ever felt that way? I’m an adult, I’m college-educated, I can explain postmodernism in lay terms (though please don’t ask me to, it takes lots of words), all kinds of stuff. But when I met the phone today at the office, I felt like a baby. A little, highly-incompetent baby. It was frustrating and humbling. It was also exciting, vaguely, because I felt the thrill of learning throughout the day.

The hardest part wasn’t learning how to work the buttons on the phone. It was, instead, being collected. I hope that’s a good thing. It means this isn’t too technologically advanced for me. Instead, my difficulty is in doing all the right interaction steps. My boss was very kind in helping me go through them. So, for example, I have to remember to ask who’s calling. Then when I transfer the call, I have to talk to her first and tell her who it is so that I know whether to put it through to her phone or her voicemail. And not to get flustered when a client confuses me. And to trust the hold button. I definitely lose for letting the telemarketer get through.

On the more positive side, besides making baby steps forward on the phone business, I got pretty good at making coded sheets to accompany invoices. A lot of it is looking at our records and seeing which accounts things were charged to last time. Eventually I will learn, but this was my first day of doing it. I also made some very satisfactory calls to Verizon for a couple reasons and was able to use my brand-new company cell/walkie talkie to fetch building engineers whenever the Verizon guy needed them. Gained confidence on that phone, at least. And these are people I’m getting know and interacting with in person. Much less scary than tenants or vendors or random callers.

The most bittersweet part of my day was the newsletter. It was engrossing. I took something prepared by my predecessor and started by proofreading it. Then I found places where I thought things should be changed. Then I started messing with fonts and formats and phrasing. This was my element, I’m an English major. But there was something wrong overall with the piece, it was too brightly-colored and confusing. I worked on it until 5 sharp, straightening things out. That I enjoyed. But then I e-mailed it to myself and to Mr. Micah so that he could offer suggestions. I don’t intend to bring work home, but he’s good with design.

What worries me is how my sweet Mr. Micah is very wrapped up in this. I’m afraid that he’ll be frustrated. I’m worried that Bobbie will tell me to use the crazy, colorful one. And then he’ll be sad. Hopefully he can enjoy the challenge and have fun. I’m also concerned because he would be working on an article right now if it weren’t for this.

After dinner, tonight, we went on a walk to the bus stop (ok, it was really close, so then we went around the block). This bus does indeed stop at our metro station. I asked Mr. M if I should start taking it so he wouldn’t have to drive me (the metro’s quite close, so financially I don’t know how much difference it makes between $1.25 bus fare and a short trip over) so early. But he said it was a good reason for him to get up early and get ready with me. Then he would get more reading/writing done and take a nap if he was tired. So we agreed—I’ll leave each morning at 8am. If he’s too tired, sick, crabby, etc, then I’ll take the bus. If not, then he’ll drive me.

I like being driven, it’s a way to connect in the morning. It’s like the 50’s housewife who’d get up with her husband and wave at him through the lace curtains. It’s also a regular act of kindness. I hope that I don’t forget that.

Short list of things that make me happy:

  • Working on an quilt that I’d left alone for a few months.
  • Writing down my thoughts.
  • Reading fun books on the metro.
  • Taking stretching breaks every time I use the bathroom.
  • Learning to do new things.
  • Becoming good at new things (not there yet, but I will be!).
  • Reading blogs.
  • Having a closeness I can’t describe with my husband.


Anonymous August 15, 2007 at 12:53 pm

Mrs. Micah-

It’s good to hear from you! I am thinking of starting my own blog one of these days when we get internet. For the moment, I’m temporarily employed at Pike Creek doing data entry, which is awful, but helping out good people is nice. You and I need to have a financial-advice brainstorming session – it sounds like you have a lot of fab ideas. I wanted to take personal finance but never got a chance to at school. Your situation sounds much like ours. No debt for me, a some for Nathan, a small student stipend for my teaching and a decent paying job for Nathan. I’m sort of freaking out this week about money because a.) we just bought a bed b.) we were charged TWICE for aforementioned bed c.) neither of us gets paid until the end of the month. All of this WILL turn out ok, I tell myself, but it’s somewhat unsettling for the time being.

Tell me about IRAs and renter’s insurance! These are things that interest me greatly. Also, tell me how the Comcast and cell phone plans are working out. Is it absurdly expensive? We have to get our own phone plan in the next week and I’m balking about doing it because it’s expensive and I hate cell phones. But I don’t see how we can do without cell phones. Same with internet – our computers are crap, so why should I spent $50 to access the internet? (but obviously if I don’t cough up the money to comcast then we won’t be able to do our banking online and $1000 bed-purchase double charges would go unnoticed for too long) Blech!

Ok, it’s time for me to get back to work but I’ll give you a call this week and perhaps we can mind-meld on financial strategies.
Mrs. Nathan

P.S. Mad props to you for keeping the maiden name and adding the Micah’s name! That’s what I did too. I now have four names. Yippee!

Frugal Guy August 19, 2007 at 4:12 am

Hi, just reading along a little bit. I think you are too hard on yourself. It happens to us when we’ve suffered education. Really.

Anyway, something I’ve noticed, in life, not necessarily directly related to your post, is that very many people, perhaps a strong majority, are bad at understanding the confusion of being new at something.

Unfortunately, many people view lack of mastery with lack of skill or intelligence, which is simply wrong. We even do this to ourselves at times — and having some schooling can enhance our proclivity to do so.

When you are new, take every opportunity to ask questions and learn all the ins and outs. In particular, learn all the features of new equipment, the expectations of everyone, and all that fun stuff.

Why? Because the longer you wait to learn it, the less understanding people will have when you are asking questions. We only get a limited amount of time to be new and clueless, and then everyone starts judging.

Which of course brings me to another problem with society. Why is everybody in such a hurry about everything anyway?

Who knows, but I must rush off. Perhaps it is only your writing style, but do cut yourself a bit of slack… work on making a litle progress every day and you’ll accomplish a lot before you know it.

Oh no, I’m late!

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