I got laid off at the end of June. There was a general downsizing at my office (about 20% of the workforce) and I was one of the lucky (?) ones. Actually, they offered me what they considered a “lateral” move – but on my resume it would’ve been two steps backwards from where I am. So I declined and took a voluntary reduction in force package. When I did the math, I figured it would get me through July. With my skill set, I was hoping I would be able to find something within 30 days, even if it was just a temp job to buy me more time.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t already have my toes in the job pool. I’d already come to the decision that, as much as I liked my job, I couldn’t stay there. You don’t work for a non-profit to get rich, and I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck with no wiggle room.
After applying for a job two weeks ago today (Friday), having them call that afternoon to schedule an interview on the following Monday morning, and going in for a 2nd interview on that Thursday, I got the call that they would like to hire me on Tuesday afternoon. YAY!!! Right on my timeline! However, they wanted to fast-track my hire date for this coming Monday. I’m going to be working for a job with pretty strict security, so I had to have some pretty intricate background checks and a drug test. I wasn’t worried about any of it, but the timing issue had me a bit concerned. I got all the background information submitted for the check on Wednesday, as I was told that was the piece that took the most time. I took the drug screening yesterday. That’s where my misadventures began.
On most days, I feel like I can pee on command. But yesterday, I wasn’t able to fill the specimen cup to the required level on the first try, even though I had 2 bottles of water in the morning – one when I got up and one in the car on my way over to the testing site. I had to drive across town in rush hour to get there, so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem.
Instead, I was told that I had 1 hour to be able to fill the cup. I was welcome to drink some of the water in the waiting room. It was suggested that I drink 4 cups. So I did. I slammed those cups of water down. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. After 35 minutes, I still didn’t feel like I needed to go. I sat. I stood. I paced in the waiting room. Nothing. So I drank 4 more cups of water. At 57 minutes, I was able to give them what they wanted.
Mr. Complicated had asked if I wanted to meet him for lunch. It was about 10:00 – a little early to steal him from his job. I had some time to kill. So I started meandering toward his job in downtown Minneapolis. I thought that finding a park or lake or something would be nice for a while. The day was sunny and clear, and the temp was in the upper 70s. I had my Kindle with me. I could go sit in the sunshine and read for a while.
About 20 minutes from the testing place, I realized I would need to find another bathroom. Oh sure. NOW the water was starting to catch up to me! I spied a little strip mall with a Caribou Coffee. I’m a glutton for punishment. An iced chai while reading under a tree sounded really good. So I stopped for a pit stop. After I left the bathroom, I walked down the strip mall to check out two other little shops I spotted on my way in. After browsing for a few minutes, I headed back to Caribou for my drink. But first, another pit stop. Because yeah, I had to go again.
I should’ve just walked back out without the chai. But I didn’t. I got the drink and left. Lake Calhoun was pretty much right across the street from me. I parked my car in some free municipal parking and crossed a baseball field to get to the lake.
I wandered down the walking trail that loops the lake. I found a nice bench with a pretty view and had a seat. Because I’m a brat, I pulled out my cell phone and posted a pic of where I was. I knew that my friends working hard and checking Facebook would appreciate it.
I had been there for about an hour when that feeling came back again. Okay bladder. I got it. I know I consumed my whole water requirement for the day in less than 3 hours, and now you were going to make me pay. Lake Calhoun is not a small lake, and the public restrooms were clear on the other side from where I was, so I put my Kindle in my purse and headed back for the car. About halfway across the baseball field, I realized that I’d left my cell phone sitting on the bench.
So the next thing I knew, I needed to pee and I was hauling ass (sprinting) back to the bench to hopefully retrieve my phone. Have you ever seen an elephant sprint? It’s not pretty. And I’m sure I didn’t look any better. But my phone was still there.
I didn’t want to risk another sprint (I was already imagining the conversation with Mr. Complicated… “So sorry I can’t meet you for lunch today. I peed my pants.”) so I settled for a power walk. On my way back to the car, I saw a rolled up leaf in the path. It was bright green, and about the size of a cigar. I simutaneously realized that the wind wasn’t blowing and the “leaf” was crawling across the pavement. I stopped my walk long enough to snap a quick pic, because honestly, I have never seen a caterpillar that was this big before.
I have tentatively identified it as a Pachysphinx occidentalis, or Big Poplar Sphinx. The site I saw said that it’s common from North Dakota and to the west. I’m thinking this one decided to head east a little. (And for the record, I just wasted about 30 minutes flipping through caterpillar images on Google to even attempt this.)
Anyway, I safely made it back to Caribou Coffee (3rd time in less than 2 hours, for those keeping track). As I was getting in my car, thinking I’d call Mr. Complicated to see if it was still too early for lunch, I got a text message. He was asking when I was coming over for lunch already. According to my GPS, I was 15 minutes away from his job, so I let him know I was on my way.
The easiest way to get there was to take I-394 to get downtown. What I didn’t realize was that the Twins were playing a matinee game against the Royals, and I was driving right into the stadium traffic. My 15 minute drive stretched into 30 minutes and, guess what? That’s right. By the time I pulled up outside his office, my eyeballs were floating again. We hit the little bar and grill across the street from his job, I ran into the Ladies’ and then proceeded to fill him in on my day.
He was having a slow day at work and had some errands to run before he headed to his parents’ house this weekend, so after lunch he took the rest of the day and we did some shopping. Thankfully, we stuck with stores that had public restrooms! I even got Mr. Complicated to do a little modeling for me.
I got the all-clear from my new employer this morning. I will be starting my new job on Monday morning.