Sunday, February 28, 2010

North Carolina Day 2

What a day, and it's not over yet! This morning, we went down and finished setting product out in the booth. That didn't take long, so we headed to breakfast, and then to our rooms to get ready for the trade show.

Today's hours were to be 11-3:30. Pretty long hours for a state show, but we stayed pretty busy the whole time. At about 2:45, they made an announcement: "The trade show will be extended until 4." What? They never do that! The extra 30 minutes, we had nobody, but I guess they just wanted to try it. Oh well.

Back in our rooms, I watched a bit of the NASCAR race. JJ again? Seriously? *sigh* Oh well. They had a dinner for vendors at 6, so we did that. It was OK, I guess. There were a gazillion people in there by the time we left, so I'm glad we went a few minutes early. Now, we're back in our rooms for a short break, and more trade show hours from 7-9:30. That'll go pretty fast.

I've been cold for the past several hours, so I made a cup of coffee in the room just now. I never drink coffee in the evening, but it's tasting pretty good, and I'm no longer cold! No good pictures today, other than the booth. I'll see if I can get any this evening. Tomorrow will be pretty full again, and then we tear down and prepare for an early flight out on Tuesday.

I'll be more than ready to be home!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

North Carolina Day 1

Flight was pretty smooth today, and thing went according to plan. I had a granola bar for breakfast and a couple of salty snacks on the plane, knowing we would eat as soon as we got to the hotel. Except that the hotel restaurant doesn't open until 5, so we set up the booth while starving. Finally, we got food, and I'm SO much better.

Here is my room:

The colors here are not obnoxious at all. Just a clean, mellow room.

The view out my window is toward the West, and shows the pool below:

I looked up after taking the shot of the pool, and realized that the sky was very pretty:

Here is the room from the window side:

And finally, because it's expected, here is my room number:

Tonight, we'll go check out the convention party for a bit, and then hit the hay. I'm beat, and my travel buddy for this trip is sick. She sounds horrible, but has a great attitude and is trying to stay upbeat. I feel bad for her.

Tomorrow will bring 2 sets of trade show hours, and a vendor dinner. Busy day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Annual Employee Review

Employee: Sun, The
Employer: God
Reviewer: Rachel

Job description:
  1. Serve as an axis for the planet Earth to revolve around. (That's right, all planets in this solar system will revolve around you.)
  2. Provide light during daytime (varying length) hours, to alleviate the need for electricity.
  3. Warm the inhabitants of Earth.
  4. Provide a glowing tan to celebrities and those with no CLUE about skin cancer.
  5. Signal the beginning and end of the day.
  6. Provide energy for plants to produce glucose with the process of photosynthesis.
As for the first bullet point, the employee has never wavered. The planets continue to revolve around employee as directed. On the second point, employee has completed this task, but with laziness during winter. During summer hours in colder regions, and always in California, employee has handled number 4 quite well.

With item number 5, employee has continued to complete this task, but usually under a cloak of clouds and at a reduced duration. Item 6 seems to have not been affected thus far.

As for item number 3, employee has been quite lazy in completing the task at hand. Pets suffer frozen paws, humans must warm their mode of transportation each day, wasting valuable fuel, and coats are worn, creating ugly static cling. Hats create horrible hair styles, and the prevailing crabby attitude is causing undo stress.

It is advised that the aforementioned employee spend more time on the job, create a warmer atmosphere, and complete the job at hand. If these things fail to happen within the next 2 weeks, a groundhog must be shot.

1 groundhog for each week after that Mid-March deadline.

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Here are some pictures. They are mostly from today, but I want to start with one from the weekend. Kameron was SO much fun. She's talking more and more, she's walking, and she's SO well behaved. If you tell her "no" about something, she remembers and doesn't do it again for the rest of the weekend. It's cool.

Here is a fun picture from her visit. Little Kami in that big recliner reminded me of Lily Tomlin in the big rocking chair:

Tonight, I decided that I couldn't take it any more. My car was so filthy, it was embarrassing. I had to give it a bath. I mean, what would my friends say if they saw it like this for the whole week??? This is the before. Click on the image to see all of the filth.

This is the Smokin' Hot Neon AFTER the bath. I waited in line for this, and it was SO worth it. She looks good again. I'll be proud to park her in the midst of my coworker's filthy cars.

After finding Castle car wash had the automatic bays closed due to the temperature, I have online one thing to say:

Thank you to...

Yes, I DID get some odd looks for taking pictures in a car wash parking lot. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Stuff

OK, maybe I was in a bad place last night. That may be the reason for the "crappy" blog title. (pun intended) Mom doesn't like curse words showing up on her sidebar, so I'll post something better. I think.

Today Crazy stuff. Stuff that never happens kept happening. Oh, I handled it all fine. That's why they pay me the big bucks, right? I got through it. I kicked ass and took names. I won. After it was over, I was "wore slick." I won, but Tuesday almost kicked my hiney.

The girls are being awesome about not having their phones. Not that they have a choice. LOL They really ARE good kids. Kevin had to go to Blue Springs to help Brett with a car problem so I got home before him. The girls had cleaned and picked up and made it nice to walk in the door.

I've got two more (crazy) days to work this week, and then I'm off on Friday. That is a vacation day to prepare for my convention trip to North Carolina. I'm traveling with Ginger, and she's awesome. We'll do great, AND have a good time. Win Win.

OK, I'm going to go harvest some crops, check on some friends, and go to bed early again. Is it really "early" if you wake up 7 hours later? I didn't think so.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Shitty Parts of Parenting

It's fun to be a parent. It's great to see your babies becoming functioning members of society. It's cool when they impress other people with their behavior or knowledge. It's awesome to have lunch with them, laughing and just enjoying each other's company.

And then, there's the other stuff. It stinks to clean dried poo off the backside of a 3 year old who has been "potty trained" for almost a year. It sucks to find out that yet another homework assignment has gone undone, resulting in a detention. It is miserable to sit in an ER while your child screams in pain during X-rays.

It's depressing to find out that texts are being sent that shouldn't be. It saddens me to take phone privileges away from an otherwise productive individual. Not a banner night. Discipline is not my favorite thing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Busy Saturday

The girls and I, Kami included, ate at Olive Garden today, and it was wonderful as usual. When we came out, the snow had already started, so I told them we'd just go to Big Lots and then home. We bought some useless crap there and headed to the car.

It wasn't snowing any more, so we stopped at WalMart. We only got a few things there, hit happy hour at Sonic, and headed home. That's when the sleet started. When I got home, I left the girls with Kevin (welcome home, here are three children for you) and went back to Mom's to solve all of her electronic dilemmas as the sleet turned to big fluffy snow flakes.

The weather guessers are all saying something different, so who knows what or how much we'll get. I'm not going to worry about it. I've got NASCAR to occupy me. Let the snownami begin.

I'm SO ready for spring.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sunrise and Survivor

I got this shot on the way to work this morning. I had to leave a bit later than usual, since Kevin is out of town. When I leave later, I get cool sunrise moments.

Survivor is getting ready to start, and I'm excited. I love this season. I'm just sayin'.

Tomorrow, I'll pick up Kami and keep her for the weekend. I hope the roads aren't bad. If they are, we'll stay in all weekend, if not, we'll go to Olive Garden for lunch and hit Big Lots. Either way, at least I get to see my girl. It's been a couple of weeks.

Natalie returned to school today. She complained, after walking home, that it was hot outside. LOL! 48 degrees and she's HOT! Too funny.

OK, sorry to bore you through all of that. That's all I've got.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm sick of being cold. I'm just sayin'.

Kevin isn't going to stay with the job. He found out today that some things could happen that he doesn't feel medically ready to handle. He spent the day with his guts in knots, and was freaked out by the end of the day. It's OK, he can find another job...we're not worried.

Thursday is the 6th anniversary of him losing his big brother, Steve. He tries to go down to his Mom's each year, and they spend the day together. Since the job isn't working out, I asked him to go. Go and be with her. Go and spend the weekend with a grieving mom. Go.

He'll leave tomorrow morning. The girls and I will chill out here at home, adding Kami to the mix for the weekend. She got sick, and then had a reaction to penicillin, and then had to recover, so we haven't seen her in a few weeks. I'm ready. Mom? Wanna do Soup Salad and Breadsticks again on Saturday?

Natalie's fever has been down all day, so she'll return to school tomorrow. She still has a bit of a dry cough, due to drainage, but she's no longer contagious, so she'll go back. I hope this bug quits making the rounds soon. I'm about done with illness.

I think I'll do the taxes this weekend, while Kevin's gone. If I have questions, I'll call him and consider not submitting until he's back. I've done them the last few years, though, and everything has gone fine.

OK, peace out, Peeps.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Jobs, Sick Kids, and Contacts

Kevin started work today. He likes it, but he feels VERY uneasy with how little he's supervised. His whole life, he has been handed a "list" or agenda, and known that he could follow it and feel that he had a good day's work. At this job, he's on his own. He'll talk to Tracy in the morning and find out what sort of guidance he can expect, if any.

I am getting more and more excited, planning our TX trip. I cannot wait, and I talked to Susie (our TX hosts) for more than 30 minutes tonight. Women plan. It's what we do. I'm planning the HELL out of this trip. Come on, May 20!

Natalie is sick. Her fever got to 103 today, and hasn't dropped under 100 all day. Yup, she'll be missing school tomorrow. I'll let her sleep in, and then she can call grandpa to come get her (after 10) if she feels she needs it. Otherwise, she'll just sleep all day like she did today. Poor thing.

We had spaghetti with chicken breast tonight. It was awesome! Low fat and still yummy. Kevin cooked it, for the most part, and I finished it. I was late getting home. Wanna know why?

I had an eye doctor appointment. Yeah, we go to America's Best, because they do a fine job and they're cheap. I thought I was due for an exam in December, so I stretched out the contacts a bit longer and was finally on my last pair. I booked my appointment on line and knew that tonight would be a long one.

I really didn't want to spend too much, since I get my flex spending money in April. (It's like a cafeteria plan, sort of.) I got in and readied myself to ask how little I could spend to hold me over until April. Before I could ask, she said, "You know you're not due until March 12, right?" SCORE!

I bought a box of contacts for each eye, which will last until my Flex money is available. Then, the three blind ones (and Natalie) will go for our annual exams, and I'll get a year's worth of contacts without putting out the cash. I win.

Did I mention that I win? Yeah, and I look better. What? Oh yeah, I mean I "see" better.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Stuff

Wow, I sure haven't been blogging much. You're welcome.

With all financial things caught up and smoothed out, we knew we'd have to sit on any money left from Kevin's settlement, until he found a job. Oh, we spent it in our heads 1000 times. New carpet, fence the yard, new appliances, trip to Mars, etc. Still, we were cautious not to go crazy.

Now, Kevin has a job that he starts tomorrow, so we loosened up and spent some money this weekend. Not much that I would call frivolous, but nothing that we couldn't have lived without, either.

The girls were sleeping on twin beds that were second-hand before we ever got them. They were the worst beds ever. Now, they have full size, very comfortable beds. They both woke up and informed us yesterday that they didn't hurt first thing. Wow, sorry it took so long, girls.

Our living room furniture was comprised of mix-n-match items given to us by others. You needed help to get up, they were so broken down. We now have matching furniture that I'm not embarrassed to have company sit on.

Not bad, huh? Nothing silly, right? Well, then Kevin and I wanted to escape the house last night, and we found ourselves at Walmart. Uh oh.

Yes, we replaced our swivel console, 21-year old television. Kevin had been drooling on TVs for 3 years, and we finally have something that doesn't look like it's out of the 50's. I'll let you know, after the Daytona race today, how we did.

Yeah, we blew some money, but it was on stuff that needed replaced. Christmas came to the house, it just came a bit late. I'm OK with that. Wanna come over and watch the race?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Home again

Well, another convention is in the books. South Carolina is my favorite show to do. We have a lot of customers there, and I always have a ball visiting and joking with them. I left Saturday morning, flew to Charlotte, NC, and caught a little regional plane to Columbia, SC. I had a window seat on this tiny plane, and was a bit concerned when I saw this:

I guess it's a safety thing! Anyway, I was happy to see it removed before we taxied away from the gate.

The show was at the Embassy Suites. That is always a nice place to stay. It has lots of space in the rooms, as well as free breakfast and a manager's reception each evening. There were a lot of kids there for some reason, and they were running wild through the halls at all hours. I hid in my room quite a bit. This is the living room area:

And this is the bedroom:

Glenn, a buddy of ours from Greenville, drove to Columbia to have dinner with me, and we had a real good time. Then, he even helped me set up the booth! At South Carolina, I'm never without help, but it allowed me to spend a bit more time with Glenn before he headed home. It was great to see him! Kevin and I hope to see him again when we go to vacation in TX in May.

For the smaller, state conventions, we don't take the big booth. Since I was alone for this one, we took one of the easiest booths to set up. It was one of the biggest booth spaces in the trade show, so I had a lot of room to work with.

I got home Monday night after midnight, so yesterday was a LONG day. I was wiped out, and fell asleep a bit after 8. That turned out to be a good thing, since I woke up at 2:30 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.

Time to get my lunch packed for today. I guess I better get moving!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Here I sit in terminal E
Staring up at gate 33
Delayed two times, gate changed just now
I see so many furrowed brows

Folks are angry, folks spew hate
"Listen ma'am, now I'll be LATE"
Why don't they see she's not to blame
You're the one who's acting lame

It seems the problem's up North-East
This snow storm has been quite a beast
The planes are late from there to here
Leaving this place devoid of cheer

I wish these folks would just chill out
Please don't grumble, please don't shout
You will get there, you can wait
Oh look, our flight's again changed gates

Friday, February 5, 2010

On The Road Again

Due to the snow, I decided to get a room near the airport tonight. For my 7:30am flight, I would have had to get up at 3, leave at 4 to arrive by 5:30. Blech. Then, the snow started, and I began to worry. Finally, it was decided that I'd stay near the airport tongiht, and I wished that I had packed and taken my bags with me. Oh well.

I went home after work and packed, while talking to Kevin. I am near the airport now, so I can get enough sleep. Here is the bush outside the hotel room door:

And this is the ugly carpet in the hallway:

This is the entertainment mecca:

And here is the bed:

And finally, because there is NOTHING exciting going on here tonight, here is my room number:

See? Nothing important...just the beginnings of an adventure. More tomorrow...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kohl's, and Just My Luck

I needed to stop at Kohl's tonight. My shoes are getting pretty sad, and I usually have good luck finding decent shoes at Kohl's. Also, my luggage is falling apart, and I have travel coming up, so I thought I'd check that.

I found both, quite reasonable, within 15 minutes. Score! That's good for someone who HATES to shop. Me being born a female was a joke in many ways. I hate to shop, I prefer wearing Tshirts and jeans, and I'm not all touchy-feely. I'm always happy when I can get out of a store in under 20 minutes.

Feeling quite proud of myself, I headed to the checkout closest to the door I entered. Only 2 people in front of me meant that I'd be out in no time, right? WRONG! Dude in front of me had a coupon from another location, but wanted to use it. Lady had to call management to find out if it's OK.

After that was approved, he tried to pay with a Kohl's card. Lady said, "You're not Tracy." He told her that Tracy was his wife, and he is on the card. She had to call in and check it out. It turns out that he's NOT on the card, so he can't use it. She had to call for a void.

Meanwhile, he asks if he can have the 15% discount anyway, since he DOES have a Kohl's card with him. She calls the manager again. *sigh* Another line opened up and the folks behind me jumped over there. Manager said that she can NOT honor the discount if the card isn't used, and he says that he doesn't want the stuff, then.

This was getting ridiculous. She agreed to honor the coupon (from another store) and give him a 15% discount. Seriously? Can I break the rules and whine and get MY way? How about my stuff for FREE??? Anyway, they start voiding it all to start over and I jump to the other line.

I had 2 items. That's all. However, the luggage was a 7 -piece set. (great deal, too.) She needed to open each piece to make sure I wasn't stealing something. Problem was, this new lady didn't know how to work a zipper very well.

2 pieces into a 7-piece set and she gave up. She actually said, "You're not stealing anything in there, are you?" I replied that I wasn't, and just wanted to leave. She rang me up and I left. I could've had the Hope diamond in that inner bag, she would have never known. Damn my honest upbringing!

Now, I'm home, and ready to start pre-packing. Also, at 7, there is a Survivor special, covering the past 10 seasons. I'm stoked. Next week, season 11 starts! WooHoo! I just hope I don't have to go to Kohl's soon. I'm sick of that place.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010



It's underrated. Seriously. You do your daily routine, whether things are good or bad. You keep it up, working, living, eating, and moving, no matter what. However, when there are financial (or other) things going on, you're not quite breathing.

For 2 1/2 years, Kevin's been fighting a battle with his employer. He's been hurt twice by this place, who insists on sending 1 guy out to do the work of 3. Surgery fixed it, and it got torn up again. I still don't know what I can say, legally, so I'll be vague. If you want details, email me. I'm an open book, as you know.

Anyway, as of yesterday, the case is settled. Kevin was off work for 6 months on medical leave. Partial pay, and we limped by, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. It was getting worse and worse, but we kept limping along. Not breathing.

They called him back in late December. They suddenly had work that he COULD do with physical restrictions (even though they didn't earlier in the year.) It was time for inventory, so they probably wanted him for that, but who knows?

We were told that they were close to offering a settlement. OK, we've heard that before, so we still weren't breathing. It got delayed another few times. Whatever. We're used to it by now.

Finally, a decent offer was made, assuming that Kevin would terminate his employment. (yeah, I'm probably saying it all, so why bother with the disclaimer?) He agreed, and the wheels started turning again. Slowly. Finally, all parties agreed. Still not breathing.

The next Monday, Kevin got to work and saw a sign on the door saying that the store was closing. What? Yeah, they were closing and moving all inventory to Lenexa, KS. He helped them finish up, and by Wednesday of that same week, that store no longer existed.

What does that mean? That means that he didn't quit. That means that he is eligible for unemployment. Sweet! Unemployment isn't much money, but it is WAY more than $0.00. So we had breathing room.

Back to yesterday. The case is closed. The deal is done. The lawyer has his cut, and the rest is in our bank. It would be fun to blow it all on fun stuff, but we can't. The mortgage is caught up, so my house is still mine (it was sketchy for a while.) My student loan is paid off. Bills that we've been begging time on are gone. I'm starting to breathe.

Mom and Dad paid the down payment for us to buy this house, and we've been paying them a set amount each month. They've been so gracious if we're struggling, need a week, etc. It's awesome. Without them, I wouldn't have my house. They are Thanks, Mom and Dad. I'm starting to breathe.

Other people have helped, too. Thanks to everyone, and I'm very happy that we can breath again. It's all good. I'm happy, and we're fine.

Now, to find him a job...Breathe in, breathe out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Early Hours

My mom's always been a morning person, and Kevin's always been a morning person. I, however, have always slept until the last minute, hit snooze, and grumbled until I had a shower and coffee. Lately, though, I find it easier to get up in the mornings.

Last night, I was wiped out. I finally gave in and went to bed before 8:30! It was wonderful not to fight it. Wonderful, that is, until this morning. Yes, this morning I woke up at 3:00 and could tell that I was up for the day. *sigh* Anything earlier than 5 is unnecessary, and anything earlier than 4 is ludicrous.

I'm just sayin'.