Monthly Archives: January 2009

And now for more depressing news

Is it just me or has January gone on forever? Seriously, my carefree trip to New York feels like it happened sometime last year. Christmas feels like it was 4 months ago, not 4 weeks.

It’s been a rough month. The most obvious reason is the weather. Detroit and much of the midwest has been covered in snow and gray skies. Nothing new, but still, this is why January is my least favorite month.

The weather’s bad enough, but then there’s all the death.

The last funeral I went to was in 2006. This month, I’ve been to two. Two of my coworkers lost their mothers; my best friend lost her future mother-in-law.

Death is hard to hear about. But then there’s all the layoffs.

My organization is making cuts, just like every other organization in Detroit and like most across the nation. We don’t know when, but we know it’s soon. I couldn’t tell you what my chances are of staying, because I honestly don’t know. I know I was just promoted, why would you layoff someone you just promoted? I know my work is valuable. But I also know everyone is expendable.

Ironically, I just finished reading Then We Came to the End, a novel about, well, layoffs. When I finished reading it, I felt oddly at peace. No one’s life ended. And everyone I know who has left my organization has also gone on to better things. It’s come after hard times, but they’re all happier now than they were when I worked with them.

I know if something happens to my job, I’ll be OK financially for awhile. If I had to, I could move home. I am worried about health insurance, because I need it and I only have myself to rely on for it. But what worries me more is the prospect of finding a new job. There just aren’t any around here. I think that if my job goes away, I will have to look out of state. DD has told me he would follow me; but telling and doing are two different things.

There’s a part of me that is ready to face a layoff. To maybe make some life changes and end up happier like my former coworkers and the fictional characters I just finished reading about.

But there’s a bigger part of me that really likes my job. For the first time in awhile. And the prospect of losing that job satisfaction after working so hard to get it frustrates me. Not to mention the paycheck, the health insurance, the day to day routine.

On some level, I’m in serious denial. I’m going through the motions and don’t always feel an impending sense of doom unless someone else brings it up. But with that denial comes fear because deep down, I know what’s possible and at the same time I don’t know what that means because I’ve never been through it before. 

I do know that I’m looking forward to June. In my mind June holds green grass. Blue skies. Longer, lazier days. And if I am able to stay at work, it means being past all of this. For this year at least.

Then again, if I don’t, June means hitting the pavement. Unemployment. Deep questions and a dwindling savings account.

Geez, I can’t even look forward to the future. Obviously, this post gets a big ole “glass half empty” tag.

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Filed under career, Detroit, glass half empty, Hmm

Customer Service done right

I know, I know, I’m slacking. Truthfully, I’m slacking in blog content. Life just isn’t that exciting. Also, a couple things have come up that I’ve wanted to blog about, but mentally, I’m just having a hard time getting excited about the blog. I’m into a new Netflix addiction (How did I not know how cool Studio 60 was before it got cut from NBC two years ago?), and reading good books. And there’s only so many hours in the day, you know.

But, then, something happened to bring me right out of the anti-blogging mood. I got free stuff!

Namely, this, from The Limited:

 dscn0177

The thing that makes this particularly thrilling is that I wasn’t expecting it. It was sent to me as an apology for my “difficulty using thelimited.com during the holiday season.” Great customer service, right? They screw up, they fix it by sending me a pretty free scarf.

Except, well, except I don’t recall having difficulty.

I DO recall being pissed as hell at them over Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a long story, but they were giving away free fashion scarves with a purchase. (Side note: Obviously, I’m kind of obsessed with scarves!) I tried several times to redeem said scarf by buying a pair of pants at several stores (no one had my size) and finally ordered them online. Unfortunately, the store where I placed the order had run out of fashion scarves, so I was outta luck. And mad. Because I wanted a hot pink fashion scarf for FREE dammit!

The next day, I tried one more store, found the pants AND the free scarf so I picked both up. Success! When the pants I ordered came in the mail, I easily returned them at a store. So, no real issue with the online order process. Yet, they are good corporate citizens, and don’t want any customer unhappy. So apparently even a simple return warrants yet another free scarf, this one a bit dressier than the former fashion scarf I got over Thanksgiving. And to top it off, I got a 20% off card to go buy more pretty things…though discount cards are kind of the norm for The Limited, so this is actually less exciting than my new scarf.

Which brings me to you fine people. I’m good with “outdoor” scarves that can be layered and such. But this? This is a dressy scarf. And dressy? Is where I kind of flail about in a very un-dressy manner.

So, help! How do I wear it and what do I wear it with?

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Filed under Uncategorized

Annnd…she’s BACK!

Finally. Back to the blog.

I may have gotten back from New York on Sunday, but I feel like I’ve barely been home, much less had the time to, like, do anything.

NYC was great — we did all the things you do when you’re a tourist. Carriage ride in Central Park (Yes, it was cold. Thank goodness DD is warm to cuddle up to!) Pilgrimage to the World Trade Center site, which was actually largely disappointing. A quick stop by the Stock Exchange.

And a long dawdle through Tiffany & Co. in which nothing was purchased but everything was ogled.

We also hit a Broadway play, but in one of our few non-tourist moments, we opted to avoid the musical scene. I’d seen all the musicals I wanted to since so many have made their way to Detroit recently. And DD? Well, he’d prefer a play without all the singing and dancing. So he asked his friend who is one of those trying-to-be-an-actor types and he gave us a stellar recommendation, August: Osage County. It’s got a Pulitzer and a Tony, and frankly, it’s hilarious. Basically a story of a disfunctional family coming together in the wake of the father’s disappearance, it’s easily relatable to anyone with parents. Or sisters. Or aunts. Or a family of any kind really.

Our other non-tourist activity for the weekend was a little jaunt to the West Village for dinner at Kingswood, the current employer of DD’s friend. Something has to supplement the acting income.

Anyway. This place had a mushroom risotto that I can still taste. No joke. I asked DD’s friend to bring some back the next time he visits the D, it was so damn good. The menu was pretty sparse, as I’m sure all trendy and hip New York hot spots are, so I chose the salmon. It was perfectly flaky and all around good. But not as good as that risotto. The chocolate tart came close, but I truly think the risotto stole the show.

One thing that struck me about the restaurant was the crowd. Lots of women, with only a few couples or mixed groups in attendance. And the women were decked out. A girl’s night in the D, at least for me, consists of jeans, a decent top, and maybe some heels. Maybe. If I’m feeling adventurous. Here? They donned their cutest tanks, frilliest blouses, and Seven jeans. Heels were the norm.

Hey, it’s New York. Here in Detroit, we’re much more low-maintenance. We don’t have cabs to take our heel-clad selves door-to-door. As much as I love the ability to wear tennis shoes to dinner and go without make-up on a daily basis, looking at all these put-together girls made me wish I put a little more effort into my appearance. That I could make my hair just as bouncy, my eyes just as bright, and my shoes just as high.

But then I’d have to learn how to walk properly, because heels? Make me trip.

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), Detroit, Excuse me while I trip on myself, foodie, glass half full, travel

Weekend Off

Just a quick little ditty to tell you not to expect any updates as I’m flying the friendly skies tomorrow night for a little weekend jaunt to the Big Apple. I figured you wouldn’t mind this all that much; after all, it means a few less posts in your reader!

I’ve never been to NYC, which means it probably would be an awesome thing to blog about, but alas, the swank hotel we’re staying at with DD’s Marriott points charges for Internet access. And right after ATM fees, my next pet peeve is paying for Internet. After all, aren’t we in a time where it should be free for all?! Really, I’m just a cheapskate and if I’m going to drop $50 on a cab ride from the airport, I’m going to have to make cuts in other areas. Besides, why in God’s name would I sit in  my hotel blogging about New York when I could actually leave the hotel and experience it?

Right? Right.

Before I go, here’s a smattering of what’s on my mind as I prepare to jet-set.

  • Will my carry-on fit? According to Northwest Airline specifications, it’s an inch too large. (Yes, I looked it up and used my measuring tape, what of it?) But I’m going to chance it. Such a daredevil I am. But you see, I rarely carry on, but what with all this checked baggage fee crap, I’m cramming it all in and hoping for the best. Are you seeing a common thread when it comes to fees?
  • I have to take a cab all by my lonesome tomorrow. I think I’ve taken a cab a total of 3 times in my life.  In Detroit, we don’t have cabs. At least not like New York has cabs. This both excites me and terrifies me all at the same time.
  • I really wasn’t thinking when I agreed to be away from work for 1.5 days the first week back from vacation. Batshit crazy, that idea was. (Side note: I have used the phrase “batshit crazy” no less than 5 times today. Phrase of the day? I think so.)
  • Next week marks 5 years I’ve lived with a kidney transplant. I think that warrants booking a facial. You know, if I had time to make a phone call.

Have a fab weekend, and if you’re really that sad that you won’t hear about my trip until after the fact, you can certainly check my Tweets. It’s a sure bet I’ll at least be updating that occasionally.

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Filed under career, DD (aka My Man), glass half full, list mania, transplant, travel

An interview with A Super Girl

This little meme has been going around the blogosphere of late, so I finally asked the lovely blogger to my north, Kyla Bea, to include me in the loop.

First, The Rules:

1. If you want to participate, leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (And your e-mail address, please.)
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Kyla Bea picked some excellent questions to ask, hopefully my answers are equally as excellent!

The Questions:

1. You’ve been planning a trip that was recently cancelled- if you could go on any vacation where would you go and for how long? Please assume that I have given you enough money so that you are independently wealthy, because I’m charming like that. Also please assume that anywhere you go will have the swim up bar you’ve been dreaming of.

First off, love this question! Yes, my swim-up pool bar dreams have temporarily been put on hold. However, if Kyla Bea were generous enough to give me a ton of money, I probably wouldn’t go for the swim up bar. Instead, I’d pick Europe. Because that’s way more expensive, and I’ve learned that if someone else is paying, it’s best to pick the most expensive thing on the menu! I’ve been to Europe once, to Italy, and I’m kind of getting the hankering to go back. Recently, I’ve been thinking Greece should be next and I’d just love it if someone could finance that little trip.

2. You’re an army brat. Where have you lived, and which place did you like the best?

As an Army brat, I lived in some pretty boring locales. Suburbs of Detroit, MI; Manhattan, KS (the Little Apple, it says so on the town water tower…); Ft. Leavenworth, KS (known for a rather menacing-looking federal prison with real bison in the prison yard); and Northern Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C. Outside of Ft. Leavenworth, my family lived in each of these cities twice over my dad’s 20+ years as an Army officer.

Of these places, I’d say I loved living outside of Detroit (the second time) the best. We lived on an air guard base and there were lots of kids my age in the neigborhood. On base there was also a community pool, a movie theater, and even a grocery store and dept. store. Second up would be Manhattan, KS. Super cute little town.

However, my favorite place to live overall was not part of my Army brat life. In college, I spent a semester in Washington D.C., living on Capitol Hill. While I was incredibly homesick, I really liked the lifestyle. The lack of a car, the mass transit, and the lively urban environment were right up my ally.

3. Do you have any comfort or indulgences built into your weekly routine? What are they, and how do they help you?

This is a toughy. I suppose I would have to say my space. Being an only child, I’m used to being alone and if I don’t get that alone time to sit around and do nothing, I get a little cranky. Which is why if I have to do something after work, I try to limit it to one thing (instead of a million errands) and try to stay home once I get home. Veg time is critical to my sanity.

 4. You’ve lived alone for a year – did you learn anything surprising from that time? Would you do it again?

Yes and Yes! I’ve learned a lot living alone…mainly that I can do it 🙂 It’s helped me be slightly more assertive, thanks to my awesomely useless landlord. It’s also helped me be slightly more independent.

Some negatives I’ve taken from it is the fear. When I get home late at night, I check all the closets to make sure there’s not some lurker. I also wake up at night to the tiniest sound. Paranoid, I know, but living alone has made me more aware/worried about potential break-ins or perils that might arise while I’m solo…for example, the time I fell down in the shower and nearly broke my arm.

With that said, I would definitely do it again. I think it’s important to have the experience of having to depend on yourself for entertainment, solace, and everyday necessities like cooking and cleaning. Also, total control of the remote is kind of awesome. And luckily, I have supportive parents that come to the rescue when things break, and friends and a boyfriend to come to the rescue when I need to be around people!

5.  If you could exist at another age for as long as you wanted, what age would you choose and why

Another toughy! Honestly, I’m pretty happy at the age I am now, so it might be nice to remain here a while longer. At 27, I have my youth, but also my independence. I’m self-sufficient, and lack the barriers (i.e. house, kids, pets) to being able to do what I want, like travel on a moment’s notice. Also, as far as health goes, it’d be nice to freeze where I’m at. I’ve had my transplanted kidney 5 years, and the average transplant lasts 15-20. It’d be nice if I never had to get to the far end of average, because I really am not looking forward to going through the whole transplant thing again.

Having not experienced ages above 27, it’s hard to say if I’d want to be older. I might like to make a bit more money, but isn’t that a complaint at any age? I do know I don’t want to be younger. Sure, I miss college, but I enjoy being able to support myself (with the occasional help from the fam!). All in all, I’m probably the happiest I’ve been in quite some time.

OK…who’s next?!

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Filed under About, glass half full, me! me!

Economic Impact

I’m not very happy with this economy right now.

For the moment I have a job. DD has a job. My loved ones have jobs.

I, however, do not have the vacation I’d planned on.

And that’s due, in part, to this economy.

I’ve never been on Spring Break. Never checked in to an all-inclusive resort in some warm climate. Never paddled up to a swim-up pool bar.

It is one of my life’s dreams to stay somewhere with a swim-up pool bar. It’s the simple things in life, you know.

With DD and I safely ensconced in stable-relationship-land, I’ve been planting the seeds for a winter Carribbean getaway for over a year. Last winter it just wasn’t feasible. This winter, it was. So for the past few months, we’ve been talking about it. I’ve been checking my Travelzoo weekly e-mails for deals. We’d decided on a destination — the Dominican Republic — and were doing research and moving forward. 

Or so I thought.

During the holidays, DD started getting a little gun shy about pulling the trigger on this thing. One of his main excuses was this economy. While we both have relatively stable jobs, he didn’t think it looked good to be taking a “lavish” vacation right now. After all, we live in Detroit and our jobs, while not in the auto industry, are still directly affected by it. And we all know how that’s going these days. It’s best to cut back. Save our money. Who knows where we’ll be in 6 months or a year. There are other expenses fighting for our paychecks, but the overall bleakness is what really had him questioning it.

He’s right.

Except…well…except I wanted the swim-up pool bar.

After further discussion, he reconsidered and agreed that we should go, that we weren’t talking about all that much money anyway (less than $1,000 each to be specific), and that we should book it.

But in the process of being gun shy, he made me gun shy. The trip has become such a point of debate and discussion that it doesn’t feel fun anymore. We couldn’t decide on a resort, prices were going up instead of down, and I was feeling the pressure of saving vs. splurging. It was also about this time my CEO was quoted in the Wall Street Journal, in yet another depressing article about Detroit going down the tubes. In it, he projected that our revenue is down 50 percent. My job may not be as “relatively stable” as I thought.

So this weekend, we finally called the getaway off.

Instead, we booked a much cheaper jaunt to NYC next weekend since he’ll already be there for a conference, thus covering his airfare, and we can use his Marriott points to stay in a nice hotel. I’ve never been and it should be fun. It’ll be cold as hell, which completely defeats my whole winter getaway plan, but what can ya do? We’re also talking about taking a couple days and going to Niagara Falls for our anniversary in June.

Smaller trips, and a more practical route when neither of us know if we’ll be employed come June.

I won’t say I’m not disappointed; especially since other friends and relatives are jetting off for warmer temperatures in the coming months. But it just didn’t feel like the right time for us or our budgets.

Maybe there’s a swim-up pool bar waiting for us in 2010.

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), decisions, travel

Resolved…

We’re all talking about the improvements we want to make in our lives. Here’s a few of mine…

  • Make a small step into greener living by using reusable grocery bags. I have decided this can’t be nearly as hard as I make it out to be. So, on my first day of vacation, I went grocery shopping and bought the bags. I’ve used them once since and am absolutely in love. This resolution should be cake.
  • Take more time to read instead of watching TV. I’ve been doing a good job of this the past couple weeks, we’ll see if I can keep it up once that thing called work starts up again.
  • Take more time to cook. I do a decent job of this, but I always plan to cook more than I actually do. I want to try to set aside specific days and then force myself to make something different instead of just defaulting to an old stand-by. It’s hard what with being exhausted after work, but oh well. To help this one along, my mom bought me a new blender AND a new cute apron to movtivate my time stove-side.

What are your resolutions?

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Filed under glass half full, list mania, Uncategorized