The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Work’

Thoughts on This Second Day of the New Year

On this second day of the new year I want to share with you some highlights from the past year and some plans for this new year, as well as things for which I am thankful.

We became parents to an adorable little girl in February. Our little bundle of joy is a calico cat named Patches. She readily became a member of our family and filled our hearts with love. Patches turned 1 year old on August 29th.

Patches in December 2011

We didn’t do as much traveling in 2011, as we have in past years. We did, however, enjoy an Easter weekend trip to Virginia, when we visited with our good friends Al and Denise. We made a return trip to Virginia in May, over the Memorial Day weekend. The highlights of that trip included a drive along Skyline Drive and visiting with my cousins, Vernon and Wendy. We met Vernon and Wendy’s 2-week old son during our visit. In addition, during the Labor Day weekend, we traveled to the southern shores of Lake Ontario in New York where we enjoyed walking through the Brown’s Race High Falls Historic Area in Rochester, NY; seeing four lighthouses and visiting the Carousel Park at Olcott Beach. We also visited relatives during this trip. Our cousin, Chris, married Amy in July. The wedding took place in the state of Washington. During the Labor Day weekend, Chris’s parents hosted an East Coast wedding reception for the newly married couple.

Amy and Chris

The main reason that our travel opportunities were limited was that summer and fall photography opportunities, which included several photo sessions, two bridal showers and four weddings, kept us close to home. In addition, I spent three days taking photographs at a local festival. Of the four weddings, two of them were family members who were married.

My stepdaughter, Stacey, married Mike in September. My niece, Emily, married Dan the following month. My middle nephew, Jared, and Sara became engaged in May. We are looking forward to Jared and Sara’s wedding in July this year.

Emily and Dan became parents for the first time on December 26. Our great niece, Elise Marie, arrived at 12:23 PM that day and weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces. She was 18 inches long.

Thoughts on This Second Day of the New Year
Our great niece, Elise Marie

Thank you, Emily, for allowing me to use this photograph from your Facebook page!

Stacey and Mike will be giving us our first grandchild in late May or early June this year. Did I say grandchild? I meant to say grandchildren. Stacey is pregnant WITH TWINS.

Stacey’s First Baby Bump Picture
Make that TWO babies!

It is a tight fit in our hallway for Mike, Stacey and the twins

Christmas Eve 2011

We met three blogging friends last year. In February we met Gretchen of Gretchen’s Travels, when we attended the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. In September we met Betsy of Joyful Reflections and George of Senior Moments for dinner at Cracker Barrel in Erie, PA. Betsy and George were on their way back to Tennessee after visiting with family in New York. I would love to visit with Betsy and George, as well as Gretchen, sometime this year. It would be great, too, if the opportunity presents itself to meet other blogging friends.

I begin this new year unemployed, by choice. My last day of work was December 26. The position I left was that of a cashier at a local hardware and garden store. I began work at the store on August 23, 2010. I worked 14 hours a week, spread over a three-day period. I enjoyed my job. The owners of the store are great people to work for. My co-workers were fun to work with. The customers were nice. For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you may recall that I have a torn meniscus in my right knee. The tear is not severe enough to require surgery, but painful nonetheless. I try and control the pain with anti-inflammatory medication and Tylenol. I refuse treatment by injection! Standing for long periods of time was not the best thing for my knee.

I am looking forward to my “retirement”. I doubt that I will stay unemployed for rest of my employable years. I am too young to retire, and besides I won’t see retirement monies for many years to come. There is a local catalog company at which I may seek employment as a seasonal employee at Christmas time. At my current stage in life I seem to be happiest when working for only a few months out of the year.

In the meantime I plan to make good use of my “retirement”. I hope to spend more time with my immediate and extended family, as well as friends; to travel to places old and new; and to continue self-directed learning in all aspects of photography, a hobby of which I am most passionate. My immediate learning experience will be directed towards Lightroom3. I received Adobe Photoshop Lightroom3 from Bob for Christmas. I purchased Scott Kelby’s “the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom3 book for digital photographers” to teach myself how to use Lightroom3.

We hope to do more traveling this year than we did last year. We anticipate spending a week at the Outer Banks in September with our friends, Al and Denise. We hope to attend a few motorcycling events, near and far. I would love to once again visit Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, as well as Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC. It would be great also if we had the time and opportunity to travel south to visit with my aunt and cousins who live in Virginia, Georgia and Florida.

I will end this blog post with a list of things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful that our personal finances are healthy. I am thankful that we have only one loan, the mortgage on our home. We own three motor vehicles (a car, a SUV and a motorcycle), none of which is newer than 2001. I am thankful that all vehicles are in good operating condition.

I am thankful that Bob and I have a happy and healthy marriage. We genuinely like one another, amuse and comfort one another, and enjoy spending time with each other.

I am thankful that we get along with each of our family members.

I am thankful for our friends, old and new.

I am thankful that Bob and I enjoy good health; however, it wouldn’t hurt me to make improvements in this area. I am overweight and have been diagnosed with diabetes. It would improve my well being if this new year included better food choices, weight loss and exercise. Bob went on a low-carbohydrate diet last year and has lost at least 50 pounds. He looks great and feels so much better. Bob plans to continue on the low-carbohydrate diet.

What are your thoughts on this second day of the new year?

An Analogy Between Wheelbarrows and Clothing

At work earlier this week a customer tried to talk down the price of a child’s wheelbarrow. He said that the price should come down because the wheelbarrow had been on display for a long time. His reasoning may have come from the fact that Spring just arrived, thinking that the wheelbarrow was left over merchandise from the past Spring. This, however, is not the case. We sell wheelbarrows year round. In fact that particular wheelbarrow had been on display only about a week, as the one displayed previously had been sold. When the customer was informed that the price would not be reduced, I asked him if he wanted to purchase the wheelbarrow. He said “no”. The customer remarked that a full-size wheelbarrow cost only $10.00 more. As the customer was leaving, I used the following analogy. Child-sized clothing, e.g. a pair of jeans, is priced only a bit less than similar type of clothing purchased for adults. The customer considered my analogy just a moment and said “You are right”. He, then, walked out the door.

You’re Returning a What?

I learned today that a salamander can be more than an amphibian.

A customer came into the store and said she had returned the salamander. I’m sure the expression on my face was a definitive “huh?”.

The salamander is an industrial kerosene heater. Salamanders can be rented at Howe’s True Value, where I am employed as a cashier.

New Job

I wanted to share with everyone that I recently reentered the work force. I have been unemployed (my choice) since May last year. Saturday will mark the end of my second week on the job. I am employed as a part-time cashier at Howe’s True Value Lawn and Garden Center. It has been more than 30 years since I worked as a cashier in a retail environment. I have learned so much these two weeks! The owners of the store, as well as all of the employees, are very nice.

Genesee Country Village and Museum - #9

Here’s a picture of me at work. One of the owners of the store took this picture of me and posted it on the store’s Facebook page, welcoming me to Howe’s True Value.

I have a funny story to share with you from my first two weeks on the job. One day, when I answered the telephone, a customer asked if we had any Venus Fly Traps. Near the front counter are fly catchers and fly killers, none of which are manufactured by “Venus”. When I gave this information to the customer, she politely said “you do know that a Venus Fly Trap is a plant, don’t you?” DUH! We have sold a lot of fly catchers in these two weeks. The first thing that came to mind when the customer asked for a “fly trap” was the fly catchers. I’m not much of a plant person. I think I will be learning a lot more on this job than how to ring up a sale!

Short Timer

I heard the term “short timer” for the first time while serving in the military. When a soldier would be getting out the Army soon, he was considered to be “short”. I am a short timer.

I turned in my 2-week notice at work yesterday. My last work day is Wednesday, May 20th. This may sound like a spur-of-the-moment decision, as I have written nothing of my thoughts in this direction. It was not a decision made in haste. I have been thinking about ending my employment with Blair, the company for which I work, for a while now. I have discussed my thoughts a few times with Bob, my stepdaughter Stacey and a couple friends.

I never intended to work at Blair for the long term when I accepted the seasonal employment position offered me in September last year. I intended to work only through the Christmas season. Then Blair offered permanent part-time positions to all its seasonal employees. I thought long and hard about accepting a permanent part-time position. I enjoyed talking with the customers; I enjoyed the challenge afforded me by learning new and different things; I enjoyed the “pat on the back” for a job well done; and I enjoyed the people with whom I worked. It was still winter. Bob and I pretty much stay cocooned inside during the winter months. Our days, weekends, weeks do not start to get busy until Easter time. The idea of a place to go, with some degree of social interaction possible, and challenging work week after week appealed to me. I accepted the offer of permanent part-time employment, but with a limited number of hours knowing that I would want more freedom as the snow melted and the flowers started to bloom and the trees began to bud. I had hoped that a work schedule of 16 hours, with at least three days off work each week, would allow me to continue to work at Blair indefinitely. That work schedule HAD been working well for me since January.

The first sign of the handwriting on the wall happened on April 8th, when I realized that I had been automatically enrolled in Blair’s 401(k) retirement plan. I had been receiving benefit-type material from Blair since January. I failed to notice that I had to elect whether or not to contribute to the company’s 401(k) retirement plan. My failure to state my participation desires resulted in my automatic enrollment in the retirement plan. Blair’s 401(k) plan is generous, and I would have elected to participate in the plan if I planned to continue working at Blair indefinitely. I requested to change my election to no longer contribute to the retirement plan on April 8th, realizing then that I did not intend to continue to work at Blair indefinitely. I had not yet decided, though, at that time when to cease employment.

Then came Easter weekend. In mid-February I submitted a request to have the Saturday before Easter (April 11th) off work. Bob and I had discussed extending the Easter weekend to include Thursday and spend our extended weekend in Virginia Beach visiting friends, if my request were approved. My request was not approved. I do not work on Thursdays, Fridays, or Sunday. I usually have off one other day of the week as well. The second indication of the handwriting on the wall happened during the week of Easter. I was scheduled to work 6 hours on Monday, 6 hours on Tuesday and 4 hours on Saturday. I had been been off work since Tuesday at 3:00PM. It was very tempting for me not to go to work on Saturday. We discarded our travel plans for Easter weekend so that I could work a total of 4 hours (from 12:30-4:30PM).

Four weeks have passed since the week of Easter. Spring is definitely in the air, with a hint of summer to come. During the spring, summer and autumn months Bob and I seem to always be on the go. I had hoped that my work schedule would not interfere with our lifestyle, but it does. So I finally gave in to my ever increasing desire to cease employment with Blair.

I do not want to stop working completely. I am too young to retire, and besides I won’t see retirement monies for many years to come. I am thinking of returning to Blair as a seasonal employee for the Christmas rush. At my current stage in life I seem to be happiest when working for only a few months out of the year. Thankfully, our lifestyle can afford my sporadic employment.

I am looking forward to making use of my new found freedom. Besides going places and doing things with Bob, I plan to give our house a thorough cleaning — a task that has needed to be done for a while now. I would like to do a little bit of gardening too. I enjoy a beautifully landscaped yard; however, I don’t seem to be the type who likes to play in the dirt. I expect to do some weeding, at a minimum. I hope to continue self-directed learning in all aspects of photography, a hobby of which I am most passionate. I plan to organize our important papers and photographs. This type of organization seems to be an on again/off again activity. It is an activity that is very important to me because I sometimes fear that I will succumb to Alzheimer disease, like Mom. Sometimes my mindset causes me to feel overwhelmed by this activity, and I work hours and hours day on end to accomplish what I feel needs to be done. Other times I can let it be; I don’t feel like there is an urgency to complete the task. My current mindset is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

iTunes + iPod = Great Entertainment!

In December last year I received an iPod for having the most upsells in the call center at which I work on a part-time basis. I’d never had an MP3 player, and I continue to be enthralled with the convenience afforded by my iPod to listen to music or audiobooks while sitting, lying down, riding, and walking. I especially like that I can listen to music or audiobooks in the dark, while sitting or lying down.

This week I imported my CD collection into iTunes. I now have 84 albums and 980 songs from which to choose to put on my iPod. I like that iTunes breaks down music into genres. It didn’t surprise me that country music predominates my CD collection. What DID surprise me was that, if desired, I could put ALL of the music that I imported on my iPod. My iPod’s storage capacity is 8GB. My CD collection totals 4.86GB, or 2.4 days of listening pleasure.

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