Archive for August, 2010

Pretty easy to please

So I was ordering a cookie cake for one of my employee’s birthday, and I had the following (only slightly paraphrased) conversation.

Me – Playing myself
Employee 1 – male, takes my order, background character when I pick up cookie
Employee 2 – also male, cashier when I pick up cookie

Employee 1: Thanks for calling the cookie place at the mall, how can I help you?
Me: I’d like to order a cookie cake. Can I pick it up today?
Employee 1: Sure.
Me: Ok, I’d like the 16 inch cookie with design number #, the one with the balloons. I’d like it to say Happy Birthday NAME. I guess just do the balloons with the multi-colors like the picture. I don’t really care, I’m pretty easy to please.
Employee 1: Mmmmm.

At that point he got the usual information from me – name, phone number. I confirmed that I could pick it up this evening before I hung up.

The thing is, the “Mmmmm” seemed kind of slow and, uh, seductive/sexual-ish. But I thought, maybe I imagined that.

I told Taylor about it in the car on the way to the mall, and we both had a good laugh about it.

Well, when we went into the mall to pick up the cookie after work, the conversation went something like this.

Me: I’m here to pick up a cookie the name is Andrea Lastname.
Employee 2: (turns around and speaks to Employee 1) Andrea Lastname. Andrea Lastname? Is that the one you were telling me about.
Employee 1: (somewhat embarrassed looking, downplaying Employee 2’s questions).
Employee 2: The one, from the phone? Andrea Lastname. That’s the one. The one you told me about.

Even while he’s letting me check the spelling on the cookie and ringing up my purchase, Employee 2 is asking Employee 1 about me. And Employee 1 continues to not make eye contact and downplay #2’s questions. I should have asked “is everything ok?” but I didn’t.

After we walked away, Taylor said, what was that all about?

I said, “Well, apparently my assessment of our earlier conversation was correct. He thinks I’m pretty easy to please.”



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I had a great weekend.

Friday night had some family time in the country with some of Taylor’s relatives. 

Saturday, headed to Houston. Did the usual shopping trip to Francesca’s with my sister and mom. For dinner, we had reservations at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for Houston Restaurant Week (fyi, several of the 130 restaurants have extended the HRW specials until Labor Day). I had a delicious filet mignon and Taylor had salmon. It was really good. We don’t normally do the fancy restaurant thing, but it was really fun getting all dressed up to go out with the family. I think the last time we all got really dressed up to go out for dinner was mom & dad’s 25th anniversary 5 years ago. Before that, um, never.

This morning, I floated in the pool at my parents’ house for over an hour. I’m trying to get a little tan before the summer is over. After that, Taylor and I had some typical pool competitions…swimming above and below the water, running/walking and holding our breath. I won on the swimming, I don’t remember who won on the walking/running and he won holding his breath. He let me stand on his shoulders. And we spun me around to create a whirlpool. It was really fun and we laughed like kids.

This afternoon, we said goodbye to my folks and met up with my bff from college (Jane). Her husband and little boy also came with, and we always have a good time. Her little boy  is 2 1/2 and finally is starting to warm up to us. A couple of times we let him out of the stroller and he ran around, almost smacking into people, and he almost started a few fights with girls at the mall playground. Jane and I did our usual scoping out deals, and trying on fun accessories. I didn’t have my camera, so she took the picture. I’ll have to post it later after she sends it to me. I also couldn’t find one of our other photos to show you, but usually when we go shopping together it’s reminiscent of the following montage of my sister and me, taken a few years ago the day after Christmas…

We were wrapping up our wonderful weekend,  and as Taylor and I left the mall to head back home, I spotted the following (un)classy SHOCKER.

Just one word, TERRIBLE.

Anyhow, the weekend was a great, relaxing way to usher in the new school year. Work will be picking up again. Jacque will be graduating this semester. (GO JAC!!) Life is good.

How was your weekend?

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What a week

I know I don’t talk about my job in great detail here. It’s just a better idea not to.

But, two weekends ago was a really rough time for me. See, my job is a grant funded position. Last December, our school submitted the application for re-funding. I was really the primary writer since I’m the director of the program, though I did have a committee.

So we’ve been waiting 8 months to find out if I (and the rest of my staff) would have jobs come September 1st. Waiting is rough. Especially, when it’s 3 weeks until you’ll potentially be unemployed. Let’s just say, I was seriously lacking in the area motivation at work. I tried to keep the motto “business as usual” but let’s be real, what’s the point in busting ass, when you don’t know if your work will be for nothing.  

So two Fridays ago, Friday, August 6th, I decided to stay in bed a few extra hours and go in late to the office. When I woke up, I had a couple of text messages, one of which said the slate had been released, which meant that we’d be finding out the status of our jobs very soon.

From home, I contacted one of the congressman’s offices. They hadn’t received word yet, but would call me when they did. I hurried up and finished getting ready for work, and got there earlier than I planned. It was rough all day, just waiting. So I looked up an old friend on Facebook who I remembered had recently started working for a congressman’s office. We haven’t talked in a LONG time, but I still messaged him on FB to see if he could find out for me. No luck.

I pretty much sat at the desk and refreshed my email  (our new system sucks and only checks for updates every 2 minutes). I called another congressman’s office, and left a message. Then I actually talked to a guy at one office, and they still hadn’t heard about our program. In 09-10 there were 61 funded programs in Texas, but they had  only heard about the status of 7 programs. There was no way over 50 programs weren’t funded.

So at the end of the day, we still hadn’t heard. I let my staff go early, since nobody was really getting much done anyway. The rest of the weekend, there was no word. I worked to keep myself busy, hence the closet cleaning. I also went grocery shopping and made some gazpacho, chicken for lunches, lunch salads, and a few other things. If you can imagine, it was pretty stressful waiting.

On Monday (a week ago), I was looking forward to just finding out if it was yes or no.

In the past few months, I’ve wavered between being confident about our application and not believing we’d be successful. I had to be real with myself, that there was always a possibility that out of more than 1,200 applications, that we wouldn’t be chosen. That there could potentially be something wrong with our application. That I’d have missed something major from the instructions. In my head, I was prepared for the worst. That I wouldn’t have a job anymore. In a way, I was sort of looking forward to having a few weeks “off” while I searched for a job. In reality, I know that isn’t ideal, and it honestly would have been tough for me to find a job where we live.

When I got to work, after waiting all weekend, I thought I was going to throw up. I tried to wait past 9AM, just because I didn’t want to be a pain to the congressmen’s offices, even though DC, where I was calling, is an hour ahead of us. Nonetheless, when I called, the aide who handles education issues, looked up our school, and congratulated me on behalf of the congressman for receiving funding. I couldn’t believe it. I even asked about our sister school, who also applied, and which happens has the same name, but ends in “institute of technology”, just to make sure they weren’t making a mistake.

I called Taylor immediately to tell him the good news. He said he teared up a little bit. He was hoping for good news too.

I couldn’t think of exactly  how to tell my staff of the good news. So I went to the restroom. Then, another congressman’s office called while I stepped out. My administrative assistant answered the call. I walked around the corner and heard her asking to take a message. They already told her who they were and what they were calling for. I stepped in just in time to take the call, just to hear the words again, and make sure it was for real.

She asked me if I already knew. And I told her yes, but that I was trying to figure out a way to tell everyone.

So, long story short…I still have a job. We still have jobs. For 5 more years, if we wish.

Since I couldn’t figure out how to tell everyone, and my admin already knew, I stepped out into the hallway between our offices, and said something along the lines of, “Hey y’all, guess what? We got it!” We screamed like little girls. And hugged each other. Myself, a girl my age, and two women my mom’s age. I teared up too. 

I’m very lucky and feel very fortunate. It was very stressful waiting.

And, I assure you, this past week has been very productive!

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So sentimental

Previously I’ve posted about my attempts at cleaning out the spare bedroom closet. I have gotten rid of approximately 2 feet of research articles, sorted through hundreds of old t-shirts, and discovered a gold mine of old mix tapes.

This afternoon, I’ve identified no less than 20 copies of thesis drafts and a multitude of materials from when I taught a few classes (mostly old tests & assignments) to get rid of.  I’ve even managed to toss some grad school class notes, and old college newspapers and alumni magazines. Admittedly, I still kept a few things. And I couldn’t bear to throw anything out of my 3, large memory boxes from high school and college (which still house some of those mix tapes and t-shirts.)

Here’s what it looked like for a few hours before I got everything sorted out, and back in its place.

I have grand plans to take pictures or scan pictures of some items I want to remember, but don’t necessarily need to keep. Unfortunately today, I only managed to photograph one gem, before feeling too overwhelmed at the idea of throwing stuff out. And I still kept the item after photographing it. Geez, I’m hopeless.

My “passport” from when I was in elementary school. As you can see it’s totally legit.  

Provides info about my appearance and marital status. This passport was from 1990. I was single, brown  hair and eyes, and about 4 foot 5 1/2 inches.

The photo, totally awesome too. Travel rules were way more lenient back then. My shirt has bears kissing and in love on it.

Also, as evidenced by the totally legit visa stamps, by the time I was 9 I had already traveled to France, Switzerland, Venezuela and Tonga. Don’t be jealous.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I got a hair cut. I really like it. Here’s a pic of the back.

And since the pics of the front from that particular “photo shoot” looked flat and ugly, here’s a pic of me, and the front of my hair, at work.

The same day I got my hair cut, I went for a jog/walk on the 3.5 mile hike/bike trail (aka paved walkway around the local retention ponds). I don’t think I’ve never sweated that much.

I also used my Nike SportBand, and so far in about 2 weeks, I’ve walked and jogged almost 14 miles, which isn’t a lot, but it is way better than nothing. I’m not back up to being able to running more than 1 mile at one time, but I’m working up to it. I can’t believe I ran a 5K in May, and can’t even do a mile now. But I’ve got my eye on some 5Ks in the fall and think I’ll be able to keep this up.

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