Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Free Home Depot Gift Cards

I am so very excited! Last Thursday I went online and exchanged my Chase Visa card rewards points for Home Depot gift cards. The cards just arrived, and now I have $625 in Home Depot gift cards that I can go to town with !

I am going to get an electric lawnmower (still haven't decided if I want a corded one or a rechargeable battery one), an electric edger, and will be able to pay for part of a grill with all those cards.

This is why I put everything on my credit card and pay it off each month. I never have to pay interest, and I end up getting free things. If you have a card that isn't giving you rewards or benefits that you can and will use, please consider transferring that balance to one that will. You might as well beat the banks at their own game.
In other news, I just completed my first phone screening, and the recruiter really really liked me. The problem is that the compensation can't even come close to what I need, much less what I want. Compensation in retail is not only based on experience level, but on store sales volume, and the store that she wanted to place me in doesn't make enough money to warrant the salary I need. I knew it probably wouldn't, but this is a very strong company, so I wanted to pursue it.
I have another phone screening tomorrow, and then another on Friday. I hope those go as well as the first one.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Job Hunt, Updated

I received a call on Friday to set up a phone screening for noon on Tuesday.

Then today, while I was spending the entire day at a Winterguard competition in a small town near here, trying to recruit people for my drum corps, I received a phone call and an email from two more companies wanting to set up phone screenings for this coming week.

So, I am optimistic about this coming week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Job Search

It is not going well. I have applied online to 12 different companies so far, and will continue to apply to several each day. Sometimes the process is quick-ish, just 30 minutes or less, and sometimes it is a couple of hours (Petco took longer than that).

I know what I need to make to cover all my bills and still have some money left over to do the things I want to do, but there aren't many openings right now. I did apply at the Limited Brands website today (Limited, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, etc.) and got a call from someone to set up a phone screening with one of their recruiters next Tuesday. So that's good. I am over-qualified to run a mall store, though, so I hope there are other opportunities in this market.

I completely re-tooled my resume, and it is hot hot hot, if I do say so myself. I'm surprised I haven't received more calls, even if it's just to network. I'm on LinkedIn, and am in the process of getting onto all the job search sites that I can find. I think it's just a matter of time, because I've really only been looking for about a week, and giving it partial effort.

I promised myself I'd take some time to relax, rest, get sleep, and work on the house. It is amazing how much sleep I am needing. I feel like I'm making up for 15 years of lost sleep. I'm also enjoying spending time reading, taking care of my nephew, seeing friends, watching TV, practicing my horn, taking trips to Home Depot, working on the house, and all sorts of other things. I'm really enjoying my time off, but I do want to have something lined up for April or early May.

Nothing else exciting is going on.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Landscaping & Gardening

Successful first attempts at landscaping and gardening, I think. My neighbors across the street have 'done up' their front yard in a similar way. My lot is really sloped toward the street, and I just didn't have it in me to dig down into the rocky soil to make the bricks level, but I think it still looks just fine. It took 89 of those concrete limestone bricks, which weigh 20 pounds each, I think.

I planted a pink rose bush and a white rose bush against the house in the back of the bed, and kept the 4 holly bushes. Then I added 5 more bushes. I don't know the names, but I kept the plastic tags, so I can find out if I need to. I took 4 trips to Home Depot between Thursday and Friday, and then a friend stayed over Friday night, and we got up early early to beat the crowds at Home Depot on Saturday. We got there at 7:20am to get a full pallet of topsoil. Topsoil is cheap, just $1.25/bag. Each bag is 40 pounds, and lifting/moving it gets very old very quickly. Between the front yard landscaping and the garden in the back, I used 3,200 pounds of topsoil. Crazy!

For the garden in the back, I copied what my younger sister and her husband had done: they bought a 4x8 foot garden kit. I thought it would be too small, but it seemed to fit everything I wanted to plant. And I can always buy more kits that interlock with it later if I want. My friend and I built it and dumped the dirt on Saturday, then I planted it Sunday afternoon. I have TEN strawberry plants, and I cannot wait for them to produce fruit!

My radish seed packet said they are ready in 22 days, which means i will have my first micro-harvest just a couple weeks into April. Some of those vegetable seeds were so tiny that I just tossed them into a furrow, so I'll need to go back and buy more seeds for future plantings, or move some of the sprouts to a different location if they are too close together.

I planted strawberries, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, jalapeno pepper (2 plants, I love jalapeno peppers and use them often), mucho nacho pepper, poblano pepper, beefsteak tomato, heirloom green tomato, sugar snap peas, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, white onion, yellow onion, bunch onion, celery, bibb lettuce, dill, basil, thyme, cilantro, radish, kentucky long beans, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, green bell pepper, okra, and I think that's all.

I'd like to plant potatoes, but I ran out of room. I plan on letting the cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin vines spill over the sides and into the yard, thereby not taking up much room. in the garden itself, which really is quite small. We shall see what happens; I don't know what kind of pests to be on the lookout for or what kind of fertilizer to use, so I'll be investigating that. Right now, I just have that topsoil in the garden.

I'll do my best to post pics as the garden progresses. I figure some things will grow very well and some will be a complete bust, but I guess that's the way it is with anything in life.