Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter!

Well friends, I've not died or gone into hiding or anything. Nothing exciting or anything to worry about. I've just been hit with two different rounds of house-guests, each staying 2+ nights (right in the middle of a 3 night/4 day stay of my friend and her 3 kids, all bunking in my basement as they are between closing and vacating their house and taking possession of their new home and needed a way-station for a few days. I'm it.), working (which, wow - takes some getting used to!), and devouring the newest (and last - wah!) Harry Potter novel. Yes, I was a geek and bought it the day it came out, but I didn't have to stand in line all night in order to purchase it at midnight. I'm a fan, but not fanatical... I just had to hit the store for something else entirely and a whole pallet of books were just sitting there, no lines, so I got one. First one I've bought - I've read the rest through the library. In fact, I put my name on the hold list for this book at my library, but there were nearly 800 people on the list already. Figured I probably wouldn't get my hands on it that way until Christmas. And that's just too long.

Anyway, when I come up for air and have more time to actually blog again, I will. And I'll be talking about Harry because it's just.so.good!! J.K. Rowling is a genius, pure and simple. If you want to comment on the book, feel free to do so here - no spoiling because I've already finished it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where I Beg For A/C

Air conditioning, that is. God, it's going to be a scorcher today - over 100 - and we don't have central air. Or window air. Or any air to help make one cool except for a crappy fan that used to belong to my parents in the 80's. ONE FAN. Ok, that single used-to-ocillate-but-broke-and-now-faces-permanently-off-to-the-side fan and two ceiling fans: one in the master bedroom and one in the room we use as an office. And that, my friends, constitutes my arsenal for combating the heat in my house. My house that has 3 different levels of living space and over 2600 square feet. Wanna come over and bake cookies? On my floor? It's that hot.

And oh yeah, no curtains or shades on the main floor! Whee! I'm the woman lying prone on the floor in the semi-basement playroom using a puzzle as a pillow and trying to make dinner using the kids play kitchen.

My dining area and family room face due east, which means that the intense morning sun beats down into that room. There are two big windows from the French doors, and then two wide windows on the same wall. Target had a
sale recently (I love Target!) on bamboo roman shades (cheap!) and I got some for the doors. They don't block the light, just filter it, but it helps a little bit. But those windows - ! I rummaged through my linen closet for some old sheets - anything - I could use to block the sun. I unearthed two old window swags from about 3 houses ago. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I bought them because they're really ugly. Very thick fabric and dark, dark hunter green with - wait for it - best part - fringe. The kind of fringe you'd expect to see on Grandma's couch along the bottom. From back in the day. You know that fringe? Well, these swags were edged with it. And I bought them anyway. I KNOW. I hope my taste has improved since then.

Anyway, these ugly quasi-curtains would definitely help block the sun that's turning my house into a slow-cooker except for one thing: no curtain rods. But! Wait! I am creative! And desperate! I have a bunch of T-pins left over from my days of working in a cubicle and those were the only things you could use to hang stuff on the soft, gray, padded fake "walls" in cubicle-land. And they were hard to come by, for some reason, where I worked so I hoarded them. And then took them with me when they laid me off because HA! THAT'LL SHOW THEM! And for the last 6 years those precious T-pins have been carefully tucked away in my sewing box because you just never know when you'll need to pin up a hem and be forced to use T-pins or something. But now? T-PINS SAVE THE DAY! With merely 12 T-pins I am able to impale the ugly curtains and tack them to the top of the window molding! Voila! T-pins are mighty strong. And versatile. Who knew? I knew I'd kept them all these years for a reason. Ha!

So now my family room is a cave. There is NO LIGHT WHATSOEVER penetrating those windows. And now our family lives like trolls, in the dark, in the middle of a sunny summer day. We have to turn on a light to even distinguish between the remote controls because it's so damn dark in there. But if it helps keep the house a few degrees cooler it's worth having to see those ugly curtains pinned to the windows as the focal point of the room.

And the towel that's tucked into the top of the window in the master bath to shade things in there. Need a window blocked from sun? CALL ME!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


It's official: I was offered and have accepted a part-time, work-from-home job. Yay me! I had to jump through quite a few hoops and pass a couple of "tests" to get the gig, but the offer just came through today.

I'll be working for a small-but-growing multimedia production company that focuses primarily on the Western lifestyle. Think rodeos, cowboys, and the like. The guy - the talent and my boss - does a syndicated radio show on rodeos and has another one focusing on horses. He's in pre-production for a new 30-minute Western cooking show that will air on local cable. I'll be helping with the marketing and sales. I'm the detail person to his Big Picture, creative side. I think it will be fun. And best of all, I can do it from home. He's estimating 10-12 hrs per week. Perfect for me and our family. I'll have to juggle just a bit this summer, but come fall, I can work while Nicholas is at school and Lauren attends her preschool. They shouldn't be too impacted by this job, and that was the goal.

And, he's paying me what I wanted. A fair rate for this job. I'm working as a 1099, Independent Contractor, so I'll have to cover my own payroll taxes, etc. Hence the need for a bit more per hour to make up for that. Plus, no benefits. But that's ok - we don't need employer-sponsored benefits (aka health insurance) right now. The kids and I have a private policy and Mr. Chick is covered by his employers. We're good there. Having a retirement plan would be nice, but this operation is small and it's just not something in the mix. My hope is that our family can continue to live off Mr. Chick's income and my little income can be put towards savings, investments, vacation, life insurance, and/or other such things. Just a little extra breathing room. I mean, at this point I think I'll be bringing in an extra $4500 (pre-tax, mind you) this year. Not much, but every little bit helps, right? And, I'm keeping my single weekly shift at the YMCA to boot. Can't pass up that free membership!

I'm excited. I was ready for something like this. Something a little more professional. I've not worked since Nicholas was born - 6 years - and haven't regretted being home with the kids. But now that Lauren is on the cusp of preschool, the time is right for something like this. And this ultra-part-time kind of opportunity doesn't come around very often. So I'm grabbing it and hoping to make the best of it. I will still be able to be MOM when the kids are home, and I'll have the flexibility to take them to their activities, get them from school if they're sick, volunteer in their classrooms, and generally do what I've already been doing. Plus make some money to help our family. A win-win, and I'm very pleased.

And maybe, just maybe, I can manage to get some tickets to a rodeo or two along the way. Or maybe an opportunity for kids to ride horses someday.

I'm proud of myself for landing this. I worked hard for it and I'm excited to have the opportunity to contribute financially to our family and still put my kids first. It just couldn't have worked out better. So far, that is.

I probably won't be blogging about my work as that is just too fraught with risk and danger (think: Dooce), but wanted to share my good news and let everyone know what's happening with me. I'll still be blogging, however, I enjoy it too much!

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