Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life on My New Planet

I started my new job Tuesday. So far I only have one reaction: I love it here. The ship has landed. I am home.

Yesterday I arranged myself in my new cubical. A cube! How exciting! Since starting at VCU 9 years ago I have moved from job to job and always had my own office. Now, I have a cubical. So does my boss, and my boss's boss. I have come to understand that in the techy world we all have cubicles. And my new cube is magnificent. A large clean workspace. One wall made of white board backing. Two built in bookshelves, and my own locker area. I also have a trash can and a recycling can that are emptied every night. At most VCU offices the trash cans are emptied once a week.

My monitor is enormous, I unpacked it yesterday in the same way Nigella Lawson might unpack a sleeve of butter. My computer came in this morning, sexy gorgeous beast of a computer. Connecting the apple monitor to the apple laptop is like pouring honey into milk. Together they form the most beautiful miracle since the birth of my daughters.

Yesterday was my first staff meeting experience. 9 people. I should say 8 men and me. The only girl. Excuse me, woman. Let me introduce the ones I remember.

Don Hu - The work horse/guru of the crowd. Speaks english but I can't understand a darned thing he says. When watching President Bush give a speech he seems really entertained. Not sure what this means yet. I will keep you posted.

Jim (aka Boss) - Smiles a lot. Sandwiches thoughts between anecdotes. For instance: "This friend of mine sells foam to spray on military tents in Iraq which would cut the energy costs by 95%. Make sure you call Tim about that glitch in the LDAP system. I golfed at the most expensive golf course in Richmond this weekend. Let me tell you, that was a rip off."

The Borg - This consists of two people. For purposes here I will call them The-Man-Who-Collects-Dancing-Hampsters and A-Guy-Whos-Desk-Defies-Gravity. Collectively they call themselves "The Borg". "Well actually," they say taking turns between each word, "we are quasi-borg. You don't know what a Borg is? Star Trek. The Borgs share a brain. Their slogan is 'We will assimilate you' and ours is the same, but quasi because it's also 'We will assist you'". I am amazed but try to be clever in my response: "You assist them in assimilation?" They thought this was quite funny. Score!

Attitude Man - You know that guy....that guy when you say "Biology called, they need a new server" who follows that up with "Thats because they blew the last one with their so-called Science." Or "Humanities and Sciences needs assistance with their DNS change." And he quips "That's not all they need. They need to clear out those morons that work there." Yeah, that sums him up pretty well. Not sure what this means yet. I will keep you posted.

Two Nice Guys - There are two very nice guys. They are the closest to my age. Everyone else is in their 40's plus. These two are early 30s and they are nice. Yeah. That's all I have on them.

Right now I am eating lunch in the massive kitchen in this building. It's gorgeous. Every wall in this building is painted a different (normally offensive) color. Puke green. Violent orange. But together the ugly colors work together creating an energizing environment. The ceiling in open. Air vents hang above. I love this place.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What is your Salary?

I am eternally curious about how much money people neighbor, my car salesman, my dermatologist. I am so curious (one might call it intrusively nosey) that I feel required to spurt out to my hairstylist: "So exactly how much of this sixty bucks comes back to you?"

It's a shallow and crass habit, I accept that judgement, I wear that letter.

I blame it on consumerism, capitalism, and an insaitable need to know how business works. What is skimmed off the top? How much of my $60 goes to the hairstylist? how much to her boss? and how much to the man?

How much of her money goes to rent? Does she have a roommate? Children? What are the mechanics of her day to day? How much debt does she have? What kind of assests has she secured against her debt? What are her future goals? Does she always want to be a stylist or maybe one day own her own salon? And then of course there is the question, why is she giving me that I-am-going-to-slap-this-intrusive-bitch look?

This thought train started from a CNN article explaining the Clinton vs. Obama voting pool. Median household incomes under $50K per year go to Hillary. Above $50K go to Obama.

So what does that really mean? How many households are under $50K? Basically, are there enough poor folk in Oregon that Hillary could have a chance of winning???

I wiki'd it. (because university professors all agree that wikipedia is the most reliable source of information in existance...that was sarcasm, please don't spam me).

The average household income in the US is.....drum roll.....$48,201. (Go HRC!)A household income means total earners in house over 15, so in my house that would be the combination of 2 salaries. (Well three salaries if we convince Chick-fil-a that Payton is 15, and not 9 years old, and fully old enough and intelligent enough to fry chicken.)

The average household income in VA? $55,368. Such over-achievers!

So broken down to stats that matter more to me.

Male with high school diploma: $28,763
Female with high school diploma: $15,962
Male w/ bachelors: $50,916
Female w/ bachelors: $31,309

(Dude whats up with the men folk making so much more than us women??)

I am pretty shocked, given my collected data from real world cases, that with a college degree women only average $31,309. Even with a doctoral degree women still average about $53K. Wow.

I'm not going to share the men's salary, let's just say it's nearly double in some areas to the can see it for yourself here.

So the next time I break the language barrier to ask my asian dry cleaning lady how much of that $1.95 shirt cleaning charge goes into her personal pocketbook, I'll be sure to impressed when she tells me her annual salary is $92,000 and she is in the top 5% of women earners in Virginia.

And I am not.

Shia Shia.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Last Tuesday at SOE

Today is my last Tuesday at my current job. A random Tuesday would appear insignificant but then I think about the number of Tuesdays over the last 3 years that I was late to work because I spent 30 minutes looking for a parking spot near my building, and I get a little sad knowing that next Tuesday I'll be circling around another block a half a mile away.

All that nostalgia aside, I am so darned stoked that today is my last Tuesday in the School of Education. The thing is, I am kinda scared. I am not just switching jobs, I am changing careers totally. Luckily I am only 31, but unfortunately I am 31. 31 with a mortgage, 2 car payments, 2 children, and an (out of control) equity line. So this job has to has to be my ticket to the big cash pot at the end of the suburban rainbow.

Boy, did I eat out this past weekend!.

Friday lunch my office took Karen to Maggianos in Short Pump. I nearly cashed out my children's college fund to pay for a luke warm plate of eggplant parmesean and a bitter piece of dry bread. Total bill = $32.

Friday night I hung out at Stool Pigeons with, my latest favorite person, Dana. She ordered some gross animal remains (also known as hamburgers) and I ordered a totally untasty plate of nachos. Total with beer = $25.

Saturday morning I was cleaning the house for mother in laws visit. Breakfast was a bagel and latte from Starbucks. Total = $8. Kids and hubby ate donuts (yuck!).

Saturday lunch was sushi at Wasabi. Total = $12. Kids and hubby ate Burger King (yuck!).

Saturday Dinner was pizza from Papa Johns. Omg, I ordered the 6 cheese pizza and I nearly fainted, it was so tasty. Total = $32.

Sunday morning Payton and I woke early and took pictures in Shockoe Bottom. Quick Starbucks munchies and latte = $13.

Sunday lunch with Chris's Dad and future wife at Buffalo Wild Wings = $75.

Okay I need a break. I can't believe the money I spend on eating out. And the calories!!

There was also CiCi's Pizza on Thursday and Little Mexico yesterday for lunch with Maggie. (Love ya Magster!). Oh and the latte with Karen yesterday afternoon at Crossroads.

I'm starting to think I have issues. That is only 4 1/2 days!

No wonder my equity line is out of control.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Quiet

Right now the children are snuggled under layers of freshly laundered quilts. Chris is watching a TV show about Frito Lay's assembly line. Therefore, I am blessed with a quiet handful of me-time hours.

My first task was to look through the dozens of picture I snapped this evening. Boy did it rain tonight! Our skinny ditch quickly turned into a wadding pond. When the rain slowed, the air filled with a beautiful ethereal light. A green freshness mirrored from tree to tree and then across the street pavement casting a lovely brightness against the dark clouds. A bit of sun helped form gentle shadows of dripping trees down onto the wet grass.

What a sight! So I grabbed my camera and started shooting...the sky, the trees, the water droplets on the deck...I wanted to capture that light. But I quickly realized that unless I master aperture and f stops, I'll only produce black and blurry photos.

Rather then reference the seventeen books that I own with names like "How-To-Use-Your-$1000-Camera", I used my misplaced sense of expertise to determine that a tripod would cure all my photography woes. So Chris and I searched the house For something that would hold the camera steady. We settled on a ladder, which would have been ideal, however one rung was too high, producing pointless pictures of tree branches in the sky; and the next rung was too low, producing what you see below:

Now, this picture isn't going to win me any awards, I posted it mainly because I took 62 pictures and, dammit, I was going to post at least one of them!

Oh I also have to post this picture:

I have to post this picture because of this conversation:

ME: Look honey we've got marijuana growing in our yard!
HUBBY: That isn't marijuana, its a weed.
ME: Baby that isn't just any weed, it's THE weed, mary jane, the good stuff
HUBBY: No it's a you are going to blog about how we have weed growing in our yard
ME: Of course I am! It's right there!

I have a new obsession. This is scary for me to admit, but I have to put it out on the table. First let me say I rebel against Vera Bradley purses, I mean seriously? Those are totally frumpy. This, too was the way I felt about Yankee candles, but more because the store's smell sent me into mini convulsions. However, I learned that Cracker Barrel (Geez thats another place I swore I'd never visit or be seen visiting) sells Yankee Candles, and on a whim I purchased one. And I burned it for 4 days straight. Thats almost 100 hours! And I fell madly in love with the comforting smell of my house. In fact I fell in love with my house again, because of that $25 candle. Today I am on my 3rd Yankee Candle. This one is called Dune Grass:

Oh it's yummy. yummy. yummy.

Here are two more pictures I retouched tonight of my restful buddha bookends:

Now I am contemplating bed. I am reading "100 Years of Solitude" and I'm at the point where 10 people are name Jose Arcadio Buendia. I'm confused who is the great-great-grandfather and who is he shagging. You know, because it's the parts with the shagging that really hold my attention.

Tomorrow I get to tell my boss I found another job and I QUIT!

Ah, just another day. What a blessed life I have.