Saturday, February 28, 2015

Take some dang cough syrup!

DD has had a tough week. First it was the test score and then her roomie has gotten sick -  again. Coughing coughing coughing.  All night. DD hasn't been able to get very good sleep. She was so happy when roomie and a couple of her other friends went to a concert (a ways away) on Tuesday night and ended up spending the night at one of the girls houses closer to the concert. She got good sleep that night. DD offered to go to the store and get her cough syrup or something and she said she didn't want to take anything.

Even the suitemates on the other side of the bathroom were getting woke up at night. One of them even suggested taking some cough syrup and her reply was "I don't like it and it only works for a couple of hours". Nice of her to be considerate of those around her. I'll bet even the guy on the other side of her wall was probably getting woke up.

DD is realizing that roomie's rudeness and immaturity is with most people, not just her. I caught a small glimpse of it during move in weekend, when we all went out to lunch and she was acting a bit of a baby. One of the suitemates (who will be one of DD's roomies next year) went to this concert with her and said while they were driving down there the other girl was mentioning how excited she was for living arrangements next year (she will be DD's roomie's roomie - make sense?!) because since she came to the school winter quarter she didn't get to choose her roomie.  DD's roomie said "ya, me either". The suitemate told dd she thought to herself "wow! kind of rude since I am kind of one of your roomies, being a suitemate, but really a slap to DD".  DD and her roomie did pick each other!

Now DD is enjoying 4 nights of roomie-free sleep! Roomies mom came into town (an already planned visit) Thursday and will be there through Monday and roomie is staying with her mom at her hotel. I said good, now Mom can listen to her cough all night and hopefully will either get her to a doctor or at least some OTC meds.

I guess when roomie's mom came to the dorm (dd was in class) one of the suitemates said roomie made another rude comment about something, so really, they are all getting tired of her attitude. Like I told DD - only a few more months now and she can be back home in her own room and next year in an apartment with her own bedroom. I'm just glad dd hasn't gotten sick. She's tried to stay out of the room as much as possible, wipes stuff down a lot and hopefully her fairly healthy eating and every other day 2 mile run is keeping her immune system strong. When she was home a couple of weekends ago she and her BF went on a 10 mile bike ride.

And next weekend she gets spoiled at a B&B with her boyfriend :)  She sent me links to the place and I am jealous, haha! DD likes hiking and it looks like there are lots of hiking trails there.

On another topic, after a few days of rain and clouds here it's a beautiful sunny day.  Here is a picture taken from a back window - the sun just coming over the house from the front, casting a shadow. Our backyard sometimes reminds me a bit of a park and I especially love the early morning sun shining on it

In other know the neighbors behind us? the ones with one son in jail and one out on bail waiting his trial? Well, last night their 3rd (oldest) son was arrested and is in jail now too.  Booked on like 6 charges. 1st degree burglary, 3 counts of theft, driving without an ignition interlocking device and drug paraphernalia.  Wow - those parents have to be so proud.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Review update

I had my review/lunch yesterday. We spent very little of it actually talking about that. Mostly, I think, because we have a very good easy rapport with each other and always chat about personal stuff. She said she just wanted to thank me for such good work and she doesn't know what she would do without me. Then she said she wished she could have done more on the salary, but "the guys" (the 2 company owners) put restraints on what she could do and she didn't go into details (I could tell she felt kind of uncomfortable). I just kind of nodded and said well as long as it's not related to my performance....

When we got back we sat in her office for a few minutes. She just quickly went over the written evaluation (all good/exceeds expectations) and then read her comment at the end of it:

O has shown amazing support for me both personally and professionally over the past year. I can't think of a year in my life that has been more difficult. Not only have I relied on her personally but always knew that things were being handled professionally at the office. Her work ethic is beyond approach, she strives to make the best of everything. She has a calming manner that makes everything easier. She is detailed and organized. She is continually looking for processes to make us better. I encourage her to keep thinking outside the box in this regard.  This doesn't seem enough but Thank You for all you do every day.

In our short conversation in her office she also made reference to the salary (when showing me the annual printout we get of all our actual compensation, benefits, etc) that is why she tries to do "other" things for me that she can do that, while aren't actual money, are extra for me and nothing the "guys" would notice or know about. Like extra work days at home (she is always emailing me several times a month saying you can work from home today if you want, when it's my normal day to come into the office). I said I really appreciated my job flexibility and telecommuting. Or several times I have tried to use my PTO when I had a day or half day off for something and she wouldn't let me. She'd just pay me regular.

She also just basically gave me a $300 "bonus". On our payroll mid month I screwed up and paid myself an extra 8 hours of vacation. I caught it right when I saw my paycheck that is was higher than it was supposed to be. I sent myself an email to put in my "reminders" to fix it the next payroll and cc'd my boss in the email. I said I'm cc'ing you to let you know I goofed and wasn't trying to pay myself extra money!  She emailed back that I was so funny and that's why she loved me.  Then, when I gave her the payroll report this week to glance over before I submit for processing she crossed my 8 hour deduction and says don't deduct that 8 hours,  I started to argue with her and she said "it's a bonus for being so honest. I would have never known" and I said I shouldn't get a bonus for being stupid!

So, that's where I'm at.  I've never been a super strong personality when it comes to asserting myself. Never ever. I was so shy as a child you could say boo to me and I'd probably jump 10 feet. I'm not that shy any more, but I'm still quiet and I can be shy in a group setting where I don't really know anyone. One on one or two and I can hold my own meeting people and not being shy.  But, asserting myself is still way down there on my skills.  One reason why I have never wanted (well I tried once) to be in a management position.  And I have an even harder time being a butt about it when I know she is being so nice and sincere (she is always telling me how much she appreciates me) and telling me she will give me "perks" in other ways.

I remember several years ago this happening. I think I got no raise and again it was "the guys" (she has to go over her reviews with them first) but then the next time around I got a really good raise (more than I expected and basically made up for the year before)...probably because she was able to say to them that I was now due.  That's probably what will end up happening next year. We'll see.

I put the extra monthly money into my 401k now and with the company matching half of it, I also can look at it like a $1500 a year increase in compensation.  Plus, it looks very likely we will get our mid year bonus in June.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bad test scores

DD is really struggling in her Managerial Accounting class. It really does appear to be the professor, in this case. DD studies for hours and hours.  So far she has gotten a 60% and a 66% on the two tests they have had. The class average on this last test was 65%.  In her previous 2-3 accounting classes she got 100%.  The professor doesn't actually teach anything. She assigns them the reading and then they come to class and are supposed to work on the homework assignments in class in small groups. DD said then it's loud and hard to concentrate to figure out the problems with everyone in the room talking in their groups.

After the first test I told her to go talk to the professor. Take her suitemate with her (she has this class too and is struggling) if she doesn't feel brave enough to go herself.  Ask her for help! Ask her how to get help! I kept throwing suggestions out to DD and she said "I'll figure it out"

So, she just emails me that she got a 66% on this last test and is so frustrated. She messaged me during class and said the prof just said "I know you guys aren't happy with these scores, neither am I. I'm surprised they are so low" and then she goes over the answers for the test. She said the guy behind her mumbled "then teach the class". I know DD studied for hours and hours for this test. I said if it were me, I'd be going through this test and it's answers with a fine tooth comb.  Did you end up finding these correct answers in the book? If so, then use them to help you figure out how to study. If not, then go ask the prof how you are supposed to learn this if it's not in the book and she isn't lecturing anything.  Then DD replies - she makes us give the tests back to her.  So I replied  - THEN go ask her if you can have it back or make a copy of it so that you can go over it and figure out what you are doing wrong!

DD's reply:  "I'll figure it out"
My reply:  "That's what you said last test :P"

Then I asked her does she at least score on a curve? and DD says "I don't know, I don't even think she knows". I said then ask her! Ask her in front of everyone, so that everyone knows! Don't be afraid to go ask her anything.  What's she gonna do? Give you a bad grade?

All's I can say is I'm glad it's not me having to go through all that again. Once was enough.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Where will I spend it all?

I still haven't had my annual review at work yet.  My input to it was done a month ago.  We have to do a self review, with goals, etc.  My boss was sick half of last week, not to mention she is always super busy.

So,  yesterday I was processing payroll for our payday on this Friday coming up. I was reviewing the report I print out for the hours, vacations, sick days etc.  This report also has hourly wages on it. I almost didn't notice it, but my hourly wage was different.  "Oh!, she put in my raise!" Then I blinked again and saw the amount. A whole .48 cents an hour higher than before. I blinked again, honestly thinking this had to be a mistake!

48 cents an hour? Really? One time before my boss was so late getting the actual reviews done she just gave me the raise and eventually did the review. So then I compared all the others that I know report to her to see if they got raises, too.  All but 2 (which is strange but I'm sure they will be getting one) also did.....BUT, all of their raises range from $1.00/hour to $2.85 per  hour.  Ok, I know why the one guy got the $2.85 (new out of college, past his "let's see how he does" phase and got a nice raise - that's how we do it), so even throwing him out of the average, the rest of of them got $1.50 to $2.00 per hour ($3000-$4000 per year) increases.  Even our receptionist, who has been with us for years and makes a very decent salary for her job level (I even looked it up - the average salary for a receptionist in our city is $32k a year - she now makes $47k), got a $4000 a year raise!! Last year she got a $2200/yr raise.

I have never gotten less than a $2000 a year raise (my first year and a different, cheap boss), not counting when the economy went to hell and no one got raises for awhile. Most of my raises have been in the $3000-$4000 a year range. Last year was $2400, not high, not low, but I was happy with it.

But .48 cents? That's $1000 a year.  That's 1.3% of my annual salary. Now 48 cents an hour would be a decent raise for someone making, say, $10 bucks an hour. I don't consider it even worth it at $75,000 a year salary. That's about $66 per month after taxes. Whoopdedooo :/  Honestly, they might as well not even bothered with it. We had a record sales year last year and this year we are totally killing it already. We broke our monthly sales goal for this month only 2 weeks into the month. So, it's not like the company is cutting back on evidenced by the other raises I see went through.

And I, myself, certainly haven't been slacking. Just in the past 2 weeks I made a huge discovery (compliments of the informative CPA I deal with for my side job) that there are some "entertainment" expenses we can be categorizing as 100% deductible and not in the 50% category. In all our years with our company the CPA we use has never once brought this tax savings to our attention. I was so excited to find this out that I called my boss on my way home from work to share the info with her.  I just spent a couple of days going through all our 2014 meals and entertainment expenses to see which I can move over to a different expense account. There  might be a few more I find but I was able to save us being taxed on over $13,000. This will really be a huge savings on years we have company parties. When we had our 25th anniversary huge party several years ago we probably spent $100k that all could have been 100% deductible instead of the 50% deduction that our CPA had us use. In 2013 we had a large company X-mas/year end party that probably $25k was spent on. I've also come up with some ways to be more efficient and save time/money.

I have a feeling she put the raises through last week, thinking she had this week to get the reviews done and let us know what our raise is before anyone sees their paycheck on Friday. Then she got sick for most of last week and hasn't had time to get them done yet. It will be interesting to see what my boss says when I do get my review. If it's not until after payday this Friday and she says "you got your raise on your last paycheck" I'm going to say "oh, I did? I didn't even notice"!

I probably sound ungrateful and pissy and yes, I guess I am. Honestly, I'd rather hear a "you aren't getting a raise this year, we feel your salary is where it should be" than a piddly 1%. It feels like an insult on some level. Ok, I'm done with my rant....for now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I had my long awaited cosmetic dental visit this morning.  My front tooth and the one next to it are now covered in a temporary veneer that looks so much better! And my wallet (or at least my FSA account) is $1441 poorer!  Ah well, much worth it to finally have a decent smile again and not feel self conscious about those two teeth - they always showed up even darker in pictures, it seemed.

I left for work yesterday morning and my "you have a tire with low air pressure" notice came on my dash. I have had this one tire that every 4-6 months gets a bit low. DH fills it up and it's good to go for another 4-6 months, so I thought this was the same tire and figured it was fine until I got the car back home from work.  Got home and asked DH to fill it up with some air and he realized it was a different tire and it had a screw in it! Whew - glad I was able to make it to work and back with out it going flat on me! Yikes.

I took it the the tire store that's about 2 miles from us. It's a small independently owned store that we have been going to for probably 20 years or more. They fixed me up right away for free and I told  them I'll be back soon for a new set of tires. These tires are hanging in there, but will need to be replaced sometime soon.  DH has been telling me this since last June, but every time he takes a look he says I still have some life left, so keep on going. He told me in June that I would probably need new tires at end of summer/fall, but they are still ok.

I have stuff to write about my "raise", but I think I'll do it in another post.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ta da!

A couple of weeks ago I posted that I wanted to knit something like this blanket

Well, here is my finished project

I'm still learning, but I'm quite pleased with this creamy, cozy, gorgeousness!  DD said she wanted it about 8 rows into knitting, so this one will go to her :-)

I already have the yarn to make myself I still want one for my sofa.  This one turned out just a bit chunkier than I really wanted so my next yarn is similar, maybe just a touch thicker, but I am not going to double it this time and see how it turns out. The yarn color for the next blanket is also a bit more of an "oatmeal" color. I got it on sale last weekend at Michaels where they were having a buy one get one 50% off plus another 25% off your order. So, instead of paying $7 per skein, I got them for $3.94 each.  Same deal on the yarn for the blanket above.

I think it's safe to say I'm hooked on knitting now, though we'll have to see how much I can stick with it when I decide to try something harder than a big rectangle, haha!


DH and I and our good neighbor finally kind of "had it out" with the renter/drug dealing neighbors. Friday evening (still very light out) I went out into the shop to let DH know dinner was ready. The dogs had followed me outside and they started barking like crazy, so I went back out around the front to see what was going on.  The black S10 Blazer that has been in and out to renters house 25 or more times in the last week or two was driving past our gate (which is at the corner of our and good neighbor property) backwards, squealing their tires and with the window rolled down barking back at the dogs. A few feet later (in front of good neighbors driveway) they then hit the dirt and are making even more of a mess/noise.

I went back in the shop and told DH and he ran out there. By the time I got back out there (I was still standing inside the fence) he had stopped them in front of good neighbors and some yelling back and forth was going on.  DH telling them to show some respect while they are in our neighborhood, etc. Then the renters meth head son comes running up yelling "he didn't do anything!" Blah blah blah.  Then I notice our good neighbor walking up to all this (whew! made me feel better) and he stands there. Meth head kid tries (he's done this before) to charge DH and act like he's going to get right in his face or something so DH just 2 hands pushes him back. His dad (renter) was standing behind the car by this time and crabs his meth head (step) son and tells him to get in the house. Kid is screaming and his dad says "he did too do it, I saw him". He shoves the kid (he's like 19 or 20) back towards their house and tells him they aren't coming here again (meaning the car) and he goes inside and the 2 scums in the car leave.

Us and our neighbor are still just standing there looking at renter as he's standing part way down the street between his place and our good neighbor, like he's not sure what to do. Then DH says "all's we're asking for is some neighborly respect". Then renter walks down to the 3 of us and apologizes. Then he asks us if we still have our security camera's and we say of course and he says "well, we've been broken into twice lately. My (younger) son's school tablet is missing and my rent money was taken. ( don't think it's your own drug dealing kids and their lowlife friends that have anything to do with it??!!). That's why the cops were there 2 different times, taking theft reports. Good Neighbor asks did they forcibly break in (because he's thinking same as us - kids or their friends stole the stuff) and he says no, but I don't lock the deadbolts. Then he says "has your cameras seen anyone coming in back here around 2 or 3 am?  I literally think that us and good neighbors jaws hit the ground! DH just laughed and I said which night?! Then DH says there are people in and out of here at that time of night almost nightly.  He seemed surprised. He says that's the first time that S10 Blazer had been to his house and we are like Nooo, he's been here a whole bunch of times the past couple of weeks.

Dh says your 2 sons are out at that time all the time and he says "well I know C does, but not Z - he's got school, not allowed" and we say um ya....he's out there too, quite often. 

So I ask  you, is this guy just totally dumb and blind or is he just trying to play dumb so we all won't think he has anything to do with it? Then we bring up the 700 cars/walkers a month down the road to his house. I really don't think it was registering with him. Then good neighbor says you aren't here all the time, you are gone all day and sometimes for a couple of days at a time.  There are cars and people in and out of here all the time.  DH then says we moved to a private dead end street because we wanted peace and quiet, not 700 cars a month and I said that's more cars in a month then the two of us (and I point at good neighbor) go in and out in 10 years time. DH then brought up that the 3 of us had consulted a lawyer about the road easement and "reasonable use". He told him we definitely have a case to sue the property owner, but none of us want to spend money on that, so c'mon, let's show some respect to us. At least we let him know and maybe he'll pass that info along to his landlord (which is the guy on the other side of us, who has been out of the country the past 2 months). DH told him our lives have been miserable the past year and a half. We get no peace and quiet, we get woken up in the middle of the night on a regular basis and good neighbor has had these "visitors" onto his property twice.

DH says this is the same kind of "activity" that was going on AND a lot of the same cars now coming to your house that were at the house behind us and you know what happened to them...........

I think he's blind to most of it and doesn't want to see it. He is gone all day, probably goes to bed fairly early because he usually leaves pretty early like 5am. He's probably home relaxing for a few hours and then goes to bed early and has no clue what all those kids are doing the rest of the night.

We then brought up the terrible condition of the road due to his driving the semi truck in and out and he's totally tearing up the corner.  Big chunks are now breaking it apart. He said he is going to fix it soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

We all walk away and go back to our homes. A little while later renter leaves and doesn't come back until the next morning.  Of course our front camera catches his kids walking down the road at midnight meeting up with a car on the corner and then walk back in. A couple hours later at 2 am a car goes to their house for a short time and leaves.

We thought after the talk we might end up with a week or so of real quiet.  Again, I'm not holding my breath. I am glad that the 3 of us were all able to confront him together instead of just me and DH. It showed more of a "united front" and good neighbor did speak up a couple of times during the conversation, so that was good too. Now renter knows for sure both his neighbors are not happy with him.