Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Future?

I found out last Wednesday morning that my position is being eliminated. As you almost certainly know, my company filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last week, and we are closing about 200 stores. Such massive store closures means we can no longer support/justify having as many district managers as before. I was one of many to be laid off.

My last day officially is this Saturday, but I am pretty much already transitioned out. It is such an odd feeling. I haven't out and out bawled over it, but I teared up several times on a couple of days last week. I can't decide if I am sorry for myself, for my stores, for my company, or for no longer having a team of people to lead. Probably all of these things and more.

I think we all knew this day might come, and I have been in a state of high alert for almost 2 years now, so in a strange way it is a relief to finally have resolution. I loved/love my company and gave it 10 years and 7 months of my life. You all know as well as anyone that I was a strong supporter and advocate, and was very proud of my company. I worked hard and smart and was a loyal and dedicated employee for all those years.

I have been receiving emails from those who worked with me and for me throughout the years, and it is nice to know that I have impacted their lives and career in the ways they are telling me.

I have no doubts that I will find another job, and quickly. Now it is a matter of trying to determine what I want to do, what I will enjoy, and what will allow me the time I need to continue my drum corps hobby. I need that hobby to bring balance to my life.

I wish the best to all those I leave behind. I want my company to survive and strengthen and live a long, profitable life.

If you have any suggestions on career paths I should consider, please let me know. I am open to just about anything. I want to explore as many options as possible, though I don't want to go back to school. I have my Bachelor's and that's all I'm willing to do.


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Learning to Be a Homeowner

You will laugh at me for the things I'll write about, and I don't blame you one bit. Dad took care of most of the things around the house, though my sisters and I had a lot of daily and weekly chores. But setting the table and emptying the trashcans into the big trashcan in the garage is different.

One of the things I learned in my first week of home ownership is how to 'do' the trash. My pickup day is Monday. My city recycles, so I have a recycle bin and a garbage bin. They are both on wheels and are made of that heavy duty textured plastic. My bulk item pickup is the first Monday of every month. We cannot set the bins out until after 6pm the night before, which is not a problem. And we have to pull them back in by 6pm Monday evening. Three months ago, the bins were delivered, and I was preparing to set them out for the first time. I put all my recycling in one and all the trash in the other, and only then noticed that I put the wrong thing in each one. So I unpacked them and redid it. I laughed at myself. They are different sizes, and I assumed the larger one was for trash, and only noticed that it says "Fort Worth Recycles" on the side after I had filled it with garbage. No harm done, but I thought it was funny how I didn't know how to do the trash. So now, every Sunday evening, I roll my containers out to the curb, place them facing the correct direction, and forget about them until the next day.

I also had to learn how to water my lawn. Because my yard was sodded so late in the year, it didn't have a long time to get its roots down into the soil. Also, my lot is sloped, so I found that I was watering the street in addition to watering my back yard if I wasn't careful. I have a couple of sprinklers, several soaker hoses, and a couple of hand sprays, so I'm set, I think.

For the first time in my life, I have wood floors and ceramic tile. The great room is wood, the bathrooms, kitchen, and entryway are tile, and the bedrooms and office are carpet. I sealed all the tile before I moved in, and I vacuum frequently to keep the carpets looking new as long as possible. But the wood floors are crazy! Every little speck of paper or grass or dust is visible on it. So I swiffer sweep it several times a week so that it looks pretty. I don't mind, and it only takes a couple minutes. It's just shocking how much stuff is on the swiffer pad every time, and knowing that this is the same amount of stuff that would be in the carpet if I had carpet in that room. Crazy.

And this will sound really weird.....but I'm also having to learn how to be a neighbor. I never, in my 15 years of living in apartments, cared to know any of the people living there. Many of the people were loud, yelled at each other, and dinged my car doors in the parking lot. I still jump when my doorbell rings, because I would never ever answer a knock on my apartment door unless I knew someone was coming over, which rarely happened. Now, I live in a fabulous little neighborhood with sidewalks, new homes, and kids who can plan in the yards and in the street without fear of something horrible happening to them. So, when I'm driving, I wave to all the kids, all the people walking dogs, and all the people in their yards who look up at my orange Honda. The next door kids know they can help themselves to getting in my backyard if they accidentally kick the soccer ball over the fence, and they can ring my doorbell to ask to borrow my snow shovel to use to build their snowman.

I'm thinking of joining the Citizens Patrol for the neighborhood, if I can ever get to a meeting/training session. I figure the more people I help, the more who will help me keep an eye on my house when I'm not home. I have a security system, but nothing beats the watchful eyes of concerned neighbors.

Life is good. I hope it stays that way.