Telling my side of the story

WARNING: I'm not that deep.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mommy for a Day

This weekend (Saturday only), I had the pleasure of babysitting my friend’s three-year old son. I’ve known him since the day he was born. In fact, I helped take him home from the hospital. I’ve always offered to babysit for my friend because that’s what friends do and I can imagine that it must be difficult for parents to find time alone once they have kids. She never took me up on my offer to babysit so that she and her husband could do dinner and a movie or just straight up get away. Imagine my surprise when my friend calls me late on Friday to find out if I can watch her son the next day. This is like three years after telling her I could. Anyway, I was surprised but I said okay. In fact, I looked forward to it and dreaded it all at the same time because this little boy is all about his mommy. What caused the need for my services? My friend needed to get her hair done desperately and her husband was out of town. Cool. I asked her to come by my place and I would hook her up with my people who are good for last-minute situations. As we dropped her off, her son started to scream and I’m not kidding when I say scream. His face was red and he didn’t stop screaming. My friend looked like she was about to get back in the car but I convinced her to go ahead. There are not too many people that do ‘ethnic’ hair in my area and she’d found someone at the last minute. It would have been her loss if she didn’t seize the opportunity.

Anyways, I drove off with her boy screaming my head off. Then it occurred to me that I needed to strike some kinda deal with this little man. I turned around and asked if he wanted me to turn around and get his mom or if we should go to the park instead. Surprise, surprise, he chose to go to the park. I asked if he wanted us to pick his mom up before we went to the park or if we should just go now and he said he wanted to go now. I asked if his mom would be okay with us going to the park, he said he was pretty sure she would say yes. Nice! I called my friend to reassure her we were okay because I figured she’d be worried since her son was in all kindsa states when we left her. From that point on, the day went smoothly. It’s amazing how you can get children to behave. I had several stops to make before we could get to the park (relax in my crib for like 5 mins, go do amebo at my sisters', drop off my drycleaning, and go to the African store). The whole time, I let him know exactly what was coming next and when we would be going to the park. We finally made it to the park and I let him have his time. He did his thing on the swing and then got all kindsa dirty in the sandpit. It wasn’t until he was neck deep in sand that I realized that my friend might not appreciate me bringing him back dirty so we had to quit the sandpit. Other than that, we had a blast.

All in all, it was a good pretend-mommy day for me. A couple of times, I forgot to buckle the thingy on his car seat. Yeah, I had my Britney moment, but I parked to the side of the road and fixed it quickly. Then, at the store, I caved in and bought him some candy but apparently, his mommy doesn’t give him candy. Dunno how I did that. I probably wouldn’t have bought it for my kid either but I figured it was the nice thing to do since he’d been such a good boy the entire time. Besides, right before picking up his mom, I figured I could get in one last errand. We were at Bed Bath & Beyond buying trash bags and he said I didn’t buy anything for him so I caved in and bought him the candy he'd picked up. What else? Oh yeah. I wasn’t really aware of the whole eating thing. He’d eaten a burger at 3 o’clock and had some goldfish crackers and juice so I thought he was okay. However, by the time we were all back at my house at 7pm, he was pretty cranky and hungry. Go figure. I guess you need to keep those machines well oiled. One thing I did notice was that he was way better behaved with me than with his mom. Apparently, kids know who they can take advantage of and they do so without missing a beat. When we were at the store, I asked him to help me with one of my bags and he obliged. By the time we’d picked his mom up and were carrying all my stuff into the house, I asked him to help me with a bag and he took it and promptly handed it to his mother. I guess he knew when the gig was up.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

I Hate Writing!

For work. I hate writing to appease people; having to find the right words to placate people. I am Naija-educated so I have to find the American words to say things I am thinking. Why, oh why do I have to be politically correct every time I write a communication that will be seen by many? Okay. I just answered that question for myself. If many eyes are going to be on your work, it pays to take the time to make sure you are communicating properly and that you are the least offensive you possibly can. Scratch that. You shouldn’t be offensive at all. I wasn’t planning to go into details but I’ve had several jobs in my life. It’ll take a number posts to cover all the jobs I did to pay my dues before I graduated college. So far, the one I dread the most involves writing!

Now that I've vented, I'm going to put my fingers to the keyboard and make my money!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things

This is from a friend who is thankful to have been home and not out in public when her son started asking her all kindsa questions. Anyway, here’s what happened between Logan and his mom.

Logan: “Mom, do you have a pee-pee too?”
Denise: Rolling her eyes to the sky because she totally didn’t expect this and she was totally dreading this moment. “Oh no, I have a vagina.”
Logan: “You have gina?”
Denise: Laughing inside, trying not to laugh in his face “No, vah-gyna. Anyway, never mind, mommy doesn’t have a pee-pee okay?”
Logan: “So, is your gina on your back?”
Denise: Really hoping he changes the subject quick. “No, it’s not on my back”
Logan: “Can I have a snack?”
Denise: Very thankful he's dropped the subject. “You sure can honey”

*********End of their conversation de salon*********

I was rolling on the floor throughout. Why would he think it's on her back? LOL. Wharramess. I guess that's the kind of entertainment soccer moms get all day long.


Getting to the Next Level

Oh boy. The next level. We had a guest speaker at one of my classes that really got me thinking about getting to the next level. This guy is pretty young – he worked for huge companies in corporate America, did some consulting, rode the dotcom wave when it was good, is now back in school getting his PhD, and has already been offered a lecturing gig at one of the big universities in the Northeast. That's his career path and it seems to be working out very nicely for him. He's done things that I wish I could do - work with companies both big and small and then pass on the knowledge to young minds. It was really enlightening seeing and listening to a very accomplished, talented, well-spoken black man. Yes, he was a brother. I was in complete awe. Not just me, I could tell that the entire class wanted to soak up this man's knowledge. It’s just not something you see often. When the prof emailed us his credentials to let us know more about who was coming, I was expecting an older white gentleman. You know, the typical 'guest speaker'. So when I got to class yesterday and saw him, it took a minute to register that this was our guest speaker. But that’s really not the point of my whole shpill i.e. that is really not why I am writing this.

The guy made me think about my next step career-wise. He made a comment, an assumption that everyone in class was there to fulfill some sort of goal that couldn’t be described as altruistic. He also said we were probably not there for enlightenment alone. And I thought, hmm… not quite sir, I really am here because I want a deeper level of learning, something better than my undergraduate education; I want to learn the implications of things and not just memorize the definitions like we did in undergrad. My Masters degree will be something that I can be proud of – some personal accomplishment, nothing else.

Even though my reasons for getting another degree started off more or less for different reasons, this guy has made me wonder if I should perhaps be a little more ambitious career-wise. Here’s my current philosophy: I love my job, I love the company I work for, if I can’t work for myself, I will continue to work for this company. That’s been my mantra for the past six or so years. Even when work gets unbelievably boring or I don’t seem to be making much of an impact, my mantra keeps me going. It’s a great company to work for- both for personal and professional reasons. The professional reasons are somewhat boring but on the personal side, where else can I get thirty days of vacation? Yes, that’s thirty days in America! I think that is one of the things that has kept me here. I love the number of days I can take off and do my own thing. However, if I am to take control of my career and get to the next level, I cannot be complacent. I cannot continue to come up with excuses for being complacent. I need to build up my resume. Diversify. Broaden my horizon. Get up outta here one day. I have been complacent for the past six years and I could keep going like this for the next thirty years as long as I keep moving up the ladder. However, is that enough for me to one day look back and say, wow, I had such an accomplished career? In today's world, sticking with the same company for a lifetime is unheard of. I need to think about my next step. Seriously.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Spot Down the Road

There's a new space that just opened up in the shopping center down the road from me. I think it's perfect. Maybe not quite perfect because parking there can be tough on busy weekends. Nonetheless, it's great because it's on a busy street close to a mall. My mind is working overtime - should I, should I not? I'm not sure anymore. Could this be a good location for another gloss? I really don't know. I ran the idea by DH last night and he thought it might be right but brought up the parking issue. To be honest, I'm not ready to do anything until after I graduate in the summer. There is no way I'm going to start anything new right now. All the same, I'm going to get some info and find out what they're looking for. These developers get as they be but it doesn't hurt to do some preliminary research.

Speaking of another gloss, I'm really not sure I want to do another one. The people (skilled employee) aspect of it is not that appealing. Maybe something in retail? I've got a few ideas floating in my head. The conception part is always exciting but the work itself can be very demanding. I'll keep thinking about it but it doesn't hurt to dream.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Not Easily Embarrassed

It’s funny how I no longer get embarrassed. Nothing embarrasses me anymore, nothing. Maybe it’s my ‘tough’ upbringing going to a school where the boys were cruel and the lines between girls and boys were often blurred. I remember all the silly names they called me – duck – referring to the big booty on my skinny frame. So, really, hardly anything embarrasses me anymore. I remember one day back in high school, I was perched on a stool and one guy complained that I was blocking his view and the other guys with him were like leave her alone. I later realized that the only reason they told him to back off me was because my zipper was down and they were enjoying the view. When I realized what the show was about, I simply pulled my zipper up and resumed gisting with my friends. So, really, I don’t get embarrassed. I have had way too many incidents where I could have died of embarrassment to really be easily embarrassed.

How about the day I was out swimming, I must have been 13 or 14 and I came out of the pool only to realize that my tie top was at my waist? I must have flashed all the people at the pool that day. And flash is an understatement because it took a while for me to realize why I was so cold. I think I was embarrassed by that incident but I got over it quickly. No drama. I just told my cousin who was with me what just happened. Like, can you believe that just happened to me? Right after that, I was back in the pool again, but only after triple-tying my top. To this day, I triple tie any halters. No way that mess is ever going to happen to me again. How about the horrible plastic shoes my mom made me wear to (high) school on rainy days? They were funny but hey, my mama said to wear plastic shoes on rainy days. How about the day I was at a hotel in Zurich, I must have been 15, and I got caught greedily stuffing my pockets at the buffet table with those little Kellogg’s packs? That was a tad bit embarrassing but I walked back to my table with dignity because didn’t buffet mean you got to eat all you possibly could? Worse still, how about the time I went to Mr. Bigg’s from Lag and then I took some extra straws and napkins, like two or three, to use in my room later on? How about an employee ran after me and caught up with me as I was getting in my car and asked for the extra napkins? I just handed them over and drove off. That was more annoying than embarrassing, can’t imagine a Burger King employee harassing me about taking extra napkins.

Yesterday, I got to class with just a few minutes to time and to my dismay, some koko head had taken my spot. There wasn’t really any place to sit and I hate to sit in the very front row. I stood in front of the class for a long minute searching for a place to sit, not wanting to sit by Julie and her crew – more on her later. Turns out, the only place to sit was right in front of the class by this chic-looking Ghanaian girl just a row up from them Julie. I hesitated some more because I knew that whatever seat I chose would most likely be my seat for the rest of the semester and I wasn't sure I wanted to sit right there a hair's breath away from my nemesis. Plus, the front row is for suckers, and I sure ain’t one. Unfortunately, there weren’t any seats in my preferred row (second row) or even way in the back so after all my original drama, I took the seat next to Ms. Ghana and sat through the first half of class. As soon as the prof called for a break, I bolted out to use my cell phone in the hallway, took a quick bathroom break and guess what? My zipper had been down the whole time! Way down. As in, down. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. Ain’t karma a snitch? The day I decide to act overly dramatic about where to sit and I stand in front of the entire class longer than necessary, my zipper is down. I just pulled up the darn thing and headed back to class. Nice way to bring me back to earth.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Totally Put On the Spot

There are times when I wish I could drink on the job. Seriously. Usually before a big presentation, I wish I could knock back some vino just to be completely relaxed, confident and coole as they say in Naija. I’m usually not this tense about public speaking, it just depends on the audience. Take the time someone asked me to speak impromptu at a wedding. That was cool. I just did my thing. At work, I can be faced with skeptics especially when it comes to reporting results. Everyone’s eyes are on me like they are just waiting for me to deliver some bad news so that they can pounce on me and tear my entire report apart. O ti su mi o jare. I don tire. I am tired. Why did I have to schedule this on a Friday? That’s where the boozing tendency comes in. Not that I’m an alchy, I just feel like it might could have helped (as they say down here).

Moving on, since I can’t have vino on the job, no point in dreaming. How about my oga totally put me on the spot today? Talking about people should come to me for individual analysis? What individual analysis? I already broke it down for them already. If they are not happy, they should… I don’t know. They should just take their wahala/trouble somewhere else. Obviously, my day didn’t go as planned. I tried to be chirpy, cheery, and bubbly but it didn’t work. There was a lot of silence and stares. I worked my butt off until 11:30PM working on my presentation. Oh well, things will get better. I’m probably going to leave work early so that I can get ready for my dinner party tonight. We're having folks over and it should be fun. I still don’t know what to get/make for dessert. I’m thinking about doing something in between healthy and sinful but can’t think of anything. Looking forward to a nice long weekend. Just got my latest issue of Essence and Marketing News. Then there's school stuff I need to take care of. Will no doubt try to volunteer on Monday. Last year, my sister and I fed the hungry and homeless downtown. She’s not here this year so I’m not quite sure what to do to honor Dr. King.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Never Enough Time

Just when I thought I had enough on my plate, one of my ‘suggestions’ to my boss has generated a request for two more things. As it is, my to-do list is quite extensive. With all the work stuff, I have to find a way to fit in the three chapters before class tonight. Not technically three whole chapters as I have already started on the first, but still that’s a lot to do for a class that has not even started. Later on, I have a doctor’s appointment that will probably eat up a good two hours and then I have to prepare a report for a meeting this afternoon. Oh, and I have not even begun to list the items on the aforementioned list. Things that I had been putting off that had today as their deadline. Dunno how I always put myself in these situations. I always have too much to do. Lord, help me. On top of all this, I volunteer my services to my colleagues to help with their projects. It’s not like I don’t have my own work o. Just trying to be a team player or what not. Nobody’s ever asked to help me out with mine.

Enough of the complaining or whining. I really have time management issues. I feel like requesting that a big ol’ whiteboard be installed in my office so that I have my to dos listed in front of me. I have some kind of mental block that’s also preventing me from ‘attacking’ the work. Maybe once I’ve written my thoughts, I’ll be able to move on and do what I need to do. In the meantime, I won’t be responding to IMs or taking any calls for the rest of the day. Except of course if it’s family…

Monday, January 08, 2007

2007 – A Year of Wonderfulness

Wonderfulness is not a real word but I predict that this year will be wonderful. Gosh, I can’t stop thinking how good God is and how wonderful He always is to me. This year, I have got so much to look forward to, it’s unbelievable. Take my good news from Friday, instead of having to take four classes (which is one class more than a full-time load of three classes); my Dean has agreed to use my surplus credits towards the one class I didn't feel like taking. Now, I only have to take three classes. It will be a full-time load nonetheless, but the wonderful thing is that I will graduate at the end of this semester, by God’s grace. I am so excited! I cannot wait for the summer to walk and have my MBA degree with a concentration in Marketing. WooHOO!!! I am waaaaaaaay excited!

So, how do I combine a full-time job with a full-time workload at school? I don’t know. I will have to be very organized and manage my time well. No more waiting until the last minute to do my assignments or study. That cost me an A in my Market Research class. Even though I did all my assignments and worked tirelessly on my project, it was the subtle things that I didn’t do that left me with an 89.7% - less than 0.3 points away from an A. I promise to be such an efiko this semester. I want to graduate with FLYING colors! That’s what I’m aiming for and God help anyone or anything that gets in the way of this. I am not taking any prisoners.

2007 will be a year of so many wonderful things to come. I cannot begin to list them. I am going to focus on being healthy, happy, and successful (however success is defined). I am truly excited to begin this New Year. There is so much to look forward to and I cannot wait to dig in!

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