Friday, October 19, 2007

Grandma's house

My Grandma has lived in the same house since she was 8 years old. It is a place where every kid loves to stay. I remember begging to stay when I was a kid, and now my kids beg to stay. There are a ton of things to do at Grandma's house. If it's nice outside, there is a swing set and sand pile in the back yard.

There are woods to explore, buckeyes to collect, berries to discover.

There is a circular driveway to ride a bike or scooter around. Several can be found in the shed. Just don't go too close to the road...

There is a huge yard to play any sport imaginable in. All the equipment can be found in the shed as well. Soccer, baseball, T-ball, basketball (there is a hoop by the driveway), football, kickball, crochet, volleyball, and probably a lot more that I cannot think of right now!

If it's raining, you can sit on the front porch and draw with sidewalk chalk, and probably run out and play in the water puddles formed around the driveway. Unless your mom or dad are there to stop you. Grandma won't. :)

There are also video games, DVDs, and tons of toys to play with in the house. As well as a pool table in the basement.

I don't remember ever being bored at Grandma's house as a kid. We played in the woods a lot. We also had a couple of 3-wheelers we rode around in the woods. Some of those hills we went up and down were pretty steep. There is a creek we used to spend a lot of time playing in during the warm months - looking for and catching crawdads, frogs, and various other creatures we found. Those old paths are grown over a lot these days - some of the woods that we played in as kids belonged to the neighbors and the kids now tend to stay out of the neighbors woods. Now instead of 3-wheelers, we have a 4-wheeler to ride.

In the winter time, we would all bundle up in our winter coats / hats / boots / scarves / mittens and whatever else was needed to go out and play in the snow. Sled riding down the huge hill that was in the neighbors yard and trying not to go so fast that you landed in the creek at the bottom. Most of the time we avoided it. That particular hill has since had a driveway put right through it to get to the new house that was built back in the woods.

We also used to walk down the creek when it was frozen over, or when we thought it was.. and hoped we were right. I remember falling through the ice with one foot.. or both... and either going on for a bit, or walking that long walk back to Grandma's house to dry off and warm up.

Always when we came in from playing in the snow, we would put our wet items over the register in the kitchen, grab a blanket and sit over a register in the living room, drink some hot chocolate that Grandma always had ready for us and warm up a bit before going out again.

In the fall, we would rake leaves together into a pile next to a swing, and jump off the swing into the pile of leaves.

I was one of the lucky ones because growing up, I lived right next door to Grandma so I could walk across the yard to her house any time I wanted to.

Before we moved next door, my sister and I always got on and off the school bus at Grandma's house as well. Mom had to be to work earlier than school started, so we were dropped off at Grandma's house - most of the time we slept in the car on the way there and on her couches once we got there, until it was time to go.

Every Sunday, Grandma fixes enough food for everyone to gather and eat at her house. All of her kids, the grand kids, and the great grand kids - not all come every Sunday, but any given Sunday will find the majority of them there.

Sunday at Grandma's house with our family is something I thought every family did when I was a kid. When I went to school and found out that it was not the "normal" thing for families, I was shocked. I also felt sorry for all those kids who didn't have a family like mine.

I grew up with cousins who were more like brothers and sisters. I remember some boy on the bus picking on me and Andy was right there coming to my rescue. Needless to say, the boy never bothered me again after Andy told him if he bothered me again he would be answering to him. I didn't have an older brother, but I had that "big brother" protection.

In addition to the Sundays at Grandma's house, the holidays are always a special tradition as well. Easter Sunday is a time when everyone comes to Grandma's house after church for THE. BEST. BREAKFAST. EVER. Then the older kids and some adults hide eggs for the little kids to find.

Our Christmas tradition recently changed due to the large number of people in our family. Up until last year, we would all draw names and gather at Grandma's to exchange gifts. Since there are now 60+ of us, last year "the kids" (Grandma's kids, mostly the women) got together and rented a place for us to gather. I believe this is the new tradition, but growing up, it was always at Grandma's house.
We always called it Christmas Eve at Grandma's even though it was not always on Christmas Eve. We adjust the dates to try to get as many people there as possible - with work schedules changing.

On Christmas Eve, we would go to Midnight Mass and after Mass, we would go to Grandma's house for pineapple rolls. The BEST. ROLLS. EVER.

Those are the two biggest holiday events. Other holidays were spent together doing various activities - grilling out, or just hanging out.

On Halloween, you can always expect a bag of goodies from Grandma's house. She never does get many Trick-or-Treaters because her house is so far back off the road. She always got the local kids, and grand kids, though. And she always has plenty of little bags to hand out, so when you do go there, you usually get more than one.

Any gathering with my family members there is almost guaranteed laughter. From stories of growing up, to making fun of each other, to playing games and laughing at each other, there is always something (or someone) to laugh at.

I have always felt extremely lucky and blessed to have the family that I have. There is a sign that hangs on a post in my Grandma's driveway that says "Worlds Best Grandma." That could not be more true. She is known to almost everyone as Mom or Grandma - even if she isn't their Mom or Grandma.

I took my camera to Grandma's house this past Sunday and Conor and I walked through the woods and took pictures. That is when all these memories of Grandma's house came to my mind. There are so many stories to tell, so many things to remember.

The road to Grandma's
In my opinion, I have the BEST family in the world. Yeah, I might be biased... but they are pretty awesome. And we were all raised, in some way, but the most wonderful person - my Grandma.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Poof! You're married...

"Do you need a wand to get married?"

"What? A wand?" (giggle) "No, a wand is not needed." (I think he gets that from the Fairly Odd Parents)

"I'm gonna marry Carley. But I have to be 18 to get married, and she will be 19. Jacob wants to marry her, too, so we are racing to 18. I'm gonna beat him."

I don't know what he is going to do when he doesn't get to see Carley anymore after next year when he starts Kindergarten. He has been in love with her since they met, his interest has not waivered one bit over the years. Will it last another 14 years?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Newest Favorite Song

Buckcherry - Sorry

Love it. :)

Monday, October 08, 2007


Well, recently there have been some changes going on where I work. Changes that make me think I might not have a job for much longer. I’m pretty much just taking it one day at a time and hoping for the best. The first thing that happened - and as I posted previously - we were acquired by another company. As like with any other merger, there are going to be some duplicate people within the organization and I guess everyone here is uncertain what their role will be once the merger is complete. (The sale is final, but they said it could take up to a year to assess the situation.)

The second thing that happened - we almost lost our biggest customer. I say almost because when faced with that, a lot of the higher up corporate people descended upon our little branch to try to figure out a way to prevent this from happening. This customer is, in my opinion, the BEST customer anyone could ever hope to work with. And they have been a customer of ours for 11 years. Way before I started here in 2000.

It’s not that they don’t like us anymore, but they were acquired by a larger company that has their own technical support system. They were acquired 3 years ago, but did not want to move away from the tech support provided by us because our guys at their site are THAT good. They are seriously excellent.

But, when contract renewals came up, the customer had to look at the fact that their parent company was now going to hit them with the charges for the help desk provided by them – whether they use it or not. So now they were looking at paying twice as much out for tech support. Their budget did not support that.

So, the corporate suit-and-tie people came into the office to meet with the customer and try to sort out some deal that would cost them less money, but allow us to remain their service provider for at least another year.

It was all very stressful. We have reached an agreement with them, but we will be making a lot LESS revenue (and a bunch of other boring accounting words that I will skip) and they will be gone in one year.

So – our sales team has one year to try to increase our revenue. Even with that fact, the smaller amount we are making from them right now does mean that our branch may not be profitable enough to support having the administrative people we currently have.

Add to that – there are people researching and writing processes that will eliminate some of my job, as well as some of the duties of the other admin person here. So.. it is possible that the administrative duties here could be condensed into one person. Which one of us will that be? I really don’t know.

While looking through some of my old emails (you know.. looking for a resume and some reference emails should I have to go pound the pavement), I came across one that will always be a pick-me-up for me.

And I thought I would post it here.. just to make you all aware of how awesome I am! OK, not really. Actually, it is so I can always have it – if it is in my company email and I do lose my job, who knows if I will actually remember or have time to get all this stuff together. I do have to think ahead you know. And by publishing it here, it also makes me look good. :)

I was having a particularly bad day at work due to my company letting someone go in another location and asking me to "take over" until they could figure out what else to do. So, I emailed all the people at this location to let them know that I would be taking the responsibilities of the person who left, and that they could contact me with any problems or needs that they had. I got an email from one of them asking what exactly it was that I could do for them. At the same time, I got an email from one of our employees stating that I was "the best!" So, in a non-serious, joking email to our employee, I sent him the following request:

Ummmmm, I've been meaning to ask you.... could you write a reference for me? As to what I do to help you as an employee here? I ask not for the purpose of getting another job, but because the employees at the other location are not real happy with my assistance - when I wrote to let them know that I was available to help them with anything they needed help with, one responded "Well, actually, I don't know what you could possibly do to help me. What is it that you do that you think would be of help to us?" OK, not that rude, but that was the gist of it. They seem to resent me because their go-to person got let go and I took her place. So, they are making me feel, ummm, slightly bad. I feel like saying "but, the employees here appreciate me!! I do stuff for them!!" :) It's been HE double hockey sticks since I took on this other site. :( Thanks for appreciating me.... Me

I was not expecting his response; I thought he would just write back, commiserate with me, and let me vent a little. But his response is something I will keep forever as a "pick-me-up" and it is as follows:

Katie - Here you go, let me know if this is what you are looking for. If not, I'll be happy to revamp. The people in the other location should feel lucky to have you, I know I do. Once they get to know you I'm sure you will change their minds....

Katie is the type of person who enjoys challenges, and our company has definitely provided her with plenty of challenges to enjoy. Being out of the office, working on site with a customer, Katie is my link at the branch to the complex world of logistics and billing and does a marvelous job of keeping me informed of the vital information I need in order to keep my customers happy and well informed. Without Katie's constant communication of events, it would be next to impossible for me to schedule repair times with the complicated schedules of my accounts executives. Even under the most stressful of times, she is always able to take a bad situation and turn it into a positive while maintaining her award winning smile. (Insert comment: TOTALLY full of it! I have never won ANY awards for my smile!)

The amount of work she undertakes daily is unbelievable. But she is always willing and generous enough to push aside her mountain of paperwork to take the time to assist me with my problems while also training me in areas that I lack knowledge in to enhance my own job abilities. I have been able to learn and comprehend in a few minutes what it would take a normal trainer a few hours to teach someone, Katie is that good at making things clear and understandable. She also has the uncanny ability to make a person chuckle, even under the most stressful of times...a trait that comes in handy when tensions are running high. I feel her energy, dedication, and devotion to our company are qualities of an employee that any company should feel fortunate to have working for them. Some of the duties Katie has assisted us with are numerous and probably too many to list. Some of these aren't even technically in her job description, but that doesn't stop her from lending a helping hand. She is a tremendous asset in acting as a liaison between myself and corporate logistics, ironing out the problem before it has a chance to grow. She constantly monitors the system to catch any parts that may show up on back order and alerts me of this fact for client scheduling purposes. The customer I work for also has a lot of remote plants in other states that Katie helps to coordinate with other company branches or service centers to resolve their current technical issues. Time entry is another huge area that Katie stays on top of; alerting me to incorrect time entries by my team, ensuring everyone finalizes their time in a prompt manner. You add on top of this all her billing and dispatching duties and you see that she is a top notch employee.

Katie is truly my "go to person" at the office, and I can rest assured anything I ask her assistance on, she will come through for me…and then some. Like I said, her duties are many, and I'm sure I've forgotten to mention half of them. But rest assured, Katie will give her all to assist whoever is asking for it, and she'll do it with a smile.

I was surprised at the response because I was joking when I asked for the 'reference,' but it still made me feel good. I do think he went a little over-board with the 'award winning smile' thing, but I'll let that go. :)

Friday, October 05, 2007


Parenting sucks sometimes. Gah! I don't know how I'm going to survive the teenage years with Allie. I've considered just locking her in her room and home schooling her. But.. I really don't think that is a viable option. Sometimes I just wish she would actually listen to what I'm saying and believe that I am telling her the truth. Yeah, I know it is some sort of teenage disability that makes them think their parents are just old and wrong, and I also know that she will make mistakes and hopefully LEARN from them. But it is a very painful process to actually witness and participate in.

I do now understand why my mom wouldn't let me go to an Aerosmith concert when I was 14 or 15 years old with some friends and one of their uncles or something. It was the end of the world for me - I vowed that I would never do such a thing to my children.

Yet, when Allie asked me if she could go to the WEBN Fireworks with Vanessa, Vanessa's mom, and Vanessa's aunt... uhhh hell no.

"That's a drunk fest and you have no business going down there."

"But.. Mo-om... her mom and her aunt are going. You can talk to them."

"I really don't care who is going. You are not."

"You are ruining my life!" - screams as she goes to her room to throw her temper tantrum.

Well. Someone has to. :) And no, I didn't say that to her. Nor am I trying to... I'm trying to prevent it. She just doesn't know that yet.

I went to the WEBN Fireworks when I was 16. Did my parents know? Heck no. (Uhhh, sorry Mom. You can no longer ground me.) And that is the only time I have been. The fireworks are beautiful. But, yeah, it's a drunk fest. (And no, I didn't drink.) So, that is not a place that I'm letting my daughter go.

It is also very hard to watch them make mistakes. Yet, I'm kinda learning that they are not perfect, and they are going to make mistakes, and that is how most people learn, isn't it? I just have to hope and pray that they are smart enough not to make any really big mistakes.

I'm still learning as well. I took a leap and got both the girls cell phones 2 years ago. Neither of them still have the ones that I got them. One was left outside in the rain, the other was washed in the washing machine. When they begged for new phones? No. I told them to save their money and get it themselves.

IPods. Jeff (and I stress JEFF because I did not want any part of buying IPods for them due to their proven irresponsibility with the phones) decided to get them IPods for Christmas last year. Do either of them still have it? No. One was lost at school, the other was washed in the washing machine.

Do you see a pattern here? Obviously they have not learned to empty their pockets prior to washing clothes.

So, last night I picked Allie up from her volley ball game and she tells me she has a detention today (Friday).

"What for?"

"I forgot a worksheet in my locker and I ran out of passes to go and get it."

"You get a certain number of passes to go and get something from your locker?"

"Yeah, we get 3."

"So, why can't you learn to remember after the first or second time? This is the 4th time you have forgotten? When are you ever going to start learning from mistakes instead of repeating them over and over?"

"Well, I didn't use all 3 for going to my locker - sometimes I had to use the bathroom."

"So now, if you have to go to the bathroom, you're not allowed?"

"No, but it is almost the end of the first semester, so I will get 3 more for the next semester."

I swear, some of the new rules at the schools are so stupid, it amazes me.

So, anyway, when I was driving Conor to the sitter's this morning, he was telling me how good he was yesterday - all day. He has not really been bad at the baby sitter's house, but there have been some issues with him and another little boy wanting to wrestle around and do "boy" stuff. The sitter doesn't like that because she is afraid someone will get hurt, so she is constantly having to tell them to stop.

So every morning when I am getting my daily hug and kiss goodbye from Conor, I remind him to be good and that there are other little kids there and we don't want anyone to get hurt. Today, when he told me he was good all day yesterday he added, "I learned my lesson and I'm going to be good all the time now."

Conor was not home when Allie and I were having our conversation last night, so him saying that was very coincidental.

I find if quite funny that my 4 year old can learn from "mistakes," yet my 14 year old has problems with it. :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Confusing to me...

Listening to the radio the other day, I heard two songs that I like back to back. These songs are more pop-rock type songs, but I like a large variety of music, so they are ones I know. On the radio they bleep out the "bad words" on a lot of songs, and I do understand why they bleep them out. BUT! There are some that I just don't understand.

One of the songs is by Nickeback with one line saying: "Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes" and another line saying "I'm gonna dress my ass with the latest fashion." (and the song is about being a rock star - just to explain those two lines a bit...)

The other song is by Pink and a couple of lines in the song are: "In the corner with your boys you bet up five bucks, to get at the girl that just walked in but she thinks you suck."

Now, on one of our local stations, these two songs were played and in the Nickelback song, none of the words in those two lines were bleeped out. But in the Pink song, they actually bleep out the word "suck." While I don't think ass is a horrible word (it is another word for a donkey, too..), I do not understand why suck is considered a bleep-able word and ass is not.

And yeah, this is actually something that irritates me. Enough to write about it. :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Random things about me

Consider this a bit of a warning. I have, in the past, censored myself a bit on here. I do this for a few reasons. I don't want to offend anyone. Or make people (Heaven forbid) not like me. I am going to try to be a bit more me. I figure if people don't like me for being me? Then that's just the way it's supposed to be.

I am basically a nice person (I think so anyway...), I go out of my way to do things for other people. Most of the time I don't mind. But sometimes I do mind and I do it anyway. Sometimes to the point that I make myself unhappy. I'm trying not to do that so much anymore, and while I'm not setting out to offend anyone, I would just like to be me.

I would also like to write about my life in truth on here, instead of leaving stuff out because I don't want people to think badly of me. I make mistakes. I do things that others might not approve of... I want to write about all of it, instead of the fluff stuff.

Here are a few random things about me that not many people know - and no. Not all of it is "bad" stuff.

* When I'm at work, and I get upset about something, you will find me outside walking barefoot in the grass. It somehow makes me feel better. Oh, but only when it is warm outside - not snow!

* I have a habit of pulling on my lower lip when something is bothering me and I'm trying to figure it out in my head. I don't usually notice I'm doing it until someone says something about it. On that note, if someone does notice and ask me about it, I'm not at a point where I really want to talk about it - I'm figuring it out for myself and I don't want to talk about it.

* I like to eat potato chips with cake. And with chocolate ice cream. It's the sweet and salty thing. It's very good, just try it.

* I love sarcasm. I do try to limit my sarcastic responses. Because when you use sarcasm on people who don't really understand it, they can get really confused and while it's fun to laugh at them, explaining sarcasm just takes all the fun out of using it.

* I can be a major bitch sometimes. Just ask some of the people who work with me. Or Jeff. I'm really not always as nice as some people might think. I've had people who do not know me say that they can't imagine me being mean to anyone. Think again. Really. I have references. In my defense, sometimes Jeff deserves it. heehee (And there are times when he doesn't. But, hey, I'm a woman and I reserve the right to be in a bad mood at random times. He should learn to sense this and leave me alone.)

* I am honest. If there is a "truth" that I don't want to tell someone, I avoid telling it. I don't lie and say it's something it's not. And I don't try to hide my mistakes with lies. I will honestly admit when I've made a mistake. That being said, if I don't feel that the "truth" is something that should be shared, I will not share it.

* I hate finger-pointing. If you do something wrong, just admit it. Blaming others just makes you look like a jerk. I take the blame for other peoples mistakes all the time (at work with customers, not really in every day stuff) because I'm not going to tell a customer, "Oh, so and so did this and blah blah." I just say, "I am sorry this has happened and I will do my best to make sure it does not happen again." Yet I have heard so many people try to blame other people for mistakes they made. They just can't be "at fault" and so they find any excuse to make it someone else's fault.

* I cuss. I do not have a 4 letter word flying out of my mouth with every sentence. And I really do not cuss that much. But I have been known to say a few 4 letter words when I'm upset or if I drop a brick or something on my toe. It happens.

* I'm a control freak at times. I know what I'm doing, and how to do it, and I don't want anyone else doing it for me. I am trying to get over this part.. letting other people do things even if they don't do it right.. like my kids. And cleaning. They suck at it. But they are going to learn eventually. I'll just make them keep trying. :)

* I drink. Alcohol. No, I'm not a raving drunk. But I do have a couple of drinks every now and again. A glass of wine here and there, beer, margaritas, whatever. I do, however, try to avoid getting drunk. That's the control freak in me. I do not like to be out of control of my actions. I have been there before. It's not pretty.

* I love to listen to Bob and Tom. For those of you who might not know who that is, they are a morning radio show. They are not the most politically correct people but I find them hilarious.

* I'm a very loyal person. My friends? They are my friends and I will not tolerate anyone bad-mouthing them in my presence. My family? Yes, they have faults, and I know this. But they are my family and I love them very much. And isn't that what love is all about? Loving someone even if they are not perfect, forgiving their mistakes, and over looking their faults.

Anyway, expect some changes in my posts. I'm sorry in advance if they are offensive - I am not setting out to offend anyone.