Urban (mis)Advantures

Natural Upgrade, New Annoying Application — April 30, 2011

Natural Upgrade, New Annoying Application

     As our son undergoes his natural upgrade from Child 12.75 to Adolescent 13.0, he experiences many changes.  These changes are expected, as he drifts away from the programming of his Parental Units and learns to operate by his own Design.  Yet one change in particular, is quite annoying:  The Grumbling Application.

     This new app is a sound of disagreement he utters (“Aaarrww!”  “Arrrgh!”), usually in response to being told to perform a task he does not want to.  Lately, it seems the Grumbling app sounds whenever the Mother Unit of the home tells our son to do anything.  Here is a brief list of triggers to the Grumbling app:
**Being instructed to fold his clothes
**Then being reminded to put his clothes away (as he disregards this step in doing his laundry)
**Having to do the dishes (the Grumbling app echoes throughout this task, not just when given the direction)
**General clean up after himself
**Being told that parents will inspect Graphic Novels before being read by the son
**Anything that draws him away from his video games

     I, the Mother Unit, have found a couple of my own response applications to solve the Grumbling app error.  Ignoring the sound, especially if he follows the direction, does not escalate the situation to an argument.  If my son continues the Grumbling app to the point of arguing, then I apply the Threatening to Take Away Privilege response, which usually ends the Grumbling.

The Royal Wedding is Over! — April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding is Over!

Prince William and (now) Princess Kate are married!!  Yay!! I’ll check out her dress tonight on the news.

Now we can get on with the rest of our lives!  Such as making sure friends and loved ones  are not among the 300 dead in the Southern U.S.  My sister said that soft ball sized hail hit the area up near LSU-Shreveport in Louisiana, which is across the Red River from my home town.   She also reported really heavy rain and horrid winds, but no damage to the home.  The sirens at Barksdale Air Force Base sounded, and two tornados may have touched down around Northern Bossier Parish (sis says it depended on what report you heard).   

Please keep the six states of our nation that have been devastated in your prayers.

Resigning with Dignity — April 23, 2011

Resigning with Dignity

When you voluntarily leave a job, you have your reasons and may be heading to a more positive experience.  But whether you leave your current position for more pay, relocation, or to get away from unbearable bosses or co-workers, resigning can be an exasperating quest.  Here’s how I survived my last two weeks after submitting my resignation.

1.  Follow the steps outlined in your employee handbook.  Open up that old file on the computer or dust off the paper manual and read your company’s policy on voluntary resignation.  It should explain if you need to first inform your immediate supervisor or submit a letter to human resources.  It will also tell you how much notice the agency requires before your last day of employment. When you follow the company’s policy, the higher-ups hopefully won’t get immaturely upset and support you during your last few days.  Plus, during your voluntary termination, you should consider if you need a recommendation from your current employer. 

2.  Give the proper notice (to the best of your abilities).  You may also need to consult your employment contract in addition to the handbook for this one.  If your agency requires two weeks notice before your leave, then give it.  As a counselor, my company preferred one month notice, yet required only two weeks.  I wanted to give a month, but my new employer asked for an earlier start date.  I explained this to human resources and my previous boss, who accepted this (at least to my face).  Yet, things happen.  If you feel unsafe at work, have been wronged, or have an emergency, explain these in your resignation and do what you need to do.

3.  Write a precise resignation letter.  Keep your resignation letter to the point.  State the purpose of the letter is to inform of your leave, state your last date, and thank the company for their time.  You can save your reasons for leaving for the exit interview.  I posted mine on the agency’s letterhead to help it look professional.  Unless you have been with the current company for years, there is no need to get sentimental in your letter. 

4.  Cooperate with you co-workers and supervisor.  Clients or cases will need to get transferred to other employees.  Your responsibilities will need to be delegated to others (at least temporarily).  Help with this process.  Make recommendations as to what colleague can best do your tasks.  Meet with these colleagues and brief them on your current duties and progress. 

5.  Complete all paperwork.  Hardly anyone likes this part of the job.  Yet it is part of many job descriptions and necessary for some of us to get paid (counselors, therapists, doctors, etc).  If all paperwork is done, you will feel more satisfied about your accomplishments at your company.  Plus, some employers may hold your last paycheck if it is not all complete. 

6.  Do not develop an “I’m outta here” attitude.  Even if you loathe your workplace, do not stop loving your career.  Continue with the dedication to your clients, colleagues, and customers as if you will return to work next week.  People will remember you favorably for this.  Don’t get too high and mighty with your co-workers or supervisors.  Remember, you may encounter these people further in your career. 

7.  Focus and remain calm.  I am very excited to begin a new job that won’t wreck my car, bank account, and sanity.  Therefore, it was hard for me to focus on my last day and difficult to contain my happiness.  Yet a few instances of closing my eyes and breathing deeply helped.  Keeping a to-do list and sticking with it helped me stay on track with my last day duties.  Also, I didn’t drink any coffee.    

8.  Speak with professionalism in your exit interview.  You should be sincere in your exit interview and explain why you are leaving the company.  Yet be professional about it, even if you’re angry or hurt.  I presented an issue that occurred the day before my leave, in which my supervisor completely twisted a colleague’s words and seemed to lie to the director.  I printed the email, my colleague’s response to the email, and sent my own.  I presented the print outs during my exit interview, and professionally explained how it affected me.  I used words such as “communication barriers,”  “upsetting” and “unacceptable” as a supervisor’s behavior….instead of saying “this really pissed me off.”

9.  Leave a clean work space.  When cleaning out your desk, take what is yours, leave what belongs to the company.  If you have resources that will be useful to colleagues, give them up if you will not need them in the future (such as blank company forms).  Shred documents that you need too.  Recycle old forms the company no longer uses.  And don’t forget anyof your belongings. 

Even if you are leaving the company for a better place, resigning can be harder work than your normal day.  It will also have mixed feelings, as some colleagues will be sad to see you go.  Yet keeping your head on straight and cooperating will make the resignation go much smoother, especially for you.

The Temptation of Bailey’s — April 17, 2011

The Temptation of Bailey’s

So, one recent weekend I conducted my normally scheduled grocery shopping, which I hate with a passion.  But one things brightened this teeth-gritting experience.  As I strolled down the dairy aisle, I spotted something I had longed for.  A small section of Bailey’s non-alcoholic creamer stood together like the group of kids in the school yard everyone secretly wanted to hang out with.  I think they waved to me, particularly the Toffee Almond Cream.  I stepped up to Almond, held him tenderly in my hand, and then remembered that I doing really well at giving up coffee.  Plus, I really wanted a jug of green tea. 
So I left the Bailey’s gang on the shelf.  I think they called out to me, saying that I would be sorry about my decision, but I ignored them.
A few days later, I decided I deserved to treat myself on the weekends to Toffee Almond Cream.  So during my weekend grocery routine, I strode down the dairy aisle.  Except the Bailey’s gang wasn’t there.  Maybe they became popular and everybody else bought them.  Maybe they were ostracized by the much large Nestle gang.  I stood there like an ice statue, staring at the other rows of creamer, hoping that they would move aside and reveal that Bailey’s was just hiding.  No such luck.  Since I didn’t have any coffee and had no sugar, creamer, and caffeine pumping through my system, I didn’t snarl and hiss at some young grocer stocking the aisle nor demand where the Bailey’s is.  I just walked away, a bit saddened.
But alas, this weekend, I shopped at a different grocery store.  Now Bailey’s Toffee Almond sits joyfully in my belly with pancakes. 
My progress on weaning myself off coffee may take a U-turn.

Oli Has Spring Fever, Too…. — April 14, 2011

Oli Has Spring Fever, Too….

My cat, Oli, has also noticed that snow no longer terrorizes his neighborhood.  More so, he’s hearing the birdies chirp and watching the squirrels scamper around.  So, now he sits by the door and cries to go outside.  I’m a bit nervous about this, as he chews on grass, recently threw up a worm, and once got a big gash in his back when outside.  But one day, he wouldn’t let up with the yowling.  So I caved.
Outside Oli went, with me in tow.  He rolled around on the stone floor of the little porch.  He sniffed around at God only knows what.  When I decided it was time to go inside, Oli was quite reluctant.  He crouched down and didn’t look at me.  I scooted him towards the door and opened it, where he rolled around on the dirty stones again, then looked up at me with his “But Mommy, just three more minutes!” eyes.  My neighbor chuckled and commented that Oli likes the warm weather also.  When I glanced up at him, the brat cat dashed sideways towards the woods.  And within two leaps, he was six feet up a tree.  I screamed and ran after him, stopped at the bottom of the tree, and demanded for him to get down.  Fortunately, he obeyed.  I scooped him up and hugged Oli to me to carry him inside. 
But this was a good sign.  He’s got his energy back.

Anthems of the ’90s — April 9, 2011

Anthems of the ’90s

Lately my favorite radio station, I hear the term “anthem” to describe a song people consider epic or fitting to the lives of their younger selves.  In my opinion the 1990’s were full them.  Generation X, doomed as the first generation to be “worse off” than their parents, were starting college, starting their careers, and starting to raise their own anguished and soon-to-be “emo” children.  So here are some of my “anthems.”

“Story of My Life” by Social Distortion, 1990
Looking for a job, but have no experience.  The school girl crush that went unnoticed.  Strumming a guitar and singing and outlaw love song. Kinda makes me want to grow my wavy locks back out and let them hang in my face again. 

“Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones, 1990
Right here, right now…there is no other place I want to be.  I first heard this song when seeing the video back when MTV still played music videos.  I fell in love with Jesus Jones at first sight and sound and played the heck out of this cassette tape.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana, 1991
You didn’t think I would leave this one out, did you?

“Free Your Mind” by En Vogue, 1992
Prejudice? Wrote a song about it.  Like to hear it?  Here it go…
It was time to be more open-minded and considerate, people. 

“Dizz Knee Land” by Dada, 1992
I just smashed my car again/drank a fifth of gin/flipped off President George, I’m going to Disneyland…

“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1992
The anthem of loneliness, feeling misunderstood, and drug use.

“Jump Around” by House of Pain, 1992
I chose this one because everyone still hits the ceiling when it’s played at parties and bars.

“Three Little Pigs” by Green Jello, 1992
The band had to change their name to Green Jelly and re-release the song and album in ’93 due to a lawsuit. But this modern telling of the Piggy’s mistakes, along with a Harly-riding Big Bad Wolf, is a classic.  And the best part is the very last line: “And the moral of this story is that a band with no talent can easily amuse idiots with a stupid puppet show.” 

“What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes, 1993
And I scream, “What’s going on?” Well, I thought I knew in the ’90s, but now I have no clue, only conspiracy theories.

“Ordinary World” by Duran Duran, 1993
Duran’s 90’s music impressed me far more than their 80’s tunes.  This song that makes me close my eyes and breathe it in deeply.

“Natural One” by Folk Implosion, 1995
The main song from the shocking film, Kids, it was just a great sleepy and grungy tune.

“What I Got” by Sublime, 1996
Though I don’t get high, I still sing along with this tune.  Life’s too short, so love the one you got, ’cause you might get run over or might get shot.  You just never know….

“Fly” by Sugar Ray, 1997
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know Mark McGrath is all washed up and doing some reality TV show I think, but let’s not forget the good ol’ days. 

“Walking on the Sun” by Smashmouth, 1997
The first and only really good song played on the radio by Smashmouth.  It’s just groovy.

“Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, 1998
Hitting the charts in the U.S. the year my child was born.  This song is the gospel truth.

So, what are some of your 90’s anthems?

A worm!! — April 7, 2011

A worm!!

 So, Oli barfed up a worm the other day. A worm!! I know that it’s common in animals, but that does not ease the disgusted, queaziness I felt when seeing it squirm around.  Now, not only is my four-legged child recovering from his first diabetic spell, he’s got to expel vile, slimy worms.  Bleck.  When it rains, it floods in the land of Missey Twisted.  Fortunately, the local pet supply store had D-Worm. I poured a bit over his food.  He didn’t even notice it on his food and ate it all.  So now I’m on poop patrol, looking for worms.  I’ll give him another treatment in a couple of weeks.