Monthly Archives: March 2015

Photo: There are always dogs

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Every night is magic

Four months ago, I signed up for a popular dating app. It’s worked out so well that I’m sitting on my sofa all alone at 6pm on a Friday night. :/

NO! I refuse to sit around and feel sorry for myself! I grabbed my wallet and keys off the counter. I shook $2 in quarters out of my change tube and headed downstairs to catch the arriving southbound trolley.

Perhaps I should have thought this through. I know it’s only a “20% chance of rain,” but I could have worn the jacket on the trolley – you would think by now I’d know those things are ALWAYS FREEZING COLD! Not only that, but according to their own maps there are almost no restaurants south of Sea World.

Wait, it’s also a FRIDAY night so my choices are – well, it doesn’t matter we’ve just sailed past the stop with all restaurants. This leaves exactly two choices and conveniently enough they share the same stop as the destination of the only other passenger on this fake “trolley.”

I could go to CiCi’s pizza…or fall back on Golden Corral (formerly Wood Grill Buffet). I just had pizza the other day besides GC was closer to the bus stop. I enter the store, thinking if I only order water I should be fine.

Water, water, water… “Iced tea” I told the woman arguing into the store’s phone when she finally asked what I wanted to drink. While I was waiting for the drink I accidentally ordered, I pulled $15 out of my wallet.

“That will be $17.87,” she said impatiently as I handed her the money. I opened my wallet and found I had exactly $3. The same $3 I was going to use to get back, but it was too late to put it on a credit card as there was already a line of people behind me.

I found a table, put down my drink and hat and went immediately off to the food bar hoping to not run into my server along the way. I go around the buffet getting a moderate amount of everything in the first section before returning to the table.

The instant I put my plate down, the server appeared behind me, reached across the table telling me he has to “check my table” and proceeds to ask me about anything I need and that I should know his name was “Isaiah” and he’d do “anything he could” to help me during my meal. Though I somehow doubted going to the ATM and bringing me enough money to get back to my apartment fell under his purview.

Great, now I’m not sitting at home alone feeling sorry for myself – now I’m sitting alone in a moderately crowded buffet feeling sorry for Isaiah and the maximum 13-cent tip I had to give him. Now I had all this food in front of me, and I could barely stand to eat any of it.

I felt somewhat better when I came back from my second trip to the food bar to find my plate, napkins and drink exactly as I left them, but the second I sat down the server appeared out of nowhere to clear the table for me and get me a new drink (which he got wrong but whatever as he was back in less than 30 seconds).

I finish my food, and leave the coins on the table passing a smiling Isaiah on the way out of the restaurant. Though I can all but guarantee he wasn’t smiling when he was cleaning my table…

Now, I have to figure out how I’m getting back. I check my phone for nearby ATMs and Google Maps shows that I’m indeed at the Golden Corral… at Sand Lake & International. When I scrolled down to my actual location (the nearest “landmark” I could select was CiCi’s which was close enough for my needs), I couldn’t find any “branded” ATMs listed anywhere within reasonable walking distance.

This meant my only option was the Bank of America at Publix shopping center nearly 2mi away. I crossed the parking lot to get to the sidewalk apparently forgetting this was Orlando and that the sidewalks end where the shopping center does. So  I’d be walking the entire length of international drive on an uneven embankment, this was just perf…drop-drop-drop…

Sorry, NOW it was perfect… and, of course, it ended the second I reached the sidewalk outside the tourist information office on Central Florida Parkway. With the rain gone and semi-level terrain underfoot, the remaining half mile to Bank of America was relatively easy…it was the walk back to International that tired me out.

Fortunately, it only gave me an excuse to get an iced coffee at the Starbucks across from SeaWorld Park, and while I honestly wasn’t all that thirsty, it did give me enough change to take the trolley the rest of the way back to the apartment…

Categories: florida, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando | Leave a comment

Saturday interview

I leave the apartment at 10am, and head down the stairs to the “Business Center” next to the Leasing office. It is four Macs, one Dell and a HP printer on a single counter that stretches around the small room. There are five basic office chairs and no mousepads.

I open my e-mail, find my resume and hit “print.” A few seconds later a grossly off-centered copy of my resume pops out of the machine with the entire right side cut off. I try again, and the same thing happens. Finally after wasting half a ream worth of paper, I decide to download it to their computer and print it from Microsoft Word.

The result was one perfectly printed resume so I decided to print off four more just to be safe… but when I went to delete the file, it was already gone. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to worry about this. I headed over to the trolley stop across the street to get my interview, hoping I didn’t need a cover letter too.

I arrived at Orlando Eye at 11:03am. There were approximately fifty seats set up outside the main building occupied by exactly six people filling out applications. That’s right, six people other than myself showed up, I was expecting a LOT more people than that for a Saturday (when I asked one of the seven people milling around outside the entrance, they told me the large open plaza was “standing room only” yesterday).

I finished my application and took it up to one of the four men with clipboards standing in front of the building. He hands me a “sign-in” sheet and leads me inside the building where workers were still painting the entrance to the SeaLife portion of the attraction. The empty kiosks for the future food court were constructed (reminded me of Harborplace, but with more people).

The man leads me to a desk where he hands my application to a smiling human woman named Mary who leads me off to a narrow hallway in what was clearly going to be Madame Tussauds (as we walked past a smiling wax figure of a blonde woman in a bright red dress that I didn’t immediately recognize). She stops in front of a small desk surrounded by thin black curtains.

Okay, first question – this is it, the moment that will make or break my future at this company. In other words: no pressure, just stay calm, relax and force myself look her in the eyes even if it kills me.

You will hire me; you want to hire me. Oh god, how can movie villains stand doing that?

“What are some attributes that you feel would be a good fit for our company?”

Fair enough, standard ice breaker question, and the perfect time for my mind to go completely 100% blank. That’s right, I couldn’t say anything remotely intelligent for several whole seconds, and I knew darned well how that looks on her end as the same thing happened to me at Disney (…and we all know how well that went).

I look up at and see that she’s only half paying attention as she shuffles through the papers on the clipboard copying down everything from my application onto a separate “interviewer” form. I suggest she might try copying said information directly from the resume in her left hand as it was probably easier to read (a point she didn’t argue with).

She seems happier now, maybe I can salvage this interview after all. She moves onto quizzing me about how my previous experience relates to aquariums and amusement parks. I mentioned how I managed to be the only student in my school to NOT work at Knoebels (which she’d “never heard of” despite claiming to be from Pa) and how I failed to secure a job three different times at the National Aquarium and once at Disney.

It’s kind of sad how my “experience” boils down to a series of awesome and/or impressive jobs I “almost” had. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure she was still only half paying attention. If I keep this up, I might say enough vaguely “right” things to make a good impression on that little form of hers…unless they find this post, than I’m definitely out of the running.

I walked out of the interview at 11:39am, satisfied that I hadn’t completely embarrassed myself. I may be hearing from their real PR department in the coming weeks or the interviewer was just being friendly. As you’ve probably figured out from this blog, I am nothing if not an optimist. To paraphrase Jim Carey’s character in Dumb & Dumber: A one in a million chance is still a chance!

Update: I have just received an e-mail from “Orlando Cluster” thanking me for my interview. There was no text other than a contact name, the address of the building I went to on Saturday as well as a lengthy legal disclaimer about this being just an e-mail and not a contract of any kind.

There was no information about whether a second interview had been scheduled… or if this was merely a polite way of saying I failed to make the final cut. (3/18/15)

Categories: florida, job hunting, Orlando | Leave a comment

The morning report (and I don’t do mornings)

I woke up at 4:30 this morning due to the oppressive humidity. It was too hot to stay in bed, but it was too get out of it. Finally around sunrise, I stopped pretending like I was going to get back to sleep and went over to the closet to get a sweatshirt and sweatpants.

I go into the spare bedroom, turn on my laptop and check my e-mail/FB/RSS feeds. Apparently, nothing changed since 11’oclock last night so I stripped my sweat stained clothes off and took the hottest shower I could stand hoping that would warm me up. I come out of the bathroom, and the clock on the nightstand read: 6:59am. This was going to be a long day…

I check the weather app on my phone “65 with foggy conditions” and promptly put the sweatshirt and long pants back on. I decide to go out on the balcony, but when I opened the door the valance fell off getting itself tangled in the blinds. It took 15 minutes to fix it, and when I went outside I thought “since I’m up, I might as well DO something productive – bills, writing, and maybe these coin wrappers to the bank. Bonus: I can get some breakfast while I’m out.”

I haven’t had breakfast in forever; the only question was where to get it at? Denny’s, Perkins or IHOP seemed like the most obvious choices, but none of them were immediately on my way to the bank. Actually, Denny’s was, but I didn’t really want a sit down meal. This left only the McDonald’s outside the bank… and whether I wanted to eat first or do the deposit first?

I had forty minutes to think it over, but first I had to refix the valance. I changed out of the sweatpants, put on regular shorts and grabbed the coins off the counter. I got about 2 blocks away from the apartment when I looked down and noticed how filthy my sweatshirt actually was so I took it off. Mind you, the temperature hadn’t changed so it was a tad chilly to be walking around with a sweatshirt tied around my waist, but, whatever, it was 5 or 6 more blocks.

I decided to eat first as I wasn’t sure what kind of line I’d face inside the bank first thing Monday morning. I wasn’t expecting a line inside the restaurant, but there was one. The cashier seemed friendly enough, but she was clearly new to her job as she needed two managers to show her how to add “Café” coffees to my meal instead of regular coffee. She was apologetic about the delay, but also seemed confused when I asked for it “hot” instead of “iced” (though to be fair, it IS a somewhat rare choice in Florida).

The order came up surprisingly quick. My coffee was lukewarm and my sandwich tasted like cardboard, but it was indeed the right meal so who was I to complain.

The line inside the bank did not surprise me, but the one at the ATM outside did. The one inside stayed relatively static as only one of the two tellers was taking customers, but the one outside kept growing. Finally after about 15 minutes, the second teller opened her window, and the line started moving again (albeit slowly).

I got to the window, and gave her the three rolls. She asked if this was “just for bills” and I said yes and she gave me $15.50. I thought for sure I only gave her $12.50 as that was what I wrote on the deposit slip I filled out (but didn’t give to her as I was only exchanging). No, it turned out it was $15 after all… but I didn’t know that until AFTER I got back to the apartment so I felt half triumphant\half guilty the entire way for nothing.

I get back to the apartment, open the door and saw the time on the microwave. It was only 10:23am, and all I wanted to do was sleep…

Categories: florida, Orlando | Leave a comment

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