Friday, September 26, 2008

Chicken Soup Amazing

I've been sick most of the week, today is the worst. My whole body aches, my chest hurts when I breath, and my stomach gets upset whenever I eat. I was feeling better than normal yesterday, so I decided to surprise Paulo by coming over and cleaning up the house a little, take out his recycling and get his mail - which I was going to do earlier in the week after an event near his house which I ended up skipping because I felt unwell.

Anyway, needless to say, I woke up this morning just miserable. He was traveling back in to town from work, so I sent him a message that I'd still be at his place when he got home from the airport. He came in, snuggled me up on the couch (I was still in bed) and then proceeded to make me a cup of tea, and THEN, he made me a batch of chicken noodle soup from scratch.

He's so amazing! He likes taking care of me when I'm sick - he waited to go meet a friend for beers until he was sure I was doing all right on the couch, he would have stayed home if he thought he needed to take care of me. Mmmm, I'm such a lucky woman :o)

Three good things:
1. The soup warmed my tummy and my heart.
2. I didn't have to ask Paulo to do anything for me - which makes it sooo much better.
3. I think he's making me sloppy joes for dinner - and they're gooooo-ooood...that or he's getting Thai food, also good!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chicago Trip, Part 1 of 4

We flew out of our home city on a lovely Saturday morning. Our trip to the airport was seamless, but for the frustration of the TSA's new sorting system that, frankly, is completely useless. Oh well, we arrived with plenty of time to hit the bookstore before heading to the gate for boarding.

After a, relatively, brief 3.5 hour flight we touched down in Chicago. Paulo is originally from a Chicago suburb, and we were primarily flying to the Chicago area to visit Paulo's brother, Stefen, and Stefen's family, including their 4 week old baby, named RJ. Paulo's mom, Yvanka, was also staying at Stefen's house for an extended weekend. Though I had overhead several conversations between Paulo and members of his family and knew they seemed like very nice people, I was a little anxious to see how we all go along and whether they would approve of me as a match for Paulo. Really, who doesn't have a case of the nerves before meeting their sweetheart's family for the first time, especially when you fly halfway across the counry to do so?

Stefen picked us up at O'Hare and we drove the 45 minutes or so to the suburbs for a lovely couple of days relaxing with family. Both the boys in that family drive the same way, which was amusing to me. When we arrived and settle in, I felt so very welcomed by the entire group, and Paulo's mom is a ton of fun; she waved me over to the couch as soon as I arrived and gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek (as well as could be managed since she was holding baby R.J.). She has an irreverent manner that makes you feel like you can say and do anything and that she'll not pass judgment. She's warm, funny, smart, and so completely excited to be a grandma. Tracy, Paulo's siter-in-law, is a total sweetheart - she has an infectious smile and always has something nice to say. RJ was spoiled in the best way by everyone happy to hold and cuddle him, not to mention feed him. That little boy sucked down bottle after bottle from the houseguests (I maintain that I'm the only one who managed to have him finish the whole bottle though, I think I held it at the perfect angle, heehee).

Most of our time was spent relaxing in the living room, talking about the Olympics and the elections. The only tense portion was when Paulo's dad (his parents divorced about 8 years ago) decided to come over while Paulo's mom was still visiting. We sat around the television and nobody said much, but it was completely tolerable. Paulo and I had a good talk later about the family dynamic, and I was honored to be let in on Paulo's very personal insights on how his family works and the decisions Paulo has made about how to handle them. It illustrated, yet again, how well we can communicate in both the good times and the difficult situations.

After 4 days we bid farewell to Yvanka and packed our bags to head for downtown Chicago the next morning. I'm delighted to have met Paulo's family and been so comfortable with them.

As a post-script, Paulo's sister-in-law, Tracy, is now an addition to my on-line social network and independentl confirmed that Paulo's mom "thought the world of me." YES!!! Though Paulo had already assured me of the fact, confirmation by Tracy adds that much more lustre to the situation. I can't wait to see them again, and to see how big RJ is!

Three good things:
1. Umm, Paulo's mom likes me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. I am comfortable around and really like Paulo's brother and sister-in-law, and his nephew likes me too :)
3. Paulo already mentioned going back to visit with me...several times.

Stay tuned for Chigaco Part 2!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pajama Day

It's my last day of work and I could swear I'm in the twilight zone.

My boss came to work in light blue pj's with yellow stars on them. I'm surprised she opted for sandals over slippers. She proceeded to act as if she was a recently awoken hibernating bear for the three hours she was in the office. She also held a meeting with the quality control contractor we just hired. Why she didn't tell me it was pajama day!? I wanna wear pajamas to work!! (yes, I'm rolling my eyes)

My afternoon wrapped up with a cute little old lady telling me via telephone that "you'll go to hell before I will if you're lying to me." It was the errily cheery tone of her statement that made it impossible for me to contain the belly laugh.

Then I almost made my really cool co-worker, Isabell, snort Diet Pepsi out of her nose when I asked her if she'd also thought our boss was wearing pajamas to work...she did, and she'd been trying all morning not to laugh so by the time I mentioned it, she had a big pent-up laugh in her.

Three good thing:
1. After today, I officially don't work for the twilight zone office anymore.
2. Though strange, both the pj's and hell comment were highly entertaining.
3. I really won't feel bad about saying no if they ask me to help out more than I've already agreed to for the next week.

Now, the sun is out and I'm heading to the beach with Paulo.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I take a bow

I did it! I did it! I got a new job! I haven't ranted, let alone raved, about my professional situation in a while. I decided it was unproductive to put a lot of negative energy out there about how little satisfaction I found with my professional situation. Instead, I talked to a lot of people about what I was looking for, and started putting in applications selectively for things that looked interesting. The third application I turned in became the avenue to my new job.

I'm leaving my teeny tiny backwater of an office for the world of campaign finance. It's exciting for me, I love the subject matter I'll be working with. I also have it on the authority of a friend, who used to work for the campaign finance office, that they are very professional but very friendly there. That's also the impression I got in the interview. It was the first time I felt like I was interviewing the panel as much as they were interviewing me. It was empowering. I wasn't nearly as nervous as I normally am on an interview, because I wasn't sure I wanted the job until after the interveiw concluded.

I'll be sad to not have my two co-workers around to chat with, they're very nice people and I will miss them. But, I know this is the right move for me. I never really found what I was looking for in the tiny office. They just don't think about the world the same way I do, and that's ok, but it's not where I want to work. There are also some personal issues about my bosses behavior at times, and I know I'll never be comfortable working with her because I find it difficult to believe or trust things she says, professionally or personally. I had an epiphany about this a few months ago, as I sat in class and we were talking about ethics. I realized that, at the core of the issue, my boss and I have very different views on what constitutes ethical behavior - i.e. I view much of her managerial behaviors as unethical, and she thinks it's all perfectly acceptable - and at that moment I found great peace in seriously looking for a new job.

Three good things:
1. Ummm, new job!!
2. I've set up a graceful transition between the two positions.
3. Talk about applying learning to life - it feels good!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mojo at work

I have a friend, I think of her as MOJO. She's my sexy Latina friend, you know, the kind who always has guys getting whiplash from tracking her as she walks down the sidewalk. She asked to borrow a pair of my sexy shoes to go take a dance class. Since I was leaving to visit Paulo before she finished working, I left said shoes out on my stoop for her. Later in the day, MOJO was worried about getting home on time to meet a friend and asked if I would mind if she left my shoes outside for the weekend. I told her "heck no! Thou shalt not leave my sexy dancing shoes on the front stoop all weekend. Take the extra five minutes and go pick them up, pretty please?" Being the good friend that she is, that is exactly what she did. What followed was, I feel, highly fortuitous.

As she shimmied (MOJO walks with a certain sultry shimmy, not the seventies disco kind of shimmy) across the parking lot towards my door a very attractive man stopped her to ask if she enjoyed living in the complex because he was moving in to the area from out of state. Admitting that she did not, in fact, live at said location, she did offer up that her friend (me) very much enjoyed the place. Being a realtor, she of course asked him if he was interested in buying. He said he might be, and gave her his card. His name is, no kidding, Mr. Fine. And, by all accounts, he is very fine indeed. Apparently they have been communicating for a few days and are meeting up for drinks in the near future.

I feel like some sort of love connection fairy. Bow to the power of sexy dancing shoes!

Three good things:
1. MOJO has had it reaffirmed that she's a hot commodity.

2. My shoes are safe and sound.

3. The name Mr. Fine just makes me grin...I can totally fantasize about my dear friend being "Mrs. MOJO Fine" someday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nice People Do Exist

Desperate for my daily mocha, I was waiting to turn left across two lanes of traffic in to my coffe stand. As the truck behind me inched closer, impatient to be on his way but not willing to cut out around me, I watched the stream of cars coming towards me for a break. Finally, I spotted an opening my zippy little Subaru could make it through. Then the person last in the line of cars coming towards me slowed down...a lot...and he put on his blinker to turn in to my coffee stand. Damn, I was going to have to wait for another break and maybe even go around the block to avoid stalling traffic.

Suddenly, the car signaling to turn in to the coffe stand stopped and the middle-aged gentleman behind the wheel, perhaps sensing my distress, waved me in to the coffee stand ahead of him! I left $5.00 behind to buy his coffee for the day. It's nice to run across the nice people in the world :o)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hello to my new car!

Well, as indicated in the previous post, I have a new car. I did my homework and feel good about my decision to stick with a safe and reliable Subaru. Paulo came with me and was a haggler extraordinaire at the dealership. He even said afterwards that he had fun playing hardball. It was also nice to have Paulo's extensive negotiating experience backing me up. I'm certainly not as comfortable as he is with the general process of negotiation prices.
We knew the rock bottom price for this model at a competing dealership, and also had the information on the actual invoice price for both the vehicle and the options. After sending the sales man to 'the man behind the curtain' at least 6 times in 90 minutes we were at an acceptable bargain. The price was $120.00 over what the competition offered, but this car had better options, and it was also the color I wanted (I am a girl, after all).
Since I was pre-approved for a loan the paperwork at the financial office was relatively easy. They did change the term length of my loan at the dealership, which was perfect. I also got the maintenance package and GAP insurance rolled in to my loan because I was getting such a great rate. However, when I went in to my financial institution I discovered that the dealership had already pushed through a loan at more than double the proper interest rate by some "mistake." So, that got removed right quick. Then I discovered that the rate I was promised by the dealer wasn't available at the term length the dealer offered, and that the dealer was telling the bank, "I swear, she signed for a shorter term, it's right here." Well, the financial person at the dealer was lying through her teeth, or was too lazy to pull out the paperwork, because Paulo faxed me a copy of the paperwork I signed and, right there in clear type-face, was the longer loan term at the lower interest rate. Now I have the bank trying to push through those terms on an exception, since it's technically not an "available" loan. How that is possibly my fault, I fail to comprehend. My next idea is that the dealer should eat the cost of the additional interest they failed to advise me of if the bank makes me take the higher rate. Did they think I was just going to lie down and take this with a spoon full of sugar? Seriously?
Three good things:
1. I was so pissed yesterday that I deep cleaned my kitchen...a much needed proceedure.
2. I get to use my most intimidating "do the right thing and give me what I'm asking for" voice, look, and possibly correspondence.
3. I love my new car - it smells new and is all shiny and so quiet you can hardly tell it's on at a stoplight.