We now continue the Getting To Know Your Blogger series with my inaugural but sure to be repeated IM conversation with Stephanie of One Of Each, who I've just cyber-cornered at her desk during her mid-day break.
SAM: What's for lunch?
Stephanie: A turkey sandwich and a 100-calorie bag of microwave popcorn. That is my standard meal if I'm not at a restaurant for lunch.
SAM: Every dang day?
Stephanie: Pretty much.
SAM: Sounds sort of chillingly efficient. Is that why you drink so heavily in the evenings?
Stephanie: When I was doing Weight Watchers, I ate a light lunch so that there would be points left over for that evening's wine, so I guess they're related. But the kids are the main reason I drink.
SAM: Of course. With kids like yours, I'm not sure I’d have anything in the pantry but bourbon.
Stephanie: It's easier to ignore the size of Chloe's head if I have a good buzz.
SAM: That explains why you always bring wine to monkey gatherings.
Stephanie: We bring wine to every gathering. We love wine! We went to Napa and Sonoma on our honeymoon.
SAM: Okay, we can explore that more deeply in the Cry For Help section of the interview.
Stephanie: I thought this was supposed to be uplifting. I guess painting me as a lush is funny?
SAM: Well, your attorney asked me not to talk about the crack.
Stephanie: My attorney earns his retainer.
SAM: We can explore that more deeply in the Way, Way Too Personal Information About the Chockleyblogs section of the interview. Or not.
Stephanie: It's helpful to have an attorney on staff. Especially to fight the credit card companies when I keep getting my wallet stolen.
SAM: So let's get right to what the people really want to know: what is it, exactly and in as specific detail as possible, that makes you such an avid admirer and appreciator of SAM?
Stephanie: First of all, she's beautiful. Secondly, she's super-smart and a fantastic writer. But mostly she doesn't say much, so she almost never interrupts me when I'm talking.
SAM: This is the best interview ever. Microwave popcorn's on me for the next month.
Stephanie: I just bought a box of 42 at Costco! I got a tear in my eye when I saw the box- it's a new addition at Costco.
SAM: Costco makes me weep a little, but not really for the same reason.
Stephanie: Am I about to receive a lecture about its evils? Because I've got a box of Easy Mac at home that says you're wrong.
SAM: Oh, no, no. I don't necessarily equate soul-sucking with evil. Speaking of, what's your favorite reality TV show?
Stephanie: If buying in bulk makes me soul-less, I can probably live with that.
American Idol, of course.
SAM: I usually keep at least passing attention on it, but I've completely ignored it this season. I just can't stand that they've let Simon's haircut go on this long.
Stephanie: I think Simon is hot.
SAM: So does Simon.
Stephanie: True. That's part of his charm. Last night was their big charity/telethon thing. It has inspired much email debate about fundraising between me and my brother.
SAM: Your side being?
Stephanie: We were just questioning how much of a profit Fox made from advertising on last night's show, for one thing. Also, I thought their fundraising lacked focus. It was like they couldn't agree on one charity to support, so they just said "Poor kids!" and left it at that.
Plus Celine Dion did a duet with Elvis, and we were debating which level of hell the people who put that together will end up.
SAM: Handy segue: In my extensive research (i.e., reading the comments on my own blog), I uncovered that you have a background in fundraising. Tell the good people about that, please.
Stephanie: This will easily be the most embarrassing part of the interview.
I work at Rhodes College, my alma mater, in the Development Department. Development is a fancy word for fundraising, for those of you not in a non-profit. My job is to research potential prospects.
SAM: Dig up rich people?
Stephanie: Yes, it's as crass as it sounds. Part of the job is to dig them up, but a lot of my job is to prepare those who are going to do the asking before they go visit someone. Rich people know you are going to ask them for money, and they expect you to have a proposal geared towards their interests.
SAM: And teaching them the Secret Rich People Handshake?
Stephanie: Oh, the fundraisers never actually learn that. We don't make enough money.
A lot of my friends think I'm a stalker, but it's really about doing the ego dance with these people. Ask them for the right thing, ask for the right amount- they get insulted if you ask for too much or too little. Rich people know I exist. It's poor people who find my job repulsive.
SAM: In your extremely entertaining and informative interview with RJA, you made a comment about having "a mindless job that would leave you free to pursue your true passions." Or something like that. I'm too tired to look it up. Is that how you would describe your current job situation? Except not, you know, in front of your boss?
Stephanie: I wouldn't describe my job as mindless - I was really suggesting that for him. But I do have a job that I can leave behind at 5:00. I don't have so much work that I have to bring it home, or so much responsibility that I end up thinking about work when I'm not there.
My true passions are being a wife and mother. I realized too late that I was meant to be June Cleaver.
SAM: You do rock the heels.
Stephanie: I don't want anyone to know that I'm only 5'4''
But I was smart, went to college- I thought I was supposed to have a big career. I realized later on that my calling was more domestic than I had hoped, and I quit trying to satisfy my ego through my work.
SAM: So where do you see yourself in 15-20 years, when the kids are out of the house? Finishing that Masters?
Stephanie: Whatever for? In 15-20 years I have to still be working here so that the kids get a discount on college!
SAM: Yeah, that's our college savings plan, too. We figure the best way to get a kid to want to go to a specific college is to tell them they HAVE to.
Stephanie: I have a variety of options for my kids. Rhodes is free, but other colleges give a big discount. Associated Colleges of the South.
SAM: So no pressure at all for them to hang around home?
Stephanie: No. I sometimes regret not leaving Memphis when that perfect opportunity presented itself. I'm happy I stayed here and met Chip, but otherwise I should have taken the chance to leave when it was staring me in the face. It would have been easier to leave town at 18 than it would, say, now.
SAM: Because you're more established in your career and homelife or because of your irreplaceable, relentlessly cool social circle?
Stephanie: A lot more to uproot at this point than just myself, I guess. Everything from not having my mom right around the corner to Chip having to study for and pass another state's bar exam. But I'm not exactly pining to leave town right now. I just think I missed that easy opportunity to experience something else.
Right now I'm anxious to leave East Memphis. All the cool people are in Midtown.
SAM: And it's way safer.
Stephanie: I imagine my new cool neighbors would notice if someone walked out of my house with a TV.
SAM: We tend to be more alert to stuff like that. And we can try to block their escape cars with our hybrids.
Stephanie: Of course. Or run them down on your bikes.
SAM: Well, that would risk tipping over and crushing a basket full of organic papayas.
Stephanie: Well, I hope to get there soon.
SAM: We'd be lucky to have you.
Stephanie: Yes. Then we could have conversations like this in person, and perhaps they would make more sense. Of course, we're both in Midtown right now, but we can pretend like I was at home when you IM'd me.
SAM: Feel free to query any midtowner to see if they've ever had a conversation this long with me in person.
Stephanie: In person my answers would have been longer.
SAM: Ready for the Lightning Round?
SAM: Alright. Here we go.
Who plays Stephanie in Chockleyblogs: The Movie?
Stephanie: Chip has long maintained that I look like Elisabeth Shue, but I'm not sure she has the chops to pull it off. I'm a complicated character.
SAM: Okay, Chip's insane. But moving on.
Farmer's market or grocery store?
Stephanie: Grocery store. We're not much for fresh vegetables in my family. And with that answer, Midtown will be rejecting my passport.
SAM: Yeah, you're lucky you got a work visa.
Paris or London?
Stephanie: Paris. (I've decided to embrace the spirit of the lightning round and quit explaining my answers.)
SAM: There we go.
Connery or Brosnan?
SAM: Paper or plastic?
SAM: White or red?
SAM: Movie theater or DVD?
SAM: Dining With Monkeys or Fertile Ground?
Stephanie: Fertile Ground
SAM: January or July?
Stephanie: Ugh. July
SAM: Back yard or front yard?
SAM: Pro or NCAA?
They're all pros, though.
SAM: I'm still trying to explain to my dad why college athletes shouldn't get paid to play.
Stephanie: But they should!
SAM: They do. It's called a scholarship. To college.
Stephanie: So many people making so much money off of them. Pay them market value, and maybe they'd stay in school and finish their degrees.
A scholarship to college is valuable to someone who is going to use their education to earn a living. College athletes do not fall into that category.
SAM: Sigh. You're drunk right now, aren't you?
Stephanie: I wish!
SAM: I'll let you get back to soliciting the Howells in a moment, but because I think everyone should get a chance to publicly answer them, we'll close with the the Ten Questions from Inside the Actor's Studio and ... that French show about boullion.
What is your favorite word?
Stephanie: It's a tie between cocktail and kumquat
By the way, I hate these questions.
SAM: Angelina Jolie would never say that.
Stephanie: We can't all be Angie.
SAM: Okay, I'll just make up the other nine.
Stephanie: No! I'll answer them.
SAM: No, no, I don't want to end on a grudging note.
Stephanie: Well then, don't print the part where I say I hate these. I'll honestly answer. I just always feel I have the wrong answers!
SAM: How can it be wrong? Just don't do that actor thing where you pretend to stop and think about it when they've already got their responses all prepared.
Stephanie: Cocktail and kumquat were definitely prepared. I debated which one I would say, but had to go with the tie.
SAM: What is your least favorite ... American Idol theme night?
Stephanie: This season it was Latin night.
SAM: What turns you on?
Stephanie: Instant messaging, of course.
SAM: (flipping hair over my shoulder) Well.
What makes you turn the TV off?
Stephanie: When the electricity goes out.
SAM: What is your favorite curse word?
SAM: What sound or noise do you love?
Stephanie: Such a cliche, but my kids' voices
SAM: What sounds or noise do your children love making in public places?
Stephanie: Burps and farts. An occasional screech.
SAM: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? (I love how they say, "attempt," because James Lipton knows you're never going to make it without the proper job training.)
Stephanie: Sideline reporter on Monday Night Football.
SAM: What do you think is really the World's Oldest Profession?
SAM: If Heaven exists beyond the lobby of Sakura, what would you like to hear The Great Sushi Master say when you arrive?
Stephanie: It's okay- we'll let you in anyway.