Telling my side of the story

WARNING: I'm not that deep.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Taking Stock of the Past Year

I am not a retrospective person and taking stock of past activities is not a favorite pastime as I am usually left with a feeling of dissatisfaction. Kinda like a performance review - you do your best but there's always room for improvement so you feel like you come up short no matter how good your boss says you are. The focus is always on the 'needs improvement' section instead of the 'excels in'. However, over the last couple of years, I have gotten used to the fact that the end of the year is a great opportunity to reflect on the past year to review what was accomplished and what wasn't, find out what could be done to make the next year better, yada, yada, yada. Reflecting is obviously not my favorite activity.

If you ask me, 2006 was great. Lots of positive things happened. We went back to school after a long hiatus, we rehabbed some houses like we'd talked about doing, we were smarter about investing because of our experience with Uncle Sam the previous year, we went on vacation, albeit towards the end of the year but we still took a vacation TOGETHER. Stuff like that happened. Good things. However, on the other side, we still ain't painted the house yet (we're still debating whether to do it ourselves or have someone come in and do it for us). Actually, I know the answer to that. We pay people all day long to paint the investment property but we're going to do ours ourselves? That doesn't sound right. So, that's still up for discussion. Also, the situation with our 'home office' is still chaotic and we would like to be more organized next year. Life is so much better when you're organized. For instance, when there's a lot of clutter, you can't find stuff. With tax season approaching, we've got to unearth documents as we prepare to battle once again with Uncle Sam. Our current filing cabinet, with it's labelled folders has been good to us but we need to upgrade to one that can hold legal documents, yada, yada, yada. On the personal side, I've still got lots of room for growth. I say we a lot but I'm not always about us.

Long story short, this past year has been good. We're healthy, we're happy and we thank God for all the miracles we received in 2006.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I miss my gloss

It all started in 2002 when my best friend from college, Brandi Ann and I (Marianne) talked about doing something together. She had just graduated college and we always said we would start some kind of business together. We spent many nights brainstorming and ended up deciding we wanted to be in the business of beauty. We loved many aspects of beauty so if we did anything, it had to be beauty-related. We thought about a hair salon and then ended up with a full-service spa because I wasn’t really into the idea of doing hair. She would be the hair person and I’d take care of everything else. We ended up going to check out the ‘Harvard’ of beauty schools. That’s what Empire calls themselves and were interviewed by the director. That’s about how far we got with our plans of enrolling. Afterwards, it seemed that the idea of doing something became my dream - Brandi ended up joining the US army and I decided to keep on going.

I enrolled in a program and started taking classes because my dream really was to have a nail spa for women like myself that didn’t want to go to those shady places. I wanted a place that was cheap, fun, and clean. That’s how gloss was born. We opened on October 4, 2003. It really was one of the best times of my life. I enjoyed every minute of it. From working with my newbie contractor to working with my very-absent interior designer to ordering supplies, equipment, and hiring my first set of employees. I loved thinking up a concept and bringing it to life. The day I realized how much I loved gloss was when I was cleaning up at the end of the day and realized that I was happy to do it. There were lots of challenging times especially when it came to dealing with my landlord and employees but it’s not an experience that I would ever regret.

Eventually, my landlord decided that it was time to sell the building and passed me off to the new owner who made it clear that he didn’t want us to be there. It seemed like a blessing in disguise because it had been tough juggling gloss with a full-time job. It also seemed like a good opportunity to get a location better suited to my vision of gloss. However, times have passed and I’ve grown lazy. Owning a small business is a lot of work and a lot of support is needed especially from those closest to you. I was lucky to have my sisters step in whenever I needed someone to tend to the register or take appointments. My older sister was one of my best customers – always coming in to get something done.

I seriously miss gloss. The day I decided that I wouldn’t fight my landlord and would have to close, I almost drove through a red light on my way home that night. Almost. It was that depressing. If I were to do it again, there are many things that I would do differently in terms of hiring the right people and protecting myself from lease agreements. The experience will certainly make me a better businesswoman should I ever chose to go that route. I miss my gloss, I miss my customers, I miss the smell of all those bella pella soaps, I miss running reports at the end of the night to see how we did. gloss was a huge part of my life and this is just my tribute to a long-lost friend.

Ladies' night at gloss

gloss on location at Club Monaco's Martini & Manicures Event

My favorite customer and one of my best employees

My boss lady - people assumed she was the owner

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A at Last

Finally, I’ve got an A in one of my classes. DH was curious about our grades in the final exam and asked if I knew when they would be published. I didn’t so I asked him to find out directly from the prof. Being the Naija-raised student that he is, he didn't take me up on my suggestion, saying that he might get some points knocked off for being ‘forward’. Me, ba, I am forward so I emailed the prof and asked when the grades would be published and if it was possible to know my grade before the publish date. That was on Friday. The prof emailed me back and said he planned to have the grades published on the 20th but he’d tell me my grade the following day, Saturday. Anyhow, early Saturday morning, I was surprised to get the following email from my prof:

“You made your usual excellent grade on the final and will receive an A for the course. (There is not an A+) Have a good holiday season.”

In short, if there was an A+ I’d be getting it, ba? Very noice. That’s going to do wonders for my stagnant GPA.

Meanwhile, my last Marketing class was on Tuesday and the prof announced that we had the option NOT to take the final if we were okay with our grades as they were. Word? Kia kia, I caculated my grade and came up with 90.6. Being ever so grateful to have crossed the ever-elusive, very impossible 90 threshold, I shouted out loud, “Thank you, God!” My prof and classmates turned around to see where that came from but I didn’t care. I packed my bag and baggages and said sayonara to my fellow classmates and went home singing all the way. I was over the moon because I never would have thought in a million years that an A would be possible in that class. Still over the moon, I went online to check my grades to confirm that my calculation gelled with my prof’s. Guess what? They are out of synch. She’s got me at an 89.78. Guess what else? She doesn’t ‘round’. An 89.99 is a B in that class. Anywhere else, it would be rounded to an A.

So there goes my short-lived perfect GPA semester. I gave myself grief about it all weekend and wondered if it would be worth it to take the final to try to bump up my grade. I fluctuated several times between taking it and not taking it. Finally, I told myself that it wouldn’t be worth it. The final exam was one everyone was trying to avoid because it is more about Statistics than anything else we didn't cover the topic to our satisfaction. There’s no way I coulda made an A in the final to carry me through my hump. I will just take my B+ and be happy. I am still praying that a miracle is possible and she’ll have a change of heart after seeing all the work that was put into my project and other work done in that class. If she doesn’t, I’ll be cool with it. I have one A at last and it has restored my confidence in my abilities. I’m happy and looking forward to my (hopefully) last semester. Yup, I applied for graduation last Wednesday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sad, but true

It just occurred to me that the reason why I spend an inordinate amount of time at work is because I am bored. Not all the time, but some of the time. I have always been the super busy kind. If it is not school I am involved with outside of work, then it’s off to the library to borrow some books, if it’s not books, then it’s some kind of side business, if it’s not business, then it’s some kind of dance class, if it’s not dance class, then it’s the gym, if it’s not the gym, then it’s hanging out. There’s the meat of the matter – my hangout buddies have gradually dwindled. I am a bored woman. A friend of mine keeps telling me that when I have kids, then we’ll be back to being tight again. I doubt it. There are lots more reasons why we are not as tight as we once were and it has nothing to do with kids. She feels that kids will slow me down and then we can both be on the same level. I can’t help but feel that maybe it’s time.

I stay at work late whenever I know DH will be working late because I don’t want to go home to an empty house. There’s a void in my life right now with the semester winding down. I have no idea what I’ll do with my extra time. I have been thinking about going back to the library and getting a bunch of books. The only thing is since my last phase of going to the library during my lunch hour at work, I have become a little bit of a germophobe. I imagine where people may have taken those books and I am thinking about just passing on that. Speaking of germophobia for a bit- the other day, I was at the DMV and a lady asked to borrow my magazine. I acted like I didn’t hear her because there was no way I could let her borrow my mag – dunno where her hands have been. If I were to let her read it, I’d have to give it to her for good.

This afternoon, I went to Checkers because I felt like a quick fast food fix. As I was waiting for my order, I watched the girl putting the food together. I noticed she didn’t have any gloves on as she served the fries. I kept praying that it was for another customer. Another colleague of hers was doing the same thing and I noticed that he had gloves on. My worst fears came true when she passed me the bag of food. I didn’t realize when I blurted out, “I apologize for the inconvenience, but I noticed that you served those fries without any gloves on, if you don’t mind…” Without saying a word, she just retracted her outstretched hand and slammed the drive-through window in my face. Next thing I knew, a guy (with gloves on) was dishing out a new set of fries. Although I appreciated her complying with my wishes, I didn't appreciate her attitude and called the 800 customer service number on the bag. I usually don't follow through with things like this but I'm curious to see if they take such things seriously. The bag read something along these lines - "We hope you enjoyed your visit, if you didn't, please call..." It will be interesting to see if Checkers follows up with me. In the mean time, what do I do to overcome this boredom?

Monday, December 04, 2006

It is so on! Maybe

So, last night, we were both studying for finals and I couldn’t print the answers to the homework because we were out of paper. So, I’m like let’s get out of the house, we’ve been indoors all day and we should get some paper while we’re at it. DH says he’s got a $10 gift card for Best Buy (oh boy!) so we should go get the paper from Best Buy. As soon as he said Best Buy, I knew we were in trouble. There’s no way we would be in and out of that store in 10 minutes. His Best Buy is like my mall (no one particular store comes to mind); he can be in there for hours.

So, we get to Best Buy, pick up the paper and I’m like “Oya, let’s go,” because I wanted to go to Target before they closed. I sure didn’t see the next few minutes coming. Apparently, when it comes to Best Buy, I don’t let him have his way, if we’re at a store I like, we spend hours and he doesn’t complain. Yada yada yada. Long story short, between the Best Buy trip and this morning, I haven’t felt like speaking. How is it that I don’t let him browse through Best Buy? That’s so not fair. I know he’s patient with me when we’re at the mall, but we both have finals and someone had to keep us on track. A ten minute trip took us an hour and I’m supposed to be happy about that? I was already pretty bummed about the fact that I haven’t studied at all for this final. I spent the whole weekend working on a stupid project for my Marketing class. God, please help me get an A on that project after all that work and group meetings. I hope it won’t cost me an A in this class. Right now, the only thing keeping me going is the fact that I’ve got to do better than him in the finals.

I was still planning to give him the silent treatment until this evening when we got to class (as much as I hate driving, I was even going to drive separately sef) but my phone rang a few minutes ago and it was him. Am I mad? Of course I’m not mad (I’m about to get even, bro!). I know he called me to make nice so that I would let him dub my work. I told him that much and he asked how I was sure I wouldn’t be dubbing him? True. I saw/heard him studying until like 2 in the morning while I was watching back to back episodes of Bridezillas and other dumb shows. I really haven’t studied so I guess we’re back to being friends.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lying on the bathroom floor thinking sinister thoughts

The meds I have been prescribed are really strong and have been making me sick since I started taking them. I called up my doctor because I was a little disturbed at how sick they've been making me and she said that was the 'preferred' drug. With friends in Pharmaceutical sales, I know that preferred drugs are the ones that doctors readily prescribe because they've struck a deal with the Pharmaceutical companies. They come out cheap to the patients who usually pay less for them than the alternative drugs. At this point, I don't really care what deal has been struck between my doctor and the Pharmaceutical salesperson; I just want to feel better quickly. Apparently, there's a second drug that I would have to pay full price for but I've been warned that it is not the preferred drug. Whatever that means, I'll need to do my own research to know what the side effects are. Anything is better than emptying my stomach five times like I did yesterday.

So, as I was lying on the bathroom floor tired because I didn't have the strength to stand up, here are some crazy thoughts that came to my mind:
I'm so glad I can actually lie on the floor of my bathroom. I don't think there's any other bathroom floor I could lie on.
 I wonder if we still have ants? Baba Porter was supposed to call pest control, I wonder if he actually did or if they all of a sudden just disappeared?
 What if I die? I haven't finished my will yet. Nobody will know what to do with my things. I know one thing they can do, throw away my car. In fact, they can donate it back to the dealership since it's spent so much time there already.
 DH is too funny talking about helping me pull my hair back. What hair? My hair's so short after that winch (witch) cut it like a boy. He's been watching way too many movies. Pull my hair back…LOL
 Hey, this whole thing may not be so bad. I'm sure I have actually lost some weight not eating and not keeping anything down. Hmmm…

I eventually got up around 3:30 and made my way to bed. Boy was I glad to wake up feeling good.