Thursday, September 26, 2013

Phew! Glad That's Over!

For the last five months, I've been participating in a leadership class at work. Eight employee were selected for this class, in order to have well trained people ready to take on leadership roles IF the contract mess ever gets to where it should be. The class has been well worthwhile, if somewhat grueling. We are in the class for a day and a half once a month, with a lot of "homework". While that doesn't sound like too terribly much, my inbox keeps growing while I'm in the class, so losing a day and a half a month, well, catch up is a royal pain in the behind...... add in that I've had to take a couple sick days over the past five months and YIKES! I've found that it seem that as soon as I get everything well caught up, I'm in class again.

The class is winding down now. Yesterday we presented our projects to upper management, got some really good feedback and then finished off the day with four hours of lecture and discussion. Today will wind down the class. And wow. I'm glad. It has truly been exhausting. Worthwhile, absolutely. I've learned a lot. But I'm glad to be getting out of there. I need to catch up on the work I get paid to do. I need to get back into a routine that works. And honestly, I'm ready to take some time off. I'm HOPING that need to take some time off will result in a free beach trip in October.

However, that's a totally different post!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Am Weak. And Spoiled.

I have a confession to make. I am a sheet snob. I have very few of what most would deem to be luxuries in my life. I drive a 13 year old car. My clothes are a combination of garage sale, thrift store, and 75% off clearance finds. The furniture in my house is almost exclusively second hand. I keep the ac at a temperature in the summer that most would find somewhat sweltering. However, I sleep on 600 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheets. And I love them. Unabashedly.

A week or so ago, I noticed a small hole in my fitted sheet as I was putting them back on the bed after washing. Well, pooey. But no worries.... it was a small hole, . Right at shoulder level. And over the course of the next week, the hole grew. It is now about 12 inches long and growing. Sigh. I needed new sheets. And I knew from previous experience that I was NOT going to be happy with anything less than what I had. For me, fabulous sheet are essential to a good night's sleep.

So yesterday, I went to Sam's and picked up another package of the same sheets I already had. I had been very happy with them until the hole, and in all honesty, they had held up well over the course of five years of daily use, and weekly washing, and Thing 2 sneaking onto them. So, I am the brand new owner of a new set of 600 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheet and $65 poorer.

And it is worth every penny.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Welcome to the World, Sweet Baby Girl.....

At 4:47 this morning I received a phone call. Still bleary eyed and with my coffee not yet ready, I realized it was my brother calling. OH! I had a good feeling about this phone call! As is par for the course in our family, I was the only one that answered the phone.... he'd tried our Mom, and our Dad, and he had to tell someone, so I got to be the first to hear that he was on the way home (he'd already been at work -- he owns a Crossfit Gym) to get his beautiful wife to head to the hospital to bring a gorgeous baby girl into the world.

It's a long running joke in our family that I'm the only one that ever answers the phone.... When my brother was serving in Iraq, his family phone list was pretty much in this order: Mom, Dad, Older Sis, then Sass..... because he'd already talked to me recently.... still pretty much every week I got the phone call because no one else answered. (Being reminded of all those missed calls still irks my Mom to this day). Apparently today was no different.....

Anyway, 2 hours and 18 minutes after that phone call, a gorgeous 5 pound 18 oz bundle of beauty entered our lives. She's tiny... and gorgeous.... and perfect. And approximately 600 miles away. Sigh. Not a quick weekend trip. And not a cheap last minute flight. Sigh. I really want to see my sweet niece.... but since Aunt Sass can't say it in person, Welcome to the world, sweet baby, you are incredibly loved.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Schedule Adjustment

For years I have worked an 8-5 work schedule. That has generally suited me well. My commute in the morning is generally about 7-10 minutes. My commute in the afternoon, 12-15... meaning in most cases, I was home by 5:15. But that has changed. Recent "improvements" along the main road has made traffic back up in my Office Park when leaving at 5. That has made my commute time go from 15 maxiumum, to 30-35. Generally speaking, I don't walk in my door now until at least 5:30.

I hate sitting in traffic. So, last week, I went to my boss and asked if I could adjust my schedule, nothing big, and most people work some variation of a flex schedule. So I asked if could try out 7:30 to 4:30, but for the first week keep my finish time at 5, until I'm sure I can get there at 7:30 consistently. She approved, so today I start work at 7:30. I'll still work til 5 this week and if it all works out, I will change next week to a 4:30 quitting time. I like the idea of getting home earlier. And since I'm an early riser anyway, the getting up and moving shouldn't be TOO bad. At least I hope not!

So, wish me luck on getting out the door earlier than normal!!!!!! As I type this, all I have to do to get out the door in 55 minutes, is throw my clothes on (which are already laid out) and rinse my coffee cup. I should be able to do that, right?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chocolate and Pups......[And The (Budget) Hits Keep Coming...... ]

A few weeks ago, when we lost Thing 1, my sweet friend RunnerGirl brought over the ultimate comfort care package: a couple bottles of wine and a huge bag of Dark Chocolate M&Ms. Since I've been doing the low carb thing, I haven't eaten many of the M&Ms, even though I adore dark chocolate. Just a few small handfuls here and there.

Knowing the risks of chocolate and dogs, I kept them well out of Thing 2's reach..... or so I thought. When I got home from work yesterday, I started on about my business..... and then noticed that an empty bag of Dark Chocolate M&Ms was on the floor of the den. Well, I knew who had gotten into them.... because the Princess doesn't like dark chocolate at ALL. Crap.

I got out the peroxide and forced it down her throat to induce vomiting, but honestly I had no idea if that would help since I had no clue what time she'd ingested it. I stayed outside with her, but noticed other tummy issues developing. So, I put a call in to the vet. It was after hours, so the answering service had the vet call me back. After we estimated that she had ingested probably a full pound of candy, give or take, the vet sent me to the after hours emergency clinic. Many tests ensued and poor Thing 2 was doing things that were going to induce dehydration quickly. Based on the tests, they concluded that she was not at risk for true chocolate toxicity, but she needed fluids and meds to control the tummy stuff.

They injected her with fluids under the skin --- she looked all lumpy. And they sent us home. $216 poorer. However, I'm good with that, as I could NOT have handled losing her right now. We tried sleeping on the porch to mitigate any overnight accidents (she has never slept outside as long as we've had her and I was not going to make her do that when she was sick), but she didn't like that and wanted to sleep on top of me with me petting her the whole time. At almost 70 pounds -- not a good idea.

So we moved back inside around midnight. Thankfully all went well. Sigh, that bonus I earned a few weeks ago is starting to go away fast. BUT I'm glad that I have the money in the bank to cover this and didn't spend it shopping mindlessly. Here's hoping for a smoother (and cheaper) week next week.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Cave.... I'm Beginning To See A Pattern Here....

For the past few years, my smart phone has been provided by my company. When they issued them to us, they were perfectly happy and even encouraged us to use them personally. Cool beans. I got very attached to my iphone.

Then out of the blue yesterday they announced that they had changed proxy servers and would be monitoring every single bit of internet activity. Including data usage on the smart phones. Ordinarily I wouldn't be concerned with this as I am not an abuser of privileges. However, the Big Brother aspect of it creeped me out. And it irritated me too --- they want me to have that work cell phone with me at all times, but want to monitor what I do with it when I'm not at work? If I was doing anything creepy it would be one thing, but keeping up with two cell phones is a pain in the butt so mostly I just carried the work one with me after hours and never caved to having a personal smart phone.

However, I still want my private life to be private. I don't want them viewing what I say to whom on my own time -- whether its the Princess texting about grades or whatever. So, on my lunch yesterday, I went to the Tmobile store to check out smart phones. I had some research in hand about the $400 - $600 phones, but once I talked to the clerk, I ended up going with one that was $240. It should fit my needs just fine --- once I get used to it. I must say I got way frustrated with it at first as it didn't "do" stuff the way the iPhone does. But honestly, I'm probably smart enough to figure out how to work another phone. And a savings of $160 - $360 makes that a LOT easier to do!

Plus, Tmobile now lets you add the payments for the phone to your cell phone bill, interest free. If you end service with them before you've paid for the phone, then you have to pay off the balance, but that's workable. Main thing is that I didn't raid my savings for it. And that makes me happy.  The additional $10 for phone payment and $10 for data plan doesn't make me so happy though. Time to start crunching numbers again.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Caved.....In a Really BIG Way

Back during the spring, we cut the cable. Went to internet only and rabbit ears to pick up local stations. The Princess makes good use of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. This has worked for us. I don't tend to watch  lot of TV anyway. Except during football season. College football season to be exact.

So, I made it through Thursday night when multiple game were playing. I was NOT happy about it though. Then I woke up Saturday morning and started scanning the listings to see what games were being played on the major networks. I wasn't happy with the offerings. Barely any SEC games. I already had plans with friends to go watch Alabama play, but typically I like to have games going on the tv all day when I clean and get other things done. This wasn't really an option. It wasn't even time for kick off of the first game of the day, and already I was jonesing about no Sports Center.... sigh....

The Princess woke up to get ready for work and was having the same feelings I was.... but she opted to put her money where her mouth was.... she asked if I'd call the cable company and see what the options were for getting ESPN, and she would pay half the increase if we decided it was affordable.

Since I was sorely feeling the lack of football too, I agreed. So, I made the call --- and found out that because I had been an internet only subscriber for a while, I could get the "new customer" pricing with no contract whatsoever. So if I got the "bundled" internet, phone and cable, I could get it for $96 plus tax --- I'm already paying $55 for just internet. If I went with just the internet and cable, it would be $110. More stuff for less money? Well, okay..... so the Princess and I talked about it, and agreed to go halfsies on the increase. There's no contract, so I can cancel at any time... which will likely be in January after the final whistle of the National Championship game.

So, yeah, I was weak. And I caved.... but it IS football season. And this IS the SEC. We all have our priorities... ha.