Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Does Tornadoes have an 'e' in it?

We've had day after day of tornadoes around here for the past week+. It's getting old. Fortunately, most of them have hit to the west or south of DFW, touching down in small towns I've never heard of before because they have a population of 17 or so.

I still remember May of 2000 when a tornado ripped through downtown Ft. Worth and destroyed buildings and generally wreaked havoc. Fortunately, it was in the evening, after the work day was completed.

At least we've had a goodly amount of rain, after several months with no rain. I must mow my lawn tomorrow and buy another bottle of weed killer. I thought I had done did kilt all my weeds, but they are springing up all over the place because of all the rain. Oh, goody. I don't want to get a nastygram from my HOA, so I have to mow forthwith.

Today was my second day at my new job. Yesterday was a half day filled with paperwork and such, and today included 6 hours of watching videos, which were actually very well produced, along with certification, and a store visit with several executives. That was a good experience.

I get to learn to drive the forklift soon, which tickles me to no end! And I had such fun interacting with the pets and their parents today on the floor. Two thumbs up for this job so far. And I'm ecstatic that there is a strict dresscode. I will no longer have to spend tons of money every year on work clothes. And no more worrying about what I will wear every day. Perfection. I plan on donating many of my former work clothes to Goodwill. That will clean out my closet nicely.

I'm whooped. I got very lazy during my two months off, though I dare say I needed the rest and relaxation. I'm going to watch my DVR'd Survivor then get some sleep.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Gel, Hail, Spiders, and More

It's been one week since I got this gel-based polish manicure, and it still looks grrrreat. I've only had 3 manicures in my life, and the first 2 times the polish chipped after 24-48 hours and began looking so ghetto that I had to remove it. This polish still looks fantastic. It was $35 to get the gel-based French manicure, which is fantastic if it will stay put for 3-4 weeks. It also means my very bendable nails aren't splitting or tearing like they normally do. I think it is money well-spent.

I'm still waiting to hear back from my new boss about my official start day. The background check takes some time, he said, and with it being a holiday weekend this past weekend, it pushed it back even further. This is fine. I'm not in any hurry, and he needn't change around his entire schedule just to start me a couple days earlier than is convenient for him.

We've been experiencing some severe weather around here for the past couple of weeks. Fortunately, the rain has beaten down the wildfires, and they are mostly under control now from what I understand. Two nights ago the wind was so fierce it sounded like something was trying to push through my garage door. I lost power a couple of times, which isn't easy considering the electrical lines in the neighborhood are buried (but the ones out at the main road are above ground). I keep some supplies and my personal essentials in the closet at night in case I hear the sirens and need to run for cover (or roll out of bed as it were). It hailed last night about 3am, but I don't see any damage to windows or the roof, and my car is kept all snug and tidy in the garage.

My garden continues to grow. I should have some radishes of a decent size soon enough, and the bibb lettuce is taking off. I still don't have any strawberries, but there are blooms on one of the ten plants. There are also flowers on the zucchini, cucumber, both tomato plants, and some of the pepper plants. Maybe I should fertilize them. I haven't done that so far.

I've had a few wolf spiders in the house, and they surprise me, though I don't mind them so much. They are not poisonous to humans, and they are helping keep the insect population down. Still, they can be about 3 inches long, and that's not something I want to greet me without warning.

I have a question for you: I have a goodly number of framed certificates and awards from my former company that are sitting in boxes. I'm trying to get everything unpacked and in a good place. Should I hang those certificates and awards in my office, or should I pack them away now that I have moved on from that company?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Got the Job!

I received another call this afternoon from Company P's DM, asking me to meet him at 3:30 at the same store we met yesterday. I knew this was a good sign, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. The time came, I went to the store, and he offered me the position. The position is Store Manager in Training. I will be trained in all aspects of the store and then take over a store of my own when one becomes available. I am super jazzed.

I am going to love working with a company that is profitable and that is growing. I am exceptionally thrilled that what I do will have a positive effect on people, just like bookselling was. People love their pets, and it will be a joy to be a part of keeping pets healthy and happy.

All that is left is the drug test and the background check. I hustled on over to the drug testing place and got in just before closing time, so we'll be good to go.

I will be starting next week. Yay!

I will find out tomorrow (now today)

I had a nice time chatting with the DM and a store manager for company P. I really really really really really really really want to work for this company. I will find out tomorrow, which refers to Wednesday. Keep all body parts crossed for me.

I went directly from the interview to my friend Nancy's house. Our friend Martha had driven down from Tulsa because the two of them are going on a trip to Nancy's Aunt and Uncle's place in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The three of us had planned to meet up, drive into Dallas, and enjoy a huge feast of food at Royal China, our most fave Chinese restaurant. We were all so hungry and had been waiting almost a week for this. We ordered a variety of dumplings, some sort of pork buns which I hated, crispy spring rolls, and cold spicy noodles. Then we ordered our entrees which included shrimp and walnuts, salt and pepper chicken, szechuan beef, and green beans and pork. All of this and the tab was right at only $100 before tip. Amazing.

We then all drove back to Nancy's house in Plano and talked for hours. Their stores have completed their liquidation sale, and they are officially unemployed. They will be able to enjoy their vacation without having to worry about what is going on in their stores. They are going to have a great time! I left and drove the 50 minutes home and am now waiting for my sheets to dry so I can remake my bed and get some shut eye. I probably won't sleep well because I'll be anticipating the phone call. No worries.

I think that's all for now. I will post the results of the phone call tomorrow after I receive it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Interview #4 coming up

Tomorrow at 2:30 I have an in-person interview with Company P. Yay, finally a face-to-face with the District Manager! I got a haircut (it's been 5 or 6 months) and a manicure, and I've decided what I'm going to slacks with a black top and black shoes. I bought a new sterling silver (all sterling silver is 60% off at Kohl's) chain for my cheap $15 butterfly necklace. The old chain had tarnished beyond resurrection, and everyone comments on the butterfly because it looks so pretty. So I will wear that to jazz up the all black ensemble, and I will also wear a brightly colored scarf, either in pink tones or orange tones to add professionalism and pizzaz. If I can find socks that coordinate to the scarf, I shall wear those as well.

For the manicure I got the gel-based polish, which the manicurist told me would last 3-4 weeks instead of the regular polish which chips in a couple of days. My nails look great, so hopefully they will stay that way for a while.

I'm heading to an office supply store in a little bit to get some nice paper to use when printing out another copy of my resume and my references. I doubt he will need the resume, but it won't hurt to provide another copy and them my refs as well, since no one yet has asked me for them. Maybe they don't put a lot of stock in references, which I understand, because who is going to list a reference that is going to say anything but positive things about you? Or maybe they are waiting to get to their final final candidate. He does have 3 people to interview tomorrow.

There was a time about a year ago when my former company required 7 references to be checked...omg....and I started checking peoples' references even before I interviewed them in person. It can be so difficult to get some of these folks to call you back, that many times I had to get the candidate to take action to get their references to contact me.

Company W also called me today to tell me they filled their open store manager position with the person who was the interim store manager. I had a feeling that is what they would do, and it is wise to promote from within whenever you have a qualified candidate.

So, wish me luck tomorrow around 2:30 central time.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Gusts of up to 1 gobdillion miles per hour. Crazy.

I had a third phone interview with HR at Company P today. I think it went ok. They can't pay me what I need/want in base compensation, but the bonus structure is very strong, and most of their stores bonus....and it's a quarterly thing with 3 components. So, I think in the end, things will be even, or I'll be ahead. They also match 401(k), give annual performance-based raises, have an employee stock purchase program, and something else too, all of which my old company hasn't done for several years.

I find it odd that no one has asked me yet for references to check. I don't know how many other people are in the process. I may hear something back next week, or maybe the week after. I think it depends on how many others are in the interview process and where they are in the process.

This weekend will be so exciting for me! I am arranging 80s TV show theme songs for 2 mellophones, I'm going to another soccer game Saturday night, then on Sunday I have my birthday party with my family followed by rehearsal. Ha ha! It's not exciting, but I am thoroughly enjoying my time off.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Grill, the Interviews, the Bike

I'm enjoying my grill. I cooked a couple of hot dogs on it yesterday for lunch. Tonight I will cook some chicken that I need to get in the marinade in a little bit.

The phone interview lasted 2 hours yesterday, and today I took an online assessment for the company. It turns out that I really like this DM's style. He lets his store managers run their stores and isn't managing them on a day to day basis like I had to at my former company. Such a relief! He also holds optional training sessions for his team on leadership. The metrics are achievable, the business is profitable and growing.....I think I would really enjoy working for this company. Let's hope it all works out. The next step is to interview with a Store Manager to get their take on me. I am an excellent in-person interviewer/interviewee, because that is when my personality ca be observed and not just heard over the phone. That piece is not yet scheduled, but I was told the process could take another couple of weeks.

I am going to get a bicycle today. I want a cruising bike. I hate bikes where you have to lean all the way over to ride them (mountain bike and street bikes). Target has some Schwinn cruising bikes, so I'll go there after lunch and see what I see. I don't need a lot of gears, so a single gear or a 3 speed is just fine. I want it to have a nice wide cushiony comfy seat, and if it has basket, that will be supercute as well, though I don't require a basket.

The garden is growing like crazy. We finally had a really warm night a few nights ago, and all the plants took off! It's now been 3 1/2 weeks since I planted the seeds and small plants, and everything has sprouted and is spreading its wings. I need to thin out the radishes, carrots, and onions. It's so exciting to think that I'll start having some fresh organic veggies very soon!

Have a great day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interviewing and other Fun

I had a second phone interview with Company W today. I won't say its name yet. I had a phone screening a couple of weeks ago with their recruiter, and today I spoke to their HR person for the region/area/whatever they call it. It went really well, so I'm being passed on to the District Manager. There is some sort of meeting this week, so it will be next week before I meet with the DM.

I also had an in-person interview set up for tomorrow at Company P, but when I called the DM today like I was instructed, he told me to call back tomorrow for a phone interview with him. I already had a phone interview with another DM last week. The DM last week and the DM today told me that in their company they have 2 DMs do partial interviews, then trade notes. That is fine. But I don't like being told that I'd have an in-person interview and then the plan changes...and that I need to call the DM tomorrow. That's not the way it works. The company representative should contact the candidate at the time of the phone interview. And if he decides to take me to the next step after that, a Store Manager would interview me. Now, I am all in favor of developing the Store Managers' higher-level interviewing abilities, but as a District Manager if you can't screen out your candidates via phone and get to your top one or two to interview in person, there might be a problem there. I do realize that different companies have different processes for this. This one just seems odd and put offish. This is the company I really want to work for, so it is concerning. I will definitely want to meet the DM and see if it is someone I can work for. I am hopeful that some things just got in the way that the DM needs to attend to (goodness knows that I know how this can happen) and that all will be well. I am cautiously optimistic.
In completely other news.......I bought my grill this weekend, and a friend helped me assemble it yesterday. We cooked steaks and corn on it last night and had a lovely time. Then we played french horn duets on our mellophones for well over an hour.

On Saturday night I went to a soccer game. My younger sister and her husband are on an indoor soccer league team, and it was fun to see people of all shapes and sizes and ages trying their best on the field. My sister's team lost terribly, but she said she was enjoying herself and getting good exercise, which is what she wanted. I think she played well, and my brother in law is the goalie, and he also played well. My older sister's husband is supposed to be joining the league as well, so I will try to make as many games as I can.

On Saturday afternoon, and then again after I got home from the game, a friend and I spent probably 6 hours or so arranging Christina Perri's song Jar of Hearts for 4 Mellophones. It was much more difficult than we thought it was going to be. We were up til almost 2 in the morning, then finished it off Sunday morning before heading to rehearsal.

Our arranging process is funny. We find the video of the song on YouTube on his phone which is plugged into my receiver so that we can listen to it through the sound system speakers. I have a 20 year old synthesizer keyboard that we use, and we find the piano sheet music and chord progressions online if possible. Then we also have our two mellophones. I hand write all the music using pencil and staff paper because I don't want to spend $500 on music software right now. And then we listen to the song, a bar or two at a time, over and over and over until we get the notes and rhythms down for the melody for the entire song. Then we start again at the beginning and figure out the chord structure and write the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd parts simultaneously, creating our rhythms and embellishments within those chords. It's great fun, though mentally tiring. Our end product is really quite good, we just don't have 4 good players to play all the parts.

We are trying to think of other songs to arrange that audiences would enjoy listening to. Do you have any suggestions?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The cost of not having insurance

Wowsers, I got my Nasonex prescription refilled at Walgreen's tonight. It cost me $118 and change. My top-tier medical insurance through my former company only cost me about $182/month. When I had that good insurance, the Nasonex was $10. There is no generic for Nasonex at this time, and I have to be able to breathe on a daily basis during allergy season, so I guess I'll just grin and bear it. I make the bottle last far longer than its 30 days, so perhaps I'll have real insurance again before I have to refill it. The pharmacist did sign me up for a Walgreen's insurance program, which is just $20. And it saved me $23 off this one item, so I'm already $3 ahead and can use it for a year as well as get 10% put back onto the insurance card once I receive it.

I have an in-person interview on Tuesday with PetsMart, which is something I think I would enjoy and is a company that is making a profit and is expanding. I need a stable or growing company, so this would be a good move to run one of their stores. The phone screening went well, and now I'm interviewing with another person. I think I'm better in person than on the phone, so I plan on wowing him. I'll let you know how it goes.

In other news, everyone boo'd when Pia was voted off American Idol tonight. Yes, she is a fantastic singer and comes across as a lovely person, but the winner of AI is not always the most talented or most deserving. Stefano and Hailey grate on me, so I won't lose any sleep if they go. I don't care one way or the other about Paul, Jacob, or James. I adore Scotty, Lauren, and Casey. I believe I want Casey to win.

That is all for now.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Job Hunt Continues

I had 3 very successful phone screenings this week. The position I really wanted is actually being offered to another person this afternoon, so I missed the window on that one. Still, that person could decline.

There are not many multi-unit level positions open in this area, so I might have to go back to being a store manager for a while, which I don't really want to do. On one hand, it would be easy breezy, but on the other hand, it would be boring and I wouldn't necessarily get the days off I need to march drum corps. And I won't get anywhere near my last salary. But again on the up side, I probably wouldn't be working 7 days a week, 14 hours a day, so that is a big plus.

We'll see. I still have plenty of time to find the right position before I start to get nervous about money.

In other news, I took my Element in to the dealership yesterday for its 110,000 mile service, and they found that the power steering pump was leaking, so altogether that will be an $800 bill with the other $400 going to all the regular 110,000 mile service items. Now that the car is paid off and is over 5 years old, I don't mind spending some money each year to keep it running in tip top shape for another 5 years. They kept the car overnight to get the needed part and install it today, so they gave me a loaner car, which is a Civic hybrid. Aside from not liking a small car, I really hate how the engine shuts off every time you stop, and it's a jerky start when you press on the gas again. I understand this is the way it saves power, but it's freaking annoying, especially in stop and go traffic. The 50 mpg is a good selling point, so if they ever incorporate the technology into an Element, I will take a test drive and see what I think.

I'm busy cleaning house and need to stack up boxes in the 3rd bedroom because I have 2 house guests this weekend; both are mellophone players, and one is driving up from Austin. The 2nd bedroom has all the nice furniture, but the 3rd bedroom is my music room/dumping ground, so I am going to get a $149 sofa bed from IKEA on the way home from the dealer. I've been wanting to get one for that room, and now is as good a time as any.

I still have floors to vacuum and mop and boxes to stack before I go get my car, so have a great day!