Friday, September 26, 2008

The Universe Smilied

So yesterday was the first day in a long long time that I worked almost all day. Well from 10-2:30 pm on my business. This had been the plan when we put E in preschool all day, but alas this entire summer, something else happened on either Tuesday or Thursday. I am not really looking for an entire 8 hours - I will take 5 or 6 hours of uninterrupted work time.

I also took some time to work on some personal admin items and this included poking around for better accommodations whilst on vacation, which is 3 weeks away.

We are heading on vacation with my mother on the emphatic advice of both her doctors. We are going to Jekyll Island which is an island off the coast of Georgia, roughly the size of the Short North. Given the late nature of our planning we had secured two very small rooms at the Days Inn.

Now there are a number of problems with this. No kitchen and given my food issues, I cannot just eat anything. I have been obsessing over this for weeks. Size. Two small children stuck in a small hotel room - sounds more like hell than vacation. Noise - there is a large convention there that week and the Days Inn, we stayed at before and well noise was a serious problem.

So I have been meaning to call the two Island rental agencies to see about a condo or cottage, but well I have not had the time or I have had the time and they are closed for the day.

I called yesterday. The first one had nothing. I mean nothing. My heart sank a bit.

I called the second one.

They had one. Not just one. One of the nicest houses on the island. It is on the beach. It has exactly what need - including a kitchen and WiFi (ok I do not need WiFi - but I sure as hell like the fact that I have it....) it has 5 bedrooms (way too many but I will take too many over not enough.)

It is a bit pricey, but if what the doctors say is true - this may be one of the last vacations we can all take together. I want it to be full of happy memories and happy times and I want it to peaceful and rejuvenating. It has been a long summer for my mother. She has moved, she has been told that the cancer everyone in the beginning thought was no BIG DEAL. Is in fact a HUGE DEAL.

My best friends J's dad died yesterday. Her mother died a few years ago - Life is really short. I mean really short. When great moments come along - Live them, becasue once they pass you by - they are gone forever.

We took the house. I am excited for the kids to have space to roam. The adults to have space to be and think and rest. Ocean view and ocean noise.

I am sure there will be tense moments - there always are when little people and big people get out of their element - but I feel way better about have room for tense to diffuse!

I am so thankful for having the time to call at the RIGHT time and finding what I want wanted. Feels like someone was looking out for me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Kitchen is Huge with no cabinets and no walls

If everyone thought my bathroom was rockin' with no walls - well the kitchen is Titanic.

The lack of ceiling is a nice touch too!

See YOU have no idea what is behind there until you move the cabinets...... (and dry wall!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Decision Time

I snagged this snippet from here

But Wait...

All this math may be meaningless if the early-retirement offer comes at a time when your job is in jeopardy (you've been stripped of duties or received bad reviews) or your company is at risk of going under (its stock has tanked, key clients have fled, budgets have been cut more than usual).

Attractive buyouts can foreshadow forced layoffs with far less generous terms. "When the buyout window shuts," says Kra, "it's usually closed for good."

In that case, take the money. Ask if you can stay on payroll awhile instead of getting severance as a lump sum. That way you'll have health insurance while you look for another job.

In this economic climate, I personally think that if the company is or has been in the news and appears to be on shaky ground and a buy out offer comes - look at the terms closely and TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN! I sadly do not think we have seen the last of the companies folding and once the court papers are signed, sealed and filed - well the COMPANY OWES its employees nothing. We have seen this with the airlines filing bankruptcy to break their union contracts and we are seeing it with Lehman on Wall Street.

This is the sad state of affairs we are in. There is zero reward for being a loyal employee and I hardly think the employees are to blame. Gen-Xers are simply smarter than there parents it would seem. The Gen-X motto rings true to my ears - "Screw me once shame on you, screw me again, shame of me."

Corporations have turned the workplace into legal prostitution. Who can do it and for the best price. And sadly who can screw whom the quickest and the fastest and at a profit. It is sad. They can talk about corporate culture and vision all they want - but until the CEO pay is slashed and their pay is exclusively tied to company performance and until we get some honor back into the leadership of the business community - I say this unfortunate trend will not reverse. There is no reason for CEO's of failing companies get big fat paychecks while the little guy gets screwed. It is wrong and it has to stop before the American economy gets back on track.

30 years of faithfully doing a job and maybe you get a cheap clock and a gift card at best and at worse - you lose everything... when the company goes belly up becasue someone at the top played the game fast and loose and got greedy.

We as a country have to decide - as we close the first decade of this century - do we want to show true innovation and clean up our businesses or do we want become a nation known for greed and failing businesses? I think the answer is clear - but then I am just one woman with alot of opinions and a poison pen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Learning Adventure

Well today was my second court date in small claims court. Normally Tuesday is a great day becasue both little people are in school. Since the court randomly picks the date, I am at their mercy. TODAY however L was home from school due to the power outage and I tentatively called around to see if she could stay with any number of friends and well everyone was busy. Fate was kind and E did have school or I think I might have seriously bailed....

So my 6 year old got her first civics lesson. (Well that is not exactly true - I always take her to vote with me...) We took a "Learning Adventure" to the Court House - which is kinda like a field trip - but WAY Cooler! (Did I mention that I was reasonable good at my former JOB - which was heavily weighted in the consultive sales area of customer retention....) Anyway, we dressed up - cuz I think that is what you do when you go to somewhere important. She had her trusty knapsack loaded with books and off we went. We parked in the Brewery distract so we could walk over the Freeway - I mean really what action packed "Learning Adventure" is complete without a walk on a bridge over the freeway?

We went thru the metal detectors, hit the bathroom - becasue with a 6 year old that is always a crucial stop. Then played elevator hopscotch to get to the court room and then waited... and waited and waited some more.... we met a nice woman, who was the company rep from an airline who was being sued. She was lovely - her employer - well they keep charging you more and more for checked luggage...

Then we went into the courtroom which L claimed was colder than Whole Foods and well it was. We worked on her sticker book and waited and waited. Then the magistrate came in. (Yes he showed this time!) Called the case prior to me, then dismissed it becasue the court clerk had not processed the mail correctly. It was too bad, cuz it sounded interesting....

Then called me. Since I was the only one who showed, he asked me a few questions - I showed off a bit illustrating that I HAD done my homework, he smiled and said, "well since you showed up - You Young Lady get the prize." I took that to mean I was dismissed - as he wrote in his file folder and called the Airline Case, which if I had not had L with me and a parking meter running low, would have stayed for. It sounded crazy and well airline stuff is always interesting. The only industry where you pay big bucks to be treated like a criminal and then mistreated and your belongings lost. (That is another post entirely.)

Then L and I played elevator hopscotch again and then hit the potty one more time and then went to the car. Her reward for being a good helper and an outstanding citizen? A trip to a great restaurant! We parked in the Short North and then walked and skipped our way to restaurant. We celebrated with a nice meal and an awesome Strawberry Yogurt smoothie for her!

I am willing to bet that I will never see a dime of the nearly $1000 owed to me, but it was a great day and like I explained to her, asking someone to do work for you and then failing to pay the agreed upon amount is just like stealing and stealing is not ok.

I at least will have the court judgment to justify the loss on my taxes and well it was the right thing to do. I am going to work on tracking this woman down now - but it will be a back burner item - I need to focus on finding new clients who actually pay!

They Impeached HIM becasue....

Yeah I am confused too......

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dark Clouds on Wall Street

Today is a bad day in the Market. Well maybe not a bad day, but a painful one. The financial markets can be manipulated for only so long and then the Market will turn and expect its due.

I spoke to my friend and investment counselor and former colleague this morning. She was having a rough day and it was only 10:15 am. My former employer is being bought by Bank of America. Actually I think it is a good move for both parties, for BOA it is a great way to get into some big time playing fields on the cheap cheap. For ML, well it is preferable to going under completely. Which to be frank, was a real possibility in my opinion.

Lehman filed bankruptcy. The guys and gals who ran it into the ground, well they are sipping Mai Thai's and loving their windfall via their golden parachutes. The everyday back office Lehman employee, they are watching their retirement disappear down the toilet. Like in monopoly - "Down the Toilet, straight down the Toilet, Do not pass GO, Down the Toilet."

You can talk all you want about a shift in the financial landscape, hard times and the like but the bottom line is - people got greedy. Guys who had limited risk in the game wanted just a little bit more and well the rest of us pay. What many people do not know is that most executives and certainly those on Wall Street, the guy in the big corner office has some insurance in his or her back pocket. It is a golden parachute and he is covered. Why not gamble just a bit more, if you have no risk of lose. When things get bad, you dump and run and or get your buddy to ASK you to step down and you walk away with HUGE severance package.

The average employee at Lehman will be lucky to walk away with their 401K plan account and maybe some COBRA to cover their medical insurance (all paid out of their own pocket.) For those long term employees, the seasoned floor traders, back office processors and the clerical staff, who were close to retirement - kiss it good bye folks. Bankruptcy means that if Lehman pulls it out and can exit bankruptcy, it does so without the obligation to pay medical and pension benefits to existing retirees and the pension - dumped - a thing of the past - all those hopes wiped out in one little legal filing.

I have been feeling sorta bad about walking away from my license and a career that was rather lucrative for me. It could have been more so, if I had been willing to step it up and take it to the next level. Today brought it all back into perspective for me. Sure I made a good living and well it was fun sometimes closing the big deal - but at the end of the day - it is a dirty industries, with a dark underbelly and lots of pit falls. The time required of me to be away from my kids is too much of a cost for the potential reward. While my loyalty had a price - Wall Street is far from a good gamble. Clearly as is the case with Lehman - my loyalty and the loyalty of others is a one way street - when the times are tough - the FIRM will dump and run. And for what - a gamble? Bad Business? Greedy Big Shots?

I think Merrill is doing the right thing. The deal with BOA means that ML will remain solvent and those long term employees will be protected. My advice to the person considering that early retirement offer - jump on it baby. Take what you can while the getting is good! You can always find a part time job or something to fill in the gaps - cuz Wall Street owes you nothing and your loyalty - Yeah that and $3.50 will get you some Starbucks.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sexy, Talented and Smart... People should listen to Matt D.

Not only is he sexy and talented he is politically savvy and smart. He is ASKING some really good questions. The Republicans made a BAD pick and the reality is Sara Palin is not by any stretch of the imagination qualified to run this country. Not at all.

Rash by Salad?

I am pleased to say that with the help of a serious amount of anti-itch cream, not so gentle scoldings by those who love me dearly, some bribing by others who love me dearly and some sheer will and determination (and well time) I stopped scratching and am almost itch free. The rash has faded greatly and I feel better. I was scratching like mad - hence those who love me - sought to help me cope/stop lest I make it worse or tear my skin off.

This is the worse case I have had in over 2 years. Anyone who knows me well, knows I am super careful with what I eat. If I am in doubt I pass. I seldom eat out and only at places that I trust to be ok. I am picky and always ask questions and well try to walk the line.

I used to be a foodie. I loved cheese, fresh baked bread. baked goods. I once took a cab in NYC on a rather long lay over to buy a dozen bagels, took them on the next leg of my flight and then home - because I love them so much. H and I loved eating out and were always trying new places. Recently I have been inspired to step out and try some new things - once they have been vetted.

All that is in the past. Now I eat because I have to. I still enjoy some foods and I will admit to embracing and ferreting out the best Gluten Free, corn free and dairy free choices. Lite on soy to boot. After this weeks' adventure, I am still lukewarm on food. I have eaten very little this week, after Wednesday - because it is just hard to imagine doing so - not knowing what caused such a painful and irititating reaction. I would rather just not eat. (Which is not the answer....) I also am back to square one on food complexity. Not so interested in multi ingredient foods or dishes. Plain and not overly combined appeal to me at the moment.

I have also decided that I think I know what could have done it. I ate a salad from Donoto's which had crasins and walnuts on it. I imagine that one or both of those items had been treated with corn syrup and well - I would have to say that dairy gives me violent stomach upset and corn products - well they are what cases my most violent rashes. I can only blame myself. I have not eaten at Donoto's in a long time nor have I vetted their offerings and when my mother suggest that for dinner, her computer was dismantled and I had no way to quickly do my online research as she had already had the cable turned off for the pending move.

In essences I poisoned myself by taking for granted that the salad would be ok. Ugh! It was a painful lesson to learn. Nothing is ok - unless I or someone I really really trust has prepared it. Nothing....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jon Stewart knows how to TIVO!

And man the Republicans wish he was still struggling with his VCR! It is amazing how 2 faced they can actually be.... I am sure the Democrats can too - but seriously it tends to come from the right hand side most often - in my humble opinion and since this is my BLOG - my Opinion is the one with editorial discretion.

Itchy, Itchy Part 2

Still all itchy and now I have a reddish rash.... not full blown hives but damn near close and OMG am I itchy and cranky and bitchy.

Seriously I have not changed soaps, started eating anything new and excited, eaten anything from the rather lengthy list of NOs, and God damn it I seriously cannot stop eating anything else!

Grr! Grr. Grr. Double Grr......

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My bathroom seems so much larger without walls...

This is what happens when you tell the contractor they can just go ahead and gut the bathroom already. Without all the fixtures - it really does look larger!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Safety first, Gratuitous last...

I sent this email this morning to the principal, superintendent and the school board president.


Mr. S. -

As I walked L to school today, I noticed that once again there was no crossing guard at the D and D Rd crosswalk. I was under the impression that YOU had made it a point to see that we would have a crossing guard.

That intersection is simply too dangerous and too close to a VERY VERY busy road to not have a crossing guard.

I walk L to school - but many many kiddos go it solo and it is not safe. In my humble opinion the guard is more important at the D/D Road cross walk than at the one that crosses children at edge of the employee parking lot.

I have already made the board aware of my displeasure at their enthusiasm to offer the superintendent UNNEEDED and completely undeserved additional HOUSING ALLOWANCES and in the same breath cry that there are not enough funds to protect my child as she walks to school. It is about priorities and I can think of nothing more important than my baby's safety. I shall be voting no on the levy unless the superintendent gives back his Housing Allowance with is gratuitous at best and until I see the district's focus back where it should be - ON THE SAFETY OF MY BABY AND HER FRIENDS.

There is no compelling reason that there is not a crossing guard at that intersection, while the superintendent gets additional and unearned pay. None! Not in a down economy and not with a multi - million bond and levy on the table. Not even in the dream world the board must be living in.

Thank you for your time and attention. I think you are doing a great job and I hope to see a guard there very soon. You are right to keep the cars out of the circle - it is a safety issue JUST as having a guard at the dangerous intersection is a safety issue. It is all about SAFETY FIRST.

All the Best (for the Kids!)

Itchy, Itchy

Last night I was itchy. My arms and legs. Usually when I am itchy I assume I have eaten something I should not. Just a little bit of something. I waited for the hives. Thankfully they did not come.

As I switched off the light last night, I tried to decide what it was I could have eaten. In all honesty - I have eaten very little over the weekend. I have been running around all weekend and I have basically eaten what I could carry with me, which frankly is not alot.

I have vigilantly abstained from birthday cake, pizza, BEER, cream puffs, crackers and pretzels and popcorn. Oh wait - no ice cream either. I have munched on veggies, fruits, ME friendly bars and boiled eggs. Salad, Salad and more Salad.

This morning as I got dressed and slathered on the lotion it hit me. Bug bites. I spent Saturday evening outside having a wonderful time with some friends and some very wonderful new to me people! It was wonderful - it was excited and IT WAS OUTSIDE. My itching - not food related at all... BUG related....

Whew..... I will take Bug bites over any more menu deletions any day of the week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A woman's (girl's) right to choose...

Ok I have had enough. Bristol Paulin is pregnant. She is 17 and unmarried and her mother is running for VP - HER MOTHER. I think the media should leave her alone.

I am Pro-Choice. I think I have been pro-Choice since before I really even grasped the gray area of that choice - BUT news flash - being pro-CHOICE means one can choose to have the baby also. Pro-Choice is not pro abortion.... Being pro-choice is about supporting and affirming a woman's right to reproductive freedom.

I am pro-Choice and have never had an abortion - I have had 2 babies, a miscarriage, used all manner of birth control, been screened for all manner of STDs and so forth. I have benefited from low cost birth control thru the school clinic. I have benefited from free sex ed. I had the county nurse come visit me at home when both babies were born. I benefited from lactation counseling with both babies. When I thought I might be pregnant in college - I knew that abortion was a choice.

Bristol can choose to have her baby and if she has the right amount of support from her family and the baby's father - then I think that is great! She is lucky and sure her life will be different and challenging - but it is her CHOICE. I am not sure the circumstanses of her pregnancy - did they or did they not use birth control, had she had access to sex ed or was she a victim of the right-wing's abstinence only sex ed program. (Hey guys - see hormones will derail that one every time.... (um kinda like that time with the hookers and the whipped cream - oh right different post.....)

The problem with many anti-CHOICE public officials and activists is they are also anti-sex ed, anti-birth control, anti-access to inexpensive OB/GYN services and clinics. Let's be frank - many of them are just plain anti-sex and in some cases - ANTI-Women. (Or they have a narrow world view of a woman's place in the world.)

I have spent zero time looking into the organization Feminists for Life, which Sara Paulin is a member - if it is truly an organization which provides support for women who CHOOSE to have their babies - then BRAVO. I somehow doubt it is that straightforward.

The bottom line for me is Choice. Obama-Biden is committed to keeping my Choices on the table - McCain-Paulin - they want me to limit my choices to THOSE they deem acceptable.

That is UNACCEPTABLE to me - as is digging into Bristol's CHOICES - she is not running for office - she is preparing herself for motherhood. It is a big step and thankfully she has support - not every 17 year in Bristol's shoes is so lucky - my vote hopefully will help that woman, the one lost and alone and needing all the facts and all the support to make the RIGHT decision for her.