Sunday, August 30, 2009

Feeling Nostalgic

Two weeks down on the new job and another week to start tomorrow.

To be honest, there are some things I miss about being at home. This summer was the first I ever had with my son since he was born. No job pulling me away from him, but no money either to do anything much. It's funny what you can do without, though, when you enjoy merely spending time together.

I miss the opportunity for a few lazy mornings, that sense of feeling fully alive and rested after a good and full night's sleep. I miss having time to spend a day immersing myself in reading a good book. Then there's the time to write - haven't done any for about a month.

But after my son, the thing I miss the most is having time for my friends. By the time I get home from the office, I am slamming together dinner and getting it in our tummies. Before I know it, the bed is calling. I barely have time for a few hours with my son, much less talking to my friends.

The job is going well so far. It's getting back out and around the public and I'm enjoying getting to know my team. But I am feeling rather nostalgic for time to just be. The stress of learning the ropes will eventually pass and we'll get back into a new routine.

But I really enjoyed my seven months of being a stay-at-home mother for the very first time. As they say, all good things must come to an end.

They make way for new ones too.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

The end of a busy, busy, busy week.

The new job is going really well in many ways, but I do admit that I am absolutely spent at the end of each day. However, I'm so pleased to see the reception that my team has given to me. They really seem to be excited to have me coming to the helm and leading the way. What more could I ask for?

See, I'm a big believer in leadership not management. Though I carry a management title, it is the inspiration, positive motivation and leading by example that I believe in - not titles. There's been many a hated manager in all walks of life, but leaders are generally loved and followed by those who believe in the message and example lived before them.

Now it's just a matter of filling my brain with as much information as it can possibly handle each day (and then some). Believe it or not, by Friday there was finally some solidification beginning to happen. I'll be so glad to really get my feet back underneath me and start moving forward with the plan for my team. My confidence has been on quite the roller coaster this week as I try to soak up as much of the most basic of tasks as well as the important ones.

If I expect my team to accomplish menial tasks, then I better the heck know how to do them too. It also helps if I'm the one training new people who will come in under my wing eventually.

Mom and Dad came up this weekend to hear all the interesting stories first hand. They've been wonderfully understanding of my need to just veg a little bit.

'Cause a new week will soon be breathing down my neck. Gotta make a little room in my brain to soak up another great week of busy, busy, busy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The New Kid

First day of the new job completed.

Boy, am I tired! The last few days I haven't slept good because of excitement and a little bit of nerves. It's always a little discombobulating being the new kid on the block.

The day was quite a blur, but I did manage to establish some good rapport with several fellow managers. I'll need to lean on them a bit during the learning phase as I get my feet underneath me.

I did get a chance to meet the employees who will be under my care and so far I'm pleased with the reception. Have a feeling that once we all have an opportunity to mesh that we will work well together and enjoy each other's company - at least that's my hope and prayer.

So during this new phase in my life, I have to admit that postings may be a little more sporadic than what's been typical of me. Once things get settled I'll hopefully be back to my crazy writing self.

In the meantime, I'll keep trying to let you all know how things are going in my small neck of the woods. Keep coming back now, ya hear?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Monday's A Comin'

We're going to be leaving town for a little overnight jaunt shortly, so I'll probably not be posting tomorrow. So much going on this weekend and then starting my new job Monday.

I can hardly wait to share Monday's experiences with you all - heck, I can hardly wait for Monday to get here.

I'm so excited!

Whoa - what's the matter with me?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Storm Before the Calm

This week we've had a flurry of activity.

Since I'm starting the new job next week, I've been trying to squeeze in appointments and excursions as much as humanly possible. So with dentists, doctors, car maintenance, hair cuts, and whatever else we can squeeze into one week, it's been a little nuts.

So call me surprised when my son springs on me the desire to have his annual back-to-school party tonight. Since we're also going to try and squeeze in a quick run down to Oklahoma to see my niece and great-niece coming in from Arkansas, tonight was the only available evening for him to have this fling.

The gang of five began to arrive around four-thirty today. I'd just returned from filling out all my new hire and benefits enrollment forms to face running to pick up soda and snacks and order three large pizzas.

Good thing Pizza Hut was running a special!

Since this is his annual tradition, I'd never deny him this end-of-summer ritual. But I'll be kinda glad to see the weekend end and Monday to roll around. Then I'll start my new job and he'll start school the end of next week.

Sometimes schedules can be a blessed thing. It keeps the crazy desire for sudden activities in check. Feels like the storm before the calm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Shoe Heaven

Talked about shoes earlier this week in my post. Guess I've got shoes on the brain - tee hee!

Not surprising. The past week I've been hunting down bargains and finding absolute steals. My wardrobe needs boosts in major ways before I can start the new job, particularly in the shoe category.

For years now I've been desirous of taking myself out on a shopping spree. It's been countless years since I've allowed myself that guilty pleasure. First we were saving for the new house and the furniture, not to mention trying to keep my son in clothes and shoes of his own. Then the Europe trip popped up on the radar.

Then before I could recover from the multiple shocks to the savings account, our office was closed and the gang and I were laid off.

So much for a shopping spree.

From the moment my son received notification of his Europe travels, I planned to take money out of savings and treat myself while he was gone. Then the layoff. Never imagined I'd be out of work so long. Figured I'd have a job again before June rolled around and my son skipped out on a plane.

Nope - didn't happen. My hoped for shopping spree was called off indefinitely.

So now that I'm going to be employed again and in the public eye, I needed to update my professional appearance. Found some great bargains on beautiful jackets and slacks and even a few dresses. But the thing I've had the most fun with have been the shoes.

Typically I've had one or two pair of black heels (one for dresses and one for slacks), a pair of navy heels, a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of sandals, and a pair of boots. Last year I bought a little pair of red flats, but there's not a whole lot of things I can appropriately wear them with.

Not the case any longer. I've hit the bargain mother-lode in the shoe department!

Got a pair of taupe heels for $5 at Famous Footwear and a pair of tan sandals at Kohl's for $10 (not to mention the adorable purple patent Vera Wang sling-backs for $16). Picked up gorgeous black and floral for $20, a pair of black and brown Bini's at Dillard's for $24, and cream eel-skin Ralph Lauren heels for $28. Found a lovely pair of red heels at Penney's, but didn't get quite the bargain on them as the others, but they were still on sale and I had a $10-off coupon to go with it so they were still a great price for in-season. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm set for some time to come.

I almost feel guilty for having so many pairs now, but believe me - I will use each and every one of these in my new job. I've not allowed myself such shoe expenditures since I worked in a retail clothing and shoe establishment before I was even married. That, my friends, was a looooong time ago.

So even though my closet is becoming a shoe haven, I didn't spend a whole lot in the overall scheme of things.

That's where the rubber meets my checkbook - in regard to shoes at least.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Shoes Can Pinch

Here I am on the cusp of starting a new job, trading the unemployment shoes for the stilettos. For some reason, my excitement seems to be waning.

The job still excites me. It's going to be fast-paced and freedom loving in that I'll be responsible for the entire office and for running down business instead of being tied to a desk. This is the chance I've dreamed of for many years.

There's just one small problem - I wish so badly that I could offer jobs to all of my friends who remain out of work.

There are so many I know who have been laid-off and out of work for as many months as I. My church choir is back this Wednesday after six weeks off, but the loft is full of the unemployed. It almost makes me feel guilty to share my good news.

My son's best buddy - his dad has been out of work for almost four months with nary a nibble and their family is about two months away from exhausting their savings and being forced to sell their home. They only have seven years left to pay on it, but with no income they couldn't qualify for a loan to extend the term and lower their monthly outflow. They're now looking outside the state for employment opportunities.

Don't get me wrong - I'm so very thankful to be once again on the threshold of the gainfully employed, and just at the right time. God came through for us once again. But it's sure hard to get excited when so many have a hard time hearing my good news.

I almost feel bad saying anything to anyone, as if they might get the mistaken impression that I'm rubbing it in their faces.

Couldn't be further from the truth.

I'm finding it best to temper my enthusiasm with compassion and understanding. After all, I want God to get the glory for His masterful work in our lives.

However, I also want to be sensitive to those who are hurting and in dire circumstances. I was in their shoes until mere days ago.

And sometimes those shoes pinch while you're in them.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Holding Onto Family

Had a great evening tonight. We were invited to have dinner with a former co-worker and her husband at their new house and so they could see my son's pics from Europe.

It was interesting to reminisce about how my son was in kindergarten when I first started working with them. Sometimes he would come to the office with me when I had to take him to VBS or something and then he'd spend the afternoon drawing or reading after I picked him up. The whole gang got to watch him grow up.

So they were just about as excited for him as I was when he had this Europe opportunity pop up on the radar.

You know, I'll really miss working with the gang. Life must go on, but this is a group of people with whom I will strive to stay in contact. We went through alot together over the years and saw highs and lows in our personal lives. We felt like a family in many ways, and that's something you don't find very often.

I'm hoping that once again I will be blessed to add a new family unit into my life. But for the record, I plan to hold onto this one too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Next Great Adventure

The last two weeks have been a veritable whirlwind.

I finally have a job!

It's not formal yet - she discussed it with me over the phone and now she's putting together the written offer to present to me on Monday. Then she'll conduct the background check and send me for a drug test next week. If all goes well (and there's no reason it wouldn't) then I will begin my new job on the 17th.

Isn't God's timing amazing? This morning I arrived home from the fourth and final interview - this time with their HR manager - to find a letter from the unemployment center in my mailbox. The purpose was to let me know that next week is my final week to receive the standard round of unemployment compensation.

So pleased that I'm not going to need it. Once again, the Lord has shown me that He's in perfect control over everything. I just need to do what I can do and leave it all in His hands - something I'm not all that great at, but each situation gives me more opportunity to learn.

Don't you find it neat that just as my unemployment is about to run out, I suddenly receive a flurry of interest and activity from months of putting my resume out there? Don't you find it so cool that I've had an entire summer to spend with my son - the first in his whole life - and will begin the new job the same week he begins his junior year of high school?

I do!

I can't tell you the number of huge and tiny but wonderful blessings God has allowed me to see and experience along this particular journey. Every day I've tried really hard to focus on the good things that have happened through all of this (some days not as good as others) and to thank Him for what He's been doing behind the scenes.

That makes me even more grateful to all of you who have been lifting us up behind the scenes too. Because of you - my family and friends - you've been an integral part in what God has been doing in our lives and I want to shout out a huge THANK YOU. Each one of you are so appreciated.

Thank you for being such an important part of our lives. Now on to the next great adventure!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Go-go Garage Sale

Well today ended up being a busy day.

My best friend called last night and asked if I'd be able to help her out with her back-to-school garage sale today. She invited me to put some things into the sale, but I'd gotten rid of so much stuff almost two years ago when I bought my new home that all I had left was pretty much clothes.

And clothes don't typically sell well in garage sales, in my limited experience.

Before the move, I'd taken a load of things to Goodwill - cookware, dishes, unmatched bookshelves, paintings, etc. If I'd have had them in this garage sale, they'd have probably been hot items.

But all I had were a few old suits that no longer fit, some slacks, and a few blouses - nice things, but nothing of any significance. Last night I chucked them in bags in case I decided to mess with them this morning.

I almost left them home because I was running late. Boy, I'm sure glad I ended up taking them with me.

When I arrived, she already had quite a crowd going so my bags stayed put in the car. Then at the first lull, I decided to go ahead and just put them out to see if anything happened.

I'd just started hanging up a few things when several ladies came by, saw them and snatched them up. For sake of time, I just dumped the remaining bags in my chair and told them to have at the pile. It was a feeding frenzy!

So I left this evening with cash in my pocket and only a few items left from what would have been just dropped off at Goodwill. Couldn't believe my luck and how well everything sold.

Maybe we'll just have to do this again next year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Gossip Train

Just finished watching an interesting movie this evening called "Gossip". Pretty telling.

It's about a woman who goes back to her hometown while she's in the midst of her divorce. She's not been back home much in the years since she'd left because she got so sick of the small town gossip train. Once she shows back up, the gossip gets juicier and juicier until it spins out of control and threatens to really destroy some lives unnecessarily.

Being from a small town myself, I felt rather a close tie to this character. I still remember my mother receiving calls from unidentified people telling her things about us that weren't true or skewed to make it sound as if we were getting into trouble when it was all completely innocent. If only they'd had caller ID back then.

I'll never forget the one time my mother took all three of us girls to a local clothing store to try and support our hometown with back-to-school shopping. This store had some really nice and stylish clothes and was throwing a terrific sale. We all had our budgets to adhere to, but just imagine - three teenaged girls in a clothing store tailored to girls.

Needless to say, there was quite a pile of clothes on the small counter when all three of us were ready to checkout. My poor mother was so humiliated by the idiotic crowd that had gathered around the register to see what the total ended up being, even though the sweet owner was trying to be discreet. People actually were leaning over my mother's shoulder trying to see what she wrote the check out for.

My father had stayed down at the family restaurant while we were all out shopping. Someone went straight to him and asked him if he knew where his girls were (and of course, he did) and all the hubbub we'd caused at the store. I think he even found out about the total before we even got down there to show him our new clothes.

Never again did we shop in that store after the circus that trip generated. Sad to say it, but I've rarely been back to that town after leaving it except to visit my folks while they still lived there. They no longer do and I'm rather glad. Sometimes it isn't so great being notorious.

Small towns have alot to offer in many ways, but I wouldn't want the meddling busy-bodies ever again. Watching the movie tonight seemed rather painful to remember what some of those days felt like.

But it was just a movie after all.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Trap Is Set

This week I've been sorely remiss in posting even though I've been home here and there. Well I think I have a pretty good excuse.

There's been some major job interview activity!

Monday morning I received a telephone call which resulted in a solid phone interview. There was an almost immediately rapport with the interviewer. She then asked if I would be available this week for an in-person interview. We set that up for Wednesday afternoon.

So I then popped an email to my hairdresser. It's been many months since I had the care of her services, so she squeezed me in at 7:30 Wednesday morning. What a sweetie!

So I went to my Wednesday afternoon interview feeling confident and perky with a spring in my step. We hit it off nicely, spending well over an hour and ahalf discussing my varied experience along with a tidbit of what the position entailed. Then she picked up the phone and called a gentleman to see about his availability for round two.

My second interview was yesterday morning. During the night, I woke up at 4:00 and couldn't go back to sleep. I prayed that I'd at least be halfway coherent for the interview and made sure to drink plenty of coffee (but not too much). Even though the interview started off a little slow, it progressed until I felt we were both on the same page. He gave me some positive signals and I left there feeling extremely enthusiastic, not only about my chances but about the job in general. Very exciting.

I know there'll be a process, but I sure hope sometime in the next week or so I receive an offer. The trap is set, merely waiting for the right moment.

And I thought this would be a ho-hum week with my son gone. Little did I realize...