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It’s been a long time coming, but today I finally did it.

I am, like, an uber-Internet stalker.  Maybe not the WORST internet stalker out there, but I seem to really like spying on people.  Until recently, I read people’s blogs without commenting on them (ok, I realize a lot of people do that), but then I went on Operation Comment and it seemed to do the trick.

And…I am a member of umpteen Yahoo! groups.

These are not nearly so bad in the stalker category, because they require you to introduce yourself, but STILL.  I literally receive roughly 400 emails a day from these groups.  (Don’t ask why I don’t switch to digest.  I don’t know.  I like to be able to search and find a whole conversation of messages all at once, and with digest it is impossible to follow along…ok, weak excuse, but it’s the truth.)

I am a member of a Giant Schnauzer group, TWO (yes, TWO!) Vietnam adoption groups, a Kygyzstan adoption group, the Adoption Agency Research group, and some other various groups that do not really add up to my total, so I won’t even bother mentioning them.

The GS group is INSANELY active.  Oh my goodness.  Hello there, if you’re from that group, and it is a very, VERY friendly group (I used to be on another MEAN Giant Schnauzer group, and they made the adoption groups look like panzies) (Is that even a word?  Pansies?  Panzies?  Like flowers, right?) – but they respond. to. every. email.

Which was just getting out of control for me.

Then the Vietnam lists.  Now, you will notice something, right?  Do we HAVE an adopted child from Vietnam?  No, no, no, we do not.  Does it appear that we WILL have an adopted child from Vietnam?  No, not exactly.  Not my choice, but there are things beyond our control that have yielded that outcome.

Does the Vietnam list add something to my parenting knowledge?  Well, yes, and I am sorely in need of *actual* parenting advice, although I would be a rockstar of parenting a doll at this point.  But the latest blow up was over cosleeping and whether the AAP is the end-all and be-all of parenting practices, and frankly it drove me…well, it drove me insane.  Inconceivably, it drove me MORE insane than I was before.

And then the email came on the other list about “when” Vietnam will open up again for adoption…because this person might “age out” soon.

AS IF that is the important question in the whole thick of it. (!!)

And now, my readers, I present to you…

The new, improved, Internet Rachel.

Who has unsubscribed* from not only APV, LVC, AND FOGS, BUT has restrained herself from a response to the woman who asked about VN reopening.  (I have, in the past, sent maybe one email to someone who was bashing someone else.  I try to take the high ground.  Really, I do.  And whenever I have sent that one email – it has maybe been two emails – I always get a bajillion emails back.  “Go you!”  “You suck!” – really, it is not healthy!)

I stuck with AAR.  Because I need to know what is going on in the adoption world and it covers a lot of issues pretty well.

*******

In other news…

I have become obsessed with Teflon.  Seriously?  Pregnancy has made me IN.SANE.  And our pots – they are nice, but our stupid pots – are all COATED in nice, nonstick, TEFLON.  The spawn of the devil, this Teflon.

In a fit of tears, I told DB last night that I was so STRESSED OUT because I was sipping (sipping, people, not gulping – I think I had a total of 5 sips, because I read it would help my gurgling stomach) Coca-Cola, with its evil High Fructose Corn Syrup (commercials be damned, I have not avoided ALL MERCURY for a stupid sip of COKE!), and TO TOP IT OFF, we are using TEFLON!!!!!!!!!!

He comforted me, told me that it was probably OK in moderation**, and we skipped off on our merry way.

Then, this morning, guess what I found?!?

Last night’s dinner, STORED IN OUR TEFLON PAN, in the fridge. (He did the clean up last night.  I went to bed at 8:30ish.  I felt like CRAPPOLA.)

Woman possessed much?

I wonder how many FBI agents get a message on their work VM that goes, “HONEY?!?  What part of “I am scared of Teflon” means you store the food in the TEFLON-COATED PAN?!?”

.

Edited:  OMG I am going INSANE.  I was looking up some information for a friend, and found:

http://www.truehealth.org/amother.html

And seriously?  Seriously?!?

Another day, I will write a thoughtful blog post about the role of guilt in the first 100 days of pregnancy, and how it is a sinking reality that “guilt” will be around for the next 55 years of my life, God willing.  But right now, I am just going to crawl into my hole with a glass bottle of leafy green organic vegetables.  Grown in  a bubble, because Lord knows that my urban garden is probably filled with…something.

Not to mention that we have ONLY plastic cutting boards.

I’m sorry, kiddo.  Mom and Dad are trying.

*

*OK, not really unsubscribed, but on “special notices” – which means I can still read online.

**I know this is true.  However, I have become Insane Rachel in the last 5 weeks.

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Guess what day it is?

Sunday of a major three-day weekend.

Guess where DB just went?

To work.

This is UNHEARD OF in the government.  UNHEARD OF.  Even for the FBI, with the exception of the bank robberies squad (which he is not on).  

This is where I am going to gripe a little bit.  See, the *only* times DB has to go into work at a strange/odd hour are when we have plans.  PLANS.  Once, we had to catch a FLIGHT and he had to stake out someone’s house.  Another time, we had dinner plans (ok, not a big deal, but go with me here) and he was surveilling someone else.  And ANOTHER time, we had to leave to go to a couples retreat, and he was busy chasing some perp somewhere, for like 5 hours.  From like 6 pm to 11 pm.

That was not a good start to our couples retreat, let me tell you.

Today, we have to study.  I say “we” have to study because, um, it’s physics, and *we* need to study so *I* can pass the test.  The final is on Tuesday.  *We* tried to study yesterday, but there was a major basketball game on across town (between DB’s alma mater and its rival), and I decided sleeping sounded REALLY GOOD, and by the time he got back, I wasn’t feeling the love for physics – and besides, we had ALL DAY Sunday and ALL DAY Monday, right?

But then, this morning, we had a meeting at church, and then since it’s kind of snowing* and I have no snow boots, we decided to go get some boots**.  And then eat (again).  (I eat a lot these days.)  And then we got home, I settled down to print some exams, and…

Yes.  The batphone rang.  Summoning DB to Heaven-knows-where, and he’ll be there for Lord-knows-how-long.  

And since it’s obviously ALL ABOUT ME, leaving me high and dry.

I realize I am supposed to be all happy that he is going to protect our country from various different things that ail it, but seriously?  Seriously?!?  TODAY?  Isn’t there SOMEONE ELSE they could call?!?  

I feel like (and this is not very far from the truth, so don’t judge) that when we do not go away for three-day weekends, we pay a price.  

I am not so happy.  In fact, as a sign of a truly actualized person, I cried.

I hate criminals.  

And I really, really, really hate physics.

*It’s always snowing.  I returned my boots to LL Bean (yay for great return policies) because they leaked.  However, leaky boots are better than no boots, which is what I currently use.  

**And to add insult, we did not get boots.  It turns out most people have boots by January 18th.  However, if you would like some cute strappy sandals, January 18th is a perfect time to shop.

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I have nothing to say! Can you believe it? But I am still adhering to my NaBloPoMo commitment, whatever that really means, so you get to read my drivel for the next few seconds.

Seriously, I have nothing to say. Here are my current thoughts of the moment:

  1. The situation in Mumbai is sickening. It is now the first thing I check when I get online, replacing my email. DB, who has some negotiation experience (that is all I can really say about that) says that from a textbook standpoint, the situation is being handled in exactly the wrong way, and it is costing people’s lives. The FBI will go to help local law enforcement in countries around the world, but they (the country) must request their (FBI) help, and we don’t think India would feel compelled to do that. So, I remain addicted and saddened and sickened and horrified, waiting for this terror to end. (Not to say that with FBI involvement, it would end, and for sure, the FBI has butchered some negotiations, but they have a lot of experience in this type of situation. So do some other organizations in other countries.)
  2. We did not really go shopping today. We did go into a Circuit City that was closing and a Best Buy that wasn’t closing, and saw absolutely no great deals. I am looking for a camera lens (which I will probably not buy unless it is an insanely amazing deal) and we are pretty much the quintessential Cheap Shoppers this year, and we agreed to Stick To Our Gift List (which is really, really short this year, too), and so we walked out empty-handed. I did go to a Target to buy some body wash and deodorant (seriously, running! out! of! ideas!) and it was a mob scene, which made me so happy that I didn’t do much more shopping. Maybe tomorrow.
  3. We need a car. We seem to be having a difference of opinion on what type of car to buy, though. The situation is this: we have a gigantic dog and a VW Golf (which is doing much better now – we fixed its defibrillation issue and its sundowning issue and it is now dashboard-light-free!). We are in the process of expanding our family at some point, and our car is REALLY TIGHT even now. Like this weekend, we have two carryon bags and some stuff for the dog and my schoolwork, and the car is pretty much full. Last year for Christmas, this is how we travelled:

cimg0976

…where Little is checking out what we are eating. Note the jacket in the passenger seat, the bags behind the back seat and the crate folded up behind the front seats (and not shown: the bags stacked up to the window where Little’s head is. Also not shown: the bags at my feet.)

(but isn’t he cute?)

So anyway, we need to buy a larger car. I think a Subaru Forester is the greatest car ever. Although he is really an open-minded guy, for some reason DB is not thrilled with the connotation. (I say, since I’ll be the one driving it more, and I could care less, who cares?!?) He wants a Toyota Highlander. I think the Highlander is massive, but he (rightly) points out that a Forester is equally gigantic, and I (rightly) point out that the older ones are not as big, and he (questionably) points out that the older ones are the ones that are really the prime models of the vehicle for the stereotype. Whatev.

(Edited: DB really wanted to show you this ad. In case you’ve never seen it. Sorry for the poor quality.)

(In my research for this post, post-hitting the “publish” button, I found lots more ads, including those that said, “Likes to be driven hard and put away wet“, and I found this blog post.  OK.  So there may be something to this, and it seems that Subaru really tried to target the LGBT community with its advertising, but still!  Who cares?!?)

So the other night, we were driving down for Thanksgiving, and we were both exhausted (at 1:30 am) and I popped in the Indigo Girls CD from college. The one I know every. single. word. of. And I belted it out, and as I was singing the Power of Two (which I also love), I turned to DB, and said to him, “You know what my ultimate fantasy is?”

He said, sleepily, “What?”

“To sing this in a Subaru Forester!”

Ha.

OK, that’s my filler post. Good night!

Every so often, something in the news catches me. It hits too close to home. I think, “Oh.”

That could be us.

This morning, FBI Special Agent Samuel Hicks was shot and killed while serving a warrant for someone’s arrest in Pittsburgh, PA.

Oh.

He left behind a wife and a 3-year old child.

Oh.

I can just imagine in my minds’ eye all of what is described in the news article: I can imagine his wife, in bed, sleeping while he left the house at the ungodly hour of 4:45 am (probably), expecting to hear from him when he was done with the arrest. Maybe they had plans together this afternoon, because often agents get the rest of the afternoon off after they complete an arrest (after booking the suspect, etc).

Oh.

I can imagine finding out that, actually, the routine drug search wasn’t so routine. The Kevlar-clad crew arriving at Robert Korbe’s home inspired someone to retrieve a personal weapon, aim it at the door, and, when the door was open, shoot the messenger.

Oh.

I cannot imagine his wife’s grief.

It is one of those things that hurts me to the core with empathy for her situation.

Oh.

This is something I don’t think much about, honestly. I think about other people’s spouses going off to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other war zones. I think about police officers, fire fighters – all of whom put their lives on the line for our safety DAILY.

But I don’t think about FBI agents – like DB – ever getting shot. The likelihood of it happening is just so low. It must be a very mentally ill (or high) person to commit such a crime, because it is in front of a crowd of ten agents; to shoot at one in front of the others is to sacrifice any hope of freedom. Unlike police arrests, the FBI arrests perpetrators in an overwhelming show of force, sometimes bringing in a SWAT team, a negotiation team, and an arrest team all at once – just in case the shit hits the fan. They don’t want anything bad to happen.

That’s why arrests happen at the crack of dawn (note the time of the shooting: 6:00 am): people are less likely to be angry or violent at that hour. Frankly, they’re most likely to be asleep.

So yes, I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. Despite my job (where I see mentally ill people all the time), I somehow still believe in people’s ability to rationally weigh the costs of shooting with the benefits of cooperating. I rarely think about the possibility that DB might not come home from one of the early-morning arrests. I think I used to be worried about it – back when he first started – but then life took over, and I got comfortable. I mean, DB and I joke that the biggest hazard of his job is carpal tunnel syndrome, from the mountains of paperwork he needs to complete.

And now I am imagining his wife learning of the unthinkable, absolutely unprepared for this type of news, and it is rocking me to my core. Because it’s the unexpected. It’s what we expect for a policeperson, or a firefighter, or an Army person. But this? No. Not doing this. “This” – this FBI life – is supposed to be safe. He carries a gun, for Pete’s sake. His colleague probably had an automatic weapon drawn, or at least strapped to his back.

How did this happen?

I am overwhelmed with sadness for this family.

Please join me in praying for them. Thank you.

I have to say, I kind of miss the muppet look for its cuteness, but this haircut is WAY better for our health (allergies), our house (it’s so much easier to keep clean!), and our happiness (see above!).

Behold, the difference:

fall-2008_081109_3591

little-action_081113_522

It’s like an entirely new dog!  (Like the hankerchief?  We always try to keep it on him for a day or two – they are usually holiday-related, but I guess this year it wasn’t close enough to Thanksgiving to score a Thanksgiving-erchief.)

Also, we went back to the park on Tuesday, and there were still some trees determined to keep their brilliant color.  I LOVE THIS COLOR!  This is probably more than you’d ever want to see of a) the color of the trees in my local parks, and b) our dog!

little-action_081111_318

little-action_081111_3241

little-action_081111_458

And, of course, the ever-present attempts (and failures) to capture greatness in photography of Little.  None of these are good, but I think they have a certain impressionist quality.  It is certainly nothing that anyone would actually INTEND to create, however.  This is more appropriately titled:  Playing With My Shutter Speed.

little-action_081111_486

(Impressionism at its very finest)
(That is a joke)

little-action_081111_494

(The wheaten turned out better than Little here.  This Wheaten is one of my favorite dogs in our neighborhood and randomly turned up in the park, too!)

(This picture was black before I hit “improve it” on the picture software)

(I really need better software.  Right now I use the Mac iPhoto software.  When I lived in Vietnam I purchased an illegal copy of Photoshop, but it has conspicuously disappeared.  My lovely husband was not a fan of my various media purchases in Vietnam.)

(Hey, just because I’m talking about it – you know what else I sacrificed in the name of being a Good FBI Future Wife?  The sixth season of Sex and the City on DVD, which I bought for $5 and was even cooler than anything you could get here:  it had subtitles, in English, written by the Chinese dudes who had pirated the DVDs – the subtitles were what THEY thought the actors were saying.  Think for 2 seconds what the topics of Sex and the City were, and you will realize that those. DVDs. were. priceless.)

(Oh, the things we give up for Rule Abiding Husbands.)

(To be fair, the (totally illegal) DVDs also had the FBI warning on them.)

(And DB had just graduated from the academy.)

(Moving on…)

little-action_081111_353

(I just really love this tree color!)

little-action_081111_428

(This may be my best attempt so far, which really doesn’t say so much for my skills.  More to come this weekend, but don’t worry – I probably won’t post them unless they are exciting in some way…)

I know everyone is now tired of my pup.  I am storing up all of the things I need to write with a password for that next post, which will hopefully come in the next few days (but I have an exam on Monday and I’m working tomorrow, so we’ll see).

Have a great weekend!

So DB and I have decided:  we are going to bet on this election.  (This is not illegal, FYI, for anyone who is gasping in their chair at the audacity of a federal agent to bet on an election.  I believe the stakes are going to be something like “dinner”, which essentially means that the winner gets to pick the meal or eat something that the loser made, since it’s all coming out of the same pot of money.  Just had to clear that one up.)

We decided to bet on the outcome of the election because DB said, “I think Obama is going to win by a landslide,” and I said, “I’m not so sure – I think McCain could surprise us.”  Which is mostly because I have no doubt that McCain will do better than he is polling, and I do not trust people who watch Fox News as their sole source of information.  In fact, I am watching Fox News currently – for ENTERTAINMENT.  Because its incredible commitment to slanted news is laughable.

So now we are deciding what to bet on.  I actually do not think McCain will actually *win*, but that would be a good bet for DB to put a lot of pizza on, right?  Fivethirtyeight.com has those odds in the very low range (~4%), but stranger things have happened (a la Dewey/Truman).  So *I* wanted to bet on Obama landslide vs. Obama win, no landslide (375 electoral votes; 538.com has those odds at ~40%) but DB thought that was too close.

So we’re discussing.  In the meantime, we are supposed to go to an FBI meet-and-greet tonight (or whatever.  I do not know what we’d call this) and DB has threatened me with death if I get on a soap box.  Which is, apparently, impossible for me.  Remember the maddening email?  Well, someone else wrote back about how McCain is a god and Obama is Satan (paraphrasing here), and I just…couldn’t…stop myself.  I wrote back to emphasize the huge stakes of this election:  the delicate, scary balance in the Supreme Court, which of late routinely flaunts stare decisis and threatens to roll back 50 years of social policy progress in this country.

I have received one response so far, which was positive (phew).

Funny thing, though:  I believe the old AG may have actually been copied on the original email and my subsequent response (somehow, this email list was for my parents neighborhood – don’t ask how or why I got on it).  Which would be… interesting.  I would be actually very intrigued to hear his opinion.  I mean, we hear about how tragic it would be for Dems to control both branches of government – we don’t hear so much about the absolute devastation it would be for judicial activist conservatives to control the court for the next 30 years.

Wow, was I in a bad mood yesterday. Holy moly. I even peed on a stick*, I was in such a bad mood, because seriously? Is it even NORMAL to be in such a bad mood? It just got worse…and worse…and worse. And now I am going to write about it, because maybe in hindsight, it is a little funny. Plus, I just got out of going to the dentist to have my teeth fixed again – not because I don’t need to go (I really do) but because I just…didn’t want to. (I had 5 fillings filled last week and I am in agonizing pain now. Advil works wonders.)

So…bad days?

1) Aforementioned pain. You know it makes you mean, too. OK, maybe not, but DAMN I am in pain without the miracle that is ibuprofen (yay ibuprofen!). I am never again going to get top AND bottom fillings. Nosiree, I am going to get top, heal, then bottom, heal. At least that way my bite will be less mismatched, and my marriage will be saved.

2) No job. Yeah, this one is a PITA. I *really* want a job. Like not a job that is on my couch (although I will admit – the location of my current job is enviable, until I cannot get in touch with the people I need to from my couch). I am a little depressed about the job market now and I feel as though I will *never* have another job (and at the height of the agony that was yesterday, I decided that it was a terrible idea to go back to school last fall. I’m not sure how I feel about that now.)

This was augmented by the conversation next to me between two 22 year old girls in physics – “I work at [major medical center where I, Rachel, have been trying to work for a while now – on four separate job-search occasions in this blessed city].” “Oh, really? ME TOO!” “No way!”

WTH? How can they get positions in these places and I cannot?!?!? Am I really that unqualified? Seriously? (This attitude would make you think so, huh?) Then I overheard the one girl say that she was a pharmacy tech – and not to knock pharmacy techs (actually, I know nothing about them, or the competition to get that type of job) but that was not a job I was competing with her for, and I felt a teeny tiny bit better

This moves into the death-spiral of thinking that becomes me:

3) I have No Skills. No, seriously. How am I going to *get* a job? What are my marketable skills at this point?!? I have none. Actually, no, I can tell you if your child is on the autism spectrum, which is a valuable skill for a remarkably tiny population (despite what you hear on the news). Let’s just say that I have a serious hang-up about my lack of skills and value in this world.

Also: I know a lot about adoption. Oh, wait, I forgot, it’s not possible to get a job in that field. So maybe we should edit this to read: I have Skills, but they are Worthless.

4) And I really want a child, which would make me feel a bit better about being on my couch, because *that* is a *very* valuable job (raising a child). But oh! – no! – not possible right now.

5) And the FBI REALLY should give up that cash. Working for The Man = entitled to get upset when The Man bails out the fat dudes on Wall Street, lets innocent people default on shoddy mortgages, renders REALLY innocent people who are RENTING from the property owners HOMELESS, and fails to pay those who put their asses on the line in a country that we shouldn’t be in in the FIRST PLACE.

(I’ll tell you how I really feel about that! Ha!)

(To be fair, it is only 15 days after the money was expected, and perhaps this was a pipe dream that it would come on October 1st, so perhaps it is not late after all. However, it seems awfully damn late. If you ask me, it is really friggin’ late, considering DB returned in JULY).

6) I got a parking ticket even though my meter was paid, because I fed the meter. I hate you, parking attendants.

7) The ceiling in my kitchen is leaking over a place that has no water above it. (??)

8.) For the XXth night in a row, my car would not start. This is a source of extreme annoyance at this point. The effing car has dementia – it sundowns every. night. It runs just fine all day, and then at night – the battery dies. We carry a self-starter to jump it whenever we need a jump. It’s, like, regular life with this car (which is not THAT old). WTH does the car do this?!?

9) My neighbors sent us all an email: “DB, thank you for all of your hard work. Love, us.” Which is really effing annoying, since we BOTH did the work and they know it, and it was a low blow, and I am just beyond hurt. And I want DB to go downstairs and punch them, but he won’t.

10) DB won’t resort to violence against parking attendants, the car, HR staff, and my downstairs neighbors.

11) Seriously, people who try to link Obama with William Ayers? SERIOUSLY?!? Go after the Reverend Wright stuff and alienate your teeny-tiny inner-city electorate, but AYERS?!? Who is a renowned education researcher?

12) SERIOUSLY, McCain? “Obama is…he’s an Arab.” “Oh, no, ma’am, he’s a decent family man.” Did you seriously suggest that the two are mutually exclusive?!? And are you seriously not going to clamp down on the evil rhetoric emerging at your rallies except when the press is there to give you a sound bite? SERIOUSLY?!?

I think I’m running out of complaints now. I realize that these are little things and I should be grateful for the big things and really, seriously, I usually am, and I will be more positive soon.

*OBVIOUSLY it was negative. I HAVE AN IUD. Although we own stock in EPT, because even a smart person without a normal job tends to read too many things like this despite the fact that it is totally ridiculous (not that I doubt those people. I just think there are very few of them.)

(Also, I realize this post makes me sound like a egomaniacal crazy woman. Yesterday’s post was a struggle and a half to put out nice things about the world, and then the day just got worse and worse, and you know what? I feel better now. Thanks for reading. Love, me.)

I have 10 minutes on this one. Ready? Go!

So the other night, whoops, I got pulled over. For making a u-turn over a double yellow line (in an area where, I will say, EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER makes a u-turn in the street.) (The cop informed me that the double-yellow-line-prohibiting-u-turns is as well-known as the instruction to obey speed limit signs.) (I answered, “I guess so, but I guess I forgot about it cause I’ve been DOING IT FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS!”)

(And in case you were wondering, no, I did not get a ticket.)

(And I’m sure you’re wondering how, exactly, that happened.)

(And yes, DB was in the passenger seat.)

So this is kind of funny. *I* think it’s funny. DB often carries a gun, because he has to. It’s the rule. So when he gets pulled over (like that happens all the time. It doesn’t – it’s happened once since we’ve been married. That encounter did not result in a ticket, either, but for a different reason) he wants to make sure the cops know that he’s packing heat. Because oh-how-bad would that be if he reached over or something that the cop saw his piece? Yeah, bad.

The thing that I think is funny is HOW he goes about saying this. Here is the sample exchange:

Officer: “Did you know you blew past that light?” (This is actually what happened. I actually had some choice words for DB, too, because it was REALLY BAD that he just “didn’t see” the light. Actually, where we live, a lot of people “don’t see” lights. I believe on this occasion he was shocked by a story I was telling him about a close mutual friend, and he really did fail to account for the light status…and in all honesty, there is no way we’d consider what he did to be all worthy of a cop’s intervention…but hey, it was legitimate. Oops.)

DB: “Yes, sir, and I’m sorry.”

Officer, rolling eyes: “License and registration, please.”

DB: “I just want to tell you that I’m a federal law enforcement officer and I’m carrying a weapon.”

OK, now hold up. Does it not sound to you as though DB is threatening to investigate or shoot the cop?!? IRL, that’s how it sounds, and it is freaking hilarious. That is not at all the message he’s striving for, but hey – it’s hilarious.  I almost bust out laughing in the moment (to DB’s total chagrin).

For whatever reason – the threat, the guy’s feeling happy, whatever – DB escapes formal ticketing.

Now I bet you’re wondering how I escaped a ticket, too, esp since DB is in the car, and he’s carrying again.

I’ll tell you: It had to do with my wit and charm and absolutely nothing to do with my husband’s occupation. I told it like it was: I said, “Sir, I am very sorry. I am a moron. I completely didn’t think and you’re absolutely right and I will never do it again.” (Then I said the part about doing it for the last three years. That part wasn’t a lie.)

(I was also thinking about the fact that the insurance bill came the day before and it had “Rachel: No accidents, no tickets, “EXCELLENT DRIVER DISCOUNT PLUS”” and DB: “TICKET 2003. NO ACCIDENTS. EXCELLENT DRIVER DISCOUNT””, which I gloated about for a full day.) (I was thinking, MAN. Pride comes before a fall.)

But no ticket. And it had the intended effect – I will never make a u-turn on the main street in my neighborhood and cringe when I watch others do it (because seriously, it is like the Indy 500 of making uturns in that area…the streets pretty much suck to go back home without making one. But I am strong, and I will prevail.)

And…I still get my excellent driver discount plus. Score.

…think again.

This little thingy is circulating adoption blogs recently, at least on the blogs that I read stalk. It’s pretty cool: you plug in your name and the little script tells you how many other people in the country share it.

Here is Mary Smith:

HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There are
40,462
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Here is DB, which should certainly highlight for you why he has the fake name DB:

HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There are
2
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

So the other day, we were driving in the car and I casually bring this up – “hey, did you know that there is another person in the U.S. with EXACTLY your name?” – I say I bring this up casually because, actually, it was casual to me. This isn’t a big deal to me.

Before I go on, I should say that DB adores his own name. I find it odd that someone could like their own name so much, but he REALLY likes his name. I think his first name is fine, but I frankly don’t care for his last. To be fair, I don’t really care for my own last name, either. However, I never changed my name to his last name when we married, mostly because I moved around a lot as a kid and I didn’t want to lose touch with everyone I’d ever known, AND I didn’t love his name, AND he had a cousin with the exact. same. first name as me (which means hundreds of “twins!” pictures at family gatherings, and I think she’s awesome, but it’s not really my cup of tea), AND I was lazy. And I thought about hyphenating, but my name is German and his name is German and neither of us are ethnically German so the hyphenated combo is just uber-German, and that’s funny.

So when we got married, I suggested that we combine the two into a cute hybrid. I came up with two hilarious options. He looked at me like I had four heads.

So it goes – I have one last name, he has another, and I’ll change before or after we have kids (before if our first is a bio kid, after if our first is adopted. The subsequent kids will be adopted, no question, so my name will be forever that name however it is after #1). (Like you care.) (I am so off-track on this post.)

All of THAT to say that DB loves his name.

AND, when he was at the Academy, “they” (the instructors) allow each person one free pass to search their own backgrounds and history and such. “They” (FBI agents) can obviously run background checks on people in the U.S., but For Official Use Only. No checking up on your roommate to see if he really got busted back in 1995 for snorting cocaine. No background checks on babysitters, insurance agents, dog walkers. No checking to see if his wife’s surprise encounter with the police the other day* made it to her background check. Nothing. Nada. Nope.

Except that one day at the Academy.

And after that day, DB called me excitedly and said, proudly, I might add, “There is NO ONE ELSE in the U.S. with my name!”

And…here I was, telling him that my free-internet fad-thing challenged the FBI computer.

Hee hee.

So here’s the skinny on this: DB was quite resolute on this one. Having conducted a number of background investigations and other such investigations where various details, like, oh, say, someone’s NAME, are critical, he is absolutely confident that there is no one else with his name in the U.S. (I did suggest that MAYBE someone gave BIRTH to a new mini-DB in the last four years, but he was doubtful. I am, too, given his name…it really is a weird one.) There are two records with DB’s name on them, but they are probably from two different periods of his life. To parse out official records, one also uses different addresses and other information. DB moved around, too, so his theory is that the computer records identify two people when he is really one and the same.

That was a whole lot of writing to say something really boring, huh? I’m procrastinating from packing.

Thanks for your feedback and thoughts regarding my conundrum. I’m still working through things and if I finish packing in the next few hours, I will write another post on my thoughts. As always, feel free to comment in the meantime…I am *always* looking for input.

Cheers!

*See next post.

(I just vomited a little in my mouth.)

D-day is rapidly approaching. Decision day. And I am really, really, really conflicted.

So I’m not sure how much I can share with the internet. Most of this will probably have to be password-protected, because a lot of my debate is location-specific, and I just. don’t. know. Aagh.

But on the first pass, sans password…

If you have been reading my blog a little bit, you will probably have noticed (because for 3 months, it was all I could write about) that I took a few hard-science classes this summer: gen chem 2 (which was, frankly, the most hellacious class ever) and organic chem (the whole year). I managed to fit them both in roughly sequentially by taking them at different universities.

In general, there are very few reasons for an old person (me, and yes, 29 is old in this arena) to take these classes: either s/he is crazy, or s/he wants to become a vet/dentist/physician. Hopefully, I’d fall into this last category (not crazy) who wants to become a physician.

However, last fall, I finally started – after a three-year hiatus doing various types of clinical research, including research on autism (as you will see from some of my opinions previously – really, my whole resume is in the categories on the left <—-) a doctorate. A research doctorate. At a fairly prestigious university, although if you ask me IRL, I will do anything in my power to avoid identifying the school that I attend because I feel as though it’s not only prestigious, it’s pretentious. I realize if I stay there I need to get over myself, because I’m there, I’m getting a degree there, and I am spending a whole lot of time there. But that’s another discussion.

So with that background, here are my three options:

1) Stay with my program and pretend that the undergrads were all a really, really, really long, bad, dream inspired by my husband’s foray into a war zone;

2) Ditch my program (get a master’s degree), cling to the hope that is medical school, and complete the rest of my prereq requirements (bio and physics – no, seriously, I did not take a single science class in undergrad, unless you could “physics for athletes” (not what it’s called, but I certainly got to know the entire football team that way) or oceanography, aka the world’s second worst class (behind this gen chem class this summer)). Have a baby (by “have”, I mean either birth or adopt. The world of international adoption gets increasingly concerning, international governments are increasingly less excited about adopting to parents with chronic illness – no matter how minor – and although we are warming up to domestic adoption, we just….do not…know. But attempting to conceive is a source of stress all unto its own). Pursue medical school admission next fall, and attempt to matriculate at the ripe old age of 31.

(ouch.)

3) Ditch all higher education and – gasp – get a job. Actually, I will get a job this fall with either routes 2 or 3. The grants that fund my other jobs are drying up, which is probably good for my decision-making.

OK, so here are all the things I think about:

1) Kids. We want kids. We want kids bad. We are old (DB – mid-30s, I’ve mentioned my own far too many times at this point). We went to a pet store the other day, just because I haven’t seen a pet store that actually SELLS ANIMALS in the longest time (and I was appalled!) and there was a little mini schnauzer in there. He was SO CUTE! And I have never seen DB so smitten by a living thing before.

This, to highlight that we really. want. another. dependent. Preferably one with two legs, versus four (it can have four temporarily).

(We didn’t get the puppy. We would never do that. Pet stores = SO BAD!)

2) Kids, but I wanted a new bullet point.

Trying to conceive and staying in my program would be a major challenge with the impending written exam in May…given my health issues and the potential for things that would preclude my ability to sit for that exam on THOSE DATES (and if I miss THOSE DATES, I need to wait another year!) Adopting – well, I guess with adopting the biggest concern is the finances. We want to be able to afford adoption and with DB’s current salary and option 1 (staying in my program), it will be really, really tough. Plus, we would probably adopt a child with some special needs, which would increase the expected cost of caring for the child (plus, let’s face it – kids are crazy expensive).

Kids, part 3: caring for them.

We run the significant chance (I won’t say risk) of having a special needs child, either a biological child on the autism spectrum or a child with other needs by adoption (and as someone who strongly believes in attachment parenting, we expect even a “typical” child who joins our family through adoption have some adjustment.  Adoption is a loss, and we understand that…so while that seems not relevant, actually, it is).  I want us to be able to provide for our children’s needs, both financially (in terms of services and care) and emotionally – and if that requires me to stay home with them, so be it. I’ll be honest: I’d rather work at this point than stay home with our children – I’d rather have that balance – but if we have a child with special needs, I do not know that I’d trust another caregiver to deal with meltdowns and picky eating.  I am a little bit of a control freak.

3) Money. Oh, money. So here are the facts with money:

a) Until I take that written exam, I cannot get more money for my degree. So delaying it by a year has incredible impact, beyond what it would be in any other doctoral degree program.
b) DB cannot take a second job because the FBI prohibits him from working a second job. I will not get started on this particular rant here, but let’s suffice it to say that the federal government does not pay that well BUT the burden of making enough to do things like adopt (which is admittedly expensive) lies with me, his intrepid and hardworking spouse with two part-time jobs and full-time school. (Just saying.)
c) Med school is a LOT CHEAPER than this degree.
d) Oh how nice it would be to have a salary for the next two years! (Option 2 and 3)
e) (In little font) I would make more money as a physician than a researcher. (Emphasize little font!)

4) Jobs:

a) I have been doing research for the last 5 years in three different topics and with 3 different functions. I have designed studies, created protocols, written assessments, administered assessments, and analyzed data. Oh, yeah, and I’ve written grants.

I would rather eat worms than commit to research for my entire life.

I have a clinical degree! It is not one that inspires a lot of confidence in my abilities, but I have one! And I never pictured myself doing research for my life’s work. Yet – somehow – I am getting a research degree. (Does that make you think? It makes me think to write that.

b) I COULD use my Ph.D. to do consulting or policy work. However, my policy professor told me that I should leave the program and pursue a degree that is more likely to make change in the world – law or medicine. I respect this professor immensely and I don’t think that she would want to know that this is how I’m interpreting her thoughts – but at the same time, it gives me pause for thought.

c) I love clinical work. If I had to commit to one or another – analysis or clinical work – it would be clinical work, hands down. But I could do clinical stuff now without another degree at all.

d) I would like a job that allows me to do clinical work AND research if I choose (that would be medicine, or option 3, and probably less so option 1, because once you have this degree you are pretty much pigeon-holed).

5) The Bureau: Yes, it gets its own bullet. Because it has its own effects on my (yes, my) career choices.

We are required to move anywhere they want us to. Which could really be an issue for, oh, say, RESIDENCY.

DB and I want to live together for our marriage.

I cannot pursue a tenure-track position because what’s the point? -if we move. Plus, um, I just vomited a little in my mouth again. So now we know what I think about that.

I need to make enough money to support our needs in conjunction with what they pay DB. This means I would like a career where I can move anywhere and become instantly useful. There aren’t many of those careers around. (FWIW, I always tell DB that the best job for me would be a preschool teacher or a nurse. If only I liked preschoolers more…but nursing has not been eliminated yet.)

We want to live overseas. We can do this with the Bureau but requires some strategic moves by us (now).

6) What I really want: A job that contributes to the greater good of society, pays well, allows me to take time off to parent, expects a lot of me (has high expectations of me), allows me to grow as a person, lets me continue to learn. A job that (ok, nonChristians, avert your eyes) glorifies God. (A few years ago Wheaten College – which is a fairly conservative Christian college – was looking for coaches for the sport I used to do, and stated, “looking for those who ______ for the glory of God.” I thought that was the most hokey thing I’d ever seen.)

That’s all. So now that I’ve written all of that out, I am not one bit closer to making a decision. I wish I had more time, but somehow I do not think that more time would help me much.

Thoughts? I know a lot of you have significant others in medicine, or are in medicine yourselves…or do research…anyone? Or want to recommend a really inspiring movie that will help me get motivated to make a decision?

The other thing is….I read my musings from oh, say, May, when I was finishing up the second semester of the doctorate, and realize what I need to do. I just need to have the stomach to do it. So hopefully this long, boring post will serve the same function when I flunk physics and start wondering, “what, oh what, did I DO?!?”

Blech, that vomit taste. Going to wash the dog now. Woot!

I think I’ve already blogged about this topic before: guns. I know I mentioned in that post that all agents have to qualify on the handgun, as well as other guns (like the sawed-off shotgun, which has a real name that I don’t know, and the big semi-automatic machine gun gun, ETC), every quarter. Well, today is the day for DB. He headed back to the firing range (? – shooting range? what the heck does he call that?) today.

So here is a funny insight into our lives here: when DB goes to the firing range, I always keep my phone on, next to me, with an audible ringer (it might be the only time in my year that I turn the ringer on – I HATE phone ringers, and my phone is always on vibrate. Which might explain why I sometimes don’t answer the phone. Anyway, I digress) just in case he SHOOTS HIMSELF. Yes, seriously. Because when he was in the academy a while ago, a classmate of his SHOT HIMSELF! In the leg! withdrew the gun from his holster, pulled up to get a good target, and in the process, his finger was ON THE TRIGGER AND HE SHOT HIMSELF IN THE LEG. VERY CLOSE TO OTHER ANATOMY! He barely missed hitting his own artery (it went through his thigh, and hit his lower calf) and he is okay, but OH MY GOSH CAN YOU IMAGINE?!? So I just keep my phone on.

I know this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in my lovely husband, and I swear, he’s never shot himself, or come remotely close to shooting anything he’s not supposed to shoot, and he’s actually really good, like in the category of shooting 98%-the-right-target-out of 100%, which is a HELL of a lot better than I have ever done at…anything, but I feel like that gun is just the world’s most unpredictable, rogue piece of equipment EVER.

OK, there, I said it.

Last night DB wanted to practice “trigger pulls” with the gun completely unloaded and a dime on top (to practice pulling the trigger evenly, so as to improve the odds of hitting the target…maybe I will ask him to write a blog piece on this, since I am demonstrating how much I space out when we talk about this) but I freaked out. (I don’t know where I think any ejected bullets would COME FROM in an UNLOADED gun…ever since I found out that there is always one in the ready-to-fire chamber, it has freaked me out entirely.) He went to the firing range to practice.

I know that is a totally boring blog post, but there is nothing fun happening here! I’m reading about everyone’s awesome vacations and plotting our own. Travelocity has great “last minute deals” to go lots of places (like…well, lots of places) so I’m trying to decide where we could afford to go. Also, we are heading to DC for the week before labor day – DB has training or something – so we’re trying to figure out if we could go camping or something in that area. Ideas? We are not campers but we think we could be. Ha!

FYI

This blog represents my personal views of a wide variety of topics. Aside from my connection through marriage, I am absolutely in no way affiliated with, informed by, or directed by the FBI, and, as such, the FBI bears no responsibility or affiliation with this blog.

Because I am not affiliated with the FBI, all information in this blog is second-hand information, and is therefore subject to inaccuracies. (Of course, I would never publish something that I believed to be a lie; however, there is always a chance that I will inadvertently misrepresent something.)

Finally, despite what you might expect given my husband's occupation, I am what most people would call a "(flaming, or insert other word) liberal". I gleefully mock the policies and practices of the USG that I consider worthy of mocking. In doing so, I am exercising a fundamental Constitutional freedom. Of course, you are always welcome to disagree (and exercise your Constitutional rights).

I welcome comments and emails.

Thanks!

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