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Update: Suspense, distraction and travel

This story is about one of those times where something paid off. It’s a story about sacrifice and goals and curried cauliflower with roasted chickpeas. It is, at this point, a story with a soft ending, a sense of accomplishment and hopefully one that will be updated with a win for Team Pau.

Immediately after the last post, I put everything else on hold to study for an important test. There were multiple things to prepare for and there would be no re-test. The date and time had been set and lucky for me #GOMP, I didn’t have a job getting in the way of studying for it. So I set to work digging through emails looking for the types of exchanges I could use, if not for example, then as a trigger that might recall some high seas adventure story where a swashbuckling Pau swoops into the scene for a daring rescue. Or maybe it would be a Saving Private Ryan endeavor. A Kissinger-esque diplomatic resolution?

There would be software on this test too. A test on programs I’ve used, examples requested, and the crown jewel was a piece of software I’ve never used, but have heard of repeatedly. And finally, there would be questions on my leadership style to which “hey matey, go get another bottle of rum” would not be an appropriate example. What to do? What to do?

First things first, I shut down all thinking. Well at least the type of thinking that welled up from doubt and fear. I didn’t shut it down so much in an active act as straight up ignored it and focused on the task at hand. I began to ask questions. What kind of examples? What are they looking for? I set in, asked friends questions, did internet searches, made lists and paced about because that’s how I process information. The information enters through my eyes or ears and then I must walk around, jump up and down, shake my arms some times, until it drifts past my mouth where it could escape and makes its way down to my legs and feet where I can use it to kick ass with.

I started a trial of the crown jewel software. I poked at it with a stick but very little happened, so I jumped into some lessons and tutorials, took notes and filled my head. Then I shook all that info into my arms and hands and used it to punch up one spiffy practice text example use of it. Charm, wit, example? Check check and check.

Fortunately for me, printing notes on 3×5″ index cards wasn’t going to be on the test for when I attempted to do this, that size paper was not an option within my word processor, and no I was not using Word Perfect 6.5. My attempts to make a custom paper sized resulted in a loss of 30 minutes, a chuckle at my patheticism, and reformatted notes to print 8.5 x 5.5″

Friends (you’re going to be friends here because it sounds better but don’t worry, you’re not expected to call me on my birthday or actually have any friend privileges or benefits), I can say I was prepared when I walked into that interview/test thing. My examples of leadership rolled off casually and confidently in a tale that made the room laugh and spur a couple excited comments. The printouts of the software project impressed with comments of “first time I’ve seen this” and appreciation for the focus of the project. I was myself and I got the sense that my work skills, experiences and abilities were approved and it was riding heavily at that point on my personality. Would I be the right fit? They seemed to enjoy talking to me; there was laughter and personable exchanges. The interview ran 33% longer than scheduled. And I got a parking ticket.

But that was not the end. Before that, I had a call scheduled with one other person, for Friday. We’d met before, in round 3, but he wasn’t available for this last round interview and had requested a phone call to follow up to get the last of his questions answered. That call ran short. It felt like a good kind of short; like double checking, confirmation, nothing bad. There was the awkward, ok, well if you’re the person we go with, when can you start? And the seemingly more optimistic “sounds good, I’ll get back to you today. Well, if I can get ahold of so and so and what not, we’ll try to get back to you today.”

No call. And I’m not thinking about it. I did what I had to do. I prepared for the interview. I was myself. At this point I’m either going to be the person they want to work with or not. There is nothing more I could do and what I did was pretty good.

So yesterday I traveled for another freelance project. I drove which is usually a process I enjoy. This time it was made more challenging by inclement weather for the first 4 hours. The last 6 were traffic issues. My choice in audiobooks was dry, interesting, but not entertaining. Next time I’ll fly. But I did pack something that might be my new favorite road food. Curried cauliflower with roasted chickpeas. I hadn’t made this recipe for a while, and though I have dried apricots I didn’t used them this time. I went a little heavier on the ginger and subbed apple cider vinegar (on my mind/in my heart) for the white wine vinegar and whipped it all together. 4 hours into my drive with an upset stomach of coffee and vitamins, I cracked open the first pint jar and dug in. It was wonderful. The extra ginger and apple cider vinegar was doing back flips on my tongue pushing the corners of my mouth up into what is commonly described as a smile. I had to make myself wait until the second half of my journey before I tore into the second pint. It was just as good. A great road food; not heavy, easy on the stomach, full of energy and flavor. Too bad I’m flying next time.

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