The Homestretch



Guess how many days I have left at my current job??
TWO


Just 8 more hours at my little desk in the corner of "little Asia."
Eight more hours of pretending to care about my department.
Eight more hours of being nice to people who are not necessarily nice to me.
Just 8 more hours holding the title of Administrative Assistant!!!
I'm on my way up the ladder, and out of a bit of a rut I have been in for the last three years.

Over the last three years, I've learned a lot.

I learned that you really can't trust that someone who seems to be your closest friend, will actually be true to you when they are in trouble and need a scapegoat.

I learned that even though I don't have any knowledge of a computer program, it will not take long before I am the resident expert on that program. Computers and I are friends til the end!

I learned that I LOVE databases. And though I was pretty dedicated to MS Access before this position, I am now very much in love with FileMaker Pro.

I learned that a lot of really nice people are fake.

I learned ordering catering is hard for vegans. I also learned that if certain restaurants mess up on your catering order, they provide free food coupons that can not be used for a department lunch, and as such, go directly in my pocket (which explains why I have TWELVE coupons good for one free entree and a large drink from Baja Fresh).

I learned that I can enter data into a database, while watching a movie and chatting on messenger just as efficiently as if I was doing nothing but entering the data.

I learned that there are a LOT, seriously -A LOT!!!!!!- of really interesting websites out there just waiting for me to happen upon.

I learned that blogging is fun and somewhat therapeutic.

I learned that its quite easy to take advantage of a company when they have very poor management.

I learned that after you take a two-hour lunch once a month for six months, you start to not feel guilty about it. (It's not just ME -it's a group thing that occurs)

I learned that I am the QUEEN of multi-tasking. Seriously, look at my head-that's a crown up there.

I learned that being patient will absolutely be worth it in the end.

I learned that it's very acceptable to admit you are wrong, as long as you have a plan to make it right.

I learned that if you're going to call in sick, do it before the boss gets there so you don't have to directly speak to someone.



So many lessons I will take with me to my new job.

It will be a huge adjustment to get used to taking a scheduled 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks, as opposed to a 60-minute lunch and two 30-minute breaks.

It will be hard to give up messenger and being available via email all day.

It will be a bit hard to get used to The Real World and working a real job again...though I vaguely remember doing it before, and doing it really well. I'm sure it's just like riding a bike.



I've got new work clothes, I'm going to get my hair cut and colored this weekend, I've celebrated for the last two weeks - I'm READY!!

Two more days....I can't believe it!



I'm SO Over It...



How do you know you're over someone?
If you're over them--you know it. If you don't know for sure, then you are not.

I like to think of it as an old pair of shoes. You know you're over someone when you can think of the relationship as a pair of shoes you used to love and think were THE coolest shoes ever, but now you see them as just an old pair of shoes that hold some fond memories (like that time we snuck onto the grounds of the museum and had some wine on top of the hill and looked out over the city and talked about everything and nothign) and some bad ones ....but they are JUST shoes. They might be more important to you than a random pair of shoes, but....they are JUST shoes. Shoes that you wouldn't want to wear again, shoes that you could get rid of and not be too traumatized, shoes that you no longer HAVE to have in your life. JUST shoes.

I have some small mementos from past relationships-not a lot, maybe one or two from each.
I have some photos of the punk-rock kid I dated that I will probably keep-my son is in them, they're funny. I have a child from that one marriage I had (ha-I'm definitely keeping that memento!). I have a bit of tarnished credit from the psycho I dated, unfortunately that's with me a bit longer.
Oh--and I have HUGE trust issues from the psycho as well....but that's a story for another day.



No love notes though. The love is gone, or was never there in some cases, so the notes mean nothing.

I would rather live a minimalist lifestyle anyway and only want to keep things that hold deep value to me. Having a sweet love letter written to me by that guy in high school who swore we would be together forever is really not that meaningful at this point in my life.

Quote of the Day


Just because something isn't wrong, that doesn't make it right.

Dart Mania


I am a dart wizard.
Or I would be if the bullseye circle was just a *bit* bigger!

I play with my friend(s) every Friday night at the bar and usually win each game, though I'm not sure about the quality of the people I play with!

I play with the kid about three times a week at home..he's fairly good-I think it's because he's got my genes. I'm such a wizard at darts that it's actually carried over into my offspring.

Where's the Advil


I'm sick.

My head hurts, then it doesn't hurt, then it hurts, then I'm totally fine. My throat at least is consistent with its pain... I expect people to be extra nice to me when I'm sick. I can be whiny and needy and grumpy and moody.

The basketball tournament is tonight. If "my" team (aka my sons team) wins, we play more tomorrow. Otherwise, the end of the season is tonight.

I always get sad about this time, as it means that I won't have a regular social event on Saturday mornings anymore. I'll miss the kids and hanging out with the parents.

Of course, indoor soccer starts in two weeks and then I'll have other parents to hang out with and new kids to root on...

Verizon Sucks...

I think.
I want rollover minutes!!
AND
I want a better discount on a new phone. I've been with them for two years, as of March 4th. The gift that Verizon is giving me for staying with them for another two years is $100.
$100??? That's all my next two-years contract is worth to them? I spend that much a month for my two cell phones and all they want to give me is $100. That's lame.

The phone I want is a combination palm pilot and phone. I need a new palm pilot anyway, so combining the two would mean I could stop carrying around an extra electronic. A new palm pilot would cost about $150-200 anyway, so getting a $300 phone/palm combo is reasonable I think.
But Verizon is very limited on the phones they have. There are two I like, but none I LOVE. If I'm going to spend $300 on something, I think I should LOVE it.



The kid wants a $200 phone, of which he has $50 to pay on it. He's never once lost his cell phone in the last two years, and his has less scratches on it than mine (I'm sure I've dropped mine much more), so he IS fairly responsible with it. Well, I suppose I shouldn't forget the time he left it in his jeans for me to wash...but it recovered surprisingly well from that incident-thanks to some good advice about letting it dry buried in a container of rice (it sucks the water out of electronics!!!). I hate the idea of spending $150 on something he's going to carry around with him all the time. It'll be a sad day when he hears that it's not going to happen.
This is what the kid wants:

My Roots

The Duchesneau family. (my mom is the young girl in the front left)

It's a Special Day Today


It's my birthday!!!!!!!!

I can't believe I'm thirty-three. I still FEEL 25, though I have a 14 year old now and it sometimes feels as if I'm 45.

Thirty-three is starting out pretty well. I turned down one job offer this morning (the pay wasn't equal or more to the first job offer I have), and am now free to be excited and apprehensive about my new role.

I got a fat income tax check back this week and the promise of a $2/hr raise in my new job leads me to believe that I will NOT be stressing about money for a short time (until I start house-shopping anyway).

Life is good....

CAKE!! I think the best cake in the world comes from Charm City Cakes, though I haven't actually tasted one (yet!), I'm pretty confident that they are. They make MAGIC there, they really do.

Give me a Break!


I'm soooooo irritated with my manager. She's quite the control freak.

I handed my resignation letter in and she told me couldn't "accept" my final date and I would need to finish the payroll period out. I wanted to be done on a Wednesday so that I would have a nice, long weekend before my first day of my new job. A transition period between jobs is a good idea I think.

According to my union rep though, managers here are allowed to keep an employee up to four weeks. It's meant for situations where the persons position simply can not be empty. My position...could probably go a few months and it wouldn't be that tragic. But the Control Freak (C.F.) told my supervisor that she needed me to stay those extra two days because she wouldn't have time to complete the paperwork in time. It's bullshit really. But it's only two extra days (and it's not like I'll be doing a lot of work those days).

AND THEN.........

Then this morning C.F. came in to my office and told me that she needed the name of the manager in my new department so she could get to work on the paperwork process with them to complete my transfer. For the third time in the last 48 hours, I told her I have two job options and I'm not sure which one I'm going to take yet and I will know for sure on Tuesday. Her remark: I need to know today. She just goes around in circles and is immovable..she needs a name today. After rewording things for her multiple times, like I would a confused five-year old, and not getting any different response from her, I said, fine, I will tell you by the end of the day. She said thank you and left.

The end of the day for me is 4:30. It's a long weekend-we have Monday off. If I give her a name at 4:25pm, there is absolutely nothing she will do with it before Tuesday morning. She typically leaves at 4:00pm anyway. But she HAS to have that name today.

I have two REALLY great job opportunities to choose from. It'd be great if I could take the three day weekend and think long and hard about which one is the right one for me. And she thinks that she's going to control me just a *little* bit more and make me decide right now.

I hope she realizes that she's forcing me to leave with a very negative impression of the department-which is absolutely unnecessary. I haven't been happy here for a long time, why not just let me go peacefully?

Ridiculous and unnecessary drama.

I'm so glad I'm almost done with her. I hope to never cross her path again.

A New Beginning


I have a job offer!!
I might possibly have two, as I'm interviewing for a position tomorrow and I have heard that they think I am an exact match for the candidate they are looking for, but all I can think about is how I will NOT be at this crappy little desk in just 2.5 weeks!!
Common practice is to give two weeks notice, but I think I'm going to take two days off in-between jobs to do something fun, or even nothing at all!
There are three REALLY great things about this job.

1) It's a REAL job-a career position that will make me think each day and actually make me feel as if I went to college for a reason.
(seriously, monkeys could do my current job most days)
2) It's a BUSY job - I'll actually be leaving work each day with a sense of immense accomplishment from being at work all day and feeling like I'm greatly appreciated and valued.
3) It's NOT in this department, which means I will get away from all the lunatics I currently work with. Goodbye very-vocal, very-Republican, very-Catholic, very-self-righteous doctor. Goodbye skanky co-worker who got me in trouble to deflect attention when SHE was caught cheating on her husband. Goodbye disorganized, looney, somewhat-incompetent, needy and irresponsible boss. Goodbye and a big F-You to the manager of our department who has NO idea how to effectively manage administrative staff and makes us all feel bad. Goodbye director of the dept who can't be bothered with returning a Hello if we run into each other outside the office (or even inside the office most days!) and who admitted he didn't know his charge nurse's name, though he's worked with her for THREE years (WTF?? Really-he admitted he didn't know her name!).

I will miss some things:
**The free lunches. This department wastes a LOT of money on food and the admin staff gets to take home the extra food. It was wonderful and fed my household more times than I can count.

**The free time. My job could really be combined with my coworkers job and have ONE full-time position, not two.

**The funny Asians in my office. I just spent the last ten minutes describing to my Chinese coworker how cupcakes are made. She never knew how people were able to "shape" the cake and get it to fit in the little paper holder. She thought that it was some special instrument or tool that stores had to make them, or people at home would cut out a mini round cake (from a full sized cake) and set it in the paper wrapper, while the cake was still hot so it kind of seals into the cupcake wrapper.

**The free time. When will I blog??? How will I be able to sneak away for two-hour lunches?? What about all the online surfing I do between projects??

I think my new job will keep me VERY busy and I will have to figure out how to blog before bed instead of during work. It'll be a challenge at first, but I'll figure it out.

Oh, and did I mention it's a fat raise?? I'm at the top of my union-regulated pay scale in my current position and have had no raise for the last 18 months. I will now be making at least two dollars more an hour (it's not all worked out yet how much) and my new union-regulated pay scale goes up another $9/hr than what I make now. That's quite significant. I'm not a big money-hungry type, but I recognize the importance of it. Getting just an initial raise will mean that when my lease is up, I will be at a place financially to start looking for a condo/house to buy and get out of the apartments we've been living in for the last three yrs. Which means a LOT to my son who somewhat thinks that true happiness comes from having more than 1000 square feet to live in.

YAY for me!!!

Oh-and I got a nice bouquet of non-red roses and a box of yummy chocolates for V.D. day. Things are turning around quite nicely...

Too Cute



Freedom

I would wear this.

Parental Qualifications

Am I really qualified to be a parent of a teenager??

I have been a single parent since my son was 3. I moved away from my family and friends to attend college when he was 4. I've never really had much help raising him, aside from the occasional family member taking him for a few days or a week at a time (oh, and some random, sporadic visits with his other parental unit-who is now MIA). There have been a few rough patches, but ultimately, my son was VERY easy to raise thus far.

He was potty-trained, for the day hours anyway, by the time he was two, much to the amazement of my other mommy friends.
He was reading early and maintains a love and respect for books.
He has always been able to hang out with adults and wasn't the kind of child that made people wonder "what's a child doing here?"

He is a pretty amazing kid.

Or was...but now he's a teenager. Not to say that he's not going to be an amazing teenager, but he is definitely in a transition phase. He's now officially a moody teenager testing some limits and unsure of his place in the world.

And as such, I am the mother of a teenager, unsure of my parenting abilities.

The good old days:


My household is in the midst of a transition. My man-child is struggling with school right now. Last night he told me that school is hard and he's "never had to really try before." I told him that he's been really fortunate that it went that way for him so far but that school IS hard and this is how it has been for other kids for awhile now.
What I wanted to say was more along the lines of "welcome to life sweetheart-it's hard."


I find myself censoring myself more and more frequently. It's more difficult now because he SEEMS like an adult much of the time. He talks like one, he moves like one, he certainly is the size of one. His discussions are more more mature, he's definitely more adult than child. I'm not sure when, or how, that happened.

I'm not mourning the loss of my baby. I'm not sad that he's entering high school next year. I'm happy he's growing up. I'm happy that he's fairly healthy. I'm happy that he's alive and well enough to attend high school. I'm very aware that there are many children who don't get that chance. There are many parents who don't get the opportunity to help their struggling children make the adjustment from child to adult.

But within the feelings of being fortunate and happy, I recognize and question the trials and tribulations that lie ahead of us and how we will both survive. My own teenage years weren't the best (not the worst, but far from "great") and I dread having to relive them through his eyes. I believe I've done a pretty good job parenting so far, but am I qualified to be the parent of a teenager??

Why Why Why


Why do these have to be so expensive??? I love them!!
I want them for me, one for my mom, one for my ex-mother in law, one for my cousin, one for my Aunt Elsie, and one for each of my sisters.

I don't normally agree with spending a lot of money on flower arrangements like this - they are usually way overpriced and they just die anyway, but I love this arrangement, the vase is beautiful and orchids are special. Roses are so common and red roses are probably my least favorite type of flower. I like unusually colored roses, but I'd prefer something more rare.

The Cheese Stands Alone

Another school event is approaching. One of those for parents to attend to learn more information about something or other. I dread these events.

I know a lot of parents, through my sons sports programs and other school events. However, there are none that I would consider my friend. I really don't have that much trouble in social situations, I can approach a stranger and strike up a conversation with them (or put out their cigarette!), however, I always feel like a third wheel at the school functions. The couples inevitably talk to each other or to other couples. It seems as if a lot of the parents are friends with other parents--in that married way that happens. And then there's me. Almost like an outcast, but not quite...I'm accepted, I'm just not made to feel very welcomed.



For instance, last time I went to one of these functions, I sat down with a couple who my son has been friends with for the last two years. We all said hello and gave big smiles to each other. We did the typical "how are things going" small talk and then the burden rested on me to keep myself in the conversation. If I do not say another word, normally what happens is that they will talk to each other and I will sit quietly, wishing it was appropriate to bring my MP3 player (and it would have been a blessing to have during the band concerts!). I'm great at asking other peoples questions or making comments that might lead into a conversation, but I DO feel as if the burden is on me to keep myself in their world while I'm nearby them. Maybe it's just the area I live in, but it seems as if people are very insular. The parents of the kids that my son hangs out with never make an effort to talk to me, even when the kids are making plans, we don't talk. I am not looking for a new best friend, but some kind of a friendship would be nice, and very welcome. I think if I never even said hello, they wouldn't bother to go out of their way to do so. Maybe I'll try that sometime.

I see the same parents every week for about 9 months out of the year at sporting events. I bet there is not one of them who know anything at all about me that they didn't learn by just looking at me. No one has ever made an effort to ask about anything, not about me and not about my son, and not about school, or sports, etc. Maybe I'm asking too much. I just think that when you see someone on a somewhat regular basis, it is a natural thing to be somewhat connected to them, and I have no connection with 99% of them. (Though I do highly enjoy that other 1%!)



There is something that makes me very sad at these things. I think the biggest factor is that I do not have anyone to share in my joy/horror/love/fear of having a teenager. At band concerts, I was the sole proud parent of the solo trumpet player. At school conferences, I was the only one to share in the joy of having each teacher tell me "he's doing just great! keep up the good work!" I miss the companionship of having someone care about this wonderful little "creature" that I'm raising...

It's a great adventure being a single mom, one that I feel like I AM strong enough for....but nonetheless, that does not prevent me from dreading the school events.

Friday Friday Friday!!

I'm so glad this week is over. I'm not sure why...it wasn't necessarily a hard work week. I think I need to get more sleep next week.

I'm back to riding the bus again to work. I enjoy having 20 minutes of somewhat peaceful time after work when I can read or nap. Riding the bus makes me sleepy...and ten minutes is the perfect amount of time to be refreshed. It's frustrating not being able to drive to work though. If I need to leave early, it takes me entirely too long to get back to my vehicle. If my son were to need me to pick him up from school and calls between 9:00am and 3:00pm, it would take me about 90 minutes just to get to my vehicle and from there it's twenty minutes to his car. I take an express bus in the morning and afternoon but it only runs before 9 and after 3. In-between those times, I have to take a bus downtown and transfer to another bus that will take me to my car. It's absurd that my employer can't provide any kind of parking options for me other than a $13/day pass, that may or may not be available when I get here. I'm on a waiting list to get a permanent parking pass - I hear it's about a six - nine YEAR wait and it costs about $100 a month if you do get one. It's absurd.


What's even worse....in front of my building there are about 15 spots reserved for the department that used to occupy the first floor of my building. They USED to occupy it...it's been empty since late last September. So for four months, we have to walk through this empty parking lot, knowing that we are not allowed to park in it. I suggested we take one spot and make it an Employee of the Month type spot. ONE spot--it would be a big deal for all of us to know that we have a chance to park at work at some point. My department isn't very nice I think. I can't wait to leave here.

Speaking of which, it appears that the job I interviewed for on Tuesday is a possibility. They are checking my references now. It would be a nice raise and a big step in my career to get in this position. It would most likely mean a sharp decrease in my chatting online time during the workday, as well as my blogging time. I would love to have that trade-off though. I can blog at night and chatting isn't that important to me.

Last weekend was fun--had a visit from my mom, sister and niece. My sister and I worked on our scrapbooks for about four hours.

I actually have some friends coming over tomorrow to scrapbook as well. I don't usually scrapbook that much, maybe once a month. The party tomorrow has been planned for two months though. The girl who planned it with me is big into it-she used to scrapbook about two-three times a week. But then she found God (again). She now spends about two-three times a week in the church. I don't talk to her very often anymore now...it's sad. Another friend lost to the church life. I'm sure jesus/god/allah/buddha would want her to spend more time with her family and friends , but whatever, maybe some day she'll realize the error in her ways and come back to us all.


My inspirational quote of the day: (stolen from a movie where the women were discussing how Madame Bovary could be considered a feminist)
"Accept a life of misery or struggle against it. Hunger for an alternative and refuse to accept a life of unhappiness."

Ten of My Favorite Things


1. My son (of course). He's my favorite because he's my only child and as such, I can say that guilt-free. He's not perfect (he is a teenager and it's not possible to be both perfect AND a teen), but he's pretty amazing. He can be whiny and obnoxious, smelly and annoying, a total pest and selfish.
HOWEVER--he is, for the most part, kind-hearted and caring and funny and lovable and handsome (despite the shaggy hairdo) and smart and fun to be around. I enjoy his company 97.9% of every day.

2. Our cats. They are adorable. I love how my sons cat always runs out to greet us, as if he hasn't seen us for ages, while mine kind of just saunters out as if she has all the time in the world to say hello. I also love how my cat becomes this super-loving, overly affectionate, cuddly as can be, perfect cat if I am alone in my bedroom WITH the door closed. And how my sons cat is the most playful thing when he wants to be, and my cat will adore any man who sits down for more than ten minutes.



3. My car. It's cute, it's fun, I love driving it.

4. My family. Obligatory mention of the family. Of COURSE I love them-I do. My mom is amazing, she's a super-woman in her own way. She does a LOT. My dad is quiet and introspective, but I've seen how he interacts with other adults and he can be quite funny.

5. My new sheets (thanks mom!). Freshly washed sheets, all crisp and "fresh" smelling, warm from the dryer, tucked in tightly....it makes me want to crawl in bed with a book just thinking about it.

6. My passport. It gives me freedom to GO. I can, and hopefully will, at some point, pack some bags and just head off to a country without taking six months to plan it, without spending a year stressing about how to pay for it, without worrying about whether or not it's the best thing. I just want to GO.


7. My gym membership. Just knowing I can go work out at any time is a joy...as much as I hate the bill for it, it's well worth it. I wish I had signed up four years ago and looked more like a body-builder.

8. My friends. I think I have a good core group of friends right now. Tito, Corey, The Mouth, Brockoli, John, Sherri, Sprocket, Alice, Jenny. (no,they are NOT listed in any particular order)




9. My headphones. They're the noise-cancelling type and when I listen to them at work, like right now, they totally block out my officemates (who can be a bit noisy). When I watch a movie on my computer, they sound like I'm in a small movie theater. I love them. They block out all the chatter on the bus too.

10. My pajama pants. They are Ralph Lauren, blue and white striped, cotton, mens pajama bottoms. I love them.

Gay Logic

This was posted on JokesnJunk and expertly copied and pasted here...it's brilliant.


10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

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