Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sharing a Memory -- Maryann Clark

In the summer of 2006, after much prayer, it was confirmed to me that the changes in our family had warranted my needing to go to work full time.  Since I had already accepted enrollment for preschool for that year, I decided that I would begin the job hunt in earnest beginning early in 2007.  There were several things I (thought I) knew:

1.  I didn't want to work for the public schools.  I ADORE children, but the politics in education include the regular workplace politics AND state and national politics.

2.  I was most likely to find work that was clerical in nature, based on my experience.

3.  I did NOT want to work for the Church.  This was a personal preference based on the fact that I really hoped to have missionary experiences through my work, and that I did not want to mix the Corporation with the gospel in my own life.

2007 was a pretty good time to find work.  In fact, I heard people say that you could pretty much choose where you wanted to work, because work was so plentiful.  That, however, was not the case for me.  I probably applied at 8 or 10 different places, and I did not even get called in to interview except once (and I BOMBED that interview).

One day I was online, searching through jobs, when a small thought told me to look at the Church's employment site.  I had thought that before, but this time I finally obeyed the prompting.  It was getting close to the end of the school year, and I was getting desperate.  (Note of advice:  Don't get desperate before you obey a prompting.)

I ended up applying for three different jobs at the Church that day, including one for the Physical Facilities Department.  I did NOT want that job.

You guessed it:  just a few days later I was called for an interview.  Having bombed the only other interview I had gotten in all of my job hunting, I made this one a matter of serious prayer.  I went in for a 15 - 30 minute interview and left three hours later, having met with three different levels of managers and feeling confident that this was my job if I wanted it.

The big question was DID I WANT IT?  It was working for the Church, for heaven's sake!  And not just for the Church--for the Physical Facilities Department!  That was SO temporal!  It was SO Corporation!  It was SO not what I wanted!

The next night was ward choir practice.  I had not said much about this job to anyone but Spencer, but it was weighing heavily on my mind.  That night I sat next to Maryann Clark.  Maryann worked for the Church, in Physical Facilities.  We had spoken a number of times about some of the frustrations of her work (which mirrored some of the experiences my family members had).  I confided in her about this interview.  I told her what the work was.  I expressed my concerns about working for this Corporation.  I told her it would be disappointing NOT to have missionary experiences through my work.  I also told her about the sweet experiences I'd had while interviewing, about our need for me to have work and my fear of not being home all day for our children, and that I was sure the job was going to be offered to me.

Maryann was serious and sweet and sincere and kind.  She told me that yes, there were challenges with working for the Church.  Sometimes they are same challenges you face in other companies, and sometimes they are very unique because it is the Church.  She told me of the wonderful people she worked with and the friendships she'd made.  She reminded me that the Church was a VERY family-friendly workplace.  And then she said, "Aundrea, if that is where you need to work, only you will know.  It has its challenges, but it is also fulfilling and wonderful in many, many ways.  I know you will be taken care of, no matter what your decision is."  We both shed tears, and she gave me a  hug.  And I knew that when that job was offered to me, I would take it.

Just a few days later I received the phone call offering me that job, which was my loved job on 2LL.  After that Maryann and I often talked work, and usually it was to express frustration about something that you really only understand when you are colleagues.

Maryann was involved in many organization changes that came down from Headquarters, and when it was all said and done, she was doing the job of two people or more.  It was a difficult time for her professionally, but she hung on because it was work and because she LOVED the man she worked for.  She told me on multiple occasions that she knew that her boss was a friend from the pre-existence and that she would continue to take care of him as long as he needed her, just as she knew he would do all in his power to take care of her.

Yesterday was Maryann's funeral.  She was about 6 months younger than my mom, which is definitely NOT old enough to have fought and lost to cancer.  Our loss of her physical presence, however, is the ONLY win that cancer can claim, because her spirit was strong, and her circle of influence was enormous!  I will love her forever for her high spirits, her optimism, her happy disposition, her love of Harrison Ford, the sweet turn of her countenance when she talked about her sweetheart Greg, her adoration of her children and grandchildren, the way she took Taylor and Ashtyn under her wing and made them feel like they were her favorites in Primary, the overachiever in her that made her lessons memorable, and the fact that her sweet and calm reassurance influenced my decision to spend the last 5 1/2 years in a place and with people I love.

One other thing:  the closing speaker at the funeral was Maryann's boss and dear, cherished friend, who said that the only funeral harder for him than this one was his own wife's; who is retired from employment but is wearing a black and white nametag identifying him as a representative of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; who knew she was the person he should hire before they'd gone past their initial greeting; and who confirmed a friendship--forged (at least in this life) at the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop--which will last through eternity.

Thank heaven for the influence of wonderful friends!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Sick Week

Friday I left work with a little niggling notion that that tiny cough might turn into something ugly.

Saturday that cough wasn't quite so tiny.

Sunday I curled up on the couch in complete self-pity because I was too sick to go to the Brigham City temple dedication.

Monday I emailed my boss--between hot and cold flashes.

Tuesday I nearly coughed myself inside out.

Wednesday I went to work.  For four hours.  Then I had my only coherent thought of the day:  What the hell am I doing here?

Thursday I went to the doctor, who agreed that a week might necessitate the need for an antibiotic.

Today is Friday.  I've lost a full week of my life.  That makes me mad.

I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm still coughing like crazy.

There's no point.  I'm just telling you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Who Invented This Stupid Article of Clothing?

The title of today's post is the sentence I say every night as I remove my bra.  I know, TMI.  But it explains an email I received from Spencer this morning.  The email had no subject and included just this link.

He makes me laugh.

And also, now we know.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sports Fans -- NOT!

Last week I was downstairs visiting with my brother and his wife.  The TV was on a football game (it is ALWAYS on a sports channel at their house), and there was a huge pass.  I just glanced up and said, "Nice reception."  Laurie's jaw dropped, and she said, "Wow.  You said 'reception.'  I'm impressed."

Here's the thing.  I grew up with sports fans.  Daddy loved to watch the games when I was a little girl, and my brothers were huge fans.  My favorite game is baseball, especially if I can be in the park.  I know enough about most of the major sports (football, soccer, hockey, basketball, baseball, volleyball) to get me by in a sports conversation, in the park, or in the arena.  We like to watch the Olympics.  We have a little family party and watch the Superbowl each year--mostly for the commercials, if we're being honest. 

But while we watch the Superbowl, I explain things to our kids.  When we went to the ballpark for the 4th of July, I had to explain the game to the kids; that might be the blind leading the blind a little bit.  But I'm the resident sports expert at our house.

Once in high school my friend told me that her sister had gotten so fed up with competing with the games that she put on a teddy and went and danced in front of the television, just to get ANY attention from her husband on a Saturday.

When we had been married a VERY short time, I came home from work and flipped on the TV.  The Dodgers were playing, so I was watching the game.  Spencer came home, said hello, dropped his stuff off in our room, sat down next to me, and changed the channel!  My first reaction was to think, "Hey!  I was watching that!"

But then I remembered my friend's sister, who had to compete with sports for her husband's attention, and I thought, "Well, at least I know I will never have to do that."

We found a program on PBS that we both enjoyed that afternoon.  Yes, we are PBS watchers...

With that background, may I just say


Hate. It.

Hate it in the cubicle.  Hate it in Devotional.  Hate it at choir practice.  Hate it from the pulpit.  Hate it in our Sunday lessons.  Hate it on your necktie.  Hate it at the copy machine.  Hate it at the drinking fountain.  Hate it in the cafeteria.  Hate it at the bank.


I don't know and I don't care about all the ramifications of the schools being in different divisions or conferences or whatever.  I'm just SO glad they won't be playing each other for a couple of years.  So glad.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Intensive Care

Does today's title scare you the way it does me?  Imagine my horror last night when our 15-year-old said that my brother was in intensive care.  He didn't know anything further.

So I ran downstairs to see what in the world was going on, and there sat my brother.  I said, "Are you OK?"  He said, "Yes, but I need to take myself to the insta-care for my elbow."

Intensive care/Insta-care.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Husband, the Celebrity

Just over three years ago, my husband got his bachelor's degree, in spite of me.  This enabled him to get a management position at his work.  He is a good manager.

Nearly two years ago, my husband became a licensed massage therapist.  He has been working nights and weekends doing massage because he loves it.  He is also very good at it.  Even some of his instructors come to him.

Two weeks ago, my husband started his MBA.  He's cool like that. He'll probably be finished before I am.  *sigh*

This week my husband made his television debut in a commercial for Eagle Gate College, who called and asked him if he would represent the school. 

I am married to the best, handsomest, coolest man in the world.

I can get you an autograph, maybe.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What People See, What People Expect, and Public Transportation

I took an interpersonal communications class at the university when I was 20 or so.  I remember one day we were assigned 5 different people in the class who we had to look at (not speak to) and determine a) what they did for a living OR what their major was, and b) what kind of music they liked best.

We had been in class a couple of days, so it wasn't 100% scientific--we had had short conversations.  However, it was amazing what we deduced about people, just based on their looks:  hairstyles, clothing, etc.

The train first thing in the morning is a good time to ride.  Mostly it's filled with people headed to work and students.  You can even make guesses from there.  That boy across the aisle from me?  He was MAYBE 15, his hair was not combed, he was studying a book of monologues--he was headed to the performing arts high school.  The kids across from me?  At first I thought he was in high school, but he had purchased a "used" calculus book, so I presume he was a really fresh freshman at the U, studying for his pre-calc test.  The man two rows behind me had the look of a COB worker:  white shirt, tie, suit (including coat).

Another man got off the train at my same stop.  His button-up shirt was colored.  Carefully combed hair. He was wearing a tie and nice slacks.  Shoes polished.  Definitely not COB, but definitely business of some kind.  Then he opened his mouth and said, "I hate this sh--."

Definitely NOT what I expected.

I wonder what people expect from me.  Do I validate, surprise, or disappoint?