Monday, February 28, 2011

Is he a loser or should I bother?

I finally paid up for eHarmony -- 3 months. If it doesn't work within 3 months, it's not going to work. And if you don't pay, you can't see photographs. This enabled me to "close" some matches from losers who've tried to date me on several other sites.

I got some responses, but only really started one correspondence. It's my first paying day, so maybe it's too early to see how I'll fare. His name is Doug, living in New York, NY. Pictures kind of goofy-looking, but maybe he doesn't photograph well. The five things he can't live without are:

a partner to share things with
my i touch
a trip to vegas or atlantic city
money to do the above
I wont go into that...

After going through the eHarmony song and dance (5 multiple-choice questions, 3 open-ended questions, then you start emailing), he sent me this message:

I guess we have been certified kosher by harmony. You are welcome to ask any questions you like. I have had all my shots and housebroken.

That's not quite clever enough to make me chuckle. Maybe it should have warned me off, but I responded anyway.

What do you like to do on a first date?

Maybe that was a little brusque. But we've already talked about likes and dislikes, which eHarmony calls "Must Haves and Can't Stands," so I felt like cutting to the chase.

I usually take the lady to a nice restaurant. I know a few good ones. I promise no happy meals. I don't keep kosher out even though I know a good kosher deli. I keep kosher at home.

No Happy Meals. Whew. Like I was worried. And there's more than one good kosher restaurant in New York, NY.

I try to keep kosher at home and out, although I eat dairy and fish in non-kosher restaurants outside NYC. Within NYC there are so many kosher places you might as well go kosher.

What kind of country music do you like? I like Dixie Chicks and Randy Newman.

Trying to get to know him a little better.

I live in a kosher neighborhood and the kosher restaurants by me honestly are filthy and really horrid. They leave alot to be desired.

I'm not a fan of the Dixie chicks I lost my taste for them. I like obscure country that is not played mainstream. I find things on I tunes and on satellite. I'm finding 80s music I never heard before on I tunes or songs I forgot on satellite.

I have a unique taste in music. Even hear of Canadian country ?

Well, not all kosher restaurants are great, but all of the ones in his neighborhood are filthy? Where does he live?

Obviously you need to hang out in a better neighborhood. Where do you live? ;) Never heard of Canadian Country, but it sounds cool, eh?

He answered:

I'm in midwood in Brooklyn. I know these kosher places should be cleaner and more appealing. I like bens deli in the city.

I found Canadian country years ago on the internet. Where do you think shaina came from?

I guess you are interested in me.

That just fell flat. Clunk. It's not him asking me out. It's just him stating what he thinks is a fact. Not much game. Then again, I don't like game-players. Still, is my only choice between the slickster and the charmless? Also, it's a little inaccurate to bill yourself as "New York, NY" when you're really from Brooklyn.

I guess I'm going to play a little hard to get.

You mean Shania Twain? Didn't realize she was Canadian. I don't know if I'm interested, but I'm not turned off, which is a good start.

He wrote back:

Yes shainia is Canadian even though she lives in Switzerland.

It's a good start that your [sic.] not turned off. You can ask me more things. I don't bite.

Bad grammar. And so far he's managed to misspell Shania twice, even though I spelled it right. But I guess I can't let that turn me off completely. And this back-and-forth emailing isn't getting us anywhere.

would you like to talk on the phone?

I asked.

In a little bit I can. You can call me after 9 if you like. 917 558 1428

After 9... because then his unlimited cell phone minutes kick in? Not. Impressive. Cheap, in fact. I wonder what he does for a living. He says he's a "sales and service manager." What the hell does that mean?

I called him, but I was bored. Bored, bored, bored. He interrupts, and he tells terminally tedious stories. He doesn't even know the names of the things he mentions (seriously, what else could you call "The Blue Collar Comedy Tour"?) And he interrupts. He's just really annoying to talk to. I don't want to go out with him.

So that's that. Apparently that's all $145 buys you these days. Another loser.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

No inside track

A few weeks ago I dropped off my résumé, personally, at the recommendation of a friend of a friend. Never heard anything. I left a couple of phone messages. Never heard anything. So I called again. Turns out the hiring manager's on vacation till March 8. Does that mean they've filled the positions and now he's relaxing?

Also gave my résumé to a friend from grad school who works at an important hospital. Haven't heard anything. But I have seen a bunch of advertisements for the job. I dropped her an email, not sure if it will do any good. Feeling kind of discouraged.

Joined eHarmony for free. Free trial ends today. I've got a bunch of "matches" but only a few I like. Wondering if it's worth a few hundred bucks to actually meet them.

I'm trying to stay positive, but it's difficult. I probably should take a shower and get ready for tomorrow's waste of time: a résumé workshop sponsored by the New York State Department of Labor. If I don't go I could lose my beneifts.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weird single dad

The single dad I met on OKCupid -- who told me I could call him 24/7/365 -- is weird.

Weird Single Dad (WSD) called last night. It took me a minute to remember who he was, because all he said was, "I'm David, the guy you met on the internet." Take a number.

Whatever -- WSD was calling me while walking to Grand Central Station. I thought he lived in midtown, but no, he only works in midtown. He doesn't live anywhere. Full-time, that is. WSD splits his time between his aunt on the Upper West Side, his former home upstate where his children live, and friends who live in Brooklyn and Yonkers.

"When you're supporting five people," he said, "it makes sense to save on rent if you can."

"Five people?" I asked. "Yourself, your two children... your ex?" I guess she's not working.

"And her other kid," he finished.

"Can you afford to be dating again?" I joked.

"Why, are you high-maintenance?" WSD asked.

Should I still be interested? I was also kind of annoyed that WSD was talking to me on the street. His cell reception wasn't great, the ambient noises were significant, and it wasn't very private.

"I'll call you when I'm on the Metro-North train," WSD said.

"Don't people hate it when other people talk on their cell phones on the train?" I said. I told him to call me back another time, but I don't think I'm interested anymore. Especially after my phone kept ringing after we hung up; his cell kept accidentally redialing my number again and again.

Also, WSD told me he'd just watched a Knicks game. I asked how Carmelo Anthony played, and he said 'Melo wasn't in the game. The New York Daily News would beg to differ. I'm not saying he was lying, but how do you miss something like that?

Why can't a normal guy like me?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Talk about blunt

Got an email from the Veterans Administration (VA):

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
VHA DEU BEDFORD
200 SPRINGS RD
BEDFORD MA 01730

Dear AYELET SURVIVOR,

This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position shown below.

Position: ADDICTION THERAPIST

Series/Grade: 0101-11

Vacancy ID: 430176

Agency: Veterans Health Administration

Considered For: VAMC NY HARBOR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

Duty Location: New York City, NY

We have reviewed your application and found you qualified for the position listed above. However, you were not among the most highly qualified candidates. Therefore, your name will not be referred to the employing agency at this time. 

If we receive a request from the agency for additional candidates, or another agency requests a list of eligibles for a very similar position within the next 90 days, your application will again be reviewed for possible referral.

Thank you for looking to the Federal government for employment opportunities.

This is your final notice regarding this vacancy announcement.

PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.

For additional information, please refer to the vacancy announcement for this position.

Guess I won't be working with traumatized veterans anytime soon.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Glimmer of hope

I've been trying to get an interview with a particular agency since last October. They've ignored all my résumés and applications. But they're looking for people to work in a new program on Staten Island, so when they contacted me to attend an "open house," I agreed to go, hoping I'd be able to request a different location. Wasn't sure if it would be a group interview with several interviewees or an interview with a panel of several hiring powers. It turned out to be a screening interview with one person.

The interviewer could not have been nicer. She was visibly and vocally impressed with my résumé (thanks for reviewing it, Alona) and experience. She didn't ask why I am no longer with my former employer. She said I was a great fit for the agency and the program. And she told me she'd hire me herself -- if she could. She's the program director for another program within the agency, and was just there to help out with screening interviews. But she said she'd recommend that I be interviewed for a position in Brooklyn or Queens. (Whew.)

So maybe I haven't completely tanked my career quite yet. I feel a bit hopeful. Still kind of keyed up from the interview, but much less miserable and anxious than yesterday.

In other news, I got a letter via certified mail from my ob/gyn, reminding me I'm supposed to go in for another pap smear to follow up on last spring's colposcopy. Should I send them a letter asking them to leave me alone, since right now I really don't care if I get cancer?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paralyzed

My mother came into town for the long weekend. We stayed at my sister's. Jerusha was remarkably nice throughout the visit, although I spent a good chunk of it reading and avoiding her children, not being a good aunt. Three days without the light box, and now I'm paralyzed. I could make a list of simple things I need to do: take out the garbage, take a shower, straighten my hair. And I haven't been able to do any of them.

I was able to fill out the application for a job open house I'm going to tomorrow. I have no idea how I'm going to do. I don't even really want the job, it's in Staten Island. But I've been applying to this agency since last October, and I was hoping this would put me on their radar.

I went to the trouble of dropping off my resume at a former co-worker's suggestion. And called and left a couple of messages. No response. What if I never get another job? I can't even think straight, it's like trying to walk through waist-deep molasses.

I managed to sign up for eHarmony. So far I haven't had to pay, I'm just starting to get to know my matches. Unfortunately, if I don't pay I can't see their photos or send them real messages. Not sure if it would be worth it, and not sure I'm up for dating anyway.

I also emailed a single dad on OKCupid. After some initial email chitchat, he wrote:

What is your interest? Are you looking for a penpal or a real world connection?

A man of action. Good. I wrote back:

Real world. I'm looking for a relationship, not endless email banter.

Didn't add: So ask me for my number already.

You and I are on the same page then... so... how do I get to meet you in person? Are you interested? I'm in midtown in the low 50s on 6th Ave. I'm available after 3 PM.

What happened to talking on the phone? And since when am I supposed to go to meet you? I would love to write that, but that would probably put him off.

Why don't we talk on the phone first?

He responded quickly:

Sounds great! Where can I call you? 

I gave him my phone number and told him I'd be home after 7. (Before 7 of course, but I wanted to look like I have something of a life.)  He wrote:

You can call me 24/7/365 @ 845-555-0624. I look forward to speaking with you. 

You are supposed to call me, Single Dad! Isn't that how it works? Man calls woman. Man meets woman at a location convenient for her, or takes her somewhere and then brings her home. I don't want to call him. But I guess I'll have to.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Relief, annoyance -- typical

My unemployment claims are being honored. Which is a huge relief. Have to go to an appointment at the Workforce Career Center to prove I'm looking for a job. Which is annoying. Have a job interview next week but forgot to ask about LCSW supervision. Which is typical careless forgetful Ayelet. Left an email and then a voicemail asking for clarification about supervision; no response yet. Which is irritating.

I'm also upset because apparently some guy emailed me in December on SuperTova, but I never got the message. Then yesterday I did a search by name for another guy (not as nice -- seems like a game player, willing to chat online but not interested in really getting to know me). Which transported me back to a past version of my SuperTova profile, with a different list of people who viewed my profile and two contact emails I never got.

It's weird -- I tried to write back to some guy and got an error message. So I logged out and logged back in, and got my regular profile. With no record that some guy saw my profile. I searched for his profile again and emailed some guy, but haven't heard anything. Given my luck, some guy was my bashert and I missed my chance -- he'll never get back in touch with me.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dire straits

My wonderful former employers have decided to contest unemployment. I put down "lack of work" in my unemployment filing. No direct deposits were made. I called the Department of Labor, and they told me my employers were citing misconduct. So I don't know what to do.

But I remembered that a blog reader had recommended I join the NYS Coalition of Social Workers. So I want to send them this message:

I was working at an agency and very unhappy there, and not performing well, leading to negative reviews. I was looking for other jobs. They promised me LCSW supervision at my interview. It turned out the supervision they were providing was not LCSW supervision. They sent out an email telling us that if we stayed employed with them, we would have no trouble applying for the LCSW. (I kept that email.) I stopped looking for another job. Then they fired me. They promised me they would not contest unemployment, and they have. I don't know what to do.

Any thoughts?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, February 05, 2011

And that's why he's still single

Blogging right now is incredibly difficult, so this isn't going to be very well written. I wanted to write about the inspiring evening I spent with my amazing grad school friend Jadwiga, who interned at my former employer and knows most of the players.

We went for dinner and then had wine and tiramisu, which together make the world seem full of endless possibilities. I can't do the evening justice. I can't remember everything that I said, what she said. Let's just say she believes I was not fairly treated, what happened was mostly not my fault, I still belong in the profession, I will find a much better job, and I have tremendous potential to fill a niche as a sex therapist for orthodox clients. I told her about my experiencing helping one young woman with her husband's foot fetish.

"You have the cultural competence to work with this unique population," said Jadwiga.

Of course, to have full credibility as a frum sex therapist I'd need to be married, but I could set about acquiring the relevant knowledge and certifications while I'm still single. And start thinking about referral sources: ob/gyn practices with a large Orthodox clientele (Maimonides, Mount Sinai, and Beth Israel hospitals leap to mind); mikvah ladies, who might know which ladies are unhappily married; shadchanim, perhaps.

I'm also going to teach Jadwiga how to do a little acupuncture so she can help her mother sleep. And recommended melatonin and the acupressure mat I love to hate. Which makes me feel like I wasn't the only one benefiting from the exchange, and that I had specific expertise to offer -- mastery and competence, the other non-pharmaceutical antidepressant. It was a very good evening. I felt somewhat restored.

Last night I went to Shabbos dinner. Didn't know anyone, but several of the women there were substantially younger than I am. There were two bachelors old enough to consider me (the rest were in their twenties); one seemed both much more frum and much older than I am, the other I recognized from synagogue. Silver hair, but he looks like he's in his 40s, maybe late forties.

Silver Hair (SH) wasn't paying much attention to me initially. But then, while we all sat around the table discussing Torah and waiting for a minyan so the men could daven ma'ariv, I spoke up in response to something the rabbi said. Apparently impressed both More Frum/Much Older (MF/MO) and SH. MF/MO told me that I seemed to have a great deal of Torah knowledge.

"I hum a few bars and fake it," I joked.

"I really liked what you said earlier, Ayelet," said SH as I cleared his soup dish. I thanked him. But he was sitting on the other side of the table, so we didn't really get to chat.

After dinner but before dessert, SH began handing out matzah. I heard him describing it as sherayim from a tremendous rabbi. He didn't describe it to me, oh no. He described it to the twentysomething preschool teacher sitting next to me.

That's why he's still single, and why I'm still single. The men in New York are always looking for the youngest and prettiest. In a sense, I was cock-blocked.

You would think this would drive me right into the arms of Detroit Guy, the divorced 47yo with 3 kids. But he has called me every day this week. It's a little freaky. He seems to be moving much too quickly and raising too many red flags. Again, I can't really write about everything worrisome he said that is putting me off. But Jadwiga told me to trust my instincts, so I am.

It was kind of nice to engage in Torah discussion again. I'm obviously good at it. During the meal while the yeshiva boys at the end were giving divrei Torah one by one, I went and got an English-Hebrew Tanach from the bookshelf so that I could "give over" a d'var Torah given by Rabbi Schwartz a few weeks ago at an oneg I attended. I gave the rabbi credit, although I can't say I really did credit to the material -- for some reason I was incredibly nervous. But I enjoyed it. 

Maybe I should go to Manhattan Jewish Experience for their Monday Night Learning program. The local kiruv center has a similar program, but after being bilked by Adam HaShakran, I'm disillusioned  with them. Maybe I could learn about Jewish marital laws and obligations. And I should talk to my human sexuality instructor from social work school.

And I should remember that just because something feels difficult or impossible when I'm depressed doesn't mean I can't do it. It just means I need to push myself and try.  I thought this would be a short and limited blog entry. It's not. It's not as complete as it could be, but it's not half bad.

One last thing. Dr. Jerk has left The Bad Place. He says voluntarily, according to another 40something woman I met at dinner. She was intrigued to learn I was a clinical social worker since she's struggling with anxiety and insomnia. And she's been seeing... Dr. Jerk. Who claims to be an insomnia expert, but after seven sessions has left her feeling that he's... a jerk.

"I'll send out a referral request for you on the ABCT listserv," I told her. I assume Dr. Jerk will reply, even though he doesn't take her insurance and he's not located where she is. And I'll ignore him.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"