What Do I do?

I find this to be one of the most fascinating questions we ever seek to define.

I always like to say, “It depends.  Who is asking?’

The easy answer is I am a consultant.  Is that vague enough?

A lot of the additional response is always framed by the answer to my question, “Who is asking?

I bake.  That is one of the things I do.  Heck, I even made money doing, once upon a time, in a land, far far away.  We call it Kansas.

As a baker, I had to know how to read a recipe.  The recipe provides you the things you need to make something yummy.  Alas, that is but part of what is needed to bake.

Baking is a science and an art.  There is skill involved in creating a work of art from scratch.  This is why I have the utmost respect for those who can do it and make it look so easy.  Although it was amazing, I needed to find a way to make more money, a wee bit easier so that I could take care of the other responsibilities in my life.

I took this skill set of reading the recipe, accurately interpreting it and creating the masterpiece and began applying it to other things in my life so I could finance the rest of my life.  Somehow, slowly I became entrenched in telco, which is where I remain today.

Dang It

So I have been ranting and raving about all kinds of things that have been going through my head, as I attempt to train myself to write a post every day.

Well, one thing that I really haven’t pursued too deeply is my job.  There is a good reason for this.  Sometimes I love it.  Other times I hate it.  The one thing that it has done to me, repeatedly, is divert me from reaching my personal goals.

Thus why I missed posting yesterday.  To be honest, when I got done yesterday.  I was done.  The last thing I ever wanted to do was look at a keyboard, so there was no bloody way  I would be able to post.

I do not see this as a failure, but rather a fence post that it might be a good time to re-adjust my expectations.  Working a bajillion hours on a computer in a day is not necessarily conducive to writing a post on my blog every evening.  So it might be more realistic to adjust my expectations about posting every, single day.

The Hard Way!

I am so blessed!  Both of my parents are still alive!  They are getting older, but I am lucky enough to still have them around!  We are separated by distance, but isn’t the internet supposed to shorten the distance and bridge the miles?  The short answer is no.

My parents have internet access.  My parents connection.  What my parents don’t have is the dexterity to operate a traditional mouse or a basic understanding of how to operate a browser.  It makes it incredibly difficult to share information in a timely fashion without these basic skills.

I am nothing, if not tenacious.  The old saying ‘where there is a will there is a way’ seems to be my motto.  So whenever I try to email my father something, I have him check to make sure he has received it, and then we play the game where he tries to retrieve it or view it.  Heaven forbid he ever have his security settings set so he could allow a link to come across from a trusted source – Me.  I set my account up as a ‘trusted source’ last year, but it appears he has changed his settings, again.  He is a wee bit paranoid, God Bless Him for that!

Well, as he would say, ‘That doesn’t stop old Cisco.’  I have more relatives who are adopters of technology, so I just leverage that.  I tell Dad which relation I am sending the email to.  I add a header to the forwarded message, explaining the situation.  This will usually get a smile.  Wait a bit.  Dad calls the relative.  This is a no-fail solution.  Dad gets what he needs.  My relatives get an opportunity to visit with my father – this is truly time to be treasured!  I get to impress him.    But even I have to admit, this is the hard way.

Thank You Jeopardy

Thank you Jeopardy!  I truly believe you are why my children excel.  When they were young ones, I was the incredible disciplinarian.  They finally saved up enough money to buy a Nintendo and the only game I would let them own was Jeopardy.  I truly believe this is why they like to compete academically.  To this day, we will all make references to the good times we had playing that game and the goofy characters each of us chose.  My thoughts remain the same, there is nothing wrong with good, healthy competition.


PS – my goal for the month of June is to force myself to write a post each day.

New Cell Phone Time

Making the decision to buy a new cell phone.

Guess this is how I justify the expense.

We need them.  Ours are both over 2 years old and that is a lifetime  in cellular telephone technology. Bonus!   – this time I won’t have to go to remedial ‘gesture’ camp so I don’t crack the screen.   When we upgraded to the HTC EVO Shifts a couple of years ago it was a huge leap.  I had had a Samsung flip phone forever.  (A phone that I adored!)  When we got the EVOs I couldn’t even answer it.  For some reason, I couldn’t figure out how to swipe quick enough to answer!  All of my calls went straight to voicemail for the first month or so.  Finally, I had a member of my team show me.  I had to spend a weekend practicing before I finally got it right.

Now, two years later, I am pretty good at using my phone.  Add to that I have a Kindle Fire and an ipad, I pretty much have the whole gesture thing down.  I am not a huge Apple fan.  I love facetime – but I can do that on my ipad.  The iphone has serious limitations, in my humble opinion.  I don’t like closed systems.  I like the ability to add more memory to store pictures and ‘stuff’.  The Windows phone is not even in contention.  Droid it will be.

For years I was a Samsung loyalist, but the EVO was just too cool for school when we upgraded that fateful day over 2 years ago.  Based on everything I have read and the phones that I have played with, it looks like I will be going back to the Samsung.  The biggest question will be the carrier.  I am fond of the whole new approach that T-Mobile is trying.  It is refreshing to see a carrier break from tradition, especially when it is to the benefit of the customer.  My guess is when I make the jump, I will buy it outright, which means I wouldn’t be tied to them any longer than what I want to be anyway…..can’t believe I am even considering breaking with my long standing carrier and going to what has long been considered to be the number 4 carrier, but I like their style.

Keep an eye on this spot.  When it happens, I will report it here.

Getting Closer….

I continue to work toward breaking up with the humongous bank that has held me in their grasp for way too long.  Every week, I am one step closer.

My new bank had the opportunity to show me whether or not my decision to go with them was right.  Last week was the first auto-deposit of my pay check since beginning the transition.  I don’t know where the mistake in numbers came in, but there was an error made.  On Tuesday, I received an email from HR letting me know there was a problem with one of my  numbers.  I shivered in terror as this was one of my greatest fears when embarking on this transition from the old bank to a new one.  I wrote back to HR to see if they had additional information that might help me to resolve the problem.  Long story short, a number for a savings deposit was wrong and I had until 5 pm that day to get it resolved.  Yikes!

One of the challenges I have been encountering with the mega-bank is all of the red-tape to verify my identification.  I understand it, but they have taken it to a whole new level of ridiculousness.  There are times when a human-being needs to be able to complete  a transaction in a timely fashion without all of the red-tape.  Hmmm…come to think of it, this is exactly the final reason why I decided to make the jump in the first place.    This is the opportunity for the new bank to put its money where its mouth is and it is pleasant to report that they made it through this ‘relationship’ test with flying colors!

I checked everything over the past couple of days and the hiccup was just that, a hiccup.  Every step of the transaction has completed successfully!  Good job new bank!  You not only pay attention to the Customer and appear to do a reasonable job of the Management, but you surpassed my expectations in the ‘Relationship’ part of the equation.

Adolescent Parenting

First demographic data point – I was an adolescent parent.  My eldest child was born before I reached the age of 18.  I don’t fit into the the roughly  two-thirds of adolescent women who have children out of wedlock, I was married to the father.  That doesn’t mean he was incredibly helpful, employed full-time, or engaged, but at least I could check that box that said married.    Another dot!

Adolescent Parenting -Evidence:  

Not long after the birth of my daughter, I realized the father just wasn’t going to live up to all of the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ promises he had spun to me on those date nights not that long before, so I set out to right at least part of the wrong I had done to myself.  Subconsciously, I began choosing the path toward being demographically incorrect.

I was still in high school when my daughter was born.  High school and pregnancy don’t mix.   Due to some decisions earlier in my life I was faced with the adventure of having to complete the requirement for physical education the last semester of my senior year.  Needless to say, that requirement wasn’t met and I didn’t graduate.  Here I was, a young mother with a dreamer husband, facing the world without the basic credentials necessary to get a job.  Not a good plan.  I fixed that.  I got my GED and began studying to achieve a degree in Accounting.  Accounting is the language of business, so there would always be a job somewhere, not to mention I was clueless about how to write a check or balance a checkbook at the  age of 18.

Things were looking up.  I was working part time at the school.  My daughter was healthy and happy.  The husband was still a dreamer and decided he didn’t like being a cabinetmaker, so he was going to explore his options.   His options, as it turns out, were to watch daytime television while I worked by butt off.  One would think that this option would decrease the need for daycare so I could pursue the path that would improve future circumstances, but that wasn’t the case.  The daycare costs were killing me and at this point my measly wages -($.1.10 per hour) – were what was feeding our little family.  This didn’t meet the bills.  Fortunately, as part of the options exploring, we had moved in with his parents, so at least we didn’t have rent consuming the bulk of my pay.  I was going backwards rather quickly – student loans, daycare, clothing the baby.  I went to the bank.  Before I was married, I had worked a lot of jobs and was quite the saver.  When I had married, I brought those assets with me.  I was shocked to find my accounts drained.  My husband had become my ‘legal guardian’ as he was over 21 and I was still considered a minor.   In his capacity as my ‘legal guardian’ he chose to ‘guard’ my funds.  To this day, I don’t know where they went, but there are quite a few creditors out there that could probably point you in the right direction.  There is a pang deep in my soul when I think about that day and how it changed my view of him forever.  I write this off as naive.  I was young and dumb.  We have all been there.  It is what we do with that choice that makes the difference.

At first, I chose to ‘sick-it-out’ for the ‘sake of the children’ and my personal religious beliefs on marriage and divorce.  One day about the time my daughter was 18 months old, things began to change.  This situation was not improving and I wanted out.  The father of my children gave me an out.  I reached out to my family and explained to my father that I hated to admit it, but he was right and I needed out of the marriage.  This was the best thing for my daughter and myself and I would find a way to make it work.  It is one thing to be a ‘deadbeat’ and entirely another to be a ‘cheating-philandering deadbeat’ who is dragging us down with him.  There was a lot of that ‘father-daughter condemnation’ discussion.  There is nothing worse than being a head-strong teenager who has to go back to her loving family and tell them they were right all along.  I sucked up my pride and humbled myself.  I chose to do the right thing, given the best information available.  He was gracious and took care of me; he got me the best attorney he knew and we met.   There was a statement made during that meeting that would forever influence every decision I made for the rest of my life:  “This isn’t about you, it is about the children.  You and <insert ex-husband’s name here> are the adults.”

I overcame the fact that I was an adolescent parent by realizing I was an adult at the tender age of 19.