Friday, May 23, 2008

Let the games begin....

I am now officially and gainfully employed! I took the job today at the airline and start on June 2.

It was a crazy interview process. This was the company that I thought hated me after my first interview. Add in the mix a headhunter (not mine) in another city who wasnt the sharpest tool in the shed to confuse both sides with mis-information.

I had an offer on the table from another company since Monday and was stalling until my interview at PetSmart on Thursday. Loved PetSmart and really wanted the job. They told me they would give me feedback the next day. By the time I got home from that the headhunter said he got me a second interview on Friday at 1pm. Not being thrilled from my last experience I was reluctant but decided to do the right thing and go.

On my way to the airline interview, PetSmart called and said 'thanks but no thanks'. I was bummed and went into my second interview a bit disappointed figuring I would take the offer from Monday. In the directors office, the first thing out of his mouth was 'what questions do you have for me'? To say the least, I was confused.

In the end, it wasnt a second interview but was an offer interview! They had been working on the paperwork and approval ever since that horrid day of the first interview. Between the salary, benefits and lack of desire to accept my other offer from Monday, I said YES.

They whisked me away immediately to pee in a cup and fill out more paperwork than I thought was possible for a job. Medical and dental are effective immediately and those prized flight benefits are effective on the 16th day of my employment. Now I imagine people are going to start being nicer to me because I can get them some cheap flights!

And with this monumental transition back into the 'real world', I think this is a good place to stop the blog (for real this time!). I will enjoy my last 10 days of freedom before I start. I will use this time to get mentally prepared to keep the things about Italy and Venice that I loved close to me so as not to get caught up in the American rat race again. But if that fails, I can fly for almost free to Venice in a heartbeat to have a reminder!

Ciao for now........

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

But its a dry heat!

I have noticed over the past few days and have received some emails that my second home in Venice has been a bit rainy. Quite the contrary here as expected. However, we are dealing with our own wierd weather.

Last week at this time, we were unusually cool for May at about 82 degrees. By Sunday, we had hit our first 100 for the season (105 to be exact) and then the last two days have topped out around 110!!! I have been in this city for over 15 years and its way to early for those numbers. In fact, we shattered a record for having the earliest 110 in the season as well as jumping so quickly into it. However, not all is lost, because a storm is blowing in and we are to be 79 by Thursday! I am sure that is another record.

I dont complain about the heat...never have. It was a choice I made to come here and leave Wisconsin (where it is downright cold alot!). Actually, I only ever complain about being cold! This is evidenced in my blog all year about the cold marble floors and humidity in Venice. I am the person who wears a sweater at work because the a/c is too much for me! So, 110 is not something to complain about in my book. However, it is a bit early in the year and hard to pace onseself knowing that 100 degree temps are around until at least early October. Lets hope after Thursdays storm, the temps decide to creep back up to just 100 for a while!

Here is the million dollar question, however. Would I rather be warm in Phoenix or cold in Venice? For now, I will stay in Phoenix. A job offer has come in and 2 other interviews are happening this week. I guess I will be gainfully employed by June 1. However, I will not count out being cold in Venice again sometime in my future.......

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I paid for the gym all year because they wouldn't put my membership on hold and at $12 a month, I couldnt see myself cancelling and re-signing up at a higher price. The first day I walked in and swiped my card through the machine, the electronic lady told me to stop and check in again. When the counter gal looked at the computer, she said, "you havent been here in 411 days!" How is that for intimidating? But I told her I had a good excuse as I was out of the country. I dont think she believed me!

I tried 3 different exercise classes this week. As of today, we had our first 100 degree day, so being outside (which is what I prefer) is no longer an option until about October. I sure do miss just walking around Venice, climbing bridges and getting that exercise without even knowing it.

My first class was called Power Pump. Its an all over body and weight workout to music. I used to go to something like this before I left so I was prepared. My arms are still as weak as ever but I could tell that all that bridge climbing made the squats a heck of alot easier.

Then I went to Zumba! Apparently a new fad or craze since I have left, its Latin based music with dancing/exercise. Quite the workout actually. I used to think I had some rythym but I am certainly no JLo when it comes to these moves. The good news was there were a few people in there less coordinated than me so I didnt look like a complete idiot.

And finally, I tried Yoga. I tried it years ago and didnt like it. Guess what--I still dont like it. Not my cup of tea doing 'down dog', 'cobra' and 'side warrior' type positions. And surprisingly, it really hurt my knee. Remember the knee drama from January. Its been good since I have left the humidity but I dont think I am ready for the static movements of Yoga yet.

So, there you have it...I have re-entered the gym life of America. One small step in the transition and hopefully one that will have a good side effect in the end. Maybe I can figure the rest of my struggles out while I am swiveling my hips to some Ricky Martin in class next week?!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

So much for gut instinct!

Well, oddities of all oddities happened today when the airline called back and said they wanted a second interview and for me to meet the director of the division! They said they really liked me and my answers and wanted to pursue this possibility further. I looked around the room for some hidden cameras because I was sure this wasnt happening in reality! So, apparently, not only am I suffering from cultural shock, I have also lost all skills at reading people and understanding situations! :-)

I agreed to see them again despite the fact that I was sure they werent impressed with me. Everybody deserves a second chance, right? And afterall, they fly direct from Philly to Venice so they might come in handy some day for a freebie!

On another note, I am having my second American massage tonight. I sure did miss Gianna this last year (as well as a sheet over my body and the lack of paper thong action). She informed me that my neck is a mess and something is up above my right eye. Well, that would be the place where I hit myself with the infamous glass door last June or July back in Venice. Just thinking about that incident makes me embarassed and brings about pain. So, hopefully, she can fix the neck and the head and I might stop getting all those headaches. Of course, the headaches could be coming from the interviews at this point!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Did I mention that I dont want to work anymore? Thats a dream of mine but in the meantime, I am out there interviewing. Despite the stats in the economy there are all sorts of job openings that I am 'qualified' for. And being on and sure takes some of the legwork out the old fashioned way of getting a job.

I had an interview last week with my old boss from three time removed. It went well and surprisingly I was rather excited about working in that environment again despite the fact that it would be a horrendous 25 mile commute each way.

Then on Friday, I got a call from PetSmart. That was fun...great company.....corporate headquarters are here and every Friday is bring your pet to work day. I would never do that to Mr. P...he's been through enough, dont ya' think?!

On Monday, I got a call from last weeks interview. The HR gal called to say they would call me back in the afternoon to make me an offer but she wanted to know my salary range. I told her and never heard back from them! :-)

Then today, I had an interview with an airline. What a horrific nightmare that was. I couldnt speak english or italian, was not impressed with the work conditions and they werent impressed with me. When it was over, we all just sort of got up and left. No one said 'thank you', no one shook hands, no one said 'we'll be in touch'....we just all wanted OUT!

Not a bad start really for the first week back from what I understand. Applied for several more positions this afternoon. Time will tell.

However, to hopefully get a routine (ugh I hate that thought) going, I went to the gym today for the first time in over a year. I loved the exercise I got from walking around Venice and 'hiking' over the bridges and taking bike rides on Lido. But this was way different and I already hurt all over! If I live through the night, I might write another blog entry and let you know if I got hired!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


So last night was my welcome back get together at the Mexican restaurant. Boy did I pig out! I think I was very close to committing the sin of gluttony. Today, for mothers day, my mom wants buffalo wings, so off to Chili's we go! I am actually looking forward to Tuesday's diet at this point.

But the real part that plagues me doesnt seem to have a timeline and I dont really have much control over it. Last night was the first time I had any non superficial discussions with anyone since I have been home. Partly because I didnt want to and partly because I didnt need to. I was listening to my friends talk about various things and the entire time my insides were screaming. I just dont quite feel like I belong and I can relate to these things anymore. It seemed at times like I had changed so much that we were strangers and yet, I remember not too long ago participating in those same conversations.

I tried my best to express myself but it was futile. I rambled and probably offended and, in the end, felt worse than if I had kept my mouth shut. Even now, I struggle for words to describe how I am feeling. I wrote in my book shortly after arriving in Venice that plane tickets dont alter your life--they just transport it somewhere else. I am not sure I believe that anymore. Or perhaps its true and the actual living in Venice is what changed me.

And what has changed? Alot and nothing. I have this tug of war inside when I think about doing something. Just this morning, I thought about how nice it would be to have the morning paper delivered again so I can read it at leisure. But then immediately, I thought that was the old habit I had (and all I ever read were the sales ads anyways) and how much I wished I could walk around Venice instead and view the sights. Its a small thing, I know, but it only escalates from there when I think about my relationships and my future. Its rather maddening.

Perhaps I didnt really know myself before I left and have a better impression now that I am back. Regardless, I am different. I long for the feeling of comfort I had once here and yet I find it strangely repulsive. I dont want to fall into old habits and traits but I desire some consistency. I say to myself that once I have a job, this will all be better and at the same time I think that the job will take me back to that other life where I was someone else and I am not sure I want to be that person again.

This is all too deep and horrific for a Sunday morning and something I have no answers for, so it probably best I stop waxing poetic and move on to something those boneless buffalo wings I am about to eat!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Eat Santa, Eat!

As I continue to try and fit in again in this big ol' country and city, I seem to be relying alot on comfort food to help. And at this point, all food is serving as comfort food! If I dont stop soon, I will have to buy a new wardrobe.

I had a good interview yesterday and 2 more on the horizon next week, so I think someone will hire me eventually. In the meantime, however, I seem to be eating my way through the city. I miss the pizza in Venice and my one restaurant that served up some serious pasta dishes. But here, I can get ANYTHING I want!

Let's see, I went to Chili's and had a blue cheese chipolte hamburger with fries and I stopped at Quizno's for a sub and then I visited my old favorite deli and had the worlds best rueben (been wanting that since Dublin!) and tomorrow some friends of mine are all gathering together for a welcome back dinner at my favorite mexican place where I will eat more calories than humanly possible and drink a very large margarita (or 2!). Monday is a lunch with a former coworker after breakfast with another friend.....

And in between all those outings I have been to the grocery store twice. While I had good intentions of buying only fruits and vegetables, etc., I ended up with Ben and Jerry's ice cream, lots of peanut butter, and a variety of cookies and crackers.

Then there is the water. Its a shame we cant drink the water out of the tap here in Phoenix and I miss that about Venice. But in order to appease us, they have managed to create all sorts of water for sale--flavored, 'smart', vitamin, you name it and they have a gimmick for it. And I am falling for those gimmicks.

I feel full just thinking about all this...the diet starts on Tuesday!