Saturday, February 28, 2009

Week, End!

I love my job. I really do! But it's been a stressful week. I am working 5:45 am to 4:45 pm every day this week. I go to bed at night and all night long I am still at work in my dreams. I dream entire phone calls. This morning we were asked how many of us this was happening to and at least a dozen raised hands. We are going collectively insane. Yesterday I actually had to spend over ten minutes trying to tell someone how to use a joystick. Seriously, folks...seriously.

So, I have tomorrow off. I will need it. I am working even more hours next week than this week! Poor Nate! I am farming him out to friends and family just so he won't be home alone all day every day.

I am supposed to teach Sunday School tomorrow. I have no idea what to teach. I think we should just take a nap.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Joke's On Me, It Seems

Two Christmases ago, my mom gave Nate her old laptop computer. Nate was thrilled. Not only was it the first computer he could call his own, but it was also the only laptop in the house.

Over time, the poor thing began wearing down. A button came off the keyboard. The screen went black. When things broke, Nate would plug in an external version, and eventually his 'laptop' became the hub of a borg-like mass of cables and electronics.

Nate saved up money to buy a new laptop, and I promised to help. After all, he needs a computer for his schoolwork and it's nice to have a laptop around.

About a week and a half ago, though, I came home to find Nate's crippled but still functioning laptop had become a box of dozens of pieces! Trying to remain calm, I said, "Nathan, that is without a doubt the stupidest thing you have ever done. I am very disappointed in you, and what you have done is disrespectful to both Grandma and me. I will not be helping you buy a laptop since this is how you treat them." I know, that sounds really harsh, but his laptop still worked before he dismantled it. And I was absolutely appalled. Nate did not fuss at my proclamation, just asked me if I knew of anyone hiring 13 year old boys, and about a day later he told me that he would put his laptop back together in order to earn my trust back.

Still horrified at the jumbled box of pieces, I merely acknowledge his promise and went on, believing there was no way on this earth that this child could reassemble a laptop computer.

I was wrong. It is now functioning just as it did before.

I will never say 'no' to handy-down computer carcasses again. My basement can turn into a PC graveyard-slash-dr. frankestein's workroom. I won't care! Now my only question is what do I get this child that will help him, since he claims much of his success is owing to a computer science text that I used in college nearly a decade ago, and that was a very backward college indeed? I have already bought him a computer science program but it does not cover hardware, only programming and applications. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You Know It's a Good Day...

When you are promoted before six a.m.!

Well, ok, it's only a temporary promotion. And yes, I had to come all the way back home for two hours just to go all the way back to work. And, my schedule will be all messed up for this week and possibly several weeks after. BUT, it's going to be really fun work, it's a step toward one of the paths I had been considering, and this temporary promotion comes with a temporary wage increase and overtime. And I get to hang out with geeks.

This will probably put a damper on blogging more often, though. As it is, poor Nate is going to take the brunt of my new schedule, so when I am home, I will be even busier than normal.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tales from Work

For some reason, I can hardly ever use the 'enter' key to go to the next line when composing on blogger. This bothers me. So forgive any formatting problems in this post, please. A conglomeration of recent customer comments: I think the representative may have been Jennifer. She was extremely helpful and cordial. I think I may be Jennifer, too. Most days. The young lady I spoke with was VERY helpful. I wish I knew her name. She did a fabulous job! I am beginning to see a pattern here. It is disturbing me. The next comment was not in regards to me, but I think displays some amusing irony. (I have not altered it in any way): it was a please not talking to a third world country
she was great
I received an offer of cookies and marriage from one particularly pleased customer. I also, I believe, helped save a woman from lifelong shame when her order did not arrive in time for Valentine's day and she had me cancel it. She swore it was because the order was made up of gifts that would not arrive on time. The reason I think we did her a favor is that her order was for diet books and exercise DVDs!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

That Stings!

I just completed (I hope!) my annual tax-refund-curriculum-buying-spree. Sersiously, I have never spent this much. I didn't buy anything that wasn't a good buy, the lowest price available (and many items were available from my employer at a discount to me, and everything I ordered from all three companies was free shipping) and a boon to Nate's education, so I don't think I did anything wrong, per se, it's just that as he's gotten older and more advanced, his educational needs have gotten more expensive, and while I could hodge-podge stuff much cheaper, I simply don't have the time while working, so the trade-off is worth it to me.

Like the past year, we will be using Teaching Textbooks for math. Nate will begin both Algebra and Geometry next month. It was his choice to do them simultaneously and I guess we will see how that works out.

I have decided to use Jump In! because of his resistance to writing of any kind.

We are going to try Mystery of History after we are done with our current Rome unit. I think we need a bit more orderly approach, and I think MOH will be a good fit, despite being a tad put off at the fact that two volumes are not yet released.

We will be using Getting Started In Latin because Nate doesn't know if he wants to learn Latin, and so I didn't want to dive into a more involved curriculum. We will also be using English From The Roots Up.

Then there are some long-drawn-out type of things--Balancing The Sword, Blessed is the Man, Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers, etc. Also, a science kit, a couple of reference works, that sort of thing.

Nate chose Computer Science Pure and Simple as his computer science program, and I think it will do him good, at least as a beginning course.

Thank goodness for tax refunds, huh?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Losing Weight

I have been aiming at Intuitive Eating for a couple years now. Trust me, it is not easy. Far, far better than dieting, but NOT easy. First off, you have to deal with the fact that we live in a society full of hyper-dieters. For instance, not a single day goes by at work where people don't talk about their bodies in nasty ways, imply that they or someone else is not good enough, judge foods and eating choices negatively, or focus on the number on the scale. Last week I spent several minutes on the phone with a woman whose husband had a heart attack, and while that is very alarming, vowing to only allow him to eat lettuce is equally so. Additionally, this woman is only going to eat lettuce herself...and in between telling me this and the fact that LUNA bars for pete's sake, are bad for you because they have a whole 200 calories (eek!), she was watching the home shopping channel, drooling over chocolate brownies and cakes while putting herself down for drooling over them, while also telling me that brownies are evil in and of themselves. This is the kind of torture that our society encourages. It is very difficult to fight this!

It is difficult to re-learn a relationship with food that doesn't cause you to feel guilty for your choices. It is difficult to make choices in front of other people. It is difficult to listen to, or read, other people putting down normal eating as if it were a death knell. And it's really difficult, for me at least, to keep my mouth shut when they do. I especially feel at times like I need to either hide or be defensive about some of my food choices because I am fat and people see me eating things and, with the background noise of the tasty-food-is-evil culture we live in, I assume they are judging me (or they just plain do judge me out loud). Pardon me, I am trying to listen to my stomach, so quit interrupting what it is telling me with your nonsense about carbohydrates, thankyouverymuch! And, no, I don't wish to participate in the office-wide group flagellation that is the Biggest Loser contest!, I weigh myself on or about the first of every month. Probably I shouldn't, as it always gives me a day or two of having to work harder at Intuitive Eating. Some months I do forget, actually, which I never thought would happen. But the last couple months I have remembered and as it happens, I have lost a couple pounds each month. Not much. Nothing any diet advertisement would feel the need to post 'results not typical' about. Nothing even noticeable had I not actually weighed myself, until this month. This month my clothes are not fitting right and it's driving me nuts! My favorite pajama pants keep falling down. My khaki skirt keeps sliding off my tummy and my shirts aren't long enough to cover it. Amazingly, I am annoyed by this weight loss. Which I am hoping means that Body Positivity is perhaps taking root in my subconscious? I am learning to love my body enough that I care more about whether my favorite clothes still fit than I do about the number on the tags or the scale? Well, I promise not to take Nate's advice (basically, eat more ice cream than I am hungry for in order to gain the weight back), but on the other hand, since I wasn't trying to lose weight and don't know how I did, I am not counting on its continuation.

Intuitive Eating is a long journey, it seems.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why I Do My Job (besides the paycheck, that is...)

Customer comments from last week: "I appreciated customer service, very graciously, answering what turned out to be a stupid question." and "This customer service representative was so friendly and resolved my problem so easily that it actually improved my day. I'm all cheered up. :-P Thanks!" Then there was the English guy who thought was hitting on him...and didn't mind...but he's another story. Anyway, these are the things that keep me going when, you know, a customer yells at me because her books didn't ride on a plane (this happened!). Did you choose one-day shipping? Yes. Did your books get to you in one day? Yes. And the problem is? THEY DIDN'T RIDE ON A PLANE! Um....sorry 'bout that?