Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Funny Title Here... I just can't think right now!

I know, I know…I am long overdue for a blog update. Life has not been overly hectic, but lately other things just keep getting placed higher on the priority list. Since I have no major developments, I guess the easiest way to go about this is to split it into sections. Short stories, if you will. (Side note: I hate when people use the phrase ‘if you will’).

Kellie, Mica, and I had our annual girl’s trip to New York City a couple of weeks ago. (Another Side note: I can’t even type that without saying it in my best ‘Neeeww Yooork Ciiity’ Pace-Picante-Sauce-Commercial-Voice).
We had a lot of fun, but Mica summed it up best in her blog. If you aren’t a subscriber to Mica’s blog, I apologize…but know this, although her account of the trip had me in tears it was so funny, it was probably not all that funny to anyone other than the three of us. Since I specialize in executive summaries I will provide just that on our trip to NYC –
· Girl talk in a not so private plane with very interested listeners
· Shopping
· Cupcakes
· ‘Event’ planning
· Sushi
· Unplanned visit to Brooklyn
· Negotiating purses we didn’t want to buy
· Banana pudding
· Comedy club that would more appropriately be described as just a club
· Pizza
· Myspace
· Central park ‘jogging’
· Did I mention overeating?

Work is work…keeping me plenty busy, and giving me lots of opportunities…to screw up. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new position and the status it carries with it. Technically, my new role (as stated in my goals) is to “Provide the Committee with accurate/actionable analysis that allows them to make decisions and allocate resources. “ While I do do all of that, most of it happens behind the scenes. At the official meeting, my role is more of a glorified door opener and door closer. Sure, I am opening the door to the highest ranking eight people in the company….but that also means they have the authority to fire me on the spot. This month however, is a little different. I have a new so-called “opportunity”….to screw up. I have been asked to do a presentation to the entire financial council. It is very intimidating because I have never claimed to be a great public speaker. Add to that the fact that there are cameras, microphones and my audience is people who have been working at the company for longer than I have been alive. I have to remind myself that it is only 15 minutes, I am the expert on the subject, and most of them probably won’t be listening anyway. Until then, I get ill thinking about it.

Speaking of presentations, today there was a company-wide ‘town hall meeting’ to discuss better benefits. Many of you are aware that the last time we had one of these meetings, the benefits included free ice, air conditioning on weekends, and permission to decorate our cubicle. So when I heard there was going to be another “better benefits” meeting today, I was curious as to what more they could possibly add. To my shock, I was pleasantly surprised. Our medical premiums will be cheaper next year. Our 3% savings match is now guaranteed. Yada, Yada, Yada…all great. The funny part of this story is the Q&A section. I was watching the live broadcast on a big screen TV in a conference room, similar to employees across the nation. After the presentation, as I was getting up to leave, I heard them call out a 1-800 number to call if you have questions. Right then and there, I knew to sit myself right back down. When 150,000 employees are given the opportunity to ask questions anonymously, it is bound to get interesting. I wasn’t disappointed. Keep in mind, the overall presentation was about health plans, savings plans, and pension plans.
John from Nebraska asked, ”Can we spend the healthcare money on a gym membership?”
The speaker calmly answered without a hint of sarcasm, “Uh…No….it is for health related expenditures.”

Trish from the Home Office asked, “Can you change that use it or lose it rule that applies to the healthcare flexible spending account?”
Again the patient speaker answered “Uh…No….write your congressman…that is a federal law, not company policy.”

Granted, there were probably 2 or 3 legitimate questions, and another 1-2 that rephrased the above questions or equally silly questions. But the best question made me realize why I should never be in a position to present and field questions from an audience of 150,000. I am way too sarcastic and there is no way I could have kept it together when
Rich from “the country” called in and asked, “Is there anything you could do about the amount of doctors in my area? Uhhh…I live in the country and I have to drive all the way into town to see a doctor, because there is not one near me.”
That is when, had I been the speaker, I would have given my best you’re-an-idiot-grin at the screen (if you know me at all, you know which one I am talking about) and sarcastically answered, “Oh yes, I am sorry I forgot to mention that in my PowerPoint presentation. Not only are we making the healthcare plan more cost effective, and guaranteeing the savings plan, we are also mandating that more doctors move into rural areas. After we improve the doctor to patient ratio in the ‘country’, we are going to ensure no one has to drive too far to get to a grocery store…then we are going to start working on world peace. “ That is probably when the microphone would have been cut off and I would be escorted out of the building.

As always, there are plenty of Hayden-bo-Bayden updates:
He is learning to rhyme.
He surprised us by singing the days of the week song last week.
He started a 10 week swim lesson and is acing it, by jumping off the side and going down the slide.
He eats sushi and alligator.
He is telling knock-knock jokes that make no sense at all but still crack me up.
He went to not one, but two birthday parties, while I was in NYC.
He can now officially hang with the big cousins, and proved it last weekend at Peyton’s dedication.
He now climbs up the outside of the stair case…..against our wishes.
He is loving the potty chart!
He can put on his flip flops by himself, and has refrained from throwing them away…like the previous pair.

But what I am most excited about…is that He is PRETENDING!! I would be lying if I said I didn’t still love pretending at the age of 26. This is coming from a girl who pretended a rolling dumpster was a mobile face painting carnival attraction and charged $1 to neighborhood kids to ride in it, as we painted “balloons” on their face with fabric paint. The same girl who used to spend an hour pretending to ring out one grocery store transaction. You know…you have to ring the items up, run the check through, swipe the credit card, call to get approval, swipe the credit card again, hand write the receipt, etc. Much like the excruciating line at Wal-Mart today. Anyway, I am getting off track. The point is, I love pretending, and I am great at it, and didn’t stop being great at it the moment I hit puberty. So when Hayden started pretending to be a teacher the other day, I was beyond elated. He started saying phrases like, “Please raise your hand when I call your name” and “I need my friends to line up against the wall.”

However, more often than not, we are actually pretending to be Bob the Builder and Team. Of course, Hayden is Bob. I am Wendy. The excersaucer is Lofty. Davis is Pilchard the Cat, and Jeff is Mr. Bentley. Jeff likes to add another lesson to the mix and reminds Hayden during these pretend sessions that college is important by saying phrases like, “Hi Bob! I’m Mr. Bentley, the guy that went to college and now has enough money to pay you to do my work.” Probably a bit over Hayden’s head, but he is instilling the fundamentals.

SECOND BORN (aka Pilchard, the cat)
While I was in NYC, Davis, the little stinker, decided to start crawling. The first three days in his life that I am not around and he goes and has a milestone event. It isn’t so much a crawl-on-his-knees type of crawl as much as it is an army-crawl. The point is he can get wherever he wants to go in a matter of seconds. It was fun to come home and see him all over the place. He loves his new found mobility. His favorite places to crawl are the kitchen floor under the table and like his big brother at that age, he thinks it is hilarious to crawl to the dog water bowl and spill it everywhere.

The other thing I don’t understand about Davis is how two kids with the same gene pool can be so different. As I have said before, Hayden is super-serious and has been since day 1. Davis, on the other hand, is smiling 99% of the time. Unfortunately, the 1% of the time when he is not happens to be anytime a camera is within 10 feet. I had such great intentions. I took the boys to the photography studio to get Spring pictures made. Davis wasn’t in the mood. I dressed them up again and tried to have an impromptu photo session in the front yard with a watermelon. Davis wasn’t in the mood.

HUSBAND (aka Mr. Bently, the boss)
Not much to say here, except that he is making my diet progress look really bad. He is running 3 miles every day and has a six pack again. He cooks chicken and vegetables every night. Yuck! He graciously watched the boys while I enjoyed my girl’s trip. He is on Day 0 of close so he might have to work late tonight, but can’t answer why there is a “Day 0” and why Day 0 work can’t be moved to Day 1. And he is still as sweet as ever.

You are probably wondering how Halloween made it on to the update list in May. I am as well. Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but for some reason Hayden has not stopped talking about it since last October. It is funny that his most vivid memories are not the zoo, or Christmas morning and the excitement of Santa leaving him a train table, or the aquarium, or any of the other fun, exciting things that he has done in the past year. No, his two most memorable moments are the Plano Hot Air Balloon Festival and Halloween. Nine times out of ten, when he meets someone new, he will either ask them if they have a “hot balloon” or tell them he is going to dress up like Batman for Halloween and go trick-or-treating. I can’t figure out the balloon thing, but I figure the mystique of getting candy from every house on the street is what has him hooked on Halloween. Anyway, the fact that we talk about these two things so often is why I was so shocked when he recently announced he no longer wanted to be Batman for Halloween. Davis could be Batman. He now wanted to be…. a black fireman. A black fireman? That might be offensive to some at the annual Halloween parade at my work. I’ve decided not to fret about it until Mid-October. I figure between now and then, it will probably change another 5 times….or at least I am hoping it will.

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