Blog Archives for category Work

My launch party was a success!

So, I just had my first in-home party (my business launch!)…and while I thought it was a total hot mess, they told me everything was fine and they had fun. (There were only six ladies and they are all good friends so I could be honest with them and ask for their honest opinions.) I dislike selling and feel like I stink at it so really just felt like I was pretty much out of control the whole time and consequently I felt totally off my game and I felt like I looked like an idiot (I know we are always hardest on ourselves). But they all seemed happy and bought stuff so it’s all good. And I know it will get easier with practice…

We didn’t take any official selfies but I did snap a few quick shots so I could remember who bought what (I was still figuring out how to use my credit card system!)


When FedEx screws up…

When FedEx screws up and DOESN’T deliver Package A because they claim you WEREN’T home but says Package B WAS delivered but isn’t anywhere. I am having a mini panic attack because these were my first two business orders.

FedEx has been contacted and they have a trace on the package… and the one requiring a signature will be delivered tomorrow. 

* Note: Both packages were delivered together on Friday. Phew!

But still. Panic. 

Selling? Me? What? Huh? What’s happening?

So I have BIG news!!! I am doing something I’ve never even remotely considered before in my entire life…

It turns out I loved the LipSense lipstick SOOO much (and have, um, *cough cough* ordered so much) that I figured I might as well just become a distributor!! I know a few of my friends are saying IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME!!

So, some quick background on how I got to this point… 

Back in February I was cleaning out my bathroom drawers and decided that all my lipsticks were too old (like, seriously, most were at least five years old and some were 10+ years old!) and it was time for something new. I also figured the science/technology had likely changed and there was surely something better these days. Enter my online friend Sara (well, we’ve met in person, but she started as an online friend). She was selling this cool lipstick called LipSense and I decided to try one color. That was February 23. I wasn’t in love with the color but I loved the product and immediately scheduled a party with her, which meant I’d invite my friends so they could order and then I’d get a big discount on my own order. That was March 19. During the party and right after, Sara strongly suggested I become a distributor—saying just from my party orders alone I’d have made money plus it was likely there would be repeat customers. Nope, not happening. Then as a friend placed a second order, Sara said “Are you sure?! Look at it like a Costco membership—you pay $55 to get an automatic 20% discount on anything. And if you happen to sell more to friends, that’s cool.” But I didn’t think I’d need that much more and besides, I don’t sell things. So nope, not happening.

But this was happening:

Then I bought something on eBay that I couldn’t get from her and on April 10 I was ordering some more from her and once again, Sara suggested joining. Nope, thanks but no thanks, still not happening.

But by April 22 I had changed my tune. Why? Well, when I realized that Tom was really quite serious about me going back to work when Katie starts Kindergarten this fall…I knew I had to do something. Something serious. :lol: And since I had fallen in love with this stuff over the past few months—I mean, I’ve worn lipstick more in the past two months than in the past five years—I figured why not be brave and try something new? I’m always telling my kids to be brave…so now it’s my turn! But it just took me awhile to make the leap because A) I am scared of change, B) I am inherently lazy, C) I hate selling, and D) I am scared of failure.

But as I’ve discussed with Sara, worst case scenario, I hate it and want to stop everything after X months—and in that case, I simply sell off my stock to other distributors (technically you can sell back to the company but the distributors would rather have it). Mid-level case? I sell to my friends and make some extra money every month. Best case? I am a freaking whiz at this and end up signing up a bunch of people to sell under me and I earn commissions on their sales as well. Honestly, I’m setting the bar low: I’m looking to make back what I’ve spent on my own stash thus far. After that, I’d be happy with even $100 a month. Anything more than that is gravy. And what’s best? Tom is behind me 100%. 

So here we are, almost two months to the day from when I ordered my first color.

  • I have paid my membership fee.
  • I have the financials in order (separate checking account and credit card).
  • I am getting the invoicing, payment, and backend ready (you should see the spreadsheet—holy wah!).
  • I am ordering packaging and shipping supplies.
  • I am prepping to make fun treats (mini lipstick remover and lip scrub jars) to include with orders.
  • I am getting ready to place my first order May 1 (and hoping lots of stuff comes back in stock).
  • I got my new Facebook Group page Getting Lippy with Jen up and running tonight! (I bounced a few name ideas off my mentor and this was the one she liked the most! It’s different than most other group names AND it fits my personality!)

So, it shall be interesting! If you’d like to join me on this crazy journey or just come and see what it’s all about (or maybe even just watch while I crash and burn!), come join! And if you just want to see how cool LipSense is, check out this video (also posted on my Facebook group).

Daddy’s Day Off, Part 1

We all went to the Pentagon for a quick tour. We couldn’t take pictures inside so took this as we were leaving.


With Uncle Rob


Holy 1998 Flashback

I found this while cleaning out the storage room…


I’m not sure what’s worse…the sugarprincess email, the geocities website, that those garish identities were acceptable to put on a resume, or the fact I actually still had this hard copy floating around 15 years later.

Owen misses daddy

This is what happens about once a week when Owen gets up from his nap and misses Tom. Usually he just says he’s not happy, but sometimes it’s a full-fledged breakdown. Poor kid.

How would you like your graphic design?

You can have one, maybe two, but three? Get out of here.


Daily Daddy Questions

Owen just woke up and came downstairs half crying: “I can’t find daddy anywhere!” :(

I don’t know why he has an issue with this every day—though most days it’s just “Where’s daddy?” and I say “He’s at work” or say “Where do you think daddy is?” and he answers “At work” and that’s that…

Should I get dressed more often?

I had a friend’s housewarming to go to (my old boss, actually) so I got dressed (nothing fancy), took my hair out of my daily ponytail, and put on a tiny bit of makeup and perfume. I walk downstairs and Owen says “Wowww! Mama, you’re so pretty!” And sniffed me. :)

Gee, you think I should get dressed and put makeup on more often?


Unemployment Updates

So I’ve been dutifully filling out my weekly certifications for unemployment, when one week in mid-July I submitted my answers and got a message that [paraphrasing] I would not be receiving benefits due to one of my answers, and that I might receive a phone call to sort it out.

Of course, I couldn’t go back to see what answer I had accidentally messed up, so I was at a loss. I know there is a “review your answers” screen but I swear I looked over it and nothing was wrong. I obviously missed something while rereading my answers, as nothing in my status has changed. I waited all week to receive a phone call, but never did. I sent in a fax, hoping that would prompt a response, but still got no response. I kept filing my weekly certifications, and each time, I got this message:

Your claim has been accepted but cannot be processed for payment because there is an issue on your claim pending an eligibility ruling. A determination will be made and mailed to you and your claim will be processed accordingly.

So I waited for my “determination” to be mailed. Well, fast forward A MONTH AND A HALF and I still hadn’t heard anything! I know they are slow, but that is ridiculous…so I decided to call.

After waiting on hold for 20 minutes, I explained my issue (NOT RECEIVING BENEFITS!) and the rep said “Oh, here it is, you answered that you DID refuse work that week.” She asked if I if I did and I said no, I didn’t, the mouse must have slipped when I was filling out the form! She was really nice, laughed, and said “That happens.” Then she fixed it and said my benefits will get released tomorrow…all 1½ months worth!! YAY!

My new paycheck?

The 11th Annual Edelman Mother’s Day Salary Index reports moms are worth $841,900 a year since she engages in 17 separate jobs on a regular basis.

“Of course, no one can truly place a value on the love and affection that mothers give to their families,” said Edelman. “My Index is designed to help us appreciate them: Think of what you’d have to pay someone to be on duty 24/7 and complete 17 jobs.”

Edelman noted that the average multi-tasking mom routinely:

* raises children
* dispenses medication and nursing care
* assists with homework
* cooks meals
* attends meetings and functions
* provides transportation
* keeps house
* listens to and resolves family problems
* manages family finances
* cares for pets
* maintains family order and harmony
* keeps family on schedule

The total of the 17 average annual salaries in 2009 is $841,900, an increase of $39,210 over last year.


The occupations which compose the Annual Mother’s Day Index and their corresponding median annual salaries are:
a. Animal Caretaker $21,180
b. Chef $40,700
c. Computer Systems Analyst $75,890
d. Financial Manager $106,200
e. Food/Beverage Service Worker $20,660
f. General Office Clerk $25,960
g. Registered Nurse $62,480
h. Management Analyst $80,460
i. Child Care Worker $19,670
j. Housekeeper $19,550
k. Psychologist $83,610
l. Bus Driver $34,150
m. Elementary School Principal $82,120
n. Dietitian/Nutritionist $50,030
o. Property Manager $53,530
p. Social Worker $41,920
q. Recreation Worker $23,790
TOTAL $841,900

More Facebook Updates

  • Jennifer Hudson has the oven preheating and oil, egg, and water in a bowl waiting for brownie mix…but someone decided he was hungry NOW.
  • Jennifer Hudson can’t get anything done today. Apparently sleeping through the night means no naps during the day.
  • Jennifer Hudson says holy crap, 6.5 hours last night!!!
  • Jennifer Hudson can’t believe Owen slept 6 straight hours last night. Of course then he was cranky after that.
  • Jennifer Hudson wishes Tom was home tonight instead of at an overnight work thing.
  • Jennifer Hudson just made all the bottles for overnight.
  • Jennifer Hudson just walked out of the post office because I did not want to wait behind 20 people.
  • Jennifer reviewed Baby Depot At Burlington Coat Factory on Yelp.
  • Jennifer Hudson just visited with a college roommate I hadn’t seen in almost two years .
  • Jennifer Hudson is enjoying cheesy scrambled eggs, courtesy of her wonderful hubby.
  • Jennifer Hudson is watching her cat’s love affair with my furry slippers. I’ve got to get a video of this!
  • Jennifer Hudson got a notice for an interview next week. Except I don’t know if I want to go back to work or not. I love being at home with the kid.
  • Jennifer Hudson is catching up on Phil’s Amazing Race video diary episodes.
  • Jennifer Hudson found the perfect job, except it’s too far away for the salary (pittance) they are offering.
  • Jennifer Hudson says YAY, Tropic Thunder is next in my Netflix queue.
  • Jennifer Hudson hates when the baby cries and I think he’s up for the day so I get up and…he falls asleep again. So now I am wide awake.
  • Jennifer Hudson is measuring her hair to see if she has (or is close) enough to 10″ for Locks of Love.
  • Jennifer Hudson is making brownies again. No nuts.
  • Jennifer Hudson loves napping with Owen on her chest…it’s not sound sleep but it’s something.

Tom’s job. Ugh.

So it’s no secret I don’t like his job. The hours suck and he gets maybe one Saturday off a month. He really can’t take any time off because every time he tries, he has to work. Which is exactly what I just found out…

My Grayling baby shower is scheduled for Saturday, April 18. I told him this almost a month ago when we first picked that day. He said he would have no problem getting it off. Cool.

Fast forward to this weekend, when I reminded him about the date. So he asked today and…guess what?

He has to work! Of course!

As it so happens, the big boss is going to be out of town…and someone else is going to be at training…and someone else has some other issue…so Tom will be the only one able to be there—and someone has to be there.


So, really, it wouldn’t have even mattered if Tom had requested the day way back when—because the other guys aren’t available due to work things…Tom would have had to work anyway. Even if he had already been cleared for that day.

So now I get to travel to Grayling—with the baby—alone for the weekend.

I am sure I will be just fine, but I am irritated as all hell that Tom can’t go. I mean, it’s not like this is the first set of plans that has been screwed up due to his job.

Oh yeah, did I mention? The big Schwalmlette & Smithlette family reunion this summer? Where the entire family will be together at one time (which hasn’t happened since before we moved to NC, I think)? That we are dying to go to? That Tom assured me he would have no issues getting time off for since we knew MONTHS in advance?

Yeah, he just found out he has training in South Carolina the week before, and it overlaps the vacation time by a day or so. So we either don’t go at all, or pay for the entire week’s share of vacation (not cheap) and are only able to use like 3-4 days of it, or I go alone. What options, eh?


25 Additional Random Things

I keep thinking about my previous list of Random Things, and reading other people’s lists, and I wanted to have another go at it.

  1. Back in the day, I was sure I was going to write the next great American novel someday. I guess I still have time, but it seems much more of a pipe dream at this point in my life.
  2. Sometimes I think I want four or five kids, because I love having large family gatherings—and it’s what I’m used to. But I’m not sure I want to be pregnant that many times!
  3. I knew the night I met my husband that we would get married. It was love at first sight.
  4. Someday I will live in my dream house—a ranch with enough space for everything, a great party kitchen with professional appliances, and a hot tub. There’s more, but that’s the gist.
  5. We’ve been on two cruises and I love them. LOVE THEM LOVE THEM LOVE THEM! I would go on a cruise every other month if I could afford it.
  6. I would love to live by family for the rest of my life, but I just don’t think we can live in the cold anymore.
  7. I hope that I can be a good parent. Everyone assures me I will be, but I just don’t feel it yet.
  8. I could eat an entire box of Krispy Kreme Original donuts if given the opportunity. Especially if they were Hot & Fresh.
  9. My favorite salad is mixed greens with Craisins, toasted pecans, feta cheese, and Amish Dressing (a sweet mustard dressing).
  10. Sometimes I want to sell everything and just start over.
  11. I am a PC person (we have three), but would be willing to give a Mac a try if they weren’t so damn expensive.
  12. I’ve always wanted to see Jimmy Buffet in concert and he’s coming here in August. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
  13. I really want to travel around the world—one of my top places is Fiji, where we initially wanted to go for our honeymoon but never quite made it.
  14. I love music from the 50s and 60s. I guess it’s from growing up listening to it via my parents!
  15. I have never had a broken bone.
  16. I have been to the emergency room four times that I can remember: 1) when I jammed scissors into my hand when I was about seven or eight, 2) when I fell off my bike in high school, 3) when I sliced the tip of my finger off in college when working at Glen’s, and 4) when I fell down the stairs last year and twisted both my ankles.
  17. I love organization—storage containers/bins/baskets, shelving, labellers… Maybe because I’m a packrat as well?
  18. I hate my legs so rarely wear skirts or dresses unless they are ankle length. I hate shorts, too, but had to wear them in North Carolina to survive the summers.
  19. I miss reading. I couldn’t even tell you the last “real” book I read (real meaning NOT baby-related help books).
  20. I cannot believe our thermostat is set at 60 for a Michigan winter—and our heating bill is still $300.
  21. I just figured out that my numerology life path number is 5, which “suggests that you entered this plane with a highly progressive mindset, with the attitude and skills to make the world a better place.” Interesting.
  22. Someday I hope to have a job I truly enjoy. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. Heaven, maybe?
  23. I know I complain too much and am trying to get better about that. Or at least tell the same amount of “good” stories so people don’t think my life is ALL bad.
  24. I love love love my car, a 2001 Toyota Highlander purchased brand new a week before we got married. I would buy the same exact car in an instant, but the new Highlanders are NOT the same.
  25. I have a personalized license plate that says TRAVCTY. It was strange living in NC and having people know what it meant!

Craigslist Job Titles – UGH

I hate job titles on Craigslist that have NO bearing on the duties listed.

For example, I was intrigued by a job titled “Proposal Coordinator/Editor” under Writing Jobs. Now, tell me how the following job is anything but a secretary? :crazy:


Manages telephone coverage and assures coverage of the reception area at all times. Answers phones according to the office’s procedures, routes calls to appropriate staff, takes accurate messages, maintains a record of telephone messages, and holds messages for pick-up. Retrieves messages from voice mail as appropriate. Greets all visitors and assists them while waiting; directs and distribute deliveries to the appropriate staff. Presents a courteous and cheerful attitude to visitors and staff. Assists the Vice President with all building management calls and helps to develop appropriate protocols for fire drills, key maintenance, security, and other building related matters. Provides clerical support for the Vice President and staff, assisting with research activities and special projects as requested. Writes, edits and types correspondence, reports, memorandums, and other materials as assigned. Schedules meetings and tracks project timelines. Assists with mailings, including federal express and UPS, copying, assembling, stuffing and posting. Maintains all office supplies, equipment and other office support activities. Performs other duties as assigned by the Vice President Fishery Conservation and Management.

One of my friends commented:

The first section I have cut out 100% describes a receptionist position:

  • Manages telephone coverage and assures coverage of the reception area at all times. Answers phones according to the office’s procedures, routes calls to appropriate staff, takes accurate messages, maintains a record of telephone messages, and holds messages for pick-up. Retrieves messages from voice mail as appropriate. Greets all visitors and assists them while waiting; directs and distribute deliveries to the appropriate staff. Presents a courteous and cheerful attitude to visitors and staff.

Now in between “assur[ing] coverage of the reception area at all times” the candidate is supposed to sandwich in three other jobs:

  • Assists the Vice President with all building management calls and helps to develop appropriate protocols for fire drills, key maintenance, security, and other building related matters. Provides clerical support for the Vice President and staff, assisting with research activities and special projects as requested.
  • Writes, edits and types correspondence, reports, memorandums, and other materials as assigned. Schedules meetings and tracks project timelines.
  • Assists with mailings, including federal express and UPS, copying, assembling, stuffing and posting. Maintains all office supplies, equipment and other office support activities. Performs other duties as assigned by the Vice President Fishery Conservation and Management.

The proper job title for the non-editing tasks would be “Administrative Assistant” (which is NOT just a high-falutin’ euphemism for ‘secretary’ — it reflects the fact that the job requires more skills and responsibility than an ordinary secretary would have).

So this job description describes three different jobs.

1) receptionist
2) AA
3) proposal writer/editor

Translation: we need someone to write and edit proposals, but that only happens once a year. You’ll really be a receptionist most of the time, except during proposal time, when you’ll have to make the proposals appear like magic, on top of your regular workload. Oh, and while you’re in the office, you may as well keep busy, so do all the stuff we need an AA for as well.


Sucky work hours so far.

We knew Tom’s job would be long hours—we were told 6 days a week, probably 12 hours a day. And they weren’t kidding—at least so far.

I can honestly say I hate the hours. I am just not used to “I will be home at 6:30.”

Then “No, I will be home at 7:30.”

Monday it was even “Sorry, 8:30.” >:XX

You just can’t plan dinner for that type of timing…because it changes every day. At least if it was like 7:30 every day without fail…but no, of course not. Of course, it’s worse that I don’t get to see him much…I am used to him being home at an early hour (he was home 97% of the time when I got home at 5:15).

Bah humbug.

Miscellanous Thoughts

I hate it when I have a huge blog post written and IE decides to crash. :X

Cookies and cream Hershey Kisses. Yuckola.

Parents really SHOULD be allowed to use stun guns or tasers on uncontrollable, screaming children. Especially when they are in our small office. Giving me a headache. That is all.

I hate when people (i.e. my boss and another agent) always feel the need to say, when screaming children are present, “See what you have to look forward to?” Yes, I know children can be hellions, yet I still decided to have one. Why must you constantly make the decision seem wrong?

I don’t want to hear an agent bitch about having to come back to work (after leaving for the weekend) and having to work until 5 on Friday. You get no sympathy from me for that.

It’s very strange when you haven’t seen someone in over a year and when you do they are 150# lighter. And then you are so shocked you try to hide your shock but don’t say anything. And then you’ve bypassed the amount of time in which you could say something but haven’t. And eventually HE brings it up by saying something like “I probably look a lot different than the last time you saw me.” Like I could have possibly missed it. Doh.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand my boss just screwed me. :x Deep down I love her and know she can be awesome, but sometimes the things she says/does just completely FLOOR me.

So…you know when I said that if they sold my house in-house it would be 0%? Yeaaaaah, NO. Any selling agent, including those in our office, gets 2%.

Overall I know it’s fair, but still, why didn’t she say anything before now?

I just went in to go over the paperwork, to make sure I typed the variable rate terms out correctly, and the big boss overhears talk about variable rates and she says “It’s not a variable rate” and the other boss (the agent I am working with) says “It most certainly is, it’s 2% to the selling agent, but if we sell it in-house it’s zero.”

She repeats that NO, it’s not a variable rate, ANY selling agent gets 2%, whether it’s someone outside our office OR one of our agents. The agent and I look at each other like “Um, okay” and he said “That’s not what we were thinking.”

She says “You mean to tell me that if your clients wanted two houses, and it was down to that one, you are going to tell them to take the one that doesn’t pay you?” He said yes, in this case. She was like WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? IT’S GIVING UP MONEY? He says “Because it’s Jen’s house?”

She about had a coronary.

So, apparently when we were discussing the rates before, and she was sitting right there with us, she either completely wasn’t listening or was completely ignoring us.

So, yes, I get that 2% to the selling agent is completely fair, and technically we are just not paying to LIST the house… but I thought the 0% in-house thing was just the “extra icing on the cake” FOR HAVING WORKED HERE ALMOST FOUR YEARS (and getting a somewhat low salary for ALL the work I do).

Yep, that black cloud is still hovering.

The agent did say he would do more thinking over the weekend and try to get the big boss to reconsider…but I know that won’t happen.

Oh well, at least we only have to pay 2% regardless.

The house is on the market!

The house went on the market today! It’s a very scary feeling, knowing we HAVE TO SELL the house, and trying to decide on a price…trying to make some money without pricing it too high that people don’t want to see it or buy it… we settled on $249,900 with a $10,000 bonus to the buyer. That $10,000 is very attractive to buyers (they can use it for whatever they want—cut the price of the home, appliances, flooring, landscaping, etc.) and it still leaves us with a tidy profit.

Wish us luck!

Just Totally Unbelievable

Tom officially got orders to Detroit yesterday…and he’s supposed to check in no later than October 31, 2008.

Of course, things could change again at the drop of a hat, and he was still going to go talk to [someone]…so it may not be 100% guaranteed. But nothing like thinking about moving/selling/relocating within three months to freak you out.


My mind is whirring like crazy and it feels like my head is going to explode.

The thing that just gets me is that yes, I know the military doesn’t care what our life is like, they just know they want someone there and hubby fits the bill so he gets chosen. But it would, quite literally, create a major financial hardship for us.

Houses here aren’t selling. Houses in our price range sell, on average, in about six to nine months (unless you price it to lose money, which we obviously can’t do financially-speaking). So making us move to Michigan within three months, where we will obviously need to pay rent/another mortgage, without having sold our house, is ludicrous. There is no earthly way we can afford two mortgages, especially if they just made me quit MY job. It just flat out doesn’t make sense and, frankly, pisses me off.

As a sidenote, he wouldn’t actually be an on-the-streets/in-the-schools actual recruiter. He would be the Operations guy, doing all the planning/scheduling/etc., and making sure it all runs smoothly. Completely non-IT-related. So nothing he can bring ANY of his experience to.

It’s crazy. They like to tell us they looked at a bunch of people and compared everyone and whatever, and determined that HE was the best qualified.


They looked at a list, pointed their finger at someone, and said “this guy.”

Tom then called to tell me the latest RIDICULOUS statement. He was talking to someone (I believe a Major in charge of the monitor program) about not being able to sell the house that quickly, that we talked to a Realtor and it’s averaging 6-9 months, yada yada yada, and the guy said “Well, you have three options. One, be a geobatchelor [which means I stay here and he goes there, not sure how that works money wise but it’s not an option for us]. Two, sell your house for a loss. Or three [and this is the doozy], you can foreclose on your mortgage.”

What the hell kind of military advisor advises someone to FORECLOSE ON A MORTGAGE? Completely asinine.

This BS is precisely why we were going to get out of the military. It’s ridiculous.

Oh, also…if he takes this “three year” job they’re forcing on him? He is, effectively, being shoved out of the marine corps, because he will miss the opportunity (twice) to take the schooling he would need to become Major. Talk about a kick in the ass. (Not that he was planning on staying in that long, but just the fact that they don’t know that, and are still sending him here… Ugh.)

He also found out he cannot drop his papers (i.e. tell them he wants to get out) now. Because he has actual PCS orders, and you can’t do that when you have orders. You have to do it before you officially get orders. How convenient.

The only other option, he said, is REFUSING orders, and he’s not sure exactly what that entails or means. From what we have gathered, it wouldn’t actually do that much or be that detrimental…it would, of course, effectively end his career, but he wasn’t planning on staying in to retirement anyway. He would have to stay here a bit longer, but then we could continue on with our previous plans of him looking for a job and us moving in about six months.

I told him to ask what if he has a special needs family member…if I was a high-risk pregnancy, maybe that would keep us here. (Chances are decent I might be. I have an appointment in two weeks that might help determine that.)

So, needless to say we’re stressed. Tom should find out more Monday, but until then, we’re trying NOT to think about it. If we have to move, there is just SO much to do—and Tom doesn’t have the time and I don’t have the energy.

Stay tuned.