Thursday, December 18, 2008

CEA - Day 262

CEA - Day 262

Step 10. #45 Have you stopped trying to make unreasonable demands on the ones you love? Write on the last unreasonable demand and the results of that demand. How do you tell what is reasonable and what is unreasonable?

Richard and I are polar opposites on how we resolve conflict. Since he's been on the board of directors of our condo association I've been reacting to the way that he is dealing with the other directors and/or the condo manager. To me, the place is going downhill, repairs are not being done to the building, the old board allowed the dues to get behind $200,000, etc. Richard chooses to deal with the wacky/sick personalities through a slow and steady patience and confrontation, myself, I want to contact an attorney. The results of our debating over how best to handle this situation has been a lot of arguing and because of that I have informed Richard that because I do not have the authority or power to change the situation, that I would prefer that he stop telling me all the problems that are going on with the board. Again, if I choose to I can contact an attorney and see what can be done about the board allowing the dues to get so far into arrears.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Starting A New Job

I'm finally back to work after having taken eight weeks off following surgery. I have, in the past, been self employed, over employed, unemployed and underemployed. My goal this time around is to try to maintain some type of balance primarily because it is in the balance that I believe God lives.

Fortunately I am a very quick learner, unfortunately I don't have anyone to train me. Hmmmm, the dilemma of trying to sell a product I can believe in, but am unsure how much of the product the client needs. I have contacted my sales manager and informed her that I need some kind of training on how exactly to measure a customers home and come up with the correct amount of yardage needed foir carpet. Her response, "just email me the floor plan and I'll figure out the yardage needed". Not exactly a teaching technique.

It seems a bit silly that I'm uncomfortable determining how much yardage of carpeting a client might be needing, however, I'm sitting at a table with the client watching over my shoulder, trying to do a carpet layout, figure what to do with the excess carpet, how to use the fills, and unsure of what I'm doing. Its fairly stressful. If I knew someone was going to come behind me and measure out the job, I'd feel a bit more secure. However, if I make a mistake, its my responsibility to pay for the mistake! I'm definitely planning on erring on the greater side.

Additionally, the customer is talking all the while I'm doing the figuring. They're changing their mind, asking for a quote six ways, chatting about their home, their children, etc. Whoa, I'm definitely needing to have to learn a way to work under these conditions.

I haven't even been scheduling the window treatment sales calls yet. I really need to study all the specifications of these treatments. I went on one call and literally had no idea what I was talking about. It was awful! I vowed not to schedule any more until I'm able to get through reading and comprehending the catalogs. I need to know what I'm selling! Unfortunately, the company who hired me expects me to know the specifications because I have been an Interior Designer. However, being an Interior Designer does not necessarily mean I have all this knowledge already. I actually hired all this out. I hired people to do the measuring and determine the yardage. I hired people to measure windows and let me know if I was specifying something that wouldn't work.

Its not just looking like a clueless bimbo that bothers me, but, these customers deserve to have someone who is trained and informed.

Finally, I'm not ready to be going out on these sales calls and am going to have to insist that I be taught about the products I'm selling.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Where To Tithe

I've been struggling lately with where I should be tithing.

Over the past couple of years I've been feeling more and more detached from my church and as a result have been attending less and less. Today, while at church, I realized that I no longer belong there.

So, I am at the moment churchless. Where than shall I tithe?

Dave Ramsey refers to it as giving, and keeps a column in the budget for this giving. Giving he describes as giving to a worthy cause. Other teachers have referred to giving where you are spiritually fed. Hmm. . . .

I certainly can come up with many worthy causes that I believe in. There are many shelters and programs within ten miles of my home that I would be happy to donate to.

Currently I am being spiritually fed at the Alcoholics Anonymous tables I've been sitting at.

But, the question remains, where do you tithe when you don't have a church? Is a tithe only set aside for a church? God works in so many places in addition to, and other than churches. . . .

Financial Peace University

Last week my husband and I began attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class at our local church. Very motivating material!

Although I think its too early to really comment on any changes that have taken place, I can comment on one. The first weeks assignment is to put together a budget, based on the budget in the Dave Ramsey's workbook. For some reason my husband and I were able to walk through this budget with only a minimum of disagreement! I know this is due in part to our bi weekly financial meetings, but, there was a noted difference in the amount of stress and discomfort during this meeting. Even when we totaled up the monthly bare bones expenses, and they equaled twice our monthly income, we were able to look at the numbers in a detached manner.

Since that meeting last week, I have returned to work at a very limited capacity, and my husband has picked up a second job. Whether there will be any results of this second job is unknown yet because its a sales position and my husband has proven to be very slow in going forward into anything new.

I'll keep posting my experiences from this wonderful program.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Living With Anemia

I've had iron deficient anemia for almost four years now. The primary symptoms of my anemia have been fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, irritability, dizziness and lightheadedness. Although I can occassionally get my hemoglobin up to 12, a healthier red blood count, it usually records at a 9 and sometimes drops down to 7. A couple of times last year I was hospitalized because of an extremely low hemoglobin and required to stay overnight to see if I would need a transfusion.

Having been sick for such a long period of time has altered the way I live. I don't have the energy to do all the running around I once did, I can't seem to get motivated to attend anything unless it's absolutely necessary. My social life has been reduced down to nothing. Old friends and family members wonder why I don't call, or don't answer my voice messages. I have little tolerance for going out for a Sunday drive, or shopping just to look around. There's no extra energy to clean a big home, or work in the garden.

While this may sound awful to most people, I have to admit there have been some benefits that I'll be able to use when my health returns.

The number one benefit that I have learned from this illness is time efficiency. No longer do I waste a minute of my time doing things that aren't absolutely necessary. I have created systems in my life that allow me to function to the best of my ability to take the best care of myself.

Even though I have been sober for 16 years, its a necessity that I attend AA meetings on a regular basis for some peace of mind and to connect with other individuals who can understand my problem. This ongoing attendance insures that I can remain sober for another 16 plus years.

Using this as an example: I set my alarm for 6am for a 7am AA meeting. I have 30 minutes to get ready since I have to walk out my door at 6:30 am in order to be on time. Not being a morning person, I have a hard time thinking at that time of day. Its difficult to figure out what to wear, or to pack my gym bag at that time of day for the workout that will follow the meeting . I must eat or my blood sugar levels will drop and I won't be able to function properly.

Rather than having to run around in the morning, or having to get up earlier than 6am, I prepare my food the night before. I keep vegetables cut up in the fridge in case I don't have energy for those times when I need them, I put some onions and green peppers in a pan with some oil, add 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg, 1/4 cup of brown rice (large batch premade) and put together some scrambled eggs for the morning. I lay my clothes out for the meeting the night before or sometime the day before depending on when I have the most energy, and have my gym clothes already organized into an outfit because that's how I've folded them when I did laundry (ie. pants, shirt, jacket, bra, on top of pants, shirt, jacket, bra, etc.) I take a shower the night before and dry my hair sitting down. Sometimes I dry my hair in two spurts of energy so I don't wear myself out too much.

In the morning, I put the eggs in the microwave, and heat them up while I put on makeup. I get dressed in the clothes that are already laid out, grab my gym bag, eat my food and walk out the door. Honestly, there's not much more to it than that.

Other things I've done to accommodate this illness. . . I don't answer the phone unless I have the energy too. I don't take work calls after 5pm nor will I schedule work over the weekend. I underbook my schedule knowing that if I have added energy I can fit a couple of more errands in my day.

Of course, (doesn't it always work this way) my husband has the energy of two people. He plans things one on top of the other. He can't understand why I'd rather call to see when a business is open when you could just drive there, why fax when you can deliver and talk to someone in person, etc. While my schedule must seem crazy to him, his definitely seems crazy to me.

This Saturday I had planned on going to the 7 AA meeting, then over to the farmers market for our weeks groceries. If I have energy, I will go to the gym. To me this seems like plenty of activities to put into my day, knowing that I'll also have to prepare meals and whatever else I do on a daily basis. My husband, however, has plans to do all three of those things with me, and he wants us to go to a party at a friends in Lansing (about 1.5 hours away - think round trip). Later I find out that he made plans for one of our neighbors to come over to our new condo in the morning to discuss design plans for a restaurant.

How can I fit all this activity into one day? I can't. He'll need to call the neighbor and ask him to call me to schedule a meeting, and he'll most likely have to go to the party on his own.

Other areas that have been altered to help me function more efficiently. . . my makeup is laid out on a tray so I don't have to dig into a makeup bag to find things, all financial paperwork fits into three folders and stays together near my computer so I can pay bills, update my budget, and file it all at once. I do ALL of my banking on line and don't even have a checkbook. My cupboards are organized according to the amount of times I use things. I overstock or double stock food items, medications, and toiletries so that I don't have to run out to get something.

Having been ill for so long I've developed an incredibly efficient system for my use of time. Although I'm not looking forward to having surgery (total hysterectomy) next week to correct this problem, I am looking forward to having more energy, building up a social life again, getting back into business, and being able to do things I haven't been able to for the past 4 years.