Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why are you yelling at me?

Some days I wonder what ever possessed me to do the work I do.

My day job is in a call center talking to people about their benefits and helping them with eligibility. Normal days mean a few calls, some reports to run, and not too much stress. Slow days mean trying to stay awake at my desk.

A bad day makes me want to go home and cuddle with my cat.

I have a true admiration for people who take any type of customer service call. When I have to be he customer I make it a point to try to be polite, mind my manners, and I know at what point they are doing all they can and I need to escalate my issue. There is rarely a time when I don't get things resolved. It's easy enough to do in a calm manner.

Which is why when someone calls for no other reason than to complain and yell I am completely baffled.

Yes, there is an issue. Yes, we will help you. Why isn't that enough? Why must there be all the yelling and comlpaining?

Especially when I explain that I can't work on the issue until I get a chance to call the contact we use at the insurance company?

If I could find the answer to this maybe next I could work on the solution to world peace.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Really Truly Happy

This time last year I was having a mini-breakdown.

My 34th birthday was approaching and I was honestly not sure what was going to happen next. A and I had talked about getting married from day 1, but still weren't, and I wanted to start a family while I was still at an age where I could enjoy it. And see them graduate from high school.

Yes, I know women in their 40s have babies these days. But I don't want to be working when I am 60 to put someone through college. Would that prevent me from having kids that late if we have problems conceiving now? I don't really know. But I will think long and hard about what life I'd be able to provide.

So back to last year.

I felt bad for A. He wasn't sure what to do, he wanted to get me a present but I wanted him to save money. His reason for not having proposed was lack of money for a ring, and if the choice was between a present now or starting our lives together I was going to go for the second one there.

This year things are so much better. We are married. We are working on starting a family. I am looking forward to 35 and the next chapter.

This last Christmas we opted for no presents to each other. In late September we spent a pretty penny on a new 52" television and had agreed that would be it. A gift to each other. And no, I am not one of those types to say don't buy me something and then get upset when there is nothing. We are happy, we bought presents for family, and just enjoyed the holidays.

With my birthday coming up the next question from A was to ask what I wanted. Well, rather than have him spend a lot on me I opted for another joint gift to me from us both.

And ordered a new laptop.

It's a Dell Mini12 and it arrived today!!! I am in love!

This little thing is shown above sitting on my document holder at work. You can see the top of the document holder, the closest thing I could think of to give you some perspective on its size.

It's going to take some geting used to as far as the keyboard size but I won't complain. It will be nice to be portable again. And this means that I will be able to move pictures and music files here, freeing up the home desk top for gaming, as it should be.

Next project is to get A a new computer for his gaming needs. He's seen the one he wants, and now we just need to get the money saved for it.

Yay for presents!

Friday, February 20, 2009

...then why were you even in line?

My normal work routine is to come in to work and just keep going until 5. I'm salaried, make sure I do put in at least 40 hours a week, and 99.9% of the time will eat lunch at my desk while playing on the internet.

It works for me, and my boss seems to like that I am readily available in case of an emergency.

Today my sister asked for a favor.

My nieces, both 15, are home on winter break and she left for work without leaving them some money to go out and buy themselves lunch. Would I mind taking them something to eat for lunch?

Of course not! I love those girls as if they were my own!

So I call them and verify they can wait until 1 for me to leave and grab the appropriate craving of the day. Made sure they knew I would be contacting them before leaving the building to get their orders and then be off.

The time rolls around, and they want burgers from In N Out. They know my office is literally a mile from the nearest one, and since they live on the other side of town it works for me to get the food and head over.

And this is where I learned that people with hands free devices should still not be allowed to drive. Because they make no sense....

See, I pull in to the drive thru and in front of me is a Ford Taurus with an older lady driving. In front of her is a dark BMW with a man in the driver's seat. Nothing else in front of him, so I pause and fiddle with the radio. After a WHOLE song plays through I realize I've been sitting there for a bit. I look ahead and the old lady in front of me is shaking her head at the BMW.

He wasn't at the spot to order.

In fact, he was at least 1 whole car length back, looking at the menu and appearing to mumble to himself. I could see him in the driver's side mirror and couldn't understand what was happening. Why wasn't he ordering?

By now there are 3 more calls behind me. There are now 6 of us sitting there and NO ONE IS ORDERING.

I watched him laugh, nod, and then creep forward to order. All while removing his hands free device from his ear as he begins to respond to the cheery voice greeting him from the intercom....

I don't think I have ever truly felt road rage like that before in my life.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now that I'm all current...

Yes, my turtle was waiting for me in the hotel room on Friday night. He even had rearranged the furniture so that when I opened the door the first thing I saw was this grin:

We had an amazing weekend together. There was even talk of staying an extra night and not coming home until Monday afternoon. But in the end that idea was scrapped.

And looking back I am so glad it was.

My wonderful husband managed to catch something and from Sunday night until some time yesterday afternoon was having no luck in keeping anything in his stomach.

Kinda put a whole damper on the baby-making, but I was at home for a couple of extra days and able to take care of him. And he isn't a bad sick person, so it made it easier to want to just cuddle and nap.

Now I'm finally caught up with work, life, and can return to a somewhat normal schedule....

Oh, is that this weekend?

I think the last time I enjoyed Valentine's Day was in Jr. High. And I went to a Catholic school where you couldn't really have a boyfriend. It was more about giving and getting candy and everyone had to bring something for everyone.

In high school the holiday was sorta hit or miss. I was alone my Freshman year, but my closest friend and I bought each other candygrams. My Sophomore year I did have a boyfriend. He went all out, waiting for me at my locker with flowers and balloons and a card and stuffed animal. But this was the same guy who celebrated our monthly anniversary with flowers, usually roses, so this was nothing too out of the ordinary for him.

The last 2 years of high school were more of the alone type days. The BF and I broke up 2 weeks before Valentine's Day my Junior year, and the guy I was kinda seeing Senior year was broke and not able to even come up with a card.

So, A came in to this relationship and I believe got very lucky.

My only request each year was to be taken to dinner. Before being married this worked nicely because he paid the bill and I just had to drive. But last year we consolidated our finances into 1 account. Which means that we are going out, but it's something to do together and for each other.

Oh, and this year I want this little stuffed turtle that we've seen at Safeway. He's pink and red and has the cutest eyes. And if/when I get him I will be posting a picture to show why I feel in love with his face.

Back to the story....

Last month we had a party for my brother's birthday. A is not a party guy. He prefers his quiet, and at one point was contemplating spending the night in a cheap motel just to be able to get away from it all. In the end he stayed home to be a part of it, and we agreed that we would pick a weekend in the next month and go away for a couple of nights.

I looked at the calendar and remembered that President's Day is a holiday at work, so it would be the perfect chance to get away and still have a day at the end to do laundry and make it up to the cats for leaving them. He called work and had them write him in for the weekend off so we would have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday together. Plus I get to work from home on Tuesday, so in the end we get 4 full days of time together, and most of it will be alone.

Did you know that Valentine's Day is the same weekend as President's Day?

I honestly didn't realize it until after the fact.

So everyone at work is thinking that this is a romantic way to spend our first Valentine's Day as a married couple together.

I just keep thinking that it was nice of my company to give us a 3 day weekend in honor of our founding fathers.

But I still want that turtle!

(Originally posted 2/13/2009)

What happened to Spring?

The weather here has been nothing short of strange.

Summer seemed to continue until October. Then Fall came for about 2 weeks. Maybe 3.

Then it cooled down some more. Not too cold, but cooler.

Then it got really cold. Cold enough where even A had to have blankets on him while sleeping. Which never happens because he has his own heat source located inside his body.

Suddenly we had Spring. IN JANUARY. We were wearing shorts. Had the front door open and letting the house air out. Grilling steaks for dinner outside. Wearing flip-flops instead of Uggs.

And now it's not quite Winter, but it's definitely not Spring. There's rain, which we need. But it can't decide if it's supposed to be warm or cold or just in between.

Would whoever was in charge of the ritual sacrifice for the state of CA please get this straightened out? We don't pay what we do for rent/mortgage out here for nothing, you know?

(Originally posted 2/12/2009)

Trying to plan everything

I am a planner. Not a great planner. But still.

We have a budget sheet that I have mentioned before. I rely on this to make decisions on when to spend money and on what.

When we sit to make plans about things, my husband and I both look at the calendar and check for holidays and weekends. We try to make sure that we don't overlap with family birthdays so that we are available and free.

When we first talked about having children the similarities about what we wanted was amazing. Both of us would be happy with a healthy baby regardless of sex, but the preference is to have a boy. He wants to make sure to pass along the family name. I have 3 nieces and would like to have another boy added to our family of mostly females. Both A and I have agreed that if we have a boy on the first try that I can decide in a couple of years if I would like to try for another one. It will be up to me to make that decision in the long run, seeing as how I manage the finances and will have a better feel for what we will be able to afford. Now, if we have a girl first then we have both agreed we'd try again for a son later. I've also announced that if we have multiples of any kind we are stopping. Twins run in my family, and the thought of having more than 1 at a time was fun when I was 16. Now that I am approaching 35 I have to wonder if I could still handle it. We'll see.

So, with the aforementioned rules in place I have begun trying to plan.

Do you know how many so-called ways there are to "guarantee" the sex of your baby? You should try a Google search. There is everything from Chinese gender charts to discussions on position and time of day and cycle. I'm afraid to come home and mention to A that I have decided to approach this as a science experiment of sorts because this time he may actually try to commit me. At least for a small evaluation.

Which then leads me to think I need to trust in whatever supreme being is watching over us and pray that they aren't bored and in need of entertainment. That maybe, just maybe, what we want will actually happen and we can continue along in our happy bubble.

And then I wake-up and wonder if I could really just "let it happen".

So now I find myself trying to cross-reference my cycle and age to the Chinese gender chart as well as the the Shettles method. Maybe if I can get everything to overlap then I can find that exact perfect moment when everything aligns and we can be alone long enough to make a baby without interruptions.

Which may mean also finding a cat sitter so there isn't any meowing or purring to interrupt.

And that last thought is the one that made me realize I need to relax and stop trying to plan everything. Because if I am seriously contemplating paying to have the cats watched then I think I've gone off the deep end on this one. (Originally posted 2/11/2009)

Best gold piece he ever spent!

My husband and I met 4 years ago on-line.

And not on an on-line dating site.

For at least 10 years now I have played 0n-line games. MMORPGs to be exact. My first was Ultima Online (UO), where I quickly became a part of a guild and made friends. After knowing one another online we decided to meet in person and thus began our annual trips to Vegas.

Which is a whole other story. Or stories, actually.

When UO began to bore us we moved on to Star Wars Galaxies and there delved even further into the geekery that was our true natures. We again formed a guild, and then spent most waking hours there together. We even used a voice chat system so we could talk there as well as on the phone when not playing.

Star Wars soon became something we were bored with, and lucky for us the time for World of Warcraft was here.

Now, I have to be honest: Warcraft was something that a couple of the group decided to try, and there was resistance by the majority over starting over again in a new game. I secretly bought my copy, had it at home for a few weeks, and then finally installed it. I wanted to try it, it looked so pretty to play, and my best friend was already immersed in it. I would pretty much follow D anywhere with games, and once I installed it we begane to play on a server without telling anyone.

That lasted almost 2 weeks.

The main group had caught on, some others were now going to try it as well, and so we all agreed to make new charachters on 1 server to play together. There were 6 or 7 of us now playing, and it was going to be us doing what we love together.

I think it was our 2nd or 3rd night out when the idea to form a guild came about. We were all on, someone had the money, and we just needed 10 signatures to complete the charter and be able to be our little family. Since we were short people, people began to "shout" for others to add their names to the list to help.

And along came 3 strangers.

We created our guild, and 2 of them stayed for a little bit. One eventually logged out, but the last one found the town we were in and came to meet us. He quickly caught on to our teasing of wanting a pirate man and joined in. It was so seamless, as if he'd been a part of the group all along. If he could have seen the private messages going on between us girls I think we may have made him blush. We had no clue who he was, but I think that's what added to the excitement.

Now, again, I have to be honest. I have never been one to flirt like that with a stranger. Ever. Even my "nerf herder" on Start Wars was a friend I met first in real life before we began to play there. So this was new to me. One of the girls we nicknamed "Samantha" from Sex and the City because of her outgoing nature. It was easier to go along with her than to try and stand out.

But something was different this time.

After some chatting the discussion of a lap dance came up. The charachters in the game could dance, and we were in this little town dancing. When he offered a gold piece for one I didn't hesitate. We were all having fun, and it made me laugh.

Before logging out that night we made sure he had the link to our guild's site and message board. The guild leader was planning on removing the extra names from the guild as they were only there to help us get started, but asked me first if she should remove him. I asked her not to and to just wait and see what happened.

He visited our board the next day, registered, posted, and sent me a private message. We exchanged AOL IDs, quickly began chatting, and spent the next 4 weeks either on messenger or in game. He sent me his favorite music to listen to, wrote me about his life, asked me about mine. It was 4 weeks before we heard each other's voices, and this was still over a voice chat program he downloaded just for us. Another week or 2 and we were finally on the phone.

The phone calls were the best. See, he lived in VA and I live in CA. With a 3 hour time difference we were able to basically talk every free minute we had because of our different work schedules. It would start at 5:30 am here and then continue off and on until almost 11 my time each night when we both went to bed. There was more than 1 night where I was sleeping with the phone next to my ear and he would listen to me breathe.

After a couple of months of this he made the trip out to meet me. We spent 10 days together, and I cried when he left. Not too long after he was back home I installed a web cam, and I remember when he first could see in to the apartment and told me he wanted to come back home to me.

That summer was a long one, and the phone calls almost didn't seem to be enough anymore. We were already talking about being together, and one night he asked me if when the time came I would take his name.

That August, just a little over 6 months after that lap dance, he came back for another visit. His flight home was "missed" and he never left after that.

This last August, just shy of living together for 3 years, I did take his last name.

4 years have passed since that night online. I can't believe it's only been that long since I don't remember him not being a part of my life.

And I look forward to the rest of our lives together. (Originally posted 2/10/2009)

Out with the trash!

This morning I was taking my daily pills when A came in to the kitchen. I reached for the little blue pack and looked at him. He asked me when I was planning on stopping with those and I let him know if he told me to stop I would toss them right out.

And with that I am officially off the pill. The best part?

We did this together.

(Originally posted 2/8/2009)

Having a "real" conversation

Earlier this week an old friend told me that he and his wife are expecting. And he didn’t sound too thrilled.

It could have been the lack of sleep because of his job and the hours he’s been working lately. Or maybe the stress over some pay cuts coming his way, and instability of her job because of the economy. Either way, I was left with the impression that this was not good news and not something he wanted. At least not right now.

This made me stop and think about things.

Our plan has always been to wait until Andrew was working full-time and in a position to help support us. At the rate the job market is changing that may not happen for years to come. And I do not want to wait and add risks to the pregnancy because of my age.

So yesterday I looked at our budget. I am a bit anal about keeping track of things, and planning in advance, so I have the whole year neatly arranged as far as bills and due dates and amounts. I take in to account my salary twice a month and an average check for him each Friday for roughly 20 hours. That’s been his target, to at least have 20 hours a week to cover his expenses.

After reviewing it all I went and removed his weekly contributions to the equation, each and every one of them. What was left was actually surprising.

My salary actually will cover all our expenses. The bills, groceries, and rent would be paid each month without any stress. There wouldn’t be much left for other items. Our credit cards would only receive the monthly minimums. But this means that whatever he brings home every week could be saved or used for extra things. We’d be okay, comfortable, and able to keep going.

As I stood at the kitchen counter prepping dinner, A came in to talk about his day and hugged me. And I decided to ask him when we were going to be able to have a real conversation about starting a family.

I know I caught him off guard because his only question was how real. And that is when I explained what I had done and told him the reality of it: even if he worked full time in the end it wouldn’t matter because he would need to be more of a stay-at-home dad. My job will give me the option to work from home, and as long as I could be there on days he may be scheduled then it would work. So waiting for something to magically happen would not make sense for us because in the end we would be back to what I see on paper now.

And he agreed.

So, our only hurdle right now is getting confirmation that work would have no problems with me be at home at least 3 days a week on weeks he has to work. If I am not already working remotely then they will have to agree to this so we can maintain our lives. I’ve got a meeting at 10 with my manager and I plan to bring this up to her and see if it would be feasible based on the changes coming and what my position would be. Based on past conversations I know it won’t be a problem, and actually may work for the best because of the office space I’d be freeing up and the new position I’ll be moving in to. After I have verbal confirmation I can go home and let him know.

And then we can begin trying.

(Originally posted 2/6/2009)

As long as I promise not to post too much...

I finally told A about my blog. So now I can feel ok about writing and sharing.

Well, kinda.

He said that as long as it was something I wanted to do. And as I left personal details out.
I have decided that means no discussions about sex, body parts, and secrets. I can do that. And this little story doesn’t cover any of those items, so I feel ok to share. Plus I promised my cousin a laugh.

In the on-going attempt to someday get a vacation with my husband on a cruise ship we are on a budget. That means no real extra spending unless we have discussed it in advance. Also it means I run around the house turning off lamps, opening blinds, and refusing to turn on the central heat in the house. In winter.

Our house is actually a mobile home. We live in a pretty good sized metal box. I believe the insulation is fine, we had no real issues last winter, but PG&E doesn’t bother with lube when the bill is sent out. So this winter I warned all household members that there would be no central heating. A heat dish was ordered for the living room and another smaller ceramic heater for our bedroom. Our roommate said he’d be fine in his room so not to worry about him.
Fine. No problem.

Ok, maybe one little problem.

See, the heaters work for the rooms they were purchased in. All other rooms tend to stay chilly. Not too horrible, but still cold enough that the living room has become our favorite place to all be together. And of course we don’t leave them on at night because we have warm blankets and 2 cats to help with the warmth needs.

Which leads to a conversation had in bed a couple of weekends ago. And something that has become our new favorite joke.

Somehow A managed to have gotten the day off and so we slept in on this fine Saturday morning and stayed warm. It was getting to the point though where we needed to move and have breakfast and not be sloths. That and the bladders were reaching capacity.

A: Ok, time to move. I have to go to the bathroom.
Me: Me, too. I’m gonna beat you there. Wait…maybe not. You go ahead.
A: Are you sure?
Me: Yup…..wait. Are you just running in to pee or something more.
A: Just running in and out. Why?
Me: Crap.
A: What??
Me: Well, I wanted you to go first because I was hoping you would warm the seat up for me when I go in there. But you’re a guy, so no matter what it will still be cold when I go.
A: You are seriously warped, you know that?

We of course told our roommate, who is my brother, about this exchange. He laughed at us and basically told me I was very weird.

Last weekend, after sleeping in again, I was told by my wonderful husband who was headed in to the bathroom that he was going to warm the seat for me.

That, my friends, is true love.

(originally posted 1/16/2009)

Never in a million years.

I love to cook. I love looking through cookbooks and experimenting. One of the greatest things about my husband is that he will let me experiment and try new things. He encourages it actually.

Today I found a cookbook I will never ever try to cook from. I realized there are limits and this will never be something I would cook from.

Though I think I wet myself reading the comments....

(Originally posted 12/6/2008)

About My Header...

Meet Shadow.

We used to refer to him as the demon child. He honestly has this one look that makes you wonder if he would kill you in your sleep if given the chance. But to me he is a mamma's boy.

After almost 9 months at home with us he was allowed to sample some scraps as a treat for behaving the other day. This consisted of some cold leftover turkey breast, a small bite of soft cheese, and then a small can of soft cat food.

I have to mention that he is a dry food kitty. We brought him home at 6 weeks and he was already eating kitten chow from the bag. My husband (to be referred to from now on as A) has been adamant about not allowing him to become like my mother's cat. Her Siamese demands his soft food, and has been known to starve himself if given the choice between that and dry food. We live on a budget and always agreed that the cat would never eat better than us.

So, Shadow was eating some treats I smuggled, and the next thing I know, A is sitting on the floor and hand feeding him as well. The little ball of fur purred like he had died and gone to heaven, and was good enough to stay of the counters to help himself.

As I was loading the dishwasher the following conversation happened:

Me: You know, I think I may have made a big mistake tonight.

A: Oh?

Me: I have a feeling that my little friend will be in here every time I am cooking and asking for food.

A: Maybe. Maybe not. He's been good lately so it shouldn't be an issue.

Me: Hmmmmm

Well, A is off today and home with Shadow. When he went in to the kitchen to make himself something to eat he had a follower. A meowing follower who was looking for treats. And I received the phone call with him laughing about how much fun I am going to have cooking dinner tonight. If that cat doesn't kill me by making me trip every time I turn around in the kitchen that is. (originally posted 12/4/2008)

Starting Over

In an effort to make some changes and get better organized I am starting over here. I will be re posting a few blog entries from my old site and then continuing on after that. For those who are new, welcome! For those who are coming over from my other blog attempt thank you for staying with me and for your patience with re-reading my ramblings.