Sunday, January 29, 2006

In Briefs

Saturday: Work. Ate out with work-friends; Macaroni Grill. Terrible sinus headache; in bed at 5:30p.m. Slept through till 9 on Sunday with the help of some Benedryl.

Sunday: 6th Floor JKF Memorial museum with D. Wandered around West End; as boring as remembered. Cooked pork roast. the end.

(really in panties, but still.)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Baby blues

Tonight was dreaded Bank Meeting Night. Blargh. Good news though-- our "6" audit score is leading the region; most branches got 2s or 3s. Losers.

My co-worker Diana's little grandbaby was born yesterday and we were all exited about it, but today it turns out that she needs a heart surgery right away-- something's not right with part of it, and she doesn't get any oxygen to her blood or something. Diana 's understandably upset about it, especially as she can't see the baby in the NICU without one of the parents, and her daughter is still recovering from her c-section.

The whole thing pisses me off a little because it's so typical of our stupid, medicalized way of handling pregnancy and birth. They told her that the baby was getting "too big" in utero, and that her labor should be induced. Thehy chemically induce her, and the baby goes into shock or something because of the faulty heart--although they didn't know anything about that at the time. So, they do an emergency c-section and the baby turns out to be 5 pounds something; not even 6 pounds. Less than 20 inches. This is the baby they thought was so big that it needed to come out early, or at least earlier than intended? It's not even average-sized. That poor little thing could probably have used another week in utero and a few more ounces before having to undergo an open-heart surgery.

We're having an impromptu grandma-shower for Diana at work tomorrow. It was going to be at the meeting tonight but she skipped it to be at the hospital instead. I had to tell her about it b/c she thought that Jennifer (our recent assistant manager) was pissed off at her for missing the meeting when she was just dissapointed about the shower. so. Must bring cheesecake to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Construction paper and glitter

Well, I'm back posting again. I suffered a humiliating setback at work on Friday, and had to retreat from the world and lick my wounds for a bit. But now I'm balanced again and can write about it. I told my manager that I was "very interested" in the new 'teller coordinator' position that was opening; she told me that I hadn't shown enough "growth" for her to consider me. But that I could be a senior teller which would be the "next logical step". Yay. (sarcastically)

I was just so pissed off because I thought I was doing a great job. I mean if I wasn't, shouldn't she have told me? I haven't had any guidance whatsoever since July, so I thought that meant that I was doing really well. And I am, at being a teller. But whatever it is she's looking for, it's not someone who soldiers along in their teller window; helping customers, doing transactions, getting shit done. Case in point being that she promoted Kristin. I like Kristin; she's fun. She's been with the bank a long time. But she spends all of her time on the Internet; on Myspace IM-ing her friends. She keeps her cell phone in her workstation and text-messages (and talks!) on it all day long. She will take a transaction and hand it off to another teller--one of us not lucky enough to be online. Is this what our manager really values? This girl is now my direct supervisor?

Well, I finally decided not to dwell on it too much. After all, it's not like I had my heart set on being a TC; it's like a baby-step better than being a teller, that's all. It is just a blow to my pride to not be good enough when I thought I was a shoo-in. I have decided to have more fun at work, to be more visible. I mean, why not? Being an invisible worker hasn't gotten me anywhere. On Monday, I took over the bulletin boards. These are decorated seasonally--very cutesy and fun. Used to be Kristin's job and she actually got "talked to" because she abandoned one of them half-way through the job. (It said Happy Hol, next to a snowman. Sad.)

Well, on Monday I got sick of looking at the old holiday stuff, mittens and holly and crap. It's the last week of January for peet's sake. I raided the art drawer and spent like 6 hours decorating them for Valentine's day. My station was 6 inches deep in construction paper and glitter. Before anyone starts thinking that I'm nuts I should mention that I'd only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before, which gives me tunnel vision and a single-mindedness that's unbelievable. And that I love crafty stuff. And that my boss is a lady in her (mid-sixties? Younger? I can't ever tell) who loves that kind of thing. She posts little signs, inspirational sayings and stuff all over the back of the bank. Now, those boards have never looked so good. It's Valentine's Day mixed with a little Spring; hearts, flowers, more hearts, lots of team spirit ... Is this the kind of crap that my boss wants me to do to show "growth"? I don't know, but I had fun. And now that she's making me a senior teller, I can apply at other branches for TC if I want to. I don't have an obligation to stay at this branch, not if they aren't promoting me or whatever.

Oh yeah, our big audit happened today. We did alright, scored a "6" out of nine, but it's a top-two scoring, so that's not as bad as it sounds. I think the way it works is that on those 6, we scored a 9/10 or 10/10. On everything else, we didn't, so it goes to 0. So, we could have hypothetically scored an 8/10 on everything else, which would mean an average of 85 percent or something. It's always a bit heart-stopping to walk in and see the audit team there though.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My Day Off

What a boring day! But in a nice way. Not soul-drainingly boring like work, or like being unemployed; just a nice sort of "hey, I have nothing to do today" sort of peaceful boring. Well, it's time to come out and say it....Earl has died. It actually happened a couple of days ago; I came home from work and found out from D. Poor little guy, I guess it was his time. He'd been looking kinda ragged for ages now. Earl was a good fish. Because platys are schooling fish, I went out today and bought some more, so that Speeder doesn't suffer from having no school. Now we have three red-wag platys. Speeder, Earl Junior, and Decaf. These names are a work in progress to be discussed with D when he returns from the looting and plundering that is his job. (Because today in my mind he will be a pirate. A pirate with an aquarium; but not on his shoulder, because that would really hurt what with his dislocated discs and all. Even if he weren't injured it would look kinda strange. If I were a ship captain back in the day, I wouldn't have a parrot, I'd have a cat or two. So that they could eat any rats on the ship which would be good.)

Where was I now? Ah yes. Now I am watching the tank trying to figure out if Speeder is schooling with his new tank buddies. It's hard to tell so far. All the grass-type plants that I planted in November seem to be spreading and making new plants, which is so cool. I think I'm going to stop vaccuuming the gravel and just let the grass take over.

It's almost eight at night and there is no dinner; I should go to the store but I've been obsessively working on my jigsaw puzzle. I don't know where the afternoon went! It's only about half done, too. Tomorrow I have to go back to work, but I intend to tell my boss that she can consider me officially interested in the teller coordinator position so it might me an interesting day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Financial planning

In the four and a half months that I've had a blog, I've started four titles with the word "happy". I guess I'm a happy person for the most part, although it would be more honest to admit to posting when I'm chipper and not going near the computer when I'm down and out.

I've always had this feeling of needing to save more money, of being in a precarious position and not working towards any of my big goals like homeownership et c. I put money into my savings account but not enough, and I'm always distracted--should I be putting it in my 401(k) instead? And I always wanted to invest my money, to buy stocks and things.

So, I finally figured out my Plan.

One over-arching uber-plan that covers everything step by step so that I can stop worrying about it and just do it instead. The only hard part will be sticking to the budget that I started as a New Years Goal, but that will come along. This month hasn't been too far off budget really.

So, here are the four goals:

1. Save 5,000 for emergency money. Every financial book reccommends keeping on hand enough savings to cover 3 to 6 months of living expenses. I reckon my expenses at about a grand a month, although I could cut that back if neccessary. I figure that putting an extra 80/month on top of what I already contribute to will bring my savings up to that by the year's end.

2. Gradually increase my 401(k) contributions to 12%, then keep it there, like, forever. An ongoing sort of thing. The bank matches 5%, so I might actually be able to retire someday.

3. Save 10,000 for a down payment for a house. (Hope that D also raises 10k in that time.) Assuming no major pay raises, this will take three years.

4. (After everything else) Start putting 100/month into a stock portfolio. Retire wealthy.

Sure, it's a 5-year plan, but I feel much easier about everything than I did before.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Happy Birthday...well, me!

So, I toot my own horn or whatever. Who cares? It's my birthday and my blog, so happy birthday, me. Today was the great divide between 24 and 25, between the first quarter-century and the the second of my life. Where is time going? I feel like I was just 19 a few weeks ago, and now I'm starting my 26th year! Time flies no matter what, I guess.

Because my mom's birthday is two days before mine, we had a celebratory co-birthday dinner last night compliments of my dad, who made the roast beef and picked out the desserts at La Madeleine's. It was a lot of fun and they got me a jig-saw puzzle. I've really been wanting one lately because I did one over there at their house and they're so addicting. Puzzle drug. And, a birthday check.

At work I share a birthday with not one but two others, including my boss. Very unlikely in a staff of 15 or so, but it happened; we spent the whole day today wishing one another a happy birthday. "Happy Birthday Vickie!" "Why, you too, Mara!" et c. They sang and brought a cookie-cake, and I was quite touched.

When I came home it was to discover that D had only pretended to go to work this morning; he waited until I'd gone and doubled back to the house in order to spend the day (his day off) buying presents, bringing the desk upstairs, cleaning up, and making lasagne (!) and birthday-cake (!!!) for me. I had no idea he had it in him to be so sneaky! Birthday subterfuge....even putting on the uniform and all. He's never made either thing before, and they weren't half bad! Count me impressed... and happy with my spring-form cake pans, two Lego-sets, and....something else, that doesn't belong in the blog. A different kind of toy, let's say.

I think it's going to be a great year.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

It could be our song

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
I'd buy you a house
(I would buy you a house)
If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
I'd buy you furniture for your house
(Maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a K-Car
(A nice Reliant automobile)
If I had a million dollars
I'd buy your love

If I had a million dollars
I'd build a tree fort in our yard
If I had million dollars
You could help, it wouldn't be that hard
If I had million dollars
Maybe we could put like a little tiny fridge in there somewhere
You know, we could just go up there and hang out
Like open the fridge and stuff
There would already be laid out foods for us
Like little pre-wrapped sausages and things
They have pre-wrapped sausages but they don't have pre-wrapped bacon
Well, can you blame 'em
Uh, yeah

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a fur coat
(But not a real fur coat that's cruel)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you an exotic pet
(Yep, like a llama or an emu)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you John Merrick's remains
(Ooh, all them crazy elephant bones)
And If I had a million dollars
I'd buy your love

If I had a million dollars
We wouldn't have to walk to the store
If I had a million dollars
Now, we'd take a limousine 'cause it costs more
If I had a million dollars
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner
But we would eat Kraft Dinner
Of course we would, we’d just eat more
And buy really expensive ketchups with it
That’s right, all the fanciest ke... dijon ketchups!
Mmmmmm, Mmmm-Hmmm

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a green dress
(But not a real green dress, that's cruel)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you some art
(A Picasso or a Garfunkel)
If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a monkey
(Haven't you always wanted a monkey)
If I had a million dollars
I’d buy your love

If I had a million dollars,
If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars,
If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
I'd be rich!

Courtesy of the Barenaked Ladies

Because D would build me a treehouse.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

pep rally ickyness

Budget, smudget, right? I got paid yesterday and went directly to Central Market and splurged on lots of stuff. Tilapia filets, produce, cheddar jalepeno bread, an adorable little pecan pie. We had a really good dinner last night though!

Today really kind of sucked. Had to work 8:30 to 3:30, then go to this horrible pep rally from 4 till 7. It was regional and huge. Thousands of bank tellers et cetera in a warehouse-type room; projection screens, disco lights, heavy metal music.... the Big Cheeses get on stage, bounce around, and shout about stuff. We have recognition for everybody and clap till our hands hurt. They play inspirational clips from Miracle; Friday Night Lights; Hoosiers; Rocky....need I go on? The inherent problem with this is that all sports movies are about an underdog coming out on top for once, and we're not the underdog. In the banking industry, we're the Soviet hockey team, the Dallas Carter team, the big mean guys that beat up Rocky. We're not an underdog by any definition. So how can these movies inspire us? If anything they should scare the crap out of us instead, that the other guys are going to get us. I'd think that was their goal if any of these guys had showed that kind of understanding. They very generously supplied chips, Chex mix, soda and really hideous T-shirts. The best part is even though we get paid for the rally, the holiday makes it so that we can't get overtime for it. So I'll have 43 hours on my paycheck but no overtime! sweet. Of course that won't include the driving time to get downtown and back; I didn't get home till well after 8.

Ah well, enough bitching about that for now! I have two days off in a row and Tuesday is my birthday, so hah! A quarter-century old! I'm really getting somewhere. My mom and little brother are on a wilderness Boy Scout campout in Colorado, so my dad is all on his own for the weekend, poor guy. I'm eating breakfast over there tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

To Do List

things I need to do... yesterday!

1. Get renter's insurance so that I can renew my lease
2. Get a dental provider from my plan, set up appt.
3. Get my car inspected and the oil changed
4. Get my hair cut again...Halloween was a while ago now!

I guess my hair can go awhile, but everything else is overdue for attention! I hate it, sometimes I just seem to wake up and realize this stuff all at once, like where was it last month? Budget-wise this is gonna kill me... the car alone will be what, 60 unplanned-for dollars? And I really wanted to set up a black-out curtain in the bedroom to block that apartment-complex-orange-glow that comes in at night. that's why I'm setting up a budget though, so that I can absorb random costs more easily and not be hurt by them. This pay-period didn't go so well with the budget. I paid D back for the presents he got for KK and Little Bro, and I had to break into my account to get gas instead of using cash as planned. But, it's the first month, it'll get better.

Good news...the desk is basically done! This weekend it is coming upstairs into its new home. We just need drawer pulls, that's it. It's indescribably weird to have something go from being a graph-paper plan to being a real live (not live...but you know) thing, looking exactly as I thought it would. I can't wait to see it in action.

I'm still a little sick, with a cough and phlem and stuff. The antibiotics have been an unqualified disaster. First of all, I'm having lots of side-effects that are unmentionable in their awfulness. I mean, most bacteria in the body are friendly little guys that do important stuff for you, like manage the digestive system. Killing them all off just isn't good. Night before last, I was trying to swallow the pills (with yogurt) and one got stuck square in my throat-- couldn't get it down or out for anything. D was out walking the dog and I thought "oh great, I'm going to die in the kitchen..." Well, I didn't choke to death but I ended up throwing up the pill and a lot of yogurt onto the kitchen counter. Disgusting and painful...antibiotics are dangerous.

I have to go to a stupid bank rally tomorrow and wear a t-shirt that is the exact color of my junior-high gym uniform. Just how I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon and evening. I'll be glad when Sunday gets here.

On a better note... 3 days till my birthday! Yay!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Yay! I have just set up my 401K at work, which was one of my New Year's Goals; contributing 6% at the moment. I will increase the percentage to 10 or 12% by mid-summer. They re-did the online access so it was really easy to get to; the whole thing took maybe 1/2 an hour inbetween customers. Living without the 50 bucks or so a pay-period will be harder, I guess. Ah well. It'll be nice to retire someday. I figured out something else at work, that's been bothering me subliminally. You know when something reminds you of something else but you can't think of what it is? I have a co-worker who I used to think looked like a monkey. Then I thought, maybe more like a pug. But today I realized that what she is is a walking Troll doll! It struck me with great force. Her hair is a little shorter than average troll-doll hair, but is colored an appropriate red-violet. Observe:

She's a nice lady but not much of a bank teller. Now when she screws something up I will just think quietly, "troll!". And laugh. Silently.

Desk in progress!

I decided not to post again until I was feeling better, so that it wouldn't just be "still sick....feel awful..." Well, the Blearghiness has lessened somewhat and I'm myself again, almost ready to go back to work. Great news...D has pretty much finished the desk that I started back in September. He bought a table saw and knocked the drawers out, and got everything painted and varnished. It just needs drawer pulls and it's done! How exiting. As soon as it's in the apartment I'll take pictures and post. KK got us a mini-carpet shampooer for Chanukah. Not a "fun" present but something that we really, really needed and asked for. It's nice to have one with all the dog problems we have. It turns out that Alice has been munching the leaves of the mildly poisonous arrowhead and vomiting them back up on the rug, rinse and repeat. It's on top of the bookcase now, but WTF? They must taste like crap, why would she keep eating them? Silly puppy. The little cleaner does wonders on the stains and stuff.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


That's the sound of phlem in the throat, and in the nose, and can phlem get in your ears? The doctor said my ears were blocked with "fluid" but she didn't say what it was. Bleargh is the sound of somebody calling in sick to work for the first time in three years. Damn, damn, double damn; I'm sick. It was the wierdest thing; I was fine all day on Tuesday until about eight oclock, then Wham! my throat is sore as hell. Probably strep throat, she said. Can't swallow, can't talk (much); it's all bright red and swollen-- the doc described it as "an angry throat". Why yes, it is. And it's living in an angry Mara at the moment. I know this is payback for being so smug about not having been sick at work. Priding myself on my health and my attendance-- it was bound to end up like this. I spent yesterday--the part not at the doctor and pharmacy--curled up in a miserable ball going 'bleargh, bleargh....bleargh....more tea please.....bleargh" The antibiotics are these enormous horse-pills that I have to cut in half just to swallow. They hurt going down, too. I've almost barfed twice just taking the pills. And they cost 40 bucks. I despise being sick. Today is my day off from work and am I out and about? Am I at Borders, or cleaning up the apartment, or doing something fun? Yeah, right. I'm keeping this chair warm until naptime.

One bright note, though; I signed up for this medical payment program at work, where they take money out of your paycheck tax-free, they put it on a little credit card and you can use it to buy medical stuff with. It's a littl risky because you have to use it all before the end of the year, so I put 75 dollars on it thinking that if nothing else I buy that much Advil, Sudafed and contact lense solution in a year. Well, the first week of the year isn't over yet and I've just spent $55.00 on co-pay and antibiotics and used the card to do it! Sweet. I wish I'd opted for 150 instead. Ah well, I have the weekend off, too, so I just have to get through today ("thruff"--cheating at Scrabble) here at home, tomorrow at work, and by Saturday I should be feeling better. Super-anti-biotics.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New things

D and I re-arranged the living room really for the first time tonight. For two years we haven't been making good use of the space but buying the chair (The Chair) forced us into moving everything around. It's so much better this way! And we got a new rug, so that we can put the other one in the dining area in an attempt to keep the carpet clean. We have room for The Chair, and we got the Wobbly Five-Legged Horror of a coffee table out of the garage (propped up with a shoebox). The only traumatic part was moving the aquarium; the fish seemed really freaked out, especially the tetras, which turned completely white/clear and lost their blood-red finspot for about an hour. The dogs got really nervous too-- they hate it when D cleans! It usually means that they've done something bad, like shred the bathroom trash or barfed on the rug. They associate cleaning with bad-dog-edness.

I bought frozen organic strawberries, blueberries, and mango bits, and yogurt, flax-seeds, and cranberry juice. Tomorrow I shall begin making smoothies to fufill my New Years nutritional goal. Mmm, cranberry-blueberry smoothie! yeah! Must make dinner now (tortellini in a box, easy-peasy) dry my work clothes, shower and bed.