The Grinch Who Stole Pingle Christmas

It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I would love to say it’s because I’ve been lounging on a beach while husky bronzed man-servants brought me fruity cocktails. Alas, the real reason is sadly bereft of oiled muscles and sexy coconuts.

Last month, whilst wearing a green visor and using an old-fashioned adding machine to balance my checkbook (as everyone does), I discovered a thief had absconded with a large amount of my hard-earned money.

The description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.
Description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.

Somehow, someone way smarter than me hacked into a bunch of debit card numbers. My card and my husband’s card were included in this nefarious plot to ruin Christmas. I have no idea how this person got both of us. What I know about hackers is what I see in TV and movies, and somehow I don’t think it’s as easy as they make it seem.

"Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD."         "I don't think that's how it works."
“Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD ” “Um… I don’t think that’s how it works.”

What really, really sucked is that it was our debit cards, so it was like, real money. They drained our checking account. So we basically woke up and Christmas was gone. The Grinch snuck into our checking account and cleared out the place. He got the presents! The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! The tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings! The bags!

Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?
Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?

I just felt so… violated. Did I bring this on myself with my sexy online purchases? Did we drop our poor, innocent debit card into a shady part of the internet and just walk away? All I know is that our debit card is now curled in a corner of the shower sucking its thumb. That’s on you, hackers. How do you sleep at night?

"Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually."
“Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually.”

Anyway, I don’t know how it happened, but it happened at the worst time possible. Not that there’s a good time to get money stolen, but right before we go on the biggest shopping spree of the entire year? Kind of bad timing, guys.

Our bank credited back our money eventually but we had to get through the entire month of December with nothing in our account. The week of Christmas we finally got our money back. THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS. My husband and I were both in our busy time of year at work; we couldn’t take any days off, so he did all the shopping on Christmas Eve while I worked from home. Shopping and wrapping all the presents on Christmas Eve? Not fun. Luckily there was plenty of wine left over from Thanksgiving or I would have been very grinchy indeed.

Christmas Eve, basically.
Christmas Eve, basically.

Needless to say, it was hard to get into the Christmas spirit this season, and no one was happier than me when it was time to kick Santa’s big butt out the door.

For my husband and me, 2015 looks to be filled with paranoia and lots of hiding money behind toilets. Maybe not even our toilets. By the way, don’t look behind your toilet.

DON'T LOOK IN THERE.
DON’T LOOK IN THERE, EITHER.

Nothing to see, folks.

Back to Grad School (aka Goodbye, Life!)

Well, this blog thing has been fun, you guys.

Alas, the siren song of grad school has once again lured me into the comfort of its academic bosom.  Did I say comfort? I meant “stranglehold.”

Nonetheless, going back to school and also working full time means I have to give up a few things, like sleep and seeing my family. I read through my first week of assignments in preparation, and as a final farewell I invite you into the out-of-control train that was my thought process upon reading it:

“Wow, that’s a lot of reading.”

“This is all for one week?”

“Ugh, I forgot that writing papers means like, research and stuff.”

“Citing references? Ughhhhh.”

“AND use outside resources besides my textbook? What do I look like, a journalist? I’m a creative writer.

“Well, at least I use APA style at work… the bibliography has to be in APA style, too?! Dammit.”

“WHY DIDN’T I DO GRAD SCHOOL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING UNDERGRAD? Past Jessie was the worst person ever.” 

“How am I still hungry when I just ate a donut?”

“I really should have gone to the gym today.”

From there my thoughts slowed down in confusion until they screeched to a halt completely. Probably some kind of defense mechanism. My brain, slowly turning to mush on my long sabbatical from school, just had a lot of words to compute. And words are hard. Yes, I’m a writer, why do you ask?

I’d love to tell you that I’ll be back on my break, but I’m afraid that would be like telling your ex-coworker you’re totally going to keep in touch. It probably won’t happen. But I’ll call you, okay? (I’m not going to call you.)

When Everyone is Weird, You Become Normal.

It’s so gratifying to finally work in a place where you’re not the only weird one. A place where weird is normal. Ergo, I’m finally normal.

"You can't argue with ergo" ~ this guy
“You can’t argue with ergo.” ~ this guy

Believe it or not, this was not always the case. To make a long, painfully boring story short—but no less painful—my creativeness was once caged up during the workday hours, much like an accident-prone puppy.

My creativity is the CUTEST!
Aww, my creativity is the CUTEST!

I worked okay jobs, it wasn’t like I was a coal miner or anything. Although I did work retail during Christmas season, which is essentially the same thing. But my poor, sad creativity! Whiling away the days staring mournfully out the window and peeing on itself. My creativity is gross sometimes. 

I could only let my creativity roam free when I was off work. Which was really hard for me, as I’ve always been a writer, just like I’ve always been female and super-hot.

Mmm hmmm.
It’s a curse, really.

But girlfriend can’t live on her sweet Dorothy Hamill haircut forever, right? She gots to get paid. And the tiny percentage of my life allotted to writing  just wasn’t doing it for me.

So I finally broke out of the cage, free to pee wherever I wanted. STOP WITH THE PUPPY METAPHOR, JESSIE.

"I'm freeeeee!" ~ my creativity.
“I’m free to peeeee!” ~ my creativity, apparently.

A fellow Ohio University graduate let me know about an open copywriter position, after which I wowed them with my sick writing skillz and sparkling personality. Soon after: boo-ya! I’m a professional writer. (Do people still say “boo-ya?”If I have to ask, then probably not. Moving on.)

I’ve been at my job for two-and-a-half years now (three years in May) and I’m still getting used to my weird ways being the normal way in my department.

It really hits me when we talk to normal people outside our department—people who are not scared of business-y things like percentages, columns and… some other business terminology. Profit margins are a thing, right?

Anyway, we were in this meeting recently where they passed out spreadsheets with the aforementioned business mumbo-jumbo and we all recoiled like they just handed us a basket of snakes.

"Nooooooooooo... anything but Excel!"
“Nooooooooooo… anything but Excel!”

And this was when I had a minor epiphany. I had found my people. For once, it wasn’t just me backing away in horror at the sight of those damn grids, waving my hands and shaking my head as if warding off an evil spirit (which Excel totally is). We did it as a team, gosh darn it. “We’re creatives, don’t show us numbers!”

Numbers are DISGUSTING.
Numbers are DISGUSTING.

The moral of this post, I guess, is that everyone should find their people. Whether you are a numbers person (and therefore in league with the Devil himself) or an artsy person—FIND YOUR PEOPLE. Your work life will improve about a thousand percent.

But don’t quote me on that percentage, because… you know. Numbers.

AHHHHH! It's like looking into hell!
AHHHHH! It’s like looking into hell!