Thursday, February 25, 2010

All Your Reasons

It's already Thursday at 3:45p.m. This week is already almost to the point where I start celebrating the weekend. Wow, I gotta say, that was kinda fast. Woot.

Routine has definitely taken over. Everyday: struggle to wake up, kiss husband and wish him a good day, go to work just a couple minutes late, do work-things while drinking the Arizona lemon tea from the break room, take a late, short lunch and read a bit in Texas Monthly knowing I am building up justification for that someday in the future when I want to take off a couple of hours early, let the afternoon fly by as the last half hour drags itself out, drive home thinking of ways to pass the time before Ryan gets home. On MWF by the time I cook and do the dishes he is usually home, and on T/Th, I usually do a little laundry and dishes and then give in to episode after episode of The Office. Pack lunches for the next day, go to bed later than I want to. Next day begins again.

I'm not sure I like routine. There are things about it like, like dreaming of a schedule in which I have a day where I cook, a day where I do laundry, a day where I work on projects, etc. But it doesn't work like that. If I set aside Tuesdays for laundry, the inevitably I won't feel like doing laundry on Tuesday, or there will be something else that needs to be prioritized. I'm not complaining. I think I'm obsessed with planning but following the plan is not really that important.

Anywho, I just found out that Jac's not going to be able to join us for our Thursday chill time. Will surely miss her this week, haven't seen her a whole lot recently. I was thinking about getting around to wrapping a box in some fabric tonight. I think it would be cool if we could all just get together every week and do our thing like homework or watch a movie or work on a project or make something interesting to eat. I like having teh girls over and I would love it if we found a game or a show that could be our weekly vice.

We were so proud because we did our taxes early and muscled through them and were happy with our return. Then we learned we did something wrong and the IRS wouldn't accept them... but I think the error has nothing to do with changing amounts or anything, I think it's just like, some kind of info or ID number that wasn't right. So hopefully it'll be a quick fix and won't take away from our return... *crosses fingers*

Yes, Rob Thomas is back on my iTunes. He never gets off my iTunes, actually. It's either Rob Thomas or nothing at all, with few exceptions.

Friday, February 19, 2010

An Occasion

The occasion I'm referring to is Photoshop's 20th birthday.  Happy birthday Photoshop!  We're all so glad to know you.

So if I had the cash, and if it would mean anything for me to send Photoshop a card, I would totally send one of these cards I found from Night Owl Paper Goods.  They're made from thin slices of yellow birch.  While I think the wood part is awesome, I gotta admit that the colors and the designs enchant me most.  I would love to send one to someone!  They're really not all that pricey, either, especially the ones on Sale.  I'm considering getting a bunch of cards to store up for upcoming occasions.  


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sticky Paper

If I were still in the kick of working on projects every evening and on weekends, I would be all over this.  Maybe soon I will be again.  I have been collecting boxes with nice lids for the purpose of wrapping them in some contact paper, adding to their strength and visual appeal (c:  Of course they wouldn't be closet boxes, they'd be bookshelf boxes.  Walmart contact paper is ugly, but I hadn't thought it through enough to figure out something else.  So for you, or for future reference for me, I am posting a link for contact paper that is actually tasteful. 

Click here to discover Chic Shelf Paper

I dig these:




Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Truth About Cows

So I started following this website, Learn Something Every Day.  This is the future of Trivial Pursuit (c;  I'm going to win it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What's Getting Bigger

Some Americans are getting more and more obese.  I say some because I think there is a counter effort where other people are getting more in shape.  Anyway, there are those who don't mind being large and push their size onto others like the right to be obese was lined out in the constitution.  Kevin Smith (director of Clerks, Mallrats, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) is one of those guys.  He got kicked off a Southwest plane for being so fat that he couldn't put down the armrest.  You can read about that here:  Director Kevin Smith Kicked Off Southwest Flight for 'Being Fat'

I'm trying to be fair here, because I know that some people have no control over their size.  Whether or not they do, they should understand that sometimes their own body mass causes problems for other people.  Such as in this situation, where Southwest claimed that Smith's inability to put down the armrest may cause an untimely exit should an emergency arise, not to mention making the guy in the seat next to him uncomfortable.  The truth is that Smith usually purchases two seats when he flies, which is fair, and shows that he has accepted that his needs are different.  In this particular situation, however, his flight was delayed and he had to take another one in which there was only one seat available.  It wasn't his fault he had only one seat.  Southwest offered him a $100 voucher, but he was upset that they made him get off after he had already been seated, claiming that it was embarrassing.  I can totally see his point.

Southwest should have never seated him on another flight with just one seat knowing that he purchased 2 seats for himself.  Maybe they didn't know that.  Maybe it's just one big understanding.

Anyway, this kind of reminds me of Wall•e and makes me imagine Americans tumbling through time getting larger and larger.  If airlines start creating a special section with larger seating for obese individuals, is that part of the beginning?  Should we just go with the flow or is there anything we can do to fight it?

Gross.  And scary.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day!

Husband has no class, but he went in to work today.  I went to work, too.  I can't really say it's torturous to make us work on the one day we have gotten any worthwhile snow in 20 years, but I would rather be out playing in it.  However, somehow 6 inches of snow makes a Friday at the office fun.  My boss and the inventory guy built a snow man this morning and decked it out with ABC gear, tootsie rolls, and some 2" black hoses for arms.  I took pictures.  As they were finishing him off, we noticed about 6 guys at the tire shop across the street whooping and hollering at us.  They stepped aside to reveal a much bigger snowman.  It doesn't show well in the picture, oh well.  So we lost the competition we didn't know we were in, but it was great fun!  Notice their gloves in the second picture.  Don (right) went and put on some plastic gloves that we sell because his hands got really cold, and Dereck borrowed Miss V's gloves which she emphatically told him not to stretch out.  Haha!

I hope the snow is still around when we all get off today.  I have a meeting at 3, and then I get to go to a ribbon cutting at a local pub and pizzeria, haha!  I am looking forward to trying their pizza (c:  Since that is at 4 and on the other side of town, I will probably just go home afterward.  So today is going to seem short (c:  I like how it's panning out.

I like the snow much more than I thought I would!  All of these years I have considered snow to just be cold and miserable.  I have experienced it in Colorado, Amarillo, and New Mexico, but to have it snow in the town where you live is something really special for some reason.  I guess it's because I get to see all of the places I'm familiar with covered in snow and it's just so weird that it delights me!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Stomach, Please

Really did not want to get out of bed this morning.  Got my hot tea, still trying to wake up at work.  Come on, caffeine!

Going to the March of Dimes meeting over lunch.  I'm most excited about catered lunch... whenever there is catered meetings in this town, the people have good taste.  It's never anything like fried chicken or hotdogs.  Popular choices are Carino's, Jason's Deli, or McCallister's.  I'd be ecstatic with some Quizno's or even Pizza Hut.  Sometimes food that you don't make yourself just tastes better (c:

For Valentine's Day, Ryan and I are ordering pizza and watching tv in our PJs to our hearts content.  From Wednesday, the anticipation feels like looking forward to a vacation.  I'm so in love with the thought.

Still pondering that worms idea.  Called the apartment complex and as I suspected, no, can't have a guinea pig on the patio.  Oh well. 

Man it would sure liven things up to have some pictures on here, I know.  I meant to last night but truly, I just overestimated what I could accomplish in 4 hours.  I did manage to get 2 soups cooked, 4 loads of laundry done, dishes [plus we have no dish detergent at the moment so it's all by hand], downstairs somewhat picked up. I wanted to get the whole house clean too and take some pictures of our apartment while it was clean for our grandparents.  Tonight I am serving a soup buffet with grilled cheese sandwiches.  I'm excited about it, I just hope there is enough food.  It would be really good if I could put together one more soup... that will be at the back of my mind today.  What I think will really make it good is that I splurged and got some nice pepper jack cheese, so I'll make most of the sandwiches with that and also grate some up to toss in the potato soup. 

For dessert I'm going to make some homemade biscuits and serve them with butter and jelly.  Mmm... I have been craving those since I got the idea yesterday.  It's going to be a carb/starch rich meal, but at least it'll be warm and flavorful which is especially good when it's cold outside. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Being Useful

I grumbled when this salesman called me and pushed me into agreeing to receive 2 free issues of the marketing newsletter he represented.  It's the deal where you receive 2 free ones and then, unless you cancel, they keep sending them to you and they start billing you.  Slimey, but I figured I'd stay on top of it and make sure to cancel.  The first issue was actually very good.  We're in the process of redoing our website, as you know, and the tips it shared were very relevant.  The entire newsletter is Internet-marketing focused, so it's actually quite helpful at this point in time for my company as we carefully gear up to begin drawing the blueprints for our new site.  I just received the second one today, along with the invoice for $300.  It implies that we already owe them, which I will dispute if we decide to cancel.  But I'm not so sure we will.  My boss liked the first issue, and I'm looking forward to showing him what I've learned from the second one. 

This little gem:, rated our current website and broke everything down into layman's terms for me.  They even let me compare our website directly with our competitors', which my boss is going to love.  I am trying to consider its fallacies before I go parading it and recommending it and building our website around its every word like it was canon.  First off, it's general.  It says nothing about the automotive aftermarket so it's not industry-specific.  For instance, we got docked points because we don't have a blog on our website.  However, the comparison reveals that none of our competitors use a blog, either.  So I guess that's up to us to determine whether a blog is a competitive edge opportunity or if our competitors have already determined that it's a waste of time in our industry.  Same goes for RSS feeds.

We gleaned [what I feel is] an important tidbit from the first free newsletter.  Sales, or "conversions" [what this newsletter calls people who become your customers] can be directly tied to the speed that your website loads.  If it takes more than something like 2 seconds, you'll lose half of your potential conversions.  If you can improve your website load time by half a second, you gain some ridiculous amount of conversions that would have otherwise been lost.  In light of that, the Website Grader indicated that we have 14 images on our home page and that bogs down the speed of the page.  I knew that, I just didn't know how we rated.  All in all, I think the report will help us in our talks with our web developers.  We can tell them that speed is important to us, among other things.  I'm excited to go at this meticulously, and I feel like the report has come at the right time for our company.  I also hope I don't have to get into disputing that invoice.

Oh, so I'm the February Ambassador of the Month for the Chamber of Commerce here.  That means I got an article written up about me in the Chamber Partnership's Progress Report.  It's kinda cool, but apparently it has a better readership than I thought.  I've had several people tell me they saw my article.  I hadn't seen it myself until the other day.  The V.P. of Education and Junior Achievement saw it and contacted my big boss as a result.  I guess she thought I looked like someone who would be good with kids.  So now I'll be doing 45 minutes a week for 5 weeks with 2nd graders about jobs in the community.  I'm intimidated, but they'll be training and the teacher there to help.  They also provide the curriculum, so I guess my role is just being a fresh face for the kids.  Something to help them pay attention by mixing it up in the classroom.  I'll know more after training. 

OK, back to going through this report and hopefully learning a lot (c:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Worms for Pets

Ok, I have a slight obsession at the moment.  I always have an ache to take care of things, whether it be plants or animals or my dear hubbs.  I like to have little daily tasks that I do and watch the benefactors prosper and grow over time.  I guess it's a girl thing... probably some maternal instinct.  When we first moved into our place, we sort of talked about getting a guinea pig if our complex would allow us to keep it on the porch in a nice, weatherproof hutch without paying the pet deposit.  Ryan was all on-board with it once he learned that the guinea pigs eat vegetable scraps, therefore reducing our waste.  We never got around to asking about that, but I think at the back of my mind it may not be allowed.  So, we got the fishbowl and the fish, and you know how that turned out. 

This blog that Christine introduced me to, Apartment Therapy, had an article on building your own worm habitat.  I had never heard of that before, and it kind of shocked me because it seems like many of the readers on that blog are... I don't know, kind of, not into that sort of thing?  I mean, they think it's gross and unacceptable if you don't wash your comforter at least once a year [maybe you think that's gross too... but they're really hard to wash, ok???]  I was curious because it sounds like it would not only be fun, it would be a cool thing to do for my plants.  I have been a little concerned that the soil for my plants is not good enough.  The article teaches you how to make your own worm habitat and has links to places you can order these worms.  I'm really excited, because I considered just buying the kit so I'd be sure to have everything I needed, but they're really pretty expensive.  I think we can actually do a pretty good job of making a worm habitat and ship off for them.  I can't wait to tell Ryan about it!

Then again, I did like imagining me and my guinea pig sitting out in the grassy area in front of our apartment on a summer day.  Him chomping on some grass, me getting some sun.  It would be great!! 

*sigh* now what am I going to do??

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Salespeople

Man you would not believe the lengths that this guy will go to in order to make it the most difficult possible for me to cut back on our spending with his account. Usually, meetings with YP reps are 10-15 minutes of sales pitches and contract signing. My meeting with him started at 11:30 and is just now over at 1:15. All because we wanted to scale our spending back from around $1200 to $600. He acted like it was just impossible. He talked and gave me alternatives and pouted about how he just hates to see us lose so much business because our ad isn't a full page in the yellow pages... sigh. I don't really believe much business comes from the yellow pages. I kinda think, (i.e.) if you're looking for a bakery, you'd look in the yellow pages under "bakery" and just read down the list and probably call the location that is nearest to you. That's it. I think the location is the primary factor for people when choosing among similar businesses in the yellow pages.

What do you think?

I don't think it matters what size their ad is, especially when it's a sizeable one and they have to flip the page to even see it.

Oh yes, if it were an impersonal system, I would click and make all of our ads the bare basics - regular listings. No ads at all. No bold print. But the very saddest part is that what keeps me from doing that is the rep. They have tactics to make you think it's way too complicated to do that. I believe one of this guy's tactics was to wear me out with an almost 2 hour long meeting... during the time when normal people eat LUNCH no less! When he realized I wasn't budging (I couldn't, I have to meet the budget that is set for me), he called his own boss and asked him, "now what can we do for this company?" as if he was the intercessor to the big bad yellow pages just trying to help me out. His boss ran a few numbers, took about half an hour on the speaker phone with him, and finally got me a figure just under $700. Ok, it had been too long, his tactics were working. I couldn't take any more of his enthusiasm and sales pitches and "miraculous success stories all because of an ad on the cover of the yellow pages." $700 was good enough for me. It brought me well within my budget and leaves me a little room because we haven't lined out all the books for the rest of the year quite yet.

I feel worse than I did this morning, I think its because I was putting on a fake smile for 2 hours straight. The ache in my neck and shoulders has traveled up to my face. Haven't had lunch yet - but I didn't bring anything so appetizing. It's a salad but I didn't have anything really good to put in there. I'd almost rather not eat at all. Maybe I'll go home for lunch, not that there's anything there, but I can lay down and rest my eyes.

I know I'm sick, and I was trying to put my finger on "the feeling." What is it that causes you to just know you're sick, even if you're not throwing up or have a fever? It's that I have an awful taste in my mouth... seriously.

So I'm really thinking I can ask my boss for a raise. But not today... today I dressed like crap to reflect the way I'm feeling. No, maybe tomorrow. This morning, my big boss (as in over my boss) called me into his office and asked me if I would take on two volunteer positions. One is to be on the 4-person committee for planning March of Dimes fundraisers, and the other is to put in about 5 hours teaching at some local schools about business. The second one, yes, I am a little nervous about what I just signed up for. The first one should be easy. I'll get to work with 3 girls in the office that I've kind of always wanted to get to know better, so I'm really seeing that as a good thing.

So about the teaching thing. I have experience working with junior high kids, which is primarily what I'd be doing. I don't have any details yet - like I don't know if it's 5 hours a day...week...month? It's something my big boss has done himself over the years and he said the director of it saw my article in one of the local magazines (that's another story entirely), but she emailed my big boss and asked him if I'd be willing and able to do it. It's out of my comfort zone, but just for that reason, I feel like I should do it. Afterall, this isn't the company I plan on spending the rest of my career with and this isn't the town I plan on living in the rest of my life, so now's the time to take the risk of looking like a fool. On the flip side, it also makes me look willing to do anything, which should help my request for a raise (c:

After taking on 2 more volunteer positions and having a 2 hour meeting with that YP rep, AND being sick, I feel like more money is an acceptable request at the moment.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I feel crappy today. Sunday I was tired all day. Yesterday I started coughing this really dry cough. Today the cough is a little worse and I have this hollow feeling in my chest. Oh and my muscles are achey, especially my shoulders and neck. But like it always seems to be, I'm just not sick enough to stay home in bed.

I also feel crappy because I just had to make a call and let this really nice older gentleman down. The company that I work for sponsors his club's car show once a month and they are changing the locations of the car show this year after having it at this one restaurant for years. What I didn't know was that my company has loyalties to the original restaurant and so I called the club owner yesterday and let him know that we were all good. Then today I had to call him back and let him know we would not be coming with them. He sounded really let down. But he was polite nonetheless and told me good luck. I should have said it myself but I forgot.

Every once in a while I find myself having to be the bearer of bad news at work. I have built up a resistance to yellow page reps that keeps growing (I have a meeting with my toughest rep in about half an hour), but it's hard to tell the nice guys off. It could be argued that my boss should make these calls himself, but at the same time I think my doing it for him makes me a more valuable worker. I'm sure he doesn't like to do it any more than I do. Besides, I think it is honing my people skills. I am really not good at my wording or diplomacy yet, but I have learned not to back down, so that's progress. My mom is really good at breaking bad news in a way that helps you understand both sides. That's my goal.

This situation and thinking about how much I struggle with "business confrontation" makes me set my eyes on something beyond this job and this time. One day I'll leave this company and take the art of diplomacy with me. That thought makes it easier to be the brute for now.