Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mexico hiatus before returning to work world

Well, kids, I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is that I'm going to Mexico tomorrow through Sunday.

The bad news is that I start work Monday. (Okay, that's not bad - it's good. I got a job. Yay! Just boo for returning to the work world after a lovely break since March.)

Yep, I'll be on hiatus for a few days while me and the Ya-Yas go on another trip. This time we're going to Guadalajara, Mexico. BTW - don't worry about Hurricane Dolly (and you're probably not - just me, the weather nerd); Guadalajara is on the Pacific coast. So the hurricane won't affect us.

Guadalajara is home to Ya-Ya Amy, whose husband works there temporarily. They've been there since Dec. 2006 and his job is finished this December, so we thought we should see them before they go. In addition to Guadalajara being home to Amy, it's also home of mariachi bands and tequila manufacturing (see the plant on the right). We'll also do some good shopping at the town market. I'm hoping to find some great silver/pottery/etc. for the house. Most of all, I'm looking forward to seeing the Ya-Yas, getting refueled/inspired by them (as I always do), and seeing Amy fluently speak Spanish with the locals.

But come Monday....not only I am I back in the states, but I head back to work. Yes, I FINALLY got the job I posted about. The proverbial chicks hatched. While I've enjoyed not working since March (oh, I have), I seriously am looking forward to working again, for several reasons:
  • I need more creative outlets. I am bored. Yet somehow, still have not "found the time" to hang the art in our house.
  • I'm afraid if any more time passes, I'll get rusty at Photoshop/InDesign, etc.
  • A paycheck.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Getting another perspective of Dallas. So far, my perspective has been around the house & shopping (too much shopping) in the suburbs. Need a good grasp on the City of Dallas, itself. And professionals.
  • Not wasting away the day in scrub pants or t-shirts. Wearing my pretty clothes again. So far, they have only come out at church or dinners out.
  • The job itself. I really approached this job-hunting-round prayerfully (a first, I admit). It wasn't my prayer that I find a job...but that I find the place where I can serve God the best. And I have a really good feeling about the people & the organization. They're big on community outreach, so I thought that was a great sign about their philosophy.
  • Did I mention a paycheck?
  • Oh, and having my own health care benefits that aren't on Mustang's plan. Getting good benefits almost rivals getting a paycheck again.
So I probably won't blog again until late next week, but stay tuned...I have entries planned about my favorite Dallas radio station, post pics of my wreck in May (no, I hadn't forgotten), feeling old at the movies, a mystery photo game to play with you, interesting alcohol laws in Dallas, and rejoining Weight Watchers yet again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"I'm melting! I'm melting!"

Perhaps the Wicked Witch of the West actually lived in Dallas.
Texas is considered part of the West, right?

Weather forecast this week:

Today: 102
Tomorrow: 103
Wednesday: 101
Thursday: 99
Friday: 99
Saturday: 101
Sunday: 101

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dishwasher Watch: Day 39

So most everything in our move to Dallas has been very smooth - except one small detail. Our dishwasher doesn't work.

Well, it works - it just also forms a lake on our kitchen floor during its cycle.

When we first moved in, we were good little tenants and meticulously checked every detail of the house (former renters, remember that checklist where you indicate previous damage so you don't get charged for it later?). We ran the dishwasher. Thankfully, Mustang was smart enough to suggest letting it run a full cycle. We came back 15 minutes later to Lake Kitchen.

So...here's where it gets complicated. We're renting, right? Well, our landlord (the homeowner) actually uses a property management company. So we never deal directly with our landlord - just the property manager. Thankfully, the PM is REALLY nice, and we could tell he was very professional. So if something goes wrong, we call PM - he calls the landlord - and then the ball gets rolling.

But wait - there's more! Landlord also has a home warranty. This kind of works like health insurance for your home. So anytime there's a problem in the house (i.e. dishwasher), she pays a flat "copay" for the repairs - regardless of the repair cost. So that's one other step. After PM consults LL, then they consult the home warranty company. And then home warranty company contacts a repair dude.

So you can imagine this has been a long process. We got three visits from repairmen, trying something new each time. On the last visit, the repairman claimed "he had done all he can do" and called the dishwasher's time of death. Which yay, means we probably get a new dishwasher - but just have to keep waiting.

Finally, new dishwasher arrives this morning from Sears. But the Sears guys are puzzled by how the old dishwasher is connected - they say it's something they've never seen before. And they don't want to touch it. They recommend we get a plumber. So I've called the PM and this process continues...

Sorry, mother earth, we've been using a lot of disposable plates, cups & plasticware during this time. In a trade-off, I'm considering buying those permanent grocery sacks to reuse everytime I go to the grocery store.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Job hunting is not fun

So, I've been job hunting a while now. I applied for my first job on May 30, so you do the math. I've applied in higher ed, of course (the field I've been in a while), school systems, even health care stuff and non-profit.

Out of 8 applications:
2 denials,
2 interviews,
and the rest are in a big black hole.

Why is job hunting so friggin' hard? Aside from shopping for a new swimsuit, nothing else makes you feel so crappy about yourself.

"What's wrong with me? Is it my cover letter? My resume? Do I come across too confident? Too weak?"

Sigh.

And the resume thing is always interesting....1 or 2 pages? Should I give past job descriptions, or give examples of projects at those jobs?

But I think the hardest part of job hunting is: waiting for a job you really want VS. the panic of being unemployed. Basically, not settling for a job just because the economy is crappy and you need money STAT.

The first example of this is applying to jobs that don't even say what the company/organization is....they just have some vague "top Dallas company seeks PR professional" listing on a website, and you're supposed to email your resume to some stranger at crazyman@crazy.org. I'll admit, I've applied to those in the past. This time around, not anymore. Because applying to those listings is how, as I've learned, one winds up in a "group interview" for a pyramid scheme to sell bottled water.

The other example of the job quandary is when you're actually blessed enough to get an interview...and while you're in the interview, hearing that little voice in your head that says "hmmm," proverbial red flags, etc, etc. This dilemma, I think, is even tougher, because you're so close to getting a paycheck, why back out? Uh, back out, sister, because you should trust that little voice.

The latter is something I recently experienced. I had a job interview a few weeks ago that just didn't settle right with me. I thought about it over the 4th of July, and prayed about it, and finally took the courage to email them and withdraw my name. It took guts. But I'm glad I did it. Thankfully, I have a spouse who can pay bills while I'm turning down jobs - and supported my decision.

Thankfully, I *think* I have a lead. On the same day as my odd interview, I also had a great one. I felt comfortable, laughed, met nice people, noticed my future office would have....A DOOR! (gasp!) They've already called my references and are now doing my background check. Anyway, they've called me a couple of times to tell me they're still doing the paperwork and to check that I "haven't been lured away by someone else." Yay.

So I'm pretty sure I'll get a job soon, but don't wanna count my chicks until they hatch. But please hatch soon, little chicks. Hatch soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One more thing

I'm not always a fan of the Lolcats (I think it's the grammar Nazi in me disliking the intentional misspelling), but this one is too cute.



Maybe I'm also partial because I like Hot Pockets.

An out-of-state (not out-of-body) experience

Have you ever slept at a hotel or a friend's house, and when you wake up in the morning, you've forgotten where you are?

I had a similar feeling yesterday. Except I had the feeling as I was leaving Walgreen's.

Mustang LOVES Walgreen's. I tell him we should get some stock in it. When we were first dating, I noticed everything in his house was from there - toilet paper, light bulbs, snacks, everything. And he's a big believer in generics, so everything was even the Walgreen's brand.

So we run out of Advil, and of course, he suggests I run up to Walgreen's. And while there, could I also pick up some contact solution, a birthday card, V8, some wasp spray, and an ankle brace?

This is part of the allure of Walgreen's: despite being relatively small, they carry an odd variety. Sometimes the variety is VERY odd, i.e. homemade pralines, singing alarm clocks, and light-up dice all at the check-out counter.

Anyway, the Walgreen's here is built identically to the one by our OKC house. Faces the same direction to the intersection, same age, the aisles are laid out the same, etc. I spent about 30 minutes in there and got acclimated.

The weird feeling was, walking out, I completely expected to see the intersection of 122nd and May - see the bank with the JumboTron sign, the Blockbuster, the ritzy shopping center with Jamba Juice and J.J. Kelly.

Instead, I faced the intersection of NW Highway and Jupiter - and I see a Burger King, a Lowe's, and a Popeye's chicken. And a whole bunch of people waiting at the bus stop.

It was like I forgot I was in Dallas while I was inside Walgreen's and then was suddenly transported back when I exited the doors. It was a very strange feeling. I realize I felt the same way leaving Target a few days ago.

Just an observation that I don't know my way around the city yet and I find comfort in the familiarity of Target and Walgreen's.

Gratitude for the simple things.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The PR nerd in me eats this stuff up...

Wal-Mart changed its logo on July 1. Article on MSN. What does Wal-Mart's new logo mean?

Which brings me to a thought...if I ever go to grad school (sheah, right)...AND get a master's degree in PR...I would totally do a thesis on Target's evolution-of-cool. Remember 1980s Target? On the same level as Wal-Mart. Now they're worlds apart. So interesting to me.

Personally, I think a lot of Target's success was from adopting a mascot, Bullseye, the "Target DOOOOG!" as commercials would announce him at the end.

I mean, look, he's workin' the red carpet.










They've made him into a cute & cuddly toy.










Yep, Wal-Mart has no hope until a mascot is created. Hmm....What would that mascot look like?

Monday, July 07, 2008

There was a young lady with too many shoes...

I've been meaning to post this for a while. A lot of blogging ideas are floating around in my head, but they've been postponed until much of the house was settled. Now it is. =)

Anyway, as we were unpacking at our new house in Dallas, for the first time, I had all of my shoes together. None in storage; none at my parent's house. The gang was finally all together. And as I put them into our master closet (which has wonderful little cubby holes for shoes), I realized that, when on display, there sure a lot of them. So I decided to count how many I own...

I own 51 pairs of shoes!

Okay, okay, let me post a disclaimer. This count includes:
  • cheap foam flip-flops,
  • tennis shoes,
  • boots (not cowboy, of course, but winter ones),
  • as well as standard shoes of the strappy, loafer, flat or pump variety.
So laughing hysterically, I told Mustang the shoe count.

Mustang did not find it so funny.

To soften the blow, I chose to divide & conquer. The shoes are now stored as follows:
  • Current season shoes (including cheap flip-flops) are in the master closet.
  • Special occasion shoes (ones with rhinestones, or ones that really hurt or have ├╝ber-high heels but look so good) are under the bed.
  • Boots and out-of-season shoes are in the guest closet.
I also donated two pairs to Salvation Army. Of course, when we packed in OKC, I donated a few pairs there to Salvation Army. So, pre-packing, the shoe-count was actually higher.

I'd also like to say, although I have a lot of shoes, in my crazy rationale, it's not that bad because just a few are expensive. Most are from Target or DSW (a.k.a. the mothership).

Some are from Nine West. And Naturalizer. And Dillard's...But none are of the Carrie Bradshaw variety.

Finally, I vowed to Mustang not to buy another pair of shoes for six months.