Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One Day Left

Today is my last day as a housewife and stay-at-home-mom. I have mixed feelings. Chuckles is flourishing under my care (because of or in spite of). But, mommy is a little nuts. I don't think this is a job I will like but it is something. It pays well. I hope I don't totally resent my job. But, we need the money as surviving on one income was not as easy as I had always thought. We'd need to do quite a bit of belt tightening (and I would need to cook every night instead of going out once per week and heating up ready-made meals once a week).

The belt is already pretty tight here, so changes would be drastic (sell the car and buy something cheaper, perhaps). I already gave up driving for nap. Get rid of DSL? I think not! We don't have cable. My cell phone is my long distance (free mobile-to-mobile to my sister in another state). Drop life insurance? Probably not. Give up air conditioning? It's already set at 83 just to take the humidity out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh, the humanity

Since the power was out, I had to wash dishes by hand! Sheesh! And I had no microwave to heat our dinner. And I had to light the stove with a match! It's like living in the third world around here. So spoiled.

My Drug Test for My New Job

They took my hair. Do you think they'll find the Vicodin I took after I got my appendix out?

Storms in Chicago leave half a million in the dark (and heat)

So, we lost power at 3:38 pm yesterday. And how, you ask do I know exactly what time it was?
Well, in Chicago, unlike anywhere else I have ever been, Jeopardy! comes on at 3:30 instead of 6 or 7. It was the time of the show where Alex talks to the contestants about climbing mountains and backpacking through Europe, except it is the Teen Tournament, so it was all about how the kid at the all boys' school dressed in drag for the High School Musical (which is not actually "High School Musical" because the rights to perform that play are much too expensive for a high school to pay).
Anyway, the power went off during that. It stayed off for 7 hours. We have a sump pump. We went out and bought a small utility pump that can be powered off of the car battery (through an inverter) to keep the basement from flooding (a success!). Fortunately, the power came back before we went to bed, otherwise, one of us would have had to stay up to power the pump (the car needs to be running for this set-up to work...basically turn your car motor into a generator), and it would have been me since I don't work or anything.

Tidbits from my Life

Thought I'd give you a dose of Chuckles...he begged for some of my feta cheese and balsamic vinegar salad so I gave him some. He put the lettuce in his mouth, thought about it a second, spit it out, and announced clearly, "That is not good."

Chuckles started pre-school on Wednesday in anticipation of me working and when I asked him what he did that day, he answered sadly, "I shared trucks."

I took him to Target today to buy some underpants since he's basically potty trained, but refuses to give up diapers (won't even wear pull-ups), so every day, I wind up throwing out a dry diaper...drives me nuts. Anyway, I told him he could pick out the underpants and then he would get to wear them and so on. Anyway, I show him Cars, Thomas Train, Spiderman, Grover, Elmo, plain white "like Daddy wears", Shrek, Diego, and so on. The kid picked out pink and purple lace-trimmed ones from some movie about Penguins (happy feet?). Now, not wanting to do gender-steroetyping, this didn't upset me too much...who doesn't like penguins?, but I knew his Dad would not be happy, so I told him he needed ones with a "fly" and he freaked out because he didn't want any bugs in his underpants. So, I think I shot myself in the foot on the underpants thing.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

More Reasonable Republican Positions on Issues

From Instapundit:
Fred Thompson does not support a constitutional amendment to ban gay
marriage." He supports the rights of States to choose their marriage law for
themselves. . . .
Thompson believes that states should be able to adopt
their own laws on marriage consistent with the views of their citizens.

This goes nicely with Rudy Guiliani's position on abortion Although, Rudy's position is stronger and better since Fred says you could ban gay marriage, you know, if your state wanted to (which Hey, I just learned Arkansas under Mike "I want to control your life and your body" Huckabee did).

Both Guiliani and Thompson have basically said that it is up to the individual states to decide and that people should just stay out of other's business. Whee! Too bad neither of them will win the nomination with such middle-of-the-road positions.

You saw the Iowa strall poll results, didn't you? Mike Huckabee (former Arkansas Governor) came in second (to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's first place finish). I thought I liked Mike Huckabee until I investigated, but you do know that Arkansas is not a redneck backwater, don't you?

Whoops, I was wrong. I don't like Huckabee and Arkansas is a little redneck for me. I went to Mike Huckabee's Issues page and I am disappointed. Here's a run-down:

Anti-Gun Control, Pro-Gun Rights - OK fine, standard republican position.

"I support and have consistently supported passage of a federal constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. " Oh, please!

"Our true strength comes from our families." I think I threw up a little into my mouth.

On the page labeled Sanctity of Life, I knew I would be disappointed, and I am: "I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned. "

"The surge is a military means to achieve the political end of sectarian reconciliation among the Iraqis"

"I support the FairTax. To control spending, I believe the President should have the line-item veto. I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade. " I love him for this. Too bad I hate him for his social views. Maybe his being for this will at least bring it to the national debate and someone better than he can champion it. You know, I should go through all the candidates and see who is good and who sucks. You know who sucks? Mike Huckabee.

Let's have some fun and see if Mitt Romney is any better. Mitt ROmney's issues pages:

"What is the culture of this country, what are our underpinnings? We respect hard work ... We are self reliant, we respect human life, we are a religious people... We are a purpose-driven people founded on the family unit. I think every child deserves to have a mother and a father."

Yes, yes, sure OK fine, but dude, this is real life not some happy land where everything is flowers and angels singing. I am not a religious person, no siree. I'm a scientist (well, by training at least), and all this spiritual stuff sounds a little fuzzy to me and invoking it during a presidential race just pisses me off.

Where is my agnostic/atheist libertarian candidate who wants to keep his god and his family values out of my house? I just want people to leave me (and my money/taxes) alone. Is that so hard? I don't even mind paying some taxes, because I like my roads paved and streetlight on my corner. But, somewhere around agricultural subsidies that reward production of HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (the poison that it is), I have a problem paying taxes.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did I start to rant there? Oh my. How embarassing.

To reiterate: Politicians, please leave your morals off of my life. And could you cut my taxes?

And now for something that sounds different (but is really the same)

We had actual plans with real, actual people this weekend and had babysitting all lined up for said plans, but I am here blogging like it's a Tuesday, so you can see that fell through.

Chuckles had a fever on Thursday (no other symptoms whatsoever), so I took my temperature to make sure the thermometer was accurate. I had a fever too, so we checked Mr. He was normal. So, we were fighting something mild off. The people we were visiting have a premature baby, so we canceled as I cannot be near that baby and the Mr. is probably carrying this as well. Then work called and Man-of-the-House (or MOTH) had to answer a bunch of questions. He went in early the next morning (since Chuckles woke up at 4 am for the day..I guess since he was sick?) and didn't come home until after midnight. Here it is Saturday and he's at work again. The fevers are gone, but the plans are toast and the babysitter didn't want him if he was sick (which he's not... we just didn't want to endanger the newborn). MOTH is not expected home until tomorrow morning. I am so lonely, I invited my mother over for dinner.

On the plus side, I am cooking and baking up a storm. 93% lean ground turkey was on sale for half the price of 93% lean ground beef, so I am experimenting with all my recipes. Plus, tomatoes are in season RIGHT NOW, so I'm making chili and maybe tomato salad.

Healthier Choc Chip Cookies

I made turkey chili today and healthier choc chip cookies (have been dying to try this...I modified the Nestle Tollhouse recipe to add flax meal and whole wheat flour).

1-1/2 cup ground flax meal
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 packed brown sugar
cream together.
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour + 2 T vital wheat gluten
1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
Stir in
1 bag chocolate chips
Nuts (optional and not necessary because the flax gives it a nutty flavor)

Preheated 375 degree oven 10-12 minutes. The cookies do not spread out much, so you can keep them close together on the cookie sheet but make sure you flatten them a little by hand before baking (no need to do the fork thing like with PB cookies). I like it!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hurricane Season is Upon Us Again

Here is a photo of the devastation left by Hurricane Chuckles. Two Boggle pieces are missing and presumed lost forever. The tea light candles will never burn the same again. And the Trivial Pursuit cards are upside-down and backward in their boxes now driving anal retentive trivia players mad for the next three decades.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Breathe in, 1-2-3, Breathe Out

I am zen. Ohhhhhm.

I breathe in, close my eyes, hold it, and breathe out throughout the day. Chuckles is just so TWO. His whims mean everything to him. And he wants things to go his way. I'm cool with that, most of the time. If he wants to wear pajamas all day or stand in downward dog saying "somersault" while naked, I generally permit that. It's health and safety where I draw my lines, or so I thought.

Nothing about standing there with the refrigerator door open has anything to do with health or safety, but I could not, would not, let him stand there staring into the 'fridge. It's not like he wanted anything to eat or drink. He just learned how to open the door and wanted to practice and it drove me absolutely nuts.

So, apparently, my points are: health, safety, getting out of the house and being places on time, and not wasting electricity. There you have it. Also, hat tip to hedra for her "safe, respectful, and kind" criteria. If you cannot decide whether something should be a rule or whether it is a fair rule, see if the behavior is safe, respectful, and kind. If it's not, they shouldn't do it. And if it's OK, then have at it.

So, wearing pajamas to the supermarket, the park, or the library is fine. It is not ok to wear pajamas to a funeral or a wedding (since it's not respectful). Standing there with the 'fridge door is not OK because it is not respectful of daddy who has to work hard to pay for our electricity. Taking all the clothes out of your dresser is OK if you are going to put them back yourself, otherwise it's not OK because someone else will have to clean up behind you, and so forth. Walking in the street is not OK because it's not safe. Hitting is not ok, because it is not safe nor respectful nor kind. I love this criteria because it means that you can fold paper and play trucks and stand naked in the back window and run around without pants on and just be a kid provided you don't cause trouble for anyone else.

t-minus 11 seconds to freak out

I just wrote the email accepting the job, providing they increase my vacation to 3 weeks. Ugh. I feel sick. Whenever I make a big decision, I feel sick, so it's not like this is some omen of a bad decision. It's just who I am. I figure every decision I make it the one that could potentially ruin my life.

I don't recall feeling sick when I accepted my husband's marriage proposal. He just asked me to marry him to shut me up while I was complaining, so I just felt guilty, not sick.

I don't recall feeling sick when we decided to have a baby either. It wasn't until 3 months later when I knew we wouldn't be having a baby without medical help that I felt sick.

So, there we have it. I only feel sick about job-related things and buying/selling houses.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Will wonders ever cease?

I got the job. They made a money offer that was good and market competitive and commensurate with experience. No mention of my requested 3 weeks of vacation. Can I just say that although I want to work, I am freaking out? What do I do now? When should I say I am available to start? Will I pass the drug test? Oh my. And will they give me the 3 weeks of vacation? I don't see why not. Anyway, that's where I am. I am here, breathing into a paper bag.

May I recommend reading the Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder in the heat of summer. All the descriptions of crisp cold air, blizzards, minus 40 temperatures, blinding snow, howling winds, crunching underfoot, etc, are enough to keep you cool on a 90-degree day.

Friday, August 10, 2007

So, the interview

Well, let's start the day at 5 am when I awokened in a panic about whether I could leave Chuckles with day care now that I have been home with him for 6 months. I guess I could. It's so weird that I have this thought at all. Of course, I want to go back to work. Or do I? Yes, yes I do. Sure. Wait, really? huh. Ok. So, I had doubts because of course, I assumed I would get the job.

Which now I am not so sure. I sent my resume for a position which has since been filled and I was being looked at for a different lower level job (a step and a half above entry level). Let's say I am qualified for that job. No problem there. I think they think I don't want it because it's (a) not what I applied for and (b) 3 steps lower than anything I have done recently. Kind of a bummer.

I interviewed with 4 people. 3 of the interviews went swimmingly. HR girl was impressed by my perseverance in the face of IT absurdity (no, you cannot have administrator rights on your computer!). Big Boss Guy thought I was smart and charming and nicely experienced in all the right heavy manufacturing ways. And Young Guy thought I looked really alert considering my child still does not sleep through the night and we knew a dozen people in common because our industry is small and incestuous.

But Medium Guy, whoah. That was one rough interview. I accidentally let the s-word slip in the interview (because really I am not sure it could have gone any worse). While recounting this tale to my husband, he thought I said f-word and freaked out that I did that. Ha ha ha, no s-word and then I said it to him, you know, SHIT.
So, interview with Medium Guy was bad. I don't think I have ever had an interview go that poorly. Bad bad bad. I mean, bad. He asked questions for which I had no answers. I bet he thinks he's so smart. It's not like he asked "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" That, I can handle. He asked me this: "You've lived in the area for 4 years, why come to us now, desperate?" Well, huh, no. I guess I had had a job right up until this point and didn't need another job, but I squeaked something out about broadening my experiences and holding eggs in a basket or something. Lame. Then he asked me what kind of money I was expecting as this job was lower than anything I had recently. I looked flummoxed. Talk money in an interview? Are they nuts? I squeaked something about market competitive salaries and commensurate with my experience out, but really, huh!?!? Three weeks' vacation was also mentioned in there somewhere. So, bad. Did I mention bad bad bad? Ugh.
It hurts me just to think about it. So bad. Oh, and is it worse that he was asking me these questions while we were in the car driving around the plant with no AC? You know, I got a bad vibe from him as soon as it started. Maybe this is just his way and he actually thought I was brilliant. Maybe the other three people will just say how great I am and override him. Maybe I will just put my head down on my desk and think this over. It couldn't have possibly gone that badly. Oh, yes, it did. And the more frazzled I got, the worse I answered his questions. Oh No!

And also, my babysitter was not at home when I went to drop Chuckles off this morning. He showed up a few minutes later after I had used my cell phone to make alternate arrangements involving my MIL holding my child at her job while we waited for the sitter.

And I wore beige steel toed shoes, khaki slacks, a brown/white/khaki diagonally pinstriped cotton blouse and my hair pulled back in a brown leather clip. And then I realized I only own accessories for black-based outfits (purse, briefcase, etc). One of my cardinal rules of saving money on your wardrobe is base your entire wardrobe on brown, black, or navy - not two or more since then you need double (or triple) accessories. Damn. So I ditched the briefacse and made the most of my purse.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Featured Google Search of the Day

Lyrics Oh Susanna

Chuckles said, "Sing Banjo on my Knee, mommy". Fortunately I figured out what he wanted, but I realized I knew the words but not in any order that rhymed so I googled it up. My, what a racist song. It's an American Classic though, so I'll just leave out the third verse about the darkies and I think we'll be OK.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lokk to the Right

I put up a little corner over there and down a bit, which I have cleverly called MeTube, where my youtube videos will show. You can click on them here and they stream on my website. If you have corporate blocking software, you may be able to get around it this way (although I have no idea as I am so far from corporate right now...).


So my little description of myself says I am an avid reader of non-fiction. Yes, once perhaps. But now, notsomuch.

In the last few weeks, I have read the following books (with helpful links to amazon should you want to buy the book...I get mine at the library):
Babyproofing Your Marriage - Basically, this tells you to give your husband a certain thing that rhymes with snow blob so that he will help out around the house. I went through exhaustive testing of this, and it is true. Men who get more snow blobs give more dishwasher unloading. It also tells you that you are not crazy, it really is hard and you will most likely survive and flourish if you can just hold on a couple more years. I really needed to hear that. If I was reviewing this on amazon, I'd be using a fake name because it's a little embarassing 3.5 stars.
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination - This is by the lady who wrote Bridget Jones. I'd never read that but I figure it would be like career girl has bad job, makes life change, thinks she wants one guy but gets another. And it was, but it was a whole lot more fun than that. I truly enjoyed this book. And Carly, read the book. It made me think of you traipsing all over the world. If I was reviewing on amazon, I'd give it 5 stars *****.
The Undomestic Goddess - By Sophie Kinsella who wrote the entire Shopaholic series of books which are fun and soapy and frothy and not serious but a good read and fun. This book is also a good read and fun. The career girl has a bad job, makes a like change, thinks she wants one guy but gets another. Enjoyed it. Frothy and soapy and not serious but fun. Amazon review 4 stars ****.
Cause Celeb - Also by Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones and Olivia Joules fame. It was OK. I read it through in two days, but not nearly as good as Olivia Joules. This is her first novel (before Bridget even); I guess she got better with time. Did not enjoy this as much - no, not at all. It's about starving children in Africa and that's sort of a downer. If I was reviewing on amazon, I'd give it *** 3 stars.

More About My Interview

It is with a large company. Perhaps, the largest company of its type in the world (wouldn't be the first time I've worked for the largest in the market segment...in fact, I have always worked for the largest....usually on the order of 40% market share or more).

They have a large and unwieldy bureaucracy. I sent my resume like 3 or 4 months ago. I finally called someone I know who works there (as they are big and in my industry and used to be my supplier, I know about 5 or 6 people there) and BAM, I got a call for an interview 3 days later. Connections and networking. I'm telling you now, connections and networking.

Also, they sent an email confirming the interview with 7 attachments (a mix of word documents and pdf files) that I should complete and print and bring with me. It works out to like 35 pages of printing and hotmail flipped trying to download it all. It took 2 hours just to do the downloading. Argh. I miss having corporate email whizbang so fast and a laser printer (but out in the hall away from my office....did you see the new studies that say laser printer toner fumes cause cancer?). Anyway, I am filling their forms out now and must sign them acknowledging and giving permission for background check, criminal check, education check, driving record check and credit check. Driving record is notsobad since I went to driving school for that last ticket.

Oh, and they haven't told me for which position I am interviewing. They have several openings in a group that would fit me, so I guess I'm going for the pool here. Whee.

Can I use you as a reference? Any of the three of you who read regularly? Are any of you any good? Should I just use the VP of Sales from the ladies room?

Did I mention: Wish me luck?

OK, I am going to copy/paste an item from the application if I can:
o Windows o MS Access o MS PowerPoint o MS Word o MS Excel o Lotus Notes o Other ___________________

Do people still use Lotus Notes? I'm good on teh rest, plus I have things to put on the "other" line. Oh yes, I have many computer skills. Heck, should I put down that I can blog and use youtube? Right, probably not.

Wish Me Luck

Job Interview on Friday. I have a babysitter. I have not picked out an outfit yet, but it should be simple, relatively casual (as per the instruction sheet I was given), and feature sturdy, hard soled shoes. My shirt should be long sleeved. It should match my lace up brown steel-toed loafers. I have nothing to wear. Will need to reconsider outfit choices.

Must go now and re-acquaint myself with my resume. I'd hate to get tripped up over any of my "credentials". Truth be told, my resume is true. I just spun it a certain way to highlight the six minutes of experience I had in various areas. It took longer to type up those six minutes than it did to live them. "Interacted with key management personnel on a daily basis"...so I used to see the VP of Sales in the Ladies Room before lunch every day. We spoke. So what if I made sure I had to potty when she did!

This just in...

Last night at 8 pm, it was 90 degrees outside. We were at the community pool celebrating National Night Out Against Crime. We made sure to double bolt the house before we left...since you know, criminals would know the whole town was at the pool.

While at the pool, we saw fire trucks, amubulances, a Dunkin' Donuts truck giving away free iced coffee, an army recruiting booth staffed by a very hot young man in a full uniform (if you ask me, they'd have gotten more recruits if they'd brought and air conditioned RV), a Red Cross Partridge Family bus collecting blood (two pints from our family, thankyouverymuch), a Target booth giving away pinwheels to blow in the wind, various charitable and civic organizations with Bozo buckets, dunk tanks, bean bag things and candy for prizes, inflatable jumpy bouncy things and slides filled with children much older and bigger than Chuckles, and D.A.R.E. booth giving away kid ID cards. All-in-all a good night. Best part: the adult open swim when I got to go down the water slide without having to wait in line...don't tell teh Red Cross since I don't think I was supposed to do that with the thing wrapped on my arm, but so fun.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Taste Me. I'm Salty.

That was just a fun to write. Must write more squiffy titles.

Just got in from cutting the grass*. It's 87 degrees and sunny, but the humidity is low, low, low. Still, I am, how you say?, notsofresh.

* - Is it just me or does "mowing the lawn" sound dirty?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hot enough for ya?

Ha ha ha ha. I love that joke. And by the way, it's not the heat, it's the humidity. No, I think it's the heat. Although my wrinkled slacks did have the wrinkles steamed right out of them today. My flowers need water (and shade, I guess). But other than that, everything is fine here in teh basement where it is a pleasant 72 degrees.


I am a worrier. I worry and I plan. I don't find it consumes me (much). I just make contingency plans for everything. No big deal. I had alternate arrangements at my wedding. I have life insurance.
And starting this weekend, I will be practicing getting both me and teddy bear out of my car (carseat) while I am blindfolded and holding my breath. I have always had fear that the car would plummet into a river and I'd need this skill, so this weekend, in light of Mpls, I will practice. Also, I have a plan for getting out. If the windows are open, I can open teh door, but if not, I will use the ignition key in my fist to break the window equalizing the pressure. I won't do that until Teddy is out so I have the air as long as I can.
How do I practice doing this while the car is upside-down and filling with icy water?