Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crossed Wires & Miscommunications

First I was dumbfounded.Smiley

Then I was in denial.

Next, I got pretty mad.

And then a lot madder.

To the point of exasperation and wanting really badly to cuss somebody out.

To their face.Smiley

Now, I'm just happy that I have a house to call home, some crappy weather to complain about and lots of other opportunities that are just around the corner.

Yeah, it turns out that somebody didn't get the message across that my husband is NOT at entry level.  In fact, he is only one test away from being an accredited actuary, which is a pretty damn big deal.  And anybody in the insurance industry ought to know that.  Especially after 2 really good phone conversations in which my husband made his goals and skills readily apparent to anyone who might have truly been LISTENING.

At least they could have taken the time to READ his resume.

We wonder what these people must have been smoking.


Sometimes I can only sigh and smile and wonder WTF. Smiley

I guess we'll chalk this up to yet another misadventure in this whole effort to get our butts to Texas.

And hey, at least we didn't have to pay for that plane ticket.....

Monday, February 25, 2013

Risk = Reward

For reasons of simple circumstance my husband and I both learned to avoid risk.  For him it was being born into abject poverty that stole his willingness to risk much of anything for a very long time.  For me, child abuse and parental mental illness left me with little desire to step very far at all outside the box that I learned to live in.

In the last 5 years or so, we have both gone through a process of steadily learning to put ourselves out there in the world, more and more.  We are each noticing an ability to thrive at higher levels without such a large self imposed safety net. 

Being able to logically asses risk while gaining the skills that only come from having genuine failures under your belt is a true balancing act.  It also builds a level of confidence that cannot be achieved while hiding out in the 'safe zone'.
Credit: Wolfgang Sauber, wikimedia commons
If you are fortunate enough to have learned just how important risk is on the earlier side of life, you probably have a wonderful strong family to thank for that.  And if you are a parent that encourages your children to take risks, even if they are not the risks you would choose to take yourself, I sincerely thank you for your contribution to society!

The idea of risk versus reward has been on my mind a lot this week. 

My risk for this week has been relatively small but the reward was bigger than I would have thought.  While preparing for obedience classes to start, I decided to take my chihuahua to a puppy socialization group.  It turns out the group is mostly great BIG puppies- puppies that gain more weight in a week than my puppy will ever weigh when he is full grown!  I have to admit that I sweated buckets and wanted to run away while my dog hid in the corner during most of the first group session.  But the second session was so much better!  I am glad that I sucked it up and took Tanner back to the group, even though I was feeling quite apprehensive.  He was much better this time, venturing away from the walls and interacting with some of the other dogs.  It was obvious that he was so proud of himself, with his head and tail held high.

My husband is taking a bigger risk this week.  He is in Dallas, TX for an interview that will happen tomorrow.  He feels really good about his chances this time.  He took his favorite shirt with thin purple stripes, rather than the safer light blue one.  He says he feels like he belongs now that he is back in Texas.  We have been through this process so many times.  It would be easy to get burnt out and give up.  And yet we won't.  Although it has been difficult to be patient, it has been fun to watch my husband gain confidence in his abilities to demonstrate his knowledge and skill and KNOW that he will find the right fit for him.  Even if this is not 'it' for us and we end up waiting longer to get to Texas, we both know it WILL happen eventually.
As for now, tomorrow is another opportunity to walk the high wire of life as it was meant to be done- without a net!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Dare You: Read This And Tell Me It Doesn't Scare You...Even Just A Little Bit

My husband and I took to calling our local paper, The Seattle Times, 'The Liberal Rag' a long time ago.  We still get it delivered every Sunday morning because we feel it is important to be aware of what is going on in our local area, even if we do not agree with most of it.

This past Sunday's edition was a doozy, with a headline on the front page of the 'Northwest Sunday' section that read:  "Slip Up May Slam Doors On Gun Law".  However, If you read the article online here you will notice that they have toned down that original headline to: "Mistake In Gun Bill Could Defeat The Effort". 

I guess a mistake is more palatable than a slip up.  Phony Baloney, I say.  I don't believe any of this stuff is happening without plenty of pre-planning on the part of our local government. 
In fact, I would say that this Sunday's article concerning having the sheriff come by to take a look at law abiding citizens guns 'no more than once a year' (-never mind that the whole idea of limiting my 2nd amendment rights in any way shape or form doesn't work for me at all) is the perfect pairing to this story that came out just yesterday about how upset the locals are that the police have plans to use cameras in just about every public place around town.

And it has been said that people who fear an Orwellian future are nut jobs who just don't get it?!

I say, if this stuff doesn't scare you, even a little bit, then you and I must live on completely different planes of existence...

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” – Golden Rule

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. ” – Mother Teresa

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Palm Springs Condo

Back in November, my husband and I purchased a condo in Palm Springs, CA.  It was an exciting time of realizing a big dream for us and we worked really hard to make it our own.

The place was overall pretty awesome and the complex itself was the big draw for us to purchase this particular property.

After all, who could resist this?!

Now the inside of the condo.... well, that was a whole 'nother story.  It was overall in really good shape.  But part of the reason for the great condition of the place was that it was hardly ever used over the past 27 years.  So we called it our 80's time capsule.  And it was indeed a doozy...

First, there was the VERY pink carpet, which the pictures just do not do justice to- yes, I said PINK, the heavy drapes, the lovely pink and blue furniture, the over use of ugly fake plants and the overall 'brass and glass' feel to the place...

Then, of course, who could forget the floral bedspreads and raspberry pink towels to match- all folded like fans and everything?!

It was truly a sight to behold!   And a mess to be dealt with immediately!

First things first, we completely emptied out the place and had the carpets dyed brown.  Yes, you can do that!  And with carpet that had hardly any wear and tear, it was the perfect choice.

Next we moved on to finding all different living/ dining area furniture.  This consisted of finding some used, some IKEA and some stuff at the local furniture dealers.  Remember that we were working with this being Thanksgiving week and had only two weeks to get what we could get done before we wanted to be able to use the place and have friends be able to use it for the season!  It was a crazy time!  The local thrift stores were amazed at how many times we showed up to donate and we did manage to sell some stuff on Craigslist as well.  I also installed new kitchen flooring as I just could not live with the pinkish stuff that was there. 

We did keep the bedroom furniture as we ran out of cash to do anything about that and with new linens and such it was not so bad after all.  I also figured out that even though the place was hardly ever used, it sure would have been nice if the people had bothered to clean it up once in a while.  Let's just say that all the hard water build up, dust and crud gave me 2 weeks worth of full body workouts that would rival any gym.

Now our place is still a work in progress, but it is so much nicer!

Today, it looks like this:

And right now some friends of ours are there using our Palm Springs condo.  We are thrilled to be able to share it with them.  The email they sent was so full of their obvious enjoyment and it made us so happy and proud and I have to admit- just a wee bit jealous!  Sometime we will join them there when we can all go together at the same time and maybe try to learn to golf!  We just can't wait until we go back to Palm Springs at the end of March!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Anecdotal Truths- Real Journalism?

The other day, while shopping for a client, I witnessed this:

You can see and count 9 people in the line here for returns.  What you don't see is that since I was feeling a little weird about having people notice that I was taking their picture in the local hardware warehouse I managed to cut off the right edge of the photo where there is actually a second lit up 'returns' desk with 3 more people waiting near it.  (Yes, I do always have a small camera in my purse at all times.)

And then when I had the items I needed to purchase and headed to the self check area, I also witnessed this:

Again with my worry that people might feel weird being photographed while shopping and by this time my true desire to honestly portray what I had seen to anyone I might show these photos to, I managed to blur the scene quite badly. 

What I was trying to get here is the fact that there is only one woman in the self check area.  And this while there are 12 people in the 'returns' line.  I am kicking myself for not also photographing the rest of the check out area, manned by a couple of staff people. You'll have to take my word for it that there was no one else making any purchases in that area either. 

Maybe I'll be willing to take more heat in the future for wielding a camera in public if I want to do any more of this 'reporting' type stuff.  We'll see...

What I do know is that I asked the checker seen in this photo what was up with the long line at the return area and the fact that hardly anyone was in the store to make a purchase.  After she got over her initial obvious worry that I was some 'investigator' from corporate, she managed to give me some interesting info. 

The checker said that there is always some overspending from Christmas that turns into 'regret returning' after the first of the year.  But then she said that this year was worse than ever.

I thanked her for the information, letting her know that I was just a curious person.  I honestly thought at the time that I would only be using the pictures to show my husband and maybe a few friends what I had witnessed on that Tuesday afternoon.

But something has been telling me that I should share what I saw here.  And next time I see something like this I will ask more questions- like how many days had this been going on?  or how about, has there been an uptick in theft in the store?

I've always been fairly observant and I am interested in learning more about the truth of what is going on with our economy since I do not see any good information available out there right now.  I just know that it feels like the American people are being lied to and there are worse things than being seen as a nut job with a camera.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Husband Has Learned To Listen To Me

My husband is actually a great listener.  It's one of his many fine qualities.

However, for the longest time he just couldn't seem to grasp the importance of listening carefully to my predictions about various things. 

Granted, some of these things are silly.  A lot of them are just good rational extrapolation of current 'goings on'.  My predictions run the gamut from fashion trends, (My poor husband has learned to grin and bear it when he watches me spend a season searching high and low for some clothing or accessory item that I just have to have, only to see a ton of options for said item come out next year when I decide that I don't want it anymore.)  to business processes, (We recall fondly how worried I was that Boeing was rushing toward release of the 787 Dreamliner on 7-8-07.  I predicted this rush would result in an absolute nightmare.  You have to understand that I grew up in a Boeing family and merely voicing this idea was like admitting that I had signed a contract with Satan himself.) and even on to outcomes of politically lead mass transit planning.  (When my husband moved to the Seattle area in 1996, he immediately noticed our lack of mass transit.  Coming from the east coast he just could not imagine such a crappy transit system.  He was thrilled to be able to vote for a new high speed rail system.  I told him it probably wouldn't happen in our lifetime and the money would be totally wasted.  It still hasn't been realized and most of the money has been spent on studying outcomes.  Ooooh, here's my shocked face: =:-0  OK, maybe not that hard to predict considering all of our transit debacles around here.  My friends husband who worked for Sound Transit for a year still thanks me for warning him and helping him find another job just before things got really bad.)

But my husband has had to admit that my predictive powers are rather awesome at times.  Like last night.  When I was distractedly fishing through mail while tossing things into the recycle bin and said that I just didn't understand why the post office was still doing Saturday service.  I said they needed to get rid of it, tomorrow, if they had any hope at all of remaining in business for the foreseeable future.

My husband called me from work first thing this morning and said he didn't know whether to laugh or run.  He says he'll be home around 6pm so I guess he's decided to laugh! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thank You God

...for releasing that poor little 5 year old boy in Alabama into the safety of his families' loving arms. 

I couldn't help but think of the 5 year old version of my own nephew as I watched the horrible situation in Alabama unfold over the last week.

I heard someone say that the little boy who was held hostage is the type of kid who loves you, even if you don't love him.  Yup, that must be why I was thinking about my nephew.

Again, thank you God.  This time, this kid was saved from an awful fate. 

I wish that every kid could be so fortunate.
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