Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#088 In which our hero has big news.

And yet another diversion before I talk about the new office digs ... but this one, considerable more significant.

I'm a daddy again.

The unreasonably uncomfortable load that The Scientist had been lugging around was showing no signs of arriving, so her doctor finally suggested that we induce the reluctant little bugger. Being that my wife was dilated to 4cm and was fully effaced, I thought it was a good idea, too.

We went into the hospital at 6AM on Thursday. The Scientist was immediately strapped to various monitors and IVs in preparation for the big event. There was a little drama involved with getting the IV in, just like there always is when you mix my wife and needles; but nothing out of the ordinary.

Frankly, the entire experience -- while certainly anxious and exciting and life-altering for The Scientist and I -- doesn't make for that interesting of a read. She was given drugs to induce contractions and she starting having contractions. When the contractions became too painful, she requested and received an epidural. When she was dilated enough she started pushing. After a half hour of pushing, I cut the cord and we had a baby.

Simple as that. Our nurse (who, by the way, was completely awesome) called it "textbook."

And I'm sure that everything I witnessed after the delivery was also "textbook." Not that I would call it that... I would call it "a fucking horror show."

Everyone knows that there is blood and gunk involved with birth. And there was a fair amount of blood involved when daughter #1 was born. But she was delivered via c-section in a very sterile operating room. The kind of room in which you might expect to encounter a lot of blood.

However, the "birthing suites" at our hospital are tastefully designed with woodwork, floral wallpaper and other little touches designed to hide all the hospital equipment. The theory being, I guess, that women feel more comfortable having a baby in their living room than in a hospital. Personally, if I were a woman, my living room is the last place I would want to be if a baby was clawing its way out of my womb. But that's just me.

Anyway, so there's comfortable surroundings, the lights are turned down, and there's a nice couch in the corner. And by the end, everything was covered in blood.

Well, not really, of course. There's this handy garbage bag-like thing that attaches to the end of the bed, directly beneath where the baby comes out, and that catches most of the blood.

And there's a lot of blood. Like, an alarming amount of blood.

The thing is, I was okay during the actual birth. Miracle of like and all that. It wasn't until after when the NC-17 rating really kicked in.

Apparently, the inside of the womb continues to bleed some after birth, and that's okay. After the baby is safely under the broiler and all necessary stitching has been finished, the doctor pushes on the woman's stomach to release some of this blood.

And by release, I mean open the fucking floodgates.

The doctor pushed on The Scientist's gut and the spurt of bright red blood that came gushing out of her vagina could have extinguished a California wildfire.
ME: "Jesus Christ! Is she okay?"
NURSE: "Oh yeah, that's normal."
ME: "That's a lot of blood."
NURSE: "It's okay."
ME: "That's a lot of blood."
Ten minutes later they did it again, and an equal amount of gore came out.
ME: "And this is okay, what I'm seeing here?"
NURSE: "Everything's normal."
ME: "I'll take your word for it. Christ!"
And, of course, everything was okay. So much so, that the doctor cleared The Scientist to go home a day early. Which was fine by us, being that there was a real screamer of a baby in the room next door.

So yeah, I'm a father again. I witnessed first hand an amazing, awe-inspiring event that will forever change my life. And all that really sticks out in my mind is the horror... THE HORROR!

No offense, Macey. Daddy loves you.

#084 In which our hero is whines some more.

I have this reoccurring fantasy. In it, I respond to a job posting for a copywriter, get an interview, and get hired -- all in the span of two weeks! This is a fantasy because previous experience has shown that it never happens this way.

Some personal examples:
  • When I was laid off a couple of years ago, I got a call from the creative director at a respected advertising agency in downtown Cleveland. Naturally, this was very exciting for me. She had heard through the grapevine that I was available, and wanted to talk to me. So I go in, have a good interview... then never hear from her again. Seriously. My follow-up phone calls were never returned, my email was never answered, I think I even sent a real letter in the mail, which garnered no response. I mean, lady, you called me. If you're not interested or think I won't fit in, fine, but be professional enough to let me know. Just blowing me off isn't an acceptable response.
  • About a week before my most recent lay off, I got a call from a HR person at a national furniture manufacturer, headquartered in Cleveland. She said they were looking for a copywriter and had found my resume on, and was I interested? Naturally, I was. I sent her my resume, and completed a writing test (which I hate, but understand). Then... nothing. A week goes by, and I follow up with a phone call, leave a message on voice mail... and more nothing. Another week goes by, and now I'm unemployed, and suddenly much more motivated to land this job. I go through the switchboard and actually get this HR person on the phone. She sounds shocked that I actually reached her. She assures me that I'm still in consideration, and that she'll call as soon as something happens. So another week goes by, and I'm pretty sure that they hired someone else by now. But, I get an email from her asking me to complete another writing test. Which I do. That was two weeks ago, and I've heard nothing since.
  • The day I was fired from the agency, I got a call from a recruiting trying to fill a copywriter position in Akron. It was for an agency that I had heard of, and knew they did good work. I was actually in the VP's office, being handed my walking papers when she left a message on my voice mail. Now, I also know from past experience that all recruiters are liars. They get paid when they put people into jobs. It's in their best interest to throw as many resumes as possible at their clients, and hope one sticks. So when a recruiter tells me something like, "I think you're going to be a great fit at this company!" I take it with a grain of salt. And even though I try very hard not to get excited about things like this, inevitably I do. I mean, how great would it be to get a new job offer on the very day I got fired?
  • It was karma! Kismet! Fate!

    Well, naturally, it didn't pan out, the recruiter told me that the agency didn't think I would be a "good fit."

  • Probably the strangest thing to happen since I was fired was the out-of-the-blue call from a small direct mail agency. However, not just any direct mail agency, but the same junk mail agency that contacted me months ago! But now, the arrogant ass that interviewed me (and gave me a free lunch) has left the company. The boss is trying to fill the void.
  • Now, if you read the old post about when I first met this guy, it was full of disdain for what they do. Junk mail... oh, pish-posh, I am every so not interested in that. Well, suddenly, with a baby on the way any minute now and me out of a job, I am totally interested in the position.

    So I meet with the guy, he looks at my samples (which are decidedly junk-mail free) and gives me a writing test. Thankfully, it's not of the "write a display ad for a pencil" variety, but something for a real client. I do it, send it to him. He emails me back, says he enjoyed meeting me, wants to bring me back in, blah, blah, blah. It's been two weeks since I've heard from him.

  • While I'm searching for jobs, I come across the Web site for a local agency. Now, last time I was out of work I actually interviewed with the creative director. There was no job at the time, I knew that going in, but he was nice enough to meet with me, look over my samples, and give me a little evaluation. This all went extremely well. He liked me, loved my samples, and was very enthusiastic. But, since there was no job available, there wasn't much he could do for me. Now, three years later, I'm out of work again. I check their Web site to see if the creative director was the same. It was. Very exciting for me... I already have an in with this guy. And even more exciting, when I look at their Web site it says plainly that, "Right now, we are actively interviewing for the following positions: Copywriter, Art Director, Account Executive..." So it says right there, in the #1 spot, that they need a copywriter! It won't just be me sending my resume blind, they need what I'm offering. But, I send it, I follow up, leave voice mails, blah, blah, blah... and, of course, hear nothing. Now, the obvious answer is "they aren't interested in you." Well, maybe, but the thing is, I look really good on paper. That should be enough to get me in for an interview. AND, I've already met with the CD, and he liked my stuff then. If they're really looking for copywriters, they will want to look at me. Or not.
  • And finally, yesterday I applied for a job as "Web Copywriter." This just means writing for Web sites, something I've done many times in the past. Frankly, I don't think there's much of a difference in writing for print or Web or whatever, but I'm sure that's not what they want to hear. I'm sure in their minds (since their agency only does Web/interactive stuff) writing for the World Wide Web is a unique, rarified skill that few possess. Shrug... we'll see how it goes.

    Anyway, half an hour after I email the guy my resume, he emails me back, saying he'd like to meet with me. Now, any time I get quick response like this, it fills me with hope. Maybe this is the one, the unique rarified employer that has posted a job that he actually needs to fill right away! He tells me he's available tomorrow or the next day. I email him back, say I can meet with him tomorrow, just tell me when.

    And then I wait. And wait. And wait.

    He doesn't email me back. Now, here's the thing: he doesn't know I'm out of work. For all he knows, I have to juggle a tight work schedule to make time to meet with him during the day (as he has requested).

    The next day comes, and still on response. I call at 9:30am, leave a message. Finally, he emails me at 11:30am, and says, "I'm available at 4:30 tomorrow." This burns my ass to no end. First you told me that you'd like to meet today, and I was all ready to make that happen, then you tell me not until tomorrow. Not even a "sorry I couldn't meet today like I said, I had to have my anus bleached" or whatever.

    So now, I'm meeting with this guy tomorrow. And what do I expect? More of the same. He'll look through my portfolio without really reading any of it, he'll shake my hand, promise to get back to me soon... then never call again.

Fucking ad guys.


#083 In which our hero whines out a list.

I’ve been avoiding writing about the entire lay-off thing because I’m afraid it makes me sound like a whiny little bitch. No, I take that back; I know it makes me sound like a whiny little bitch.

I try not to, but sometimes it feels like an entire Parthenon of gods have taken a collective dump on my life, and I get more than a little “woe is me, oh woe is me!

So, yeah, I got laid off. Ultimately, this will be a good thing, I suspect, because I tend to get too comfortable with work, and continue to stay with a place just because they pay me on a regular basis and it’s easy. And the agency I was at was really shitty, and wasn’t taking me anywhere good. This lay off shakes up my life, and forces me to ask, “What else is out there?” Of course, the fact that the answer to that question is, “damn little,” doesn’t make for many happy days.

The main reason that I feel so put-upon is that we’re about to have another baby (oddly enough, I was unemployed when my first daughter was born). Well, here, let’s just list the things that are adding stress to my life:
  1. The dog is constantly on the verge of death. And not nice, quiet, die-comfortably-in-your-sleep death, but long, drawn out wasting death. Death that involves crapping all over the floor. I have to admit that he's a good dog, but he probably adds more to my stress level than any one other thing.
  2. The Scientist is fully effaced and one centimeter dilated, and she has four more weeks to go before her due date. I would be much more stressed about this, except that she was in this condition for 14 weeks with Lily before she was born. Plus, her doctor tells her that she could have this baby at any time and they'd both be healthy and happy. So this isn't really stress-educing, except...
  3. The Scientist hasn't quite been at her new job for an entire year. Matter of fact, the 24th of this month will be her one year anniversary. If she has the baby before then, she doesn't get paid for her maternity leave. This would normally just be stupid and annoying, except now that I'm unemployed it becomes potentially financially crippling. And, the stress (for me) is ratcheted up about a billion times because waaay back when we were talking about having another baby, I said, "Shouldn't be wait another month before trying? We don't want to screw up your benefits by having this kid too soon." To which The Scientist replied, "Eh, we won't get pregnant right away." And, of course, we got pregnant right away.
  4. The new house is expensive. We love it, but the gas bills alone are more than twice what we were paying at the old place.
  5. Day care is also expensive. We've pulled our daughter out for the time being. She goes when I have freelance to do or (hopefully) an interview; but otherwise I'm watching her at home.
  6. And finally, I loaded up the little girl into the car this afternoon to take her to the park and... nothing. Car wouldn't start. Wouldn't even turn over. Wouldn't jump-start, either. I suspect it's the starter, but the nice men in greasy overalls will tell me for sure tomorrow what the problem is.
See what I mean? I don’t mean to pout, but Jesus, on top of everything else, my car goes and shits the bed?

When I start getting really down, I always troop out my theory that for every good thing in my life, five bad things happen, and vice versa. So, with all this crap going on right now, I can only assume that this means that my next child will come out of the womb doing long division.

And, oddly enough, I find that very comforting.


#082 In which our hero thinks people are dumb.

I’ve been meaning to post an update about the unemployment thing, but frankly, it’s exhausting enough to live it, let along sum it up in pithy yet humorous postings. But, I’ll do it, as a historical record, if nothing else. Soon, I promise.

But, until then, two things that have been bothering me lately:

Thing #1. Someone please tell me why people suck.

As previously mentioned, I went to the dentist recently. Now, understand: I was referred to this dentist, meaning that I had a referral form, that I immediately gave to the receptionist when I got there. Naturally, this form includes insurance information, the name of the referring doctor, etc., etc. But the first thing I have to do when I get there is fill out another form with all my personal information, including allergies, past medical history, etc.

Now, this isn’t a big deal, except that this is the exact same information I had to fill out for the first dentist. Can’t these guys just talk to each other, do a little cut ‘n paste with their forms?

But the worst part, the part that makes me think people suck, is this: while filling out the form they ask for my wife’s social security number. I don’t know this by heart, but I figure they have the insurance information on the referral form, so they can just get it from that. I complete everything else and return the form.

Minutes later, the receptionist calls me back up to the blast-proof glass booth. Seems I forgot to fill out my name on the form. Now, here’s the thing: they called me by name to come up to the desk to complete this thing, they obviously know what my name is… would it be so hard to take a second and not bother the guy about to have a root canal and fill in the blank yourself? Really, would it be so hard? Also, she points out that I’ve left my wife’s social security number blank, so she READS THE NUMBER TO ME off of the referral form. Christ, she turned this completing the form businesses into a six minute ordeal when she could have done it herself in two seconds.

Thing #2. Someone please tell me why people are stupid.

As part of JOB HUNT 2005 I’m calling agencies and getting the names of the creative directors so I can send my resume directly to them. I don’t know if this helps my chances or not, but I figure it’s worth a minute of my time to call and say, “Hey, can you tell me the name of your creative director?” And actually, since I just went through this bullshit less than two years ago, I’m just calling and confirming that they haven’t left or changed jobs.

Anyway, I call one agency, and the nice receptionist lady answers and I ask her the name of the CD. She pauses for a long moment, then tells me that she’s new, and doesn’t actually know the name of the creative director.

POP QUIZ: If you were in that situation, what would you do?
  1. Put the caller on hold for 30 seconds while you looked up the CD in the company directory.
  2. Put the caller on hold, call back to the creative department and ask who the CD is.
  3. Say you don’t know who the CD is and expect the caller to be satisfied with the answer.
Did you pick #3? Well done, if you did. First, I’m a little stunned that she doesn’t know the CD, but it is a big agency, and if she’s really brand new, that’s forgivable. But for crying out loud, find out who s/he is and tell me! Is it really that hard to figure out? I finally prompt her by saying, “Well, is there maybe someone in your human resources department I could talk to?”
I really didn’t think I was asking hard questions.