After work today, I rode my bike all the way to Fort Worden and back (it's where they shot some of An Officer and a Gentleman). I don't think it's actually very far, but it was quite an accomplishment for me. Lots of hills. I'm feeling good; sore, but victorious in spirit.
Came back, locked up the ol' Schwinn, and walked down the street to The Boiler Room, a coffee shop/youth hangout. Before my bike ride, they'd given me a cup of ice, taking a quarter out of the tip jar to pay for it; when I came in the second time, I brought back the owed coin. And then started talking to them. One of the women is the daughter of the former city editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, back before it was tabloid-y. He had her buy 4 newspapers every day so he could keep up with his local competition.
The other girl in there happened to be the volunteer coordinator. The place is mostly run by volunteers, passionate about serving out its mission to provide a positive location for the youth of the community.
So I talked to her. Filled out the hot-pink volunteer application that asked me, along with basic contact and experience information, what my issues are in the world. "Wassup with me," as it was phrased.
I have my first training shift on Saturday. Free barista experience, and new friends.
Love always, molly
p.s. On the bike ride home, my exhaustion was lifted for a moment when I saw these two heading home for the night:
It only gets longer when it takes an hour to travel the last mile to the ferries in Seattle because a soccer game just let out and all the crazy Sounders fans are clogging up the road. And when you stop for 45 minutes just before the bridge to Port Townsend for no apparent reason. And when you went to bed at 3:45 after packing up your life and were woken up by your loving mother at 6:40, only to have her conk out in Yakima and force you to drive all the way to Bellevue. Thanks, Mom. Someday I'll get you back.
Let me say something: Never trust apartment photos. My publisher/boss had me thinking that I was moving into the cutest, most spacious apartment in the world. I attribute this falsehood to absentmindedness rather than spite. The fact of the matter is, when we arrived here, we found that the charming little beaut hadn't been properly cleaned in - I'm not joking - 35 years.
Apparently the old owner of the paper had this random Chinese guy living up there for 35 years and never changed the rent, so when he finally kicked it in the past couple years, he was still only paying $25/month. Come on, now - if you don't have to spend money on rent, couldn't you have shelled out a few bucks for, I don't know, A MOP?!
Or a toilet brush. Eesh. My mom spent 3 hours cleaning the bathroom. She now has no fingerprints. Bleach goes quickly here.
Saturday night was hard. Never again will I take for granted my mom's OCD cleaning habits. I was afraid to touch anything. Couldn't put my bag on the floor - gag - couldn't set it on the kitchen table, or the counters, or the bed. What I thought was a pretty, old-fashioned carpet in the bedroom is actually a cleverly disguised slab of linoleum, patterned to look like carpet. Tricksters. The feeling of grit beneath my flip flops just about killed me.
So my wonderful mother called my editor/boss and ultimatum-ed the crap out of him. (Not really. Even confronted with 35 years of grime, my mom's still a sweetheart. I don't know how. Moms are magic.) She said that unless he got someone in here to help us clean, she couldn't leave me here. I love my mom.
We spent the night at my Aunt Jessie's house (which was spotless!!) and went to church in the morning. When we got back to the apartment, we found a blessing by the name of Allegra, busily scrubbing the kitchen cabinets. She's coming back tomorrow to scrub the floors. I love Allegra.
Last night I finally unpacked, after bleaching the dresser, the kitchen drawers & shelves, the closet, the desks...the everything. It's getting there. And it smells clean. Quite a feat, for the oldest 2-story stone building in the state. (Yeah. For reals. Who knew.)
What it all comes down to, really, is perspective. I could freak out and give up and go home, or I could get down and tackle it one square foot at a time and remember that it must have been clean once upon a time, and it can return to that state somehow.
And if I lose sight of that, I can always just walk down outside to the water. Again, I'm a block from the ocean.
God knows how to take care of me.
Love always, molly
*Anyone who knows my short-story reference gets a hug.
I got a job at Sears when I was home from school over Memorial Day weekend. I walked in, applied, got hired the same afternoon. Not exactly on my "most exciting moments of all time!" list.
I've worked there for about a week and a half now, and I almost hate it. The people are okay (even if they do say things like, "If it don't have a pink tag, it don't go there." DOESN'T, people, COME ON!) and I like my managers quite a bit, and I even got to practice Spanish with a customer once. But it's just...menial. I hope that's the right word; it's the one that keeps running through my head as I work there. All I do is rearrange clothes. I move clearance from one rack (sorry, "quad") to another, I put new merchandise out on the floor, I clear out the fitting rooms and spend hours wandering around, trying to find where the left-behinds are supposed to go.
I hurry through all these tasks because, subconsciously, I have something more important to do, but then I remember - there is nothing else to do. This is the only job. Nothing important awaits me. All I have to do is put away clothes.
And it kills my feet. So, yeah. No love lost between Sears and me. (Sears and I? Whatever.)
So then yesterday, I got an e-mail from the journalism advising office - they send them out to all majors every week - that announced an immediate opening for a news intern at the Port Townsend Leader. Apartment included, $500/month stipend. Sounds like a perfect opportunity - and the perfect escape from Sears.
I called the publisher, then sent him my clips and my letter of interest. I talked to him earlier today, gave him the name of a professor who could recommend me, then went out to lunch with my little brother. Just as we finished eating, I got a call - "Molly, Roger [the prof] thinks you're great. We'd like to offer this to you, if you're still interested."
At that moment, the thrilling possibility of leaving Sears behind me forever was such a beautiful thing that I pumped the air with me fist, right there in the restaurant. "YES! Yes, I'll take it!"
But almost as soon as I got off the phone with him, I started to feel....lost. Port Townsend is way over on the other side of the state - I don't know anyone there. I'd be living in an apartment by myself, working with people who are closer to my parents' age than to mine. It'd be great experience, no question, but....I'd miss out on everything here.
And okay, most people hate the Tri-Cities and would say there's nothing to miss. But I've been having a good time here - going to kickboxing and the Racquet Club with my little brother, hanging out with people from church, enjoying the sunshine, the home-cooking...I've never been away for a summer.
And this is different from taking off for Spain for a semester. I had a good group of friends going into that, and I was going to classes with people my age. It was a whole city of college students.
Port Townsend? What do I know about Port Townsend? I think it's more small-town than the TC.
I was excited about just hanging out with people this summer. I'm an E! How am I supposed to survive 2 1/2 months living by myself?
This happened in the space of 24 hours, from the first e-mail notification to the job offer. I didn't really consult God on any of it. How do I know if this is where I'm supposed to be?
But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered "Courage, dear heart," and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's ... And all at once, everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been.