Friday, September 27, 2013

Weighing options

Good morning! Yesterday's post was cathartic for me. I have been frustrated for a number of years as I witness the service professions take advantage of  home owners. Through no fault but my own, I let it happen. Therefore, I will continue to share my faux pas with readers as a community service. That's service. 

Speaking of which, as I peruse the websites helping our Tink locate the perfect job, I found a few for myself. There is one a few minutes from the house that pays double of what I currently make plus I am qualified for it. The only problem is that it is a twelve month contract and I would have to be in the office 5 days (at least a week). This can pose a few issues for me as I love working at home and showing up at work for classes and meetings. Do I want a challenge or do I stay where I am comfortable? It is certainly something to ponder. Plus the job is largely administrative and I, for one, really loathe having to manage other people for a number of reasons.

And so, I will sit back and consider whether I should pursue the job or focus on my students who struggle to understand what I am saying in class....a dilemma.....In other words, do I look for a position where people do understand what I say and won't follow through OR where people don't understand and cannot follow through.....which is the less frustrating position to be in?

As far as the big kid is concerned, today is his first fall scrimmage and he is set to pitch. There are multiple unanswered questions that will be answered by 10 pm tonight.

~Will he bring it tonight? Can his fast ball hit its mark over the plate?

~Has the pitching doctor's program actually increased his velocity?

~Will he be able to manage his head and thoughts as he tried to impress the new coaches?

~Can he overcome his doubts?

~Will I get a happy or salty phone call tonight to review the game's events?

~Do I need to start praying now or at 6 pm?

What can I say? No matter what kind of job you choose, there are doubts and anxieties associated with it. The big leftie and I are really more alike than either of us want to admit. I, too would be nervous and have troubles if the entire team was staring at me. Coming back from an injury is not easy. Will he still have his stuff? Can he use his new mantra 'attack' as he throws the ball and can he block out his thoughts and the crowd's cheers and boos? Why does he want to do this? Wouldn't he prefer a job that is not contingent upon a group of people watching your every move? He could be drafted by a team in the midwest, traded to a team in Canada, or be sent to Central America to pitch.  What about Japan? Their cost of living is sky high? Does he really want this lifestyle and ambiguity? Does he have a strong enough personality to handle it? Do I?

Ah, so many questions and a ball has yet to be thrown. So, I will take my convoluted thoughts and focus on the job that I have and worry about something else....such as finding my chocolate Rolo cookie recipe for Tank's next food competition. There is nothing better than a chocolate cookie with caramel in the center....nothing....really....try it...

As they say in Little League: "Play ball!"


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Angie's List

Good morning! Hope all is well. I am sitting in the family room waiting for the electrician to stop by to fix an outdoor light. He is reliable and I found him on Angie's List. This is not a commercial for Angie but a warning for home owners throughout the US.....why?

Well.....last winter, the freezer stopped working.

I was dismayed and called the Appliance Doctor. Why am I using the actual name in the blog? Hmmmm...why is the story. The AD comes to the house to check out the he walks into the kitchen, he says aloud: "Gee, you have a nice house." Warning signs went up but I kept my head and showed him the freezer. "You need a little wire, new freon, and something something".....OK, how much? Now, this is a fairly new freezer. The GE that I have in the garage is over 25 years old and I had it serviced once. Therefore, I am still astonished that the big fridge in the kitchen needed anything at all. much? Without missing a beat...he says "$1000.00". Huh? What? For the freezer? We are not encrusting the ice trays with gold and diamonds. All I need is for my ice cream to stay frozen. "$1000.00."

Ok, so I call dad. I am not going to spend that kind of money on a little wire and freon. No way....I catch him at a bad time. He's busy and the AD and his flunkie are staring at my house. Dad doesn't blink...'pay it, the guy is there.' Really? Oh, I do not like where this is going. And so, I gave him the nod to do the work that took less than one hour. As he completed the work, I said to AD: "I feel that you are stealing from me right in my own home..."

"oh no, ma'm. These are the prices set by the United Refrigeration Association."

"Uh, really. The URA endorses that you enter my home and rip me off?"

"Those are the prices..."

Ok, I numbly handed him the check. He had to actually pull it out of my hand because I was seething for a number of reasons. First, I called AD. Second, I am an idiot for paying it. Third, I should have thrown him out of the house and called someone else.

AD and his flunkie left and according to dad's records cashed the check right away. I was furious and called the AD agency to complain. Apparently, my repairman is a subcontractor. Therefore he can set his rates.

Without returning my five calls and three emails, I gave up and learned a valuable lesson. And I share it with you: "Do not use Appliance Doctor!"

Moving on....I needed some electrical work done. So, alot smarter and much poorer, I joined Angie's List. As I perused the ads and read the customers' ratings, I called three electricians for estimates. That's writing....

Electrician number one comes in...looks around....looks at the work that needs to be done and says: "$4000.00. I know it may seem high, but I do excellent work as you can surmise from Angie's List." When I reported back to dad on this estimate, I cannot repeat what he said.

On to number two...his ratings were good. Customer service ratings were high. I called him. He answered immediately and came out the next day. He walked around the house and before he even opened his mouth, I said to him: "I am tired of being overcharged." Not blinking, we continued to look at the work and he offered some good suggestions. He sent the estimate through email and came out $2800.00 less than the first guy. Why? I dunno...Although I have a few suspicions....

Electrician number 1 called me after number 2 left. He immediately wanted to know why I did not choose him. As I told him that he was too expensive, he exploded. "You will not have a better electrician out there. I always come back and take care of my customers. I may be able to decrease the estimate if I tinker with some of the work!"

OK, dude...if you could 'tinker' with the price, why did you try to hose me in the first place? That's right, you thief! I am much smarter now and a lot poorer after the AD fiasco. I never called him back and almost feel like posting on Angie's List how he tried to bully me after I rejected his proposal. But, he would know that it was me who posted, and I do not want to see or hear from him again.

Right now, electrician number 2 finally made it to the house and is outside since one of my lanterns burned out. Yeah, I is only a few years old. But this nightmare began a few months ago when dad went to change a light bulb in the lantern next to the garage. He actually broke it while trying to pry the base off. So, I took the fixture to an elderly man who rewires lamps and lanterns. After paying $100 to fix a $125.00 fixture, electrician number two re-hung it to the garage. Sadly, this weekend, the lantern did not work, so I called my reliable, cost effective guy back.

As he took the lantern off, number 2 could see that my elderly man who charged me $100 to rewire it, placed the wrong wires in the fixture. Therefore, the wires burned out. So, he has rewired the lantern for the second time in three months and charged me $100.00. Now, I have paid $200 dollars to rewire a lantern that was only $125.00. I had matches the others AND they no longer make it. So, I am stuck.

Now,  what do we learn about hiring service men and women to come into the house? I'll tell you....

1. always check references
2. sign up for Angie's List and read the reviews
3. Don't be bullied into hiring someone because he claims that he is 'good'. The really good guys do not make it a proclamation. They do the work. And then, they leave you with a few dollars in your pocket.
4. Always get an estimate. If the estimate is too high, show them the door and shut it on their way out.

There are honest repair people in this world. You have to take your time to find them. Don't let haste color your common sense.

Ok, I now need electrician two to fix my smoke detector. Does anyone have a money tree?


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On the case

Good morning! It's a bit chilly but gorgeous today. I am in love with the weather as I sit in my classroom and wait for my students to complete their projects. Yep, I am writing. They are's all good.

What's up? Hmmmm...not much....I love the way the phone calls from the big kid range from very high to extreme lows. It's like the weather. I don't know whether he will be chilly or heated....He mentioned that he had thrown a bullpen and was making great progress. Then his arm hurt and he had to shut down. As I questioned him, he mentioned that it was a result of conditioning and lifting weights. I wondered why the trainers and coaches would allow this. Doesn't it seem counterproductive? After all, if they injure themselves overdoing it, then the work outs are pointless.

Hearing my agitation, he had some interesting things to say...."Ma, we are all hurting...some guys' elbows hurt, their backs are sore, and others can't move their legs...."

Again...huh? Then why are they doing this? They work out two to three times each day. "Ma...we are pushing our bodies now so that they will be in tremendous shape down the stretch. Get it?"

Yeah, I got a headache. They are running the risk during the training drills of tearing something important or going down with a meaningful injury. I want to say: "Hey, cut it out. Just run a little, do some arm weights....throw a few sprints...." But nooooo....they are going to lift weights heavier than they are and run until they puke.

Nice imagery, right?

And so, I once again, will leave it to the professionals to know what they are doing. But I am watching....closely....very closely.....look out, BPM is on the case. Just don't blow it....

Thanks! Gotta run. It looks like the class is ready to chat about their work.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Good morning...we are headed for a week's worth of amazing weather. I wish that I could spend more time outside to enjoy it but like the rest of the planet, I have to work indoors. I am not sure why I complain about it since this is a blessing in the winter and hot days of the summer.

Anyway, the big kid was a happy camper yesterday. Apparently, he was able to long toss over 350 feet at the stadium. And, it did not hurt his arm! I believe that this is a good finding....

He also mentioned seeing the sports psychologist at school who has been waiting four years for him to stop by....Anyway, the doc said that he deserved the success that he is currently having....when other guys had faced what he has encountered over the past few years, they would have folded. Yet, this kid gutted it out. Also, when the leftie mentioned his inability to find the plate, the doc told him to start using single words in his head and focus on that rather than thinking too much. In other words, each time that he throws, he is to utter the word: "attack!" Yep, and so, the mind bending begins and hopefully the work attack will become his mantra.

I can see it now...years from now as he accepts his Cy Young award, he will be asked how he was able to overcome adversity. His response will be 'attack!' The second question will be 'how did you become so successful on and off the field? Again...the answer is 'attack!' Thanks doc!

On Showtime, I watched part of a documentary on the Williams sisters.

It seems that their younger years were spent on obsessing about tennis and becoming champions. Their father used a multitude of odd modalities that worked for them. As I listened to their words, I again realized that a person not only has to have an extraordinary work ethic to make it in professional sports but have a win at all costs attitude. This again translates into the world of baseball.

When his former coaches and team mates would call him a psycho for obsessing over technique, command, and training, he would doubt himself. It is guys like this who rather than help him to achieve, would put him down thereby adding a sense of not measuring up. Therefore, I once again submit for anyone's consideration that to be a champion, you have to be obsessive, compulsive, and live and breathe your sport. He does this and therefore, I have no doubts that he will be the best if he allows himself to achieve it. He has to program himself to have no doubts. He also has to figure out a philosophy of failure. After all, when he fails, it will be plastered all over campus. Eventually, it could be nationally broadcasted. Therefore, he has to figure it out and shut out the excessive stimulation. he will always be scrutinized by the public and have to figure out how to handle it. Fortunately, he has doc to help him through this year. I can breath....gotta go to class. have a good day!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oh Lawd! You look hot!

Hello! Fall weather has hit the region and I am not ready yet. The waistbands are still too tight and I am going to have to take drastic measures this week.....more about that later. A quick involves food or the lack thereof.

On to a very new research study that I actually agree with even before I see how the study was conducted. It seems that men stop caring about how they look at age 46. In other words, they give up. On the other hand, women gut it out until 59. Moreover, men start to give up 26 months after they are married.

Is this true? How many people did they poll? Did they look at the labels and sizes of their subjects' clothes? Did the researchers actually ask the question: "Do you care how you look today? Really? When did you stop caring?" Interesting....who in their right minds would have dreamed up this study and methodology? Perhaps one day while sitting at the picnic table eating her bagged lunch outside the classrooms, a social sciences professor declared after observing the clothes and demeanor of the teaching faculty suggested: "Hey, these people don't care how they look! I wonder how old they are and if they are married! Something to ponder....perhaps I can get a big government grant to pay for this inane study???"

And so, what are my thoughts on the topic? Well, as you can surmise, based on the number of months in my life that I have been on a diet, I do care. Although I frequently think: 'why?' Isn't there a point where a person just says "screw it" and plows into the cheesecake with a fork without cutting a slice? Aren't we supposed to have some fun in life? After all, eating rice cakes and Special K bars are far from fulfilling. It leaves a person wanting more and more...yet, we deprive ourselves in order to stay the magic size.

Also, how much money do we pay for hair and make up? How many of us start the coupon clipping as the end of year sales start and wait until everything on the rack is 75% off with a 20% off coupon? All we really want to do is hang out at home with our stretchy yoga or athletic pants on and a tee shirt, so why are we looking for the next great look?

I remember attending my 5 year reunion after high school; I guess that I was 23 years old and was astonished at how the guys looked...balding and fat. On the other hand, the girls looked amazing.

This year marks a big anniversary of the high school football team's  city championship win. I was in the stands and watched Big M, my brother in law, catch the wining touchdown in the end zone. It was a super day for the high school and now they are marking its anniversary in October and honoring the original football team. Obviously, Big M will be a large part of the celebration.

I mentioned this to Big Sis (Big M was her high school and college boyfriend and now they are married....), and said: "You have to get something special for the celebration to wear." her response was: "I am wearing jeans." OK, jeans are OK, but they have to fit and NOT be mom-jeans.

After all, we will be in the stands to see how your classmates have aged and whether they have given up or not.

Now supported by the aforementioned research, she doesn't understand my logic, so I will work on a poster presentation to enlighten her on the very important aspects of showing up for a reunion looking better, hotter, and younger than the rest. Is this too shallow?

Not that she has hit 59 yet as mentioned in the research....she has lots of time......However, with the spotlight on the team and their spouses, she has to bring it..... Therefore, I submit for your consideration...What is the most craved sentence a person wants to hear at a reunion?

Not.....'boy, you really let yourself go...'
' look, uh, nice....'
'is that really you?'

Instead a person wants to hear:
"You look the same" (dubious, this could backfire if you had pimples and braces in high school)
"You haven't aged!"
"Oh, look fine!"

Yep, I like the third sentence which is why I will continue to care how I look  past the age of 59 'cause I foresee lots of reunions in the future with those of us who took care of ourselves and can see the invitations without their glasses and walk through the doors of the high school gym without our walkers.

As far as Big Sis is concerned, I am on the case and will kidnap her and take her to the clearance rack with my coupon to find jeans that fit and do not need to be pulled up when she sits. Scooby, a make up artist, will apply her make up and I will find the right top and sweater. Big Sis does not know this now, but when the hero of the city championship game is introduced, she will be by his side....and people will say......

"You look the same"
"You haven't aged!"
"Oh, look fine!"

have a great day!