Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Changes are a comin'

It's that time again. I'm getting the itch to make some changes. So many things have happened within the last couple of weeks. It really started with Randy finding this possible new job with Mitchell International. His interview is tomorrow, so we'll see what happens with that. If he gets the job, he'll be in for about 75% travel (traveling 3 out of the 4 weeks per month). The job isn't ideal, but we both agreed it would be a great experience and stepping stone for bigger things. Plus, the benefits and pay can't be beat. However, because he'd be taking care of the Missouri/Kansas area, we could be locked in to this area for at least a couple of years.

Then, my parents kind of sparked some interest in the idea of us moving to Texas. Now, don't get me wrong, I know Texas is not the best place for my liberal ideas to call home, and I'll have to get over the Texas attitude of "bigger is better." But, for $10,000 more a year, I could get over it pretty quickly. Yep. Speech therapists are in demand down there, so I could possibly get relocation help, great benefits, and awesome pay. More pay than I would make in Illinois after 10-15 years experience in the schools. It's a fact. Working for the state of Illinois is a dead end. There's no money. There's no desire to reform education. There's no desire to do what's right by the people. So, moving is inevitable. To where.... perhaps Texas. I have a lot of extended family in the Dallas area, so that's always a possibility. Austin has always been a place of intrigue for us. We'll see.

And just this week, Randy's boss put his 2-week notice in. He's quitting Team1 to go work for an insurance company. That leaves a lot up in the air for the auto body. Randy might move shops because a new estimator will need to be brought in. Plus, a new manager will need to be hired. Randy doesn't necessarily want the manager job, even though he's quite qualified for it. So many things to think about. Stay in the area? Move sooner than later? I'm ready for answers soon, but that's just my impatience talking. I guess we'll find out..... one way or another.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You can't make this stuff up...

This past Sunday, Randy and I went out to eat with his parents and brother, Jim, to celebrate Father's Day and our wedding anniversary. That's the only way we really see his family: out at a restaurant feeding our faces. On this particular visit, we were supposed to eat at a steakhouse, but Carol got there late due to church responsibilities. So, meeting at a steakhouse at 12:30 on Father's Day didn't work out so well. The wait was over 45 minutes and not worth it, so we decided to go to Fazoli's instead. For those of you who don't know what Fazoli's is, it can easily be understood in a simple analogy. Fazoli's is to the Italian food world as McDonald's is to the hamburger world. Fast, unhealthy, food-like substances.

So, we've done our ordering at the front counter of Fazoli's, and we're now sitting down waiting for our buzzers to go off to pick up the food. We're sitting silently at the table. Usually, if I don't make small talk, or Carol doesn't have something to say, silence will prevail. I didn't feel like being a chatty Cathy, and Carol, I guess, didn't have much to say at that moment. Silence. Then, Carol thinks of something. She's gotten us an anniversary card and wants Jim to go get it from the car. Jim retrieves it, and Randy opens it. There's $50 and a nice card. Geez. She doesn't need to do this. She never needs to do this. But she always does. She can't afford it. It's so unnecessary. We make more than double Don and Carol's combined incomes, so I feel bad taking the money. She insists. Thank you's are exchanged. Carol now becomes talkative, and this is how she begins the conversation...

"I'm mad at our President right now..." Great. I'm thinking there's going to be something about the oil spill or some crazy right-winged agenda that will soon follow that introduction. She goes on to say, "He didn't put a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier like all the other presidents have done." Hm. The poor guy (Obama) just can't make anyone happy, especially my mother-in-law. Yes, of all the crazy sh** that's going on in this world, that's a great thing to get mad about. Geez.

But we were saved from the rest of that conversation by Carol's phone ringing. It was Randy's other brother, Bob. Carol, who is one of those people who speak increasingly louder when she talks on cell phone, is practically broadcasting the conversation over the Fazoli's loudspeaker. Then, she ends the call with "Do you want to talk to Randy?" And promptly, without Bob's answer, hands the phone to Randy. Annoyed, Randy says, "I'll call you later." I know he's thinking it's ridiculous to hold a conversation with someone on a telephone during a lunch with others around. But, Carol interprets this as Randy having a secret agenda to discuss with Bob without the presence of his parents. She's always thinking that we get together with Bob and his family behind her back.

After that wonderful display, we go one to talk about other appropriate lunchtime topics: Jim's lack of health insurance, Jim's spending money at movie theaters every week, Carol's disgust with the school's sub list freeze, etc. At this time, we've gotten our food and have started to eat. Randy and I both got spaghetti. Carol is eating the platter meal, which comes with three large samples of food. She's already put down a salad. And she's got her hand on a breadstick. She takes a large bite of the undercooked, garlic butter-soaked breadstick and says, "These breadsticks are so luscious." At this point, I can't hold it in anymore. Randy can't either. We both laugh. Yes, Fazoli's, the fast-food Italian chain restaurant, is the definition of "luscious." I chime in with my sarcasm, "They're gourmet." I think I've heard it all.

I have to change the subject, or I'm going to die laughing. So, I go to my go-to phrase, "So, is there anything new with you guys? I haven't talked to you in a while." Randy automatically gives me "the look." This look means that I've committed the cardinal sin. I've opened up an opportunity for Don to discuss all of his problems.... and he doesn't disappoint. "Well," Don starts, "the doctors said my kidney is doing better. It was at 106. It was supposed to be at 102. Now, it's down to 104." *Whew* That could have been bad. I was thinking there would be talk about finding kidney stones in urine, having water-filled ankles, etc. But that was good news. No complaining, which is quite unusual. Okay. Not bad. "I do have this flaky skin that's on my arm. I keep picking it off, but it keeps coming back" Don says next. I hang my head. Oh God. In my mind, my plate of food soon becomes flaky skin pieces. I can't eat anymore. Where do these people come from? Who does that? My in-laws.

We stay and talk a bit longer, and I'm thankful that most of the other families around us have cleared out (was that because of us? can't be sure). Right before we go, Carol asks Jim to go up and get one more breadstick. "Would you eat one more?" She asks Don. He himhaws around and says yes. "GET TWO, JIMMY!" She yells across the restaurant, because Jim is almost up at the counter at this point. He brings back two. They inhale their 3rd (luscious) breadstick. And we're up to leave.

"How can we get your parents to live closer?" Randy says as we get into our car. "You need to get on that."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Watch out, Bill Gates...

I've had another successful farmers market. My sales rose to $68, so I'm getting ideas of what to make next now that I've cleared out a little bit of my inventory. It's been a really fun time chatting it up with the people that come and the other sellers at the market. Such a nice, easy way to make some cash on a Saturday.

Also, I'm officially certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to practice speech therapy where ever I darn well choose, so that's a plus. Hopefully, I can rake in some moolah from working part time in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, too. Really, it's just a good way for me to keep all that medical stuff still fresh in my mind. All in all, it's been a great weekend. The best part.... it's not ever over yet!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Big Decision

For a while now, Randy's been talking about *maybe* looking for a new job opportunity. The place he's at now has been fine. Poor benefits. No option of a raise (ever.). No sick days. Dealing with ignorant, low-life customers who want something for nothing and can't understand why you can't give it to them. In return, however, he's had a pretty low-stress job with people he likes and a boss who just lets him be.

After trying out grad school for a while and realizing it wasn't for him, I think Randy's now always trying to find something else. A job that can be his career. It's just kinda time to move on. To grow a little more.

So, he kinda fell upon a job opportunity that is, quite literally, the job that he is 100% qualified for. Everything they were looking for was everything that Randy had experience in. Perfect. He sent in his resume. Two days later, they contacted him back with high interest in him. Today, he talked to the big wig hiring man about what the job entails. And....... with every job, there are positives and negatives. Positives include **major** raise with 10% possible bonuses each year, computer, phone, paid vacation/sick days, and other wonderful things. The only negative is the fact that the job is 60% travel. Major travel. Like he'll be covering 2 states. So, there's potential that Randy will need to be gone a week at a time, come home for the weekend, and be gone for another week. This could happen for three weeks in a row. Then, he's promised a week of working at home.

With this possible circumstance, certain questions come to mind. Will this be okay for our relationship? What happens when I need someone to kill a spider? Mow the grass? Do manly things around the house? Is the money worth it? Isn't this too good of an opportunity to pass up?

There's no doubt many things to think about. But, I know we're both leaning towards going for it. It's a great opportunity to get involved with a good company. The extra money would be hella nice (new house, perhaps? nice vacations around the globe? paying off pesky student loans?). I'm not sure, but I know we'll find out soon enough. For that time... think good thoughts for us, please. Much appreciated.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Woke up. Went grocery shopping. Bought a ......


I'm an impulsive person. Always have been. It's kinda the fun, spunky side of my mostly perfectionist, follow-the-rules way-of-life. So, after we had laid around a bit in the morning, we decided to do our usual Sunday things (e.g. go grocery shopping, do laundry, etc).

We had stopped at Big Lots looking for a canopy for my farmers market stand. And while Big Lots didn't have what we wanted in that department, we had perused by a display of pools. Suddenly, I realized that we needed a pool. What a great thing to add to our home on a 90+ degree day. What was my favorite thing about summers as a kid? A pool!

So, after a quick price check around town, we came back to our good and trusty Big Lots to purchase our very own 15' round, metal framed pool.

The stars must be aligned, because right as we set it up, Mother Nature decided that she'd like to do her part in filling the pool. It began to downpour. All is good, though. We have our pool.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A common theme

Just a lazy pug Monday...

Saturday, June 5, 2010


For my first farmers market, I'd say things went well. My goal was to sell 3 items, and I beat that goal by 1! Overall, I have $38 in my pocket (that's with the $10 fee taken out), so I'm a happy camper. The items that went over well were the wine topper and charms (they were bought for a wedding present... very fun, I think). Besides gaining a little revenue, I had fun just sitting and people watching. I chatted it up with passerby's. It was an easy day. Quick set-up and tear-down. I'd definitely do it again. Actually, I had a lot of people ask if I would be a regular at the farmers markets, and I was happy to say "yes, as much as I can be." Next week we'll be a no-show, because Randy and I are celebrating our 3-year wedding anniversary. But, after that, the schedule is wide open. Ready for business :)

Friday, June 4, 2010


You're invited to preview my wares before the first farmers market tomorrow here in Alton. I've been hard at work this week trying to build up my inventory and make sure every thing's ready for the big day. It's my first time doing anything like this, so hopefully, I'll find my niche in the farmers market world. I'll be featuring my fused glass pendants, hair pins, wine accessories, and (my new favorite) bracelets! Here's what I have so far.

Partially set up... just taking inventory

A sampling of wares

My new favorite things! The bracelets turned out great.

The sign

Attached some fused glass for fun

I'll have necklaces hanging from here for people to buy