November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving recap

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, if you celebrate.  Ours, thankfully, was uneventful; particularly after last year.

This was the most unorthodox Thanksgiving for us though.  For the first time EVER, it was just the two of us.  Man-Child spent the holiday with his girlfriend's family and our friends two doors down both had to work.  So Thanksgiving dinner was salmon and asparagus and it was lovely.  We had agreed to meet up with the friends two doors down for dessert.  I made an apple crisp which, according to my friend, received HIGH accolades from her teenage son who said, "This is really good, Ms. Gigi." in monotone.  According to her, he never comments positively on food or anything else, really. 

Once again, I am skipping the stores for any Christmas shopping; relying instead on online shopping.  So the majority of the day yesterday was spent scouring the internet for deals and was finally able to make some sort of headway on my list.

Usually, my Christmas gift buying is pretty much a free for all but this year, I downloaded Gift List (I believe it works for Apple or Android).  So far I am loving it.  You can password protect it, if you'd like.  I decided against that because, dear God, do you know just HOW much of my brain is dedicated to remembering passwords?  At this point, I'd say 90%.  I also like that I can track just how much I am spending.

I *think* you can have multiple lists (Christmas 2021, Birthday 2022, etc.) but I haven't figured that out yet as I am currently focused on Christmas 2021.

And speaking of gift buying - if you have someone on your list who would appreciate an item from Dick's Sporting Goods, they are ON it with the shipping.  I ordered a certain something for a certain someone sometime Wednesday afternoon and it showed up on my doorstep today!  I figured it would at least be a week before it would arrive.

Also, can I take a moment to express my absolute adoration of curbside delivery?  And the fact that I think it should always be an option, even after this never-ending pandemic is over.  

I decided to decorate the porch yesterday since it was positively a balmy high 50's kind of day.  And, of course, the new-ish, pre-lit garland refused to light.  *sigh*  So, I hopped online and ordered two new strands of pre-lit garden from Michael's and was able to drive up and have it deposited into the trunk of my car (which I was floored when I drove down the, usually heavily trafficked, street to encounter NO real traffic...on Black Friday.  The lots were full - but not as full as they usually are.  It was so astonishing that it bears mentioning.)  

Of course, today and tomorrow are colder (and windy) but the forecast for Sunday looks promising, so I will take advantage then to decorate the porch with garland that, hopefully, will light.

The Husband is not aware yet but the tree is going up tomorrow.  I'm ready for a little Christmas cheer.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Score any deals today (or yesterday - which, thankfully, it seems most stores were actually closed yesterday)?  Is your tree already up?  Spill all the details in the comments below.

Also, I would like to take a moment to let you know how very grateful I am that you have found your way to this corner of the internet and I to yours. xo

November 14, 2021

An announcement and the reason I'm fretting today

The Husband turned in his notice to retire December 10th.  This is huge and exciting! 

It's also a little unsettling - as this is a BIG change in our lives.  One of my concerns is having him here roaming around while I work.

I got a small taste of how it may play out this week - as he took another vacation (he's trying to use up his vacation since he has somehow got the idea that he won't be paid for those days that he doesn't use.  Dear reader, he will be paid for unused time.) this week.


Thank you all for your kind responses to my last post.  I did indeed end up working the majority of the week.  Last Friday, I sent my boss (you know, the one who actually signs off on my paycheck and not the others that I was "volunteered" for) an email that basically said, "Hey, I ended up working for the majority of the week so I'm only going to count two days as vacation, if okay."  He was more than okay with it (as well he should since he was the one doing the "volunteering" on my behalf), so those days are back in rotation and still need to be taken.

I think the biggest frustration in this whole scenario isn't necessarily the work itself but the uncertainty of it all.  First of all, I was thrown in headfirst into already developing situations.  Big meetings that somehow needed to be scheduled globally.  There were a lot of emails back and forth about one particular meeting.  And every morning, I wake up already woefully behind as the emails that zipped across the world while I was sleeping; so I'd wake up and think "What the hell is going on here?"  Do you have any idea how stressful it is to wake up knowing you are already behind?  Before you even had your coffee?

Luckily, that meeting was finally nailed down on Friday - so that is behind me for the moment.  Except, for the fact the CEO expects me to be in the office for three days next week - I can only assume she thinks my presence will somehow magically make that meeting a successful one.  

I can't stress enough how much I am fretting over this issue - I truly do not want to be IN the office with these people.  Yes, there are precautions in place, masks are required, etc.  I keep telling myself it will be okay but honestly, there is a giant ball of anxiety sitting like a rock in my stomach at the mere thought of it.

For the past eighteen months, I have avoided spending extended periods of time surrounded by people.  Yes, I realize that it will not be a building chock full of employees but there will be more people than I feel comfortable being around.

I'll get through it somehow but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I do know that she has interviewed at least four potential possibilities - let's all cross our fingers that when I wake up tomorrow (already woefully behind again) I will find that someone has been offered the position, has accepted and is ready to start immediately.

October 26, 2021

Yet another "stay-cation"...*sigh*

 At this point, I can't even remember the last time I went on a "real" vacation.  2019, maybe?  Who knows?

At any rate, we are getting down to the wire, as far as using up vacation time before the end of the year.  And I have a LOT of time to use.  Considering The Husband decided to take this week off, I did too - simply to avoid having to shush him while I was working.

The result has been a mixed bag.  Yesterday, I worked a "bit" (maybe an hour?) but today?  Well, today I have to admit, I worked a good majority of the day.

Generally, when I take time off I can actually BE off for the majority of the time (truth be told, I usually check in just to keep from being overwhelmed when the vacation is over - but for the most part am on vacation).  But this time around is different.  About two weeks ago, I was "volunteered" to assist the new CFO (the jokes on them...haven't they heard of my dismal mathematical skills?) - to date this hasn't been an issue; he "seems" to be fairly low-key.  But he hasn't "officially" been on the team until yesterday. Time will tell.

Last week, I was again "volunteered" to assist the CEO, as that admin had put in her notice - and they foolishly told her to go ahead and go - rather than waiting until the two weeks notice was up and getting a replacement.

I actually really LIKE our CEO - but I knew from the moment I met her that she was a HIGH MAINTENANCE kind of person.  Which is one of the primary reasons I did not want that job when it first became available.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that between the HIGH MAINTENANCE aspect and the extensive travel that position entails that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.

And yet, here I am.

Dealing with the very same issues I didn't want to deal with - while on "vacation" no less.

As of this moment, I am juggling four attorneys, two paralegals, two other folks that I'm not really sure what their titles are - but somehow they ultimately report to my "official" boss, a CFO, a CEO and, apparently, somehow in the last year or so, this other random person who has close ties to the "Mother Ship" - so it is in my best interests to "be nice"; and the Go-To Person for various other people who can't seem to get the help they need from their own departments.

Honestly, I don't mind being helpful where and when I can - as most of these people are genuinely nice and very appreciative of any assistance I can offer; but let's be real - ELEVEN people to manage seems to be asking a bit much, doesn't it?

Here's hoping the rest of the week will have more of a "vacation" vibe...although I will be HERE (and NOT at a special destination), with the computer ever present AND contemplating whether or not I should vacuum the rug; etc.


October 15, 2021

It's a tragedy really...

We have this one particular back road that is/was amazing.

In fact, nine times out ten in the good old days (pre-COVID) I would choose to go that route to and from work, even if it did add a few minutes to my "commute."  (Let's be real, my "commute" is laughable to most commutes). 

It was a deliciously winding road through the countryside with a few houses sprinkled here and there.  To drive down that road in either Spring or Fall was an absolute delight.

Well, about a year or so ago, while out for a Sanity Drive - you know, a drive with no destination but gets me out of the house and, depending on the day, possibly saves The Husband's life - I noticed a sign near one of the wooded areas  that declared a new housing development was going to be built.  I was kind of sad but figured the developer would want to keep the charm, plus I know how strict our town is on new developments, so I figured it would be ok.

Over the next several months, I noticed they removed a few trees to make way for the roads for the development.  I assumed that, much like our neighborhood, they would leave a good majority of the trees and tuck the development mainly out of sight behind the trees.

Imagine my utter shock and dismay when I was driving down this once delightful road to discover they had clear cut the ENTIRE parcel!  Not one, single tree was left.  And then the houses went up.

Now, I KNOW that a new development takes time to flesh out the landscaping, etc. before it actually looks nice.  I know this first hand.

But y'all, while these houses aren't the worst thing I've ever witnessed but, holy cow - they weren't houses that I (were I the developer) would want to be on full display either.  I wondered how this developer got away with this monstrosity.  Then I discovered that this development is just outside the town limits in an unincorporated area - and that's how they got away with it.

All of that isn't even the worst part of this story.

So a couple of days ago, while on a Sanity Drive, I happened down that road once again.  Guess what they've done?

Planted puny, anemic looking trees at the entrance of the development.  All evenly spaced apart.  So, they ripped out all of those glorious, mature trees just to plant other trees - trees that will take years to grow and will never be as majestic as the trees they ripped out.

And to think, this developer had a chance to tuck those houses, unobtrusively and out of the way, preserving the charm of this once beautiful road.  Instead, they chose to let greed take over in order to utilize every square inch of that development..

I guess I'm going to have to find another delightful, unspoiled road for my Sanity Drives since they effectively ruined this one for me for years to come.

September 24, 2021

Even after all these years...we are still laughing at ourselves.

We decided, after much agonizing, to cancel our trip to see my mother-in-law.  We just can't risk it for her as much as for ourselves.  At any rate, my sister-in-law requested that we do a video.  Apparently, she is compiling videos from those of us that can't attend the surprise party for my MIL.  

We determined that we would do the video last Sunday.  And all I can say about that is that by the end we were howling with laughter at several of our attempts, some of which I thought you might enjoy.

*crossing my fingers that I got them in the right order...but since Blogger won't let me preview the video portion before hitting publish...who knows?*

I "thought" I knew was I doing...apparently not. In
my defense...we've never used the video/camera
function on this computer before

And who should drop the F-bomb?
The Husband, of course.  The sad part?  We
nailed that "video" - the one that I neglected to 
actually record.

He almost mentioned the surprise party...not realizing that this
video would be played during the party.

At this point, we had a serious case of the giggles.

After about a million takes, we finally got through it without laughing...somehow.

And after reviewing these videos, I realized that I am in a SERIOUS need of a haircut.  So much so, that I'm currently eyeballing the scissors...

September 5, 2021

The Husband's newest "toy"

 We shall start this post by saying he is an absolute hero.  Somehow, he found whatever was needed to fix the leaking pipe; thus a plumber was unnecessary!  YAY!

The Husband has been lusting after a smoker for years now.  YEARS!  And he finally the bit the bullet and actually bought the smoker of his dreams, with my full approval even though it was ridiculously expensive - but we had planned carefully so that it was mostly bought with cash.  God knows, I was tired of all the drooling over smokers.

The smoker arrived yesterday - he was over the moon.

What I neglected to take into account of his new acquisition?

He is like a little boy; SO excited that he just HAS to tell me all the details.  It must be angled just so! (why? I don't know and am careful not to ask)  Look!  It has this little (I don't know what) so you can regulate the temperature!  Look!  This acts like a hot plate!  Look at the welded seams!  Did you know this weighs 600 pounds?!...

And on and on and on....

It's kinda cute.

And a little annoying.

All at the same time.

Currently, he's smoking some chicken and his just informed me that with a smoker, sometimes it stalls out and you need to add more wood because it takes tending, don't you know?

But you know what?  He's excited with the smoker of his dreams and his little boy excitement is endearing...and a little annoying...but I imagine that will abate soon.

*The good thing about a smoker is that it shouldn't dry things out...because.....(the most recent statement as I wrap up this post).

September 2, 2021

Do I know how to kick off a vacation or what?!

 For those of you that are new around here - my company has a very generous holiday schedule, which gives us the Friday before Labor Day AND Labor Day Monday off - which means a four day weekend. Yay!  But since I've used very little vacation (thanks COVID!) I have taken the rest of next week off, as well.

So as my work day wound down, I found myself in the kitchen looking to start the dishwasher (coincidentally, I've read TWO posts this evening about dishwashers...what are the odds?) and reached under the sink to grab a dishwasher pod and noticed...something.

I told myself I'd worry about it later, that most likely one bottle or another was leaking.

Dear reader, it was NOT a random bottle of cleanser that was leaking.  No, instead it was one of the pipes that was leaking and that underneath all the random crap that resides under the sink was a moldy, watery mess.


I gathered up all the rags in the house and proceeded to mop up the mess, then bleached EVERYTHING.  Twice.  Put a bowl under the suspect pipe and waited for The Husband to come home, while I contemplated whether or not it would be easier to just move.

As you might imagine, The Husband was not pleased to walk into this scenario and is currently at Tractor Supply praying that he can find something to cap off the one drain until we can get a plumber out here.  If he is successful in this mission, or so he says, we can at least use the other half of the sink (I have my doubts).

In the meantime, copious amounts of bleach has been poured and pipe bits are soaking in it.

What is shocking to me, is how this hasn't come to our attention before now.  Am also now understanding why our allergies have been in overdrive lately.

Luckily, it seems, the leak hasn't been a gusher as none of the wood feels spongy or rotten.  Small blessings, I suppose.

But still...what a way to kick off a vacation.  Now I need to shower because...ICK! 

August 17, 2021

Gigi's Favorite Things: My all time (so far) favorite hair products edition

This is a feature that my friend, Nicole (HI NICOLE!), does that I have stolen co-opted.

If you've been around here for a while; then you know that thoughts about my hair is usually on the top ten list in my mind at all times.  Vanity?  No.  I just really want to get through this life without being mistaken for a yeti - hence, the preoccupation.

Currently, there are three "must have" products for me and my hair.  

In a desperate attempt to stop frizzy hair (particularly during the humid summer) a creamy leave-in conditioner is an absolute must for me.  I have found that most any creamy leave-in conditioner works for me (spray on leave-in just does not appeal to me in the slightest - actually ANY spray on product does not work for me as it feels like the majority of the spray ends up on the floor and not on my hair) but right now I am loving Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish.

I really like the way this stuff feels and it doesn't seem to weigh my hair down.  Which, honestly, after 19 months without a haircut IS a bigger issue than one would think.

Next up is one of my very favorites, Aquage Uplifting Foam.

It may be my imagination, but whenever I use this on the crown  it seems that I have more "lift" up there...otherwise the curls just weigh everything down.  

While the majority of these products are curl related - this one is not.  So, those of you with lovely, straight hair - if you try this, I'd love to hear if this works for you too!

Generally, my favorite all-around product (i.e., the one that is used for the majority of "styling" - if you consider putting product in wet hair, scrunching it all in, letting it air dry and then scrunching out the cast and fluff "styling" that is) is Aquage Curl Defining Creme.

Gosh, it looks like *I* took these pictures,
they are so blurry!

This stuff really does help define and set the curls.  Granted, it will give me the "wet" look of the 80s after it's dried...but I can then crunch it out and fluff to remedy that issue.  I can't say with all honestly that I have fabulous hair days every day when using this - but it comes pretty close and I can't think of another product that can make that claim.

In the second best column, I have Aquage Defining Gel.  

This also gives you that crunchy, wet look that is quickly remedied with crunching it out and fluffing after it fully dries.  I really like this product but can't pinpoint the exact "why" this comes in second best.  Generally, this is what I reach for if I am out of the creme product.

Shockingly (or maybe not), as a child my hair was not curly.  The older I get the curlier it seems to get...go figure.  

At any rate, not long after I decided to stop straightening it, I chanced upon a blog post about curly hair (how do you write a blog about that one, very SPECIFIC, topic??  That's the only thing this blog ever wrote about) where the very first sentence went something along the lines of about how it is a "LOT of work" to have curly hair.  

This made me laugh - as someone who used to spend forty-five minutes to an hour EVERY day straightening my hair, going with my natural hair pattern is much easier (five minutes, maybe?  Not counting the time it takes to air dry).  Then I read her routine.  Well, if I was going to go through all of that I might as well straighten it.  So, I think I'll stick with my three, tried and true products* and my "styling" routine.

* It goes without saying (except here I am saying it), that I will also try other products that sound promising (what can I say?  Marketing people LOVE people like me) but, so far, I keep returning to these.  So for now, these are my "go to" hair products.

Feel free to dish and tell me about your favorites in the comments - who knows, maybe one of you will point me to a new "go to" hair product.  ;-)

August 6, 2021

The weirdest and/or most random thing...

 Back in June, I clocked in 20 years with this (and the previous incarnation) of this company.  As one does when someone has been anywhere for any length of time, you begin to accumulate many random things.

And you quickly become known as a "Go To" person for random requests.  At one point, several years ago, there were three of us "Go To" people on our floor - we had you covered in the event of ANY request.  Sadly, (for me - they retired and are as happy as clams) it's all down to me now.

Need a safety pin?  Tweezers?  Nail clippers?  Eye glasses repair kit?  Small screwdriver?  Whatever it might be that you find yourself in need of at the office, I'm your person.

Earlier this week, my cube had to be re-configured.  My boss told me all about it and said that I would have to put things back in place as they had to move my printer, files, plants, etc.

Sure enough, when I went in late this afternoon (since we are on summer hours the building is empty on Friday afternoons; which gives me my Saturday mornings back for a bit) I had to put everything to rights.

As I was doing so, I noticed that my African Violet was a bit "wobbly."  Between you and me, science be damned, I'm fairly convinced that potting soil evaporates over time and needs to be replaced.*

And guess what I had, squirreled away in one of my drawers?

Potting soil.

No, I am not kidding.  

A long time ago, I had this same issue with another plant and I recalled thinking it would be easier to bring the soil in than to take the plant home, add the soil and bring it back.

So I added soil to the plant, of which I still have plenty for next time, and went about my business.

But on the drive home it occurred to me that if I were to be hit by a bus and someone had to clean out my work area, that would be the ONE item that would have them scratching their heads...and I had to laugh.

And that brings us to this - what is the weirdest and/or most random thing that you have squirreled away at work?  Or if you don't work in an office, what is the weirdest and/or most random thing you have squirreled away in the most unlikely place?

* I'm sure it just compacts over time; but I prefer to think of it as evaporating.

August 1, 2021

An interesting turn...

In an interesting turn of events, The Husband has exhibited GREAT interest in finishing the back porch.  Which is funny in that I thought it was done.

He has decided that we need to replace the ceiling fan.  Fair enough.  That fan IS ugly.  But then again, many ceiling fans are ugly but necessary here in the southern climes.

Then he decided that we need to remove the vinyl siding and put in (wait for it) shiplap, after Man-Child suggested it.  First of all, HOW do these two even know what shiplap is??  Turns out ManChild's girlfriend has him watching HGTV occasionally.  The Husband, on the other hand, doesn't watch HGTV so how he knows about it is a mystery.

I can only surmise that all this enthusiasm stems from wanting at least one project done - and this particular project is so close to being finished.  I can relate.  But honestly, as nice as it would be to have this project, that I didn't even know wasn't finished, done - I am thinking about the other things that need to be done first.  

We *might* be having guests(!) in October.  So, to my mind, the guest room needs to be finished and the bonus room (that I keep forgetting we have upstairs) needs to be started (as in nothing has been done at all yet) first.

So here's my question for you.  As a guest, I am guessing you would prefer to have an actual bed to sleep on rather than, say, a daybed?  The guest room has a double bed but what should I do upstairs?  Two twins?  Or a double/queen?  I'm kind of leaning toward twins so we have more beds.  But, guests are few and far between so maybe I should just have the one larger bed.  I'm overthinking this, I know.  Your thoughts will be most appreciated.

So we shall see how it all plays out.  If he wants to go forward with his new project, he can have at it.  Meanwhile, I am shopping for headboards and beds online.

So, those doors that I painted about a month ago?  Last night, I mentioned in passing that I don't hate the front door as much now since it was painted.  He looked at me, shocked.  Then walked to the front door, opened it and stared.  I was laughing and then asked, "Did you ever notice that the door from the garage was also painted?"  He then opened that door to take a peek.  

At this point, I am tempted to see what else I can change to see if he'll notice without it being pointed out.