Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hot and Cold

Prompt: Share about feeling so hot or so cold you'll never forget it.

Generally I like to think I'm not particularly picky about temperature. In all honesty, the people around me seem to mention being too hot or cold before I do. Granted, my husband will likely disagree. He exists at a basic temperature about 10 degrees hotter than I do (and, I believe, everyone else).

But I have been hot and I've been cold.

The most memorable for me is when I was cold.

It was the winter of 2009 in Lawrenceburg, IN. I was serving as a missionary for my church, and the area was recovering from a recent ice storm. We were encouraged to go knocking door to door. The temperature was about 14 degrees Fahrenheit, but with windchill it was registering at -6. But with the wind blowing off the river it felt even colder.

As female missionaries we were required to wear skirts/dresses. I was wearing underarmor, a t-shirt, tights, a long sleeved shirt, sweatpants, a button-down blouse, my slip, a sweater, mid-calf winter boots, a heavy coat, a scarf, a hat, and two pairs of Thermal-insulated gloves. I had not even closed the car door before the liquid in my eyes began to solidify. My extremities were so cold they felt like they were on fire. It brought to mind Robert Frost's poem "Fire and Ice."

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Mischevious Fun

Prompt: Share about doing something mischievous but harmless just for fun.

Any woman/girl who has been to Girls' Camp has a story about this. Now to come up with the best prank...

The campground where I spent all my summers was Evelyn Webster's Flat, also known as Miner's Peak. When I started attending camp there the majority of the tent sites were raised, wooden platforms that giant tarps would be stretched across, and we had portable toilets that would be stirred with a stick to keep things "processing." We called them Riley Johns or Blue Rockets. There were a few scattered near the further campsites, but near the main meeting area/pavilion there was always a row of 5 or 6 together.

We had our own penchant for stirring up trouble. Coloring on people's faces with permanent marker, putting dead fish in people's beds, setting people's cots to collapse, taking liberties with "decorating." One summer our focus was on the Blue Rockets. We had a length of rope and 5 or 6 of us. After night set in we went prowling for unsuspecting victims.

The plan was to tie the door shut and shake things up a little, then let them loose and run off for the next adventure. After a little luck with the lower camps (granting immunity to our own, of course), we risked going to The Row. Directly behind them was a drop-off into the trees. We took up hiding there and waited for campers to arrive. It wasn't hard to tell which toilet they entered as their flashlights illuminated the white top like a nice little target. We had to focus on the end stalls because we couldn't get the rope around the middle set. Then, after fruitless waiting, we resorted to more primitive means to attack the central sets. A stick would hold the door shut quite easily.

Soon enough we heard footsteps in the dark, a dome lit up, and it was time for action. We flanked the Blue Rocket and started pushing it into a rocking motion, careful not to tip too far so that it rolled down the hill. Shouting in triumph and glee we sent the fastest person to remove the stick and we fled back into the trees to celebrate our brilliance.

Later, the man who was our Priesthood representative approached us and knowingly said, "Thanks for the ride, ladies."

As it turns out, we weren't the sneaky masterminds we thought we were.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Interview Bloopers

Prompt: Share about something amusing or unusual that happened during a job interview.

Note: This sounds kind of braggardly (even to me). I don't intend it that way...but yeah. I'm aware.

I've been mentally scanning through the job interviews I've had. Few really stick out in my mind, mostly because I spent months training how to interview when I was a candidate for Sterling Scholar in High School, and it's something I enjoy. Sure, some people may say, "That was 10 years ago." Well, I have an uncanny ability to remember highly detailed information.

I know most people hate hunting for jobs. Random Chelsea Quirk: Sometimes I want to apply for different jobs just so I can interview because I love the intensity and pressure of having to be well-spoken, yet humble; brilliant, but teachable; observant, but understated. It speaks to the very nature of my competitive soul.

During a lull in my otherwise stellar resume (which may or may not include such specialties as "Pest Control Technician" "Grant Record Keeping and Reporting Specialist" "Babysitter" "Inventory Specialist"...ahem, that's enough of that) I took the dreaded hit that many people take when you need steady income and nobody else is hiring.

Have you already guessed? Yup, telemarketing.

Convergy's to be specific. But I digress. This is supposed to be about the interview.

After an initial screening and a simple typing and computer efficiency test I had an interview scheduled with the HR Manager. His name was Jeremy. I believe there were four required questions. You know, the basics of "What's your greatest weakness?" "How do you work with other people" and that other nonsense--where they want you to "answer honestly" but are really trying to see how well you sell yourself because everyone knows you're supposed to make your weaknesses look like strengths, show how resourceful you are, and that you absolutely a people person. Go team!

At any rate, in the middle of the interview he put down the paper and said, "I just want to stop you right now. I have to ask all these questions because I'm required to, but I want you to know that that the job is yours right now. You interview better than anyone I've ever met. If you ever need a reference in the future have them give me a call, here's my card." At which point he handed me his business card, and asked the concluding two questions.

To be honest, there has only ever been one job I've applied for and not been offered the position. I told my husband when we were dating, "Just so you know, I'm used to getting what I want." This applies in many cases.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Achievement and Pride

Prompt: Share about something you achieved that you're extremely proud of.

Yeah...this is hard for me. In part, because I'm a prideful person and think that just about everything I do is awesome (this is part sarcastic, and part true. seriously). As I've recognized this trait in myself I've worked on being more humble. Humility does not come easy to the proud.

When I maneuver my gaze into a more exterior lens I think, What have I done that other people would think is cool? If I told a story about what I've done what would make people's jaws drop in amazement and admiration? (I'm telling you, humble people don't think this way.) And nothing comes to mind.

Sure, I've won awards and honors for my writing. I volunteered 18 months of my life to service work. I graduated from University Magna Cum Laude.

But so have millions of others!

Did I forget to mention I also struggle with uniqueness? You know, the need to be unique? Cause yeah, I do.
Casting an introspective searchlight, and after pondering all these things I've come up with something. It's not earth-shattering, it's something many people have done. Yet, it's something I've worked really hard for, it's something I've earned, and it's something I will have to work on for the rest of my life.

I've changed.

Shocking, I know. Because, hey, everyone changes, right? Or do they?

I have changed for the better.

In my life I have been allowed to walk through some very hard things, I've also been given magnificent opportunities. And I have allowed them to change me. To me stagnation is death. I seek to learn, to experience, to grow. I know have a great deal of room for improvement, but I am proud of the person I am today and the person I am becoming.