Monday, December 24, 2007

And now Christmas can begin...

Finally, after a gruelling 2 months of blah Christmas work I, on December 24th, will begin celebrating Christmas.  It finally feels like the holiday has begun.  It seems silly (since we've had our work Christmas tree up since October 22nd) but its not Christmas unless I can relax.  
Luke and I will be opening presents this afternoon.  Its a little bit of a downer not to be able to wake up in our own bed Christmas morning and promptly begin opening presents but I'll take it.  Really, any time spent with my fantastic husband is a holiday so I can't complain.  I can't wait to see what he thinks of his gifts.  We told each other that we wouldn't do much gift buying since I happen to be typing on our biggest Christmas gift right now... but I think we both knew we would end up with a quite a few goodies under the tree.  Besides I just can't help but spoil the man I love.  My biggest gift to my self has been paying off our biggest Christmas gift to one another.  As much as I complain about work (and no, I won't get into a rant right now... even though I could) I am so proud that I have a job that allows me to provide a few luxuries for our little family.  I even got to go and buy the kitten a few stocking stuffers.  Maybe they'll distract him long enough that he'll forget just how tasty that pine flavored water under the tree is...  maybe not.
For all of you that we will be able to see today or tomorrow... I can't wait!  And for those of you we may not see, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with your families and I hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

JOY to the world

So...Montgomery, Memphis, Orlando and Tuscaloosa... phew!
Needless to say, I've been traveling again.  It has been a busy couple of weeks, but good none the less.  I'm really enjoying my new position as a 'traveling manager' but it can be a bit exhausting.  Its just being away from home that is exhausting.  I never really relax unless I can sit on my couch with my husband and maybe, just maybe watch a little Designing Women on the the dvr.  I'm home now, thank goodness, and the prospect of traveling out of state (again) is still looming somewhere in the not-so-distant future, but I am going to enjoy it while I can.

Christmas started the week before Halloween for me.  We have a fully decorated six foot Christmas tree in our first camera room complete with presents, a fire place and rug.  'Just like your own living room! hehe!' ...sigh.  I really do love my job (most days), but my lord!  Do people have to become even more obnoxious to celebrate the season of Christ's birth?  It is supposed to be 'the most wonderful time of the year' and people just get more crabby and pushy than ever before.  They suddenly become the only people on the planet who have families to feed and presents to buy.  'But you don't understand? I have a child! Why should I have to wait fifteen minutes after my appointment to have my portraits taken?!'  First off ma'am everyone here has a child.  And that is exactly why we are running fifteen minutes behind schedule!  Secondly, I'm sorry we don't have any more cards that have 'merry Christmas' on them, but I didn't design them!  Besides, would you like to explain to me why you had to have your pictures next to our fully decorated tree complete with presents, fireplace and rug for Christmas?  I think maybe just maybe next year you should dress up your family in nativity costumes, and every one will know exactly how pure and christian your family is at Christmas!  Little Billy can be the baby Jesus, daddy can be Joseph and you can be the ass!  
I really do love Christmas.  I love my family.  I love the gifts and, God knows, I love turkey, but come on!  I know, I know... my business would be nearly as booming if it weren't for the holiday rush, but seriously... give a nickle to the Santa in front of Wal-mart, share a fruitcake and have a little more patience for those that serve you.
I think my favorite Christmas tradition came from the Lucas family.  On Christmas eve after church they go to the local Waffle House in their Christmas finest, chow on some delicious greasiness and tip the waitress (who God love her is working on Christmas eve!) one hundred dollars!
Okay, so maybe I'm venting a little to early in the season, but ya know, when Christmas starts before Halloween and lasts after the new year its hard to stay jolly.  Maybe it will help when my family (Luke, the kitten and me) begin our own holiday festivities.  But even then, I don't want to 'rock around the Christmas tree' until after thanksgiving!  Oh well, this is my third Christmas with PI and they are always interesting if nothing else.  I love being busy, I love seeing my bonus grow and, believe it or not, I love to see happy customers!  So here I go again... 'Its the most wonderful time of the year...'

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Go ahead, yawn now and get it out of the way...

So first off I'm a terrible wife for not blogging about our 1 year anniversary sooner but let me just say this... I might just have the sweetest husband ever!  I was absolutely blown away by the wonderful book that Luke gave me!  It has photos from our entire first year or marriage and a few sweet words from the hubby as well.  I can't wait to show it off the next time I see everyone!  We were able to visit with Brooke and Justin (our friends from college who now reside in Lansing, Michigan) and (of course) Cassie and Jacob.  Justin is in law school and Brooke has taken a job with PI.  Cassie and Jacob live right up the road, but we still don't see them often enough.  It was nice to spend our anniversary with a few of the folks who were there at the original celebration.  It was like a mini-reunion!
On to more dull matters...
I have been working like a fool for the past few weeks (thus, no blogging).  I spent a few days in our corporate city, Charlotte, NC for a managers meeting.  Believe it or not, Christmas starts in a couple of weeks and we are all getting geared up for the madness.  Patton Creek is not doing as well as I would like and that has been uber frustrating.  We are not nearly as busy this year as we were last year and that is making our financial budget nearly impossible to beat!  So if any of you are looking for reasonably priced portraits from a really enthusiastic photographer... give me a call!
I found out on Wednesday that I needed to travel to Jacksonville, FL again this week and then found out on Saturday that I was staying home... roller coaster city!  I would have been travelling with one of my associates from Montgomery who was taking the management position in Jacksonville.  Well, my boss decided I should stay home and focus on my own struggling studio and send someone else with her instead.  I must admit I was a little relieved. phew!  Today I found out that my replacement in Montgomery quit today and the associate that would have been taking Jacksonville was coming back to Montgomery.  So needless to say things have been a little crazy but I'm just taking it one day at a time.
Luke is working late tonight and I have the apartment to myself (with the orange puff-ball, of course).  It's no fun coming home to an empty apartment.  Now I know how Luke feels all the time!
I know this is probably the most boring blog ever, but here it is... an update... finally...
I can't wait to hear from all of you soon!
Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Do you ever feel bloated... You, know irregular...

Have you ever had one of those weird weeks, where you just feel... off?  This has been one for me!  This "week" started last Tuesday when one of my associates quit.  No huge loss really, but it came as a small shock to me.  To follow that up the ladies toilet backed up and was flushing with dirty (smelly) water.  I found out what the problem was (which I'll mention in a minute) and called a plumber.  The poor bastard that came out was required to tell me what the problem was before he could fix it so... I'll paraphrase... 'it seems that some one has put, how can I put this, fecal matter  in the upper tank of the toilet.  I'm just gonna have to get something to break it up and that should fix your problem.  If it doesn't you're gonna have to get a new toilet.'  I tried my best to look shocked and amazed when he described it too me, but I had actually found the pile before I called him... poor bastard.  So he comes back in with a metal stick (the official tool I'm sure) and pokes it until it flushes into the bowl.  EW!  I had to hold back so many giggles I could hardly stand it.  We had been upper-decked!
Moving on... I was trying to reach Luke on the way home Sunday night and didn't notice the car in front of me put on their breaks (at a green light mind you) and... SMASH! I hit the silver sedan ahead of me... in the new car!  I was going less than five miles per hour but still it was devastating.  I've never been in a fender-bender before much less in a new car.  I was furious.  The first thing out of the other driver's mouth was 'I've, like, never been in a wreck that wasn't, like, totally my fault... hang on, let me call my dad...'  So she calls, tells dad its just a scratch (which it was!) and he says 'call the cops'.  So I wait for twenty minutes with the 19 year old when low and behold the motorcycle cops show up.  A little 'what happened' and 'license and insurance card please' and I drive home.  I was so pissed, sad, weepy, the whole deal.  Really and truly the car is fine.  I broke the front plate holder (it was empty anyway) and what damage was done will be covered when we get a replacement.  Still... it sucked!
THEN... We really busted ass last week and still didn't make our sales goals.  It was a HUGE disappointment.
This week I have to open and close every day to get my hours because I'm schedule for a long weekend (Friday-Monday).  To kick that off my alarm didn't go off this morning and I was late!  I couldn't shower, put on make-up anything... sigh.  I haven't been late in a long time and it just wasn't a good way to start off the day.  To finish the day I did something even more dumb than not waking up on time... I killed the studio mini-fridge.  Trying to be ever vigilant with studio cleanliness I decided to clean out the freezer.  The freezer has never been cleaned or defrosted and there was only about a half inch clearance between the ice and the top of the freezer.  So what do I do?  I go at it with a screwdriver like an IDIOT.  And the story ends with me puncturing the freon line and having freon spray out onto my hands and face!  GUH!  So I had to call our fabulous supply guy, Henry, and explain to him how I killed the fridge and beg for a new one... at least he got a good laugh.
So there you have it... one of the weirdest weeks ever.
Please tell me its not just me...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Off time... and medium-sized news

So after a couple more weeks I've managed to come up with a little off time, just in time for Labor Day.  I spent most of yesterday preparing for yesterday.  Sound a little odd?  Well, it was.
I woke up late yesterday morning and decided to give Cassie a call suggesting that we go to Costco for supplies for our little opening game get together.  Unbeknownst to me this turned into a five hour trip.  First, it was just going to be there and back.  Then my mother called... 'sure we can me you at Starbucks for a cup of coffee.'  Which turned in to a great little lunch and trip to the home goods store.  Then we were on our way to the big store so we could buy big snacks.  Then Cassie wanted to go to Wrapsody, a local shop that sells up-scale odds and ends (Vera Bradley purses, personalized stationary, blah, blah, blah).  We spent another exciting half hour there.  Well, finally, on to Costco... were we debated for another hour (plus) on whether or not Luke really needed 72 Bagel-bites, whether boneless chicken wings were really chicken wings at all (five pounds it still too much, I say), or if we should go to a real grocery store.  Finally we purchased our over-sized goods and headed to Publix to spend another 40 bucks on food for four people.  Sure the case of Samuel Adams Oktoberfest was great, but geez, we had enough food for a small army!  Finally the game started.  We all gorged ourselves on over salty food (funny how that pound of baby carrots remained in the fridge) and Auburn won.  phew.
Today?  Well, most of today I've spent watching the fabulous TV phenomenon Heros.  I love it!  Does it count as the exercise that my body so desperately needs... maybe not.  But I am exhausted if that counts for anything.
Tomorrow we will be happily travelling to Montgomery for an Upchurch family gathering.  I'm really excited!  (And thanks to Costco I now have 165 sturdy paper plates for the family!)  I feel like we haven't been home in ages, even though that's not entirely true.  We will, unfortunately, be taking the bean as our sweet ride tomorrow.  The Sentra has less than 100 miles before it needs an oil change and we don't want to go over (for the sake of the warranty).  Lets hope its not a hot one tomorrow!
On to the medium-sized news...
I've been promoted!  Not the big promotion I'm hoping for this time next year, but it will definitely do for now.  The company has created a new position, 'travelling manager'.  That pretty much sums up the job description too.  I'll be able to appoint an assistant manager in my home studio and travel to other studios in the region helping out, trouble-shooting, re-training, etc.  The new position comes with an increase in pay and bonus potential and also increases the likelihood that I may have a region of my own before too long.  I'm pretty excited about it professionally, but the prospect of being away from home more is a little troubling.  I do wish that Luke could come with me when I have to travel.  He may be able to come every so often, but in between those it'll just be a fat orange fluff ball and a particularly patient husband at home awaiting my return.  I won't be the only 'traveling manager' in the region so I won't be gone all the time, but I do think that amongst all the benefits there's a little guilt built in too.  But this is the next step for me professionally and who would have guessed that it could have come so quickly!
I can't wait to see all of you in Montgomery (if possible) tomorrow, and Jason I promise we will bring you your magnet one of these times...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ants, birthdays and more about work...

Did you know that a vacuum cleaner is a great way to deal with an ant infestation? Last Friday (my birthday!) Luke and I came home from my sisters house to find a trail of ants leading from the living room all the way to the kitchen sink! While Luke made a late night trip to find some ant traps I spent half an hour sucking the the bastards into the bowels of our hoover.

On to other birthday goodies...
Luke got me The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppet Movie and season one of Doctor Who! I am so excited about all three! Good husband! I've already watched The Muppet Movie and I can't wait to start the other two. In case you didn't already know... I love Jim Henson Workshop. Also with the very generous gifts of all four of my parents (Marshes and Lucases alike) I was able to get The Muppet Show season two, the BBC's Pride and Prejudice mini-series and Big Brain Academy for the Wii. I really racked up this year... 25 is working out pretty well so far... Most of all I enjoyed having an excuse to talk to all the people I love. I heard from almost all of my friends and family either via phone call, text or facebook. I love birthdays. They're like your own personal holiday.

As for work... Things are going pretty well. I really can't complain. I have been well received by the staff and have made a lot of improvements to the studio already. I just wish that I could do more. But after working a 55 hour week last week I was definitely ready for some rest. My mom gave me a massage to day (which was amazing) and I'm finally feeling relaxed. I have today and tomorrow off before another crazy Patton Creek weekend, thank goodness.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

after a few days...

I'm not so sure how my reception with the natives of Patton Creek is going, but I am liking the new position.  So far, my biggest accomplishment is cleaning the disgusting studio into something a little more recognizable.  I found documents dating back to 2004!  (we're only supposed to keep them for about 30-60 days)  So, needless to say, I can tell that the two previous managers were... men.   I'm still getting used to a completely new pace of work... we did 40 appointments on a Tuesday!  I'm used to maybe... 12.   However, I really am going to like this studio.  I like the people, I love the pace.  I just hope that I can find my place and establish myself as a leader.  Please keep me in your prayers.  If all goes well, I should find myself with a nice big bonus and promotion by this time next year... fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What a week...

Luke and I are sitting in our new living room watching Doctor Who (the 1960s black and white version).  Under some prodding (you know who you are) I've decided to start a blog.  I must admit, like all the events of this week, I'm slightly excited and nervous about it...

I've been thinking a lot about home this week.  We've just made the move from Montgomery to Birmingham (Hoover to be exact).  Like any move it was difficult.  The apartment it starting to feel like ours now that we have our photos on the walls and our furniture in place (check out luke's blog for pics).  If only we could eradicate the old, stale apartment smell we'd be in business.  I think the cat has made the made the transition the best of all of us.  He is as fat and lazy as always.  I think the only motivation he has it to lay on every piece of carpet in the apartment.

I will be starting in my new studio, Patton Creek, tomorrow.  Speaking of nervous...  I've been 'hand-picked' to run the number two studio in the entire country (only narrowly topped by a studio in the mid-west).  I know that I possess all the qualities of a good manager, but that being said... I'm very much 'on the radar' now.  Even the smallest mistake will not go unnoticed.  I will be going from around 12 to 35 appointments a day to 30 to 65 appointments a day (needless to say, a big difference).  In case you didn't already know I did start at Patton Creek a couple of years ago.  I was used to that kind of business at one point, but I've never been in charge of it.  When I first became a manager it was a new studio.  New associates, new problems, etc.  But now I'm walking into a staff that I didn't pick, problems that I couldn't have anticipated.  I'm sure I'll be fine but I can't seem to quell the nerves.  And for any of you that love Christmas and all its carols and traditions... step in my shoes for a week at Christmas.  It is twelve weeks (starting the last week of October) of pure, unadulterated jolly hell.  I know the evidence leads to the contrary but I really do love my job, no sarcasm intended.  I enjoy it, I'm good at it and I'm well compensated for it, but my God Christmas is a trying time.  I guess I'll deal with that mess when I meet it.  And I'm sure you, dear readers, will hear all about it. Until then I will just plow ahead with a little luck and a lot of prayers.

So I can only hope that Hoover will become home (in some respects).  I'll never be able to replace Montgomery, in the same way that Montevallo can never be replaced.  I owe part of who I am to Montgomery and the people I grew close to there.  It will always be home.  But while we are here, yet again, our lives are going to change.  I must remind myself of the advice we were given (after only one margarita)... (to paraphrase)... As long as we have each other we will be happy.