Sunday, June 29, 2008

the girl who has been and come back (and has the pictures to prove it)

So today I went to Tampa to see this girl who was at the Hilton by the airport giving a seminar on leadership to the management staff there. This girl was my road trip buddy. We drove up in her hubby's Prius and might I say that is a neat little toy. When they make one that can fit a family of six, sign me up!

We had a wonderful conversation on the way up, talking about this and that and before we knew it, we were there! Princess met us in the lobby with sinful black and white cookies from TooJays deli and we all loaded up into the electric toy to go to the mall and have lunch. Um, sorry, brunch.

You can tell it was brunch because there were Mimosa's. And you can tell it was brunch with us because we took pictures of the Mimosa's. gee, you'd think we never got out of the house or something.
After brunch we walked around taking pictures. When we spied this lion we knew we needed to do a photo series with Miss Jen.
Remember this shot? This was taken the day of my baby shower, about a year ago. Also the last time we all saw each other. I think Jen has an affinity for lions (and black tank tops.)
Yeah, I had to get in on the picture taking too. Good thing those blinds were closed because I'm sure the people inside would have thought I was nuts.
Then, a stop at Ruban Rouge. A drool inducing scrappy store in Tampa. (Love this place!) I could have dropped a butt-load of money but restrained myself and walked out within my (very meager) budget. Proud of myself and a little regretful too.

While we were there we met Kelly Noel. Kelly is a HOF'er, a MMMaster, a member of the AC DT, and just an all around gifted scrapper. I recognized her name from her work and then made the (duh!) connection to her PeaName when she clued us in. We exchanged PeaNames and she said, "Ck42? I know you!"

I'm thinking to myself, "Kelly Noel recognizes my PeaName? She must have liked my lo's! Someone who's style I like likes me back! Woo Hoo!"

And then she says, "Yeah, aren't you the one who had a baby in her van?"

Cue deflating balloon.

Of course, we all dissolved into fit of laughter over it all. Jen made the pithy comment later, 'Well Jules, we all gotta be known for something!"

The next stop was a flea market to walk around in the heat and look for knock off designer handbags for da Jens. Me, not so much. But we got to hear some very interesting conversations between stall owners and management and see the place "where dollar store items go to die." I love this pic of Princess making her patented Elsie face.
I was hamming it up and mugging for the camera when this shot was taken. It was near the end of our lap around the (closing) flea market and I had wondered alound where the head shop was. It just isn't a flea market without a head shop. Of course, I had to explain what a head shop was to my poor, naive little friends, and then, I'm sure they wondered why and how I knew the terminology. But we won't discuss it here. All i'll say is that the explanation isn't nearly as salacious as you're probably thinking.

Then we took Princess back to the hotel and drove home. It was way too short of a visit. Of course, I talk to these girls every day , but I still miss our silly times together. Lots of one-liners between the three of us that would never translate well in print, but at one time jokes were cracked about everything from dictionaries to airplanes.

I love these girls and our good times together!

the girl who is road tripping!

In about half an hour I will be on my way to Tampa to spend a day with these two lovely ladies!

I can't wait!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the girl who got cozy

I haven't really blogged about it, being uber cautious about mixing work and blogs, but I did finally break out of the unemployment rut about a month ago and landed a really good position. I'm HR Manager for a "Vacation Resort" (i.e. timeshare) and I am enjoying the daily challenges of my new position immensely.

During my job hunt, I was asked one of the standard "Why do you think you'd be a good fit for this position" questions. And I actually formulated an answer I think is perfect.

You see, deep down at heart, I am a nerd. I love spreadsheets and paperwork and filling in forms *just so.* I get a kick out of writing and reviewing policies and training manuals. I adore the minutiae of a finely crafted Excel Spreadsheet. Give me a place to make my mark and it will be alphabetized, indexed, labeled (with computer generated labels--not handwritten), and entered into a spreadsheet for easy reference. So an administrative office-type position totally fits that aspect of my personality.

On the other hand, I am also a "people person." I like interacting with people, I enjoy solving problems for them, and I love the chance to stand up in front of a group of people and give a presentation--even if it's merely to explain the open enrollment in benefits process.

Stick me behind a desk and I'm a happy camper, but if I don't have the chance to actually interact with the people behind the paper, I'll go a little insane and start organizing my paperclips in terms of size, condition, and general shininess.

So HR is a good fit for me I think.

So this new position is organizational nirvana for me. This company was without HR for about three months and prior to that had gone through three HR Managers in the space of a year. It's a little discombobulated and I'm up to my eyebrows in my element. Add to that the fact that this company (and all of its employees) is generally VERY HAPPY to have me there, and, well, we'll just say that being appreciated for the work that HR is can be quite intoxicating. Especially given the dichotomy in attitude about HR between my prior employer and my present.

The only downside to being appreciated and included is the meetings. I've never really had to use the calendar function of Outlook before as any meetings that came up were usually so few and far between that simply writing them on my page a day was sufficient. Now I pull it up every day. My whole day is blocked out in little segments of allotted time. One organizational tool that is starting to intimidate rather than thrill me.

Take tomorrow for instance: I go to work at 8:30 and my office is off property (although a mere 2 min away by car). I have a 10 o'clock meeting on property and then have allotted from 10:45 to 12 to set up in my site office to receive employees to take care of a paperwork compliance issue. From 12 to 12:30 I walk the property for my daily meet n' greet with the employees to remind them that they have HR again. Now, normally, I would think that my compliance meeting would be sufficient, but there is another meeting on site at 12:30. When that is over, I'll grab lunch and go back to my office (off property) to check email and phone messages. At 3, it's the weekly Staff meeting, which should end about 4. Then I can go back to my office and figure out something to do with the next hour and a half and leave around 5:30.

So a ton of metings, but not much work getting done.

Luckily, tomorrow is an extreme example, but the past two weeks it's seemed like I didn't start "work" until about 2 in the afternoon.

So today was a nice change. I actually was in my office for the majority of the day. It felt good. I can see my desk again and I made a dent in the piles. Barring the time to actually fulfill my compulsive need to organize everything, I've resorted to piles with sticky notes on top, file drawers with sticky notes for future organization, and stapled packets with sticky reminders of salient points and tasks buried within.

Post-it threw up in my office.

Oh! And I have a PaperMonkey! So she has been given the task of alphabetizing and labeling and sorting. Some of the piles are her assignments. Slowly but surely, I am restoring order to this little cubicle that is all mine.

So, knowing that tomorrow will be a royal pain in the patootie, my last task of the day was to set up new assignments for my PaperMonkey tomorrow. The clock was inching inexorably towards five, and I thought I'd cut out at the actual closing time. But, I just wanted to finish one more thing. At 4:54 the controller (who is always there well past me) packed up and announced he was leaving as the sky was getting ready to unleash the SPCA. I thought I'd be ok as I only had about ten minutes left on my little project. At 5:06, I shut everything down and heard the thunder. Between 5:06 and 5:10, the threatened thunderstorm reached its full potential. I looked out the door, realized that the wavy green blob thirty feet away HAD to be my van, even tough I couldn't make it out through the sideways rain. At that point I called home, turned my computer back on and worked for another hour until it stopped raining--or at least let up enough that I could drive instead of row.

I was warned about the tendency for the street in front of the building to flood, but the term "flood" seems rather mundane a term for the ravaging river sweeping tree limbs, construction cones and the occasional Ark along in its wake. I took the prescribed alternate route which only required a small outboard motor as opposed to a Coast Guard escort and eventually made it home.

I was late, I was damp, I was chilly from having to run the defogger (while being damp), and I was TIRED. So I decided it was a night to get cozy and, ignoring the lovely lady lumps of chicken in the fridge, I went to my go-to meal for damp weather.

Yep, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

Of course, what I thought would be a simple meal, ended up with me being tethered to the stove for about 45 minutes endlessly slathering white bread with margarine and adding slices of processed cheese food as the kiddos snarfed them down and demanded more.

Even Eli got a sandwich all to himself and a sippy cup full of warm Campbell's Mmm-mmm Goodness.

Each kid (except Eli) had two sandwiches each (lovingly cut into dinosaur shapes with my special sandwich cutter--cool, huh?) and a cup of soup for dunking. Aramis had another two sandwiches, Eli and I had one each. Of course, I could have eaten more, but by the time everyone else had placed their order, i had gone through an entire loaf of bread and most of a package of cheese (a big one at that!). So I was left making a sandwich out of heels.

Yep, nothing better than a heel sandwich on a rainy day.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

the girl who is putting away money now for the therapist bills

Here is a life lesson in parenting...ask a nine year old to clean his (shared) room before he is allowed to go outside and play on the first weekend of summer vacation and you will get:
  • a lot of huffing and puffing and general stamping of feet
  • an annoying whine listing all the reasons why the mess is not his fault
  • angry, pouty, tears
  • and a LOT of yelling and screaming and general bossiness directed at his younger brothers
Eventually you will grow tired of the noise coming from the room in question because now you have not only a po'd, frustrated and yelling nine year old, you have a sulking five year old throwing things, a screaming, crying four year old, and a nearly one year old squealing in delight at the action being played out before him.

The prudent parenting reaction would be to take the nine year old out of the equation for a moment and explain to him in your deadliest-I-am-being-serious-ignore-me-to-your-peril-voice that if he would just STOP the yelling at his brothers, buckle down and DO IT, then he could be outside (and, not so coincidentally, out of your hair) playing on his new Razor scooter in less than an hour, but by continuing to yell at and boss his brothers around he is not only prolonging the chore at hand, but he is also creating a situation guaranteed to work his mother's last nerve and ensure that somewhere along the line there will be CONSEQUENCES and he most likely will NOT like them.

If you are extremely lucky, this will work, the room will be cleaned, the boys will be let loose to wreak havoc on the neighborhood and you can go back to folding laundry in (relative) peace.

However, if you are me, you will get this little gem:

"But Moooom! I just have anger management issues!"

Monday, June 02, 2008

the girl who is a word nerd

I admit it. I love words. Especially big ones. Any chance I get to use a $10.00 word in the place of a measly 25¢ word, I get a little giddy.

Which is why I got a particular warm fuzzy feeling deep in the cockles of my soul when I ran across this phrase: "hermeneutic of stupidity." So much so that I had to run to and look it up.

(did you go? I even put a link there for you. Go ahead, do it. I'll wait.)

Cool, huh?

Doesn't that sound so much cooler and more professional than saying, "He is such a dumbass, I really don't need to explain to you how he f****d up, you should be able to guess."

And so I learned a new word today. I am fulfilled. I am proud. I must use it in a conversation to which Princess will go, "What the heck is she talking about?" and then life will be complete.

On another note, sorry on the poor blogging. I'm kinda keeping things on the dl right now since I want to enter MMM and I'm saving all my pictures and cute stories for that. Apparently, posting them on a blog only a handful of people read would still violate the MMM rules about not sharing ANY part of an entry online.

So quick recap and you can email me for any in depth stories: I got a job (!!!) which is a ton of work but I love the challenge, got the offer the day after my old job asked if I'd consider coming back (ha!), we had Mother's Day and I got force fed cereal in bed, Matthew broke a toe, limped hideously until we took him to the Emergency Pediatrics and then was fine, Zachary turned 9 and got a scooter and was promptly grounded the next day for taking a mile when he got his inch in new privileges, I'm super pissed at some people (and I'm deliberately NOT using their new pet names because my mother reads this blog and I've probably shocked her enough with my "dumbass" and "f*****d" earlier) who screwed over my Florida family, and I've taken a TON of awesome pictures lately!


Anyway, entry for MMM is due July 31st and I'm not really certain when they announce (and will deliberately try to avoid cementing that little factoid in my mind) so things may be sparse for a bit. Never fear! I will probably break down and do some sort of nonsense post (like this one) every now and again.