Work.

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My body has decided that now is the time to overthrow its master.

The last eight months of my life have been incredibly stress-riddled and my immune system had graciously been granting me an easy time of it (with the exception of a few migraines and a thrown out back).

The day I signed off and signed out one final time, my throat started to feel kinda funny. I tried to brush it off as “dry air” and maybe sleeping with my mouth hanging open directly in front of my fan (no AC, hello LA heatwave).

But then my nose started to leak a little bit…and then a little bit more…and now I feel like a dam is about to burst and the citizens living in the valley need to evacuate.

The fog that’s currently obscuring my mental vision is keeping me from writing anything truly fancy or inspirational. Honestly, this blog post is just an excuse to have a pity party that I know at least 3 other people may read. THANK YOU THREE PEOPLE.

BUT–and that’s a big ol’ “BUT”– I swore to myself that when my last job ended, I would hustle even harder than before to get words on paper, to start creating and making, and generally force myself to stay on the grind.

With that in mind, I purposefully parked my car in a zone that required me to move it within two hours of the moment I parked there. I set my alarm for 1 hour and 55 minutes and then promptly sat down to watch Netflix.

PRODUCTIVITY (?).

When I saw the remaining 30 minutes on the clock slowly ticking down, I wrenched myself out of my chair, and pushed my body into the shower.

Growing up, I was always the kid in the family who refused to get into the bathtub. My poor mother would beg, cajole, and then eventually threaten me to get in. I’m assuming I thought baths were a waste of time and I had more important things to do like play or read or makeup songs on my kiddie-keyboard even though I didn’t know how to play it. Good personal hygiene was for the weak.

Whatever it was, I despised this basic and necessary daily ritual. When my mother finally got me in and wrestled me like an alligator to wash me, I would then refuse to get out of the tub. I would stay in playing with my toys and with my washcloth until the water became ice cold and my mother had to drag me out.

Nothing has changed.

Today was the same.

I ended up snatching myself out of the shower after only 20 minutes (miraculously), threw on some clothes without even really looking at what I was adorning my body in, and left my apartment.

AND THEN–

Lo and behold, a golden parking space of opportunity shone forth: a parking spot with unlimited time and RIGHT in front of my apartment.  These babies pop up only once a millennium, or so it feels like. Could I waste this moment and ever recover emotionally?

“What if,” says me, “I park in that spot, go upstairs, wallow in my oncoming disease, and take a nap.”

“No,” came my short response.

Well that settled that.

I got myself over to that coffee shop and here I sit–I’m making a writing schedule, sending off emails, responding to texts that it’s taken me an egregiously long time to respond to, and wondering why the guy sitting next to me at the community table must sit so damn close IT’S A HUGE TABLE, MISTER.

Hold me accountable, y’all. Time to work.

 

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This Lavender Chai Latte didn’t disappoint!

 

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Surprise! You’ve Got an Audition in Less Than 24 Hours–Part 2!

*Read Part 1 over here*

Ahem, where were we? Oh, yes. I began my walk down the corridor towards the casting offices. On my way there, I saw a bathroom and quickly ducked into it. I wanted to make sure I didn’t look as disheveled as I felt.

I “took care of business” in the restroom (I’m pretty sure y’all don’t need details), and exited. A little further along, I came across a sitting area with several tense looking adults in various states of nervousness. Some were sitting mouthing words, others were walking around, gesticulating to no one.

I knew I had found my people.

I painstakingly wrote my information on the sign-in sheet and saw that, though others were reading for the same characters, no one but me had the one I had been assigned. I took that as a good omen. The reader and casting director wouldn’t be hearing the same old piece when I went in to read. It would be a breath of fresh air. At least, I hoped so.

I put my things down and sat on a couch opposite a few other actors. One was dressed in a full suit while the other was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I have no idea if they were matching their clothes to the part they were reading, or if this was their normal audition attire–just goes to show that an industry like this has very few solid guidelines.

After sitting in a pretty comfy armchair for about five minutes, I needed to stand up and readjust my clothing. As soon as I got to my feet, I knew that sitting had been a bad idea as my entire body had contorted into one very tense ball of energy. I needed to get up, stretch, and stay standing. Even if that meant I was up for the 30 minutes between then and my scheduled audition time.

I moved over to the adjacent hallway and took my friend Marina’s advice to do a “power stance”. You raise your arms above your head and spread them apart, while also spreading your legs apart (your body is basically shaped like a star).

Joy from Pixar’s “Inside Out” in an upside down power stance

In combination with deep “belly breaths” this is an incredibly effective way to calm your nerves and boost your confidence before an interview or audition.

Then I stretched, paced, and went over my lines for what seemed like an entire lifetime.

Just when I thought that I couldn’t wait a second longer, I was called into the audition room.

I was introduced to the reader and the casting director and found my “mark”–a piece of tape–on the floor in front of the camera.

My delivery was a blur. I knew that I’d gotten all of the lines right, but my performance started on such high energy that I had no where to go. I plateaued as soon as I started.

Woops!

The casting director noticed. I thought I was done for.

“I like what you did,” she said, “but this time, I want to see more levels. I want to see you start off a little softer so that you can grow throughout the piece. Let’s do it again.”

HOLY CRAP. She gave me an adjustment–that happens SO LITTLE in this industry. It’s usually a “one and done”. I knew I couldn’t screw it up this time.

With a renewed sense of confidence, I started over. I made eye contact with the reader through out–I matched her tone and intonation and it was as if we were actually having a dialogue (shocking!) instead of me reciting some meaningless lines. Most importantly, I sloooooowed dooooooown. You’ve only got them held captive for as long as you’re in the room and doing your lines. Milk it. (But don’t get crazy.)

After we had finished, the casting director gave me a very generous, “Great job, that was a nice adjustment” with such sincerity that the people-pleaser in me knew it would never get better in life than this moment.

Walking out of the audition room and out of the ginormous studio building, I felt good about my audition, which happens very rarely.

What happens next?

I forget it ever happened.

No, seriously. In this industry, if they like you, they’ll call you. If they don’t, you’ll never hear from them again. Ever. That’s how it works. So, instead of stressing about “will they, won’t they” you train your brain to forget that there’s even a possibility that you may be chosen.

Happy ending….right?

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Short and Feisty Finances

Now that I’ve come to grips with the fact that my career in the entertainment industry isn’t entirely in my own hands, I’ve decided to switch my obsessive-control-focus to something I DO have a larger say in: my finances.

And because I love to share (read: overshare), I’m going to document the steps I’m taking to live debt-free here on my blog.

I know, I know.

A FINANCE SERIES?! REALLY?!

I fully realize that some of you come here for fun and entertaining content. Sometimes to laugh with me, but most of the time to laugh AT me–and I’m 100% ok with that.

But I promise to spice these topics up! You’ll hear about my high-highs, and my low-really-low-lows. There will be plenty of opportunity to guffaw at my missteps and mentally applaud my successes (because if you’re actually applauding while reading my blog, you’re going to look kind of funny).

I also realize that there are a-million-and-one people blogging and writing about finance on the interwebs. Some of them even have extensive knowledge and education on the subject (imagine!). What I think will make my blogging here more unique is the fact that I’m doing it entirely on a single income, without much mathematical knowledge beyond basic arithmetic, without parental financial assistance, and in a pretty expensive major metropolitan city (whaddup, LA?!).

I’ve already gotten a jump start to securing a better financial future by paying off both my student loans and credit card debt. I promised several people I would document how I did this within my 4.5 years out of undergrad, and I intend to do that within the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Here is a list of topics I hope to cover (hold me to them!). Get excited, my friends:

GET EXCITED, my friends.

I Hate this City

Drag yourself out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn because you have a 12 mile commute that needs to get you to work by 7:30am.

Walk into work to the nanny job to children yelling, “No, I don’t want [Short and Feisty] to be here! Go away!”

But it’s not the first time you’ve heard that and it certainly won’t be the last because who punishes their kids for being rude every morning, these days? Sure, they’ll recover in 10 minutes and start hugging you, but it doesn’t erase the shitteous start to the day.

Grandparents galore are in town so you’re routine is off kilter simply by them being there. Add in the fact that one of these grandparents enjoys rearranging the schedule with their preferences and their crappy ability to make you late for things, and your day is lining up nicely.

{Dear Parents: for the exact reasons why YOU don’t want to hang out with your annoying parents, your nanny does not want to spend 10 hours a day with them, either.}

You make plans only to have them interrupted by, not only the presence of the grandparents, but the fact that both mom and dad are home rearranging your plans as well.

WHY THE HELL DO YOU HAVE TO BE THERE IF THE ADULT TO CHILD RATIO IS OVERWHELMINGLY IN FAVOR OF THE ADULTS?!

Welcome to the world of high-net-worth nannies, where they can afford to just have you there sitting around twiddling your thumbs.

Oh, and one of your kids is a two year old. A raging, drooling, snot nosed, two year old who you alternate between wanting to shove in a corner and hugging. Because sometimes they can be so darn sweet and literally less than 2.5 seconds later and their screaming at you to “un-cut” the slice of bread that you cut in half…after they asked you to cut it in half.

You leave your job by sprinting out of the door and get in the car with three hours to get from the far West Side of LA to Hollywood to see a show for a sketch writing class you’re taking.

GUESS WHAT, THOUGH.

Just because you have somewhere to be that evening, every single solitary route you could use to expeditiously get to your destination is a bumper to bumper wall of solid metal and rubber tires.

You sit in the inching traffic, cursing your luck, and then you realize that the audiobook you were enjoying (Bossypants, again) only has about 10 minutes left while your GPS predicts you have an additional 90 minutes left.

Pull over for some food. Yum. Sit. Eat. Listen to that last 10 minutes of Tina Fey. Try and get BACK on the road. Attempt to stay awake, you’ve been up for well over 12 hours at this point.

Almost 2 hours of traffic later.

You pull up to the theatre of the comedy school you’re attending. You try to find parking but

  1. It’s dark,
  2. The signs on the streets of LA would confuse a WWII codebreaker,
  3. You can’t tell if the curb is painted red, or if it’s just the glare from some light.

While you’re searching for a space, your anxiety disorder comes out to play and you’re wondering why the hell all the comedy schools in this godforsaken town are located in the shitty dumpster parts of the city (cheap rent, most likely). You guess comedy needs an “urban/edgy” feel that you’re not going to find in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills (also, cheap rent).

Your brain is ticker taping the following: “You’re going to get shanked, you’re going to get stabbed, you’re going to get jumped, you’re going to be assaulted” all while trying to concentrate on finding some GD street parking so you don’t have to pay $5 for valet to have a stranger drive your car AND THEN TIP HIM FOR TURNING THE IGNITION ON AND OFF AGAIN.

You pull back around to the front of the theatre to see NO parking and several homeless people start to settle in for the night and a rather skeevy guy lurking around on his cell phone. Probably selling street pharmaceuticals.

STAY FOCUSED DON’T PULL OVER YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE AND GET SHANKED.

You pull onto a side street a second time just in time to see a sizable rat jump into the undercarriage of a Rav-4 in front of you.

Nope, nope, fuck that noise. I’m out.

And you hate this city and you’re tired of trying so hard to just end up treading water and you want to run away and–

shhhhhhh.

You’re going to go home, blog, eat some tortilla chips, sleep, and pray that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that makes all of the bullshit worth it. Because you don’t hate the city, you hate your circumstances and it’s up to you to change them.

looks-like-its-fuck-this-shit-o-clock

Bi-Coastal Nanny Gains Perspective

When my bosses told me that they’d need me to go on an extended trip to NYC, I wasn’t too pleased to be ripped away from my beloved Los Angeles. We’d be traveling for well over a month and I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I’d be paying rent in LA for an apartment I wouldn’t be living in.

Expensive rent.

Add that to that the fact that we’d be there in the hottest, most humid months of the year and that I’d be limited to taking the kids to activities within walking distance of their apartment (no subways/taxis allowed), I was pretty sure I’d be going stir crazy from the minute we stepped off of the plane.

The truth of the matter is that I WAS stir crazy as soon as we got off the plane but only because I was on a plane ride with a number of small children–my charges included. I’ve decided, from this most recent experience, that I’m not suited to be a travel nanny.

My sour attitude wasn’t remedied by the fact that people in NYC have absolutely no consideration when total strangers (ME) go out of their way to perform niceties (like holding the elevator open for someone!) and the ever present din of honking taxis that make one’s anxiety skyrocket.

In short, within the first few minutes of having my feet firmly planted on the Newark, New Jersey soil (or asphalt, really, cracked and hot), I was ready to get back on the plane and go home.

That’s when I knew that I needed a serious attitude adjustment: there was no way I’d survive the entire trip if I didn’t take a few deep breaths and review the positives of my situation. Here are some of them:

  • My living quarters, though a 30 minute trip from the apartment where I’ll be working, is completely separate from the family and is in a building that I deeply suspect doesn’t allow children at all. It has AC, a dishwasher, an in unit washer/dryer, and a gym–all things my apartment back home lacks.
  • I have a lot more friends living in NYC than I previously suspected! And then I have friends of friends that are willing to keep this poor west coast stray company while she serves out her time in kiddie prison in the concrete jungle.
  • Rain. It’ll probably rain here and I do miss it. But I don’t miss being caught IN it…so maybe I’ll stop this subject right here before it gets too messy.
  • I’ll probably lose a ton of weight with the combination of sweating my butt off (literally) and walking everywhere so WAHOO!
  • There’s a ton to do and see here that I’ve never done before (as my NYC experience has mostly centered around Time Square). And I hear some of it’s free, so there’s that.
  • Everything is completely paid for–so that’s not a worry. Transportation, apartment, food (while on the clock). Woot!
  • I’ll get time off. A lot of nannies that travel extensively with their families don’t actually get much time to themselves but I’ve been promised that I will.
  • My boss gave me a new iPad mini upon my arrival. Hells yes for getting hand-me-down SWAG. This single handedly changed my perspective on the whole experience. If all else fails, I’m going to take that beautiful hunk of technology and zone out–preferably not while watching the kids.