3-22-13 Friday (Great Job! Oh, Nevermind.)

I’ve never only shared the good stuff that has happened to me.  I’ve often shared the bad stuff and poked fun at myself.  Even when the bad is embarrassing in ways.

Loan appThursday at work, I received a really huge compliment and an hour later it was shattered.  So let me explain.  You know I’m a home equity loan underwriter, which I’m very new to doing.   An underwriter reviews loan applications, assesses risk by reviewing income, liabilities (credit report), value of the home, and all sorts of other facts to form an opinion about whether or not this is a good or bad risk for the bank.  Right now, I have no “lending authority”.  That means that when I make a decision on a file, it is reviewed by someone else and they agree/disagree with my decision and point out errors I’ve made. 

So what happened?  Well, I trained for 6 weeks.  No previous experience.  I have officially underwritten for only 13 days.  On the 14th morning, I was approached that I needed to sign a paper and I was most likely going to receive my authority.  Wow!  Already?  I had underwritten a lot of files.  I’d be the first in my class of 15.  I’m competitive so that’s a really big plus for me.  BUT it’s not final till it gets approved by some big wig which will take 24 hours to 1 week.  Wow, lending authority means no big brother looking at every file.  Only random files will get pulled as spot checks.  I pat myself on my back and gloat.  Damn I’m good. 

Approved deniedNo, we don’t use stamps.

An hour after I’m all excited, I receive a fail.  I’m told that my authority has been put on hold and that I have to get some more “pass” files.  I’m bummed.  At the end of the day I receive another fail.  I’m devastated.  

1st placeI’m over it now.  I made a list of pros and cons of what getting lending authority would mean to me personally.  It’s really better for me and the bank if it goes slower.  Catch the mistakes now before they impact my job later. BUT I really wanted (I might still be) to be the first.  It’s that status. 

On Friday morning, at work I was mopey.  A few hours into the day I realized that the most important thing in all of this is that I love my job. I’m not in sales anymore.  No more customer service.  I talk to maybe one customer a week.  My work space is deafeningly quiet.  I like that.  I take a break when I want to.  I take lunch when I want to.  Every file is unique and interesting.  The people I work for are awesome.  What more could I want?   Oh yeah, to be first.  Smile

3-12-13 Tuesday (Non-Attentive Attendants)

Saturday night we went to Beth’s house for a birthday dinner that her sister perfected. Stuffed mushrooms… divine. Homemade spinach fettuccine noodles... spectacular. Homemade chicken Alfredo with a side of shrimp to mix in… delectable. I’m not even saying all of this because she’s going to read this. Fact is, she doesn’t know how to read. No, no, just kidding. She doesn’t read the blog; I don’t even think she goes onto the Internet. Neither does Beth for that matter. Anyway, it was all so delish.

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I’ve kind of been itching to see Oz: The Great and Powerful. So… we went. Studio Movie Grill was offering free admission with the donation of 2 canned goods. We brought 2 bags worth of stuff. We figured that would be worth the 3D admission. What’s so great about Studio Movie Grill? Well, it’s in the heart of Uptown Charlotte. It has a full bar. The seats are far apart from one another and has a table that swings out like a school desk chair arm. The seats were comfortable and roomy.  I liked the movie!  How about you?

SMGAbove: Stock photo

SeatsAbove: There’s not many seats which is awesome.  You can reserve your seat online.

2013-03-10 007Above: In case you wondered… Yes, I wanted to skip it. No, I didn’t.

On the way to see the movie, we got rear ended… and not in a good way. Jim’s rear bumper had very slight damage.  A little cracking of the paint on the lower end of the bumper.  We decided not to pursue.  The guy apologized profusely and even offered us cash but we declined.  My neck started bothering me a little later and then I was starting to regret our decision.  By the next day I was fine.

We went to Moe’s before dinner.  I had never eaten there previously.  Jim has once. The burrito making guy had the personality of a gnat.  I think their guacamole sucks and their chicken burrito was dry.  I think the chicken was old. I prefer Salsarita’s.

Jim parked the car while I was getting the tickets.  He parked at some lot run by Preferred Parking, a pretty popular company in Uptown.  Parking was $5, Jim only had a $10.  The guy didn’t have change but said he’d have it by the time he returned.  When we returned there was no attendant.  Jim called and talked to an answering service.  Some guy called back and asked Jim to call back Monday.  Jim told him to have them call him.  Monday no return call thus far.

After all that excitement for the day, we went food shopping. First stop, BJs.  We passed a Mercedes Benz SUV parked in a handicap spot (it had a placard) with a screaming infant.  There was no one in the front seats.  We took a closer look, like real closer, like when you have to cup your hands to see in because of the glare, and saw a 5 year old with an infant.  The kid rolled down the window with one of them fancy switches, and I asked where his mom was.  He replied, “in the store”.  I asked what his mom’s name was to which he replied “Ebony”.  I tracked down a BJ’s employee who radioed a manager and agreed to page this woman.  In the meantime I called 911.  The first of 2 cops arrived.  He asked for my name, address, phone, DOB.  He talked to the kid who turned out to be 6 and agreed that was too young to be left alone.  I went inside but noticed a woman running toward the exit.  I had to follow.  It was the mother.  Glad she could run with that handicap placard and all…  Anyway, that was it.  Just another thing to make my day fabulous.

On Tuesday, Jim was able to resolve the parking change issue.  The lot had been rented out to a church or something so Preferred Parking said they weren’t responsible.  They said they didn’t have their number.  Jim persisted.  If you rented to them, how could you not have a contact?  He called the church who took a message and had someone call him back who apologized and it taking care of it.

3-8-13 Friday (Guest Bedroom Décor?)

ExperienceTraining ended last Friday.  Computers weren’t hooked up and ready for us until Thursday late afternoon.  For the 4 days we just worked in the training room which was fine.  One of the facilitators stayed in the room with us to assist when needed.  There was a lot of assisting going on.  It’s not that we’re all (just some) dumbasses, it’s just that every file tends to be so unique until we gain experience. 

I checked the Alaskan cruise prices again and our booked trip went up another $100.  That’s $300 per person higher than when we booked.  We’re locked into the lower rate but it’s certainly interesting to see it go up.  I’m glad we booked early.  I can’t wait to share with you the excursions we booked.  I don’t want to bother yet since we’re not sure which cruise we’ll be on.  I plan to make the post somewhat color coded so less interested readers can skip over me gloating about how great this or that will be.

Jim’s company hosted a cocktail party in Uptown Charlotte Friday night. 

Attire: Cocktail - ladies are encouraged to wear cocktail dresses, and gentlemen are encouraged
to wear coats and ties (please, no denim)
What: Cocktail party; drinks, appetizers, and desserts will be served

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The event took place in Founder’s Hall which was a strange venue since it’s kind of like a mall.  It’s attached to a performing arts hall too but still.  Free booze, free appetizers.  The band was awesome.

I have to catch up with some pictures I’ve had in my camera and on my phone:

2013-02-07 020Above: This was wedged in so tight.  I couldn’t get the box past the mailbox’s curled edge.  On the inside of the box, the edge isn’t curled but rather had a lip.  I had to crush the box inside to get it through.  The post office never ceases to amaze me. 

2013-02-24 002Above: Some how, when we weren’t home, the huge yellow container of laundry detergent fell and splashed everywhere.  Apparently the bottom of it sank in on the edge of the shelf and caused it to slip off.  I’ve since added grippy shelf liner under it.We had to move the washer/dryer around to clean up the mess.  As much as I cleaned the wall, it’s stained.  Another project for another day.

2013-02-25 003Above: The view from my desk.

G-2013-03-03 001Above/Below: There’s a spelling error on the label. “Mechine washable”.  That’s not even why I took a photo.  These were being sold… or perhaps “offered for sale” at the flea market last week.  I sure hope they didn’t sell.  These are hideous.  The best part?  They’re reversible so you get two hideous patterns in one!  A bargain!  G-2013-03-03 002

3-3-13 Sunday (Food Auctions)

LocalWe try to support local restaurateurs but we’re usually met with disappointment.  I realize we’ve picky but it’s our money to spend, so we tend to be that way.

MANY times Jim and I have believed that chain restaurants don’t put locals out of business… local businesses put themselves out of business.

I introduce Tanner’s Snack Bar.  We went there on a Groupon. This is a soul food place that boasts a “hot bar” which wasn’t open at the time.  They don’t have a website of their own but I linked their name to a website that gives the history of the place.  It’s been around a long time.  I have mixed emotions about that.  Are they screwing up now?  Is it an isolated incident?  If it’s that great they probably wouldn’t need a Groupon to promote it.  I’m not sure how isolated of an incident it could be.  We watched the staff; we watched them not greet people.  We watched them mess up orders.  They asked one couple behind us “I’m sorry, what did you guys order?” and that was probably 15 minutes after they ordered.

The arrival: We walked in and stood at the entrance.  A couple of staff members didn’t say a thing.  I would have liked a “Welcome to Tanners, sit where ever you’d like” or something like that.  But no.  We stood there and eventually just sat at a table.  Our server comes over and asks if we need more time.  Jim replied, “Yes pelase but can I have a Diet Coke” and I’m not kidding, the server walked away immediately.  Ummmmm, what about me?  Someone else comes back with it and asks what I want to drink.  I was kinda stunned.

The order: Jim asks what’s on the Philly.  She has to scream back to the kitchen, they reply and she relays it.  Now all the while, she stands 10 feet away from us leaning on a counter and writing our order on a single piece of paper.  If she had a pad, she’d be able to stand AT our table.  Jim says no peppers.  He asks to add mayo and lettuce.  In each sentence he says to her, she misunderstands what he says.  Perhaps it’s because you’re 10 feet away dipshit.  I order a cheeseburger.  She didn’t ask how I want it dressed so I ASSUME it comes with toppings on the side.  That’s the typical way it happens.  I’m not new to ordering food, just look at my belly.

The coming of the food, kinda: Jim’s Philly comes out.  It’s got peppers.  The server takes it back, apologizes, yells into the kitchen and reports that the cook is going to make it all over.  We wait.  Hmmmm, where’s my burger?  A managerish guy says, “they messed up your order.”  Jim says yeah, he leaves.  We wait some more.  Jim asks for a refill.  She says there’s a charge.  Jim nods.  I see a soda fountain so can’t quite grasp why refills aren’t free.  Upon delivery of his refill, it’s said that there will be no charge for his refill since the order was wrong. Eventually my burger arrives.  Jim’s Philly?  Not so much. What I wondered at this point is why the timing was so poor.  If Jim’s Philly had been right then I would have been waiting on my burger.  Since his was wrong, now he’s waiting on his.  My burger arrived with no lettuce, no tomato.  The bun is polluted with diced raw onion, mustard and ketchup.  I had to scrape it off.  Why wasn’t I asked about how I wanted it?  I didn’t ask for lettuce or anything at this point.  I really just wanted to eat and go.  Jim’s food arrives, I was half way through my meal.

The verdict: The food was OK.  Everything is served in or on Styrofoam.  Plastic utensils. What a waste.  Drinks in Styrofoam definitely make it hard for a server to determine when a refill was needed.  After we ate, Jim asked for another refill.  They had just run out of Diet but offered something else.  We declined and just wanted the check.

I told Jim I was going to freeze his Groupon account…

cripsy-crepe-exteriorAt dinner we went to Crispy Crêpe.  This place was good.  Unfortunately, Jim played it too safe and ordered the Egg & Veggie Cheddar: Crispy crêpe with egg, caramelized onions, tomatoes, spinach, roasted mushrooms & cheddar cheese. He asked for no tomatoes.  He didn't realize it until he was halfway done that they also omitted the spinach.  He didn't bother "reporting" it.  I ordered Mediterranean Chicken: Grilled marinated chicken with hummus, olive tapenade, red onions, baby spinach & roasted garlic-lemon vinaigrette. Mine was delicious!

Naturally we had dessert.  Jim had a dessert waffle.  I can't remember which one.  I had the Chocolate Chip Cannoli Crêpes: Fresh sweet ricotta filling & chocolate chips. Sprinkled with cocoa powder & whipped cream.   Divine.

The service was OK.  A couple of things.  We were one of two tables the server had.  When he came out with the food, he had to ask who got what.  This seems to be a popular things.  Jim calls it "auctioning off the food".  The servers stand there and say "cheeseburger?" awaiting a response.  I hate that.

The second thing was the server asked if I wanted a refill.  I replied yes and then he asked me to take my straw.  Huh?  I had to lay it on the edge of my plate.  Why can't he refill my drink like the other 99% of restaurants do?       

The food was excellent, the service wasn’t bad enough not to go back of course.

On Sunday, we went to a flea market.  It was our first time there.  It was a mix of old and new.  I scored a Foodsaver 3800 for $38.  It was brand new and we tested it there and then again when we got home.  This model currently sells for about $170.  This will replace a Foodsaver we have that’s like 15 years old.


We also bought several pairs of ear warmers. It was so windy and cold, we bought them to use right away.  Then we went back for 2 more so now we’ll have several for Alaska.  They were ONLY $1 a pair.  They fit around the back of the head.  Name brands run about $18 on Amazon.

ear warmers
We also bought 2 carry-on’s.  Jim researched the airline tolerable size and we shopped with a measuring tape in hand.  We plan to pack shoes and jeans (heavy stuff) in one and a change of clothes and HBA in the other.  I think a big ole steamer trunk would be better… and probably needed.
Sunday we went out to eat.  Surprise!  We had brunch at Cosmos Café.  They had a nice brunch buffet for $12.  I enjoyed the selection and high quality food.  This was no Golden Corral

And Sunday for dinner?  We ate at home… so there.

3-1-13 Friday (Computerized Crap Cleaning)

Friday was mine and my classmates last day at the old building. A team of movers will be moving everyone’s belongings over the weekend.

Saturday, Jim and I went out to dinner at Olive Garden and then the cheap seats movie to see Twilight. We’re not fans of the movie per se but since we’ve seen all the others, we had to finish the series.

Sunday, I took Jim on a tour of the new building. It’s the old IBM headquarters that has been remodeled to my bank’s specs. Fresh paint, new light fixtures, new carpet, new everything. The cubicles/desks and desk chairs are all brand new. It’s real sleek and modern.

Monday started our last week of training in this new building. With the magnitude of this move, it’s pretty understandable that it doesn’t come without issues. People’s computers aren’t working. Seats are being reassigned. There’s no trashcans in the training room. The size of this facility is daunting. People get “lost”.

The breakrooms (there’s 2) feature a room with amenities mirrored at each end. Sink, coffee maker, fridges, etc. Speaking of the coffee maker, it’s one of those kinda like a K-Cup thing. It’s pouches. It’s called Flavia which is made by Mars (candy bar company). I’m grateful for all the choices. There’s like 6 coffee choices, hot chocolate, more tea choices than I’ve ever even tried, but it looks expensive. It is also a lot of disposable packets that are single use.

IMG_1263Above: One side of the breakroom.  That’s Cat in the corner.  Hi Cat!

Coffee1Above: They have a dozen or so hot chocolate, coffees and teas to choose from.  Fancy Schmancy.

Coffee2 Above: The machine looks just like this and the packets are all neatly stored in drawers.

The rest of the week, training was mixed.  Extremely boring at times to oh look, we have something to do.  Unfortunately we haven't had many loans to underwrite for practice.  Some of it has to do with not having the personnel to look over 15 trainee's loans.  Next week we'll be out of training.

About every other day I “run” Roomba as I leave the house.  Well… when I came home that day, apparently Dasher shit on the area rug while it was running.  Roomba ran over it and through it.  Shit was caught up in the rollers, dust bin, the bottom of the machine, here, there and everywhere. I tried not to get water in it.  I really did.  I let it dry for a few days and it won’t work.  I think I fried it.  I really didn’t have a choice though. By the way, Dasher has shit on the rug maybe 5 times in 12 years… just my luck.  I got that one on clearance at Target for $200.  The cheapest model currently offered is like $350.  Oh what to do, what to do.  I’ve Googled, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Sears, Amazon, eBay, etc.  The best price thus far is $327 with free shipping.  It’s nauseating.

In other news, we’ve spent so many hours planning this cruise that I stopped reporting on it.  We made reservations, and cancelled them more than I care to admit. Our poor travel agent and friend, Ruby, probably wishes she was just our friend.  I do plan to post more details about the cruiseS that we booked.  Remember, we booked several because we’re not sure what I can get off from work.  One of the cruises we booked already went up in price by $400 a person.  Luckily it didn’t affect us because we already booked.  That’s the exact reason why we’ve been putting out all these reservations.