Saturday, March 7, 2009

The night before packing

I hate the "night before" packing. I always end up waiting until the last minute, and then just throwing things into random boxes. This time, I told myself it'd be different. We're moving to a house, not just another apartment. I'll be organized, I said; I'll have everything packed and ready.

And at first, I was doing so well. I packed, and I cleaned, and I took stuff to Goodwill. Then I packed some more, made a mess, and cleaned up a bit.

And yet, here I am - the night before the move, and I still have packing to do.

I HATE the feeling of the night before a move. You're exhausted, because you've inevitably been working all day, or for a few days, on the new place. You don't care about the old place, so you don't want to clean it as you pack. You just want to get some sleep, yet you know that if you stop packing, there's no way you'll get up early to finish.

So you plug along...packing less, blogging more.

Tomorrow's going to suck.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Can I tell you a secret?

I thought you'd say yes.

So here it is - I have a LOT of pet peeves. Really. People bother me. It's funny, because I am often described as a people person, and I really do get along with most everyone. I think I'm pretty easy going, but there are certain things people do that just bug the crap out of me.

If you asked me on the spot for a list of my pet peeves, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I forget. But, when they happen, I think, OOOOHHH, that was it! That is exactly what just happened.

I walked into our training room to check on a class that is going on all week. I was in there for all of 30 seconds, and I heard two separate people use the following phrase:

"Just times it by that."

Times it? What are we in kindergarten? These are smart, fairly educated adults in a training class at work, and they're using the phrase "times it?" How have they never been taught to say that you should "multiply something by something else?"

Poor grammar bothers me like you wouldn't believe. I know I'm not perfect, but I've always prided myself on my writing and grammar skills. If I don't know how to say or write something, I'm going to look it up.

So, you're now privy to April's Pet Peeve #1 - poor grammar and English skills. I'll forgive you if you're sending me a text message...maybe!

We did it!

It's been a long, annoying, frustrating, and anger-filled process. But, it's over. As of about 3:00 p.m. yesterday, we're officially homeowners!!!

I never really thought it would happen. Of course, I thought it would happen in that obscure, "Oh I'll own a home someday" kind of way. But I certainly didn't expect it to happen now. And it was not an easy process - which surprised me, because when we were first pre-approved, we were told we were financially solid, that our employment history was great, etc.

And yet - there were bumps in the road.

One thing people often don't know about me is that I'm a worrier. I try to hide it, but it's there, in the pit of my stomach. I found out only a few years ago that my mom is the queen of all worriers - I had NO idea growing up what a worry wart she is, but she can put me to shame (I guess she hid it well, too!).

So anyway, throughout this whole process, I've had this knot in my stomach and a tiny, nagging, negative thought tucked away in the spider-webby back caverns of my brain. I was unwilling to believe we were actually going to be homeowners until we had the keys in our hand, because you never know what can go wrong. Plus, I didn't tell a lot of people at first, because, again, if something went wrong, I didn't want to have to explain it to lots of people.

If you haven't bought a home yet, let me tell you - the process blows. We had an awesome realtor, who worked harder than she probably needed to, but I appreciate her even more for it. However, it is amazing the amount of information the lenders need from you - I am glad we don't have kids yet, because I'm fairly certain they would have taken our first born. The fact that they needed all this information didn't bother me; I expected it. It was the lack of organzation that bothered me (did you read my earlier post about lack of preparation? Same thing). Every day I'd get a phone call or an email, asking me for additional information. Then, the next day, they'd need either another form of that same info, or more info that they could have asked for that first time. It was soooooooooooooooooo annoying!

Anyway, it's done. Grant and I stuffed ourselves full of sushi last night to celebrate, realizing that it'll probably be awhile before we can afford to eat out again. Tomorrow, I start cleaning the new place, painting Friday, and moving Sunday.

And yet still, I don't feel like the process is done. I still feel like something could go wrong. Maybe after the move, when I physically sleep there, I'll feel better.

Of course, then I have to unpack!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oh the pain

I had this great post in mind for tonight, and I'd even started composing it in my head. I wanted to get to the computer so that I could get it all in writing before I forgot it.

Then I tripped over Bruiser and kicked the wrought iron legs of my stool, and I think I broke one or more toes. It's been an hour and there's still a sharp, shooting pain in my foot.

So I'm going to bed. More tomorrow. If I'm still alive.


Preparation is key

Preparation is key.

We've all heard that phrase before. It's probably one of the phrases you've heard so many times you don't really pay attention to it anymore. In fact, I used to think it wasn't true - I am a born procrastinator, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

I do some of my best work at the last minute; I think if I have too much time to think about something, I think about it too much. My thoughts become too broad and wishy-washy. If I wait until the last minute, however, I become much more focused and decisive.

But back to preparation.

I used to think that because I was a procrastinator, it meant I didn't prepare for anything. I've come to realize lately that this is in not true. Regardless of the fact that I am preparing at the last minute, rather than far in advance, I'm still preparing. In fact, if I prepared far in advance, I'd forget what I was preparing for by the time my due date neared.

Today at work I came to the abrupt realization that one of my biggest office pet peeves, one of the things that make me the most frustrated, is lack of preparation. Take this morning - I came to work in a great mood. I was feeling positive, thinking good thoughts, and knew I was going to have a great day.

By 8:25, all positive thoughts had flown the coop of my brain and were immediately replaced with fuming, frustrated, angry thoughts about anyone and everyone I work with.

I work in a training unit, and for the particular training that we are currently conducting, we are using guest instructors (supervisors from our division). They are the subject matter experts, so they are conducting this very technical training - makes sense, no?

Today's instructors were completely unprepared. I had high hopes at first - they did a great job of introducing themselves, describing their background, and going over the ground rules for the class.

Then they began reading from the power point presentation. Reading EXACTLY what was on the power point presentation.

They finally remembered to go to their instructor's manual and look at what they were supposed to be teaching. By not familiarizing themselves with the lesson, they failed to do two exercises, read over something out of order, and had to stop and find their place several times in the first hour of class.

Why does someone else's lack of preparation upset me so? First, as the lead analyst in the training unit, their poor performance ultimately reflects on me. I know there is only so much I can do to help them prepare (we gave them the lesson and materials over a month ago, held a "Training for Trainers" class so they could learn to present, and organized all the materials so a five-year old could understand them (or so I thought); I know they have to take the initiative to be prepared, but I am frustrated nonetheless.

Second, I sat in on the class for the first two hours, and it was a waste of time. When your instructor is not prepared, you really don't learn anything from them. The only way you learn from an unprepared instructor is to read through the materials provided and teach yourself. I hope that the students in today's class took their own iniative to read their handouts, because they certainly were not receiving top-notch instruction.

Finally, the instructors sent me in and out of the room to duplicate materials that were supposedly missing from participant's binders. Were they really missing? No. The instructors, once again, were unfamiliar with the material because they had not prepared. Out I went to make copies, which is SO not in my job description, and when I returned, it of course turns out that they'd found the so-called "missing" materials.

My dad used to work for an elected official. At every meeting this official had with his top executives, or any meeting at all, really, he asked a lot of questions, and he expected you to know the answer. If you hesitated at all in your answer, or if it was clear that you were not prepared, he cut you off and told you to go find the answer and report back. He did not want anyone to guess, or to give him information that may or may not be true.

I am that same type of person. I expect you to be prepared, whether it be for a meeting, a training you're conducting, or simply an assignment you've prepared that I have a question about. In return, you can expect the same from me. I will come prepared to meetings, I will fully prepare for training by practicing and at the very least, reading through my materials, and you can bet I've done enough research on my assignments that I can answer any question you may ask. On the off chance I can't, I won't fake it - I'll tell you I don't know and I'll go find the answer.

I don't believe what some people say - persons in lower paying positions probably won't have the skills and abilities you would like. This is not true - they may not have adequately developed skills and abilities, but in some people, you can tell the potential is there.

And in some people - it just isn't.