Friday, April 09, 2010

It happened Tuesday

The axe fell at the office. According to the industry blogs, 15 to 20 were let go. I contacted a coworker this evening and he reports that I'm safe, as far as he knows. But one of our art directors (arguably the most talented one) got it, as did another associate creative director, and three of our four admins.

I suppose it's possible that I'm on the list but they couldn't tell me because I was time traveling back to 18th century Williamsburg, where my profession didn't even exist yet. Or maybe I'm still on staff but we have been reorganized in such a way that it's impossible to work without completely sacrificing my integrity. Right now I don't know which one would be worse.

Tomorrow I'm getting my tooth fixed, which is an investment in me because the world can be cruel to a 50+ year old creative and I need to look as ... um ... "contemporary" as possible. And I'm picking up a purse I dropped off for repair -- maintaining my resolution to not buy any bags in 2010. So I guess I'm doing what I can.

But I'm scared and unsettled, and am trying so hard to regain my nice, chill vacation-induced temperament.

Hi, Len! Hi, Bob! I'm here!

I'm settling in to watch my first regular-season Cubs broadcast of 2010! I suspect my Boys in Blue haven't done all that great thus far (1-2) is because they knew I wasn't out here in TV Land. Well tonight, that changes, as will their luck.

I prefer listening to games on the radio because I adore Cub great Ron Santo, who does the color commentary. But this early in the season, when I'm just trying to learn about the new guys (Carlos Silva on the mound tonight), TV is better. And it's good to see Len Kasper and Bob Brenly again.

"16 years of marriage out the window"

Had one of those unfortunate boarding experiences last night where we were all sitting there for a while -- maybe 20 minutes -- waiting for a piece of equipment needed to move the plane away from the gate. I was sitting behind a very angry man who used the time on his cell phone. At first I thought he was an asshole. Then I wanted to give him a hug.

He was calling home and he got his son Cody, who was reluctant to put Mommy on the phone, which made him angrier and angrier. Cody was telling him story after story about the girls who live next door, and all he kept saying was, "I don't care Cody, I want to talk to Mommy." I thought, "Asswipe, Cody is just trying to tell you about his day."

Now I think Cody was trying to cushion the blow that Mommy didn't want to talk to Daddy. When she finally got on the phone, he started saying things like, "I AM talking to you, Kim!" and "If you want to hire him, hire him!" I thought they were arguing about some kind of contractor and then he said, "I am not taking responsibility for throwing 16 years of marriage out the window. I am not the bad guy." So it was a divorce lawyer.

Mind you, I had my headphones on for a lot of this. That's how loud he was talking. I can understand why Kim and Cody both felt intimidated by him.

When it was finally time to take off, and the flight attendant asked him twice to hang up, I thought he was going to jam the phone down her throat.

But still, I felt sorry for him. All the way between Atlanta and Chicago, all he did was look out the window. Nothing to drink. Never got up to go to the bathroom. Didn't pick up his inflight magazine. Just stared out the window. I could just feel his frustration eating him up alive.

I considered giving him a hug, but then I remembered the look he gave the flight attendant.

The Joys of Retail in Colonial Williamsburg

There are those who devote a day in Williamsburg to shopping in Merchant's Square, and I get it. I only spent a few hours there, but I can see how easy it would be to get lost there. In addition to souvenirs for family and friends and coworkers, I got myself some delightful goodies. Of course I bought myself a t-shirt and postcards and a magnet. I mean, it's not an official vacation if I don't return with a t-shirt, postcards and a magnet.

But I also got a necklace with a silver charm in the style of the day. Both men and women wore these, and they did double duty, acting as both decoration and "calling card," revealing what you do for a living. My new necklace sports a quill and an inkwell.

And I discovered a new shoe manufacturer, Think! Because of my history of heel spurs, I have to wear shoes with serious heel support. While I love my Birkenstocks for being so comfortable, they simply aren't pretty. But look at these new Think! sandals. I loooooove them. Made in Austria, they are as supportive and as substantial as Birkies, but so much cuter.

Ye Olde Williamsburg

When I wasn't being pampered, I was wandering around Colonial Williamsburg. I didn't get to much of it, because I was unprepared for how much of it there was to see! I spent about six hours taking in the historical sites, and here's what I was able to take in:

The Governor's Palace (shown). So beautiful! So opulent! Built for the governors appointed by the King to rule Virginia (which, in those days, even included Illinois). After the Revolution, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson lived there as the first patriotic Virginia Governors.

The Peyton Randolph House (shown). The home of an aristocratic family (Jefferson was a Randolph cousin) that was a pillar of society both before and after the Revolution. Fascinating to tour to see not only how the family lived, but also their slaves. While the Randolphs considered themselves good owners because they saw to it their slaves learned to read, their slaves didn't agree. When a slave child born at the Randolph House came of age, Randolphs had no issue selling that child, thereby tearing apart families. So, when the Crown offered freedom to slaves to fight with the Brits to defeat the patriots, the Randolph slaves went for it. After the war, Mrs. Randolph's favorite, Eve, was returned to the House, like the piece of property that she was.

I also visited dressmaker's shop (even young children wore stays to help them maintain their perfect posture), the apothecary (the patient who is buying the potion is responsible for bringing the bottle, jar or cloth drawstring bag to carry it home), the brickyard (hot, back-breaking work), and the courthouse (the most frequent misdemeanor charged in those days was for missing church more than once a month).

At Chowning's Tavern, originally opened in 1766, I had a popular drink of the time, The Royal Apple (light rum, apple cider, lime juice and sugar). It cooled me off on these hot, hot days, just as touring these restored buildings satisfied by geeky old history-loving heart.

PS I am familiar with Lincoln-era Springfield and was surprised to see how little things changed between the mid-1700s and the mid-1800s. I mean, think about how very, very different your kitchen and your local post office are from those in 1910.