I feel pretty

Mexico is good for my ego. In the States I’m FAT. On a good day I feel ordinary, less than attractive. Not so here.

I’m walking around in shorts and a sleeveless blouse. Sandals, no nylons, no jewelry, no perfume, no makeup, my hair held up by a clip. I am as bare as I’ll dare on a well-lit day en un pueblito en México. It’s a hot dusty day and my skin is self-hydrating through perspiration. I’m going to need a long cool shower before too long.

Walking around in this minimum essentials getup of mine, I’m still getting more wolf-whistles, compliments and come-ons here than I ever could in Houston (wearing my sexiest dress, 4-inch open-toed black heels, sheer nylons and strategically-placed vanilla-based perfume). I always get a glance or two, a few smiles to let me now that the outfit has been appreciated, but rarely the frank admiration I get here.

After a day here I feel… and I write this knowing that I risk making a statement that collides with my otherwise feminist values… I feel like a girl. I feel pretty and wanted and sexy and sultry and coqueta and just plain nice. I know that I shouldn’t need to feel like that. And I usually don’t. But please don’t expect me to say that I don’t enjoy the reminder, every once in a while, that I have pretty eyes and a nice smile. Especially with as crappy a month as I’ve had.

I gotta go now. I saw some cute guy at la plaza I need to go smile at.

road trip

We’re spending the weekend at mi Güela’s en México. Which means an eight-hour drive to get there and another to get back. And while we usually drive out on Friday night, this time we left early Saturday, early this morning. That’s what had us up on the road by 5:30 a.m. this morning. my “trunk” was packed sky-high for a weekend trip for 4 people.

Ever taken a road trip in to the Valley in Texas? I grew up on these trips, either from Mexico to Houston or Houston to Mexico with 10 minutes notice to pack. We’d all get into my Dad’s van and entertain ourselves by looking out the window while the world whizzed by. It was usually nighttime and we were much more entertained by the shadows than the harsh sunlight on dusty land.

Arianna went out dancing last night, so I got stuck with driving duty today. It really wasn’t that bad, but by the time we got to Victoria I really needed some coffee.

We stopped at this taquería in Refugio. The only reason I know the restaurant is that the Adame buses that go to Roma stop there for food. Mi Güela takes the buses all the time and raved about their gorditas until we made an effort to stop there. let me tell you, gorditas aren’t the only good thing on the menu. My Mom and I had machacado, Juan had migas and Arianna had gorditas for breakfast. The coffee sucked, but the food was really good.

We stopped again, for gas, in Falfurrias I think. And that’s about when I lost cell phone access. An hour or so later we reached Roma. We always make it a point to stop in Roma to fill up (even though I only need a quarter tank), get some sodas and go to the bathroom before crossing the border.

The thing about making a trip over and over is that you develop routines. W always stop at the same Exxon station in Roma. We frequent the same rest stops and restaurants along the way. It becomes familiar.

The line at the bridge in Roma was horrendous. Holidays are like that. We saw more state troopers out this weekend than I’d seen in a long time. Because we all still had the permits we took out over the summer, we drove the extra 20 miles and crossed at Falcon Dam.

Those of you who don’t go to Mexico, especially if you don’t’ drive there, don’t know that you have to take out a “tourist” permit to get into the country. The permit is valid for 180 days. Then you have to get another one for your car, a temporary import permit, also valid for 180 days. They’re a hassle to get and you can’t get them at Falcon Dam, even though you can cross from the States into Mexico and vice versa. That’s one reason why very few people go through there. another reason is that there isn’t anything there but the dam, no shops or anything, so it’s not very appealing.

There were only 2 cars ahead of us at Falcon, and they didn’t even ask us for Ids. We _were_ stopped by 2 military checkpoints, one before Cd. Guerrero and one before Paras. The second crew did a once-over of our luggage. Both did the whole where-are-you-going, where-are-you-from bit. The third checkpoint was the reviso aduanal, and that’s the only pace I had to produce an ID and show the permits for my car and myself. It’s also the place where they would have impounded my car if my paperwork wasn’t in order.

Getting to mi Güela’s house takes less than an hour once you get into Mexico. So we were here by 2 p.m.; starved and hot and grimy form the trip.

The first thing we did was say hi to the folks. The second thing was to go to Elena’s restaurant and get a few order of milanesa to eat. Then we all took a 3-hour nap in my Güela’s living room, on the floor, in front of the AC. It was, after all, 105 degrees outside.

As soon as I get the energy, I’ll drive around town and think about my days on these streets. We’ll take our luggage to our house (yes, we own a house here) and take showers with cold water and think about growing up in this place.

Right now, however, I’m going to find myself an ice-cold Coke and sit in the shade some more.

disappointed, later that day

I took the job with the prospective employer.

Late afternoon today my boss called me into her office and presented me with the university’s “counter offer.” And I was very rudely awakened.

I guess that now’s a good time to confess that I lied to my boss. I told her that the prospective employer offered me more money than they actually had. I was thinking, of course, that by presenting a higher offer I could get more money out of the university. Boy was I wrong. Not only did the university counter with less than the prospective employer’s _real_ offer, they requested a letter from them stating what their offer was.

Shit! Shit! Shit!

So my options were to take a new job making just a little bit more… a job I wasn’t sure about to begin with. Or I could stay at the university, looking like a complete fake because I couldn’t produce the letter or the letter I’d produce would show an offer for less money than I said.

Thinking about it carefully, I decided that this was God’s twisted way of getting me out of the university. Because there was just no way I was staying, looking like a fool. I now that pride’s a dangerous thing, but sometimes that’s all you have.

I called the human resources woman at the prospective employer and left a message for her. When I spoke to her a few minutes later, off my cell phone, standing outside in the heat, she opened the conversation with good news. The city met the salary requirements I asked for yesterday. And I signed on on the spot.

Greedy little brat, aren’t it?

My boss doesn’t even know yet. She was gone when I got back into the office and I see no reason to call her at home to give the news over a holiday weekend. I’ll tell her on Tuesday when I get back in.

I’m still not completely sure that I’m doing the right thing. But my new job pays about 25% more than my current one. I tried to bluff the university and they called me on it. Now I have to live with it.

I go in on Thursday for drug testing and processing. They want me in as soon as possible. I’ll have to work that out with my boss. Arianna thinks that the university was insulting with their requirement that I produce the prospective employer’s offer letter and that I should just quit. I’m not going to, of course. I can’t burn my bridges. I’ll be professional and give them 2 weeks, at least, they won’t be able to replace me in that short a time, but it’ll give me time to tie up some loose ends.

I hope this turns out okay.


I need chocolate. In fact, I need chocolate more than anything else in the world right now. In a moment I’m going to take my depressed body downstairs to the vending machine and buy myself some chocolate and try to forget about being depressed. It probably won’t work, but I need something right now.

The prospective employer won’t meet my salary request. In fact, they won’t even go to the range we were discussing at the interview. Which is, of course, depressing. Stupid, really, since I didn’t want the job anyway. But I wanted them to want me enough to pay me whatever I asked for. And that’s crazy because I’m not that hot a commodity yet. I wanted the ego boost and I didn’t get it.

The university’s counter-offer to the rather dismal job offer I got is even more dismal. It hardly rates taking a look at it. In fact, I wish none of this had ever happened. I wish that I had never gotten the call for the interview, never interviewed, never let myself get my hopes up on getting a better situation than I have now. It’s just too cruel for words, too suffocating to realize that I have absolutely no control over the outcome.

If I were still going out with HIM I’d give him a call, go over to his apartment after work and let him make me forget that I’m in such a shitty mood. But that’s not an option. Damn! When I need someone to lift my spirits it happens to be in the middle of my no-dating season.

I feel cheated, somehow, as if something that was promised to me wasn’t done. As if something was given to me and taken away. How can I feel so badly over something I didn’t want anyway? I didn’t want the job at the City of Houston to begin with. I especially don’t want it for the salary they’re offering. But the counter-offer by the university is just making me think that the whole thing is a joke from above to remind me to be humble. As if looking at my checkbook couldn’t keep me humble enough.

If I force myself to look at the bright side, which I don’t want to do, then I still end up with more money for doing a job I like. And I wasn’t ready to start looking elsewhere for a position anyway. I know that. I _know_ that. But it doesn’t make me feel any better.

I needed the extra money. Still need it.

What do I do? I stay at the university a few more months. Get my portfolio together, spruce up my resume and do the interview thing. That was the plan from the beginning. Depressing as it sounds to me right now (and everything sounds depressing to me right now except for that chocolate I’m going to look for) I need to look outside the university.

Well, let me go for that chocolate.