Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Color of Corruption

I had today(Sunday) off, and the more I thought about it, I have concluded that's it's probley best, for all of us, if I work on Sundays. Because on Sunday, I seem to think way more about things I shouldn't.
It all started, like it usually does, with something that I read, and shared on Social Media.
"Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos, & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays".
Heavy thoughts. Because who do we all hold in higher regard than the devout?
If you a Coffee Blog regular, you should know where I stand, or rather where I sit on Sundays and why.  I can't say that I've ever had an "awakening" or "Found God", because he was never a Missing Persons, in my book. It's a process that I don't pretend to understand. It's usually preceded by an awful, unlawful action and developed while suffering the consequences, God is found. I guess that's much more convenient and face saving than saying, "I realize I really screwed up". And if you relapse and commit a crime again? Then did you loose God? Or just lost your sense of right and wrong. Because I'm pretty sure one of the guys that sit on your shoulder, when wrong doing occurs, doesn't have long wavy hair, and wear a white robe.
Some people wear religion like a new outfit. It can be confidence boosting, and can introduce even the most shy to new people, giving a sense of Fitting In. It's something new to try for awhile. I recently tried a pair of boyfriend fit jeans on. I wanted them to work so badly, I attempted it multiple times. There was enough room in the crotch to stow my handbag, and the rear looked like I had an even bigger piece of cargo in the back. An enlightening girl I work with recently discussed with me a concept one of her professors has. He believes that most peoples relationship with God ends around age 10-12. It's when kids can speak up enough and fight going to worship. And it's when parents give up the fight and let them sleep in. Thus evolves, a relationship with God that resembles their same relationship with Santa. If they ask for something, they shall receive. This was a game changer for me, and something I'm Still thinking about. 
One of the most corrupt people I have known, used to be one of my managers. Melody Burnhardt, was a woman in her late 30's, had 2 children, was married and Extremely active in her parish. When I say Extremely active, I mean it was life enveloping. As a retail manager, she refused to work Any Sundays. As it is, the Lord's Day. I'm not old enough to remember stores Not being open on Sundays, but she is a big proponent of it. Every morning she would drop her children off at the day care at church and make her way to work. She used to eat a bagel sitting at her desk and could not be bothered, until both halves were finished, and the entire cream cheese tub was licked clean. Could not even speak a work to her until then. In the end, Karma caught up with old Melody. Turns out, every time she had to work, when she had other obligations for the church, she would pay her sitter(who also worked for her) out of the cash register!!
I'm not sure what exactly is the Color of Corruption is. But I do know for sure that I, on several occasions, I have seen Red, when dealing with the devout and divine.

Friday, April 25, 2014

(Get Your) Move On

"Dude,,I'm moving to California". "Yeah, I'm moving, to Colorado" and even, "Hey, I'm headed out to Seattle". That's how is Starts. Always the high impact states. No one ever Announces their moving to Iowa, or Ohio. And poor South Dakota, always gets the shaft. Not impressive enough. I can't even tell you how may people in my life have said they're moving to Denver. Don't even get me started about the most over-rated state in America.
Now I have always said, and even Blogged about taking one time in your life and moving far enough away, you can't drive home easily. I think it's really the best thing you can do for yourself. You realize what you can live with, and what you can't live without. But that's Not what this blog post is about. It's about the people that have to tell Everyone they're moving. It's a cry for "Ohh don't leave", or "Why are you going There?" I suppose it's quite disappointing when I say, "Great, then go". Chances usually are, the more people someone tells they're moving, the less chance they will actually go and ever better chance they'll be back inside a year.
Years ago, before my sister followed my footsteps and moved out west, she announced she was moving to Seattle. I had just returned back and my mom was convinced she could cancel her Southwest Airlines card. For Christmas that year I had put together a cute package that included rain boots, an umbrella, carry on luggage, and enough Starbucks gift cards for the way out there. She didn't actually move for another 2 years. A kid I new in college announced he was headed to L.A. We had a big going - away party, and a few of us collected the little money we had and chipped in for his U- Haul rental. He never moved, and there I was feeling awkward, wondering if I could get the money back from the U- Haul fund!
Rules of Moving:
1. Until you Actually move, and are on your way, Does everyone Really need to know? Telling thrones of people your moving  is a form of "Crying Wolf" that actually makes me howl.
2. Unless you are moving for a Specific job, or to attend an institution for higher learning, the move may not go your way and I give you 6 months in your address before you'll be back.
3.If you are moving for a specific job, and That job isn't Moving You? Well then, they Really didn't Want you That bad and your a poor negotiator. My sister and her husband have moved cross- country twice now in the last 6 months and I was flabbergasted the last move had to be covered by Them!! Here's a grown man moving a household and he didn't negotiate that? Head shaking.
So if your destination is anywhere like Alaska or Alabama, Tally Ho and get your Move On. I want you to move, see the world, and don't just talk about it. But if your just talking about it and don't actually have any solid plans, maybe it's best for us both for you to Move On

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dime Time

I find Dimes. I find them everywhere. I find them on the ground. I find them on a shelf, I find them on the tire of a new car I'm test driving. I find them when I open a new handbag at the department store and want to look inside. I only find Dimes. I don't find quarters, pennies, or ever paper money. It started about 5 years ago. My Mom nor my Sister finds them, just me. Sure, I work with money every day, but the circumstances, and the places I find the Dimes are uncanny
My Grandma Olive(Don't even think of stealing that name) was a money hoarder. She filled baby food jars, prescription pill bottles and even jelly jars with coins. She never officially worked, so I have no idea where the coins came from. My grandpa worked as a nuclear engineer for the majority of his lifetime. He worked down south for many years before they were married and they didn't settle in Wisconsin until just a few months before my Mother was born. He commuted sometimes over a hour for work and carried his lunch daily. So if she emptied his pockets for the change nightly, when he got home, I'm not where the change came from. I had no idea she was a money hoarder until just a few years ago when I started renovating one of their homes and begun to find the jars. Jars in stud walls, jars in books, and jars in the rafters. My Grandfather was a bit of a saver too. His last job in a manufacturing plant gave him access to steels remnants and one- offs. The basement of their home was filled with several thousand dollars worth of the recyclables. Unfortunately, I was not the recipient of that fortune.
It's only fitting that I write about Olive on Easter. Her home was my favorite place to be on the holiday. There was always the scent of a fresh Easter lily on the table, and a lamp cake made with puffed rice. Even into her 80's and when her eyesight was flailing, she still prepared the Easter feast. She had been married to Harold for over 50 years and never learned to drive an automobile. Her reasoning?: "Where do I need to go, if it isn't with your Grandfather?" It was a love like that, that made me realize I had to leave a stagnant 10 year old relationship. I wanted more, for the rest of my life. And before I left, I wished for someone to Save me. Someone to get me out of a horrible relationship, and lead me in the direction I needed to go. Someone to provide me with a safe haven of refuge.
All along I think,, well I know it was Olive. From the moment I started renovating their home, I knew I wanted to live there. I knew it would be a safe place to go and I wouldn't be followed. I had the pleasure of living in their home just 2 short years before I met P. She never got to see the work and justice that had been put into her home. Shortly after she passed is when I started finding the dimes. The regularity and the amount I find these coins has convinced me, that's it's not just coincidence(play on words). Each time I bend over, the feeling never gets old when I realize what it is. I know it's her way of still watching over me.
And even more I look foreword to Dime Time.

Friday, April 18, 2014

For Rent

If you were a man, in the early 2000's, with some money to burn and a pre- approval for a home loan, you may have jumped on to the bandwagon of owning Rental Property's. The idea is simple: Have Someone Else Pay Your Mortgage, and make some Additional Money on it. You may have noticed my over-usage of capitol letters on that last bit. Emphasis on Some Else Pays and Make money. Because I'm here to tell you: If you own a rental property and charge $500/ month, and your not making At Least $200 additional after the mortgage is paid,, well then it's not worth it. See the leaky sinks, the spongy roofs, and the property taxes are now all Your "business"
There are 2 classifications of renters: People who Pay and people who Don't. There's also a strange sub-culture of renters that move every 8-12 months. And they have no qualms about leaving ALL their stuff behind. I have an estranged sister and an "artist" uncle in this bracket.  After my last move, I vowed to Never move myself again. Much like in a new job, everyone's nice and polite and quiet for the first 8-9 months. Even after you do a credit check, call for references, and do a criminal background check, something may get missed,,err, left Out. Then inevitably, there's a Family Emergency, or some type of "Hardship". The rent becomes late, and there may be an attempt made to"negotiate" a lower rate. Since you cannot evict after 1 month, and you don't Really want to lose your tenant, an agreement is made. After 3- 4 months of this, it can be quite taxing, and an eviction can be made. Yes, you are relying on these potential degenerates to pay your mortgage, and keep your credit clean. Not a smart gamble.
P owns 2 rental properties in a rather un-desirable neighborhood. He has been assaulted, abandoned, and severely annoyed. Fortunately the place is a bit more stable now. There is a woman living there and renting both units. Who knows how many people are living there. Apparently her cleaning business is quite fruitful, because the money orders have been coming on time, and her SUV that resembles something an NBA basketball player wife may drive, was paid for in Cash.
I have a rental property of my own, that I was extremely luckily to inherit. Although I put my fair share of blood, sweat and tears into renovating it. I spent a year un-doing someone else's "improvements". Because why wouldn't a hot tub in the bedroom be a good idea?? My tenants are pet-allergic, payment -timely, and a perfect fit for the property. I make 100% on what they pay me. This property was one of the bargaining chips going into my marriage with P. I came into the relationship with the property and profits and wanted to keep it 100% mine. I even considered having him sign a prenuptial agreement. But in the end we Both own it now, and I cringe a bit less when I type those words.
So I have a new set of criteria about owning a rental property now. It's not just enough to have the mortgage(s) covered. I want my salary covered also. If I have to take the furnace phone calls, be kept up all night, or put the For Rent sign in the yard every 9 months, this gal wants to be Paid! Or if I'm cleaning places and screening Craigslist Creepers,
I'm going to have to take some time off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why (not just anyone) Gets in to see the Wizard

Everyone is judge and jury on social media. The simplest of status updates can erupt into a political firestorm. Anything from what you ate for breakfast, to what you believe about vaccinations for children is banter for Internet thugs.
That's why I'm a wee bit, well, a huge amount disconcerting on who gets "in". If your going to judge my pictures, my thoughts, or my dinner decisions, I at least get to decide if your opinion is worth it. A gal I worked with some time ago recently started following me on Instagram. I immediately blocked her because: 1. I haven't spoken to her in at least a year. 2.She more than once, (tried) to throw me into the proverbial bus. And now she wants in on my life. She believes she may be worthy of having a window into my life. Nope. I have no need for the affirmation of someone I could care less about. 
My criteria is simple: If I wouldn't, right now, pick you up and go have coffee,,err, Tea, or a drink, then your OUT. And If I work with you? Selectively. No one that's in a position I manage for sure. It gets way too sticky. And by sticky I mean people take things way too personally and literally. And people get "Offended". Not worth it. I don't need to see what you do in your private life, and you don't need to see into mine.
I recently extended my Very small "Friend" circle to include a guy that one of my friends used to date,, err,"Have relations with". Just to open myself up, and just experience it. Well of course he accepted my friend request immediately. 2,500 friends and he accepts Me?? I should be so honored. (sarc). So the stuff this guy posts would put Tim the Tool guy to shame. Emphasis on the word Tool. Marathon runner, coast-to-coast traveler, and executive mogul of some Amway-esque business. Constantly fronting about what he's done, what he's sold, and who he's roped into the business. And if you look closely into the pictures of all the Sold Out seminars he speaks at(in hotel conference rooms) they're full of middle-aged parents and Asian investors. Ohh, and here's the best..err worst part. A former member of the military, that was kicked out. On every various military holiday, he likes to reminisce about "being in combat, and on the front lines". The only front line this Tool's ever been on is my front line of Deletions.
So my media of choice now is the Instagram. I get to see pictures and find people with similar interests. We don't have to mince words, or debate tax laws. We just get to see and <3 and move on. I recently received the Sweetest message from gal that lives about 90 miles from me. She let me know that she sees me at work pretty regularly when her and her mom come into town to shop. She professed that she loves my personal style and would love me to be her stylist! How Sweet was that!?Facebook initially started with just quick peeks of photos and tidbits of comments, or thumbs up's. That was before Zuckererg started winning multi- million dollar lawsuits and getting greedy for advertisers. I believe the median age bracket for Facebook users at this time is in the late 40's. It's for your parents now.
So call me a Catfish, call me Conservative and not open to everyone knowing my business. I'm totally okay with that. Last year on our honeymoon, P and I spent the week with the greatest family.  I would have loved to exchange information with them, but its wasn't something we remembered to do. I consider if I should have Facebook exchanged with them, but then I realized, phone calls an e- mails would have sufficed.(shocking) Even though they would have made the cut, I always remember
Not just anyone gets in to See the Wizard.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Love thy Neighbor

I guess I've always been a Nosy Neighbor. I like to think of it as being "Keenly Aware" of my surroundings. I've lived smack dab in the middle of the city, and I've lived 20 miles out and hardly within hollering distance. Strange thing is, I've always felt safer within the comforts of a few close neighbors. In my little city house, Randy and Donna watched over my house, more than I did. Randy worked from home and preferred to run 3rd shift. There he was, every Friday and Saturday night, watching from his office windows, to make sure I made it in alright.
I know exactly when the guy across the street leaves for work in the morning by the sound of the diesel truck engine. I know every Tuesday afternoon the teenage boy next door will be wheeling the garbage cans in. And I know when the lady that drives the green Jaguar, that's an emergency heart surgeon drives by: It's serious.
See, when it comes to housing, I have a bit of a split personality. In my much younger years, I never, Ever wanted a house. I wanted a whole warehouse to myself. 8 years old and I want a warehouse full of concrete, brick and lots of windows. Preferably with an elevator that held my car and I parked in my living space. 8 years old and this is what I had planned!? As I matured, my inner Martha came out, and I relished the small bit of green space I could get. Suddenly I wanted chickens, the fancy ones with colorful feathers on their feet. And a fancy chicken condo on the grounds.
Years before I moved into P's home, I begun planning the renovation of a lifetime. The home we live in now is one of the 2 original farmhouses of the town. The house across the street from us is a rambling white Victorian with green lattice trim. Steve,,or Dave?? lives there with his wife and barky small dog. Steve,,err, Dave helped my Mom and I trap a bat that was in the house last summer!! Their home was converted, like ours, into a duplex as a series of "improvements" in the 60's. It luckily was converted back to a single family home in the early 90's.
So after the last 2 tenants we've had, Thankfully, P's on Team Reno. Why doesn't he ever just realize early on my ideas are genius?? There was the couple in their early 20's that lived above us until last summer. They seemed really great in the beginning(of course). They had a bulldog that slept most of the day, and needed its backside wiped after doing his "business". Unfortunately, I was cleaning up all of his "paperwork" in the yard. We finally had to call it quits after a few subsequent months of every Friday and Saturday night pre- game, after- bar, and 3am karaoke parties. My sage advice to them: Go buy a home of your own that you and your lovely dog can "fertilize the lawn".
Our latest tenant is a woman in her late 50's? Divorcee, and her children are grown and live on their own. She formerly worked as an adult health care provider, working to get her Master's to run the joint. Apparently those plans went awry, and she's now a waitress, who walks to work because of losing her license to drive. Her mid 90's Aerostar van needs to GO, and so does she. We refer to her as "Pills" because of a number of police escorts she has been given home by the local Po Po. Very forgiving of them. And according to her, she doesn't imbibe.
So as we plan to bust through the top floor and create a closet of my dreams, I can't help but think it will be totally worth it, for us to Love thy Neighbor, and loose the rent check.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No Ordinary Love

I'm the best, and the worst person to ask for relationship advice.
I'm either going to tell you to walk away, or go full steam ahead. That's the way my mind works. We're either On, or we're Off. We're either at Zero or 75. I'm not friends with anyone I've previously dated. It's too hard. To be that close with someone, then have it end, and still have to see them and Not act on what once came naturally. Nope, Can't do it. The last person I dated before P was shocked we couldn't be friends. I told him to consider it a compliment.
From the second that P proposed I never had any doubts about exchanging vows for a lifetime with him. My worry and my nervous stomach that had been a part of me for 30+ years we're non- existent. Even on the day that we were married, my best friend had stopped by to get dressed with me and she wondered, "Why are you so calm?" Truth was, getting married was the most normal thing I have done. To date. It was no ordinary day, For No Ordinary Love. Now don't worry, I'm not going to profess and declare that I was marrying my best friend. P isn't my best friend. She's down in N.C. But he is the one I want to spend every other day with. Truth is, when I think about a time without him, I almost can't breathe. That's not ordinary.
I know friends, good friends that have had doubts. Doubts before, during, and after it's legal. Friends that have been standing in the church, wanting to run out. Friends that have heavily considered, and then some thankfully cancelled just weeks before. Friends that for weeks and even years, try to make it right. And some of them even add children to the mix. Because we all know children make a tense situation so much calmer. (Sarc.) Indulging in my favorite pastime last week yielded me the quote of the week. Jenelle, mother of Jace age 4, age 21 and has been pregnant twice afterwards and now on her 3rd, says to the baby daddy, "When this baby comes we'll be so busy, we won't have Time to argue!". Right.
If everyone of us has just one life to live, wouldn't you want it to be extraordinary? Wouldn't you want to share it with your someone amazing? How could you live with doubt? How could you live with someone you doubt? Wouldn't you want, to want no more?
Because if it's wrong, it's never going to be right. It's just going to be Ordinary.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The National & Nordstrom's

This weekend, I had a rare Saturday off, and P and I spent the day traveling our city. We take the opportunity to do this about once every 2-3 months just to remind ourselves that there Really Are great places, right here. When you spend every weekend you have off, in a completely different part of your state. You can miss certain things.
We started our day at a somewhat new, Vegan, "Locally Produced" eatery that's been getting a load of press. In order for a place to get P and I out of our nest in the morning for breakfast, it's got to be pretty good. We both enjoy making the morning meal, and are quite seasoned at it. You would think, How can anyone or anyplace screw up bacon and eggs? Ohh,, plenty of ways...
So in we went and immediately were sized up by the patrons, and they're glances deemed weather or not we seemed worthy of dining there. We ordered our breakfast and for $9 I got a plate of scrambled eggs, diced potatoes, and grilled vegetable's. If this was 15 years ago, we could have been at George Webb's. And my meal would have been $4. But because George Webb's isn't fashionable, or Hip(ster) it was $9, and tasted nothing like what we make in our little nest every weekend morning.
Last weekend also marked the first weekend there was a Nordstrom's in the (414) or the (262). Let me make myself more clear: There was a Nordstrom's Rack in the market. Maybe we should have known better. Than to go on opening weekend, at 1:00pm Saturday afternoon. But people watching is my favorite past time, and after my expert parking skills rewarded us on an excellent spot, in we went. 
I spotted some marginally good deals in the designer purse department, and headed towards ladies apparel. As I was pricing goods, I noticed the median price of most of what I liked was in the $99 range. Our city's more of a $19 kind of girl. She'll spend $100 on a pair of shoes, then go find a pair of leggings for $4.80 to wear then with. Now don't get me wrong,, the high/ low mix is one of my favorite juxtapositions of fashion, but very, Very few can pull it off. After wading my way through ladies and being visually assaulted by the endless aisles of round racks(the dinosaurs of apparel merchandising) I headed to shoes. I decided that the saving grace of this store was the racks, top to bottom of Tory Burch shoes. The fact that people may now know who this incredibly marketing savvy designer is, was hopeful. This woman singlehandedly has gotten throws of women to buy her products Simply based on her initials being on the product!!
Overall it was a bit like Goodwill meets TJMaxx, which I very much enjoy both of them. Separately. I would recommend a weekday visit, and maybe in the latter part of the spring, when the asphalt has been laid in the parking lot, and you don't have to teeter through the gravel in your Tory's.
Next weekend we will be staying in. Our breakfast will be local, and our shopping will likely be online. The eggs won't be $9, and P's potatoes beat the pants off any hipster. Sometimes the best part about getting out, is remembering how nice it is to stay in.