Thursday, February 26

Livin' Like a Rock Star


I have been living large the past week. I vacillate between being super cheap and being stupid with my money. Lol. It all started a week ago Wednesday. I was working at home and getting frustrated with my computer screen. I have a hard time working on spreadsheets at home because our desk is so big. LOL. I know…I am getting there. The desk isn’t just big, it is monstrous. In fact, our computer guy came out to the house and when he got to the study he stopped in his tracks and said that it was the biggest desk he has ever seen. Lol. The computer only takes up a quarter of the desk, and I keep the monitor pushed back near the wall because…well, because that doesn’t leave unusable space behind it. But with the monitor pushed all the way back I cant easily see the spreadsheets I am working on. If I expand the view to the size I need, then I cant get the whole spreadsheet on the screen. Therefore, I needed a new monitor. I went online and got this baby.

We got the e-mail saying that we would be receiving the monitor the week of March 1st. We got it the following Saturday. Let me just say….OH MY GOODNESS!! It is incredible. It took us all of 5 minutes to get used to the widescreen but I can zip through my work at home now.

The next day I went shopping and picked up 8 pairs of shoes. Well, to be fair, some of them were on sale and I needed another pair of black heels for work.

Then I ordered my new coffee pot (the B70). I had been waiting to see if the feeling of ‘oh my goodness…I MUST have that’ would pass. After waiting a month, I still needed (yes NEEDED) that coffee pot so I decided to go ahead and get one…after I saved up enough – by not going to lunch, not getting Duncan Donuts coffee, etc – to pay for it. The problem with this is that I don’t bring lunch to the office so I tend to go out all the time. I brought my lunch for almost a week and was pretty tired of the extra work involved either in the morning or the night before so I quit. After 4 more weeks of dreaming of my coffee pot, I was able to get it.

I am pretty cheap about some things. Like, I already have a perfectly fine coffee pot so I don’t need to spend the money on a new one just because it looks like a spaceship replicator. What decided me was that it is all pretty self contained. Fill the reservoir, pop the little cup in, put your mug under the spout and push the button. No more messing with filters, grounds, water, etc. After the cup is brewed the little coffee pod pops out and you just toss it. No pot to wash, no leftover coffee to burn on the bottom of the forgotten pot. And if you want another cup, you don’t have to brew another pot! I ordered it yesterday so it should get here in 5 to 7 days. I am hoping it arrives by Saturday like the monitor did. Lol.

I finally decided that I needed a Mani/Pedi to recuperate from all the stress and work of shopping like a fiend so I had that last night after work.

But before you think I am being a typical woman and spending all my husbands’ money, he has been doing a little spending of his own. In fact when I got home from my nail/feet appt, he made me sit in the recliner and he proceeded to show me what he got. Surprise, surprise, he went clothes shopping! Now that he was working in an office he felt he needed some winter professional clothes. In the summer he can wear polo shirts with his slacks, but he only had a few sweaters. Not anymore. LOL.

At this point we are seriously considering turning one of our upstairs bedrooms into a big closet. But that would involve spending more money.

Wednesday, February 25

Downsizing - Not Your Average Response

Wow, I cant believe how I lucked out!

About a month ago I was downsized from my job at a small, financially struggling company. I hated that job, but I don’t give up easily so I stuck it out. I stuck it out even after I realized that the Controller had something personal against me, even after his actions proved to be chauvinistic, even after the entire office knew that he had something personal against me, and even after he called me an ‘airhead’. I dont quit unless it is a lost cause (though I was planning on looking for another position after I had been there for 6 months).

The layoff wasn’t surprising. They were talking about their cashflow problems all the time. My friend in Collections was getting huge amounts of pressure to have people pay their debts because the company was having problems paying the bills. They pretty much got rid of the people they didn’t like. There was me, a girl who was actually using her health insurance because she had breast cancer, a girl who had been there for 6 years but was suddenly ‘making mistakes’ and the receptionist who played solitaire all day.

When the first person got the pink slip that Thursday, I was surprised. She had been with the company for a very long time. Then, my dick of a boss said he needed to see me at 1 that day for a meeting. Well, this was at 11 and I didn’t want to wait. I was already looking forward to a nice long weekend, and I wanted to get it started. But, on the off chance that it was just a meeting and not a layoff, I didn’t start packing my stuff. I did, however, call my friend at Accountants Inc. and told her what was going on. She was shocked but believing. She told me to give her a call and let her know what was going on and she would start looking for another job for me right away.

At 1 I went into the snake pit that was the Controllers office and he had HR on the phone. I was getting shit-canned and couldn’t have been happier. I know the jerk was surprised to see a look of pure happiness come over my face. They said it was downsizing so that meant I could apply for unemployment, and according to my contract, I would also get a severance package. I was so happy! Being downsized looks much better on a resume than ‘the boss was a jerk so I quit’. LOL. And my friend at Accountants Inc was already setting up interviews for me.

In all, I was out of work a whole 2 weeks. So I got my last paycheck and my severance package and then went back to work. There was no lapse in pay and I didn’t even get to apply for unemployment!

What is best though is where I ended up. My job is awesome. I have only been here 3 weeks, and I still have moments of ‘Holy shit! I LOVE this job’. By this time at my last company I was wondering if I had made a huge mistake.

Things are really good. So good in fact that I feel like if I keep talking about how good they are I will screw it up! I will stop talking about it after I say this last little bit.

Reasons for the Job Awesomeness:

I am actually doing accounting work – Balance sheets, income statements, taxes.

I work 37.5 hours a week at the office. I get there at 8:30 and leave at 5 with an hour lunch. Right now we are in our busy season and I bring a file home every night, but I log how long it took me to do the file, and that info will be used for the next year when they hire the temps for the busy season. It takes me about an hour to do a file. I tend to do it when I am waiting for supper to be ready, or at night, on the bed while Michael is watching golf. Lol.

I completely do not have to deal with traffic. I take the back roads all the way to my house. It takes me about 30 minutes and is a really pretty drive. I used to have to deal with traffic AND it would take me 30 minutes.

Big raise – Yippee

10% Bonus – also Yippee

14 Personal days up front and 2 weeks accrued vacation a year to start – Mega Yippee. And I don’t have to beg and plead to use any of it. They don’t care if I am not here as long as my work doesn’t suffer.

Incredible benefits.

Very private workspace. The only way you pass my doorway is if you come to see me by mistake. I am completely out of the way.

Really, really nice boss. She is smart, funny, and incredibly competent.

Incredible director. She is a work hard/play hard kind of person. When it is busy she expects you to work as hard as she does. When it isn’t busy, she doesn’t care what happens as long as the work gets done.

Incredible learning and promotional opportunities.

Ok, I have raved about my job enough for one day…I don’t want to jinx it…But…Holy Shit! I LOVE my job.

Tuesday, February 24

Cruise - Conclusion

The last day of our trip was just travel. We hopped on a plane in Miami, had a layover in Atlanta, and got to Baltimore around 6. For the most part it was fine. Jackie and I were so sunburned that we were miserable, but there was nothing to be done about it other than slather on more lotion. We had a full plane for the first leg of the trip. The woman sitting next to me said she could feel the heat baking off me. Lol. I had opted for wearing an island dress so there was minimal fabric to touch me. I wore that and underwear and that was it. I was too miserable to care. Fortunately, the dress was sleeveless and full length. Lucky for me it was a size too big as well. I got it because it was the only one left in that color, and since my mom is a seamstress she was going to take it in when we got back home. I was so happy to have that Muumuu. Lol.

When Michael picked us up at the airport he couldn’t load the luggage in the car until he was no longer doubled over with laughter at our discomfort. He was very caring and sweet once he got it out of his system. Once home, I stepped into the nice cool shower, slathered on rich lotion and slipped between the cool sheets of my own bed. I had my hubby, my kitties, and my stuff. Things were good.

Shortly after we got back I got my job at GoIndustry-DoveBid and said good bye to any kind of social life or time off. Good thing I had memories of the cruise, because things were going to get shitty in a hurry.

Friday, February 20

Cruise final day

The final day of the cruise was spent at the private island owned by Norweigan Cruise Lines. All things considered, that was the best day.

We slept until we just woke up, no planned time for the alarm. After a nice leisurely breakfast we went and changed into our beach wear and headed down to the boat that was there to take us to the island.

This ship actually went all the way up to the beach, dropped a gangplank and we walked off the boat into the warm powdery sand. We immediately staked out a few lounge chairs and started exploring the island. There were rope hammocks strung between every tree and the bar, the band, and the buffet was conveniently placed in the center of everything. Mum signed up for parasailing and I rented the biggest raft I have ever seen! It was definitely big enough for the three of us! After checking everything out, we headed back to the lounge chairs.

Jackie dragged her lounge chair into the water and proceeded to become a noodle and mum and I hopped onto the ginormous raft. It was heaven. The water was splashing up on us and we were floating around just soaking up the sun. After a while we decided we were hungry and we scooped Jackie out of the water and we went to check out the buffet. Not bad – beach fare really. There were burgers, dogs, chicken, salads, rice…wait, what? I know, rice at the beach. But it was good.

We sat and ate. I swear food tastes better when it is eaten outside! It was very warm. My sarong was sticking to me and there was sand everywhere. I had it in my hair, between my toes, on the backs of my arms. But I didn’t really care. By the time we were ready to go back to the raft I had already downed a Miami Vice and was working on my second one. I took it back with me and drank it while sitting on the raft in the middle of the Caribbean sea. After a while of drifting I started to feel less than well. It was probably the combination of the food, the alcohol and the water. I dragged the raft back to the shore and put one length of rope around the lounge chair that Jackie was using and just laid on the raft in the shallow water.

After Mum got back from parasailing, we noticed the island was starting to empty out. I grabbed a hammock and immediately realized I was going to need a towel to lay on. Between the scratchy-ness of the rope and my poor sunburned skin, it was not comfortable. Fast forward 10 minutes and I am napping in the hammock with a couple of towels under me and another drink in my hand (for the sunburn pain, honest). I was laying there thinking that nothing could be better and it was then that Mother Nature decided to prove me wrong…it started to rain. Just barely more than a sprinkle, very gentle and very warm. This was heaven. I was still in my swimsuit and the rain felt wonderful on my poor skin! I didn’t even care that I was tempting cancer by being in the sun…it was absolutely glorious to bask and relax. It has been almost 6 months since the cruise and I can still remember that feeling of bliss. Of just doing what I wanted when I wanted to do it, no responsibilities, no worries...sigh.

I think I need another cruise.