Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Priorities and Regrets

We all have them. If we didn’t, nothing would ever get done. Priorities are how you arrange your life.  When I was in college, my biggest priority was my next exam or project that was due. I have been teaching my daughter, the first thing she must do when she gets home from school, is finish the homework that is due the next day, before working on the diorama that isnt’ due until the end of next week.

Priorities bring some sort of order to our lives. The things that take precedence over others and must be completed first or get your attention before anything else. When I was younger, work was my priority. I didn’t have much of a love life, so work was what I had. In my college years, my priority was getting the highest grades I could. When I got married, that was kind of a tricky balancing act. I am very fortunate in that my wonderful husband understands the necessity for education and that sometimes, my studies would be more demanding of my time. He never made me feel guilty for spending too much time at the library or studying for mid-terms or boards.

When I became a mother, my children’s well-being and happiness became my priority. So much so, that I put my career on the shelf to devote myself 100% to their upbringing. I wanted to know my children and for them to know me and learn their values and morals from us and not someone who’s only investment in their lives was the $7 an hour they were being paid to watch after them. Family is my first priority, my children, my husband, my extended family. (I do understand that not everyone is able financially to stay home with their children, or want to do it. I do not condemn anyone’s personal choice in that matter, as we are all different.) 

Family is my priority because in the end, they are what matters most. I may lose my home, my car, everything I own, but if I have my family, I’ll be fine.  They may annoy me, drive me insane, make me laugh til I cry, or just flat cry, but they are what matters, above all. Period.  

Other people have other priorities. Sometimes we may think they’re out of whack. For some, it’s a clean house. For them to feel good, their homes must be spotless and Better Homes and Gardens ready at all times. Others, it’s their jobs and climbing the corporate ladder. Or maybe it’s buying the next, greatest tech gadget or newer, bigger, better home.  Material things do not equal happiness. It’s just stuff. Your house/car/media room may be the cleanest, biggest, newest, bestest on the block. But if your family is suffering or unhappy, what’s the point? In the end, what they want is you, not the junk you can buy for them.

I had to have a real difficult heart to heart with my husband a year ago. His boss was demon-spawn and he was working himself silly only to be beaten down every single day. To the point that he was constantly exhausted and didn’t want to do anything with us. I explained that we would be happier if he took a pay cut and was able to spend more time with us. We wanted him, not necessarily that paycheck. Of course, we need a paycheck to live, but we can live with less if it means he’s happier and able to be there for us, physically and mentally. I knew that if things continued on the way they were, eventually, he would regret the time lost to that thankless job and evil boss. His priority was taking care of us, but it was at the expense of the well-being of our family. Thankfully, he was offered a new job working for his former boss, whom he really liked and respected. Yes, it involved a serious pay cut, but the pay off: he’s happier, less stressed, and able to spend time and have fun with all of us.

When I made the decision to give up my career, I did it because I knew if I had the opportunity to be with them when they were little and didn’t do it, I’d regret it when I was older. I don’t want to have any regrets over things I didn’t do. I’d rather look back and say, ‘wow, that wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I learned from it.’  The regret I do have that I think may be too late to do anything about, I was 2 classes shy of getting my bachelor’s degree. I was mistaken when I thought I had more time to complete those two courses and now I’m too late. I can deal with that more than I could deal with regret over not spending good time with my precious children when they were little. They are the most important things in my life, and I have not regretted a minute of it.

So tell me, what are your priorities? Do you have any regrets?  Do your priorities cause you to miss once-in-a-lifetime events or miss special times with the people who matter most to you? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

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The BEST way to lose a job (or not get one)

I don’t consider myself to be hard-nosed most of the time. What I am is a stickler for professional behavior though. My dad instilled that in me at a young age. When you want to be treated as a professional, you must behave as a professional. Especially while on the job. When you’re at home is, of course, a different story.

You may have read my posts about our kitchen reno project. I don’t expect a lot, I do expect you to do what you tell me you will do. Sometimes it’s not a miracle you can perform, I just expect you to deliver on what you promised to do when I agreed to have you do the work. Very simple.

Yesterday, we had an appointment for a granite guy to come and measure our kitchen and give us a bid on replacing our countertops with granite. Am I excited at the prospect? Heck yeah I am. So when he didn’t show yesterday, ALL DAY, and didn’t call, I was disappointed and unhappy. I told my husband that if he behaves this way when he’s coming to bid the job, that is how he’s going to treat us when he’s doing the job, and that’s not impressive at all. At nearly 8PM last night I got tail-between-the-legs email from him apologizing and giving me his song and dance about being caught on a job and not remembering our appointment until then! So what, I hire you and you forget about our job? Uh uh, no way mister. I am totally turned off by him and he will not be bidding on our kitchen. I’d rather live a little longer with my laminate than deal with someone who is so unprofessional. My husband’s argument is well, at least he sent an email. Well, he did do that, in an effort to salvage a potential job. I’m sorry, that’s not enough.  This is an investment that I don’t take lightly, neither does my husband, and I”m not going to take a chance just because he claims to be the cheapest. He may also be the worst ever!

So, my friends in the contracting business, you probably already know this but to lose a job, or not get one, just be unprofessional, miss your appointments, give excuses when the person who has hired you points out things that need to be corrected and that’ll do it for you. Mostly. Not everyone is like me, I know. I do believe in second chances, in certain circumstances. When I don’t know you from Joe Schmo (no disrespect to Mr. Schmo), the only chance you get is the first one, so do your best to impress. You know what they say about first impressions, if yours is bad, don’t expect to make a second one!

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Excuses, excuses…..I’m up to my cabinets in excuses

If there is one thing in this life that I do not do well it is excuses. When I ask my children why they have not done what they’ve been asked to do, they tell me, ‘oh, i didn’t clean my room because blah blah blah.’ My normal response to that is, ‘I don’t want excuses, I want action. Don’t tell me why you haven’t done it, just go do it!” And usually it’s because they got distracted by something shiny, cleaning their rooms is not high on their priority list. Unless of course they are getting something out of it, like allowance or a play date or something they want. I try to keep that way in our house, they get something they want, I get something I want, as in a clean house. Well, not perfectly clean, we do live here after all. It’s never completely clean all at once, unless Grandma and Grandpa are coming for a visit, and even then it’s a struggle to keep it that way. You know, some days, it seems like they are following right behind me making messes as I’m cleaning. Someone please tell me I’m not alone in that!

The reason for this post is the painter guy who’s been in my house for 4 days now working on my kitchen cabinets.  he seems nice enough and all, but I”m making a major investment in my home and paying them a good amount  of money to refinish my cabinets and make them look nice and new. Well, as new as 11 year old cabinets can look. I’ll admit, this is a bigger job than they initially thought it was. I kind of compare it to the closet clean out scenario. You get feisty one day and decide it’s time to clean out your closet and start pulling stuff out. And you keep pulling stuff out and there’s more and more and more. Until the closet is empty, but the room is a complete wreck and you’re looking at this pile of stuff thinking, ‘where in the world did all of this junk come from anyway?’.  Needless to say, it takes way longer than you thought it would to sort, toss, organize the stuff that was in there. Heck, you may even get to the point you’re sick of dealing with all that crap and just chuck it back in thinking you’ll deal with it later. (I’ve done that before!)

On about day 2 of Mr painter guy’s stay at my house, I would look at what they were doing and ask questions, point things out, etc. I understand they have a process they go through to complete this kind of job. He would look at it and say, ‘we’ll get there.’ Ok, well, on day 3, when I would ask a question, or point out something that I saw, he started giving me excuses. ‘Well, we can’t restore the cabinets to factory new.’ Or ‘over time you’re going to have some wear here.’ Or ‘The other guys were working on that yesterday.’  And my response to all of that is, I don’t want your excuses. I want you to say, ‘oh, ok, I’ll take care of it.’ That is all I need to hear. I”m not pointing a finger of blame at anyone, I am simply pointing out something that I see. I know how I am after looking at the same thing for long periods of time, my eyes get used to what I”m seeing and don’t notice any flaws, or I can’t quite get to the answer of the question. It’s natural, and it’s normal. I wasnt’ telling him his work sucked. I wasn’t telling him he was a crappy painter. I was merely pointing out things that I saw that needed to be addressed before he left.

Today is day 4. I wrote down all of the spots that I saw needed a little more paint. Particularly in high traffic areas. I told him I really wasn’t trying to be nitpicky, and I”m not. I don’t want him to have to come back any more than he does! But the other part of that is, I”m paying them alot of money and I expect it to be done right the first time around. I”m not paying them to do a half-ass job. that’s not what we were sold.

Ok, off my soap box now, I am starting to get a fear of heights! Hopefully he’ll be done soon and I”ll post some before and after pix! Thanks for playing!

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Flaming Fire!

Ok people, I’m gonna vent here, so just hang tight. I have a pet peeve.  Well, I actually have a few, but this one has to do with credibility and professionalism, not a big deal.

We had our house painted in November. The same guy did our last house, so that must mean he’s a good guy, does a good job and doesn’t rake his customers over the coals, right? Well, in theory, yes. In April, I notice one of the trim boards on our chimney is peeling. Not  just a little and hardly noticeable, but I’m talking serious peeling, almost like it hadnt’ been touched at all!

My husband rings him up, gets VM and hangs up. His thought is if yayhoo (from here on out known as Liarpants Painterguy) gets a message about something he screwed up that wont’ be making him any money, he’s not going to call back. So, Liarpants Painterguy rings back, almost immediately. My husband tells him what’s up, and he says ‘Oh, sure, I’ll be out to take care of it.’ Riiiiight.

So, nearly two months go by and I finally remind my very hardworking husband about this stupid paint sitchiation. He rings up Liarpants Painterguy, once again gets his VM and hangs up. But this time, when Mr. Painterguy calls back, my husband has gone to work and I get to talk to him. It goes something like this.

‘Hello?’

‘This is Liarpants Painterguy, I missed a call.’

I explain the situation and tell him he needs to come and fix it.

‘I’m so sorry I haven’t had time to take care of that.’ RIIIIGHHT. Whatever. ‘What’s the address? I’m on my way over right now.’

Oh, ok, that’s more like it!  I’m doing the things around my house that I’ve been putting off and realize that TWO HOURS have gone by since Mr. Liarpants Painterguy has called me. Hm. Well, I can’t wait around here any longer, I have places to go.

A week later, after he was supposedly coming right over, I ask my hubby to call Liarpants Painterguy again about the chimney. We are heading into summer and it’s only going to get worse if we just leave it.  Our house will look like one of those poor old run down houses that have about an ounce of paint left on them.

Hubby rings Liarpants Painterguy, and this is the part where he got his new name so pay attention. Mr. Liarpants Painterguy tells my husband that he was here, had come TO my house just like he told me he would, didn’t take the time to tell me he was here, checked it out and left.

It was at this point me head spun 360 and I felt the green pea soup vomit churning. Seriously, if you’re going to lie about something, you have to make it believable! I had been here at the time he said he made his drop in. Oh, and have I mentioned I have a dog? Yup, Lucy the mutt barks at a leaf blowing down the street, so can you imagine what a car door opening outside my house does to her? It literally sends her into orbit! So this guy can’t tell me he came, Lucy would let me know. Anyone comes near my door, she goes completely bonkers! I mean eat the pizza guy bonkers!

He tells my husband that he’ll be out this Wed to fix it, but we have to call and remind him! Seriously? You’re so busy you can’t even remember to fix your screw up? All I can say right now is  GRRRRRR! In other words, the tanking economy hasn’t had any effect on his business lately at all. He’s so busy he doesn’t have to worry about credibility or referrals. Oh well, whatevs. Once he fixes the crap job his did on my chimney, he won’t have to hear my name again! Jerk. Oh, or get any more referrals from me either. I hope he feels the pain.

*****UPDATE*****

Today is the day we (read ‘me’) were supposed to call and remind Liarpants Painterguy to get his arse out here to fix his screw up. So, I did what any normal person would do, I sent him a text message with everything I needed to say. I got my point across and didn’t have to listen to any of his BS excuses. Great. Now I just sit back and wait for it to happen. Holy crap I am a dumbass sometimes! You know that? I continually try to give these yayhoos the benefit of the doubt only to have it slap me in the face. I finally get a response to my txt at about 5:30 with an excuse of being in and out of doctors office b/c he’s been sick. Ok, I don’t mean to sound cruel and uncaring here, but I really don’t give a rat’s arse about his problems! I don’t want excuses, I want action, is that asking too much? Sheesh.

Oh, and I got scolded for sending a text. I told my husband he was going to have to call Liarpants Painterguy b/c he just doesn’t respond  to me. I told him I’d sent a text and he went off on me! He said I should’ve called him b/c that’s what he said to do! Well, guess what! Next time, as in tomorrow, dear husband will be the one who’s making the call to Liarpants Painterguy because I”m done. I’ve done what I can do. 

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What’s the worst that could happen?

That is a phrase I try really hard not to say, because invariably, as soon as the words pass my lips, it happens.

I need some help, from everyone, from anyone. I am working on a story (isn’t everyone these days?) and need some ideas. Here is what I”m looking for: crazy/wild/weird things you have had happen to you at work or you have done at work. Did you spill coffee on the boss? Run over a coworker in the parking lot? I know there are loads more stories out there, I just need a few. My novel is about a young lady who’s sort of down on her luck, she’s not very coordinated or lucky.  She’s starting a new job, which she feels is key to turning around her situation, but there seems to be a cascade of crappy things that happen at this new job that make her rethink her whole life. So please, tell me your stories! I promise I will change the dates and names to protect the innocent! Seriously, anything that happens will be happening to my heroine, no one else. Well, maybe a coworker or boss who are hapless victims of her poor timing or coordination.

Alright people! Now is your chance to share!

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One career change, coming right up!

Ugh. This year has not started as well as I would have hoped. Why? Well, normally, my husband being in retail, it finally slows back down and we can get back into a normal routine. During the holidays, he works 6 day weeks and some really long hours. You know the retailers, they have to get every last customer in the door they possibly can, no matter what it might be doing to their employees. And my husband being the lucky one, gets to do a lot more than the others because he’s salaried and it won’t affect the payroll for him to work 80 hours a week. Needless to say, we don’t see much of him between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year, it started even earlier, Halloween, I think.

Anyway. I have been begging him for a few years now to find a job outside of retail. One with normal kind of hours, as in, closed nights and weekends. You see, his team of managers can’t seem to live without him, and he’s a very hands on manager-type, so even when he’s off, he’s still working. They call him on vacation, on days off, any time there’s a problem they think they can’t solve without him. Granted, I know there are some legitimate times they need to talk to him. But seriously, can’t the poor guy get a day off without being pestered to answer some inane question?

Finally, I think he has come to the same conclusion: he’s not 25 anymore and can’t continue doing this day in and day out. Oh, that, and well, his boss is evil incarnate and lives to torture her managers. Every single day it’s something else, some other stupid busiwork crap that she’s giving them that HAS to be done, TODAY. No matter that it’s his day off. She has to have it, yesterday. Not a positive thing gets past this woman’s lips. No praise, no compliments, it’s always hammering them down, wearing them down, beating them down. She runs her stores by fear and intimidation, which is not a good way to go.  In fact, she has inspired a character in the novel I”m working on.

When my husband took over this store, it was in really bad shape and we knew it would take some time to get it turned around. And he has turned it around, but it’s not consistent (it’s hard to be consistent with gaping holes in your staff, but they’re doing much better than they did before.) They had a corporate visitor a couple of months ago, and she essentially threw him under the bus.  This  visitor stood there ripping on everything, and rather than pointing out the positive changes that had been made since my husband took over, she kept her mouth shut and did not come to his defense. Guess what! That really pissed me off.

So, now I’m working on updating his resume and we are in search of a new career. Anyone know of a good recruiter in the Tulsa Metro? Or possibly Denver metro? We have decided that we may need to open our possibilities and scope to the opportunities that may lie elsewhere.

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What do you do when….

you have a friend who is really messed up but you can’t really help? I have a friend, a long lost friend that I recently reconnected with. I have been really happy to find her. We had a very unique and special friendship, borne out of a nasty situation and a mutual hatred of an evil person.

She has had a crap year, to put it very mildly and has all manner of bad luck thrown at her ranging from illness to divorce to, well, I really can’t say, but something that doesn’t happen every day.

I want to help her, be there for her. She has soldiered through much of this terrible stuff on her own.  Her mother has Alzheimer’s and her dad has his hands full taking care of her.  My friend didn’t tell them about her illness, not wanting to cause her mother any stress, or her father. A very unselfish thing to do. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for her. She said no one at her job had any idea about it. And yet she continued on.

Today, she got the latest blow in a series of really traumatic events and she was gobsmacked to say the least. She was completely blindsided by this and is in a real funk, as she puts it.  She lives in a different state , several over from me. I want to jump on a plane and go and see her, just to be a shoulder for her to cry on or take her out to a movie, but this is hardly the time of year I can do that.

she recently relocated for her job, so she really is all alone in that new city, which is never good when you’re in a low point in your life.

We talk on the phone, email, and chat online. I just listen to her talk about her problems, I can tell she needs that. She told me that I”m the only one who knows about all of it and I am honored that she trusts me with all of this. It’s difficult because I do want to help her and I don’t feel like I”m doing enough.  I have sent her a necklace, a pretty sterling silver cross that says “Live by faith, not by sight’ because sometimes, that’s really what you have to do. I just hate it because I am a doer.  I want to do something to help my friends, and I guess, maybe just by being here for her I am, but it just seems so insignificant to me when her struggles are so great right now.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? she is really stressed and is about at the end of her rope.  As she put it to me today, fried/wrung out/drained/tired/done.

***UPDATE***

I talked to my friend yesterday and she got vindication in one situation that had been causing her a serious amount of stress.  She also received a phone call and was able to obtain closure in another situation.  Needless to say, both of these things, especially coming on the same day, were really fantastic for her. She feels like a weight has been lifted, I could hear it in her voice. It made me happy too, to hear her sounding  more like her old self again.

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