Thursday, February 22, 2007

To sleep...or not

Why is bedtime hell? J got maybe seven hours of sleep last night. After thrashing around (in bed, with the lights out, just not sleeping :tearhair: ) for an hour or more, he finally looked up at me at 10:45 and said, "Mama, let's go to sleep." And finally, he did. So he was tired and C-R-A-B-B-Y this evening. He screamed over everything when I picked him up from school - that made for a fun trip home. He cried because he didn't get to watch the movie they'd just started (never mind that everyone was going home in about five minutes, anyway). He cried because he wanted to go home a different way than the one we went. He cried because he wanted to go somewhere else other than home (as in, somewhere that would require me to spend money). He cried because I didn't have a new video for him to watch (never mind that we have a kabillion at home). I knew he was tired.

I started the bedtime routine a lot earlier than usual, and we had the lights out by about 8:30, 8:45. And again, with the squirming and thrashing and not sleeping. Tonight there was a new twist (well, not new - we've done the ghost thing before, but not recently). He came looking for me, crying that he couldn't sleep in his room, he was scared, there was a ghost. I got him back into his bed, finally - I knew he was just way tired and that was part of the problem, but still. So frustrating. He didn't go to sleep until 9:45. Better than 10:45, but it vexes me 1) because I know he's tired and needs to sleep, 2) because I'm tired, too, and 3) because I have no clue how to help him unwind sufficiently to settle down more easily. When it's light in the evenings, we play outside. Sometimes it helps, sometimes not. I've tried the Nighty Night videos. I've tried the Arbonne Unwind spray. I've tried warm baths. I've lit a lavender candle, used lavender soap and lotion, tried everything I can find that bills itself as "relaxing" or "calming". It must work for everyone but my kid. Even his cough syrup with codeine doesn't knock him out, and if it does help him relax a little, he usually wakes up about the time the medicine wears off, after about four hours.

I'm to the point that I'm just about ready to try this stuff:

or try to set up a sleep study at Children's Hospital here. I don't know what prompts these horrible spells, because some nights/weeks are worse than others, but I do know that bedtime is never easy. Maybe once every six months I'll get him in the bed and he'll fall asleep within minutes. And it's hard, and it's frustrating, and dammit, I'm tired of having to fight this fight almost every night. Bedtime should be relaxing and quiet and restful, not stressful and maddening.

Thursday Thirteen #8

As the Thursday Thirteen has now retired, I guess this will be my final TT post. I'll do my best to make it a good one! So, in no particular order, here they are....

Thirteen Things I'd Like to Do/Accomplish Before I Die

I've seen all sorts of lists from people, tallying up the things they'd like to accomplish. I've never given it much thought, as I've never been much of a "big dreams" kind of person, especially the last few years - too much emphasis has been placed on making it day to day. But I figured life might be a little brighter and I might have a few more things to shoot for if I thought about a few things I'd like to be able to say I've done when I leave this earth. So here goes.

1. I'd like to own a concert grand piano. I'm very musically inclined, I've played the piano since I was seven. I'm not virtuoso material, but I'm not bad. I want a concert grand so badly I can taste it. My little upright is nice, but it's just not the same. And if I want a grand piano, I'm not stopping with a baby grand. I'm going for the big mama.

2. I'd like to have a box at a hockey game. I love hockey. I want to see as many games as I can. And just once, I'd like the top-of-the-line experience of renting a box for one game. After that, I'll gladly go back to my nosebleed (affordable) seats. But just once, I want to do like the rich folks do and view the game in style.

3. I want to learn to play the harp. I'll start small, with a Celtic harp, and I hope to eventually work my way up to a full-size concert harp. I may never own a concert harp (if I have to choose, I'd rather spend my $ on the concert grand), but I'd like to at least know how to play one.

4. I want to take a cake decorating class. I'm fascinated by the art of cake decoration. Even if all I ever do is make cakes for J's birthdays and for friends and family, even if it's never a money-making endeavor and always a gift of love, I want to know how to make all those pretty flowers and curls and swirls. I want to create a big beautiful cake for a special occasion and know I did it all myself, I didn't pay to have it done. And I want to learn the secret of that yummy frosting. :-)

5. I want to go to Italy. I'm half Italian, so I'd really love to visit there.

6. I want to find a pair of blue jeans that fits well. This may seem like something so basic, it shouldn't even make the list. But I haven't worn jeans at least since 1993 (since K has known me - he never saw me wear jeans, and seldom saw me wear pants). My butt and thighs are out of all proportion to my waist, so by the time I find jeans/pants that fit in the hips and thighs, they're so big in the waist that I can't keep the pants up. I want to wear jeans with my ropers, jeans that fit well (or at least decently), jeans that don't have a two-inch gap around my waist. Don't know if that means I'll have to shape up, get custom-made jeans, or both, but dang it, I want some.

7. I want to dance at J's wedding. And drink champagne. (Neither of which I got to do at my own wedding.)

8. I want to see my grandchildren.

9. I want to learn a foreign language. I took French all through school, and I took German in college. I remember little bits and pieces, and could probably make my way around if I were in a country where German or French was the primary language. I was good at the classes, and I think I have a gift for learning languages. So, I'd like to learn one and be, if not fluent, at least conversational in it.

10. I'd like to learn to play the bagpipes. Unlike the concert grand or the harp, playing the bagpipes is probably not something I'd ever have a practical application for. I just think they're cool, and would love to be able to say, "hey, look what I can do!" Maybe show off at parties or something.

11. I want to have a pedicure. Small in the grand scheme of things, but I've never had one, and it would be nice just once to have pretty toenails.

12. I want to take J to Disney World. Ideally I'd like to take him with his cousins, but if that doesn't work, I just want to take him. I got to go as a child, and I want him to have that experience.

13. I want to see J grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted young man. If I can successfully help him maneuver the rocky waters of growing up, that's really all I can ask for.

This was a hard list for me. I don't have a lot of daredevil tendencies, so I wasn't going to say anything like, "I want to go bungee jumping" (I'd rather eat rocks) or "I want to climb -insert name of big pointy rock here-" (that's too much effort for me, and I'm not crazy about heights) or "I want to go skydiving". And like I said, I've never been a big dreamer, never really had lofty goals. Most of the time I tend to take life as it comes, just trying to make it through another day or week or month. But I thought it might be to my benefit to really try to think about the future and what I might want from it. There really should be more to life than just surviving, right?


I had a kind of scary thing happen last night. There were no messages on my house phone when I got home, so I didn't think to check again before we started the bedtime routine. I didn't notice until almost 10:00 that there was a message. Caller ID showed a number that said "Pay Phone", and it was a Waco number. Brian has prepaid minutes on his cell phone, and he could have run low or run out, and he's the only person I know in Waco, really, so I thought he might have called. I listened to the message and all I got was what might have been Brian's voice saying "Lisa" (about half of it was cut off, so it was a little hard to tell from one syllable) and then an automated message saying the dialing party had disconnected, I would not be billed, which leads me to believe it was a collect call. So. That concerned me a little. At 9:22 at night, if it was Brian (and I can't figure out who else it would be), do you think he'd be calling collect from a pay phone just to tell me good night? I didn't think so. I'd think he'd only do that if it were something important, and I had no way to get in touch with him. I called his cell - it went straight to voice mail, which tells me he's likely out of minutes and just has it turned off. His house phone rings once and goes to a busy signal, and I know he's been having problems with the wiring. I was a bit concerned, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Thankfully, he called this morning. One of the things he knew needed to be fixed on the van finally crapped out as he was on his way home from church. He made it home OK, and he says he's not upset about it, other than the annoyance factor of having to make arrangements to have someone cart him around until it's fixed. He's having it towed to the dealership this morning, and hopefully they'll only have to keep it overnight.

This made me realize something, though. I don't much care what job I have or where, I just want Brian and I to be in the same place. I'd stay where I am now (and you all know how I feel about where I am now) if he could just be here with me. That's what's important. As long as I can pay the bills, the wheres and whys of my job just aren't that important compared to us being together.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hang On Little Tomato

By Pink Martini

The sun has left and forgotten me
It's dark, I cannot see
Why does this rain pour down
I'm gonna drown
In a sea
Of deep confusion

Somebody told me, I don't know who
Whenever you are sad and blue
And you're feelin' all alone and left behind
Just take a look inside and you will find

You gotta hold on, hold on through the night
Hang on, things will be all right
Even when it's dark
And not a bit of sparkling
Sing-song sunshine from above
Spreading rays of sunny love

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you'll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something's coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you


I think this is my new favorite song. I've got it on the music player on the sidebar of my blog, if you'd like to hear it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Catching up

I guess I have a lot to write about. I just haven't been in much of a writing mood lately.

High points that I'll try to come back and discuss later:

~Talked to the attorney re: the law firm job in Waco.
~Brian has applied for a job up this way.
~J - never a dull moment, that's for sure.
~My newest big purchase: a Bissell steam cleaner. Best $120 I've spent in a long time.
~My next biggest recent purchase: some New Balance cross trainers. Now I have no excuse not to get my big booty back to the gym, other than pure sloth, and that's just not acceptable.
~My Valentine's present from Brian!
~K and A - all officially married now, and she's met K's parents.

I'm fried. Not sure why, just tired. I'll come back and catch up later.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #7

Thirteen Pros and Cons of Getting a Job in Waco

1. Pro: Get out of my current job, which I hate. This tops the list, because anything has got to be better than where I am now.

2. Pro: If I get a job in Waco, Brian and I will then be in the same place. Finally!

3. Pro: More money. I can just about guarantee that a law firm job will pay more than what I'm currently making, which is never a bad thing.

4. Pro: Doing something I like, where people might actually be glad to hear from me and might appreciate the advice I have to offer instead of whining and complaining every.single.time I talk to them.

5. Con: I'd have to sell my house.

6. Con: And pack.

7. Con: And move. UGH. Eleven years of accumulated mess in this house. It makes my stomach hurt to think of it.

8. Con: The logistics of K seeing J would become considerably more complicated.

9. Pro: Baylor football season tickets!

10. Pro/Con: I'd have to commute 90 miles one way until my house sold. But, the potential salary might be enough for me to afford a new (or at least new-to-me) car.

11. Pro: Working somewhere that actually paid my bar dues and CLE, that appreciated my professional credentials and helped me to support them.

12. Pro: Smaller, more collegial work environment. There are eleven lawyers in the firm. How could you not get to know everyone pretty well?

13. Pro: Have I mentioned the salary potential?

Doubtless there are more I could think of, these just top the list. Now, if I'd only get a job offer....

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Up and down and all around

Deep breath. I'm refinancing my house. I've anguished over whether this is a good deal or not, and I think it is. I've crunched the numbers six ways to Sunday and it should work. I know it's not the best loan out there, but then, my credit score sucks and I'm only two years out from a bankruptcy. I'm not in a position to qualify for the top of the line. This will pay off all my piddly debt (all those itty bitty credit card balances I have that are oh, so easy to justify missing a payment on because it's just a little bit) and K's student loan (which is in my name and was given to me in the divorce), will give me cash for an emergency fund (something I don't have now and can't seem to figure out how to get on my own), and will give me an opportunity to work toward improving my credit score. The payment will be split into two bi-monthly payments, which makes my budgeting easier, and is something I can't do on my existing note. It's also a fixed rate, where my current note is an adjustable rate. So I think it's a good deal, it just makes me a bit nervous because I'll now be responsible for my own taxes and insurance. Insurance is no big deal, I'll just add my homeowners' insurance back on to my monthly payment along with my car and J's life insurance. But I'll have to set it up where money for property taxes goes into a savings account every month, so that I never see it and never touch it.

I think it's a good thing. But still - AACK. The appraiser will be here on Saturday morning, closing will be 10-15 days after that, and my first payment will be due 30 days after that.

Brian and I are trying to get tickets to see Wicked. It's coming back to Dallas in April and May, but I think we may have farted around and missed out. I'm also going to take J to A Day Out With Thomas in March, and Brian is coming up a different weekend in March and we're going to go to the Dallas World Aquarium. Wow, J is going to have a big month. Aquarium March 10, Thomas March 24. That will be fun!

And how's this for ironic? I got home and found a message from a law firm in Waco about my resume, which I'd sent to the Baylor career services office back in December. I'd pretty much forgotten about it, but they want me to call and talk. So I'll do that. At first, I was off my gourd excited. But then I started thinking - what if I get a job offer down there and Brian then gets one up here? If I get a job in Waco, now that I'm getting my finances in order, I'll have to worry about selling the house, moving, and finding one down there, in addition to reapplying for a loan and all that crap. I talked to Brian, and we both agree that the best-case scenario is that I get the Ellis County job and he gets the Dallas Zoo job, and he moves up here - I've already got a house, and he doesn't have a tremendous amount of furniture. So now I'm twisted. Dang it, I just want everything to work out so that my finances are in better shape and Brian and I are in the same place. With so many possibilities swirling around, surely something good will come of it. All of this is making me nuts.

And why is bedtime a battle every.single.night?! Last night J was awake until 10:30. He was up at 5:00, 5:15 this morning - up for the day. That's not enough sleep for me, much less for him, but he kept going until 10:30 tonight. Even when the light is out and he's in bed, he keeps fighting it - he squirms, he fidgets, he keeps opening his eyes. He doesn't get out of bed, it's like he just can't slow his brain down and settle and go to sleep. He'll stay in bed by himself for a little while, but invariably he comes to find me and wants me to sit with him. (I'm trying to work on breaking that habit, but it's a slow process.) And tonight he was awake until 10:30 again. I hate it. I get frustrated because I'm tired and he's not sleeping and then I feel bad for being frustrated.

My manager comes back from vacation tomorrow. That's bound to make the work day suck big dirty rocks. I keep telling myself, we have Monday off, we have Monday off.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The best Valentine's Day present ever

I haven't gotten Brian's present yet, and he's ordered mine but it hasn't come in. That notwithstanding, I got the best Valentine's present ever this weekend.

He loves me! He does, he does!

We had "that" conversation on Saturday night. I cried - I'm a big goob. He said, "Can I ask you a tough question?" I said sure. He said, "So are we in love with each other or do we just meet each other's needs?" And I just burst into tears - exactly the response every guy hopes for when he mentions love. He kind of freaked out, worrying if I was OK, and when I was able to stop just sobbing, I told him I loved him so much it hurt. And I cried some more, and we just sat there in the floor holding on to each other. He said he loved me, too, and he wasn't going anywhere. We talked for about an hour, I guess (still sitting in the middle of the floor). He said he's been pretty confused the last few weeks trying to figure out where things stand, and he was a little hesitant to say he loved me because of his track record (Karen - big ugly mess; then he married Amy, his ex; then there was Tricia - even bigger stinky mess). I told him he didn't have to worry, he already knew I wasn't a nutter like Karen or Tricia. He told me, yes, I was, but we were compatible nuts. LOLOL We talked about trying to have a kid (but said that if it didn't happen, he was OK). Big scary stuff, but in a good way. (Note to self: Go back to Curves and start exercising and get your fat ass in shape! If I'm even contemplating the possibility of trying to get pregnant, I've got to do that.) So. He loves me. I love him. Now one of us just needs to find a job where the other one is, so we can get past all the silly logistical nonsense!

That was the best Valentine's present ever. I told him that, and he said, "So, this means I don't have to give you the present I ordered." I told him no, I didn't say that. LOLOLOL

So it was a pretty darned good weekend. In other news, we went to the Stars-Ducks game on Saturday. It was Brian's first hockey game. The Stars won, 1-0. For most of the game, it looked like Anaheim just outplayed Dallas - it was like Dallas couldn't get it together, missed opportunities, they just couldn't get into the right place at the right time. But they managed to score a power play goal to win the game. Our backup goalie, Mike Smith, was in the net, and he ROCKED. He's just signed a two-year contract, and I'm glad to see the Stars planning to keep him around. Good to have two good goalies on the roster. Our seats were in the nosebleed section, one row from the top, and my butt is still sore from walking so much - all the way from where we parked, all the way around the arena (it was our first visit to the American Airlines Center, so we had to check it all out), and up all those stairs. Ow, ow, OW.

Brian stayed Saturday night, too. He usually goes back then, but he stayed this weekend. He had to leave early Sunday morning so that he could go usher at church. I was glad he stayed.

I won't see him until the first weekend in March, unless we plan something kid-friendly. We may try to do that. Too bad it's still a bit too cold for the zoo or something like that.

I'm a happy girl. And if the logistical issues can be sorted through, there may be a ring in my future.

And in other news: K and A are getting married. This Wednesday. Seems a bit sudden, but I guess if they think it's right, then that's their call. The friend part of me is happy for him and wishes him the best. The selfish part of me thinks, damn, there goes my free babysitting, because I know K won't always be available at the drop of a hat to pick up J so that I can do optional things. Not saying he won't put J first, I just know that his responsibility is more to A now than to me, and there's a difference in him being there for J's needs and covering for me so I can do something that isn't essential. And the mom part of me worries about J and wants him to be happy through all of this. K and I have talked about me not wanting J to feel like just one of five kids to his father (A has four children of her own, so it will be a house full when J is there) - J has never handled changes in routine real well anyway, and I don't want him to feel like he can't even get his father's full attention anymore. So, changes are coming, and I'm expecting some sleep disruptions - that's usually what happens when J's routine changes. All I can say to that is, hooray for coffee.

Speaking of coffee - I'm tired this morning. Last night was rough. J woke up about 3:30 or so and came to get into bed with me. First off, he dropped the toy he'd brought, so I had to get down on the floor and help him find it. He was wet, so we had to change. We laid down for a few minutes, and then he was thirsty and wanted milk. So we got milk and got back into bed. Laid down for a bit, and he started tossing the covers off the bed - he didn't want them. I told him that was fine, but please don't take *my* covers, I wanted them. Laid down for a bit longer, and then he needed to go potty. So we got up and went to the potty. He howled because the bathroom light was bright and wanted me to go find his Thomas sunglasses. I told him no, I was not going to go rummage for those glasses, that his eyes would adjust and soon we'd be turning off the light anyway. Finished there, got back into bed, laid there for a few minutes. J squirmed and sniffled and snorted, and finally sat up and said, "Mama, I need to blow my nose." So he blew his nose, and FINALLY, after all that, we were able to settle down and sleep. It only took about 45 minutes. So. I'm tired. Need much coffee.

I had to laugh, though. This morning, he and I had this conversation:

J: "Mama, when I was at A's house, I woke up at 4:30."
L: "Goodness, that's early. Did you go back to sleep?
J: "No, I got up and went to the bathroom, and then I found Daddy and told him I WAS NOT going back to bed."
L: "I'm sure Daddy loved that. Why were you up so early?"
J: "I don't know, I just woke up and there I was."

In work-related news: My old position is open with the Ellis County DA's office. I've applied. I hope it works out. I took a little different approach this time - I've gone the formal, "proper" approach, so this time my cover letter was very informal. I just laid out what I'm doing and why I want to come back. It would be a pay cut from what I make now, but I think I'd make it up in the savings on paying for parking and gas (since my commute would be a LOT shorter). I hope something works out for both Brian and me, in the same place. He's applied for a job up here - he'd applied for the same position last year, and was told he wasn't qualified (I'm not sure they actually read his application, because he is). So that may work out. I just hope we can both end up in the same place sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6

Thirteen Things That Vex or Annoy Me

There's no rhyme or reason to this list, it's just a collection of those little and not so little things that just stick in my craw.

1. Tailgaters. If where you're going is so all-fired important, instead of riding my bumper in a vain attempt to get me to go faster, why don't you just go around?

2. People who wear too much perfume or cologne. This is a situation where, if a little is good, a lot is not necessarily better and is in fact often much, much worse.

3. The packaging of children's toys. When did it become necessary to safeguard a dump truck made out of plastic as if it were the crown jewels? I have had to get a screwdriver to get some of my son's toys out of their packaging, I kid you not. A screwdriver. For a $5 toy. Whoever came up with that idea clearly has never had a child standing there screaming, "Mama, I want my truck RIGHT NOW!" What happened to just opening the box, pulling out the toy and playing with it?

4. Hold music. If I'm calling about a problem, hearing the Muzak version of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" is not real likely to improve my disposition.

5. Pushy salespeople. This is somewhat related to #4. I call Company X with a particular problem, wanting only a solution to that problem. Before I can get off the phone, they have to tell me about 4,783 different services that I could add to my existing account for only a small fee, and when I say "no", they try to tell me a different way why I really can't do without those 4,783 different services. Yeah, well, lots of small fees add up to one big one, so no, thanks.

6. Junk mail. I swear, I get more crap in my mailbox in one week than most people do in a month. Or two. Or three. Somehow I'm on the mailing list for just about every catalog in the country.

7. Four-way stop signs. Invariably someone will get there before me and already be stopped. Then they stare at me like I've grown a horn out of the middle of my forehead when I come to a stop to let them go. And then it's a big stand-off and several false starts before someone actually finds the intestinal fortitude to gun it through the intersection. AARGH. If you were there first, you get to go first. It's not rocket science.

8. Overdraft fees. Unfortunately, I've become far too well acquainted with this in recent months. You overdraw your account. The bank charges a fee. OK, fine, I screw up, my overdraft protection kicks in, I reckon the bank is due a little something for providing that service. But if you don't get the overdraft cleared darn near immediately (say, it's three days until payday and there's nothing you can do to get money into your account any sooner), you get charged more fees. For every overdraft fee you're charged, that's another overdraft item, and you're charged a fee for that. And on and on, until you're so far in the hole you can't hardly dig your way out. What, the initial overdraft fee wasn't sufficient?

9. My finicky, hypersensitive DVD player. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, it will balk at a disc and say there's no disc in there. I've cleaned the DVD player, I've checked the disc for scratches and smudges and found none. Why, in the name of all that is holy, won't you just PLAY?! (This never happens with anything I want to watch, of course - only with whatever DVD J is wildly obsessed with at the moment. Ever try to explain to a 4-year-old that for some reason unknown to you, and in spite of your best efforts, he's just NOT going to get to watch SpongeBob right now? It's madness, I tell you, madness.)

10. The sizing of women's clothing. You know, a size 4 should be a size 4 should be a size 4. A size 18 should be a size 18 should be a size 18. Brand, cost, whatever shouldn't matter. I can see that a difference in style might make a difference in fit - i.e., a pleated skirt might run a bit bigger than a straight skirt. But I shouldn't wear one size on one day and three sizes bigger the next, just because I'm trying on a different brand or shopping in a different store. And I'm not a skinny girl - I've gotten past the number on the tag ages ago, so please, designers, don't think I'll be more inclined to shell out money just because the tag says 14 instead of 18. I truly don't give a rip. I'd just like some consistency, so I don't play "guess the size" every time I go clothes shopping.

11. Cigarette smoke. Yes, it's a free country (well, not counting all the places that are now banning smoking in public buildings, or restaurants, or what have you). You're a grown-up, you're free to smoke if you like - that's your call. I, however, do not have to like the smell of cigarette smoke, and I don't. It makes my eyes itch, and I think it smells horrid. Smoke all you want, but don't get aggravated if I cough or rub my eyes if you happen to be smoking near me. (And for what it's worth, my sister is an occasional smoker, and if she tried to light up in my house, I'd send her outside.)

12. Wal-Mart. Why do we have a Super Wal-Mart with 37 checkout lanes if only three are open at any given time? I don't get that. (Note: We now have a Wal-Mart in our town, so perhaps they'll redeem themselves. I'm not expecting that, but I'm willing to try to keep an open mind until I'm proven wrong.)

13. Crickets. I don't like their singing if I'm trying to sleep (which is about the time they start up at my house), I don't like the fact that they can get up in the recessed lighting of my living room and dive-bomb me, I don't like the fact that they're jumpy, ooky bugs, and no, I don't care that Jiminy Cricket was cute or crickets are supposed to be lucky. I don't like them. They oog me big-time, and I don't want to touch one or see one. And I'd challenge that idea that crickets are lucky - I've got so many around here during cricket season, I should have won the lotto four times over by now. I don't see any lotto winnings around here, do you?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Le Laquet

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Getting the financial house in order

I thought my meeting with Katy, the financial advisor, went pretty well. She agrees that my house note is what's killing me (story of my life - "it seemed like a good idea at the time"). So we're going to try to get me out of this one and into a better one, maybe refinance and get some extra cash out for an emergency fund, and once I've got some money freed up from the house payment, start working toward saving for J's college. I like having a plan. Those are my three big things right now: get out from under the beastly house note, set up an emergency fund, and save for J's college (thankfully he's young enough that we still have time to work on that).

I liked her, too. She's very low-key, not pushy, not trying to sell me a bunch of crap (good thing - she saw my finances, she knows I have no extra cash). Very easy to talk to. She offered me a job. She's opening an office in Dallas and needs to put together a team of advisors and support staff. I'm not sure I'd be good at it - if it's a cold-calling, all commission-based kind of thing, I'm pretty sure it's not for me. She assures me there's no lack of clients, and wealth management is supposed to be a growth industry (I've found this out through independent reading, and not just from her). So I'm going to explore the possibility. She knows I have a little one, and that I don't want to be traveling much out of our area. The possibility of working from home, on my schedule, having time for J's activities, and making a decent living doing it thrills my soul. That would be beyond fabulous. So, hi ho, hi ho, exploring I will go! One of my co-workers may also be interested, so she and I came up with a list of questions for Katy. (How funny would that be, if I jumped ship and took someone else with me? LOL) We'll see where it goes! Watch, it will work out, simply because right now I'm not jumping up and down over the idea. And I'd think it would be a fairly portable business, should I ever have reason to move anywhere. I'm just sayin'.

Katy told J she'd bring him a present next time she comes over. Is he spoiled or what? He was very good last night while we talked. He asked me periodically if we were done, and when I said no, he went back to watching TV, playing with his toys and eating dinner. I was proud of him. Such a big boy.

The J funny for the day: He told me he wanted a baby sister and that we should name her Stephanie so he could call her Steve for short. Where he comes up with this stuff, I have NO idea. Steve. I told him not to hold his breath, that a baby sister wasn't something you ran out and picked up at Target!

I e-mailed Brian and told him what J said about a baby sister. Part of his response was, "If you (dare I say "we?") had a girl". Now if that doesn't sound like a man who's thinking about at least the possibility of something long-term, I'll eat my hat. :-) And this is most definitely not a bad thing.

I've got a metric ton of work to do. Better hop to it, I don't want any more complaints.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oh, the fun just never ends

My weekend was nice. It was just a low-key weekend, which I think I needed. I slept until 10:30 both Saturday and Sunday mornings - I guess I needed the rest!

And now I'm back at work. Which, as we all know, makes me so happy I could just throw up.

I started out my day with a complaint. I got a complaint on an account that's not even mine, that's one I took a call about from the 800 line (since we're all required to help out with phone duty). THAT'S why I hate phone time. I have enough work to do and get complaints about without adding in the whole "one call, one response" thing that has us taking on whatever work comes out of calls from the 800 number, too. So that was a dandy day-brightener right out of the box.

We're having a team meeting this afternoon regarding the fifth special project we've got going (I think that's right, we've got five special projects). It wasn't supposed to have much of an impact, but it's been revamped and will now have more of an impact on us than was previously anticipated. So the meeting is to discuss what we'll each need to do for this. Yay. This is in addition to the four other special projects, the investment reviews that have to go out and be followed up with phone calls (this could be full-time by itself), and the daily workload that you never can get caught up on. Goody!

And I called to check today - I didn't get the child support position in Fort Worth. For whatever reason, it wasn't meant to work out.

My devotional yesterday was about God answering prayer in unexpected ways. It talked about times where we prayed for one thing and didn't get what we expected, but looking back, we did get exactly what we needed. How this job can be anything I *need* is beyond me, so I can't even see the answering of prayers in unexpected ways. All I see is the answer to my prayers being "no" or at least "not yet", for reasons I can't fathom. I'm glad God knows the reasons for all of this, because I sure don't. And it's hard to keep the faith when you can't see rhyme or reason in it somewhere.

I'm meeting with the financial advisor tonight. Hopefully it will go well.

I've applied online for an assistant city attorney position in Arlington and another writing position with Baylor. There are also two assistant U.S. attorney positions I want to apply for, one in Dallas and one in Fort Worth. I keep on flinging that spaghetti, waiting for the piece that's going to stick.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Friday's Feast #5

Feast One Hundred & Twenty Nine
What was one of the fashion fads when you were a teenager?

Legwarmers. And pegged pants. And the preppy look - pink and green. Ah, the 80s.

Name one thing you think people assume about you when they first meet you.

I think people probably assume I'm pretty quiet and shy. That may be the case at first, but once I get to know you, look out - anything is fair game.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how hard do you work?

At what? My actual job? Most days, it feels like an 11 or 12, but it's like running on a treadmill - you go and go, but never actually *get* anywhere. No real progress is made, because three things always pop up to replace the one you just got off your desk. Some days, though, regardless of the giant piles of crap and my ever-increasing to-do list, I'm just not in the mood. Those days, the effort level probably hovers somewhere around a 3.

Main Course
If you were given a free 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl to sell anything you currently own, what would you advertise?

Anything I currently own. Hmm. My house, so I can buy one that's a bit smaller (and has a smaller house payment to go along with it).

Fill in the blank: I love to ________ when it is _________.

I love to curl up with a good book and read when it is gray and rainy outside.

More snow?!

It snowed Wednesday morning. This is what I saw when I got up:

J tried his darnedest to get out of going to school, and had it been truly bad, I'd have kept him home. But nothing was sticking, and even the sleet that started to fall was melting almost as soon as it hit. He asked me if we were going to school, and when I said yes, he howled, "NOOOOOOOO, Mama, we CAN'T go to school, it's too FROZEN!" Nice try, little man. It was my sick day and I was determined to get to actually rest. Chasing a 4-year-old around would not have been restful.

Well, now it's apparently snowing again. It's snowing in North Dallas and Plano, and they're predicting a wintry mix for tomorrow, saying bridges and overpasses could be icy through midday. Enough already! If I'm still coughing up a lung and there's ice to boot, you'd better bet I'm keeping my happy ass home. Call it a sick day, vacation day, whatever, but I won't be coming to work.

It's all about the Benjamins

And alas, I have none.

I took yesterday off. I'm back at work today, feeling a bit better, but I wish I'd taken today off, too. I find I'm running out of steam quickly, and I'm still coughing a fair bit.

Work is getting on my last nerve. Everyone wants something. There's all the uncertainty about what's going to go on with this move to the new pod setup. Apparently our manager isn't sure where he'll end up in the scheme of things. A new center executive position was created for each center in connection with this new model. The manager above my manager is apparently hoping for that job to be hers. If not, she'll likely be competing with the current unit managers for the position of pod manager. So my manager will basically have to interview to keep his job, it sounds like, and he doesn't sound too sure of where he'll end up. That's never a comforting thought. Too much uncertainty, too much BS, and not enough pay. Add the constant financial stress and I'm about at my wits' end. To make matters worse, K put money in my account when it was overdrawn, doing the good thing and helping me out. I thought I'd have my 401(k) money (hardship withdrawal) by now to pay him back. I don't, and they've sent the paperwork back to me because apparently I left something off. AARGH. So now my financial mess is screwing him up, too, and I feel awful about it. I don't know what else to do. It looks like I'll get a decent tax refund, but I don't know how long that will take.

I want to throw up. I want to go home. I don't want to be here until 7:00. (Our phone lines were down this morning, and I was hoping against hope that they wouldn't be fixed so that I could get out of late shift. Alas, it was not to be - they're back up now and I'm here for the duration.)

It has to get better. It just has to.

My friend John referred me to his financial advisor. She called today - we're meeting Tuesday night. I sure hope she can work me a little miracle and help me find money where I'm seeing none.