Thursday, September 25, 2008


Now that Lauren is in preschool 3 days/week and nearly 5 years old (6 more weeks!), I've been increasing my search for decent part-time work. Something professional I could do while the kids are in school. Something that pays decently and has all kinds of flexibility. And since the work-from-home independent contractor thing worked out SSOOOO WELLLLL (insert sarcasm here, see post below regarding small claims suit) I want to work as an employee. Pipe dream? Well, perhaps not.

I've had a couple of interviews for just such jobs over the past couple of months. I interviewed with one company located right here in my small suburb but they offered the position to a different candidate, telling me I was a very close 2nd. I interviewed just last week with another company that would be a very cool job in a very cool office, but haven't heard anything from them yet. Well, in the meantime the local company called me to say the guy they hired was leaving to relocate to Hawaii and was I still interested? I met with them yesterday and they offered me the job - conditionally. There is to be a 4-week trial, probationary period where I am hired on as a temp, essentially, to see if I can handle the learning curve. My job will involve a lot of business development as well as some marketing. My background has been primarily marketing, but not so much business development. I'll need to "learn the ropes", so to speak, and they want assurances that I can come up to speed before making me an employee. Fair enough. I'm waiting to hear back from the staffing company to make an appointment to do all the necessary paperwork.

For some reason I'm feeling a little - what's the word I'm looking for here? - ambivalent? reluctant? about this opportunity. On paper it's PERFECT: 20 hrs/week with fairly flexible hours. It's located spitting distance from Lauren's preschool. I only need to enroll her in the extended preschool program where she already attends in order to do this job. She doesn't even need to reschedule her gymnastics class. I will work essentially 9am - 2pm 3 days/week and 10:45am - 2pm 2 days/week. And the company, which has been around a long time and is pretty stable, offers full benefits for part-time employees (assuming I become an employee after the trial month). Full medical, dental, retirement, PTO (pro-rated for part-time folks), bonuses, life insurance - the works. The hourly wage is OoooKkkkk.... low side of appropriate. I've asked if the rate could be re-negotiated/re-visited after the trial period if I'm hired on as an employee. They've said yes. (I mean, they are paying the staffing agency more per hour than I'll be getting, so there should be some wiggle room there for me to increase my rate down the road, yes?) Anyway, it's an ideal situation. Only I'm feeling... bleh. I think it's because I think I'll be bored with the work itself. It's not an exciting, fast-paced industry. I'll be doing a lot of boring research as part of the business development. Maybe I'll be happily mistaken and I'll end up loving it. Because in every other way it's a dream job for me.

And I suspect the other reason I'm so lackluster about this job is that the other job I interviewed for last week is more up my alley. Pure marketing in a fun industry in a hip, cool space. The downside? I'd have to commute into the downtown area every day and probably pay for monthly parking. I'd also have to try to rearrange Lauren's gymnastic schedule and pay more for a 2nd preschool. The pay would probably be better, but I don't know that for sure. It's just sexier, y'know? But now, a bird in the hand and all that jazz. So, wish me luck!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Reality Court

Some of you may or may not know that I've filed a small claims court case against the guy I was working for. I was only doing very part-time work, but he struggled to pay me in full or on time from early on. He would get me just enough money to be willing to keep going. I finally drew the line and called it quits last spring. I tried to handle getting paid myself during the summer, but to no avail. He either cannot, or will not, pay me what he owes me. And that just isn't OK with me! So I filed suit for what he owes me. He's been served and we're waiting to see what his response is: a) pay me b) request a hearing/trial, or c) ignore it and I get a default judgement.

Then I get a phone call last week from an associate producer from a new court show, Judge Pirro, asking me about my case, etc. They said if I would agree to take my case to their show, and if the defendant agrees as well, then we'd be flown out to Chicago and put up in a hotel with meal vouchers, and should I prevail in the case, they (the show) would pay me my judgement. I would be guaranteed my money instead of trying to collect from the defendant. That right there makes it appealing because at this point I doubt I'll ever see the money from him. If nothing else it was worth a good laugh at getting such a call - they've never called back. I'm guessing they couldn't convince the defendant to do it.

Then today I come home to a message on my phone. YET ANOTHER associate producer from a DIFFERENT court show, Cristina's Court, was calling me about appearing on their show! What gives?! I mean, there is nothing dramatic or exciting or sexy about my case. It's very boring and straightforward: he owes me money, he knows it, and I have proof that he's admitted it. Game over. But for some reason my little case is piquing interest. Or their desperate. Probably the latter. Regardless, the lady from Cristina's Court did tell me that they would guarantee me the money should I prevail but that the defendant wouldn't have to pay them. They just pay it on his behalf. That right there should be reason enough for him to do it! But I doubt he'll ever agree because there is no way he ends up looking good here. He's at fault, plain and simple. His business isn't generating ANY money, so why publicize it to the whole country? But, should he want the exposure and the chance to make me go away without the money coming from him, this is how to do it. And wouldn't it be sort of a fun, surreal experience to be on one of those shows? I'm sure I'd get some sort of lecture about allowing myself to work as long as I did without payment or something - gotta provide the "learning" aspect for the viewing public - but I don't think they could make me appear TOO badly. He's never once objected to any invoice I've sent him. He has paid me, intermittently, over the months. I have emails in praise of my work. I have emails promising me payment of what he owes me. I have other businesses he owes money to willing to offer their support and/or testimony. But still -it IS cheesy reality court show television, and it would be airing dirty laundry in a public forum. Would YOU do it?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Then & Now

The 20 year reunion was a lot of fun! And I'm so glad it all went well and smoothly and I didn't come across any drama. Ok, just a tiny bit of drama, but quickly diffused.

I had the most fun with my friend, Carrie (hi again, Carrie!) It made my whole reunion that she could be there with me. See the picture from the post below for the "Then" picture of us, and this is us at the reunion, 20 years older and wiser. I think we're holding up quite well, thankyouverymuch!

The first night we both had some nervousness happening about the evening (seriously? I start getting crazy with the hairspray when I'm nervous. Stop already!) Carrie had shopped for and found a cute new outfit for the evening, and I wore the outfit I'd worn in Vegas that always makes me feel good about my appearance. It was a little surreal seeing everyone from high school again after 20 years, but I thought most people looked really good! Sure, the guys were balder and paunchier, but no one looked shockingly different. Except this one guy who had really long, wild, reddish hair back in high school and now wears it super short, rendering him unrecognizable. Completely. But probably because most of us never really saw his face in high school under all that hair! Anyway, we chatted with people, marveled at people, and in more than a few cases, talked with some people more that night than we ever had in high school. Which was really cool. People were willing to break out of the cliques and "comfort zones" and get to know others they never knew back then. They would "admit" to recognizing you from school, etc. but not really know you and then proceed to have a conversation. That didn't happen at the 10 year. Maturity is a beautiful thing.

The 2nd night (see picture above) was a little more dressy. Semi-formal, which is a designation I hate because it could mean anything! I tend to think of it as wedding guest attire. My sister had brought over a few dresses for me to look at and I went with the pink one you see above. I squeezed myself - literally! - into that dress but I was happy with how I looked (except my bangs need a trim - desperately!). I wore my hair up in a chignon and had some strappy black (tall!) sandals with heels. it worked. I got a lot of "OMG - you look EXACTLY the same!" comments over the course of the 2 nights. Which is nice to hear but makes me think I might need to update my look a bit.

Carrie and I had a wee bit of trouble with ex's. And both were ex's from sophomore year. Her ex wouldn't leave her alone. It was like he was stalking her! Another friend and I were shooting each other looks and feeling like we needed to rescue her or something. So we would manage to pull her away only to turn around and there he is again! Gah! My ex was my first "real" boyfriend and we did some stupid stuff that teenagers do in the flush of new romance. Some heavy stuff was dealt with and we moved on. He didn't "bother" me for the next 2 years of high school, and I didn't "bother" him. We were over it and each other. But at the reunion I heard from more than one person that, "it would make his day if you would talk to him." and "so-and-so really wants to talk to you tonight." etc. Whatever! I wasn't avoiding the guy or anything, but I wasn't seeking him out, either. I have no problem with him, but maybe he was shy or nervous about approaching me? I couldn't figure it out. So I simply walked up to him the 2nd night and gave him a hug and asked how he was doing. Like no big deal. Because it WASN'T. Turns out he's military, divorced, with 3 teenaged kids. His oldest is 17! He got started on his family YOUNG. I told him about me and what I've been doing, etc. and everything was FINE. No drama. But it was sure weird to be hearing about how an ex boyfriend was hoping to talk with you via intermediaries. The only thing missing was them passing me a note asking me to check off whether or not I'd speak with him, I swear. He didn't seem weird about me for the 2 years in high school following our breakup, but 20 years later (22, actually...) he's freaking out? Did he need closure? Reassurances? Whatever, I hope he got it from our brief, pleasant, innane conversation that touched on nothing of any importance or even hinted at the fact that we'd once gone out and all that crap that happened a million years ago. I wish him well.

And now that the reunion is over and I've strolled down memory lane, I'm back to my regular life and very grateful for the good life I have. I wouldn't go back to high school again if you paid me, and I wish I'd done a few things differently, but all in all, the experiences we've had in our past have shaped us to be who we are today, and I'm very happy about who I am and wouldn't change a thing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

20 Years

This weekend I will be attending my 20 year high school reunion. Go class of 1988! My best friend from high school (seen pictured here - hi Carrie!) will be traveling from out of state to join me at the reunion. I think that's the part I'm most looking forward to - hanging with her again. Yeah, yeah - seeing everyone else we graduated with will be sort of cool, too, I suppose, but she was the person I spent the most time with in those days and sort of represents high school to me. We dealt with boyfriend dramas, parent/family dramas, were on the flagline/colorguard/marching band together, and generally had a great time together. Then we graduated and I went to one college and she went to another. I was in her wedding and she was in mine. Then she moved far away and I don't get to see her much anymore although we do try to stay in touch. And she's coming this weekend to the reunion! I think I need her memory/perspective to form a complete picture of high school life back then. She missed the 10 year and it felt like something was missing for me - HER - because she was my PERSON in high school, y'know?

How much have we changed since then?! 20 years is a lot of time. I doesn't FEEL that long, really, but when you say it out loud it sounds like an eternity. 20 years is nearly half my life! I know I'm older and wiser, and I know it must show. But I don't really feel all that different. More experienced, sure. But I'm the same ME as I was back then. And it unnerves me more that a little to realize that in many ways I haven't changed at all, especially my hair. Sure, the bangs aren't quite as big as they were back in the day (I mean seriously - check out how they curled up OVER the edge of the graduation cap and ponder just how much hairspray that represents) but they're not dramatically different. I still tend to favor a curly bob haircut (now with natural curls and not permed curls, but those are just details). I also still sort of wear my makeup the same, minus the blue mascara. Browns for eyeliner/shadow, very little in terms of foundation/concealer, light blush, and pink/mauve tones for lipstick. I need a makeover, stat! Gah!

1988 Flashback: (I found some fun lists and factoids about my era to share)
  • George Bush Sr. is elected President.
  • The greenhouse effect is discovered.
  • America's Most Wanted debuts.
  • Prozac is introduced to the public.
  • Sonny Bono becomes mayor of Palm Springs
  • Yo! MTV Raps debuts.
  • CD's outsell albums for the first time.
  • Lionel Richie's wife was arrested for assaulting Lionel and a model she found him with.
  • Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson get hitched.
  • #1 Song of The Year: Roll With It - Steve Winwood.
  • "She's Like The Wind" shows Patrick Swayze can sing as well as dance and act.
  • Salt N Pepa get their breakthrough hit with "Push It".
  • Julia Roberts hits the big screen in her first breakthrough role in Mystic Pizza.
  • Top grossing film of the year: Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • Spuds Mackenzie becomes the original party animal.
  • Oprah Winfrey is the hottest talk show in America.
  • The new Suzuki Samurai gets bad reputation for flipping over when turning corners.
  • Penny Loafers with a penny in them and Levis with the cuffs rolled up were the fashion statements of the year.
  • U2 records Rattle and Hum album and then later the documentary.
  • Flying chair thrown by skinhead hits Geraldo in the nose on his self titled talk show.
1988 Prices
Cost of a new home: $138,300.00
Median Household Income: $27,225.00
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.22 ($0.25 as of 4/3/88)
Cost of a gallon of regular gas: $1.08
Cost of a dozen eggs: $0.89
Cost of a gallon of Milk: $2.30

Top 10 Reasons It Was Cooler To Be A Teen in the 80's than in the 90's:
MTV actually played videos in the 80s.
There was only one kind of Nike tennis shoes (White with a red swoosh) and they didn't cost $125.00.
A comb in your back pocket is more practical and less painful than
a ring through your nose.
In the 80s, playing video games actually meant going out to DO something.
In the 80s, when you were out partying, you didn't have to worry about your Mom calling you on your cell phone.
In the 80s we didn't have to worry about getting our heads blown off at school unless you put a whole pack of Pop Rocks in your mouth and drank a Coke really fast.
Debbie Gibson vs. Britney Spears. New Kids on the Block vs. N'Sync.
New Edition vs. Hanson. Ok, that one's a draw.
In the early 80s, there were kids in your high school who could buy alcohol LEGALLY.
Feathered hair was easier to care for than dreadlocks.
In the 80s you didn't have to worry about your pants falling down all the time. They were so tight, we couldn't get them off!

Friday, September 05, 2008

2nd Grade

This week marked the beginning of 2nd grade for Nicholas. Hooray! He's now a veteran, no longer a lowly 1st grader. He started school all decked out in his new jeans, new shirt, new shoes, backpack and lunch sack. Doesn't he look proud? And is that a gang sign he's flashing? Maybe I should speak with the new principal about that elementary school gang problem...

This first week we walked or ro
de our bikes to school instead of taking the bus. The weather is just too perfect! On the first day we met his teacher (nice!) and got him all settled at his desk. He was happy to see that several friends were in his class this year. *I* was happy to see that his class size was a very manageable 21 kids. For some reason the school has only four 1st grade classes but five 2nd grade classes. The overall number of kids is roughly the same but we get a whole additional teacher/classroom for the 2nd graders, making each class much smaller than the 28+ or so from last year. I'm happy he's enjoying school, and I'm even falling into the routine of making his lunch every morning like I never stopped for summer. Strange...

Lauren's preschool doesn't start until next week so she and I have been getting some good one-on-one time while Nicholas is slaving away at school. Next week? She and I are going to the zoo to see the new baby elephant that was just born. Today we're going to Costco and the library. Good times! (totally sarcastic there. We couldn't be more boring if we tried.)

I hope everyone with kids in school is getting into the groove of things, and I hope everyone who drives remembers to SLOW DOWN in the school zones! Be safe everyone!

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