6-25-11 Saturday & 6-26-11 Sunday

Jim, Terry (Jim’s dad) and I went to the new house for a walkthrough with our salesperson.  With Terry’s construction knowledge, he was able to spot a few things that needed attention as well as put our minds at ease about things we thought were issues but really aren’t.  Confused?  That’s OK. 

Since I had to work today, I couldn’t be there the entire time.  Terry and Jim addressed all with Michelle and a list was born!  Builders don’t normally caulk every opening or gap.  I can see why.  Terry thought it would be beneficial to caulk around each window and door and where the wood meets the concrete.  They did some of this on Saturday and then on Sunday I was able to assist.  Well kinda.  I honestly didn’t do very much.  I was an errand runner (more caulk and lunch), an assistant and just over all stood there and looked pretty.

I did manage to pick up nails and screws I found around the house or property overall. 

2011-06-26 018Above: Tire hazards.

2011-06-26 002Above: Jim preps the window for caulk.

2011-06-26 004Above: Artistic snowman or perhaps the Heat Miser?

2011-06-26 005Above: What’s that at the entrance to the house?

2011-06-26 006Above: Oh.

2011-06-26 007Above: Look at all the caulk.

2011-06-26 009Above: Terry at work.2011-06-26 013Above: We have blackberry – raspberry bushes!

2011-06-26 014Above: Yes, we did bring a cooler with Mimosa stuff!

2011-06-26 015Above: Jim peeing.  This is here just so he’ll say, “I can’t believe you put that in the blog.” with a disapproving look.

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I’m not sure what the final number of caulking tubes was but I’d guess on 2.5 cases.  That’s a lot of caulk. 

Later that evening we went to 300 East for dinner.  The food was good and the service as seems typical was lack luster.  The food took a long time.  Our glasses seemed to run empty too often.  I’ll just add this place to my list of “I want to love it but I just can’t”.  Do you have any of those?  Places you want to love but each time you go back for another try, it just doesn’t work out?  Me and Jim’s list:

PF Changs:  It’s a chain but we like Chinese and thought this would be a great place to be able to go in any city and have consistent recipes.  Well, we’ve been consistently unimpressed 2 or 3 times.

Panda Express: Another chain only this one is fast food.  We’ve been there more times than I care to admit.  This place is a running joke with Jim because he always “tries” it and seem to forget that we don’t like it.  Secretly I think this is one of the places he wants to work out.

21 South: It’s a 2 location burger joint and it’s a dive.  It’s been mentioned on travel shows but we suspect maybe they paid to be mentioned since the food isn’t so spectacular.  It’s not bad but when you have an ambiance that screams dive, the food would have to be phenomenal to save it.  Jim has been to both locations.  End game.

AT&T:  I want it to work but they’re awful.  I love the phone.  I miss Verizon.  What a big mistake I made. 

Mert’s Heart and Soul: The service is terrible.  The food is OK.  The sweet potato cake is divine.  We’ve been there 4-5 times and I think we’re done trying.  If anything we’ll get the cake to go!

I try keeping an open mind thinking maybe that server was terrible.  Maybe I just didn’t care for that particular dish and I’ll try something different next time.  Some times the excuses I make for them just aren’t strong enough and it’s time to say goodbye.

What’s on your list?

6-23-11 Thursday (Me, Myself And I)

It’s the 11th anniversary of my 30th birthday!  I went to work.  I made a goal and got to pick a prize at work.


I filled out an online survey for my recent Olive Garden visit.  I thought the following question to be confusing.  How many people were WITH me including myself?  Myself wasn’t with me.  Maybe how many people in your party including yourself?  Perhaps people didn’t understand because there wasn’t a party?  Hmmmmmm.

OG Survey

Other than that, it was an uneventful birthday which is fine by me.

I was offered to come in on Friday for an earlier shift (just for that day).  10-6:30.  I snatched it up. It worked out great since Jim’s Dad arrives here Friday evening and will be here for the weekend.  Aside from visiting, he’ll do an inspection on the house’s progress so far.  We’ve got a walkthrough with our salesperson, Michelle, scheduled for 10 am on Saturday.  I have to work at 11:30 so I was able to partake in most of it.  For the remainder of the day, they worked on caulking windows and doorways for extra protection.

Our new computer program at work… never mind, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  Who am I kidding?  I like it for the most part but can’t believe they rushed it into production.  For whatever reason, for some users it’s disastrous while for others like myself, it’s OK with problems here and there. Some co-workers can barely operate.  Some have hardly taken calls.  Several IT people and supervisors are constantly in little cubicle huddles.  Wow.

They’ve also decided to change out the phone system software soon.  I had to take a computer based course on how to use it.  It almost seems more powerful but at the same time, it seems to cater to foreigners or something.  I’m so tired of words being replaced by symbols.  Simple buttons previously marked as “hold”, “conference” and “transfer” have all been replaced with dumb symbols.  My most commonly used buttons are now conveniently located in a dropdown menu.   I wish I could show you screen shots of some of the crap people come up with to “improve” systems.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to caulk I go…

6-22-11 Wednesday (The Road To No Where)

I’m off today!  Yay!  I found out via a coworker’s text that the boring teacher we had is no longer with our company.  I had a strong opinion that she shouldn’t be teaching - yet when I spent class with her for 2 days, I felt sorry for her. I even gave her top scores on a survey… which I was guilted into doing I guess.   I still felt as though she was in the wrong position.  Either way, I hate to hear about anyone losing their job.  I hope she finds something quickly that suits her better.

Here’s some photos from the past weekend:

2011-06-19 010Above: Dasher Dog.

2011-06-19 003Above: Clea Cat in the midst of a meow.

Below: Dasher plays with Clea:2011-06-19 0052011-06-19 0062011-06-19 0082011-06-19 009

Jim spotted this in the grocery store:

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What a strange mix he said.  I figured it’s the only 2 things picky kids will eat so they paired them?  Oh… and it’s a good source of protein.

The plumber guy came to fix the kitchen sink leak.  He needed a part and said he’d be back.  In the mean time, I had a roofing nail in the Jeep’s tire earlier this week and needed to get it repaired.  I ended up replacing both front tires.  The plumber guy never showed back up so at 4pm I had to call them back. 


Customer highlights for the week:

A man born in 1956 called.  I had to explain, SEVERAL times, the difference between a credit card and a debit card.

A young girl called and wanted to know how much it was to open an account.  I replied, “$100 deposit for checking and $25 for savings.”  “What’s the difference?”, she replied.  I gave an uncomfortably long pause as my brain struggled to figure out her question.  After what seemed like an eternity, I asked, “between checking and savings?”  I explained.

I got another customer who wanted to borrow twenty.  I asked, “20 thousand?”  He said, “20 dollars just till next Thursday.”

Today I went to Discount Tire to get my tire repaired (under it’s lifetime road hazard warranty).  The tire with the roofing nail in it was very close to the wear bars.  The other tire wasn’t far behind so I had both tires replaced.  While they worked on the Jeep, I headed across the street for lunch.  Have you ever seen roads that lead no where?  I chuckle to myself every time I see things like this that are ready for future expansion:

2011-06-22 001

It might be years or never before something continues yet they painted arrows.  In Fort Myers, FL there is a McDonalds with something similar only it has a stop sign facing the grass.  Now that’s really ready yet it’s been like that for over 10 years. 

I found this on TOSH.O’s website.  I love Tosh.  He’s a genius.  If you watch his show, be prepared to feel embarrassed and maybe even horrified.  You might even hate him.  But… most of the times he’s more funny than offensive.  I plan to retype this and mail it to my shit head neighbor.  I do.


Holy crap.  I can’t believe I’ve had so much of nothing to say. 

My birthday is tomorrow and since I’ll be working, Jim took me out to dinner.  My pick was Olive Garden.  Sheesh I have so many haters about chain restaurants.  My cousin’s Facebook Check-in comment was “What, is there no real Italian food in Charlotte?”   I love the cream dishes there.  I don’t order pasta and red sauce.  I like the garlic creams, and other fattening cream sauces.  I get breaded fried pork cutlets which comes with a side of tortellini in garlic cream sauce (Pork Milanese).  So, does Joe’s Italian have better bread crumbs than Olive Garden?  Is his oil better?  Whatever.  I like it.  Jim likes it.  And bread sticks with a side of Alfredo Sauce?  Yum.  Olive Garden’s salad dressing?  Go suck on a piece of fruit.


Jim had some new special that he said was OK.


I will say that tonight we did receive the best service we’ve had in a long time.  I swear our server was a mind reader.  She was awesome and I’ll be filling out a survey tomorrow.  I already grabbed a manager on the way out and told her all about Kelim.

We both managed to over eat even though we took home half our meals.  Next we went on to the house to check it’s progress then onto Coldstone for dessert.  They were out of chocolate, vanilla and several other flavors.  We left and went to another location.  Losers.  You deal with icecream and ran out?  Ugh.

6-21-11 Tuesday (Please Recycle!)

I’ve been too busy to blog.  It’s hard to believe… I know.  Now I’m trying to think about what we did over the weekend.  Saturday I worked.  Jim went thrift store shopping.  He met up with Beth.  They had lunch.  Details are sketchy.  They toured the house and spotted what looks to be mold on the trusses.  Jim’s dad gave us some suggestions to determine if it’s really mold or not.

I called AT&T to complain about my woes with the reception and even the Microcell they provided me doesn’t work right.  I don’t feel like recapping the whole conversation but 86 minutes later there was no resolution.

Saturday night after work… I don’t remember.  I’ll come back to this if my amnesia resolves itself.

Sunday, Jim and I went to brunch at Mimi’s.  Shocker.  Jim had one mimosa too many and I had to drive (once I sobered up).  Hic.  Don’t judge.  I love our life.  Really.  Don't judge. 

We stopped at the new house and inspected the site.  There’s a few issues.  Nothing major.

Sunday evening Mike and Billy came over.  We played Uno.  Billy won.  I made chicken tacos in the crockpot which were tasty.  I got this recipe from a blog I follow called “A Year of Slow Cooking”.  She challenged herself to cook at least one meal, side dish or dessert in her crockpot once a day for an entire year which turned out to be a leap year.  She gained so many followers, eventually attracting media attention and then a cookbook deal!  I hadn’t followed her blog from the very start but I was following before she got famous.  Fun stuff.   Here’s the recipe I used - here.

Comedian Rita Rudner said something about being able to tell a lot about your neighbors by looking in their recycling bin:

2011-06-21 011Above: With clean hands we enjoy wine and a Diet Dr. Pepper knock-off while reading the newspaper?

Jim’s Grandma called Monday and said she’d be here in a couple of hours.  On her way to Georgia she couldn’t get to her exit in time and then hit traffic because of an accident so she decided to just come on by.  It was a welcomed visit.  Her and Jim were able to get by the new house for a tour with little daylight to spare and then went on to dinner. 

Tuesday she and I went to AT&T to swap out the Microcell (long story for another post), toured the house again, ate lunch, she departed and I went to work.  We went my the house so that I could see what they had done to get the master bath tub in.   Shhhhhhh, Grandma doesn’t know I took pictures of her.

2011-06-21 020Above: The shower/tub combo!

2011-06-21 012Above: The studs and wood and plastic had to be cut out to get the tub to the 2nd story.

2011-06-21 014Above: Grandma walks up stairs to inspect.

2011-06-21 015Above: Our awesomely large tub.

2011-06-21 016Above: Grandma sees the gaps from where the hole was cut.

They’ll repair it all properly.  Our rep, Michelle, says it was only a temp fix and it wouldn’t pass inspection.  She went on to tell us:

The framers have not been back in since they finished up last week, so there are still the repairs they need to fix.  It looks the same today as it did yesterday, and the end of last week.  Roger has made quite a few marks on studs for them to replace and/or repair.  They are on another job now, but will be back to make the proper adjustments.

The manufacture of the floor joists has acknowledged the mold on the wood.  They said this is fairly common this time of year with delivery and the rainfall.  They will be out to treat the wood after the HVAC goes in.  Roger thinks HVAC will be complete on Thursday, so they are tentatively planning to come on Friday. 


I almost think I should have broke all of this out into multiple posts but the dates are all blurred.  We’ve got an under kitchen sink leak going on, a roofing nail from our construction site stuck in my tire, AT&T issues, work, house guests, and new house issues.  It’s a lotta stuff going on.

6-17-11 Friday (Recorded For Quality Assurance…)

Our Asheville trip has been rescheduled for the end of July.  Jim needs to make the reservation changes.  I was a little leery of even rescheduling since mid August is the estimated completion time for the house.  I was thinking to take time off then.  Jim’s thinking was to use vacation time off for fun and not moving.  We’ll take a day or 2 off for moving or whatever but not the entire week.  I like Jim’s thinking.  Time off for fun, not for moving.  Sign me up!  Actually, on Tuesday I submitted my time off requests and was instantly approved.  I guess the end of July isn’t very popular for time off.  I probably too hot to do anything.

Jim is still training on his new project with his job to underwrite for a different bank.

I had some issues with the new system at work today but managed.  The phones have been insane for the past 2 weeks.  Tomorrow is typically a slow day and I’ll actually welcome that.  It will give me a little time to explore the new system a little more and gain some speed with it. 

The worst part about it all is that there’s constant bulletins regarding workarounds for system issues.  My head is spinning.  I can’t remember all of them nonetheless where to even read about them if the issue arises.  Attention great big bank corporation big wigs, don’t be so eager to release a system that’s so buggy.  It should have stayed in Pilot testing until it was near perfect.

The other thing is that our calls are constantly being recorded and we have a department that scores them.  3 random reviews a month which affects bonus.  Some say it’s a way to lower bonuses.  I have 2 more to go for the month.   With me learning the new system and trying to remember the 15248.62 system issues and workarounds, this is a bad thing.  If I get scored low because I didn’t say my name, I accept that.  If I get scored low for something with this new system, I’m gonna be livid.  There should be a grace period like there was then I first came to the floor.  During my FIRST call yesterday I ran into something we weren’t taught in class already.  Very stressful.

DasherAbove: Dasher loves sunbathing in the yard

Jim stopped by the house and said that some plumbing has been installed.  He said there may be issues with getting our large master tub upstairs.  It’s a one piece and they had to remove studs from the garage to get it into the main house.  How will they get it up stairs?  Stay tuned.


I haven’t done this in a long time:

DIH - Bridge 6/2009: Oklahoma City!  Highlights include: Creepy vampire army photo. Route 66.  Barbwire displays.  Tools.  Memorials.  What’s it all mean?Click here to see.

6/2010: I lost 10 pounds on Weight Watchers!  Click here to see.

6-15-11 Wednesday & 6-16-11 Thursday


Today is normally me day off but due to training it will be tomorrow.  We finished up training and headed out to the “floor” to watch coworkers in action with the new system.  Unfortunately, everyone had their own “interpretation” of how to use the new system.  One person wouldn’t use one aspect while another wouldn’t use another.  Some of us were doing things we didn’t have to anymore.  It was like we all worked at different companies.  I wonder what my “interpretation” will be?

Armed with enough knowledge to be dangerous, we returned to the training room to take a final computer assessment and then a survey about the class.  I scored everything positively… even the instructor.  Originally I was going to blast her but then she didn’t say li-berry anymore a coworker, Lee, convinced the class to score her positively.  He compared her surveys to that of what we get from customers and our job.  Ugh.

It was time to head out to the floor and get to work… so my boss said.  I took 2 calls.  On my first, one of the screens wouldn’t pull over information I needed.  On the second call I constantly got an error while trying to order a debit card.  Others were having various problems so we were all pulled off the phones to continue watching until they could get the system working for us.  That meant 2 hours of nothing.  I wandered and watched others in action.  I also started a list of improvements I’d like to see on the new system.  Yes, already.  Some of it is really nice and other parts are weak.

My company has a fantastic online recommendation box of sorts.  The company tracks them, assigns them to supervisors, etc.  A few days ago I reported an error on a screen that we still use with the new and old system.  I submitted my suggestion and a day later a supervisor asked for clarification and a demonstration stating she needed to gather more information for a conference call.  Wow.  That impressed me.  I even got a little pin in interoffice mail commending me.  I’m a nerd.


Laundry, grocery shopping, etc.  All the typical stuff - although somewhere about mid-day I felt exhausted then a little while later I felt bored out of my skull.  Go figure.

I did get to stop by the house again:

2011-06-16 001

Above/Below: We have windows!  We have shingles going on!

2011-06-16 002

Later when Jim got home from work, we went again.  He hasn’t seen the interior upstairs at all.  A couple of times he’s come by, workers were on site.

2011-06-16 003Above: Workers gone.  Shingles installed.

Neighbors.  There’s always the one.  You know.  The one (or 2 or 3).  The one that keeps Christmas lights up or takes 3 days after trash pickup to remove their trash cans or the loud music or won’t mow or whatever.  (You can see our past gripes with our neighbors here and here.

Caddy corner from our future house is an Asian family.  Well, the men I saw were Asian but I’m not sure what she is.  Anyway, they’re on the other side of the drainage ditch (like we have). 

2011-06-10 006

What’s with all the crap they left in the water?  They made a dam.  The above photo is from 7 days ago.

During today’s house visit, she’s using a hoe and tending her garden.  They’ve decided to plant stuff. They made a rock/wood retaining wall. Did they plant crops?

2011-06-16 005

2011-06-16 006

I’m not sure that they have rights to the ditch quite frankly.  And so it starts.  There goes the neighborhood.

6-14-11 Tuesday (Spiders Mow Lawns Too)

I stopped by the house today.  I was lucky enough that no workers were present which meant that I could tour the house!  Yay!  With stairs and all I was able to walk around upstairs.  Now… finally… I’m getting real excited. 

I took a bunch of photos and then decided to film a walk through video.

As I finished filming the first floor, the superintendent, Roger, pulled up to the house so I resumed filming after he left.

Here’s some still photos:

2011-06-14 011Above: Trey ceiling in master.

2011-06-14 002Above/Below: Ready for shingles!2011-06-14 003

2011-06-14 004Above: Garage

2011-06-14 006Above: Kitchen + back door.

2011-06-14 007Above: Stairs!  We have stairs!

Today was my first day of training.  The trainer I was doomed to have taught.  The thing with her is that she’s emotionless.  She reads from the text book and asks “volunteers”  to read various passages from our workbooks.  The other problem is that she’s probably never done our jobs or used the the new system live herself so she wasn’t able to answer questions that weren’t in the book.  She kept a list of things we’d have to ask someone else about.  Perhaps because I’m interested in learning the new system, oddly, I didn’t space out.

We have a system we use called the “------- Library”.  It’s a reference system we use to look up policies and procedures.  It’s our work bible of sorts.  If I have to hear that woman say “Li-berry” one more time I’m gonna scream.  It’s Li-brar-y.  [lahy-brer-ee, -bruh-ree, -bree]

A good thing is that they had an experienced banker, Josh, come in and help explain some of the features.  He’s been on the system using the pilot version for months now.  Since he’s also used the old system, he was perfect to explain the differences.  He’s also a funny person.  Here’s a photo of him I swiped from his Facebook page:


He wore a Spiderman mask while he mowed the lawn just for the shock and awe value.  He said people would stop their car, back up, roll the window down and snap a photo.  This makes him awesome.

6-13-11 Monday (Coupon Karma)

A few weeks ago my employer gave out ginormous thermal mugs.  Just fill out this form and pick one up.


So… these papers were laying all over the place.  There’s 10,000 employees in my building (so I’m told).  What a waste.  Let’s save plastic bottles, screw the trees.  Maybe some signs should have been posted at the entrances and allow for an employee to print out the form if needed?  Perhaps 2 per page?  I dunno.  The overall idea, purpose of this was awesome!  With a little discount, this should cut down on waste.  It would be nice to hear a “report” a few months later as to how this saved money or the amount of trash.  I assume they track their Styrofoam cup purchases.  Additionally, giving this out to each new hire will keep this campaign going.

Speaking of new hires, I’ve heard that the new hires who are being interviewed by the recruiter are still being told their schedule will be 8-6.  (I blogged about this here).  Sometime later this week, sources will be coming in for an interview and I’ll find out what they’re being told by supervisors rather than recruiters. 

Last week, our department held a contest for best themed summer decorated team areas.  I suggested a Hawaiian Luau theme figuring that with our $30 budget, a lot can be had for that at Dollar Tree.  Someone beat us to the punch and started decorating before we could even get motivated enough to shop for the stuff.  My boss picked out “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere” as the new theme.  Although I don’t have any photos of it, it basically turned out to be margarita cups, umbrella straws, flip flops and the like.  A team next to me did:

2011-06-10 012

Christmas in July as it was called.  They went all out however it was far over the $30 allowance although we’re guessing most of the stuff was brought in from people’s homes.  Behind all of this was the winning theme which I think was the Hawaiian theme I suggested.  It too seemed to have a lot more decorations than $30 could buy.  All jealousy aside, it was definitely a team spirit builder and I’m sure that’s what it was intended for.  While I do pick on my company for some things, I do certainly recognize the cool stuff they do.

On Saturday we stopped into Old Navy with a Groupon Jim had to get $20 in clothes for $10.  An end cap had a sweatshirt on it with a sign that said $10.  At the register it rang up double the price.  Jim told the cashier of the sign who then accompanied Jim to the display.  The sign was for different shirts on the rack but she joyfully gave him the shirt for that price.  Some time yesterday Jim got car bumper dirt on his white Chaps shorts while loading groceries into the trunk.  Last night he threw in all the perma-press stuff into the wash.  This morning I found the new sweatshirt had red all over it from a cheap red t-shirt.  Yet, his white shorts had nothing on them?  Maybe it was because the red t-shirt laid against the sweatshirt and the shorts didn’t?  I saw I had a Shout Color Catcher sample on my laundry products shelf so I threw that in and rewashed the clothes.  The stain is still there.  I’ll be “working” on getting it out over the next few weeks.  Damn it!  It’s Coupon Karma!  She’s a bitch!


A blue Polo got “hit” too.  Ugh.  Yet those damn white shorts were just fine.

On my way to work I stopped off to buy some Carbona Color Run Remover.  It was clearanced for $1.25 so I bought 2. 


After work, I rewashed both shirts.  The blue Polo apparently wasn’t colorfast since it removed all the color from the shirt EXCEPT for the blotches it was supposed to remove.  The pink blotches turned blue while the rest of the blue was gone.  Ruined.  The Old Navy shirt kinda  worked.  What was pink was now a different shade of blue and hard to tell.  It might just pass off.  We’ll see.

The house is moving along so quickly now it’s mind boggling!  Jim checked on it’s progress today but per the builder’s request, we are to stay out of it while workers are there.  Our salesperson, Michelle, has reported a couple of errors that she caught that we hadn’t seen yet since we couldn’t enter the site.  The stairs are in, trey ceiling moldings, etc.    I’ll visit it before work tomorrow and see what’s happening.

Speaking of work, I have 2 days of training.

6-12-11 Sunday (Priceless Mistakes)

Jim had a 2 for 1 coupon to Bravo! Cucina Italiana for their brunch.  Jim had the crab cakes thingy and I had the Panini.  We both enjoyed our meals and the uniqueness of them.


We ordered beverages… the alcoholic kind.  After all, it was after 12pm.

imageJim’s selection

imageMy selection

2011-06-12 017

Our mistake was that we ordered these drinks even though the menu had no price listed.  Our second mistake is that we didn’t ask the price.  The Mimosa was 6frickin50 and served in a champagne flute.  It was tiny.  My sangria was served in a wine glass but was still 7frickindollars.  Good thing we only had one.

The verdict, we’d like to enjoy their brunch FOOD again but never again with their alcoholic beverages.  Bite me.

Brunch with alcoholic beverages have become Jim and I’s weekly indulgence.  We’ve become “old gays” and we’re OK with that… really. 

After brunch we went grocery shopping and then came home and relaxed for a while.  Later, Billy and Mike came over.  The plan was to order pizza and play cards which we did sans the card playing.  We got wrapped up in discussions.