My Kids Have Pen Tattoos And Are Jumping On The Bed…And I’m OK With That.

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

So, after reading Yoga Mom’s blog “Five Reasons Others Think I Am A Bad Mom” this morning, I realized a few things. About myself. About my girlies. About life. And I wanted to share them with you. (Keep in mind, I mediate all comments. If I don’t like ’em, I’ll delete ’em. It’s my life, my family, and my blog. LOL)

Not Supermom

Um...No thanks.

 I am not, nor do I ever WISH to be, Supermom.

I’m not the mom that strives to get every little thing done every single day because everything has to be spotless and perfect. If you come to my house, 9 days out of 10, you will find it a disaster area. Not filthy, but usually crumb-y (I have dark “wood” laminate floors, and everything causes visible crumbs)  and covered in toys and books and…well…whatever PT1 and PT2 have decided to get into that day. And maybe for the few days before that. My dishes may or may not be done. Depends on the day. And I don’t care. If I have something better, or more important for my family, to do than the housework, that’s what I’m going to do. If PT1 wants to have a tea party, you’re damn right I’m going to sit down and have a tea party.

No Schedules Here

If I couldn't remember to take a birth control pill every day, how am I going to remember all this stuff?!?

 I’m not that mom that has a strict schedule for every minute of the day and is constantly moving and if she everslowsdownthingswillfallapartandshewilljustDIE!!!!

I am a very relaxed, laid back parent who tries extremely hard NOT to schedule anything. If my kids want to sleep until 10, they can sleep until 10. If they want to stay up until 11 or midnight, they can stay up, as long as they’re not pitching a fit. There’s no set time for breakfast or lunch or dinner. When we’re hungry, we eat. Naptime is not federally mandated. We do try to have a period of quiet time during the day, and usually PT2 takes a nap ALL BY HERSELF, with NO FIGHTING. If I want to sit and veg out on the couch for an hour or five, I do. I interact with my kids. I give them 1 on 1 time. (More often than not, it’s 2 on 1 time, but still…) I don’t want to be the mom that my kids don’t think they can “interrupt” because “mommy’s always busy.” If I have something important that I’m doing, then yes. Mommy is busy, go see Daddy. But for all intents and purposes, mommy is available. I don’t want them to have a life so structured that they never have any time to just BE.

My children do NOT look like this...always...

He might be dirty, but he's HAPPY!

 Some days the kids have a shower. Some days they don’t.

Some days they’re covered in “pen tattoos”. Some days they’re wearing nothing but a diaper (or panties). (Actually, that’s most days.)   Fighting over getting them clean and clothed is not a battle I need to pick with them. Since we don’t have a bathtub (ugh!!), and they HATE the shower, I refuse to get in a knock down drag out brawl over it on a daily basis.  They’re never filthy, they always have clean clothes (even if they don’t feel like wearing them), and my kiddos actually ASK ME to brush their teeth instead of complaining that I’m MAKING them. I don’t feel like this is a “mom fail”. We’re one of the only countries in the world where people bathe daily, and they’re still small enough that they don’t have BO yet. When they get older, we’ll discuss the need to be socially acceptable and un-smelly. Right now, it’s just not a big deal.

YUM!

Yes, I feed this to my children.
But they also eat "REAL" food...

 My kids eat junk food.

Not exclusively, but we’re not health nuts around here. If they want a few chips with lunch or for a snack, I let them have chips. If they want a couple drinks of soda, they get a couple drinks of soda. If they want M&Ms, they get some M&Ms. And you know what? It’s not killing them. They’ve never once been at risk of being overweight, even though it runs in our family. And if they ask for snacks, it’s rarely EVER junk! Even with the junk food around, if they have their way, they’ll eat cheese or yogurt over anything else. And to drink? I have never ONCE been asked for soda unless another adult around is drinking one. Their drinks of choice? MILK, APPLE JUICE, and WATER.

One of the house favorites.

Little Einsteins, Dora the Explorer, Doc McStuffins...all favorites at our house. And I know ALL the theme songs.

 The TV is on at our house. ALWAYS on.

I don’t ever limit their TV time. But I do make sure that what is on the TV (unless it’s adult TV time) is educational. My girls have learned more from Sprout, Nick Junior, and Disney Junior (with a little help from mom and dad) than I ever would have known how to teach them on my own. PT1 was counting to 10 before she was 18 months old. She could write her name correctly at 2 1/2. She can READ certain words (much more than she lets on, we have found) and SPELL, and is doing MATH, and she just turned 4. PT2 has been able to speak in full sentences and count to 5 in Spanish for almost 3 months, and she just turned 2.  Both of their vocabularies are off the charts, and everyone that meets them, including their doctors, comments on how advanced they are for their ages. I’ll admit, I have worked with them a little, but it’s mostly to elaborate things they have already seen ON THE TV!

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!

Neener, neener, neener.
I don't care!!!

 And you know what? I don’t care if people don’t agree with my parenting tactics!

First of all, these are MY children, not THEIRS. And second, I am a DAMN GOOD MOMMY! I keep my children safe, fed, educated, and most of all, LOVED.  Which is sadly more than I can say for some children out there. And the best part of all?!? My kids are H-A-P-P-Y! They know I love them for what they are. And what they are is KIDS. They should get to act like it as much as humanly possible. If all those crazy strict moms knew how many times a day my girlies came up and randomly hugged me and said “I yuv yew mama” or “You’re the BESTEST mom in the WHOLE WORLD”, maybe they would realize that it’s not their housekeeping skills or deadlines that make them good parents. It’s actually BEING a good parent…

Bouncy Bouncy!

Bouncy, Trouncy,
Flouncy, Pouncy,
Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun!

  And now, taking a tip from one of Yoga Mom’s commenters, I think I’m going to go try to find a mattress for our living room. Indoor trampoline? I think ABSOLUTELY YES!!

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Awesome Things You Can Blow Your Paycheck On (If You Didn’t Blow It At The Bar Last Night) Part 1

April 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

FEATURE TIME!!!!

As you have probably heard, I am addicted to VSauce on YouTube. He covers some amazing science type stuff among many, many other things. One of those amazing things is LÜT (loot)! Awesome stuff you can actually buy online. Or sometimes not so awesome..corny, creepy, weird…whatever you want to call it, it is available for purchase.

So, since most of you probably don’t have time to watch a million videos of cool stuff you can buy, or spend HOURS looking for it yourself, I’m going to post some of my favorite things from LÜT as well as other places on the interwebz right here every Saturday. To remind some of you what you COULD have bought if you hadn’t blown your Friday paycheck on booze. That’ll teach YOU a lesson!!

Awake AND Clean? Yes, please!

Let’s start with stuff to wake you up. How about Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap?!? Available on Amazon, who wouldn’t want an extra dose of caffeine in the shower? Would save you the calories of that extra cup of coffee with cream every morning! And if you’re not awake enough, just GET MORE CLEAN! How is that a bad thing?!?

 

Now, all you ever need for breakfast is toast.

Breakfast time!!! Who wouldn’t want Bacon Jam?!? Foodzie offers these Original and Fennel Black Pepper varieties of bacon jam. They recommend them for cooking, etc., but I cannot fathom that this would not be good simply slathered on toast.

100 times better than beef jerky...

And for those of you that like your bacon a little less…gelatinous…Bacon Jerky!! To me, this is slightly reminiscent of Beggin Strips dog treats, but for humans. But I betcha it would be a hundred times more tasty than standard beef jerky! Rural King offers 2.75 ounces of this tasty snack for only $4.

UPDATE 4/25/2012:  My real-life friend found some of this at a Convenience Store (!) His verdict? “I think they smoke the bacon with CRACK, because I CAN’T STOP EATING IT!!!!!!!!” -So now we know…and I must have it.

Moldy sammich, anyone?

Lunchtime!!! Keep lunch thieves away with your Anti-Theft Lunch Bags! No more going to the work fridge to take out your delicious, healthy, home-packed lunch and finding it stolen! And at Thinkofthe.com, they also offer the paper outer bags, complete with mold as well.

Ooohhh, I don't know if I should sit on that. It looks like it might just tip over!

Onto our “For the Home” section! Do you not necessarily want your guests to sit and stay awhile? Check out the Shadow Chair! From Duffy London, this illusion chair is sure to put any guest ill-at-ease while in your home. I’m pretty sure if I saw one of these somewhere and didn’t know about it beforehand, I’d pass up the seat. But you DO know about it now. You’re welcome.

So you can know they're coming before you get abducted!

And who’s home would be complete without a UFO Detector? Amazon sells these in two different styles (maybe more, I just couldn’t believe there were even two!). It supposedly detects magnetic and electromagnetic disturbances. So, basically, if you have a microwave that you actually USE, this renders itself as a $150 paperweight… But still, cool conversation piece!

Need some round pills to go with those round bubbles?

 Now for the stuff that’s just for fun! (YAY for pointless FUN!!!) Got a rave to go to tonight? Then you’ll need some Tekno Bubbles to take along!  Amazon (what did we ever do without them?!?) carries these blacklight sensitive bubbles. For the kid in you. On drugs.

Now, you can knock out yourself AND someone else while getting drunk!

Think you’ll have a need to protect yourself at your rave? Then why don’t you build some Canchucks?  Canchucks.com will give you an instant download of their DIY video so you too can make these bad boys! And everything you need is available at your friendly local hardware store. Probably including the beer.

So much cooler than Sock'em Boppers!

Or if you really just want to punch someone in the face, but don’t want to seriously mangle them, try these Inflatable Boxing Gloves!  Amazon (again!) has these in a million different sizes and colors. I imagine they would be equally as good to use if you want to wake up a sleeping spouse while laughing maniacally.

Oh, this book would be SOOOO full!

And after you’ve successfully punched someone in the face, you can mark off your accomplishment in your little black book of People I Want to Punch in the Face! I’m sure we could all fill up one or two of these beauties. Also, it would be great fun to pull out and write in when someone KNOWS they’ve pissed you off…

Mmmmmm, you smell like PIG!

Are you tired of everyone else’s man smelling better than yours (or better than YOU)? Forget the body sprays – just get some Que Cologne! Instantly transform any man from sweaty, smelly gym socks into genuine barbecued BEEF!  And who doesn’t love a big ol’ chunk of BBQ beef?!?

It both is, and is not, alive...

And last but not least, for all of you who are as addicted to The Big Bang Theory as I am (gosh, it sounds like I get addicted waaaaaay too easily!), you should have no problem realizing why I love this so much. I now present a Schrodinger’s Cat T-Shirt! Pretty self explanatory, but for those who have not seen the show, WHAT IN THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!? I guess you could also look the theory up online, but where’s the fun in that?

OK, boys and girls, that’s all my Awesome Stuff You Can Blow Your Paycheck On (If You Didn’t Blow It At The Bar Last Night) for this week. I’ll keep scouring the web for cool stuff and bring you some more next week. If you have something awesome you want to blow YOUR paycheck on, send a link my way. Don’t keep that stuff to yourself!! If I feature it, I’ll mention you (if you want).  If you don’t want to be mentioned, that’s cool too. I have no problem taking credit that isn’t mine. 🙂

See? I told you you’d like the feature 🙂

Disclaimer: I have not actually tried ANY of these products, as I am beyond poor. I am also not endorsing any of them, or getting paid by any of their manufacturers or resellers (though I would NOT be opposed to kick-backs…). If you buy these products, do so at your own risk, and don’t go blaming me if they’re not what you expected. Thanks. 🙂

How I Aced the “Food Handler’s Test for the Illiterate” (And Other Stories for Fail Friday)

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well, ladies and gents, it’s been a FAIL FRIDAY here. Went to what was supposed to be my security screening today only to find out that the TSA has put a freeze on processing background checks. What does that mean for me? Well, that means that I’ve already passed a background check for my employer. That means that I’ve paid for parking THREE (more to come on that…) times at the Airport because I can’t get my security badge that will allow me to park in the employee parking lot until after the TSA lifts the freeze. That means I’ve spent gas money THREE times to get TO the airport to do things for a job that I already GOT, but have no idea when I’ll be able to START. That means I’ll have to pay for parking and gas at least one more time before I actually start making any money from this job. This ALSO means that I have NO CHANCE of getting paid before my house payment and every other bill is overdue. This, in short, means the government has screwed me AGAIN.

Truth be told, it was my own fault I had to pay for gas and parking three times instead of just twice. My fault because I didn’t realize until we moved down here that I never had the name changed back on my Social Security card after I got divorced. (Stupid ex screwed me again too, and we’ve been divorced for 8 years!!!!!) But when I told my employer that, they said it would be fine to go through the Port screening…they were WRONG. So I had to drive ALL THE WAY back home to get my birth certificate so that we could even start the TSA background check process… Fingerprinting is pretty cool, by the way. Since I’m a good girl (hahahahaha!!) and have never been arrested, it was a new thing for me. That whole computerized system they have going on is pretty fancy.

But I did get a giggle yesterday. Because I unknowingly made myself illiterate. Ohhhhh, good times 🙂

I went to get my Food Handler’s Permit. Having never got one in Oregon, I figured it would be safer to just go in and do it in person, because I didn’t know if there would be problems doing it online with an out of state ID. That was the first greatest thing I did yesterday.

See, in the little town I came from, we do things a little differently. I’m not used to all these new-fangled, big-city ways of doing things. In my hometown, you get ONE food handler’s class per week, with about 30 students in it, you watch a video and talk a bit, and take a test. Easy peasy, you’ve got a card. (They did just implement the online test in Washington as well, but I had never taken it that way there. Haven’t had a card in five years…)

So I go in to the testing office, and sign in. Individualized testing, not a class (YAY!!). The clerk asks me if I’m ready to take the test…and I haven’t prepared for it AT ALL. (I know it can’t be that different from Washington, but can’t afford to fail the test because I didn’t at least skim the material!) So I mention that I saw online that there was a video I could watch, and she hands me the video to go sit and watch at my leisure. (SECOND greatest thing I did yesterday!!)

This video was AMAZINGLY dumbed down and CHEEEEEEZY! I literally had to stop myself from laughing out loud numerous times. (What the hell do the actors in those things get paid? I could totally act ridiculous and nod my head with a cheesy smile for an hour if they were paying me!!) Let me just say that they started with the scariest (hahaha) part of the video first: “YOUR FOOD HANDLER’S TRAINING REQUIRES THAT YOU RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHOKING AND KNOW HOW TO REACT!!!” booms the voice – promptly followed by a cheesy couple eating apples, and she’s SMILING as she puts her hands on her neck in the universal choking motion!! After this shocking beginning, the narrator repeated everything a MILLION times. Like there was NO WAY you could come out of this video not knowing that veggies and milk go on the upper shelf in the fridge, and MEATS GO ON THE BOTTOM.

So I finish the excruciatingly cheesy video, and take it up to get my test paper. They had switched clerks on me while I was watching the video. The new clerk looks at me, and goes to hand me my test paper, and then stops. This is what she says, and I wish I could convey the tone of voice here. *looking at the video tape* “Oooohhhhhhh, there’s actually a DIFFERENT test I need to give you if you watched the video. It’s an AUDIO test.”

Audio test? Ummmm…. I look at the hispanic woman and the truck driver looking guy behind me with their regular test papers, pining over three sentence long questions. I turn back to the clerk and shrug. “OK…?”

She hands me the test and the CD and points me to the boomboxes against the wall. I sit down at the desk, look at the test, and about choke myself trying  to hold in my laughter. There, printed on the paper, are 36 response spaces, each numbered. BUT, along with a number, they each have a PICTURE that goes with the number… One is an airplane. Two is a bomb. Three is an apple. So on, so forth. But that is not the best part. On this test paper, there is nowhere to write in a response. Nowhere to circle true or false, or choose a multiple choice answer. On this paper, after EACH number/picture, there is only a circle with a happy face in it, and a circle with a sad face in it. As I look up at the instructions on the wall (mark an X through the happy face if the statement is true, mark an X through the sad face if the statement is false – with MORE PICTURES), it dawns on me. The video and corresponding test are meant for those that can’t read. THESE CLERKS THINK I’M ILLITERATE!!!!!

Oh. My. Gawd. I am completely embarrassed and rolling laughing on the inside all at the same time. So I sit. And I take the test. I giggle every time the monotone lady on the CD says the symbol after the number. And she repeats every single statement three times. SLOWLY. This true/false test that would have taken me five minutes tops in printed format took me THIRTY FOUR MINUTES.

Finally, it was over.  I give my test to the clerk, and she puts her laminated answer key over the top of it. She says, in a rather surprised voice, “WOW!! You got ALL of them correct!” and I realize she is genuinely surprised. Oh, lawd. In my head, I say “OF COURSE I DID, YOU DUMMY! IT’S A FOOD HANDLER’S TEST, NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!!” but out loud, I say “Oh, really? That’s GREAT!”

She prints my card, and I shuffle out of the office head down. I get out to the car, and honestly think about going back in to take the written test because I really feel like I cheated. On the FOOD HANDLER’S TEST. Geez… What have I become?!? But I don’t go back in. Because then I would just look like an ungrateful human being. I just drive off in my car and thank the heavens that ONE thing – out of a million – went easy. Please don’t think less of me….

They looked just like this. JUST. LIKE. THIS.

OH! Also, I’m going to start a feature on Saturdays. I really think you’ll like it. And if you don’t, that’s OK, because I’ll like it. But I’m sure you will, too. Just tune in tomorrow, then you’ll know for sure. 😉

Everyone Poops! (Except My Daughter…)

April 18, 2012 § 4 Comments

Not my daughter. She does not poop.

 

Welcome to my first ever blog post about POOP! I feel like such a big girl now!!

Yes, we own the book. What parent doesn’t own “Everyone Poops”? (We also own “The Gas We Pass” – equally as titillating…) But you know who doesn’t poop? MY KID. Well, it’s not exactly that she doesn’t poop. It’s more of a refusal thing. PT1 refuses to poop.

If you’ve stood near my back door at night (First of all, my back door leads into the bathroom – and yes, I know that’s weird. Second of all, what the hell were you doing by my back door at night?!?), you’ve probably heard PT1 screaming her head off like someone was beating the living daylights out of her. And as calm and level-headed as I try to be about the situation, you’ve probably heard me lose it a few times as well. And what is all the commotion about? POOP! Yep, nightly poop fights in the trailer park. Ain’t we just classy?

I should probably preface with a bit of toilet training history for PT1. We started when she was about 18 months old, and she did number 1 and number 2 a couple times each with no problems. Then, mommy (read:  ME) messed all that up for her. I emptied her potty chair after she went, and she decided she wanted to sit on it again, and I let her (thinking YAY!! She STILL wants to sit on the potty!!) without checking that I had the seat all the way back on. Long story short, her chubby little leg got pinched between the seat and the base, and potty training life as we knew it was over.

After the pinching incident, she was so scared of the potty chair, she would walk around it as far as possible whenever she was in the bathroom. Sometimes refuse to come in the bathroom entirely. In fact, she NEVER went on that potty chair again until after she was already sitting on the big toilet to pee. And the only reason she did it then was that someone was already occupying the throne, and nature was calling loud and clear.

So it took us until she was 3 1/2 until she would actually pee on the toilet. It was AGONIZING. And even after she started peeing in the toilet, she still wouldn’t poop in the toilet.

Right before she was completely toilet trained (for number 1), she got constipated. We took her to the doctor and they gave us the stool softener and the whole 9 yards. After taking it for three weeks under doctor supervision, I knew she had to go, but couldn’t. She felt yucky, wouldn’t eat, nothing. So before I had to take her to the hospital for a complete blockage, I tried the one thing I NEVER wanted to put my child through…an enema.

I cannot describe in words the pain T and I felt for her, laying on the bathroom floor, crying, shaking uncontrollably, scared and wondering why her (up until now) loving parents would put her through this torture. There were tears in our eyes as we looked searchingly at each other to figure out if this was going to scar her view of us permanently. And then it happened. My small framed 3 1/2 year old pooped. But not just any old regular poop. SOFTBALL sized poop. TWO of them. I still, to this day, wonder how they came out of her and didn’t cause permanent physical damage. Seriously, they were almost as big as her head. No child should EVER have to go through that. EVER.

So since then, she has been so scared to poop that she will hold it until it is physically pushing itself out of her body (and soiling all of her underwear – don’t get me started). She’ll hold it in for up to a week at a time if she can. And yet, every time she does poop, she gets immense amounts of poop-praise and says it doesn’t hurt. But the stigma is still there. It could hurt. It might hurt. And she’s scared.

And I get it, I do. But I get frustrated. I get tired of cleaning poop stains out of her underwear. I get tired of her smelling like poop when it’s trying to bust out of her. And I have no idea how to make her un-scared of pooping. So I make her sit on the toilet until she poops when I know she has to go. Not hours, or days, but I tell you, that fifteen to twenty minutes, you would think we were killing her.

She screams at the top of her lungs. She kicks. She hits. She cries. She acts like she is possessed. I am not joking in the slightest.  Those fifteen to twenty minutes every few days are the WORST mommy moments ever. And I don’t have any clue how to get them to stop.

We’ve had discussions (she is a VERY intelligent four year old), we’ve read books (Everyone Poops!), we’ve given her copious amounts of poop-praise and prizes, we’ve gotten in screaming matches because I don’t know how else to handle it. I’ve explained that she cannot go to preschool (which she wants to do with every ounce of her being) until she can poop on the potty when she needs to go. I’ve explained that if she doesn’t poop, she will end up in the hospital with a very mean doctor having to cut her tummy open and take out the poop that way. But still, every time she feels it coming, she runs and hides and crosses her legs and holds it in for dear life.

ONE YEAR. That is how much of my life I have lost to poop fights. TO POOP FIGHTS!!!  So what can I do? A little help out there, internet world? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am desperate. Shoot me comments. Ask your friends and shoot me their comments. So there it is. I’m begging for help from complete strangers. That’s what I’ve got for now. Now, I must go get PT1 another pair of underwear……..

Can I Get A “HELL YEAH!” From Anyone Who’s Recently Searched For A Job?

April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

While in the world of job searching, if there was anything I learned, it was this:  You will never be *qualified* for any job you are actually qualified for.

Yes, this is a real MIT Grad. Yes, he is really unemployed. Yes, the problem has gotten this bad!

 

I can see you scratching your head. If you don’t understand what I mean, then you’ve obviously been in your career long enough to almost be ready to retire, and I commend you for that. It’s hard to stay in one position that long. But the rest of us are fully aware that employers know the economy is in such a state right now that they can demand ridiculous criteria for the simplest job, and they will find someone completely overqualified who is completely desperate and will take far less pay than they actually deserve. Because they have to. Because the jobs they are actually qualified for, they aren’t qualified “enough” for.

You hear it a million times a day job searching. “A Bachelor’s degree is the new Associate’s degree.” And it’s absolutely true. To do even the most menial job now, a Bachelor’s degree is a basic requirement. Which is all well and good, except the jobs that are now requiring a Bachelor’s degree are paying Associate’s degree wages. And the jobs that require a Master’s degree are paying Bachelor’s degree wages. How are you supposed to pay off thousands of dollars’ worth of student loans if the degree you got doesn’t pay a wage good enough to pay them off AND live more than a Top Ramen life? And what about the people who didn’t want to opt-in to four plus years of student debt and got a ‘quality’ education at a two year college instead? Well, they now rank with those who have only earned a High School Diploma or GED. If you’re lucky, you get a cushy office receptionist job at minimum wage or barely above. If not, you get food service or manual labor.

Don’t get me wrong. Receptionist positions, food service and manual labor are decent, blue-collar jobs. Jobs that need to be done, otherwise the economy would completely crumble. Jobs that need to be done, otherwise those company heads would have nothing to spend their money on. Blue collar jobs that produce the products and services that people have to buy to keep the economy running, even in this downturn.

But I am betting that we could turn the economy around faster than anyone could even fathom. Just put people where they belong. It’s a concept so simple that it sounds ridiculous, but it’s absolutely true.

The issue is, with the economy as low as it has been, everyone is getting hired in at a lower level than they are educated for, and doing multiple job duties under one job description. Therefore, when they try to advance to something they know they are capable of doing, and may have been doing already, it LOOKS like they are not qualified. They don’t have the education to do that. Their job title wasn’t doing that in their last job. But they HAVE been doing that. Sometimes for YEARS. They just can’t prove that they’ve ever done it *on paper*. And for any job, you have to get through that paper stage to even meet face-to-face and explain yourself.

If you do happen to make it past the paper stage and even the face-to-face meeting, the new one is the credit check. While I can understand this if you’re working with finances, or credit cards, or personal information or accounts, I will never for the life of me understand why 90% of entry level jobs are now including credit checks in their background check process. If you can’t get a loan, you can’t get a job? If you can’t get a job, you can’t get (or pay) your loans! Of course my credit isn’t great! THAT’S WHY I’M APPLYING FOR THIS JOB, DUMBASS!!!

And the poor kids right out of high school that would like to work for awhile before they go to college? Or those that don’t fit the “college mold”? Or even those trying to change a career path? Can’t even get into an entry level job. ENTRY LEVEL jobs now require ONE YEAR of experience doing EXACTLY the job you are entering into. So how is anyone supposed to get into something at an entry level if you already have to have entered into the field and worked in it for a year? They can’t. And we wonder why there are so many people still unemployed.

I have seen the SAME job posted and re-posted on Craigslist for the last month. Loading boxes of produce onto pallets in a warehouse for delivery to grocery stores. Requirements? One year or more experience in a FOOD RELATED warehouse position, preferably supervising other employees. Pay? Minimum wage. What?!? First of all, if you have been in that type of position for over a year, you were probably making MORE than minimum wage, ESPECIALLY if you were supervising other employees. Who wants to step backwards? But they know that people will. Because they HAVE to. Is it really that hard to stack boxes of apples and lettuce? Would it take more than a day or two for any level-headed human being to figure this out?!?

You can’t even get into a temp agency or a staffing agency to fill menial short-term jobs right now. I kid you not, I found ads for warehouse work, secretarial work, janitorial work, and even standing on a street corner holding a sign for discounted meals at the neighborhood restaurant that all required one to three years’ experience…And that was pretty much ALL of the “entry-level” positions. The rest of them were “Administrative Assistants” needed to type documents in Word and make lunch and airplane reservations that required a Bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience (to type and make RESERVATIONS?!?), and Assistant Manager positions that required a Master’s degree and five years’ or more experience. I’m sorry, but if you have a Master’s degree and have been an Assistant Manager for FIVE YEARS and haven’t cleared Manager yet, there’s probably something wrong.

I believe a lot of our current unemployment situation in this country is caused by exactly this epidemic of employers thinking that their future employees are incompetent. To solve it, employers need to do THEIR job and inquire about an applicant’s skills and qualifications without putting so much emphasis on a piece of paper that says you sat through endless pointless lectures that gave you no real world experience, or job titles that say nothing about what your job duties actually were. Put people in positions that they ARE qualified for, and don’t make up criteria and billions of years of experienced required to do your job. Then TRAIN THEM to do the rest. Yes, if you are going to be hiring a brain surgeon; or someone to create flight equipment, or nuclear bombs, or rockets, please, keep the stipulation on these jobs. But if you’re hiring someone to take out the garbage and mop a floor? There is no reason you should need over a year’s experience. If you’re hiring someone to stack boxes on a pallet and shove them in a truck, there’s NO NEED for over a year’s experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if we start those entering the workforce in the entry level jobs they are qualified for, that bumps everyone up a level, see? It’s not rocket science. (I’m not qualified for that.)

But it is basic economics. The more people we bump up the chain, the more livable wages they make, the more they can spend to get the economy back to where it belongs. Simple math. I bet even the kids out of high school could figure that one out. And who knows? Those “uneducated, unqualified” people may be just be the ones innovative enough to turn your company around.

Today, a Ray of Sunshine Slapped Me Right In The Face!

April 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

So I’ve been trying for two weeks to think of something positive to write about. Up until today, I had nothing. Up until today, my little world that had always been so stable and sheltered had been completely flipped upside down. Up until today, I was wondering how I was going to feed my children and keep this not-so-glamorous home that we just purchased. Up until today, for the first time that I can ever remember, we had NO income. And had spent all our money making this tweeker palace livable…

See, three days after we moved into this humble abode, T lost his job. Because of a series of miscommunications and a new supervisor with some weird chip on his shoulder. And everything that we had worked for up until this point fell apart.

When we moved south, the plan was for T to get a job, and I would stay home with PT1 and PT2. I had worked and supported us for years, and I needed a break. It took 3 months, but he landed a decent job, with decent pay, in a fantastic environment that he actually liked. Working in a warehouse in Woodland, surrounded by people that he got along with, for what we thought was a really good company.

So tax time rolls around, we find this home, decide to purchase it, and he looks into transferring to the Vancouver location. I now realize this was one of the worst decisions we could have made. Once he got to the Vancouver warehouse, the environment was completely different, and things started going downhill. Not because of him, but because of his supervisor.

So, after a series of ridiculous events and double talk, we were without an income. Truth be told, I couldn’t find anything positive to write about because I didn’t have the TIME. I went into panic mode and spent 12-14 hours a day searching job ads and sending out resumes and applications. Literally HUNDREDS. And I got three calls back. THREE. First interview sounded promising, but fell through. Second interview went well, but they’re not deciding for another 6 weeks who to hire. But today, today was good.

Today I interviewed for Starbucks at the PDX airport. Those of you that have known me more than a couple years know that I worked for Starbucks previously, and it was probably my FAVORITE. JOB. EVER. I love the environment. I love making coffee. I LOVE working with the general public. So I interviewed and was offered the position on the spot. (Because I’m a badass. Oh, yeah. A badass.)

Sure I would have loved to stay home with my girls. It’s not the ideal situation we had envisioned. But you gotta do what you gotta do, especially when there are kiddos involved. And we still don’t have an income, at least for the next week or so. Takes at least that long to get my security clearance. But a little ray of sunshine reached out and slapped me today. I landed a job. Finally. Sure, it’s not going to put us in a mansion, but at least it’s something, and it’s something that I LIKE.

We’re not out of the woods yet. I still don’t know how we’re going to make bills for this month, or even how I’m going to come up with shoes or pants or a food handler’s card so that I can actually work this job. But I have hope for the first time in almost a month. My children aren’t going to starve. We’re not going to have to sell this home still wet from my blood, sweat, and tears.  I am not a complete failure. And that’s good enough for me.

So next time you’re at PDX, hit me up. I make a pretty kickass cup of coffee. And you’ll get a friendly smile, and some great conversation to boot! Who else is going to light up the drudgery of travel like my amazing smiling face?!? No one, that’s who! And a small word of advice to all you coffee lovers – TIP YOUR BARISTA!!! 🙂

(Additionally, tips can be sent through PayPal to poohbeargirl_78@hotmail.com. You know. Because amazing barista bloggers who kick the world’s ass on a daily basis deserve tips too! 😉 )

PDX Starbucks, Concourse C

Barista Extraordinaire

 

Not a Mega Millionaire…But *I* Still Like Me!

March 31, 2012 § 3 Comments

This is exactly how much I won...

 

Well, looks like my dreams have been squashed (again!). I did not win the Mega Millions jackpot.  Hell, I didn’t even win the consolation prize. But all this craziness has got me thinking – what would I really do with over 300 MILLION dollars (IF I took the lump sum, and after taxes)?

In all honesty, I have no idea. I mean, I have some ideas, I’m not completely dumb. But that’s a lot of money. A LOT of money. Like more than I would probably ever in my life be able to use wisely. (Oh, I could use it alright, it’s the wisely part that I would have a problem with!!!)

I would probably start by doing the basics.  Pay off debts. Buy a “real” home. (Not that these humble walls aren’t a home, but I would probably go for 5 bedrooms or something. Not too outlandish, but big. With a huge yard. And solar panels. And a chef’s kitchen. And a hot tub in it’s own little house. And a maid. Just because I could.) Get a Nissan Leaf. Get T a newer truck. T wants to own an Irish bar, so we’d do that. Give to family and close friends and charity. Build a large house for homeless people. (I would!) Invest with someone I trusted. But then what? That would barely put a dent in that large chunk of change!

You’d basically have to invest a LOT of it. Or split it up. FDIC and NCUA only insure up to $250,000 per institution. If you split up the whole amount just to keep it in accounts, you would have to have accounts at over 1200 different financial institutions just to keep it safe. Chew on that for a minute. 1200 DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS!!!! Holy Hannah!! I can barely keep my savings and checking accounts straightened out. Even the investments that are insured are only guaranteed up to a certain dollar amount…

I guess this is where the financial advisor would come in. Although I’m pretty sure if I went in to my financial advisor and said “Hey, here’s 300 million dollars. What should we do with it?” She would shit a brick. Right there in her chair. In the middle of the credit union. (I love ya, Michelle!)

And then there would be the lawyer. You would have to have one. For what, I’m not exactly sure, since I don’t have 300 million dollars, but everybody says you would HAVE to have one. Who wants to deal with a stinky, stuffy lawyer? He’s just going to want his cut, too. And for what? Talking and signing his name? (WHY am I not a lawyer?!?) Ugh, and the tax accountant…don’t even get me started on the tax aspect…

And then there would be the woodworms. You know. Those “friends” (and other random acquaintances you don’t really know) who crawl out of the woodwork at the first whiff that something good might be happening to you and they might not have a chance to get in on it. “Hey, remember me from the month I was in your first grade class?!? How have you been?” Uh, I’ve been great. Lived a whole life without you in it. Thanks.

Press would be clamoring to get to you. Literally knocking each other over. Not only do I NOT want to see my face 900 feet tall on billboards and glaring back at me from TV screens, I don’t want to be responsible for paparazzi getting trampled on their way to film me. After all, I would be FAMOUS! At least for a day…

So maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t win the lottery. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t do anything else statistically improbable as well. I didn’t get possessed by the devil today, or hit by an asteroid, or by lightning. Or eaten by flesh-eating bacteria. And you know what? I’m OK with that. I’ll be the same person tomorrow that I was today. And I’m kind of fond of her. And I’m pretty sure she likes me, too. 🙂

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