Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Did you catch that? My title? I’m pretty sure you got the first part of it. Would you like me to share the rest? I’d love to. But first, you have to hear the story, well, stories, behind the title.

So, sit back, grab your popcorn, and get ready to spray beer/soda/coffee through your nose. Well, maybe not that funny, but pretty damn comical. You’ll see. A little background. I work at a local private high school answering phones, taking attendance. Fun stuff.

All of these things happened on Fridays. The names have been omitted to protect the innocent, or terminally dense people involved.

I answer the phone ‘Good morning. Can I help you?’
“Wure playing football thayre tomorra mornin. Y’all got a football field?’
Stunned, picking jaw up from the floor. ‘Yes sir, we do. It’s on the north side of the campus on 36th.”
‘Oh. Ah didn’t know y’all had a field. Y’all got bleachers and everthang?’
‘Uh, yes sir. We have bleachers. We even have a snack bar.’
‘Oh, alrahty the-in. Thanky.’
We didn’t always have a field. We used to play on other local high school fields. But that was in the late 80’s. And by the way, why would we rent out a field we didn’t even have? SMH

Same Friday. Only a bit later in the day.
It’s game day. We’re facing our biggest rival at home, our first home game of the season. Everyone is jazzed about it. It’s huge in our season. We have a pep rally. Remember those? Yep, they still happen. I mean, come on, it’s high school. It’s a requirement! My building is outside the fence of our school (long story) there are gates for pedestrians as well as vehicle traffic. The gates are closed during the day, but the pedestrian gates close, they don’t lock b/c students have to pass thru them to get to my building.

It’s time for pep rally. The cheer squad, pep squad, band and everyone who needs to be there early has already left the building. Save one. She’s beautiful. Very statuesque and just stunning. She’s stayed behind to change into her cheer uniform. She’s the last one and she’s marching with purpose to get to the gym before the flood of kids come out of their rooms. She walks out of the building, only to come right back with a bewildered look on her face.

“Did you forget something?’
looking at me wild-eyed and very concerned.
“The gates are closed!”
“Of course they are, they’re always closed during the day.”
“But how am I going to get through??”
Stopped me in my tracks. She was dead freaking serious.
“Do you see the cross walk? If you follow it, there is a gate that you can pass through.”
“Oh, ok. Thank you!” She says to me as if I’ve just given her the answers to her chemistry final.
Seriously, the ant trail was not there, she was used to following the herd of kids coming through the gate. She’s a very sweet girl, and I’m positive she’ll never have difficulty passing through the gate again!

The following Friday, we had a driving incident involving pedestrians and burritos. There were no major injuries, but I know two young men who will be the safest drivers around. All of which occurred after I’d arrived at work early. EARLY on a Friday. Only to spill coffee on myself, not a little, a WHOLE MUG, getting out of my car. Helluva way to start a Friday. I’d gone home to change clothes and one of my coworkers had come to cover my desk til I could get back. When I returned, there were police cars, an ambulance and fire truck. Can you imagine, she said she’d never cover for me again!

Last Friday, as I was locking up the building. It was well after dismissal, teachers and students were all long gone. A car pulls up and a young man pops out, sees me locking up and runs over to me.
“Can I get in?”
“What do you need? Everyone is gone.”
“I just need to get this to Mr. A.”
“He’s gone.”
“Oh. Ok, I’ll just leave him a note.”
“He’s GONE.”
“He’s gone?” bewildered look, as if he’s just noticed me standing there speaking to him.
“Yes, he’s gone. You can email him if you need to.”
“Oh, well, it’s nothing pressing.”

So….Friday. Yeah. I love ya, but man, could you cut me a break this time around?

Oh, right, the title. Are you ready? Here goes.
Thank God It’s Friday Because I’m Out Of My Mind

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It’s a God Thing

Not to get all religious on you or anything, but you know, some times things happen in your life to make you understand there’s a higher power at work that you may not realize. I’m not in your face about my faith, it’s very personal to me. If you ask me questions, I’ll be happy to share my beliefs with you, but I’m not going to push anything on anyone. I just don’t go for that. I’m of the school of thought that there are three general things in life that I don’t discuss: politics, finances and religion. It seems to avoid a lot of disagreements and overall bad feelings.

I’d been working as a sales manager part-time since last fall. It was a fun job, I liked the people I worked with, but there wasn’t a ton of money to be made. But let me back up for just a tic.

I was a newly licensed health care professional when my first child was born. I went back to work. It’s what you do, right? Then a few years later, my next child came along. We were all thrilled with the addition to our family. However, when the baby got a little older, I realized I needed to be with my children. I mean, who better to take care of my precious babies than me, right? No $7/hr day care worker would or could give them the time & attention they need. So I closed my business and became a stay at home parent. I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and have regret over something I could have done, but didn’t. In case you haven’t guessed by now, it was the second best decision I ever made. The first, marrying my husband.

Yes, it is difficult. I will not sugar coat it. It was a decision made with much love and consideration. And one that I continued because of my sense of duty to my children. Please don’t misunderstand my words. That decision is personal and what I did wouldn’t work for everyone. My best friend never understood how I was able to be at home all day with my kids. Many parents would love to be able financially to be stay at home parents. And I think there are equally as many thinking “No way could I do that. I’d go nuts!” Again, something very personal.

Fast forward to today. I have been praying for a long time for God to lead me in the direction I should go. Where I needed to be. I was unsure about going back into healthcare because of the amount of time & expense required to get relicensed and established. My children still need assistance with homework. And if I’m being honest, refereeing at times. Soon enough they’ll be in college and won’t need any assistance, but while they do still need me, if possible, I want to be here for them.

Last year, one of my cousins went through an ugly divorce. She is a school teacher and grew up here in my hometown. I hadn’t asked her (I didn’t want to be one of those nosy family members) but I thought maybe she might be considering a move back here, closer to her mother & sister (she’s currently several hours away). I went on the website for one of our local private high schools to see if there happened to be a teaching position open that she would be qualified for. We have several private high schools here, but this is the one we’ve been planning to send our children to all along.

In fact, I’ve looked at their websites many times, in search of a position that I would be qualified for, since I’m not a certified teacher. Certifiable, maybe, but not a teacher.

This particular time, when I went on their site, I found a receptionist position. It was like I heard angels singing. Truly! I was floored to find it and just elated at the possibility of not only working where my children will one day go to school, but also at the opportunity to earn more money for our family.

I sent in my resume, and waited. I followed up. No dice. They’re offering it to someone else. Well, ok. I was disappointed, to be sure. But I also tried to remember that if this was the case, then it simply was not meant to be.

But then….I got a voice mail. From the principal, asking me if I was still interested and would I be available for an interview. I was so excited, I could hardly breathe and I was running in circles in my house! literally! I called my husband and thought I might pee everywhere like one of the little yippy dogs that tinkle when they get wound up!

I went in for the interview & felt good about it, but as the days ticked by, I resigned myself that once again, it just was not meant to be.

I am one who really tries to see those kinds of signs and accept them for what they are. If a house I was interested in, sold before I was ready to buy, I might be disappointed, but I would also realize it wasn’t meant to be and I would find the right house when the time came.

When I received the phone call with the job offer, I was beyond ecstatic. It was the answer to so many prayers. Not only to be in the same place my children will be, but to have the same days off they do, to be off early enough in the day to be at home & available to assist with homework. And to be in a place, an institution that believes in not only educating the children, but to help them become the best people they can be, and focusing on them as individuals, not simply test scores.

I have felt so much love and joy since I have been there. Before the beginning of school, we had orientation for the new school year, each grade had their own specific time. I would be lying if I didn’t say seeing them gave me warm fuzzies. The boys were hugging each other. Seeing their friends after a summer apart, just to see their genuine affection and camaraderie was just wonderful. When I say hugging, I don’t mean the one arm guy hug, but real hugs, like you’d give a long lost friend or family member that you were truly happy to see.

I know without a doubt this is where I’m supposed to be. I was led here for a reason. Is it anything beyond my family and children? Who knows. But right now I know I have found where I belong. Yes, the early mornings are kicking my butt. Yes, there’s a lot to learn for me still, to the point sometimes I feel like a total moron, but I’m still learning & there is quite a lot to it.

I suppose the point of this post is to not give up on your dreams. And even when you aren’t sure anyone is listening, keep repeating it. And be open to the thought that what you thought you wanted may not really be the right thing for you.

“Lord, guide me where I need to be. Show me the way.”

This was the simple prayer I said every night as I went to bed.

**NOTE: I started writing this post in August. I’ve now been at my position for two months and I am settling in and learning the ropes and routines. I am thrilled to be working there and part of an instution of that caliber. To be part of the real love and caring for the students and families as a whole, not simply test scores. In the faculty lounge a few weeks ago, we had this very conversation, while this post was on the back burner.

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The Life of a Retail Manager

In case I haven’t shared that part of my life with you yet, my husband is a retail manager. Has been since he walked across the stage in the funny hat way back in the day. I won’t totally out him on his age, but it’s over 20 years. In his early years, he worked for a company that liked to move him. A lot. He lived in 11 cities in 10 years. Seriously. A crazy amount of moving around. Is it any wonder that he can’t recall anyone from those times? When you’re in a city for scarcely 4 to 6 months, give or take, making friends is tough.

Yes, we met in retail. We were both working at a store, long story, another post. If you’re lucky enough to never have worked retail, it’s a difficult and thankless field to be in. The customers are cranky. Management is cranky because your payroll is through the roof or sales figures are in the toilet. It’s not for the faint of heart for sure. There are moments of happiness, when someone expresses their gratitude when you help them in some way. But mostly, it’s people just looking for someone to bitch at when they can’t bitch at their spouse. It’s difficult to be someone’s whipping post when what they’re dealing with truly has nothing to do with you. Or maybe even the store you’re at.

One day last week, my husband was on his way out the door when a customer stopped him. His name tag reads ‘Store Manager’, so it’s not much of a stretch when someone asks. Here’s how it went down (pretty much)

Man: ‘Are you the store manager?’ in a growly and very unhappy tone.

hubs: ‘Yessir. I am. What can I help you with?’

Man: ‘I have shopped at this store for years and never, NEVER have I been treated the way I was treated today. I am extremely unhappy.’

hubs: ‘What is it you need? I’ll be happy to help you.’

Man: ‘I was in the shoe department and I asked one of your employees for help. AND THEY JUST WALKED AWAY!’

Hubs doing a mental headshake at the possibility. preparing for the ugliness that will surely follow. ‘Alright, let’s go see if we can find what it is you’re looking for.’

They head to the shoe department, hubs mind is going 90mph all the while. They arrive in the shoe section, the man gives my husband the name of the product he’s looking for. They walk to where the shoes should be.

Man: ‘There are your people right there!’ the man points to a cluster of people at the end of the aisle who are standing around chatting.

Hubs-mental head shaking again, almost becomes a spasm at this point. Keeping a straight face carries a high degree of difficulty right now.
‘Uh, sir? Those are customers.’
The shirts this group of people is wearing is the same color as the store employees uniform! He’d mistaken customers for employees and got mad as hell when one of them wouldn’t help him! Hubs helped the man find what he was looking for and they went back to the front of the store.

When they arrive he begins again on my husband.

Hubs: ‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’

Man: ‘My wife was having trouble getting help too.’

Wife: ‘EVERY TIME WE GO OUT YOU START AGAIN WITH THIS! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE DOING IT HERE!’ and she proceeded to dress him down at the front of the store.

I’m sitting here w/a grin on my face shaking my head all over again. And all I can say is, some people. So the next time you think your job is tough, be glad you’re not in retail. It really is a dog eat dog field.




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!


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!


Anxiously counting down

You know, I really do love this time of year. The anticipation of seeing what Santa has brought, the look of excitement on my children’s faces, the beautiful decorations, the food, the feelings of love, giving and caring that seem to permeate everything. Have you noticed how festive everything is when decked out for Christmas? I realized it a few years ago as I was packing away my decorations. Afterward, my house just looked plain, boring, ho-hum. And I am not one that goes completely overboard with the decorations. We have neighbors who we love, they are great people, and every single room is decorated for Christmas. Me, not so much. That’s way too much work for me.

Which leads me to a question. Why is it, we only put lights on our houses at Christmas? why not Easter or Halloween or Memorial day? I don’t know the answer to that one. I have seen some people put lights on their bushes at Halloween, but no other time. Oh, I just remembered, I have seen light-up window decorations for Valentine’s day at the store, I suppose the light-up decoration people are trying to break into a different holiday.

One thing I definitely could do without this time of year is the rudeness some people tend to display. As if they are the only ones in a hurry to get somewhere. As if you don’t matter, get the hell out of their way. In stores and in parking lots, it’s almost like overnight, any kind of manners vanish into thin air.

For my husband’s sake, now I am anxiously counting down for this craziness to be over, soon. Thankfully, we’ve only got 4 more days. He’s a retail manager and this is his busy time of year. Example, last Friday, he said he was working a ‘mid’ shift. I assumed maybe a 10 to 8 or something like that. Nope. He left our house at 8AM and didn’t make it back home until 11:30PM. And then had to turn around and be back at work before 6AM. Yesterday and today, he woke up at a time we like to call the ‘butt crack of dawn’ 4AM to be at work before 5AM. Whoever decided the stores needed to be open so freaking early on a Sunday should be the person who has to actually be there! I promise you, the genius who thought up the whole extended holiday hour thing was some yahoo in an office, high above the fray who said, ‘Hey, you know what? I think those poor shlubs who actually run the store are getting off too easily and need to work their asses off even more! So here’s my proposal, let’s open earlier than anyone in their right mind would be here shopping and keep it open later than curfew, just to see if these guys will do it! Yeah, that’s a great plan!” That’s my idea of how this all came to be.

Thankfully, it’s coming to a close, none too  soon either. He’s wiped out. I have a feeling he’d like to get home in time to have a hot dinner with his family, play with his children or maybe even have a conversation with his wife every now and again.

That said, I do wish you all the merriest of Christmases, or whichever holiday you celebrate in your home, and a very Happy New Year!

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