Friday, August 15, 2014

Work So Far

Let me just say, my job is swallowing me whole. I actually really love it but my work/life balance is tipped pretty far in one direction. As with most things in life I was hired on at a difficult time--they were down two full-time employees and the on-call ladies were stretched thin. So it's just been the counter manager and I. I was hired to work between 12 and 20 hours but this week I'm clocking in at 30.

I'm glad to be getting the hours because I need the practice AND I know this surplus of shifts will dry up pretty soon. I just wish I had all these hours down the road when I knew what I was more experienced could actually make my sales goal. (Yesterday was the first day I thought, Holy cow--I know what I'm doing! But I was still $200 away from the extremely high bar set for me.)

Everyone has been so amazingly nice to me though, especially from the other cosmetics departments. When I was floundering on my first day alone they swooped in to rescue me, no judgement or expectation. I really appreciated that.
Me in break room. We have four refrigerators in there.






Anyway. This job has a lot of elements I'm good at and really enjoy, mainly helping people. (I would say doing make up, but my first makeover was on a 70-year-old woman and I had never dealt with granny skin before--that was eye-opening.) There are just a lot of pieces to put together to make me a "good" employee such as opening credit cards and building/managing a client list. I have been here two weeks and I'm starting to get it.




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Two Big News Stories (in the life of the Joneses)

So picking up on my last bombshell, Mary will attend Basic for 9th grade.

She was fine with homeschool until she started to miss her friends. She also made an impassioned plea to go to public school for the academics, which annoyed and offended me since we had a rigorous curriculum that she sometimes threw a fit about. She said that I was "too nice" and she knew that she could get out of things. And here I thought that I was accommodating her special needs . . . BUT. I'm over that. Bryce and I told her that we would prefer for her to homeschool but that if she prayed about the decision and felt good about it then we would support her. She did, and so I registered her.

We are drawing up a contract that Mary will sign stating that she needs to have certain grades and can only be tardy/miss school a certain amount of days. We will give this a trial run of one semester and if she succeeds, then awesome. If there is trouble, then she will come home and do k12.com (so she has continuity). I think she will find that getting up early, jumping through hoops, and dealing with crowds and idiots are going to be harder than she remembered. But, time will tell. We hope she does well.

In case you're wondering she hasn't been homeschooling this summer. I haven't been able to keep all the balls in the air with everyone home.

Getting fitted for contacts before the new school year.


The other thing is that I GOT THE JOB. Holla! I'm the newest part-time Clinique consultant at Macy's. I have worked three shifts and it is hard work. Not physically (though my first day I almost died because of my pinchy shoes), but emotionally since I'm not used to the stress of the working world in general. I feel like I'm on Undercover Boss, where a corporate big wig poses as a regular guy in the company and usually stinks at doing the bread-and-butter jobs. I'm no boss but I'm not exactly street-smart either--things like opening/closing a register take me 10 times longer than the average person to master. This job isn't aimed at an academically-minded big-picture person. I knew that going in and although it sounds like I'm complaining, I actually like the challenge. I like to be uncomfortable, to stretch myself, do do something I've never done before. And it helps that my co-workers have been awesomely nice and helpful to me.
Pre-work selfie. 
So I'm mostly working nights and Saturdays, which is fine. I saw the counter managers get ready for inventory and that looked like the most hideous task ever. I'm glad to be a part-timer.

And that concludes our BIG NEWS.



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vision

I know this is a weird thing to be proud of but when I went to the optometrist today I was told I have 20/15 vision. I haven't worn glasses since baby Mary threw my frames across the kitchen in 2000 and I lost the lenses. Back then I was pretty dependent on corrective eyewear but I was too busy to go to the doctor for a replacement. Gradually my vision improved, if you can believe it.

Everyone had appointments today and the doctor fit me in as well. I had no complaints going in but I was still pleased to be told that my vision was great. He said that if it were any better it'd be x-ray vision. Ha.

I see you . . . in detail.
Cameron has 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/25 in the other. No glasses for that. Harrison has 20/20 in both eyes. We three are the ones who wish we could pick out cute frames and spent the most time trying them on. Poor Mary has 20/300 and Bryce has worse than that. Mary is getting contacts even though she looks adorable in glasses. She'll need them for sure since she's going to public school this next year. Like how I just slipped that major news in there? More on that later.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer B-Ball

One of mine and Bryce's favorite activities of the summer was watching the twins play their first season on basketball. Their team was the "Dream Team" and their jerseys were black. Cam was #6 and Harrison was #7. Harrison was thrilled to play against his friend Nick for one game. They lost but it was great to see Nick make some great plays and see the sportsmanship between all the kids. The Dream Team won their first and last games--started and ended playing the same team!

Cameron and Harrison learned a ton, made new friends, and enjoyed being part of a great group.

They especially enjoyed when Tyce came to watch them.


Cam dribbled the ball.

Then Harrison did.

There he goes!

Most of the team at the last game. A few boys were on vacation.

Cupcakes and trophies to wrap it all up.

Trophies at the end of the season were pretty awesome. Cam wanted to know if they were real gold. Personal highlights for Cam included making two baskets and a free throw. Harrison made one basket and a free throw. Both boys were wicked defenders. Bryce loved when their opponents were annoyed by how closely our boys were guarding them.




Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Regional Dance

Our stake was in charge of the 10-stake regional dance in July, which would have been a great time to have a dance if it were not in our very old building with the rickety A/C. It was a million degrees outside and two million degrees inside. We tried to counteract that by bringing in an industrial-size swamp cooler--awesome idea, right? That was all Mer, and we were grateful to her. But the effect was wicked humidity. Oy. Our theme was Hawaiian luau and I must say, it did feel quite tropical in there. It all added to the experience.

My wonderful counselor Amy was the mastermind behind the decorations. She did such a great job making the tikis, paper flowers, and palm trees--not to mention ordering the other supplies and telling us how to execute her vision.
How cool are these?

By the refreshment table.

Giant flowers.

On the stage and on the tikis.
Tiny tikis for the table.
Tyce was the DJ along with Pres. Pecjak. He did a great job.
First arrivers, more standing around than dancing.

But by the end of the night it was hoppin' in there!

I nearly got mowed down by a people-train!

I loved working with our fellow leaders. In the foyer were Lance, Stan, Merridee, Bryce, and Lonney  (Julie's husband). I just love our stake YM and YW presidencies. 

We had around 325 kids come, which was great attendance for a summer dance. Out of all the good music played, the most popular song of the night was "Let it Go" from Frozen. That got every single person in the room singing their hearts out. It was an all-around fun night--it took hours to set up but it was a great time for the kids.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shelby Museum

The twins are obsessed with vehicles and have a high-stakes "dibs" war on sports cars. They literally shout "DIBS!" every 10 seconds or less every time we are in the minivan. Their favorites to collect include Mustangs, Corvettes, Chargers and Challengers, Porsches, old muscle cars, and Ford Raptors (Harrison). Sad is the brother who misses out on a cool car, even though the collection is merely cataloged in their minds.

Anyway, we decided to go to the Shelby factory and museum in Las Vegas.

Outside.
The factory made Mustangs and Ford Raptors. Harrison was elated.

How pretty are those shiny cars?

I will take this one, please.

Cam and the Ford Raptor.

Harrison and the same truck.

They couldn't believe that this engine fit into that little space.
There was a tour guide who had interesting stories to tell but the boys were not interested in the long-winded tales of Carroll Shelby and Enzo Ferrari and the race for domination. So we ditched the group and did our own thing. We had a great time and got Happy Hour drinks at Sonic on the way home.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Job Interview

Guess what, peeps. I had a job interview last week.

Before I went in.

I just want something part-time and when I saw that there was an opening at the Clinique counter at Macy's I jumped on it.

And then I got some serious cold feet. Retail? Sales? Oh boy.

But I went through with the interview process since I knew it would be good experience regardless. And it was. I had an initial interview with a sales manager, then a second interview with the cosmetics manager. I have to say, I kind of rocked it. That's the benefit of being 40 years old, I guess--experience has taught me what I need to say. The cosmetics manager said, "Diana was right that I would love you because I totally do. I'm surprised someone else hasn't snatched you up already."

Hello!

It is the weirdest thing to interview, isn't it? You have to talk yourself up, toot your own horn, come across as extremely valuable. And then they ask you questions that slam you right back down and make you feel like an idiot. There's no way to be ready for every question, you know? I actually studied before I went in--How do you handle stress? When have you worked in a team to achieve a goal?--so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

I even went to the Clinique counter a day before my interview to talk to one of the ladies, ask some questions about makeup for dark skin (for Mary). Just getting a feel for how she handled me as a customer and what I might do similarly or different.

Anyway, now I have the phone interview with the Talent Plus people, kind of a personality profiling. If I get past that, then I have another interview and then find out the verdict.

It would be exciting to get the job. Clinique does extensive training and treats their consultants well. Macy's, I'm not so sure about. But I would get to wear that iconic lab coat--hey, I'm never going to med school so this is the only way I'll get to wear one. Let's be honest, that would be cool.

I'll keep you posted.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

4th of July

 The highlight of our holiday was a surprise visit from these awesome people:

Dave (my brother), Brooklyn, and their kids Cambria (9), Maya (8), and Xochi (5)

My brother and his family came through town on their way home from a family reunion in Sedona, Arizona. It was awesome to spend the evening with them!

We had dinner together, the usual summer-type feast: hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled corn on the cob, watermelon, chips, and fruit kabobs for dessert. I tried out a red, white, and blue layered drink and it worked! Cranberry apple juice, white Gatorade, and no-sugar blue Gatorade. (They liquid settles depending on sugar content.) It looked basically like this:

caramelpotatoes.com
After dinner we went to the cul-de-sac to do the fireworks we'd bought. It was a really nice night, hot but not miserable. The highlight was when our neighbors did some awesome illegal airborne fireworks--we had a great show right over our heads.

The cape was the perfect touch on her patriotic outfit, don't you think?
Best pup in the world.

Xochi

Harrison, Xochi, and Maya

Cameron and Cambria

Torches

There it goes!

Tyce 

We enjoyed our neighbors' fireworks in the street too
Maya swinging her glow stick necklace

Late-night selfie

David took this one of us.
Brooklyn and Dave

Right over head, I tell ya!

Loved this time celebrating our nation's birth with some of my favorite people. It was a short visit but so worth it to us Joneses.



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tyce's Birthday

It doesn't seem possible but it's true--our first baby is 18. 

He and I played racquetball that afternoon. It was his first time and he was a bit apprehensive. We got to the rec center and I told him the basics, we practiced a bit, and then we played a game. I wasn't prepared for his strength--holy moly, what he lacked in precision he made up in ball speed. There were times I ran and missed and timed I just stood there while the ball whizzed past me. Our first game was close, a one-point difference. But our second game (which we only played to 11 due to time constraints) was brutal for me--he shut me out. I said, "You're lucky I let you win on your birthday!" but he knew I was lying and that he'd dominated me on the court.

Oh hi, just playing for the first time and destroying my mom at it.

After that we drove by Basic Choir's fireworks booth at the Shell station, just to say hi. He enjoyed seeing old friends and the choir assistant, Maria, even gave him a package of cool torches in honor of his birthday.

That evening we had the family party.

Cameron and Harrison made this cake for him--chocolate with cookies and cream frosting.

Cam also made hats for himself and the birthday boy.

He wore his new hat over his baseball cap!

May all your wishes come true.

Cameron also made this Batman glove so he could tell us to "talk to the hand" but it'd be a cool hand.

He loved this funny card from Mopsie and Grandpa.
Pistachios.
The family.
Finally, his big present was to go to Pole Position to do Go Kart racing with his friend Josh. Bryce took them and it looked like they had a blast!

The boys were excited!
So fast they were a blur. 
Lookin' good, 36.

Tyce and Josh raced 3 times. The races were 10 minutes long. They were trying to beat a redneck family but even the women were faster than these boys!

Bryce did one race and he said it was really fun.

So now after all this, we have a young adult in the house. When people say, "Kids grow up so fast" they're not joking. When Tyce is "on", he's the most amazing guy you will ever meet. We need to figure out a way to close up the gaps so those good moments are more frequent--because he was born to shine, to be awesome every day. We love him so much and are so glad he had a birthday.

We love you, Tyce!