Sunday, October 26, 2008

Doggie, doggie

For Mrs. Really Long Name! (LOL... Love it).... I am posting new doggie pics. Overall, I still say best dog I have ever had but he really needs his yard back.

He is getting very frustrated being tied up and everyone but L has gotten caught in the rope at least once! (Even Goofball.... Sorry!) He has broken the rope several times and I bought one of these. He bent it sideways within a week and straightened the hook thingy that the lead clips to within 2 wks. Awesome. Thankfully he didn't realize it and we were able to come up with another solution but OMG! I want my fence back. Now that the roads are pretty much cleared of debris, we can walk him again but the first couple of minutes is me letting him know I am in control (NO PULLING, dude!) He is a very, very strong dog. But I used to run with huskies.... One was 80 lbs so I think I got this one who is maybe 60 lbs.

A lot of people are scared of him but I guess if you didn't know him, I could see why but he is really sweet. He is a good guard dog so far. With all the construction people around, he has had chances to let them know, "I don't know you."

We are still working with him on some "manners" and learning that L is not his litter mate, the cats are not toys and please do not bite the broom when I am sweeping.

Well anyway, without further ado.... Cowboy at 9 mths old (these were Sept)

Isn't he cute!?!?!? My big baby!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Okay so it is our busy time at work so I am coming home just flat out tired each day. Then it is my second (or really first job).... being mom!

Sooo I haven't had the energy to even think of anything to blog about nor go to many of my favorites to comment... but I am trying to get there.

I will just do a quick 5 things for you!

1. Remodel update: We finally passed the inspection! and they did the insulation today! Drywall on Monday and the contractor is going to drop off samples for me to pick tiles and my counter tops. I also need to pick the paint color! We are close!

2. H had a cyst removed today. Yikes! that was gross. He is doing okay.

3. K is going to the Homecoming Dance tonight. When did she get so grown?

4. L has a cut on his finger that got infected. Gross. I didn't even know he had a cut on his finger. I normally clean them, put anti-bacterial stuff on and bandage. Nope, he shows me once it is all gross and infected.

5. It is like what 6 wks since Ike came through and we still don't have a fence. Many, many, many people do not. Again, still lucky because some people don't have a home anymore or their house is just a wreck.... but given the limited amount of damage we had, I thought the fence would be back up by now. I threatened the dog today "If you get out one more time, I am not coming after you." Okay, don't tell him but I we were lucky because there were other dogs out in their own yard so he got really distracted with smelling butts. I then took him the long way home. He is now sleeping in his kennel.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The death of Customer Service

Who killed customer service? Where did the good customer service go?

I have thought about this post for quite some time but haven't written it until today.

Today I had two bad, very bad experiences with customer service.

The first. We have an outsourced company that does our benefits at work. I called as a HR representative on behalf of another employee. I just had a question nothing major and I forgot I had made the call!

Today they called me with a satisfaction survey. It did not go well from the minute I answered the phone. I know I won't be able to get her tone across in this but trust me she was not happy to be doing her job.

Her: This is "Sally" calling from the benefits company to ask you about the call you made last Thursday.

Me: Call?

Her: Yes the call you made last week to us.

Me: Hmm...

Her: YOU called on behalf of an employee. Do you remember THIS CALL?

Me: Oh yes. Sorry. I remember now.

(she kept interrupting me so I never got to ask a question or complete a sentence)

Her: I need to ask you a few questions about you satisfaction with that call do you have a minute.

Me: Yes.

Her: On a scale of 1 - 5, 1 being very dissatisfied and 5 being very satisfied, how would you rate the representative's effectiveness to answer your question?

Me: I guess average so 3.

Her (mean, frustrated tone): ON A SCALE of 1 -5..... (repeat above)

Me: I'm sorry I said 3, average service.

Her: (repeating the scale again)

Me: Hey if you are going to be rude I am not going to answer your questions.

Her: (even more rude and like she is just about to lose it): I am not being rude, if you would just....


That's enough of that. I just do not have time for this right now. I barely had a minute to talk to her in the first place but if she was just going to get angry when I tried to answer the questions!

Okay fast forward to tonight. I called one of the credit card companies. I have a payment plan with them that I pay a set amount each month. I can call in advance and change it if needed but I always pay. Always.

So here is how that went.

Me: Yes I would like to change my payment date to Nov 7th.

Her: Okay let's see. We can do Nov 5th. How is that?

Me: Well I don't get paid until Nov 7th is there anything you can do to change it to that date?

Her: No it would be a new billing cycle so just make sure you have money in your account. Then you can just pay back whomever you get the money from.

Me: (stunned) Okay well I guess Nov 5 will be fine. I'll figure something out.

Her: Yes so just make sure you get the funds in there or it will end your agreement and you will have to set up a new one.

Me: Oh so can I just cancel this one and start a new one then?

Her: Yes but just make sure the money is in there on Nov 5th.

Me: I don't have a way to get money by then.

Her: Okay well just make sure it is there. Is there anything else I can do?

Me: Nope thank you. I will make sure the money is in the account. I guess I can sell a kid.


And yes I really did say that!

Okay so maybe in that last call I was a little bitchy but OMG! I will have to call back tomorrow to make sure it all got changed. I do get my child support by the 5th so it is fine.

My head is still spinning though from the first call. Seriously I was just stunned by this call. I seriously wanted to ask her when I would get the call about how satisfied I was with her call.... It would not have been good!

Do you have any stories to share?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remodel hell

Okay not really hell but I didn't know what to call this post....

We have been remodeling the house since Mid-July.... and yes when I was truly in hell, I was having men in and out of my house. Joy and fun, joy and fun!

Well we are getting there but still a few weeks away from completion.

I am going CRAZY! I want my house back. I want my room back! I mean it is worth it, or hmm, it will be worth it. I will have a lot more privacy.

But OMG!

Next month I have to go to California for work, the ex is coming to stay in my house to watch the kids. (Yes he is the father but I feel like he is a babysitter.... Bad? Probably!) Anyway, I want my house done and back in order before that! How can I have my ex-husband who thought I was a bad wife and mother, and least we forget horrible at cleaning, in my house when it has been a wreck for several months.

It is gross. It is so gross. It is cluttered. It is a flat out mess!

I asked the contractor would it be done by November and he seems confident it will be. I wish I felt as confident....

Send good thoughts my way!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chaos is as chaos does

I have been quiet for several days without meaning to be. Life has just been busy. Kids, work and remodel have me feeling exhausted (but happy). And well actually while I am happy about the remodel, it is taking far too long and I am ready to have my house back.

At any rate, I have very little say right at this moment. I am working on some ideas but just trying to tweak them.

So in the meantime, just remember, it is still Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Have you done your self-exam yet?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Product Review: Tiny Prints

This is something new for me and I wanted to get it in before people order all their Holiday cards!

I have never done a product review before and I am happy to say that my first is for Tiny Prints. People Magazine has done a review so I am thinking I am right up there with People mag! Awesome!

They approached me before Hurricane Ike but it took me a while to get to it plus the samples were delayed because of the storm.

However, I have to say, their product sample that I received was very good. I was impressed. The paper they used was what I first noticed. Great, thick card stock.

The picture quality was the next thing I noticed. Very, very good!

The different styles were very eye catching and modern. Love the colors used in most all of the designs.

I played around on their website too. Very easy to move around and find stuff. Lots and lots of great products, not just Holiday cards but birth announcements, invitations and personal stationary.

The prices vary. I saw some from $.99 on up. Right now they are offering a special on shipping if you spend $99.00.

So check them out!! You will be happy you did.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Of Christmases Past…. And gift giving…

So this would be our 3rd Christmas since we started dating. First year too soon for gifts, but we did give cards. Perfect. Second year bowling bag for him, wireless router for me. Stories behind these? Yes. Practical gifts? Yes probably.

Now we are staring down the barrel of another holiday/gift giving season and what do you give someone who really needs very little, that you don’t live with but have known for going on 3 yr?? Oh and are super crazy about!

I know I’m clueless too.

He and I recently discussed this. He brought it up saying he was going to write about it and it was funny because I have been thinking about writing about this very topic.

We talked briefly about gift giving and our exes. Mine was not very good at this but not because I had high standards. I love kitchen items but honestly folks they make shredded cheese for people just like me (read: LAZY!)…. What do I want with an electric cheese grater? No not a food processor because that would make too much sense…. A gadget that you have to hold a button on each side of, push at the same time and then a blade moves up and down while you hold the cheese with your other hand. Awesome.

My list has almost always been the same basic list….. Candles, bath stuff (go to Bath and Body works and buy just about anything, I’m happy), pajamas and books (I read just about anything!)….. That’s it! I always told him the same things each year because he had “themed” gift giving. “Oh look a workout video…. Oh and another one…. Oh and workout clothes…. Wait, hmmm what are you saying? Oh I get it.” Then the Christmas everything was apple stuff for the kitchen. Yes I liked apples and thought they were cute in the kitchen, and yes I bought a few items but that was all I wanted…. If I was at the store and said, “Oh that is cute.” I didn’t mean “oh that is cute please buy me every piece possible.”

But I digress.

You will notice though that jewelry is not on my list. I am not a super big jewelry girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love jewelry and I think it is fun to get it but at the same time, it kinda makes me panic and I have a hard time breathing if I receive it. Why? Baggage. My ex went through a spell when he gave me a lot of jewelry. It was in 1998 which I identify as the turning point in my marriage. The point when I knew this was not the person I was going to grow old with. He bought me a $3,000 ring. Why? I don’t know… I called it the guilt ring. At first I wore it because I really did want my marriage to work but at some point I took it off, put it back in the box and gave it back. He didn’t take it so in a box it sat most of the time. Sometimes I would take it out and look it. Usually I would shake my head and put it back.

I’m a simply gal. A simple ring, a simple necklace, earrings, bracelet… these are the things I like but simple or even unique is the key. I don’t even know what the difference is in jewelry from this store or that. I hear all the commercials for this big chain or that one but truly have no idea the quality difference or even if there is one. And what do I need with fancy jewelry anyway? I go no where fancy and have no clothing to match it!

Sadly I typically by jewelry at Claire’s, Icing, Charming Charlie’s or even Target. Places like this.

Does this make it hard to buy me gifts? Gosh I hope not! I am really not picky and would be happy with anything that I thought the giver had put thought into, especially if it is something like a wireless router. That was probably one of the coolest gifts I have been given…. Why?? Because it was very thoughtful and given for a great reason. I use it everyday! What could be better?!

As to what I might want this year….. hell I don’t know!? I need almost nothing. Like I said I am simple and practical. I have been on my own too long, I just buy the things I want and need. Like I told the kids I want something to put my make up in but then I said but I’ll probably buy that. Then I want a new bird feeder but this time I want to actually hang it or attach it to the tree or fence some how. But I will probably end up doing that too. Or a wind chime for outside my new window or a new teddy bear…. My kids keep stealing all mine! Or a new spatula…. Yes seriously!

But this doesn’t solve my problem…. What do I give this amazing man?! :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Crazy week and it is only Tuesday!

I have not seemed to sit my butt down to blog lately. I have a ton to write about but I just can't slow my brain to focus.

And then Monday was just plain weird.... I have been getting busier with work and it is exhausting but fun so no I am not complaining but just sayin'.....

So then I get home and I can't deal with dinner so Papa John's to the rescue. Get dinner eaten and cleaned up but before I can get to dishes I start to smell something.

Like a burned rubber or plastic smell. GROSS! It was horrible and was stronger in my kitchen/laundry room area but I just couldn't find it.

One of my biggest fears is a house fire.

So I checked the stove, dryer, water heater, frig.... everything I could think of. Called the folks for their opinion. They had no idea either. Crap.

About five minutes later, pow..... No power. Damn!

I knew exactly the problem. Breaker box (or circuit box or whatever you call it). Called the folks and they came to the rescue. Dad said, "Yep breaker box. Why don't y'all pack and come say with us?" Alrighty then.... Packed by flashlight and just hoped we got everything we would need.

Couldn't take the pets so of course I worried all night.

Had to be home early enough in the morning to take care of Cowboy and kitties. Also to get everyone on the bus.... K at 6:30 (yikes), I have to leave by 7, H takes L to the bus stop at 7:15 and H catches his bus at 7:40. Soooo that was interesting this morning.

Anywho, called the contractor this morning, "Hey breaker box is fried, what's the plan?"

It is fixed now.... Awesome.

Today was another busy day at work and I am wiped but I am smiling so at the end of the day that is all that matters, right?

Work will only get busier but finally coming to a screeching halt for the holidays and by holidays I mean after Thanksgiving, not before. Fun, fun!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Random Mom Stuff

I will admit I am a nerd for commercials and really any marketing. I should so write a marketing blog (analyze commercials or something). When I go back to school, I am leaning heavily towards marketing.

So anyway, I have been seeing a commercial for a pre-packaged/cooked meat. This woman (mom) is describing her day. Her tone and body language suggest that she is tired and stressed by her day. Here is how it goes (sort of, I don’t remember each line):
* Wake up call 6:00 AM
* Kids up and off to school
* Then her 9-5 job
* “And then home to dinner that is waiting for me (pause for dramatic effect… long enough?) for me to cook it.”

Oh yes, this is soooo my day! I am exhausted by my day, my life most of the time. And, despite the fact that I love my job, I’m exhausted most evenings. I have a fairly flexible work schedule with every other Friday off. I truly enjoy what I do, though most of the time it is a high stress, fast-paced job. It is what I love to do! (Okay aside from my interest in marketing…. I would soooo be all over that!)

Then I go home to be the mom. Again I love my kids and I love being mom but….

I saw this Lifetime movie once, Fifteen and Pregnant, Park Overall’s character says “Babies take more than they give.”

Ahem, sista! This doesn’t just stop with babies either. And while the balance does start to shift slightly closer to being even the older they get, it is still way off balance….

Like, for example, K will make me a hot cup of tea sometimes. But I also run her little social butterfly self everywhere. To school for this or that activity. To church (sometimes). To a friend’s house. To a party. Whatever it is.

H helps me by taking the garbage out and carrying the laundry for me.

And L is just… well comic relief at this point.

They all help with feeding the dog and cats (but there is a lot of whining). They have chores (again much whining).

But what do I do? All the “grown-up” responsibility stuff (bills, laundry, scrub the toilet) and hey let’s not forget who “grew” them for 9 mths. (Okay maybe that doesn’t count…. )

But I do have to admit the thing I like about having older kids is that I can have actual conversations with them. In the store the other day, K and I were discussing the election (she will be old enough to vote in the next Presidential election…. How scary and exciting is that!) She was saying, “People shouldn’t just vote for a person because they are a woman or African American or whatever. They should be listening to what they have to say and doing research on them.” And yes folks she has an opinion on who she would vote for this year and she has done the research and is still doing that research, watching, listening and discussing.

I also encourage my kids to question things like beliefs and politics and whatnot. I have heard so many people praise their children for believing exactly what the parents believe…. Not because the child came to that opinion on their own but because the parents believe that. I mean that is okay for them and I am not really criticizing but I am saying for me, I want them to challenge my beliefs on things. I don’t go to church but K does and H had on occasion. I have my own set of beliefs that don’t match any church I have been to. But that isn’t the point, it took me years of research and going to church after church to come to this conclusion for myself. I talk very freely with them about religion and don’t try to sway them one way or the other. If they have a question about something, I have an answer or get them one. Politics the same. I have no intention of saying they have to believe the same as me. If they do, I want to know why. If they can say anything other than “Because you do.” Then awesome. I feel I then did my job.

Again, not downing others…. It works for you. I give my kids soda and you probably don’t believe in that. Everyone is different and I love that. Oh and for the record I am not trying to raise people that listen to just one resource or believe everything the media says. I have taught them to get as many points of views as possible. They have seen first hand how the media will overplay something for ratings or edit something to look worse than it is.

Back on point, I enjoy my kids and enjoy the people they are turning into, but it is true they take more than they give. I am exhausted by my dual roles as mom and fulltime worker but it has its rewards.

So while most night’s dinner is waiting for me…. (Pause for dramatic effect) to cook it. There are some rare nights that it is waiting for me to just eat it. And those nights are the ones to cherish the most because some day the kids will be gone and I will go home and eat a bowl of cereal or oatmeal or a sandwich because there will be no one to cook for but myself (unless, hmm…. Well??….the future is a question mark after all).

Friday, October 03, 2008

People on pedestals

.... are bound to fall off.

This is something I have dealt with before and this post is in general. However, I am writing it now because I recently let go of a friendship.

There is a lesson that I have learned from Goofball. Well several but one of the most valuable is "No expectations." It took me a while to figure out what that meant or how to apply that to my life. But now that I have, I see things very differently.

However, most of these people on pedestals were pre-no expectations living. They were people that I admired, looked up to and/or that gave me strength.

Only later did I realize that they were human. Only later did I realize that they had faults. Only later did they fall from those pedestals on which I put them.

It is really heartbreaking to feel this way but I let it happen. I had the expectations of hero/heroine. It wasn't them that climbed up there, they didn't ask for such glory in my life. I did it.

Sooo I have definitely learned a lesson in regards to myself and expectations for people. While it isn't wrong to look up to people or admire them, don't expect perfection or hero behavior. Expect that at times they won't live up to it and just accept that.

Or something like that! :)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wake up to Breast Health

This month Folgers is partnering with the National Breast Cancer Foundation in support of breast cancer awareness.

Look for the pink cans in stores. They are only out of a limited time!

Here is some information directly from Folgers:

This October, Folgers will partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to support breast cancer research and education for underserved women with its limited edition Pink Can, which will be available in grocery stores and convenience stores nationwide. In addition to the Pink Can, consumers will be able to visit to send a “wake up call” e-card to loved ones to make them aware of breast health and the importance of early detection.

Look around the store for other great companies offering products with special pink labels and/or ribbons on them. I will be posting other great reminders and products through out the month!

But tomorrow back to "normal" Single Mom Finding herself content.

Also note to those who have commented about other forms of cancer. I completely and totally understand because I have lost loved ones to other forms of cancer.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October Mean - Breast Cancer Awareness!!!

Hello all! It is that time of year again. Time to think about boobs and health, well honestly, you have to think about it everyday, or at least once a month.

This isn't just a problem that effects women, men can be diagnosed. So learn the facts! What are your risks?

With early detection, you have a good chance of becoming a survivor!! There are a lot of treatments.

As you may have noticed, my blog is pink. This is in honor of a very dear friend of mine who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been through a lot.... chemo, surgery, radiation. She has been doing great and has had some down moments (mostly in the beginning) but her spirit is one to admire and look up to.

I am dedicating this month to Breast Cancer Awareness and I have issued a challenge to all the bloggers to do something during this month. Post about Breast Cancer.... a story or an article. Something.

All cancer sucks (and tons of other diseases). I have lost a few close to me to other forms and someday I will dedicate time to those but for now I am doing this. I have always been very passionate about this.... I mean I have boobs and I like them. I like that a certain guy likes them.

Soooo bloggers, I hope you take me up on my challenge. Spread the word! :)