September 22, 2016

Performance Reviews...

It has been brought to my attention that the deadline for our performance reviews is the 30th - so just about a week away.

This is the first performance review that I will have to endure in the last two years.  Due to the transition well over a year ago - reviews weren't done company-wide as we all had other, more pressing matters to attend to and now they are back AND re-vamped!

Oh fun.

Personally, I think performance reviews for someone in my position is a waste of time - particularly if I am doing my job capably.  Why do I think it's a waste of time? my entire career I have only had one - maybe two - managers that actually knew what I did on a day to day basis.  Oh sure, they have my job description to go by - but that doesn't actually speak to the nuts and bolts of my daily duties.  So if the managers don't really know what I'm doing or how I'm accomplishing it how then are they capable of reviewing my performance?  They aren't.

My new, big boss - who is a very nice person - particularly doesn't have a clue.  Mainly because it seems he has little interest in what is going on outside of his office.  Case in point - we have less than a week to get this exercise in torture behind us all and he has yet to say a word about it to anyone in the department.

My next complaint regarding this new and improved performance review process - apparently we, the employees, are supposed to be prepared for this meeting (the one that hasn't even been addressed in passing yet) by having worked out what our developmental goals and aspirations are for the coming year.


What does that even mean for someone in my position?

Considering my qualifications, I've pretty much peaked in my career.  I can aspire to be an attorney or an executive - but the odds of my getting there ever, much less in the coming year, are slim to none.  As for developmental goals?  What?

I just had a thought - maybe my aspiration could be to streamline the whole review process.  Knock it down to a basic formula...

Is the employee doing a good job?  Yes or no.
Is the employee generally pleasant and easy to get along with?  Yes or no.
Is the boss happy?  Yes or no.
Is the employee happy?  Yes or no.
If no is the answer for any of the above, please explain and then, only then, does the conversation go deeper.
Review over.

I freely admit I was cranky before I even found out about all this but honestly, this has just raised the level from mildly cranky to full on cranky-pants mode.

September 10, 2016

Finding memories and making room...Finally

We moved from our last house to the rental in December of 2013.  Man-Child did not unpack.  Though this irritated me to no end seeing all those boxes sitting in his room, I understood the why behind his not unpacking.  He was at school for the majority of the year and he knew we would be moving again eventually.

We moved into this house in February and those boxes have sat in his room since then, making me increasingly twitchy every time I walked in or by that room.  But here we are, approximately 2 1/2 years later, and he has FINALLY unpacked.  He and I spent the majority of the afternoon going through each and every box.

The memories he found were priceless, pictures of friends, mementos from various significant life events.  He even came across the Words of Wisdom that we had people fill out at his high school graduation party, he re-read each one with a smile on his face - and placed them in the "keep" pile.  He also found a bunch of stuff he now realized he'd outgrown.  To my surprise, he kept the things I would have suggested that he keep and tossed the same things I would have tossed - he is my child after all.

Before we started, he kept saying that he had nowhere to put all the stuff - by the end he realized that he didn't need all the storage that he thought he needed.  We hauled out five bags of trash (not trash, trash but stuff that really couldn't go to charity) and four bags headed to Goodwill.  He even admitted that it felt good to have a real room and not a room that felt like a storage room.

And me?  I'm feeling MUCH less twitchy.  It's a win-win.

Until I walked into my closet - where MC deposited a few boxes which contain household stuff.  Now I have to find a home for this stuff...and let's not even think about the garage and all the stuff in there.  THAT can wait until the weather turns.

September 9, 2016

I'm onto your tricks, Husband...

A couple of weeks ago I asked The Husband to tighten the toilet tank in the guest bath as it wobbled every time I cleaned it.

Surprisingly, instead of putting me off as is wont on some chores, he decided to take care of it immediately.

H e tightened the tank and then thought he should go ahead and tighten the bolts in the floor - why he thought they needed tightening, I'll never know.  The next thing I knew he was swearing like nobody's business.

Apparently, the bolts hook onto something and he couldn't get them re-connected - honestly, I don't know all the technical details, but it was bad.  To the point that the toilet was out of commission.  The next day he called his plumber who informed him that we would need a new toilet.

And here's where I begun to suspect this was all a ploy on The Husband's part...

See, ever since we've moved in The Husband has complained about our toilets - he thinks they are too low and doesn't like the fact that the seats are round and not oval.  I don't disagree with him but I don't harbor the hatred of them that he did.

Luckily, Man-Child hadn't come home for the semester yet and we didn't have any company as we were stuck with only one working toilet for over a week.  The next weekend we purchased a toilet and then discovered that it wouldn't fit in my (old) car. *sigh*

So we left it at customer service as we tried to scrounge up someone with a truck, van or trailer - which we eventually did.

Several days later, the plumber was able to come and install the new toilet.  The Husband is EXTREMELY happy with it.

Which is why I waiting to see what "happens" to the Master Bath toilet.

September 3, 2016

All you can do is laugh....

I walked into the bathroom yesterday and found this...

Generally, our clothes hamper resides in this corner.  It appears that I have trained my husband very well.  Too well, actually.  He knows that this is where his dirty clothes belong.

Whenever I take the hamper down the hall to do laundry this is what happens.

I can't complain, unlike other husbands I've read about who leave articles of clothing all over the house - socks in the living room, shoes abandoned in the middle of the hall, a shirt tossed over the bed - these are issues I don't have to deal with because I never find his clothes anywhere but in the hamper...unless, of course, the hamper isn't there.

August 27, 2016

I've been grounded...

This morning my car guy came by to listen to my car.  It has been making a rattling noise for a while now whenever I started it.  As the noise would generally go away after the car warmed up, I did as I usually do when it comes to my car - I ignored it.

Until The Husband heard it.  Then he harassed me until I asked our car guy to come take a look.  When I talked to him on the phone, he sighed.  And then told me that it is probably one of two things.  One of those things is bad and the other is a fairly easy fix.

I was hoping for the easy fix.  I'm sure you can guess where this is going.

He informed us the problem was bad.  He offered two solutions - replace the engine or get another car.  He seemed to leaning to the newer car option.  He then told me that I should only drive the car to work if I HAD to because I could end up stranded on the side of the road if and when the car decides to seize up.  We are thinking for the meantime, I may drive The Husband's car to work and he will drive mine since his job is about two miles up the road while mine is a good twenty minutes away.

Also, for those of you ready to chastise me about ignoring the noise - I've been told that it wouldn't have mattered if I'd called the first time I heard it.  It's only a matter of time before it dies.

The Husband and I are now weighing our options and will most likely go with getting a newer car - which I really wish we didn't have to do right now; we were hoping to have Man-Child out of college and The Husband's car paid off before we replaced mine - but what can you do?  Even if we lived in town, the public transportation here is such that it's practically non-existent.  We simply cannot live without two cars - it would be next to impossible.

I have to say that this poor little car has held up well - especially considering it had me as an owner for the past ten years.  It's closing in on 200,000 miles so I suppose it is time to let it go.

In the meantime, I'm sitting here stuck at the house with a means of escape - that I can't use - sitting in the driveway.  I absolutely loathe being without a car.  I mean sure, I don't have anywhere to go right now but if I wanted to, I can't.  At least not until The Husband comes home and I steal his car.

If it's not one thing, it's another - isn't that the way life goes?  But, in the grand scheme of things, it could be worse.

August 25, 2016

The Kitchen House - a book review

As you may know, we just returned from a vacation where Wi-Fi was virtually non-existent.  As such, Man-Child and I reverted to our go-to offline way to pass the time...reading.

I only packed two books but Man-Child - the over-achiever - packed at least five!

At any rate, one of the books I packed was The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  Now, I realize this book has been on the market for quite some time, but it has just hit my radar and I absolutely loved it!  And after visiting the author's website, I notice that she has recently released a new book, which is a follow up to The Kitchen House - so I will definitely be searching out that book soon!

The description on the back reads as so:

"At the turn of the nineteenth century on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, young, white Lavinia, who was orphaned on her passage from Ireland, arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate, black daughter.  Lavinia learns to cook, clean, serve food, and cherish the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master's opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son.  She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Kathleen Grissom's debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep buried secrets, and familial bonds.

*Minneapolis Star Tribune."

I started this book on the two hour drive from Connecticut back to Pennsylvania and was entranced.  As my MIL and The Husband napped on the couch, I finished it -all 365 pages of it.

The book goes back and forth between Lavinia and Belle's perspective, so at first I had to be fairly vigilant about which character was "speaking" but quickly I was able to switch gears between perspectives.

This book will be one that will live on my bookshelf forever and ever - right next to my copy of Gone With The Wind - and will be read over and over and ever more cherished with every reading.  If you have even a glimmer of interest in reading this book, I would suggest that you do so - you won't be sorry.

August 24, 2016

The Trip - a follow up post

If you read this blog then you know we just returned from a trip to see family.

First off, no - The Girlfriend did not join us.

Man-Child and I told The Husband in no uncertain terms that we NEEDED to arrive on Thursday.  Yes, I know the 9 hour drive can be taxing - but honestly, if you've driven six hours and are that close there is no point in stopping.  Just switch drivers and move on.

And as I predicted, the MIL was not happy that she wasn't clued in to as when our arrival would be - but ever resourceful, she determined that sauce and meatballs would work for dinner on Thursday or Friday at lunch.  There is nothing like Mom's meatballs!  YUM!

On Friday, we woke up and headed to Connecticut.  Yes, it was only a two hour drive - but after the nine hour drive the day before it felt like four hours.  When we arrived, no one was home - but we expected that and had the code to get into the house - where we immediately made ourselves at home.  Then left Mom to get comfortable (and sneak in a nap) to scout out where we could find supplies.

Considering none of us (other than Mom) had been here before, all we knew was the way we came in - so we headed out toward the main road that took us into their neighborhood.  Little did we know that we came in through the less desirable side of town.  We quickly figured that out once we found a grocery store.  Which kind of surprised us, since the neighborhood my BIL lives in is quite nice.

Turns out, if we had turned left instead of right out of his neighborhood we would have been in a COMPLETELY different area of town.  It isn't apparently clear just how thin the line between the two very different sides of town is - until you come from out of town and make a wrong turn.

When the BIL came home we went out to dinner and caught up.  Not long after we returned to the house, my SIL came home and the fun really commenced.  We laughed and chatted about their trip to "the shore" (apparently, this is what a beach trip is called "up North").  During the course of our conversation the game Cards Against Humanity was brought up as the game was played during their visit to "the shore."  The SIL declared it was an awful game.  It reminded me that I had brought a game to play - one that I thought my MIL would enjoy (once she got over the fact that electronics were involved) - Catch Phrase.

Our little family LOVES this game - but rarely get to play as there are three of us.  The odds of us having enough people here to make even teams is rare.  Even rarer?  This is a game that The Husband WILL play without having his arm twisted or threats uttered.

It was decided - we would play.  MIL was hesitant at first - because of the electronics issue - but once she got the hang of it and realized it wasn't electronic charades, she LOVED it.  It was a wonderful night.  We all laughed like we haven't laughed in years.  If you've never played Catch Phrase before, you need to play.  It is hilarious.  Throw in some adult beverages and it ratchets up to insane hilarity.

On Saturday, we all pitched in to get things ready as the BIL/SIL were expecting about twenty-six people to show up for the mini-reunion.  The BIL, The Husband and Man-Child all headed one way while the SIL and I headed another - again leaving the MIL to take care of a few things and rest as necessary.

The mini-reunion went off without a hitch - well, except for the fact that I'm an introvert and not one single person in this family is one - plus, they all know each other well and I have only met a couple of them once or twice YEARS ago.  But they were all kind and accepting and drew me out of my shell - with the help of some wine.

It's funny, I just viewed a picture of all of us that the BIL posted to Facebook - MC, me and one other in-law are oddly out of place in this clan as we are all obviously NOT Italian.  I told The Husband - you can EASILY see who the non-Italian in-laws are!  He found that hilarious.

After everyone left, we all prepared for bed and while doing so I promptly dropped and washed a contact down the sink (perhaps one glass of wine too many?  Maybe).  This became a problem only because I neglected to bring a "just in case" pair - which I had thought about while packing and promptly forgot because in all my years of contact wearing, I've never lost one!

On Sunday we headed back to Mom's - all exhausted and out of sorts from the night before.  The Husband and Mom both napped heavily that afternoon.  I almost drifted off several times but woke myself each time because I knew I needed a good night's sleep for the next day's trip home.

Poor MC (oh, okay - me too) suffered from the lack of Wi-Fi at Mom's - but we powered through it somehow.  We were offered a brief reprieve while at BIL's  but it wasn't enough to stave off the withdrawal symptoms.  Between the two of us we read quite a bit and played several rounds of Rummy.

Monday dawned with the realization that we needed to get back in the car and face another nine hour drive.  It wasn't pleasant.  And this is our problem with our trips up North...we can never seem to arrange them to have more than a day or so without spending extended periods of time in the car.  This time we seriously tried to plan it better - but with MC's ever changing schedule it just wasn't possible - maybe the next trip.

Plus, this time, I couldn't drive - even if The Husband was willing to give up the wheel - because I was stuck wearing my glasses - which are at least ten years old - and so far out of date that I don't feel comfortable driving with them.  I mean, I probably could have drove during the stretches where construction/traffic wasn't present (which was few and far between; particularly in PA - that state has a LOT of construction!) - but really, I shouldn't drive with them.  This was particularly apparent after we arrived home and I put in a new pair of contacts and realized just how tired my eyes were from straining to see just the closest objects on the road while sitting in the passenger seat.

So getting new glasses is now added to my ever growing To-Do List.

I have to say, I am one lucky gal.  My co-worker tells me stories about her in-laws; particularly her mother-in-law; that sends shivers up my spine.  My in-laws are pretty awesome; particularly my MIL.  She made it perfectly clear that we need to visit more often and I happen to agree.