I just got back to my desk after braving the world that is the building cafeteria. There was a guy ahead of me who was wearing the biggest diamond earrings, a huge-ass gold chain with a large diamond medallion, some kind of freaky expensive basketball shoes, a leather jacket, AND he was texting on his slim razr phone. When it was his turn to pay, he argued with the cashier over the $.46 she charged for tax. Dude! It’s $.46 and she’s just doing her job for god’s sake. She doesn’t make the prices, she just takes your money. Grow up. That was after a gal got mad because the guy cooking up the food accidentally served one person ahead of her. She got mad and left with no food whatsoever and bitched the whole way to the elevator and up to her floor. She talked about how she was going to report him because this is not the first time he has overlooked her. Incidentally, she was wearing a witch costume.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Happy Day before the Christmas Season! Get ready for muzak Christmas carols, more holiday commercials, and for phase one of retailers’ Christmas booty.
So, it’s been a few days. Part of the reason I haven’t written is because my laptop died. I was working on it and it went into hibernation mode and I haven’t been able to get it powered up since. Thankfully I have a 3 year warranty on it and will be sending it in for repair. But I miss it so much and am never more aware of how much emphasis I place on my laptop until I can no longer use it. I should have it back in 10-14 days or so.
The weekend was busy. I spent most of Saturday at a co-worker’s house taking pictures of his daughter’s 4th birthday party. It was fun but busy. They had over 40 guests; at least half of them were children. Talk about craziness. I was there from about 11:30 until 4pm and ended up taking over 150 pictures. The kids were great. They hit a piñata, ate ice cream cake, played outside, and watched the birthday girl open presents. After the sugar high abated, they crashed in front of a movie in my co-worker’s basement family theater. I left exhausted yet satisfied with the job I did. It was a little awkward because this is a co-worker who is relatively new. I barely knew him and didn’t know anyone at the party. So having to make small talk and small kids smile as a stranger was a little difficult at first. I gave my co-worker the CD of photos today and he was really happy with them. That makes it all worth while.
The rest of the weekend was spent doing laundry and FINALLY unpacking the last of the boxes I had packed when we thought we were buying a condo. I hung the last of the wall hangings as well. Our apartment is our cozy home once again. Oh! And I also managed to carve our 5 pumpkins into fun jack o lanterns. I set them out on our north facing patio only to find that the squirrels had made a snack of them overnight. Now, each pumpkin is in its own window which looks even better and spookier. Click on the Flickr badge to see shots of the pumpkins all aglow.
OK. I’m 38 (almost 39) and I am gradually realizing that I am so behind the times. The world is moving past me at dizzying speeds and I am not keeping up. I was watching TV this weekend and found that if you watch VH1 early enough in the morning, you can actually see music videos! One of my favorite past times while in high school was watching MTV music videos, as well as Friday night videos. Anyway, I found that I really like a lot of the music that is out there now. I have no idea who these bands/singers are for the most part, but I like what I saw/heard. Based on that, I am thinking I should finally get on the MP3 bandwagon so I can buy these singles and enjoy them at my leisure. I don’t want to be a fogey and think that the music of my day was music at its best. I would like to keep up with the new music scene but since I am not of the music magazine/record store generation any more, I am not sure how I will keep abreast of what’s new and fabulous without an MP3 player and the iTunes website. I tend to like what’s popular. I have never been one to hunt through indie bands to find something I like, though by hanging out with people who do, I have found things I have liked that weren’t mainstream. But for the most part, I am a music lemming. If you have tunes/bands/singers/music you like that is outside of the mainstream, leave it in my comments so I can check them out when I have hooked up to an MP3. Thanks!
Speaking of breaking into the 21st century, we joined the ranks of those who have cut the cable and have gone satellite. DirecTV came out yesterday and hooked us up. Our cable company was bought out by a company who has not been known for great customer service or sales. As an inauguration to their fabulous customer service, we got our fist bill from the new company which included a one time $40 service charge. No rhyme or reason for the charge, just a one time deal. Bob called on it yesterday and told them where they could put that one time service charge. We got our service hooked up and everything was working hunky dory…until I wanted to watch TV and for some reason our living room TV could not find the signal. I tried all the troubleshooting methods given to us by the company and nothing worked. So today I will call their customer service number to see if they can be of any help whatsoever.
Hey. Who is the teenage boy in Paris Hilton’s new video “Nothing in This World”? He’s a cutey and looks familiar but I can’t find anything on him at all on the internet. Anyone?
Bob may be featured in an upcoming issue of the national MDA magazine called Quest. A writer emailed him to see if he would be free to do a phone interview new Thursday. She is writing an article featuring FSH MD, which is what Bob has, and wants to put a human face to the disease. The local MDA office pointed her in Bob’s direction. Cool, huh? We’ll see what happens. We’ve had our hopes raised and dashed before in a similar situation so we will proceed cautiously onward.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Recently on my favorite local radio show they were discussing Wil Wheaton’s new book or book idea. If you could go back in time and talk to your 12 year old self, what would you tell yourself? I’ve been thinking of this quite a bit and have found myself actually wishing I could do this. If it were possible, I would go back in time and tell my 12 year old self the following:
1.) You are not fat. You developed early and your friends have not yet caught up with you. The reason you feel fat and big and huge is because you have a woman’s body while your friends are still in little girls’ bodies. Just be patient and wait. In 2 or 3 years, you will be back in amongst similarly shaped friends, though from now on, you will notice the differences more so than the similarities. Just try not to fixate on them. You may not feel normal but you are.
2.) Don’t spend so much time trying to please people…especially those you consider popular. Instead, cultivate the friendships with the people who are naturally drawn to you. Be your own person. Do what pleases you. Do what you have fun doing. Don’t be afraid to try new things, listen to new music, read new books. Reach out and embrace discovery.
3.) When you join the high school newspaper and yearbook staff, join as a photographer instead of as a writer. It will take you farther in the long run and is a heck of a lot more fun.
4.) When you begin to experience deep feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and suicidal thoughts, please do whatever you can to get treatment/therapy. This is called clinical depression and it is something you will battle all of your life. You will do well to do what you can to treat it with whatever treatment is available at the time. You will find it most beneficial while you are at college and in your 20’s.
5.) Try not to be so boy crazy. Dates and boyfriends will come and go but they will not define you. Develop yourself. Travel. Do things you want to do and like to do. Don’t wait for “someone special” to share things with. You will have boyfriends. You will get married. Don’t waste so much time, effort, and energy on crushes, infatuations, and fantasies.
6.) Finish college. Whatever it takes, whatever you do. Finish college. It will be hard, but you can do it.
7.) You can do it. You can do whatever you set your mind to. You can do anything. You are amazing, talented, and fabulous. I know things are hard for you and somewhat confusing, but don’t think that it’s because you are a loser or because of you in any way. It’s just life. Everyone is having a hard time. Some are just better at hiding it. Just remember that you are the best. You are wonderful.
These are the things I would tell my 12 year old self. In fact, I would probably write them down and laminate them for her. If I had had a laminated list like this when I was 12, I wonder how different my life would have turned out to be. Sometimes I wish I could have an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment when my angel in training shows me my life, but different. Would it be better or just different?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
See this cute little lady? She is my grandma. She is my feisty nordic grandma. She is going under the knife tomorrow morning for knee replacement surgery. Poor grandma. Thankfully, she has wonderful grandchildren and grandchildren-in-law who are honored to sit at the hospital waiting for her to come out of surgery and be there to get her stuff just in case. If you happen to be people of prayer, please pray for my 80+ grandma who is going under the knife tomorrow morning for knee replacement surgery. Thanks!
Friday, October 20, 2006
We are getting our carpets cleaned for free. Not by Ritzy Clean. Oh no. I ended up calling our apartment management office to ask who they use and what it would cost for us to call them in to clean the carpets. Turns out the carpet cleaning company is under contract to clean carpets every month in order to make things ship shape for new tenants. Because we are not moving out and are staying another year, we are eligible for an annual carpet cleaning and will be fit into the November schedule. We should have done that in the first place. Sheesh.
Speaking of college (see yesterday’s entry), in my traversing the highways and byways of the internet super highway, I came across the blog/webpage of a college classmate. Turns out he lives here. He was always from here but we met at college in South Dakota and I knew he had moved to Iowa but lost touch with him around 1999 or 2000. He was always one of my favorite people at school. He had/has an amazing sense of humor and timing and the best taste in music of anyone I ever met (Until M‘Lap). I read enough of his blog to catch up on his life and then shot him a short email which he answered. Oh, and a fun bit of trivia, he married his love on my 5th wedding anniversary. Anyway, I just thought it odd that I would write about college and then discover one of my favorite college people on the same day. Hi Ceej!
Monday is Bob’s birthday. He will be 45. He is old. Heh. No, I’m just kidding. He’s still got the heart and mind of a boy. Sometimes I feel like his mother, but he keeps me young and feeling free and easy. We are going to go out to eat with his sister and her family. I’m not sure what to get him for his birthday. He says he wants a hands free headset for the phone or an electric stapler. Not very romantic gifts, but I will do some shopping this weekend. I don’t have much else planned for the weekend. I do still have some wall hangings to get up and I need to plant the bulbs I got oh, 3 weekends or so ago. I was told that if I plant them and then keep the planters in the garage, they should be OK to bring back out to the patio in the spring. I hope it works.
M‘Lap commented a couple of days ago how bright and hopeful my writing sounds these days. First of all, I must say thank you to Lap for her kind words. So often I will think something and not actually act on it. Not only did she think it, she told me she thought it and it made my day. Thanks again Lap! But her comment made me think that the Z0l0ft must be working. I caught myself singing while making dinner the other night and that hasn’t happened in a good long time. Man, I wish they had had Z0l0ft when I was in college.
We are hosting Bob’s family thanksgiving gathering again this year. This is what happens when you or your partner is in a wheelchair and your extended family members do not live in accessible housing. Technically we were supposed to go to WI for thanksgiving this year, but Bob’s family is all in one place for the first time in a few years and his sister really wants to get together. So we retained the party room and will have a potluck thanksgiving. We’re not sure what we will be doing for Christmas. Bob suggested just going away for that weekend and I thought that might be fun. Christmas weekend on Lake Superior might be nice. We’ll see as we get closer.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Not much is going on today so I think I will write about something I’ve been thinking about. College.
When I went to college (the first time) I basically only went because I wanted to get away from my parents and away from my tiny home town. I didn’t know what I wanted to be or do. I was dating someone pretty seriously but didn’t want to marry him and yet I thought I would meet the man I would eventually marry at college (didn’t happen).
When I was looking at colleges, I started looking at schools that were really far away. My favorite schools were in California, Pennsylvania, and…huh…I can’t remember where the third one was. My criteria for choosing a school went in order from, 1.) Far away, 2.) Christian values/emphasis, 3.) Fun. See what I did there? Academia? Snort. I was not a good student. I was smack dab in the middle of my class and really only did enough to get by. I did well in classes I enjoyed but skated by in classes I did not like or understand. I got the minimum needed to enter college on my ACTs. I think it was a 15, 16 or 17. Who remembers? How can something so important become so trivial? I mean nobody asks me what I got on my ACTs. In fact, I don’t think anyone has asked me that since my senior year of high school.
Anyway, I knew what I wanted in a college and I knew what I didn’t want in a college. What I didn’t want was a giant University, I didn’t want a “party school”, and I didn’t want to go where my parents went to college. That is until I saw the merry traveling band of singers, dancers, comedians, and musicians from said college that made a stop near our humble home town the summer before my senior year of high school. Maybe it was the cute boys in the group. Maybe it was seeing this school in a whole new light. Maybe it was the youth and vigor the music inspired instead of the doddering old fogey-ness my parents own stories and memories provided (granted this was all in my head and is my OWN opinion). Most likely, it was the cute boys. Whatever it was, I was newly inspired to check out this smallish, Christian, non-party college 8-hours away from my parents and home town. It was closer than I really wanted, but still a good 500 miles away which turned out to be the perfect distance. It was close enough to come home for a long weekend but far enough away to ensure appropriate freedom and independence.
I fell in love with the touring troupe, visited the school and fell in love with it, applied, was accepted, and attended the great Sioux Falls College in Sioux Falls, SD. (Now known the world over as the University of Sioux Falls.) Maybe if I had had an inkling of what I wanted to be when I grew up or an idea of what I liked to do and was good at I would have done better at college. Maybe if I hadn’t been way more interested in the social aspects of dorm life than the academic pursuits college offered, I would have done better at college. Maybe if my depression had been diagnosed and if I’d been on some kind of treatment plan, I would have done better at college.
As it was, college was an OK time for me. I remember being very aware that it was a special time like no other time would ever be in my life again. I remember the close times with friends and the silly things we did. I remember the good stuff. I remember the giant snowball fight on the quad and playing hide and seek in the theater arts building. I remember sneaking up to the roof of our dorm and laying on our backs watching the stars in the spring night air. I remember my friend Jennifer introducing me to Monty Python and me not getting it at first but then laughing over bits and parts over the next several days and wanting to watch it again. I remember one of my co-stars in the play I was in mooning me from across the stage just before we were to go on and the difficulty I had staying in character. I remember the many, many nights spent laughing and drinking coffee at the Fryin’ Pan waiting for the early morning copy of the paper with the theater reviews to hit the stands. I remember playing all kinds of pranks on people, including the not so smart “Have you checked the children” prank call on a girl I didn’t really like. I remember riding in Carmen’s pink Suzuki Samurai on the sidewalks of Augustana. I remember my guy friend Doug Blatchford waiting for me after class one day to talk to me and then him not really saying anything at all and I wonder to this day if he liked me and was going to ask me out but chickened out. I remember going to the Madrigal Dinner and accidentally spitting water all over the theater director and his wife in a vain attempt to keep from laughing at something funny. And I remember the first time my friend Jen drove in winter conditions the Thanksgiving weekend we both were stuck at school. Thankfully, we did not hit anyone nor were we hit when we slid through that stop sign. (Notice how many memories are academic?) (Also, we are friends to this day though we keep in contact far less than I would like,)
But college was also very painful and very difficult for me. There were women I wanted to be friends with who used and rejected me. There were men I wanted to date that also rejected and teased me. I was made the butt of some pranks myself. I became overwhelmed and my grades slipped and fell. The more I struggled, the more I strived, and the more I became overwhelmed. Had I known to recognize the signs of depression, I would have known how to handle these times and I like to think I would have handled them better than I did. I felt out of place and left out so many times. I felt as though I were on the outside looking in to so many things. I had been looking forward to college making up for my lack of a social life and popularity in high school, but that did not happen. Instead, I became needy and clingy and ultimately depressed and weird. I ended up flunking out of school and feeling like a complete and utter failure. I remember feeling so completely out of touch that I just wanted to end it all and had planned to take a bunch of pills one night. I don’t remember how someone found out, but it was reported to our resident directors and they met with me and loved on me and helped me get to counseling for the first time in my life. It was a breath of fresh air. One of the bad things about flunking out of college was losing the free counseling I was getting
I just can’t help but think that if I had had the knowledge of depression, counseling, and treatment then that I have now, college might have been a much better time for me. Then again, it was the mid-80s and I don’t think anyone had the knowledge of depression, counseling, and treatment then that we do now. All of this came to mind today because I wore jeans and a large comfy sweatshirt to work today. I stopped off at my local Caribou for a latte and the barista was making 27 drinks for the lady in front of me (not really but she did have 2 drink carriers for just her). I sat in an oversized chair and put my feet up on the table in front of me and all of a sudden was carted back 20 years to when I was in college and would go to the union, order a bagel with cream cheese and a large coffee with cream. I would have to wait with the other students in much the same way I was waiting now. It felt so much the same I could hardly believe I was 20 years older. I don’t feel older. I feel exactly the same…but luckier because I see how far I’ve come.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Remember when I wrote that we were looking for some recommendations for carpet cleaning? One of you reminded me of a company called Ritzy Clean. I heard about them on my favorite radio station, FM107 and liked what they said about not upselling and about charging a fair price for the actual work done. So I called and had them come out. During our phone call, I explained that they would not have to move furniture and that we live in a 1000 sq ft apartment so the space that needs cleaning is actually quite small…just the living room, office, and hallway. They said that based on what I told them, they thought $80 might be the ballpark of cost.
The guy comes out today, talks to Bob about what we want done and quotes him $125. Bob balks at this and says to forget it then. The carpet cleaner calls the office and talks to his manager who asks to speak to Bob. Bob tells him we were told that it should cost around $80 and we were comfortable with that, but not much more. The manager then starts to yell at Bob, telling him he is stealing from the guy who is trying to clean our carpets and make a living. Bob tells the manager that he is on SSI and in a wheelchair and is not out to get anyone but is on a fixed income himself and would just like the job done at the price discussed or closer to it. The manager then calls Bob a dirty F-ing loser. He says Bob is the kind of guy who makes his job hard by stealing time and effort from the company. He calls Bob a F-ing A**. Bob tells him that he has no right to talk to him like that and that he is canceling the job altogether and would like the cleaner to leave his home. The manager swears again at Bob and hangs up on him. The carpet cleaning guy was pleasant and embarrassed and said he would report this manager, but who he can report him to…I don’t know.
Bob was going to contact the radio station sales department and the better business bureau and report this to them both. We will NOT be recommending Ritzy Clean to anyone at any time. In fact, I hope the fine folks at Ritzy Clean Google themselves and read this non-recommendation. This is the first time anything like this has happened to us and usually the advertisers on FM107 are awesome and amazing. We have used Noble Glass, Simply To the Table, Yarn Café, Al’s Vacuum, 2 Julies, Carlson-Wagonlit, In-Vision, Shred- it, and others and have always had an amazing experience. We have been quick to use the services recommended through the advertising on FM107 so we hope this is a one time thing and that others have not been abused in such a base and demeaning way.
Thank you for letting me tell our story. We hope it is NOT the norm. Do NOT, under any circumstances use Ritzy Clean for your carpet cleaning needs.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1 quart chicken broth
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
3/4 pound ground beef sirloin
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
1 large egg
1/4 to 1/3 cup fine Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (a generous handful), plus more to pass around the table
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound spaghetti, broken into thirds
1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded.
The Good: I’ve been told by several people at work lately that I’m back. I guess the fact that I’m not so distracted and self-conscious and floopy is noticeable. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Loud Girl is no longer here. Except she is here more than I had hoped she would be. Sometimes I would love to send her new boss an email to ask her if she doesn’t have enough work for L.G. to do because she’s down here so much. Sheesh. Anyway, even though we are rapidly losing our staff and management, things between me and my boss and me and my co-workers are as good as they have ever been. Which is…weird. I have another interview on Monday though and I no longer have to disclose the written warning. Score.
The Bad: I inquired about a job I found online that would have been perfect for me. It was a full-time paid position for Clear Channel. The job title was called Production Photographer and the job basically entailed the photographer to drive around the metro taking photos of various and sundry billboards. Transportation and photography equipment would be provided. The man who emailed me back said he liked my initiative and spunk but that he had JUST filled the position. SUCK!
The Good: I was a cooking dervish at home this weekend. I made a delicious pan of chicken enchiladas for dinner on Saturday and I made a yummy butternut squash soup for dinner on Sunday. The enchiladas were super easy. The recipe was right on the can of sauce I purchased at Super Target. The soup ended up being a mish-mash conglomeration of several I have on hand. Basically I took a medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed and combined it in a bowl with 1 honey crisp apple, peeled and cubed; 12 baby carrots, chopped; and 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed. While I was peeling and chopping and cubing, I was also sautéing a largish white onion and 3 cloves of garlic (both peeled and chopped) in olive oil in a large soup pot. Once the onion and garlic was translucent, I added the peeled and chopped veggies and 2 cans of chicken stock, 2 tsp each of cumin, curry powder, and ginger. Add to that, about a ¼ cup of dry white cooking wine. Cook covered for about 20 minutes or until all veggies are fork tender. Puree in 3 or 4 batches with a ¼ cup buttermilk and a ¼ cup of whichever milk your family normally drinks. Transfer back to soup pot and warm and serve or put into crock pot and put that in fridge for cooking the next day. Yum!
The Bad: Bob and I had a very hard time communicating this weekend. Friday night I stopped by the gas station to see if he wanted anything to eat. I wasn’t yet hungry but told him I would be happy to get him something to eat. He ended up deciding on Subw@y. So I got his order as well as another guy’s order and drove down the street to the local Subw@y shop. I dropped off their orders and seeing as how they were so busy, I shouted my goodbyes and went to run some errands. While I was out, I started to get hungry and I was hungry for Thai. So I stopped by Big B0wl at the mall. They said the wait for take out was about 30 minutes. So I put in my order and wandered around the mall for a half hour. I ended up finding a basket for an empty space I had on my wall for $4 at B@th & B0dy W0rks. At the end of the 30 minutes, I left the mall with my Thai and my basket. I got home around 8 only to find a terse message from Bob on the voicemail. I called him back only to get the third degree about where I’d been. I told him and he huffed and puffed about being worried about me and thinking I’d been hurt or nabbed or something and why didn’t I tell him where I’d be and how long I’d be gone. I felt like I was 10 years old. I tried to explain where I’d been and how I didn’t think I needed to check in with him every time I did something without him. We ended up leaving well enough alone and just dropping the whole thing because every time we tried to discuss it and work it out, we ended up just getting mad and pissy at each other again.
The Good: Bob’s brother was officially installed as the senior pastor of a church in Eagan. They now live here for real, for full time. They used to live in Ladysmith South Africa but now live here and we’re glad to have them here. Bob’s family was there for support and it was a very nice time AND the first time I have been in a church since Mother’s Day…I think.
The Bad: Halfway through the service, Bob leans over and whispers that his brother’s son and wife are expecting their first baby in April or May. Which immediately sets off the waterworks in me for the rest of the service. They’ve only been married since July and I guess they got pregnant 3 or 4 weeks into their new marriage. Which, yay, for them. However, it has not worked that way for us and all the feelings of longing and grief I have managed to stuff and bottle up came pouring out during Bob’s brother’s sermon. Way to go Amy. After the service, in the car, Bob asked why I was crying. I did not want to tell him and that upset him. So I told him. And he said, “you have to have sex to have a baby, Amy.” Which made me cry harder. Bob drove home and I cried. When we got home, he took a nap and I watched TV. 15 minutes before he has to leave for work he comes out to apologize and talk to me. We talked, and it’s better, but it’s not perfect.
The Good: I had counseling yesterday and was FINALLY able to articulate some of the grief I have over not having a baby and how it links with my not wanting to go to church. As I told my counselor what happened on Sunday, the grief overtook me again and I sobbed and sobbed. My counselor asked me thoughtful and articulate questions that provoked actual responses. Turns out that not only have I always wanted to be a wife and a mother, I wanted to do it in a way that pleased God and that made sense to me. Somewhere along the line I got it in my head that if I stayed pure and didn’t have sex before marriage, God would be pleased with me and reward me with the husband and the family. So I didn’t have sex with my high school boyfriend (even though I really, really wanted to), or any guys in college, or other guys I dated, or even Bob until I was married. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. At all. But I did it and I did it serving and loving God. And yet month by month went by and I continued to get my period. And year by year went by with no pregnancy to announce and no baby on the way. And I began to see that at church; seemingly every other married woman of childbearing age was bearing children. Why not me? I had done as I thought God had asked. I was good. I was faithful. I was pure. Yet He continues to with hold the one thing I have always asked for. It feels to me as though He is either mocking me or He is with holding from me because I have been bad. I am bad therefore not worthy of having a baby. After discovering all of this, I am a sobbing, heaving mess and my counselor says, “That is a lot of pain and grief to be holding on to. We definitely need to explore more of this, “ and I have never felt such relief. Finally, someone understands and is going to try and help me work through this.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Things just keep getting weirder around here.
First, an update. The United Way luncheon ended up being OK. I ended up riding with the large group that was all riding together since someone bowed out at the last minute. Then, when we got to the hotel, we mostly all ended up sitting together and it worked out OK. It was actually kind of nice getting to know some people I see every day but don’t get to talk with or know on a personal level. The food was…typical hotel banquet food. The program was nice. MN is a very generous state. Big Bank Co is generous as well and they are one of the only corporations that feature a volunteer paid leave program. Team members can apply for up to 4 months of paid leave in order to work with a volunteer organization of their choice. If I am still with BBC in 2 years I am going to apply. I would like to go to work with an orphanage in another country for a month or two. Anyway, I had so much anxiety over something that really didn’t require much energy at all.
Last night was a work thing. Everyone from my department went out for drinks and dinner to say goodbye to Mrs. Manager whose last day is Friday. Since the meal was paid for, we all really drank up before dinner. It got a little loud and rowdy and was actually quite fun. Dinner was yummy and I have a giant portion left for lunch today. We got to the restaurant after 5 and people were still sitting there talking when I left at 8. It doesn’t hurt that the drinks were still flowing. I am not able to have more than 1 drink so I was good, but MAN my co-workers can throw down. They were drinking everything from tequila to beer to bloody Marys to vodka tonics. If nothing else, I get a good education in what kind of drinks are out there. I am not a big bar girl and don’t know much about booze and mixed drinks. I know I like gin with 7up and lime. I know vodka does NOT agree with me. I know I HATE beer and most red wines. And I know that I loved the mojito I had last night before dinner. I wanted an appletini too, but was still a little blech from the rum in the mojito after dinner so I passed on the martini. Click on the Flickr badge to see me and my co-workers socializing after work.
So, the weird thing is this. Today my co-worker and friend Peg asked me to meet with her privately. She is leaving our department. (remember what I said the other day about a sinking ship?) That’s not the weird part. The weird part is that she is leaving our department to go work for the woman who hired me and rescinded the offer 2 days later. Turns out when this manager called Peg for a reference, Peg talked to her about openings in this department. The manager directed her to the webpage where you can apply for the positions and she applied and is now hired. She wanted to talk to me privately in order to tell me personally before I heard it from anyone else. She felt so badly about this that she cried as she told me. Her last day is October 27th. This is sad not only because she is going to the job I was to have had but she is leaving our department and she is really my only friend and ally here now. What am I going to do now? Plus that makes 5 people who have left our department in the last month and a half. Sinking. Ship.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
This is the cabinet I painted. I also bought that knob. It's a flower. There is some kind of yellowish spot on the newly painted cabinet and I don't know what it is. It is NOT pretty and I can't get it off. Arg!
This is the framed painting over our sofa. It looks smaller than it appears in person. But I think it looks pretty good.
This is Zoe looking drunk. For some reason she is sticking her tongue out and I managed to capture a photo of her doing it. Ha!
This is Chloe in the midst of a yawn but I think it looks more like she is practicing her evil Halloween face. Hee.
Today I am going to a United Way Leadership Luncheon. I don’t know why. I guess because I was invited and because it’s a good excuse to get out of work for a couple of hours. I emailed the one co-worker I know is also going to ask her if she wanted to ride there together. Seconds after I emailed her, a group email came out to everyone in our building that is going saying that this guy had 2 spaces open in his car. I emailed the group to say I am willing to drive but want to carpool and did anyone want to join me. The one gal I emailed earlier emailed the group to say she and another co-worker would like to take the 2 spaces left in the guy’s car. Is that a deliberate snub? It sure felt like it. So I will be driving by myself and most likely sitting by myself. If I hadn’t already dressed up and RSVPed my attendance, I would just skip it.
My job interview went OK. I never know how to gage/judge these things. The one thing that tripped me up was the question, “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” I told her that I honestly didn’t know. I could have given her a blahditty blah corporate speak answer but instead I told her that I have kind of found myself in a sort of limbo where I am trying to find my niche professionally. She said she will have a final answer next week. In the meantime I have a phone interview tomorrow and I need to return another woman’s call as well today.
Things at work are still weird. Loud girl is around WAY too often for my comfort. Now that Mrs. Manager is moving from our department to Insurance, Loud Girl is all excited because they now work for the same department and will get to be together at quarterly events and such. In the hearts and minds of me and my co-workers, Insurance is Nirvana and our department is one of the 7 circles of Hell. Loud Girl and Mrs. Manager found their way back to Nirvana. My rescinded job offer came from Insurance/Nirvana. In talking with my HR rep, we figured out that either Mrs. Manger or my manager would have had to have disclosed the written warning and talked to New Manager about me since HR does not keep written warnings on file. Even though New Manager said she came by the information from HR, she most likely was lying to save Mrs. Manager or my manager’s hide. So, I can only conclude that my new job offer was deliberately sabotaged because they either did not want me to move on or they did not want me to move on to Nirvana. Mrs. Manager has a history of sabotaging her directs’ professional lives. There was a time she did not recommend one of her staff for a position because the job paid more than Mrs. Manager thought this person should make. There was another time she did not recommend one of her staff for a position because it was more of a promotion than she thought they deserved. So based on all of this, I can only conclude my new job offer was sabotaged as well. Oh well. I will just keep on keeping on and see where I can go.
In counseling yesterday, we talked about my fear of failure. Bob thinks I have a fear of success, but I don’t. I fear failure. I fear it to the point that I won’t even attempt something if there is even a hint that I might fail. I don’t understand. So what if I fail? I can always try again, right? Nope. Failure is bad. Failure is wrong. To fail means that you are a failure. I don’t know where I came up with this mode of thought, but it is deeply ingrained. That is why I haven’t started my own photography business yet. I keep coming back to it and I think it would be a great thing to do. But then I think of my cheesy “equipment” and my lack of business acumen and of all I don’t know and I don’t even go forward. Gah!
Enough of that.
This weekend was good but busy. On Friday night I unpacked and hung all our wall hangings and pictures. I also took a painting Bob’s grandma painted to Michael’s for framing. We have had this painting for 5 years and have never had it framed. I picked out a frame from the ones they had in the aisle. The guys in the framing center showed me the hardware I would need to mount it and told me I could find it at Menards or Home Depot.
On Saturday, I ran errands. I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up some cat litter and ended up looking for the framing hardware (not found), spring bulbs (not found), pumpkins (found!), TV cable (found!), paint for a cabinet I have, and other assorted stuff. After that, I ran to Menards where I did not find the framing hardware but I did find spring bulbs and gardening wire to cover my pots. (I am not going to the trouble of planting bulbs only to have the squirrels and chipmunks dig them up for winter food.) After Menards, I ran to Home Depot where I STILL did not find the framing hardware. On my way home from all of this, Bob called to say he was out of packing tape and paper for the printer. So I had to stop at Target to get that stuff. While there, I checked their hardware section and they too were of no help regarding framing hardware. Although the small farmer’s market nearby did have the perfect spaghetti squash!
Once home I dropped everything off and put everything away and packed up the painting and the frame I had purchased the day before and took it back to Michael’s to have them frame it. I should have done that in the first place. The rest of the day was spent cleaning, hanging more things on our walls, putting things into storage, and cleaning out our patio garden. Thank goodness the weather was beautiful! It was sunny, breezy, and 80 degrees and so nice.
Sunday was spent cleaning, sanding, and painting my cabinet. I have photos but have not yet uploaded them to Flickr. Check back later if you are anxious to see them. Just as I finished painting, Michael’s called to say my framing order was ready for pick up. I picked it up, brought it home, and promptly hung it over our couch. Bob loves it and is thankful I thought of getting this done. Sunday was also the day we officially signed the realtor’s papers saying we are not buying the condo.
Weather tomorrow and Thursday? Snow. Snow mixed with rain. Highs in the 30’s. Snow! SNOW! It is only October 10th. And yet I have heard 2 more new holiday ads on TV and last night on the news the anchors read a story about people who are already done with their Christmas shopping. Whatever.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I locked my keys in the car this morning. At Bruegger’s. While it was running. And all my phone numbers and my cell phone were in the car. Which was locked. And running.
It was the first chilly morning of the fall. I had to scrape my windshield in order to see. It’s the first scraping I’ve had to do since early spring. I was just going to run in and run out so I left my car running. I made SURE my door was not locked when I opened the door and recited “do not lock the door, do not lock the door” to myself when I got out. I wanted a warm, de-frosted car when I returned. I ran in, got my bagel and coffee, ran out, tried the door and…NNNNOOOOOOOOO! It couldn’t be! But it was. I think someone locked it on me. Either that or I am a moronic slave to my habit of locking my car when I exit.
I called home but Bob was sleeping. With a fan on high. With the bedroom door closed. With the phone in the other room. So, no go there. I called the gas station where he works and some dude answered and said no one was there who could help me right now so I should call back in half an hour. It was 7. I was supposed to be at work. I could not call work to let them know where I was because all my work numbers and my cell phone were in the car. Which was locked. And running. So I borrowed a phone book from the barista at the ‘bou and looked up locksmiths. Except there are dozens and they all charge $30 or $40 to open the car. I decided to try the gas station where Bob works once again. This time I got one of the managers. I told him where I was and what was happening and he said he would send a guy right over.
The guy arrived, looked at the lock, brought back a large tool, stuck it in and popped the lock. I offered to buy him coffee or a bagel but he declined and told me to tell Bob to talk to the boss who will probably not even charge us. *sigh*. So that has been my morning so far.
I applied for another job. I have an interview on Monday. I talked to my HR guy again and he said that after the 15th of this month I will not have to disclose the written warning but that until then, I will. So…I will disclose it this time and see what happens. I asked him if HR will remove it from their records as well so if a potential manager calls and checks up on me, they won’t see it there after the 15th. He said HR doesn’t have it in a file there. I said they must because the manager of the job I was hired on said HR told her about the undisclosed written warning. He said maybe my current manager disclosed it as an HR issue and the new manager just didn’t communicate that. So, basically, my old (current) manager disclosed this written warning to my new (no longer) manager which resulted in my job offer being rescinded. Just great.
Things with the job here are OK now. The big bosses come in next week to do some damage control. They are having an all staff meeting and throwing a goodbye dinner for the manager that’s leaving. They are expressing concern for our morale and well-being, but I know that’s just a lot of smoke being blown up our hind quarters. This ship is sinking and it’s time to find a new raft to float. I just hope I can make it onto a new one without that going down too. We’ll see, won’t we?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
If you live in the Twin Cities metro area and are a Coke drinker, head yourself down to your local Rainbow. Through Thursday Rainbow is selling 5 12-packs of Coca Cola products for $10. The limit is 5, but if you need more, go to more than one Rainbow. Or go today AND tomorrow. If you figure the cost ($10.65 with tax) by can, it comes out to just under $.18 per can. You can’t beat that deal with a stick. I got mine, now you go get yours.
I had my phone meeting with my HR rep. Man is he in the right business. He is just the right mixture of compassion and action and he made me feel as though someone was FINALLY in my corner. We talked for about a half an hour and he told me he would create a report and investigate further. He also asked me to fax him the written warning so he could answer my question about how long I have to keep disclosing the warning when I apply for job postings. He DID say I can apply for postings but must be honest about the warning. So I will look into what is out there and will probably start applying for postings again since I do not want to go down with this ship.
Here is a weird thing. Over the weekend we received a letter from Dell telling us they received our report of fraudulent activity on our account and they were looking into it. The only thing is, we didn’t report anything to them about our account. I called the Dell customer service number and was told we could fax a letter in to them explaining this, along with a photocopy of my driver’s license and social security card to prove my identity. Except I am reluctant to do this in case it is some kind of scam. I am going to call Dell again today to verify that this is legitimate. I still don’t know why someone would report fraudulent account activity on my account…unless they were trying to take it over. Good luck. We have a $1,000 limit and I think we have paid $200 of that off thus far. So whatever someone can get off our $200 available balance…good luck. Anyone know anything about this? Maybe I should check Snopes.
We are having a cat crisis. One of the cats (we suspect Maisey) is peeing on my bed. Not the floor, not Bob’s hospital bed. Just my bed. So we have started keeping our bedroom door closed at all times. Except Bob is so softhearted and kind that he feels bad about the cats not being able to cuddle us at night. We decided that Maisey will sleep in the large kennel at night which allows the other cats access to our bedroom for sleeping. The rest of the day the bedroom door will remain closed. This also will help us identify the peer. If there is pee on the bed after this arrangement, it will be evidence that Maisey is not the culprit. But I hate having my bed peed on! Arg. Especially when there is no telling what is setting off the culprit. The litter boxes are clean and fresh. They are fed and watered daily. There is a cat tree with a fabulous view of the bird feeder. There are multiple cat beds and comfy areas for catching a catnap. There are toys and catnip galore. What more could a four footed feline want? Stupid cats.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Today we were informed that the woman who is my boss’s boss is leaving. Her last day will be next Friday (the 13th…how apt is that?). That makes 4 people gone from this department in a month and one of those 4 is the one that’s in charge of the whole shebang. What does that tell you? Man, I was almost out of here and now I am on a sinking ship. The boss’s boss will be here from San Francisco next week so who knows what’s going to happen.
If that’s not bad enough, my boss is barely holding it together because of some family issues/emergencies that cropped up this week. Her boss is leaving, which means she is going to have to do her job AND the boss’s job AND deal with family crisis all at the same time. She did say in our meeting this morning that family comes first and if she takes PTO and gets written up, so be it. Hmmmm…would have liked a little of that understanding thrown my way about 60 days ago.
I have a phone meeting scheduled with my HR rep this afternoon at 4:30. I will know more about how to proceed after that.
Monday, October 02, 2006
When we got to the restaurant, there was a coned off area just behind the building as had been described to me.. We went in through the back entrance and rolled right up to a table in the back meant just for us. Our server showed us where to sit and took our drink orders right away. With our drinks, she brought us our menus and told us the specials. This restaurant is known for having a game dish on the menu, but today the most game-like dinner was the fish. Not being in the mood for fish, I ordered bacon wrapped pork tenderloin and Bob ordered rack of lamb. What I really wanted was the pumkin raviolli but it was stuffed with ricotta and shrimp and I am allergic to the shellfish. Booo.
The server recommended a lovely white chardonay to go with my meal. Afterwards, we ordered Creme Brulee for dessert. While we waited for dessert, I used the restroom. When I came back, my water glass had been refilled and my napkin had been refolded. Schmancy! When dessert came, it came out with a candle on the plate and we received a personalized card with a gift card for $10 off our next visit.
Our dinner was lovely. The restaurant was romantic, the staff was attentive, the food was amazing, and the company...well, I could not do any better than Bob. He is amazing. He surprized me by having a beautiful floral bouquet delivered to me at work. Then, when I got home, there were more flowers waiting for me. He spoils me and I love it.
I bought a small cake from the baker than did our wedding cake and we celebrated at home with that and...other stuff. All in all, it was a wonderful day and a wonderful way to celebrate our marriage.
The rest of the weekend was spent doing a whole lot of nothing. Although Sunday was nice for me because I got to see some extended family. My aunt and uncle celebrated their 60th birthdays and 40th wedding anniversary AND a new remodel on their house. (as always, click the Flickr badge to see photos.) My cousin was in from L.A. and it was really good to see her again.
The weather this weekend was amazing. It was truly Indian summer with warm, sunny skies and a nice breeze blowing falling leaves around. Today was much the same. Unfortunately the cooler temps are coming back and we expect rain and storms tomorrow. Bah. I did get some nice fall photos today though.
Oh! I no longer have to cheat on my coffeehouse of choice. I was in there this morning and they have introduced their own pumpkin spice coffee product. I know they are only copying *bux, but who cares. I love the 'bou and miss them in the fall when I cheat on them for Bux's pumpkin spice lattes. Now I don't have to! Whoot!
Today was the start of our United Way Week of Caring. I am off to a good start with my raffle entries and prize guesses. I also bought a little something at the Tupperware sale this morning. I got those tiny little Tupperware containers that people use for vitamins and condiments. I didn't have any previously and since they were 10% off, now was a good time to buy.
Mondays are half days for me so I left at noon and went to the grocery store. They were advertising their Coke products on sale so I got 5 12-packs for $10. That's $2 a 12-pack! Score! I also stopped at Michael's to get an idea on how much it would cost to frame a painting we have had for 5 years but never framed. I want to get it done for Bob's birthday. It was painted by his grandma. She was one of his favorite persons in the whole world and she died about 6 months before our wedding. This is a good time to get the painting framed as Michael's is having a huge sale on all things framing. I am hoping to get this done by Saturday. I did find 2 really nice frames...now I just have to choose between them.
So that was our weekend and much of today. Wish we could have this weather all week long. I really need to dig up my patio flowers and plant bulbs for spring. If I had had the time today, I would have done it. Unfortunately I had to get to counseling and get our laundry done. Hopefully there will be some good weather this weekend so I can get our patio garden all cleaned up and replanted in time for the first frost. However, I still have about a dozen boxes to unpack and the contents to put away, so we'll see.