The dominos keep falling…

Well November has certainly kicked off with a bang. Last week I spent 3 days at the Disney Swan and Dolphin in Orlando, Florida for the iNACOL conference. This conference is for K-12 online and blended learning programs, and I have to say it was pretty darn good. Not the best conference I’ve ever been to, but good nonetheless. Monday morning they served us breakfast, and then we broke out to 2 separate sessions. We got back together for lunch and then had 2 other breakout sessions. After that, it was a dinner party outside around the pool. While waiting for it to begin, a colleague and I were sitting at our table discussing changes that are happening in our school district. I kid you not, 5 minutes later, our boss came down and and told us that she has been promoted. And so it begins…I mean continues…

This year has been one of tremendous change in our district. The school board essentially forced our superintendent into retirement. One of our area superintendents was promoted to superintendent. He then reorganized our entire district. Our Director of Technology and his second in command as well as another major technical person left. One of our awesome high school principals was promoted to Chief Academic Officer, and a number of other smaller administration moves were made. I have said all along that the changes weren’t finished, and I was right.

My boss has been promoted to Director of Technology and Innovation for our district, which is great. She’s been passed over long enough and it’s about time. She has been grooming me to be her replacement when/if this day came for the past 2 years. But alas, that is not going to be the case. Because we are on the verge of becoming a full blown virtual school, the district wants someone with school-based leadership experience. Of course, yes that makes sense. Let’s pull someone from a school to be in charge of a virtual program instead of promoting someone who has basically been running the virtual program to be in charge. Right.

Ok so a part of me has been and may continue to be a bit pissed off about the whole situation. I out degree both of the people being considered. Neither one of them know anything about the virtual program, but they do have limited experience with blended learning. I have done the training and completed the portfolio to go through the process to be selected as a school-based administrator; however, I don’t want to be school-based. I have asked my boss on numerous occasions if I should go through the process just in case, and she has always told me no. *sigh* Whatever. On the other hand, there is a part of me that is totally ok with it. I have a very flexible schedule right now, and I’m not ultimately held responsible for a lot of major decisions. Also, if the Navy picks me up in January, there could be more of an impact, and I will really need that flexibility.

So the dominos keep falling. I don’t know when they will stop, and right now, I’m ok with sitting back and waiting. I know I could do the job well, and the teachers believe I should be promoted. For now, that’s enough. I will wait and see who they bring in and how much work I’m going to have to do training them and doing my job as well as theirs. It’s going to be interesting. Come on January! 63 days and counting…EEEEEK!

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Let the waiting begin!

Yesterday I received the email I have been working toward since February.

“Your officer packet has been submitted. Now the waiting begins.”

Cue the angels:

Other than my dissertation, I don’t think I’ve ever jumped through so many hoops and worked so hard for something as I have to become a Navy Reserve officer. Now, I’m not an officer yet…I still have to wait until the selection board convenes in January (hence the waiting game), BUT just the fact that I have been cleared physically, endorsed by the CIO (Chief Intelligence Officer), and have a completed packet submitted is a huge accomplishment. I’m hoping that with the holidays and work being so crazy busy, the time will just fly by. I’m also praying that I get picked up in this first go round, because if I don’t, I have to wait an entire YEAR for the next board. At that point, I have no idea how much I will have to redo or resubmit in order to go through the whole process again. According to the CIO, I have done everything I can to make my packet stand out: I have the highest level of degree one can attain, I have a 4.0 gpa for my Masters and a 3.99 (thanks to one STUPID class) for my EdD; I have proven leadership experience in the civilian world, and I’m not a couch potato. After all of that, it’s in God’s hands…right where it should be.

So now I wait…114 days…and counting.

navy countdown

His plan not mine

If you’ve followed this blog for long at all, you know that I am attempting to commission into the Navy Reserves as an Ensign. I started this whole endeavor way back in February or March of this year (basically as soon as I finished my doctorate degree). I originally thought I would be enlisting in the Air Force National Guard. That first phone call to a recruiter ended with a, “Call me when you’ve lost 20 pounds”. Ok fine. I dieted and started running again, did circuit training, and counted calories. And…I lost 27 pounds. Alas, I am not 18 and despite getting to the weight required, thanks to the military personnel cutbacks, the Air Force didn’t want me. C’est la vie. I very briefly attempted to try the Air Force Reserves, but that recruiter didn’t even return my phone call and email, so I got the message loud and clear. At the time, my oldest son was in the DEP (Delayed Entry Program) for the Army National Guard. His recruiter is the cousin of my husband’s battle buddy from his last deployment. So, I made a phone call. Unfortunately, I was 3 years too old to enlist in the National Guard, and they don’t do age waivers. My doctorate degree is not in medicine or law, so that was out too. Ok back to square one.

A quick Google search led me to 2 places: The Coast Guard and the Navy Reserves. I sent an email to the Navy and was able to live chat with the Coast Guard. Everything looked good for the Coast Guard until we got to my financial history. Thanks to my dirtbag ex, I had to declare bankruptcy when we divorced. That bankruptcy kept me out of the Coast Guard. Despite the fact that it had been 5 years ago (it had to be 10 years ago) and that I built my credit score back up over 700. Oh well. Their loss right?

In the meantime, I know God was sitting up there just having a good ole time laughing at my antics. He knew none of that would work out, but He also knew I am not the type of person the give up on something just because it becomes difficult. I’ve said it before, my favorite quote is from Randy Pausch, “The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something”. When I hit a brick wall, I look for a shovel, a rope, a ladder, or a grenade. I do everything I can to figure out a way under, around, over, or through that wall. But this was a little different. I didn’t want to do this of my own accord. I wanted this to be God’s plan.

You see, I’ve always wanted to serve my country. I watched my dad serve in the Army and was just so in awe of him, his uniform, the base we lived on, all of it. I grew up a proud American, standing up when the flag passed by during parades, being silent during the national anthem, and cheering like crazy for anything Army/soldier/military related. When I got to high school, my dad started to encourage me to go to college. The military wasn’t something my parents wanted me to pursue. Ok fine. I figured, I would go to college and then maybe serve as an officer after. Well, once again, God got a kick out of that plan. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 3 years, and my last year, I got pregnant and married (yes in that order). So now I had a newborn and an unemployed spouse to take care of (man I should have really paid better attention to the signs that one was not going to work out huh?!), and serving my country became a pipe dream.

Fast forward 17 years, 3 kids, a divorce, a remarriage, and 2 degrees later. When I met my now husband, I knew I was a goner quick. His incredible dimples, gorgeous body, and sweet personality pretty much had me at “Hello”. He has always encouraged me to achieve any dream I ever had, live life to the fullest, and seize adventure wherever we can find it. It is because of him that I have both my Master’s and my Doctorate degrees, and it is because of him, that I can finally pursue my dream to serve my country. That being said, if this is not the plan God has for me, I want the doors to slam shut. I need this to be His plan or not happen at all. Because the impact on my life and my family’s lives is massive. The time I will miss with them, the strain it will put on my relationship with my children and my husband, the inherent risk to my well-being, and the inevitable cancelled plans at the last minute are not something I take lightly. As a military daughter and more importantly, wife, I know what this life can look like. I have a vague idea of what I’m getting into. And I know that if God is in the plan, everything will work out beautifully. If God is not in the plan, I will lose everything.

So I pray. A lot. At every step, every new application/packet/piece of information to submit and every point in the procees so far (MEPS, medical clearance, panel interview, security interview, fingerprinting) and in every step to come (OIC interview, polygraph, and selection board meeting), I pray. I pray not to be successful or for it go well, but for God’s will. I’ve seen Him at work in this too. I did not need a waiver to get medically cleared even with 3 surgeries and one of those being LASIK. My panel interview was probably the best interview I’ve ever had. I am one of a very few that will have a completed packet to drop by October 1st; they tell me early is better. All of that is God. I’m just on the ship, and He is my captain. My OIC (Officer-In-Charge) interview is Tuesday afternoon. That might be the last thing I have to do before I sit back and wait for the selection board to convene in January. I guess God is going to teach me patience after all. I’m ok with that…with all of it…whether I get in the Navy or not.

 

I love interviewing!

I know I may be in the minority here, but I truly do love interviewing. I haven’t done a lot of it recently since I’ve had my current job since 1999. Saturday, I had my Navy Reserves officer interview. I arrived on base by 9:00AM and waited until 9:15 for my sponsor to assist me in getting my vehicle pass. He then took me to the building for my interview by 9:30. I was supposed to interview at 10:00. Instead, they were a bit behind from the first two interviews and it all sort of snowballed. While waiting, I got to complete another set of security questions paperwork. In the middle of doing that, I heard the interview room door open. They took the girl that was supposed to be after me since I wasn’t ready yet. So…I waited some more. I think I got in the room at 11:15.

There were 3 gentlemen sitting across from me at a table. Throughout the entire interview, my questions began with a similar theme, “I think you would make an excellent officer, but…” followed by the questions: how would you handle this situation, what sort of leadership experience do you have, do you understand the time commitment that is really involved, is your family supportive, do you plan to put in 20 years, what makes you competitive for this position, etc. I had lots of positive feedback and they all seemed to respond well to me and what I had to say. I was with them for about 45 minutes. I felt really good when I walked out of the room.

I also found out I have another interview and a polygraph. Also, I am one of a very few that they are finishing up and submitting before October 1st. YAY! That means once it is submitted, I will just sit back and relax until the selection board meets in January. It feels good to have another step completed.

Cleared!

It has been a whirlwind of a week, but what a week indeed. Last week, my recruiter told me I would be going to MEPS on Monday for my full physical for the Navy Reserves. Awesome. On Wednesday, while at a conference for work (technically I was on my lunch break), he calls and tells me I’m not cleared to go to MEPS because my medical records indicated a history of endometriosis.

**Side Story***

I had a partial hysterectomy in 2012 due to breakthrough bleeding and AFTER the surgery found out I had endometriosis. In fact, my youngest son shouldn’t have been able to be conceived at all. Weird right.

Anyway…he told me I would need to get the notes from my most recent gynecology visit and something that indicates all symptoms that caused the surgery have been resolved by the surgery and no issues still exist. Ok then. I call my doctor office and the records clerk (who’s son joined the Navy 3 years ago) did a FABULOUS job and pulled the doctor notes from all 3 visits I’ve had since the surgery. She then transferred me to my doctor’s nurse, and the nurse was able to get a handwritten note from my doctor saying everything is good. SO…I leave my conference early (Thank you to my amazing boss!), and race to the office to pick up the information. I race back home to scan it and email it, except…the office forgot to give me the handwritten note. So I race back to the office and then say “screw it” and head to work to use our scanner there because it’s faster and can send all 14 pages in one document. YAY! I get it all to him by 4:15pm. Still holding out hope for a Monday MEPS appointment. No dice.

The next morning, we head to the port for our cruise. I am sitting there waiting to board the ship when my recruiter calls and says he has good news that I’ve been cleared to go to MEPS and would Wednesday work. Hell yes it works! Plus it gave me a couple of days after the cruise to lose any weight I might gain from the amazing food I was about to eat. Win win. We got on the ship by 11:00 and by 2:00 we were taking a nap in our stateroom.

The cruise was good. It was a smaller ship (which I won’t do that again), but since it was just my husband and I, we were still able to have a good time. We barely got off the ship when we docked in Nassau, but we’ve been there a lot so we didn’t need to. Instead, we got a couple’s massage and played trivia games (Thanks to my singing the “Meow Mix” commercial song, I won a medal!). We got back in port Sunday morning, we were off the ship by 7:30AM, and we were home by 8:30AM. It was pretty fabulous. Even better…I LOST weight on this cruise!!! Now let me tell you, I ate. I had double desserts and double entrees and ice cream and french fries. I ate. And I walked. A lot. BUT I didn’t go to they gym. I walked through it once, but that was it. Anywho…

I did go to MEPS yesterday. I arrived at 5:45AM and finished up at 1:00PM. I thought the day went really fast actually. There were 85 recruits total including those that were shipping out. We had 9-10 females. Super cool being in a smaller group. There were only 2 officer recruits, myself and a girl joining the Army as a Vet Tech. I had everything done except the duck walk stuff before I had lunch. I knew that as you failed a portion of the testing, they were sending people home. I also knew I hadn’t been sent home, so I was good so far. I was worried about the duck walk because my knees crack loud. Plus every other girl was 17-19 years old (except the vet tech girl), so there was that. Oh… I weighed in at 148 pounds!!! I was under the limit by 4 pounds since she measured me at 5’3″. Success! After lunch, we did the duck walk part…which went just fine since we did it all together…and then I met with the doctor. She told me that someone had written it up incorrectly in my file that my endometriosis was untreated and that’s why I got flagged. She looked up the correct code and said that means not only am I medically cleared but also, I do not need a waiver!! AWESOME!! My recruiter said we just have to wait for my blood tests to come back and then the Navy will medically clear me. He also said it is HIGHLY unusual to get MEPS clearance but not Navy clearance. Another step completed.

Next up: My interviews with current officers next weekend. And then I wait. Until January when the selection board convenes. It’s gonna be a long wait. Good thing I have that 5K to handle in October and the holidays to keep me distracted!

Making Progress

I tell you what, life is pretty darn good. There is progress all over the place, and I’m enjoying every moment of it.

The newest addition to our family finally seems to be settling in. We have her basically kennel trained for at night, and she has even stopped whining. She gets up around 3AM or so for a potty break and then gets up again around 7ish for the day. MUCH better than the first few nights that I thought were going to kill me. She is almost 3 months old (on the 22nd), and I hear puppies of her size will start to sleep all night long around that time. That’ll be nice. Other than that, she’s only had 1 accident in the house over the past couple of days, and I think we’ve got her trained to go to the back door to let her out when she needs to go. She is pretty spoiled rotten already, but I guess that’s not too surprising.

Our sliding glass doors are going to be replaced on the 27th!! YAY! We got the call yesterday to get our french doors installed. That will be another project done around the house. So far since buying this house 11 months ago, we’ve tiled the entire main living area and master bedroom, painted all of the walls and the outside trim, installed all new ceiling fans and light fixtures both inside and outside, gutted and redid the guest bathroom, installed the white vinyl fence, and put in a gazebo. After we get the french doors in, we will be attempting to get an in-ground pool around October (fingers crossed). Whew!

At work, I have accomplished almost all of my projects for the summer. Yesterday was crazy busy, but I did manage to get 6 teachers to come in during their break and plan out a schedule for school site visits. That was my last really big project. Now I get to start working on our pre-planning schedule. Other than updating our digital handbook and keeping current with our course building, that’s all I have left.

This morning, I weigh 148.4 *cue happy dance*. I know I’m under where I need to be by about 3.5 pounds; however, I’m concerned that perhaps my scale at home is off or the scale at MEPS will just be unkind. Everybody knows there are horror stories like that. I’ve worked to hard to not get in because of my weight at this point. Yesterday I submitted my security clearance paperwork and my MEPS medical pre-screen paperwork and supporting documents. I know it takes the MEPS doctors  at least 2 days to review everything and give a response, so I’m thinking it’ll be next week at the earliest that I can do my physical. I will definitely be glad to have that over with!! After that, it’ll be time to schedule my interviews. Now THAT part I look forward to, because I truly love interviewing.

Next month is my birthday, and my husband and I have been talking about going on a little vacation just the two of us. Sunday I was like, you know what, let’s go on another cruise. This will be our 3rd together, and my 7th. Within just a couple of hours, we had our babysitters found (thank you to my parents and my mother-in-law), which is more complicated since they have to actually come stay at our house thanks to the new puppy. Yesterday, my husband was able to confirm he could get two days off the week we needed him to, and I booked it immediately! Now I’m looking forward to 3 days of no cell phones, no email, no internet, and no interruptions. Just me and my husband having a relaxing vacation or fun. we don’t even have to worry about deciding where we want to go for dinner or watching a budget. It’s all included! Ahhhhhhhh bliss at its finest!

Hello 140’s!!!!!

I can’t believe it! On May 22, I wrote this. It took me a bit longer than I thought for a hot minute, BUT…I am officially in the 140’s at 149.8.

I have to confess that I’m sure part of the delay is because of the chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard (DQ of course) and the M&M concrete (from Culver’s) on top of the Olive Garden fettuccini alfredo combined with the stress of my oldest (see my last post) and some recent developments in my family. So you see, most of it is my own fault and some of it is beyond my control. Bottom line: I met and have exceeded my weight loss goals. I have found my reward in a few different ways though…

  1. I fit into a formal dress I last wore before I was pregnant with my youngest. I had actually given this dress to my daughter, and yep, I just took it back.
  2. I went to Old Navy and bought a couple of pairs of size 6 shorts. *jaw drop* I probably could have gotten a size small dress too, but well…let’s just say this is totally appropriate for me:love
  3. FINALLY people outside of my immediate family are noticing AND commenting. Now that feels really good too.

I have lost a total of 6 inches from my waist and I’m guessing around 3 inches from my glutimus maximum/hips. My 1.5 mile time has also dropped. I am SO close to getting under 14 minutes now. My most recent time was 14:13. I can do 63 situps in about 1:40 and I’m up to about 20 pushups in 2 minutes. I found a new app called Sworkit that is totally awesome! I can choose what sort of workout I want and how long I want to do it for, and voila! Every excercise last about 30 seconds and after about 3 of them, you get a 30 second break. You can also skip exercises if you can’t do them (still can’t do the spiderman push ups yet). I’m loving this so far because it’s not predictable at all!

As far as Navy news: I have submitted my initial application and required copies, all college transcripts have been sent to my recruiter, and I have about 5 recommendation/character reference letters. I don’t know anyone in the Navy or a veteran of the Navy, so I’m not sure if that is going to hurt me later on or not, but it is what it is right?. My next step should be my background check. I sent off an email to my recruiter today, so I’m sure I will hear back from him on Monday. I know my packet is due in November, but there are a lot of steps still to go before then. That’s about all I have for that.

In other news: My oldest son has come to his senses rather quickly now that his dad took away his car and he realizes how hard it is to find a job (welcome to the real world kiddo!). His recruiter told him he will probably be cleared soon thanks to his paperwork from the dermatologist and he will be able to sign a new contract after his follow-up appointment on July 29th. He is now talking about going 11B (Infantry), because he just wants to go quickly, but we’ll see what happens. At this point, I’m just glad he is going to fulfill this obligation and didn’t quit. As soon as I got the word from him on that, I literally raised my hands and thanked God. He answered my prayer: I prayed to either have this door slammed shut with a disqualifying condition OR keep him in and headed off to basic quickly. The door didn’t slam shut and he’s back on track. Hallelujah!

This weekend is my dad’s birthday (on the 4th) and my husband has to work. It’s probably better since he doesn’t like fireworks at all (The first time I ever saw my husband cry was during fireworks). They remind him too much of combat in Iraq, and they make for a long night for sure. Instead, my youngest and I will head to my sister’s for a family cookout and then down to the local park for fireworks. I hope you have an excellent Fourth of July!!

My summer is flying by!

I can’t believe how fast this summer is going right now. I knew working from home 3 days out of my 4 day work week would be great, but I didn’t know it would make my days fly by.

This week we decided to continue our home improvement projects with a door replacement. The sliding glass doors that is. My husband has always HATED sliding glass doors. He says they aren’t secure, energy efficient, or convenient (I mean hello??? 2 doors but you can only really use 1). Where we live, we cover up our sliders with vertical blinds and really heavy curtains to try and keep the heat out of the house as much as possible. Unfortunately, that also means when we do use them, we have to tie back the curtains and mess with those ugly blinds. Oh, and I have to constantly put in and take out the security pin at the top since my littlest can’t reach it. Yep…annoying.

We’ve been talking about switching these out for french doors since the day we first looked at this house. Now it’s time. We went to “The Door Store” and found french doors with the blinds built into the door that have a lifetime warranty. Yesterday, the guy came out and measured everything, and we will have those sliders taken out of here and our new french doors installed in about 4 weeks (this is supposed to be their slow month, but of course, not this year). I can’t wait to have them!!

In other news, my daughter finally got her driver’s permit. She’s so excited! For those that don’t know, my daughter suffers from an eye condition called pars planitis with macular edema. Super basic explanation: the white of her eyes sort of grow over the colored part of her eyes. Her left eye is pretty much perfect, but her right eye is pretty terrible. She had to get  a new glasses presciption in order to get her permit. She also has to go back and see her eye specialist, which she is most definitely NOT excited about. She’s already gotten quite a few shots in her eyes, and she’s hoping they don’t say surgery. My oldest son leaves for Army basic training on Monday. We are going to take him to MEPS and have dinner with him Sunday night before he leaves. He’s so excited, and I’m excited for him.

As for me, I finally got to speak to the Navy. I actually went in and saw an active duty officer recruiter (because the Reserves guy was in class), and after talking to him, I filled out a simple intake form. He has been instrumental in getting me to the Reserves recruiter, and I’m very appreciative. My Reserves recruiter called and spoke to me for about an hour. That conversation led to a decision that I will be submitting a packet for a couple of different officer positions: Intelligence Officer and Supply Officer. Obviously, I am really excited about Intelligence Officer. This would be a dream come true for me! My bachelor’s degree (B.S. degree) is in Psychology and Criminal Justice, and then I have a Master’s in Teacher Leadership and an Educational Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. My current position is nothing but data analysis and investigating student grades, productivity, and achievement levels. I think I could be really great at this! Within 4 hours of receiving the paperwork required, I had submitted the application, picture of my tattoo (yes just one), required identification, and resume. I had also requested all 4 of my college transcripts and emailed 6 of my colleagues/supervisors/pastor for references (I only need 3). I know that I have at least 3 that have already responded and all transcripts will be to my recruiter by the end of the week. Like I said, I am excited.

Once he has received all of the items on this list, I will then go for my security clearance. That can take some time, but I’m not stuck while it’s going through. I will be going for my physical during that time too. Then, sometime between now and November, I will go for an interview with at least 3 Navy intelligence officers. I’ve been told to stay up on current events and be able to articulate how that would impact me as an intelligence officer. I’ve always paid attention to the news and I think I interview really well in the civilian world (I’ve gotten every job I’ve ever interviewed for), so fingers crossed. The selection board will meet after that, and IF I’m selected, I could commission early next year. WOOHOO!! This is the first branch that has given me actual paperwork to fill out and positive support that I can do this.

When you wait until your 38 to try and achieve this goal, there aren’t a lot of options. If you are 38 with no prior military experience, here’s what I know about your options:

  •      Army: You’re too old
  •      Army National Guard: You’re too old
  •      Army Reserves: You’re too old
  •      Air Force: You’re too old
  •      Air Force National Guard: You are eligible; HOWEVER, the drawdown has severely impacted the Air Force and    the jobs are VERY limited (at least in my state they are)
  •      Air Force Reserves: You are eligible…and again…jobs are limited. I called the recruiter and left messages, but he never called me back. I finally took the hint.
  •      Marines: You’re too old
  •      Coast Guard: You are eligible; however, if you have a bankruptcy within the past 10 years, you are NOT eligible (it’s the only branch that a bankruptcy will keep you completely out that I know of)
  •      Navy: You’re too old
  •      Navy Reserves: You are eligible. Hopefully you have a college degree because they will immediately want you to become an officer. They will take your degree and civilian work experience and then try to match you up with an area they need leadership in. The selection process is competitive, so make sure you know your stuff.

What’s interesting about all of this for me is that it started with a simple tug on my heart to serve my country. Sometimes things like this will just go away over time. Something I thought I was passionate about will wane. Not this. I’m surprised. ESPECIALLY since I’ve had to stick to this diet and exercise plan. I’ve been working out and losing weight since the beginning of April. So far I’ve lost 15 pounds, 6 inches off my waist, and 2 inches off my hips. My 1.5 mile time has gone from 17:49 to 14:31. I had gone from being able to do 35 situps in 2 minutes to doing 65. Now pushups hasn’t been as great: I’ve gone from doing 10 in 2 minutes to doing 17 (and they still try to kill me). I’m within the height/weight requirements for any of the branches I am eligible to serve under, so now it’s all about maintaining. Since I know the Navy process alone will take me through the first of next year, it doesn’t look like I get to let up any time soon. At least maintaining is a heck of a lot more fun than losing. The best part is: I look and feel good about my body again. Regardless of what happens with the Navy or any other branch: I win. My husband loves how  I look (and let’s be honest, he has always said I am beautiful no matter my weight/size, but who doesn’t want a wife to look good), I feel stronger, and I am fitting into clothes I haven’t been able to wear since before I got pregnant with my youngest. Like I said: WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!

Our fence debacle

This summer I am working four 10-hour days a week (Monday-Thursday). I didn’t really think it would be that different from my regular work schedule, except that it most definitely is. The bonus is that I only have to actually GO to work on Mondays, and I work from home the rest of the week. I will say that the past 6-7 days have been VERY interesting around here.

Last Thursday I spent the day at a job fair hoping to find some new talent to recruit/hire for my program (I am an instruction and curriculum specialist for online learning in my school district). Instead, I spent the day hanging out with my boss and 2 of our teachers…and I read a book. Yep, not very productive. We were supposed to be getting a new white vinyl fence installed that day, but he didn’t show up and didn’t call until later in the day to say, “First thing tomorrow morning”. Ok. Friday, I am off. My husband works nights and worked Thursday night so he slept until about noon. Still nobody here. Later that afternoon, the owner shows up in flip flops with an empty truck just to tell us he wasn’t going to install the fence that day, but “First thing tomorrow morning”, and the reason: Friday was his brother’s birthday (this will be important later). Well Saturday was our Chuck E. Cheese birthday party for our now 4 year-old from 10:00-noon as well as a bowling party for our now 15 year-old that night.

Ok Saturday morning we wake up at 8 and wait…and wait…and call…and call. At 9:30, we are told they are on their way right now. Great. Just Freakin’ Great. So, I take the kids and go to Chuck E. Cheese while my husband stays home (NOT going to HIS 4 YEAR OLD SON’S birthday party) to wait for them. At 11:00, they still aren’t there, so my husband comes to the party for all of 5 minutes just to be able to thank the guests that came and brought their kids. He tells me they should be at the house any minute and leaves. We get home from the party at 12:15 with pictures, leftover cake, and stories to find my husband still waiting. WTF?!!!

The truck pulls in at 1:00. That’s right ONE o’clock…with just ONE person (the owner’s brother…you remember, the one who had a birthday on Friday). He tells us he is just dropping off the materials and not installing it that day either because the crew didn’t show up. Are. You. Kidding. Me?! I thought we were going to have a murder on our hands. We call the owner who assures us it IS being installed that day and about an hour later, this guy pulls up in a van. I send him around to the back, he is there about 15 minutes, and he leaves. The brother informs us that this guy had never installed a fence before, so he sent him away. He also tells us that he will be installing our fence on Monday, and he will get started at 7AM “First thing”. My husband goes out to look at the materials and sees that we were brought 8 foot sections instead of the 6 foot sections we ordered. He calls the owner again. The owner tells us that they were out of the 6 foot sections, so he got 8 foot sections but is installing a metal support beam in the bottom to prevent the sagging we were concerned about. Ummmmm what? You changed our order without even ASKING us?! I should also mention at this point that my husband is the one that actually got the permit to be approved since this guy didn’t even apply for it when he told us he did, and my husband is the one who called for the underground lines to be marked since, once again, the guy never bothered.

Monday rolls around, and sure enough, at 7AM, the brother is there to install the fence…alone. *sigh* I actually have a staff retreat for work, so I leave at 7:15 to the sounds of him working. My husband had to leave at 3:00 to go to work. I get home at 4:30ish to find the fence…not done (not too surprised since he worked on it BY HIMSELF). *more sighing*. Apparently, he ran out of materials and had to stop for the day. This is after he borrowed a knife and was looking for something else (can’t remember now what it was) to borrow/use. Tuesday, yesterday, he shows up around 8AM and gets to work. Sometime around noon I guess, the owner shows up. They only had the gates left at that point, which they custom make on site. Great. The little one on the left side goes up no problem along with all of the caps on that side and the back. The double gate on the left…not so much. The owner comes to get my husband around 1:00 to show him the progress. He asks about the caps on the front right side since he didn’t want to have to trim something to put on the caps we wanted and wanted to replace them with other caps (they are supposed to be slightly different than the ones on the left in order to match our neighbor’s fence on that side). My husband informs him they are going to install the correct cap that we originally asked for, and he asks them when the inspection is going to be scheduled. The owner tells us an inspection “isn’t necessary”, to which my husband informs him it most definitely is necessary. At that point, they tell us they need to go to a different job, will schedule the inspection, and we can “settle up” after that. And they leave. I go out to mow the yard (which had been put off thanks to their shenanigans), and I find extra pieces of fence, hardware, a fence cap, a metal pipe, a metal rod, and piles of dirt where they dug the holes. The double gate on the right does not have a support beam in the middle like we talked, and it sags (hence the need for the support).

I honestly don’t know how people like this stay in business. I will be absolutely SHOCKED if a) they schedule an inspection and b) it actually PASSES inspection. I would be pleasantly suprised if they came back and put on the freakin’ caps they are supposed to on the right, inserted the support for the double gate, and cleaned up their mess. That’s clearly asking too much based on past behavior. In the meantime, we have done our due diligence in warning everyone in our neighborhood and anyone else for that matter NOT to hire this company. I will say that the brother is one heck of a hard-worker, but the owner is a liar and a moron with little integrity.

In other news, I am weigh 151.8 this morning (yep hit a plateau), and I got to actually go in and talk briefly to a Navy active duty officer recruiter. The reserves officer recruiter was in class but is supposed to call me this week. So…Navy huh? It wasn’t where I started out thinking, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We will see.

navy