Getting to know me

I guess the best way to sum up who I am and why I’m technically still retired is to share the following story I posted on Facebook some time back.  It reads like fiction, but this is my life and I just roll with the punches.  My husband has worked in the oilfield for years and we knew the slow down was coming, so when this opportunity knocked, I tried to answer.  As we get to know each other, you will see where the phrases “Allison Luck,” or “I pulled an Allison” come from.  Laughing at myself is essential to my survival.

The Interview September 11, 2014 at 7:39pm

For those who read some of my posts and wonder how it could be possible that someone could be as clumsy, or have the kind of luck I do and still be able to laugh, I understand. Pull up a chair, pop some popcorn, pour a glass of wine and let me tell you the epic tale of my morning…

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from an old customer and friend telling me that I was the front runner for a VERY GOOD job with his company. I didn’t even know about the opening, let alone apply for the job. I was shocked because I wasn’t looking, only thinking and doing a little praying about whether I needed to go back to work with things slowing down a bit for Jamie. As the shock wore off, Jamie and I started talking and getting excited, only fearing the occasional overnight travel could be an issue if he was at work. We talked to several people who said they could step up if we got in a bind, so that fear was mostly laid to rest. The kids had to be taken care of first.

After days of waiting, planning my outfit and getting my house in order, the day of my interview finally arrived. Today was called an interview, but the ball was in my court. Basically they were making sure I wanted the job and could do the occasional travel because of the kids. I was flattered to say the least and getting more excited as the time to meet my potential new boss in Lake Charles drew closer. The meeting was set for 11:30 am and was about an hour and a half drive for me, two hours for him from Houston. The goal was to leave at 9:30 am in my freshly ironed shirt and pants, made up, dressed up and feeling confident.

After all the rain we’ve had lately, I have been dealing with mustard algae in the pool, but was able to get it killed and most of it vacuumed this morning. Vacuuming to waste means that you are also draining the pool and I needed to fill it to the top again to finish. No problem. I was knocking this morning out of the park! I got Andrew on the bus, dropped Daniel at school and had plenty of time to spare after getting home to finishing washing and then ironing what I planned to wear.

I was feeling great when I walked into the house, almost giddy with excitement and so satisfied with all I’d accomplished before 8 am. I reached for the tap to fill the tub, having left myself time for a leisurely soak and to scrub off the remnants of paint from the last few days’ projects, but nothing happened. We had no water anywhere in the house and the breaker to the well pump wasn’t the problem. 8:30 am.

If you’ve been here, you may have noticed that our pump house, a small shed on the side of the garage, is a scary structure. Old, dilapidated and soon to be torn down, it taunts us daily and is only approached because the pool equipment is beside it. Because it is surrounded by live oak trees, the American cockroaches love to hang out in there and I admit that though I’ve sprayed the outside for pests, I have never crossed the threshold. The thing that really makes the pump house our little house of horrors is the snake skins we have found shed around there. Jamie has seen this mammoth reptile, but I have not (Thank you, Lord), and swears it is part anaconda.

Naturally, Jamie went offshore Monday and it was up to yours truly to face the music. I grabbed my shovel, weapon of choice for today, a flashlight and threw open the pump house doors…one at a time, jumping back after each and giving a few seconds for whatever lurked within to lunge. Nothing moved in the darkness, so I crept inside and saw several sheets of plywood had fallen over, blocking my way to the pump. I reached to move them and 965,523 adult and baby roaches scattered, followed by 649 spiders of various sizes.

After the initial freak-out, and a moment to consider what any watching neighbors might think of the whole scene, I quickly threw the offending sheets of plywood out onto the ground and retreated to the driveway. I stood, poised like a ninja, ready to strike at any attacking filth, but they must have been too intimidated and chose not to pursue me. Emboldened by this small victory, I marched to the garage, donned my back pack sprayer and commenced soaking the pump house interior to kill every one of the little monsters. This called for a five minute break to allow the product to work, dry some sweat and check the time. 8:40 am.

Back to the pump house of horrors I went, creeping inside to find the magical switch the youtube guy promised would be there. He was a liar. There was no switch, only the sound of my falling adversaries hitting the ground and something larger I dared not investigate. I quickly retreated and called the first well guy I could find in the phone book, ending the call with his promise to be there this morning even though I would be gone. Comforted, I had the presence of mind to return all tools and weapons to their proper places and went inside to get ready for my big day. 8:50 am.

Upon entering my bathroom, I realized I was again faced with the original problem, no water. Having vacuumed the pool, been tossing plywood and hoisting a shovel and giant back pack sprayer on this already 88 degree morning, I was in desperate need of a bath or shower. My amazing problem solving skills kicked into gear and I realized there were at least two gallons of water in our big garage dehumidifier. The first half inch of water went into the bottom of the tub. Now what? The mustard algae I mentioned earlier was dead and what hadn’t been vacuumed was at the bottom of the pool, therefore, the water at the top was algae-free. Unfortunately, the pool was so heavily chlorinated, skin loss entered my mind, but I had a schedule to keep. It was worth the risk, so in went three five gallon buckets. I scooped the bugs out and was ready to get on with it. I chuckled to myself, thinking the worst was behind me, when I noticed the hummingbird that had flown in through the open French doors into my room while I was filling the tub. 9:00 am.

The little guy fluttered a few feet above my pillow and I prayed he wouldn’t poop his fears upon it. We locked eyes for a moment, sizing each other up. I opened the door, ready to take him on and evict him after a similar situation with two of his comrades in the garage a few days ago. Thankfully, this standoff would not last two hours and within minutes, my feathered friend went into the light and out the door to freedom. 9:05 am.

I leapt into the cold water of the tub, trying not to gag over the smell of chlorine and not to imagine what was in there with me. I have bucket bathed in Canadian lakes full of leeches and swam in Bengali rice paddies, so I had this. Washing at break neck speed and dressing in the best thing I could put together, I was a study in efficiency and adaptability. The original ensemble was off the table and sitting, mocking me through the tiny circular window, in the unfinished wash. I sat to do my hair and makeup, taking a call from my cousin to laugh about the crazy morning and trying to ignore the strange dimming of the lights from time to time. 9:20 am.

Dogs put away and watered, cats fed, house tidy and dressed to kill, but a little wrinkled, I headed out the door, ready to conquer a day that could only get better from here. 9:45 am.

The drive to Lake Charles was a breeze and I was making great time, so I felt safe stopping when the two glasses of water and three cups of coffee came-a-callin.’ I headed into a surprisingly not disgusting gas station bathroom and on the way out happened to catch a glimpse of my reflection. Good Lord! Far blonder hair than yesterday (compliments of lots of chlorine)  combined with the dimming lights to make me look like a jaundiced Kabuki actor. There was nothing I could do since I don’t carry makeup with me, but I hoped maybe there were be a store nearby where I could get a little color before the meeting. 10:40 am.

I found the restaurant I had searched online and my GPS got me there with ease. I spotted a pharmacy across the street, and made a beeline to it with time to spare. I hastily bought some bronzer, blush and eyeliner then headed to the restaurant to de-zombify. 11:10 am.

As I pulled into the parking lot, the man I was meeting called and said he had just arrived, described his vehicle and said he would meet me by the front door. Makeup forgotten, I headed in to find him, deciding I would have to stay yellow. I waited by the front door for a moment, walked to the back door and waited, then even did a parking lot sweep, with no sign of the truck he described.

A sickening thought occurred to me and I approached a waitress with dread, asking if they had more than one location in town. She told me that they did indeed have another location and even gave me the address, telling me I could be there in four minutes. I called my interviewer and told him my dilemma, but that I would still be on time, plugging the given address into my GPS as I hit the road again. 11:20 am.

This was actually a great chance to add a little color and fix my eye makeup. At every red light, I applied a little more and couldn’t figure out why it looked so weird. When I got to the third light, I thought I might be going from yellow to gold and the eyeliner looked strange, so I just took out a tissue and wiped everything off. I was going natural and the makeup I bought was obviously a waste. As I tossed it onto the seat beside me, I happened to read the label. Although I am fairly olive skinned and a little tan right now, I don’t think I am a candidate for Black Radiance makeup. 11:254 am.

I started to get a little nervous about my directions when I hit the residential area along the lake, but when I ended up at a construction site outhouse, I knew I was in trouble. Clearly, the waitress was off on the address, but Google saved the day and I finally arrived at Steamboat Bills. 11:35 am.

Lunch was great, the meeting fun and I guess I just need to pass a personality test to move forward. I hope I have one. This was just another day in the life, but I will say that normally these things add up over a week and don’t all occur in one day. Thank God for a sense of humor and understanding that stuff happens…a lot.

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