that, I'm three times your age and wear bifocals, even I can see the trash on the driveway.
7. If his car is leaking oil, don't park on the driveway. Is he coming to the door or are just going to run out to the car?
8. I know your mother uses that language but it's vulgar and disgusting so I don't want to hear it in my house.
9. I'm not going to be around forever....(fill in the blank)
10. You want all of the freedom and none of the responsibility. Let me tell you something, with freedom comes responsibility.
11. Don't leave dishes in the sink, you're mother will yell at me.
12. You know what I want for my birthday? I want peace and quiet, can I get that  - and some Chinese food?
13. Hey, that's a good piece of cardboard - don't throw that out.
14. Hey that's a good piece of tinfoil - don't throw that out.
15. I can use that again, why would you throw that out?
16.Everything is better with a couple of scoops of Schlagsahne.
17. My cup runneth over and I have to unbelt my jumpsuit.
18. I don't want to be a member of a club that would ever want me as a member.
19. Ring.....Ring....Ring....Ring....Ring...Ring.....Hello? Yeah, your mother's not home. Click.
20. Don't touch my stuff. The stereo, the T.V., the garage and my car. There's not need for you to be up there, in there, doing that, opening the cabinet. Ask me and I'll get it for you.
21. If you take something out, put it back where you found it.
22. Don't break my house. When you get your own house, break anything you want, but this is my house and I want it unbroken.


Clearly , he was waiting for 2056  to clean his study. And this is only his desk. Just making a point.

Here is what I heard.

1. Never break anything unless you intend on fixing it.
2. the maid is coming, so just wait it out. Either that, or I'm the maid and I just didn't get the notice.
3. Don't eat out of the carton so Dad can.
4. That's fine if we are eating liver and onions or tongue, but works against me when there's cake.
5. How does my not cleaning the cat litter kill you? huh?
6. You don't have to pick up trash if you're 3x older than someone and wear bifocals. Can't wait!  
7. The driveway is not, as previously thought, for cars and boys should park somewhere else if they are coming to the door, or don't come. I don't know it was so confusing.
8. Hmmm, cuss in your own house? I don't know.
9. Where are you going? is it better then here? Is there cake? With Schlag? If I do this thing you are asking (pass algebra, learn my times tables stop getting speeding tickets) do you still have to go?
10. So confused...
11. But their your dishes!
12. Um, but you have a wife and three children, two of whom live at home because they aren't old enough to work.
13. Yes, it is a good piece of cardboard and I will draw all over it with your permanent markers that I found in your desk - on the new carpet. What else would you use it for?
14. Yes, it is and I will use it to annoy you by destroying it, because it's shiny.
15. Huh?
16. No argument there. So I will stick my hand in the bowl and eat it until I get sick, because if a little is good, then a lot is much better. Until you puke.
17. I got nothing. Jumpsuit is ugly and I'm embarrassed to be seen with you wearing it, because you look stupid. Why can't you be like other people's dads?
18. Don't join anything!
19. You know, there's an answering machine and you could let the machine pick up if you didn't want to talk...wait, what? I was calling to talk to you.
20. If you want something learn to walk like a professional tracker in the forest, avoid the squeaky steps, ease open the cabinet with the stuff, ease the cabinet closed....all for a tube of toothpaste.
21. I don't know where I found it, you made me ask you for it and you went and got it. Huh?
22. I didn't break the house, I fell and hit my head on the towel rack and the rack broke. But really my head hurts a lot too. I think I'm bleeding.

Nothing a good cigar won't cure.

What It All Meant - Really.
1. Treat the things you own with care, treat the things others own with as much care. Hopefully you won't have to pay somebody to fix them.
2. Just clean up after yourself and when it looks like some asshole has decided to leave his trash for someone else, it's okay - pick that up too. One less water bottle in the ocean.
3. Eat out of the carton - just don't get caught.
4. Still applies to liver and onions or my husband's culinary classic of pork chops. Since I'm 41 I could have all the cake I want only now, I have to worry about high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and GERD's.
5. Don't dwell on the inevitably of death - we all have one foot in the grave - from that first breath, but fight for the foot that still on the grassy part. And I can't really push somebody into their grave unless I'm like...a contract killer or death, which are kind of the same thing. But still, not cleaning the cat litter isn't going to do it.
6. See #1. Unless you are a parent and then tell your children your older and 1/2 blind and even you can see the trash they should have seen and picked up. Maybe they will refer to #1 some day too.
7. Get the oil leak fixed and go to the door and meet the parents, even if they're crazy and she's a little whacked herself.
8. She does, it is and I can't stop myself unless I am around other people's children. See Dad, it's okay.
9. No you weren't around forever, but I wish I didn't have to think about you dying all the time when I was kid. I think this is a Jewish parent thing... I don't know. Comment from the peanut gallery?
10. I understand now - it took some time, a lot of mistakes, a few successes and many more failures, but I understand.
11. Clearly my husband needs children so that I won't yell at him for leaving dishes in the sink. Unless the maid is coming early - I don't know.
12. Every birthday until the last, you got empty boxes and take-out Chinese. And a funny card that made you laugh and you kept in your desk in your study. (see above)
13. Our garage looks like a Hoarders episode. Thanks.
14. Our garages looks like a Hoarders episodes. Thanks
15. Our garage...
16. I'll take some of that Schlag...
17. I wear a lot of skirts and dresses... and even though things aren't as I would like, my cup runneth over.
18. I joined some stuff...but they aren't clubs.
19. Sometimes Dad, the call was for you and it was me with questions about stuff. Glad I learned to talk faster than you could hang up.
20.  Michael has your stereo equipment, I have your model planes, car, firearms and artwork, Andrea has your awesome books - Ogden Nash, James Thurber, Chaim Potok, so we have them but we're not breaking them and if we need to fix them we can hire someone.
21. Luckily I married somebody as particular as you when it comes to that so if I want to have the conversation I just take out a flashlight and then don't return it. It's pretty awesome.
22. The house is gone, sold to some family who has no ides who the initials in the backyard concrete belong to. I think they broke through most of the walls and upstairs in order to redecorate but again, don't worry because they hired somebody to fix it.

I get my oil changed pretty regularly, I check my tire pressure before a long trip, I don't speed, I don't tailgate, I don't do my makeup while I'm driving. I still don't really know algebra and my geometry is good enough to buy an area rug. I married somebody who can do metric conversions in his head. So I still don't know enough about aeronautics, thermodynamics, hydromechanics and the periodic table to not want to call  you when the actor leaves California and while in an aerial dogfight, magically ends up crashing in the Arizona desert after 5 minutes of flying....really? I still clean the cat litter - but only because my husband has no sense of smell and wouldn't know if it needed it. My desk is a little messy - but I share. I still have to eat the entire chocolate bar - but only semi-sweet. Happy Birthday Dad, we miss you but I know you got exactly what you wanted for your birthday - peace and quiet I can't say about the Chinese food... 

31 August 2011

Every Frickin' Time...

Every time I make a roasted chicken sandwich with those little french pickles and dijon mustard I think of my summers in France. Every time I do that I start looking at apartments on Craigslist in France. Every time I do that I have to remind myself that I don't have any money to get an apartment because I don't have a job. Every time I do that I think if only I could get a job I could go to France and get an apartment. Every time I do that, I think well I don't have a job maybe I should just move to France. See the problem? By the way, the other reason I can't go to France: I'm married and he doesn't want to move. Don't misunderstand, I love my husband -  I just hate that I'm not the boss of him.

Just a hint, moving to France is not the problem.

2 Degrees refers to my 1. Bachelors in History and my minor in Political Science and 2. Juris Doctorate (I look back fondly to my summers in France) and companion Certificate in Global Business Law. The ...And Counting part, my currently in-progress Certificate in Fundraising and Development. This blog is not a bitch fest, though I will take them time to constructively critique things that I believe are not working or are wasted resources, nor do I expect somebody to jump up and say - "I'll hire you, we have an opening for a Global Spa Reviewer- and you don't even have to wear a bikini." Though I'm just putting it out there that I am extremely qualified to be a Global Spa Reviewer. Me!, sans bikini (how about a nice sundress?)

My last day of full time regular employment was September 27, 2007. Yes that is 07, not a typo. I'm sorry did I hear you gasp?   I know, me too - every time I think about that date I think "I should have taken the offer in Orange County so what if they don't help you relocate, how hard could it have been?" So what that my dad had Stage 4 cancer and I would have had to quit. Every time I think about it and I think I should have been subscribing to Reuters or talking to my brother with his Bloomberg account.  I would have known about the shit storm heading for jobs in America. But I didn't On October 1, 2007 I thought it's okay, there will be a job right around the corner, I just didn't know it would be a Vegas sized block. I have always had a job since my first job at Penguins Frozen Yogurt in Westwood circa 1985 (babysitting counts right? make that 1983).

Right now I have resumes submitted for jobs in the following cities: San Diego, Orange County (see what I'm saying?), Northern California (too many to list), Tempe, Tampa, Richmond, D.C., Raleigh, Durham, Charlottesville, Atlanta (most dog friendly city in the country) oh yeah, and France. I know, I know...but at least I'll be able to afford an apartment.

I have been to job fairs too numerous to count. My law school career counselor re-formats my resume
once a year, my Father-In-Law (well respected Life and Personal Coach) has taken on my case (free of charge of course; ah sometimes nepotism is good), I write daily affirmations, I update my Linked In profile at least once a week, I draft attention grabbing cover letters (wasted on Human Resource Managers that use key word searches to vet applicants). You know what else? I belong to three job clubs. My favorite is the Jewish Employment Network - they serve cookies. My next favorite, The Boardroom in La Jolla, they serve breakfast, it's in La Jolla and it makes me get up early enough to do my hair and makeup. None of them have garnered me even so much a job lead, let alone an actual job, but I get cookies, bagels and shmear so what the hell.

I am registered with USAJobs, Southern Metro Job Center, CalJobs, The City, the county, Listservs in the legal field, the recruiting field, the international education field, the graduate school community, I check NALP every day, I went to NALP ($750.00 worth of bagels and shmear in Palm Springs), I have my own QR Code (takes you right to my Linked In page because I don't want to miss out on something just because somebody can't remember to spell my name or look at my card), oh, I have business cards, I have profiles with every major company in Southern California that I could possibly work for, I even have the Career Services staff of most law school isn the country sending me posts about jobs. I'm likeable that way.

Here is what I don't do. If you have to be an electrical engineer, a computer engineer, a systems engineer - basicly if you have to be an engineer or use any type of math beyond algebra, I can't do it so I don't apply. I even tried to apply for an Adminstrative Assistant position with FaceBook - in the time it took for me to click the enter button on my profile and blink my eyes once they responded that I was not qualified for the position. Wow! Talk about being prompt. I wonder if all their A.A.'s or E.A.'s went to Harvard. Probably not, they probably "slum it" and hire out of Stanford. Just a thought, I don't know. I went to Cal State Northridge and Thomas Jefferson and of course spent a semester in France at the Sophia Antiopoles Ecoles Des Droits. Sounds amazing right? It was. Don't fool yourself, studying abroad, the best thing to do with FAFSA.

Back to Facebook. It's either that - instantaneous rejection - or you never hear anything. I don't know, I may still be in the running for the filled positions at Qualcomm that I applied to in November 2007 - I wouldn't know because nobody every got back to me. Every time I think about all the jobs I have applied to and been under qualified for, or over trained to do, that I didn't get, I think maybe I'm not aiming high enough. So I start applying to jobs that with some time I could be perfectly qualified to do - I would just need some training. But I get the silent treatment from them as well. So I think, I get suckered every time, I should know better. I forgot to mention, my husband owns a small Landscaping business and by small I mean, him. We have no health insurance. So I keep applying to Starbucks, you know the largest health insurance provider in the country, I can't get interviewed there either. Or Peet's by the way - so I'm not singling them out.  But every time I apply to them I think, I just need health insurance, please hire me. I was the best Barrista The Living Room ever had. I know a latte from a cap. I never, ever served somebody a cup full of steamed milk and espresso (s not x, espresso, not expresso), and called it a cappuccino. Ever! I learned it in France back in 1989, my first time there and I think, I could go back there.

But every time I think that, I think, but I can't afford to go I don't have a job....