Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Odd bits & pieces about work and non-working "A"

OK, so work is going better in many aspects. I sat down with my boss on Tuesday after taking Monday off. Explained that we were trying to get too detailed too soon and had too many things that were changing every 30 minutes. I told her it was too soon to build an application when we just couldn't even begin to guess at what it would look like. So, that's cool... I basically put the new application/tool on hold and it's still on the drawing board for later.

But, a co-worker put in their resignation, they're moving to a new department. I've been tasked for some time to learn their job anyway... now it's urgent. So, I'll be sitting with them most of their remaining days to pick up what I can. Lots to learn, no place to "play", and unfortunately, a lot of new software I need to install, but can't as I'm locked out of all the administrator rights on my laptop from work. We've been asking them to fix that for the past year... and on Monday or Tuesday, they'll be taking my laptop & re-imaging it so that we can finally get over this hurdle. Hard enough learning when there's little to do, even harder if I can't even "drive"... so this will help. Trying to back up local files & short-cuts, etc so I don't lose all of that in the re-image.

And "A" not working. Still. Back to not applying for any jobs again (should just stop paying the internet bill for a while ... too bad I can't live without it). Every time I try to talk to him about it, he either hangs up on me (while we're on the phone) or goes to the bathroom or outside or just plain leaves. He doesn't want to hear it. But, tonight, we're going to have another talk about how I don't have to let him live with me. And I don't really care if he doesn't like my rules. He doesn't GET to pick and chose which rules he wants to follow. If he can't follow my rules - he can move out. OR, he can keep treating me like dirt and I can rat him out to his parole officer. HIS CHOICE. Of course, this makes me the meanest witch of the west and absolutely heartless and I don't care about him at all (in his eyes, obviously); but it's been six months now where he's slept on my couch, eaten our food, used my internet and snuck out and spent my money on gas, cigarettes, and beer. And done little else except the occasional walking of the dog or picking something up at the store when I ask. And, god forbid I don't make a huge fuss of anything he does do. Because, of course, in his mind, he doesn't need to do anything and should reap great rewards when he wipes his own *ss. (Can you tell I'm frustrated???)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Busy weekend

Am cleaning out the garage some more, packing some more, getting rid of loads more stuff. I had about five people come by yesterday for freecycle stuff, have two more expected today.

I'm also heading out later to pick up a rug from craigslist... it's a $10 cheap buy for an 8x10 rug that if it gets stained by you-know-who, I will not lose an ounce of sleep over it.

Couple of other "odds & ends" that keep floating around in my head... I'm talking to a fellow from on-line. Seems nice enough, but there's something I can't quite place my fingers on. We talked once for about fifteen minutes, and it seemed fine. Second time we talked, he kept apologizing. He's not very computer literate - and he'd read something that the web site places on your profile "for you" and got the wrong idea. It wasn't until after he mailed me that he realized there was stuff on his profile that he didn't place there that was also misleading (mine was pretty sexual)... and then he had to apologize for the fact that he hadn't finished filling out his profile and it indicated he was looking for casual sex. He's since finished filling out his profile. All of that, I can take with no problems... not everyone spends their lives in front of a computer like I do...

But, that second call, he brought it up twice that if he's "bugging me" that I need to let him know. Twice... not once. Then, we don't talk for several days, and he sends me EIGHT identical emails. So, pretty sure he messed it up somehow, not sure how... but eh, not blaming him for that. But, then Friday night rolled around, and he calls SIX times (in about thirty minutes). I was on the couch after an AWEFUL day at work, feeling stressed, really, really enjoying television and time with both boys and just didn't bother to answer the phone. Didn't even look to see who was calling. I figured I'd just spent about ten hours on the phone and it was the LAST thing I want to do. But, then he didn't leave a message. So, I haven't called him back... not like I don't have other things to do. And, I haven't even met this guy, it's not that I'm trying to discourage him, but then I'm not certain I want to overly encourage him either. I just figure we can chat for a while to get to know each other - and I'm not about to drop everything I'm doing for a "maybe" when I'm not sure I'm that interested. So, now, I get an email about why I won't talk to him, and if he's bugging me - to let him know, but that he thought I was interested. WTH? Ummm - if you'd left me a message asking me to call you back, I probably would have. You didn't... if you hadn't made each of those calls seconds apart, but instead spaced them out over the weekend, I would have probably answered. I'm thinking that he's been a pest in the past - hence the let me know if I'm bugging you, and is assuming I was screening his calls specifically. Instead of just "I was out of pocket" and not answering "anyone's" calls. In fact, in the back of my mind I started to worry it was my step-dad or sister and there was a problem, but I figured it could wait until the movie ended... I don't know - I'm just getting this suspicion that all is not "sane" with this dude and NOW that he's over-reacting a little, I want out altogether.

Work has been nuts - again. And, although most of it is good, healthy, keep you busy kind of nuts, some of it hasn't been. We're in a bit of a power struggle between groups, and I just want out. But, to get out, I need to "brain-dump" as much as I can for about 1000 pieces of things and get it to where three other people know it. And, then, because I can't brain-dump EVERYTHING I know about Access & Databases & Queries at the same time, I'm trying to build a front-end, database driven solution that will help them do the job I was doing in Access. Only, I only know how things used to need to be done, and everything has changed. And, not only has everything changed, but things change every couple of hours. There's no "stability" in any expectations. I'm trying to control that by drawing up Requirements & Design docs so I can lock people into what they're going to get; but everyone is freaking out on me because I'm trying to set expectations. I'm trying to talk in general terms to try to capture some of this information and make sure everyone agrees to it... but most of them don't understand. So, the only way I can explain myself is to go through an example. They now want me to go through every individual, detailed step of a process (when there's only about 90 of them) with the group on top of everything else. Ugh. Sad thing is that to a point, they are right, this is something that needs to be done, HOWEVER, the detailed planning can come SO MUCH later if we could just discuss the over-all pattern that we would expect to have happen. If we have the over-all; then I can get further with the design; and as we flesh out the details, I can make adjustments accordingly. AND, the over-all plan won't change every five minutes unlike the detailed plan. Very, very frustrating. On top of that, I've got a program manager who doesn't understand why things are more complicated for me and I can't get my work done. Well, gee... if we continue down the pattern we are? Let's see, out of the 1000 items, I got 100 done in just about four hours. So, that would presumably take another 36 hours to do the other 900 items. Then, out of the 90 processes, we got through maybe 1/10th of the first process in a time period of, about, eight hours? Hmmm.... let me do the math here, 80 hours to capture one process, and assuming the rest go easier? Maybe 40 hours to capture the next 89? Gee, don't suppose that just maybe this isn't going to happen THIS YEAR. OR, maybe, just maybe, we really need to re-think how we go about figuring out what the process is. Because otherwise, we'll never get it finished.

Ok, done venting now. But, after ten hours of dealing with this over the phone on Friday? No wonder I didn't want to talk to anyone. I'm just saying.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A different "class" of woman

Phil wrote a moving post about how never having a child has never made her feel like she was missing anything - and all seriousness aside, I TOTALLY agree that raising teenagers? Kind of turns the baby charm thing all on it's end... they aren't so charming from 14 & up.

But, reading her post, and the post of the woman who had ALWAYS wanted children but couldn't have them and how when asked how old her children are - always feels like she's the new leper... well that got me thinking.

When meeting a new woman (wife of co-worker) or randomly at various events... I have a question that I want to ask, BUT, I can't figure out the politically correct way to ask it without it sounding dumb. I want to ask what they do for a living... but knowing that many are home-makers (or potential home-makers)... I usually start by asking if they work outside the home? And again, feel like I'm screwing it up. Because we all know that work inside & outside the home is still work and I really don't have any intent to minimize their "work" even if it is home-making.

Although, isn't it funny that us full-time work outside the home mothers don't get credit for being home-makers too? Who do you think makes it all happen? We just don't get to do that work home from 8-5.

But, anyway, what I really want to know is are they a working mother or a stay at home mother, and if they do work what they do? Then I'd follow it with questions about hobbies & interests... right? How do you ask that? I always stumble with it.

Oh & menu planning

No post here for a reason. I found that I would have to go "look up" the menu I had planned for the day... and lately, I've been able to leave my laptop at work for the week without carrying it home every night... so can't exactly do my "look up" easily from home when "A" fried my mother board and hogs his computer 24x7.

So, I've got this calender where instead of having a big photo on the top half, it makes the squares for each day twice as big & the dates cover the top & bottom half. And I writing down the "planned" meal in each square. Go figure? It's easier for me AND??? get this - "A" actually started one of the meals early. Admittedly it was because he was hungry AND it sounded good. But, hey, I'll take the help regardless of the motive.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How did we ever live without the internet?

Seeing Phil's post about cleaning her sofa... reminded me that I hadn't posted this.

Last Sunday while I was packing and "A" was online (as if he's ever NOT online) "a" managed to find the silly putty I thought I had thrown away. AND he managed to smear & smash it into the cushion on "A"s couch that we're using right now.

Now, he did feel bad about it, and I did make him attempt to clean it up. But obviously, the task isn't something that a 5-yr old is going to be able to accomplish. I started trying - and about 30 seconds later, decided I was going nowhere fast and needed more information.

One quick google search - found an answer in 15 seconds (or less). Read the question & answer from top to bottom including the part where the respondent was criticized completely for using the "wrong" stuff and that the couch should be taken to a professional... only to look back at the original question where the woman had ALREADY been to a professional who couldn't get it clean. AND the part from the respondent (in response to attack) explaining that he had just completed training at the company that makes this stuff.

So, figuring that the sofa that cost us $0 ("A" found it on a curb) and could not be saved by being taken to a cleaner (which I couldn't afford anyway) was either lost or we could try this - we tried it. And you can't tell anything ever happened to it. It came 100% clean (or as close to 100% as it needs to). "A" says he can still see spots (about the size of a pin tip) - but I can't see them (admittedly my eyesight isn't perfect any more)... and I'm not as OCD as he is - BUT the sofa is fine. In fact, I told him that if he wanted to, he could repeat the process if he really felt it needed it. Since he hasn't, I'm sure - it's fine.

The internet is a VERY AWESOME thing indeed.

FLYing along

Haven't posted a flying progress report - because although the house is actually in pretty good shape - there's a mini-mountain in my living room of packed boxes - and open boxes in virtually every other room so that I can pack for five minutes here and five minutes there. As a result, it's kind of hard for me to declare any room "good" - I think they all look like a bomb has gone off... but it's a mess with a purpose. I have a whole stash of items waiting to be picked up by freecyclers.

But, wanted to share something "fun" for me. Most of the flylady system portion that I use is all sent out via emails (can sign up for free). And, yesterday an email came out with a request from a reporter doing an article about "housekeeping" that she had asked the flylady to send out to see if they could get any responses. I sent my response... and then got to thinking. And then I sent an oh, by the way response later. I typed up all the things that I see as being a benefit from adopting this process... I'm going to copy it below. And the fun part? They've asked if they can quote me in the article! How fun - I'll post the link when I get it.

I got to thinking about all the things that really didn't apply to your questionaire, but that were impacted by my adoption of the flylady method. I think I made it very clear how much it helped me destress and how my children became more cooperative around cleaning. And, I touched on my increased amount of free time.... but there's so much more.

Because I have free time, I've been doing menu planning.
As a result of menu planning, I've started shopping & doing cook-ahead meals in bulk.
As a result of shopping in bulk & cooking ahead meals, I've been saving a ton of money on groceries.
Because I've been cooking ahead meals, I have more time every night when I come home from work to spend relaxing.
Because I've been doing menu planning & cooking ahead meals, preparing dinner becomes a fun event instead of a dreaded chore because I never used to know what I was making.
Because I've been having extra time every evening & enjoying the task of preparing dinner, I've had time to explore new recipes to try.
Because I've been trying new recipes, I've found easy, inexpensive & more healthy meals than I used to cook.
My children & I are eating healthier & feeling good about it.
AND - I'm buying less prepared food, so again, saving money.

Because I have free time, I have had more time to manage my household expenses.
I've found ways to save with money on my wireless phone bill - without losing any functionality or minutes that would be needed.
I've identified other money being spent on items we really weren't using - like the landline that is now disconnected.
I've managed to identify upcoming expenses better and being able to plan my budget better as a result of spending a little time planning ahead... this has resulted in eliminating overdraft fees and making the most of a line of credit to ensure that I'm managing my budget without borrowing more than I need - saving money on fees & interest.
I've managed to pay bills on time more often, saving late fees.

Saving money has meant that I could add money to an emergency fund and start paying more money towards debt - again reducing stress.

Having more free time every evening, makes it easier for me to plan on getting to the gym three nights a week, whereas before when I was "living in chaos" I was lucky to get to the gym once a week.
My 5 yr old son LOVES the daycare center at my gym and looks forward to going several time a week to play with his friends.
He's getting more social skills, I'm getting healthier AND I'm setting a good example for him.

It's REALLY amazing to me, looking back to the past year where I first learned about flylady, started the "babysteps" and learning how to adopt her method. Albeit, I have a long way to go still. BUT, the impact that getting a little more organized at home, a little less cluttered, and a little more structured about how I go about cleaning has been a virtual miracle. No one could have told me back then that by changing my method of cleaning and making little adjustments to my routines so that I was doing a little bit of cleaning as I got ready would have freed up so much more time and eliminated so much stress.

Just wanted to share - because, this, to me... is something worth shouting from the rooftop to others.

Who knew I was an acrobat?

Or should I title this, stupid Penny tricks?

Last night, I was on my way to someone's house & had the directions written on a piece of paper sitting on the seat next to me -- you know? So, I could find the house?

But, of course, the air conditioner has died in the SUV, so I'm driving along doing about 45 when the paper whips out the window.

We're on a 5-lane street that is a main artery from downtown to the suburb where I work that gets a TON of traffic & it's all cruising along at minimum at 45 mph. No parking, no room to pull over... in fact, most of the time I drive a bit slower than everyone else as it's really a little TOO narrow for the five lanes.

So, no problem, I pull over on the next side street (still no parking, but also no traffic - so I pull against the curb & turn on my flashers). I walk back to the paper that's getting whipped up in various drafts from the passing traffic. I follow it up & back so that I'm as close as I can get to it, but there's no way this traffic is going to slow down if I were to try to get that paper. Finally there's a gap in the traffic, oh, about 30 yards, the paper is inches from the curb where I'm standing.

I try to reach for it while still standing from the curb. Only, I didn't think it out well enough... and my knee? SCREAMED out in pain & said "oh, no, you don't" - spasms & gave way. I started to fall into the street with traffic going along at break neck pace as it is, the nearest car now 20 yards away! So, trying to think quickly I fling my entire body to the right & spin (who knew?) and landed on my hands & knee (ish, its still in tremendous pain)... and then what idiotic thing do I try to do? I'm still trying to get this piece of paper before it gets flung off to who knows where & I have to wait another 20 minutes to get it. And again? My knee decides for me that this is a bad idea. So, I straighten my leg out (into the street, but only for a split second) and then do this 180 degree spin on my other knee; and grab the paper & do another 180 degree spin so I can fling myself back onto the ground and far away from the car that is now about three feet from me.

Woosh! STUPID! WTF was I thinking?

And then this morning? I got to thinking about it and can you imagine what I looked like to the drivers? Too funny! I know it would have cracked me up if I'd seen someone doing what I had done.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Packing going along swimmingly

I've got a virtual mountain of boxes in my living room. All items I don't need access to in the short-term.

Have given away almost a pick-up load of stuff ( if not more )... woohoo!

Move is scheduled for the 12th of August... so I'm pretty far ahead of the game (which is entirely the point). Hoping tomorrow to do laundry & start digging through the garage to identify things to give away/toss.

Gotta love the Flylady system - of breaking the task down to small steps. I've been packing a box or two every evening, more on weekends... feels pretty good.

Have a couple of companies on the line to give me an estimate for loading & unloading the truck for the move. For the $300-$400 it's going to cost me, I figure its WAY, WAY better than trying to move myself with the stairs. Just yesterday, I had to shift my weight ever so slightly while carrying empty boxes up the stairs.... and I felt a twinge in the knee that reminded me that I'm still not back 100%. I figure getting them to lug things down the stairs will probably keep me from screwing up my knee... and if all they want to charge me is a couple of hundred dollars? SO WORTH IT!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Play Along

Thanks Phil for sending this. Here are my answers.

Hit forward and place an X by all the things you've done and remove the X from the ones you have not. Answer the 30 questions at the end and send it to your friends (including me).

(X) Gone on a blind date
(X) Skipped school
(X) Watched someone die
(X) Gone to Canada
() Gone to Mexico
(X) Gone to Florida
(X) Gone on a plane
() Jumped out of a plane
(X) Been on a Helicopter
(X) Gotten lost
(X) Gone on the opposite side of the country
(X) Gone to Washington, DC
(X) Swam in the ocean
(X) Cried yourself to sleep
(X) Played cops and robber
(X) Recently colored with crayons
(X) Sang Karaoke
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only?
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't?
(X) Made prank phone calls
(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(X) Danced in the rain
(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(X) Gotten kissed under the mistletoe
(X) Watched the sunrise with someone you care about
(X) Blown bubbles
( ) Gone ice-skating
(X) Gone Skiing
(X) Gone skinny dipping outdoors
(X) Gone to the movies
(X) Gone to a drive-in movie

I want to know more about you....

1. Any nickname? None that I want to share
2. Mother's name? Milly (officially Mildred, but she hated that)
3. Favorite drink? Surfer on Acid -- Ditto Phil!!!
4. Tattoo? Want one
5. Body Piercings? Not really anymore
6. How much do you love your job? TONS
7. Birthplace? Monticello, IA
8. Favorite vacation spot? Bahamas
9. Ever been to Africa? No
10. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? Yes
11. Ever been on TV? Yes
12. Ever steal any traffic sign? Yes
13. Ever been in a car accident? Yes
14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? Today 4 door (but was driving a 2-door when my knee was out of commission)
15. Favorite salad dressing? Rasberry Vinegaret (sp?)
16. Favorite pie? Apple
17. Favorite number? 7
18. Favorite movie? While You Were Sleeping OR Five Elements
19. Favorite holiday? Christmas
20. Favorite dessert? DQ Blizzard
21. Favorite food? Lately? Chicken Tortilla Soup
22. Favorite day of the week? Saturday
23. What do you do to relax? Knit
24. Favorite toothpaste? -- Been using Rx with high flouride
25. Favorite smell? After a rain
28. How do you see yourself in 10 years? financially more stable
29. Furthest place you will send this message? New York (although who really knows online?)
30. Who will respond to this the fastest? not a one (since I got this from Phil)

Told you, I'm due for a change

Don't know how or why? But the direct deposit that failed on Friday? Went through on the correct account yesterday. Some how... some way... after everyone told me that it wasn't a possibility.

I'm not going to question it, but celebrate it instead. Can we spell RELIEF????

Luck isn't changing - yet

But, I'm certainly due.

I went to the bank yesterday, and the banker agreed to request that any over-drafts that occur this week be a) allowed and b) waive the fee. We'll see. I'm supposed to call him tomorrow to see what management agreed to.

In the meantime, the apartment complex took my deposit and is holding it for my credit check to return - they won't deposit it until I'm approved for the apartment. The check to get my car back from repairs is going to be held until Tuesday. I'm calling HR today to find out if they've gotten the notice yet that my direct deposit check bounced or not; if we get a positive on that, I'm going to find out what I can do to expedite the paper check arrival.

And today? I broke a tooth eating breakfast. It's a molar that I had my root canal done on last winter; and I was supposed to get a cap for, but put off because of the knee. Then I put off due to my excessive debt. Now? I'm thinking the cap will be worthless... we'll see. ugh.

"A"? is actually diving in and actually applying for jobs for a change. He's got two interviews tomorrow. Funny what happens when the internet goes down. I'm in no hurry to get it fixed, if you ask me my opinion.

New one-word MEME

This is definitely a challenge to try-- You can only type
One Word!
Not as easy as you might think. Now copy or forward, change
the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard to only use one
word answers.
You can only type one word. Send it to 7 people including
the person that sent it to you:

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Where is your significant other? unknown
3. Your hair? red
4. Your mother? deceased
5. Your father? deceased
6. Your favorite thing? peace
7. Your dream last night? none
8. Your dream/goal? independence
9. The room you're in? office
10. Your hobby? crafts
11. Your fear? disability
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? house
13. Where were you last night? bed
14. What you're not? perfect
15. Muffins? yummy!
16. One of your wish list items? love-life
17. Where you grew up? Hale
18. The last thing you did? checking email
19. What are you wearing? dress
20. Your TV? home
21. Your pets? cat and dog
22. Your computer? Thinkpad
23. Your life? stressful
24. Your mood? tired
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Your car? Rav 4
27 Something you're not wearing? pantyhose
28. Favorite store? Walmart
29 Your Summer? good
30. Love someone? yes
31. Your favorite color? blue
32. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
33. Last time you cried? yesterday
34. Who will resend this? Phil

Friday, July 11, 2008

Not sure where to start....

So, I'm going to do a list:

- My direct deposit paycheck is going into a canceled account
- this means it will bounce
- then they will get the report that it bounced sometime next week
- then they will issue me a new check
- then they will send me a new check - which I should receive 5 to 10 days after I should have gotten paid.

Why?
- because I didn't call two weeks ago
- and when I did find out who to call & what to say
- there was of all things a serious storm in Minneapolis
- and there was no power
- so I couldn't tell them to cancel the direct deposit in time

AND
- I already wrote the check for $500 to cover the deductible on the insurance for the car repairs

I am hoping to get to the bank after work today or first thing tomorrow morning and request "assistance" if nothing else, to maybe get them to waive any over-draft fees.

In the meantime:
- I can't put a deposit down on the apartment I want
- Nor spend any money on packing supplies
- And may actually lose the opportunity

Which means:
- I won't be able to move in the next few weeks.

However:
- I did manage to get an extension on my lease at the current apartment for 30 days

BUT of all the lame-brained, insane things to happen to me NOW?
- The roof at the apartment complex, that is being replaced?
- It collapsed & one of the workers landed in my dining room.
- I do think we can stay - as they are already repairing the roof as we speak

But geeze! My life is a 3-ring circus!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Not sure I like what this says about me

So, In less than two months, I've spent over $400 on the vet for the pup. Some of that is to be expected, some of that is just that I happened to find what is probably the most expensive vet in town. She hasn't even been spaded yet... that was just shots and examinations and three months of heart worm/flea prevention.

Took the cat in since even though he is an indoor only cat, if any fleas happen to hitch a ride long enough to make it into the apartment, he can get flea infested - so I needed a current check up on him before starting him on flea prevention as well. Plus he was way overdue for shots - so that's another $200.

Now, the cat (whom I love dearly and MUST NEVER, EVER DIE) is very healthy, however, he's got a bad tooth that's probably quite painful. And needs to have it removed. And I can't stand the fact that he's probably in pain. It's gonna cost over $300 for the treatment.

Kyra the puppy? The spaying needed in about six weeks? That's got a $400 price tag.

I love my pets, I really do. And, honestly? This MUST be the reason people pay exorbitant fees for "pet health insurance" which I used to nay-say and laugh about. Me? I'm thinking instead of going to "Value Vet" which declares itself to be the least expensive vet in town. How awful is that? I don't really want to be a cheap-skate, but holy-comoley... last THREE times I had a dog neutered or spayed, it was $60 each. That's over a 600% increase in the cost? What the hey? I wouldn't be so out-raged about the cost if I hadn't already spent so much money just on the exams. Even at Value Vet? I may just have to break down and purchase the pet health insurance anyway - wonder if they have a pre-existing condition clause? Lord, I feel like a freak just thinking about buying "pet Insurance"... but for the money? Might have to do it to save money long-term.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sad pictures of Cedar Rapids - post-flood

So much work to do to clean up!!!