Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Too Much Crap!

It’s time for some whining. I just need to vent about some of the annoying habits of my boss and co-worker. It’s only a three-person office so I don’t have too much to complain about. It’s really not a big deal but you know how spending eight hours a day with someone can reveal so much about a person.

I think I’ve already mentioned that I hate it when people clip their fingernails at work. The sound is like nails running down a chalkboard for me. I also hate it when people need to blow their nose but instead of going to the bathroom to do it they just sit there and snort in and out, trying to reposition the blob of mucus in their nostrils. That’s not a pleasant thing to listen to either. I hate it when I’m on the phone and someone is trying to tell me something and I can’t follow both conversations, but God forbid you quietly bring in a note with a name on it and quietly slide it in front of them while on they're on the phone. They act like you’re the rudest person ever.

I actually have a great boss. He’s a very nice man. He’s just very anal and particular. My biggest pet peeve these days is the fact that no one (except me) believes in throwing anything away. The office is nicely decorated with expensive furniture and paintings. We use a label maker to make all of our files so they sit neatly in the filing cabinets. It’s just the fact that we save almost every piece of paper that comes through that office by mail, via fax or any other method of receipt. The filing cabinets are full of unnecessary information, we're running out of room and the clutter is beginning to grate on my nerves.

The office procedures were already in full operation before I came on board so I’m still trying to figure out a way to implement my “just toss it in the trash” way of thinking. We host financial planning seminar’s, therefore, my boss believes that we should save every single invitation that we receive to other seminar’s to be used as references for future invitations we might wish to create. That, is just one of many the things that we save. We have an armoire stacked with old message books. You know, the carbon copy type. When we fill them up we don’t throw them away, we stack them and save them for years in case we need to backtrack and see where someone left a message back in 2003. You now, just in case we need to check our facts! We receive a variety of post cards with investment information from all sorts of big investment firms, and we must save and file each of those post cards, just in case we need them. Most of the information on the post cards is very generic and appears to be of little relevance. To top it off, each company must have their very own green hanging file folder and label, though we might only have three post cards from them with little useful information listed on the mail outs. I think they both have pack-rat syndrome. My boss is notorious for paper clipping the envelope that something was mailed in to the paperwork, too. Yeah, like we might need to reference that one day, too! I could understand if it was sent certified mail or something. I promise, I'm not exaggerating about this clutter situation.

I’m all about having back up to CYA but the procedures we practice are beyond over the top. I have offered to clean out the files but have been told we must all do it together because there are some pieces that we must “archive” in case we need them. The H-L drawer is so full that I have suffered paper cuts from trying to wedge my hand in far enough to file a post card in there. We have a fax file, an email file and plenty of other back up files. Then, just to be sure we aren’t slipping through the cracks, we also back-up our software to a CD every week. Like I said, CYA, but don’t be ridiculous. Our literature closet is stacked full and most of it is outdated but we "might" need to reference something in the future so we have to hang on to it. It’s wearing me out because I just want to trash 90% of the crap lying around.

By law we’re required to record and document much of the information and communication that takes place between us and our client’s. We have a special form that the correspondence is noted on. I then log the information into our system but we also keep a paper copy of the actual notes in a file. My boss will make notes that are so specific that he will literally log every single detail of a call or meeting with a client. For example, “John left a voice mail for Jane Doe @ 8:20am regarding her mutual fund, Jane returned the call @ 3:20pm. We discussed the cruise she just enjoyed to Alaska. (As I’m logging this information I want to pull my hair out strand by strand) Jane coughed three times during our phone call and sneezed twice. She is suffering from bronchitis and will call us back in one to two weeks once she has recovered and gotten back into the swing of things. Jane’s call waiting beeped in twice and I was put on hold while she answered the calls. I heard Jane's dog barking in the background. Jane and I decided she would leave her funds alone until she was feeling better and able to make clearer financial decisions". I log the information then file the hard copy and also back up the software twice a week. I walk around just wanting to start trashing the mounds of useless and outdated paperwork. However, in spite of feeling that way I am grateful for my job and do work with very nice people. They, like most people, just have some annoying qualities. Gawd, I hope they never find my blog because I really do like my job!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cassidy's Not So Good Week

Cassidy has had a bad week. It all started Friday night when she went to the skating rink and came out crying when I picked her up. Her Nike Shocks, that were a Christmas present that she wore proudly and absolutely adored, were stolen from a cubby. Yes, a cubby. The lockers were full so she was stuck with only a cubby. Had I known that she never would’ve worn them in the first place. We joined the owner to watch surveillance video for evidence of the actual theft, along with another family whose son had inline skates stolen, too. We actually saw them being taken but without video enhancement techniques from the FBI (ha) there was no solid proof that they were indeed her shoes and the girl who took them wasn’t identified as a regular. Basically, there was nothing we could do. I suppose she learned a valuable lesson, but I sure hated it for her. You would understand if you’d seen the excitement on her face and heard all of the gratitude she expressed over getting these shoes. She wore them around the house for days and must’ve thanked us for them 100 times. She went on and on about them being perfect. She couldn’t wait to get back to school over the holidays to show them off. That’s what made it such a hard lesson to see her to learn. She should’ve worn her play shoes to the skating rink that night but hindsight’s always 20/20, right?

I’d just bought myself some new Skecher tennis shoes, which doesn’t happen very often, and she’s been borrowing those and wearing them all week. That really sucks for me! Now my shoes will be worn out in two weeks. I’m working on getting her a new pair but they’re a bit pricey and money doesn’t grown on trees around here.

I can’t help but wonder what the thief’s parents think about their kid showing up at home with new high dollar tennis shoes. “Ummmm, hey Katie, where’d you get those cool shoes?” “Oh, I borrowed them from Sarah”. Six months later when Katie still has those shoes are they supposed to assume they were a gift? Makes you wonder about the parents, huh?

Yesterday there were several broken pencils lying on the coffee table when I got home. I almost trashed them but something told me not to. When Cassidy walked in later she picked them up and informed me that these were just a few of the items thrown at her on the bus today and that she’s tired of it. She’s actually a “cool” and popular girl in her school who never gets in trouble (outside of home, ha!) but none of her friends ride her bus. She’s not usually one to get picked on and can almost always hold her own. It seems as if she has found herself in an intimidating situation for once in her life. She asked me to call and “do something about it” tomorrow because they were also throwing ballpoint pens at her without the lids on them and she said she’s had enough. The bus driver is a nice man but just ignores it. I called the school this morning and was told they'd call her down to get more details and get back to me but they didn't do either. I better hear something back tomorrow before she comes home missing an eye. I hope her week improves soon but guess things could always be worse.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Candy Man

We just loathe fundraisers at this house. Well, at least the adults do. We're all about supporting the school and extra-curricular activities but we'd just prefer to write a check and be done with it in one shot. Why pester your neighbors or family members to buy stuff that their kids are probably selling, too? There are exceptions to this rule, such as brisket sales, candle sales and other major fundraisers, but we boycott most of the catalogs fundraisers. What a big fat rip off! The organization doesn’t usually even make that much in profit to begin with.

We often opt to “buy out” on the candy sales for baseball every year because we usually end up eating most of the candy ourselves and using the few dollars we’ve actually earned for lunch money and stuff. Then when the money is actually due, I’ll just end up writing a big fat $75 or $100 check when we could’ve just paid half that amount in the beginning to “buy out” and been done with it.

Actually, we’ve done it both ways over the many years we’ve spent playing ball and every time I’m writing that check, I’m kicking myself. This year, I opted for selling the candy over the “buy out” because I was already forced to pay additional late sign-up fees and the “selling” amount just seemed like the better option. Plus one of my friends insisted that she could sell both boxes at her work. Thanks, Kelli! Of course, she has to sell her son’s two boxes first. This is one of those times when I miss working in a big office with people just dying to buy candy throughout the day.

The kids are always so excited about selling candy and dying to tear open the boxes and start hitting the neighborhood immediately. Like I said, that’s great, until we start using the cash in a pinch and the money starts to slowly dwindle from the envelope. It’s always one box of candy bars that sell for $1.00 and one box of chocolate covered almonds that sell for $2.00. Sure, that’s a real bargain when you’re buying one or two boxes but not all fifty or seventy-five!

Caden was so excited about us not buying out this year that he made this sign in preparation for his upcoming candy sales. I couldn’t help but laugh at his creativity. I just know he’s going to be my little entrepreneur and make us rich one day. I just love candy sales!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

In Loving Memory of Jamie Louise Ball (11-07-1969 - 1-21-2006)

My sister-in-law, Jamie, died one year ago tomorrow at the very young age of thirty-six. She left behind seven beautiful children and a loving husband. Her oldest child was only eleven-years-old and her youngest eighteen-months. She died of cancer. She was an absolutely beautiful person and wonderful Christian. Please keep Paul in your prayers as I know tomorrow will be a tough day for him. He spent the last four months of her life with her in New York caring for her, the children and helping his son-in-law through the painful ordeal of losing his wife. Jamie and I were only two weeks apart in age and thirty-six was way too young for her to die. She was an absolute beautiful and unique soul. I have no doubt about where she is spending eternity.

I can’t help but think of her as the one-year anniversary of her passing is upon us.
God bless those she left behind and give them strength, especially tomorrow, as they miss her each and every day. It was an honor to know you, Jamie. You touched us all and we will always love you until we meet again.

God Bless Brad, Bradley, Ryan, Teresa, Hannah, Anthony, Andrew & Leevin.
RIP, Jamie.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My Big Texas Hair (Christmas 1988)


Our apartment. (Third floor, far left window)

Us hanging out on the roof of our apartment. (aka as our yard, since we didn't have one) Notice we're BBQ'ing.

Look to the left of those suitcases and you can see the tiny edge of our itsy bitsy kitchen.

Lauren sitting on our fine looking sofa.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thank God for Scanners!

Teresa & Doug
Teresa & Carri
1980 something...................

Hey, Teedee!
Memories are sweet, huh?
I love you!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Drawing

My son is working on a project and came to me for help drawing some of the picture's from the book he's reading. He was frustrated with himself and discouraged that he isn't good at drawing. I encouraged him and told him he was good at drawing and that I'd help him finish the project today. I'm not a very good artist myself but I'll do what I can.

He brought this picture out to show me the night that Kelli and Shelli were over. Please understand that I'm not making fun of his drawing skills here, only what came to my mind when I first looked at the picture. He said it was a teacher sitting down in a chair and he wasn't happy with how it had turned out. The poor guy thought we were laughing at him (and we tried hard to control our laughter for his sake). I reassured him that we weren't laughing at him or his drawing and he was okay.

Here is the drawing. Look at the teacher sitting in her chair on the right side of the picture. Does it remind you of anything? No further explanation needed for the laughter, right?

How I Spent My Sunday

Sunday was a great day. It was both productive and fun. Kelli and I decided that we would go to Home Depot to buy some foam to cover our pipes in preparation for Houston’s supposed upcoming “big freeze” and split the cost to rent a machine to shampoo both of our carpets.

We started at Kelli’s house first. I’m such a lightweight. I did her son’s room and almost died from lifting up and pulling on the machine. Kelli gets all of the credit here. She was a trooper and did 90% of both of our homes. I get credit for moving furniture and clearing the floors!

Shelli (Kelli’s twin sister) came over later to help supervise. I offered to make dinner and got out some Talapia, which I’d heard was an awesome tasting fish but had never eaten it until last night. I was just going to bake it with some butter and seasoning but ended up letting Betty Crocker take over. That would be Kelli, but they’re both very good cooks. She crushed up some Ritz crackers and added Parmesan cheese for the crust on the fish. It was to die for. We had steamed broccoli and garlic mashed potatoes and all ate like pigs. It was delicious. My kids and I were quite impressed with dinner and offered to let Kelli come over and cook for us every night. Her kids are picky eaters so she doesn’t cook as much as she’d like to. She seemed to appreciate the fact that we all cleaned our plates, especially Shelli. Lauren told her she could just lick her plate after she was the first to finish (I mean devour) her food without leaving a crumb. I highly recommend Talapia and Kelli’s crust concoction.

I had a lot of fun and bonding time with the twins yesterday and laughed a lot. It also felt good to get those carpets cleaned. (That's Kelli and I pictured above from Friday night. I don't have a picure of Shelli to post but they're twins, so just imagine two Kelli's. Ha!) Thanks, Kelli. I know you have to be sore today. Just from my small efforts with that machine I can hardly move my arm so I can just imagine how you must feel. They’re both such good friends. I cannot close without sharing a gross story that was told yesterday, though. It actually made me gag. I had to run to the bathroom but luckily didn’t throw up. Consider this your warning to stop reading now if you have a weak stomach.

Kelli works at a law firm. One time she had a bad cold and very runny nose. You know how we all wipe our nose with the back of our hand if it’s just dripping but we don’t actually blow it or use a Kleenex? We just use the side of our hand to wipe it because it’s only a drip? Well, she did just that, not realizing that she’d gotten a booger stuck somewhere to her hand, which ultimately ended up on a piece of paper that she had given to one of the attorney’s. A short time later the attorney walked over to her desk with the paper in his hand and asked Kelli if she had wiped a booger on it. They all joke around in the office but this wasn’t something she was willing to admit to so she firmly denied it and said, “No!” He believed her and said that it must’ve been some of the sticky glue stuff that gets stuck to things and then preceded to try and pick it off. Him trying to pick it off of the paper was the part of the story that caused me to start gagging but I was also laughing so hard my stomach hurt. Shelli or I one said, “OMG, he was rolling your booger around. ICK”. It was so funny. Sorry Kelli, but that was too good not to share. She gave me copyrights but said I had to exclude her name, but I couldn’t do that! What fun would that be? No one from your firm reads here, right? Your secret is safe here. Ha!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Three Things That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

I was out this evening and Lauren was in charge of the kids. Cassidy worked on her History Fair book report. Her topic was Brian Piccolo. I’d never heard of him until we went to the library to research him and was quite impressed with his story. You might’ve heard of “Brian’s Song,” which was made into a movie.

After I arrived home, she gave me the report to read and considered it done. She’d used spell-check and told me not to bend or crinkle the papers as I read through it. Within the first three sentences I discovered a humorous error. She was comparing the attention paid to Brain Piccolo’s Hodgkin’s disease to the attention and knowledge paid to “All Timers” instead of Alzheimer’s. I corrected her and couldn’t help but laugh. What made it funnier was when she said, “I told you so” to Lauren. Lauren had told her to use the spell check and it would catch all of her errors. She’d asked Lauren what it was called and Lauren had said just type “all timer’s”. Well, all and timer's didn’t show up, so needless to say she had to reprint a revised copy of the report.

The second laugh I had tonight was when my son, Caden, was telling a story to all of us about his “Pal”. A “Pal” is a high school student who comes to the elementary each week to read books to the students. He very non-chalantly told us the following story. He recently approached his “Pal” and ran through a list of names of the high school kids that he had connections to, Lauren, her friends, my nephews, etc. to see if he knew any of them. Well, when he named Lauren’s boyfriend, Travis, the “Pal” said, “Oh, I don’t like him. Go on.” Travis is the absolute nicest guy there is, (next to my dad) and this was somewhat amusing and shocking to us all to hear. Travis didn’t even know who the guy was and insisted that Lauren go get the yearbook to see if it might trigger a memory of him. We all laughed because Lauren said there had to be some mistake because everyone loved Travis and that that was why he won “Most Handsome”, not because he was actually "most handsome". Okay, maybe this isn’t as funny as it was at the time, but I was totally cracking up at how upset and bothered by this that Travis actually was. I’m afraid he’s going to be up all night worrying about why this senior in high school doesn’t like him and he doesn’t even remember the guy. You’d have to know Travis to fully appreciate this story. Lauren remembers the guy and says he had to be joking with Caden. Caden insisted his "Pal" was serious. I told Caden to tell his “Pal” that Travis was his “bud” and not to talk bad about him again. Ha! Okay, you’d have to know Caden to know that as much as he worships Travis, he wouldn’t want to go there with anyone. He’s a peacemaker and rule follower and thinks everyone should just love one another.

My final story might gross you out, like it did Caden. I was washing my face and getting ready for bed in MY bathroom tonight when Cassidy came in to talk to me about something. I was in the process of changing from my shirt into my nightshirt when Caden suddenly appeared. He never walks in on me without giving me a heads up but it just sort of happened tonight. We both let out a sort of wail and he took off running straight to the living room to share the nightmare with Lauren and Travis. Cassidy said, “He’s telling them what just happened.” It’s not a very good feeling when you are naked from the waist up, drying your face off in a towel and when you open your eyes you’re staring at your 10-year-old son. I sure hope he doesn’t have nightmares tonight, but I might!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Our Trip

We had a blast!

The girls made me look like the energetic one out of the bunch, which is CRAZY! When I vacation I am so all about no schedules and sleeping in, going with the flow, no pressure to get anywhere. I went downstairs on Monday (around 10:30am) to get coffee and check out the weather and tourist information and when I returned to the room they'd turned off the TV and gone back to sleep. Believe me, I was tempted to crawl back into bed with them, but I jumped into the shower and started getting ready. That is so not normal for me. We were all pretty exhausted from not getting any sleep the night before we left and the broken up naps we gotten throughout our flight, but I knew we'd hate ourselves if we didn't get out there and take in the scenery.

Brittnie (I spelled it wrong in my last entry) is my ideal travel companion. She's so my kind of traveler and likes to sleep as much as I do. Lauren and I got along great, too. We did some serious bonding and she even forgave me for getting lost and almost making them late for their show.

We toured Ohio State University campus, downtown and German Village. It was so COLD. We decided that the cold weather agrees with us and we love how our hair never frizzed up on us so we're considering just moving up north! Every time I've ever visited somewhere up north I have "good hair days". I don't think it's very fair that we to have suffer the consequences humidity in Texas and what it does to one's hair.
Lauren must've said fifty times, "I cannot believe that my hair still looks like it did when we left today. That never happens at home. That's it, I'm moving up here".

The city was so quaint and the downtown area had the cutest houses and brick streets. The people were very friendly, except for staff at one White Castle where we had lunch. We were so impressed with the cute little burgers that we wanted to take pictures of the menu and the girl said we weren't allowed to take pictures in there. Don't even get me started on that! Brittnie asked me later what she was going to do to us if we did, confiscate our camera? She took a picture of her tray of food anyway. Go Brittnie! I've eaten at a White Castle before but the girls had not. I wish we had them in Houston. Lauren and I ate on $6 and were totally stuffed.

The bars and pubs across from the campus were packed as the students and fans prepared to watch the big game. I guess the RED souvenirs that I bought for the kids will not be as impressive after the loss.

It was a great trip and I'm glad I went.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Columbus, Here We Come!

I will be leaving in about three more hours with Lauren and her friend Brittany for Columbus, Ohio. This wasn't a trip I was thrilled about to begin with but I am pretty excited about it now. It all came about after Lauren decided she was going to go see “Dancing With the Stars” on tour. They purchased tickets to the show before planning any other part of their trip.

It was decided that I would be joining them after it became apparent these two had no business going alone. They're too young to rent a car and would've been staying somewhere in the downtown district relying on the foot mobile and taxi's for their transportation. To be perfectly honest, Lauren can't find her way out of a brown paper bag. I'm not kidding! I can't count the calls I've gotten from her, lost, in a completey different direction and location than she’d set out for. Plus, they're both very pretty girls and I couldn't help but worry about what could happen to them if they were all alone in a hotel coming and going from various places, so I signed on as “chaperone”.

I'm not a fan of the show so I saved my $60 and will be skipping the performance. Besides, they bought their tickets before it was known that I would be going and I would've been stuck sitting by myself. We'll shop, eat, take in some sights and hopefully enjoy the heated pool at the hotel. We’ll only be gone two nights.

Lauren takes after me and totally procrastinates. I work more efficiently under pressure. We both waited until the last minute to start packing. She actually has a load of clothes in the dryer now that need to be added to her suitcase. I decided I’d just stay up since I was only going to get about two hours of sleep but she went on to bed about an hour ago. I have to hit the shower soon but finally got all packed. I’m exhausted but will have no problems sleeping on the plane. She promised to nudge me if I start to snore, which is highly likely.

I’m taking my laptop and if I have a chance will post some pictures of our trip. I have some friends in Ohio but they all live a few hours away, so unfortunately, I won’t be seeing any of them. I think we’ll have a great time and maybe even get in some real mother and daughter bonding time. We didn’t even argue tonight while packing, which was remarkable. As a matter of fact, I'd say we bonded.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


This morning was supposed to be my favorite radio segment "War of the Roses" but they had to improvise due to some technical issues. Instead they had people call in to share outrageous or rude things that have been said to them by other's. They wanted to hear about the kind of comments that leave most people stunned with their jaw hanging on the floor. Unfortunately, I'm not too quick on my toes when caught off guard and need a moment to process the situation. I wish good comebacks would just roll off of my tongue but they usually don't. I always think of the perfect one after the fact.

The show got me to thinking about things that have been said to me before. So far, I have only thought of two but I'm hoping more will come to mind before I finish this. If not, then feel free to share yours in the comment section.

I stayed home with my kids and did my share of the room mom and school volunteer thing until my son was in first grade. I had gotten a job that was almost an hour’s drive from home and since my husband worked closer to home and had two weekdays off per week, he took on more of my former role with the kid’s teacher conferences and forgetting lunch money kind of stuff. I started that job in March so he took over at the end of the year. When school started the following year we took the kids together to drop them off on the first day. As we passed this one teacher my husband stopped to introduce me and he said, Mrs. XX, have you met my wife? Caden's mom". Her response was "Oh, I didn't know Caden had a mom." I was speechless and let the comment get to me more than it should have. It turned out she wasn't very nice to begin with as I learned later during future meetings that I made sure to attend after that!

I'm not sure if I wrote about this guy in my previous "Office" entry, but if not, I should've. He was the office flirt/pervert. The guy who thought he was so funny and would stand at your desk chatting with you for half an hour and you really couldn't follow his humor. The women would duck when he headed their way. My back had gone out and I'd missed some work. It was somewhat apparent I wasn't 100 percent normal yet so he started up a conversation with me about bad backs one day while I was standing at the copier. He wanted to give me the name of a good massage therapist his wife had seen. Then he just blurts out, "My wife has big busts like you do and I think it contributes to her back problems". Again, speechless!

My weight fluctuates like a see-saw and during one of my more pudgier stages, my mother-in-law asked me "What happened to your waiste? You're too pretty to let yourself go." We really do love each other, I promise. I didn't eat very much of my meal that day!

If I think of anymore I will add them. Come on, what do you guys have???

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I got into my car today for lunch and kept hearing this faint but very annoying buzzing noise that seemed to be coming from somewhere in the backseat. At first I couldn’t figure out if something was wrong with my car or if there was just a toy wedged somewhere behind the seat or in the backseat console. It seemed to increase in intensity whenever I would come to a stop. The noise itself and not being able to identify the cause was driving me nuts. I finally determined it wasn't related to the car when I turned off my engine while stopped at a red light and the buzzing continued.

When I left work this evening I crawled into my back seat and started rummaging through the back seat console, digging under the seats and reaching into every pocket and crevice as I tried to locate the culprit of the annoying buzzing. I couldn’t find a thing.

As I drove home the buzzing continued. I decided that I would send my son out to search the car like a scavenger as soon as I got home, assuming it was one of his toys stuck somewhere back there with a battery going nuts on us. I kept trying to identify the familiar noise when suddenly, I knew exactly what it was. I’d packed some board games into my trunk to take over to my brother’s house on New Year's Eve and one of those games was Taboo. The little buzzer was shifting around inside of the box and was stuck with the batteries dying and slowly growing dimmer. Problem solved and my sanity remains intact, as if there was ever any question about that!