Friday, April 29, 2011

News of News

I'll be the first to admit I hated reading or watching the news as a teenager.  Unless the national media event was something that directly impacted me--and we're talking natural disaster or worse, I couldn't have cared less about what Tom Brokaw or Charlie Gibson or Peter Jennings were blathering.  On the other hand, I was deeply interested in the Mickey Mouse Club and Kids, Inc. and Star Trek (don't ask me why on that last one).

As I've grown and started wondering about this little marble in space on which I live, I've begun tuning in to the news more and more.  During down time at work, I turn to news as my first choice.  During commercials while watching TV, I often check the news stations.  Bored in general?  Maybe I'll read the news.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not checking the Dow or following a particular story or wondering whether eggs are going to kill me today or not.  I don't watch CNN or Fox News (the horror!) or even MSNBC.  If I have to suffer through watching the news, I try to stay with local channels.  KATU or KOIN, maybe KEZI, and the ever-so-rare PBS.  I don't follow any particular radio host.  I don't necessarily read one newspaper over another (although the Albany Democrat-Herald knocks the pants off the Corvallis Gazette-Times even though they're owned by the same people and often report the same news).  In essence, I don't discriminate against news sources.  I try to gather a variety of sources on each side of the issue and read whatever I can find.

Sometimes I'll follow a story very closely.  I was familiar with the entire Elizabeth Smart trial.  Against my better judgment and attempts to avoid the story, I'm unfortunately familiar with that idiot Sheen guy right now.  I follow health stories and science/technology stories at length.  Sports?  Not a chance.  Business news?  Not if I can help it.  World news goes up and down for me: sometimes I just don't want to read about who is fighting what war right now.  And celebrity gossip?  Puhleez.  I have better things to read.

After a discussion with a coworker this morning, apparently (she thinks) it's highly unusual for someone my age to be so active in pursuing news.  It's unusual for someone my age to want to be knowledgeable about the world around us.  I'm not sure if her opinion holds any truth, but I shudder to think I'm alone in my pursuit of knowledge.  Bring on the news!

But please, for the love of newsprint everywhere, can we keep the media frenzies to a minimum?  Nobody really needs to know how many needles were used or how often they were changed in the creation of a certain royal wedding dress.  C'mon, really?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Ugg Wearers Everywhere

Dear Ugg Wearers Everywhere:

For the record, Uggs are not shoes.  Let's make that clear from the start.  They are not shoes, have never been shoes, and will never be shoes.  They are slippers.  And they make you look like a flippin' idiot when you wear them outside your house.

Consider, if you will, the necessity of a slipper that reaches halfway to your knee.  Even Eskimos, those hardy people who live in the coldest climate on earth, don't wear a slipper that extends that high. Unless you're planning to tromp through the wilds of Siberia, there's no need to be that warm.

I arrived to work this morning only to hear my second least-favorite sound on earth: that of someone wearing Uggs not picking up their feet as they walk.  It's called the Ugg Shuffle--no joke!  While the slushing of fake leather on tile floors was grating enough, I turned to peek at the offender before slipping into my office.  Complete with a ripped crocheted scarf, clown sunglasses, and the requisite orange skin, this Eskaho satisfied every stereotype about college women these days.  I couldn't help but snicker.

When it comes to style, Uggs are on par with Crocs.  Unless you enjoy looking like you have fat feet, are thrilled with poor arch support and the likelihood of a fungal infection, and are too lazy to tie a pair of shoes, don't wear either kind of shoes.  Really, they're bad for your feet!  I won't even get into what they're like on the environment...

"But they're warm!" you say?  Buy a heater, buy those bend-and-smash hand warmers and stuff them in your socks, buy real boots (you know, the black leather kind, the ones with style, and wear them inside your pants, please).  Hell, buy a pair of Sorel boots.  You'll save over $100 per pair compared to Uggs, plus your feel will be toasty and dry all day long.  Not to mention how much healthier your feet will be, how much more traction you'll have, and how much longer the boots will last.

Okay, okay, you're all about fashion, not comfort or money.  Consider this: Uggs give you cankles.  It is impossible to wear a slipper so poorly designed and not look like you have cankles.  There's no "slimming" feature built into Uggs.  And nobody wants cankles.

Ugg wearers everywhere?  The Ugg shuffle has got to go.  Please buy proper shoes.  Please wear your proper shoes correctly.  And, for the love of fashion everywhere, don't wear your slippers in public.  Dress like the woman (or man) I know you can be.

Not a fan of Ugg-induced cankles,
Jaggy

P.S.  Rain boots, flip-flops, and pants-worn-inside-boots are not acceptable substitutes unless you are (respectively!) standing in an ankle-deep puddle, relaxing on a sandy beach, or on a horse.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Cook, I Eat, I Sleep

Aside from cooking, eating, sleeping, and driving, The Man and I did very little else this weekend.  We had Easter lunches with both of our families, mine on Saturday and his on Sunday.  We ate entirely too much good food.  And, finally, I saw some good sleep.  Last night, especially, I slept well.

Knowing how much I'd have to do this weekend, I opted to take today off.  A choice well-made, I believe.  Two nice naps on the couch, some quilting, some crock-pot cooking for dinner (no slaving on my day off, that's for sure!), and eight or nine episodes of Deadliest Catch.  I'm into the sixth season now, the last one on Netflix as the seventh season is currently airing.

The Man and I even got a little shopping done on Saturday night.  There weren't any crowds on Easter Eve at the mall, and many stores had good sales running.  The Man got a beautiful microfiber striped sagey green button-down shirt with a matching green undershirt for $9 at Kohl's.  He also got a cool USA soccer team shirt for $9.  I scored three women's t-shirts for $8 each, 50%-off.  They do have my much-disliked cap sleeves, but they're longer cap sleeves that don't cut into my arm underneath, so I think I'll be pleased with them.  Plus they're longer than average which I appreciate.  (It's weird that a company is actually selling a whole shirt these days!  No 3/4-length sleeves, no removed collars, no shorter shirts in that store!)

Back to work tomorrow.  I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zombified

I need sleep.  I don't know if it's the weather or some sort of full moon thing happening, but I haven't slept well for almost a week.  The little critters upstairs stomping everywhere can't be to blame, although I've pretty much had it with them in the evenings.  I'm going to bed around 11:00pm each night, and I don't have to get up until after 7:00am, so I have an opportunity for eight solid hours of sleep.  Many adults can only dream of getting eight hours of sleep.

Last night, I curled up in bed and was wide awake.  I felt like crap, not flu-like or anything, just really blah.  I tossed and turned for hours.  The Man has a habit of flopping over rather than rolling, so his jarring keeps me up sometimes.  Also, it's too warm for my electric blanket now, but not warm enough to not have it.  I get cold or too warm and can't sleep, and that's a vicious cycle.  Plus it's light in our bedroom by 6:00am now, so I'm losing at least that last hour to the sun.  We tried curtains, but they blocked too much moisture near the windows (sleep versus mold? mold wins).  I might try some lighter curtains, but I'm not sure if they'll do anything.  We already have blinds.  It's still too bright for sleep though.  I can always break out my eye mask.

Maybe, after watching all of these old Deadliest Catch episodes this week, I'm channeling my inner sleepless crabber.  Ha.

If I'm not out by 11:00pm tonight, I'm hitting up the Benadryl.  'Pink pony' dreams for me!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Now Accepting Donations for me to Get A Life

It's scary how often I have to explain to people why I've never flown anywhere.  You read that correctly, I've never been off the ground in an airplane.  I've been inside all manner of cargo jets, fighters, bombers, passenger planes, even a Concorde and an Air Force One (honeymoon = Museum of Flight!).  But I've never left the ground on an airplane.

I've never been in a boat on the ocean either.  My only boating experiences were in my uncle's drift boat, on jet boats down on the Rogue River, or on ferries between Anacortes, Wash., and Victoria, B.C.  And while the Puget Sound might look huge to a little girl, I've since learned the "big boats" are not exactly dodging whitewater.

I've never been on a train that was moving.  I've never taken a subway--although I have been on the MAX in Portland a few times (for better or worse).  I have never been in a taxi.  I've never been on a bus that wasn't big and yellow with my school district's name on the side of it.

It would appear that I have either never left home or don't enjoy traveling, but neither of these things is true.  We drove halfway across the country for vacation.  My whole family lives in Oregon or within driving distance, so there's not much reason to not drive.  Disneyland? Drove there.  Canada? Putt-putted all the way up in a car.  The ocean?  A mere hour's drive away.  Mountains for hiking?  Fifteen minutes, at the most.  Snow?  Easily found within two hours year-round.  I just haven't found anything outside of the valley worth flying to see yet.

I really do like traveling and seeing new places.  I would love to go to Rome, and The Man wouldn't hesitate to join me on that trip.  We could spend a week at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  I'd be thrilled with a trip to Alaska (still sorta bummed we didn't get to do that for our honeymoon, but the whole "no boats through the ice bit" makes sense).  Hawaii?  Not so much.  I'd much rather see Tahiti or New Zealand than Hawaii.

Part of me feels left out, and part of me is okay with the fact that I've been limited in forms of transportation.  Am I really missing out on a "friendly" pat-down by a TSA agent?  Am I really missing out on motion sickness?  Really?

If you're interested in donating to the "Jaggy Gets a Life" fund, I could take a sponsor or twenty! LOL!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I have a feeling I'm going to be up far too late tonight

True to my word, I spent the entire day Sunday watching Deadliest Catch on Netflix.  As of this post, I'm starting season 4.  I've accomplished absolutely zero quilting while watching so far, but I did get a nice nap in at one point yesterday afternoon.  Nothing like waking up to Capt. Phil screaming at something... *shudders*

The Man and I had a quiet weekend at home.  It's funny, growing up I always got bored on the weekends with "nothing to do."  I'd complain I was bored about every fifteen seconds.  Since I've done that whole turning-into-a-responsible-adult thing, I've found myself with less and less time to be bored.  Saturday afternoon, however, I found my stride in the boredom marathon.  While part of me has disdain for boredom, the little kid in me was shouting, "wahoo, play time!"  I just wish I was as amused stacking wooden blocks now as I was way back then...

Allergy season is in full swing.  I've taken to wearing a bandana doubled-over from my apartment to the car in the morning to stop pollen from harassing my dried-out snot tubes.  Between covering my hair really well and not breathing much outside, I've stopped sneezing almost entirely during the day at work.  The meds are helping a bunch, too.  My white car was almost yellow when I saw it this morning, so I know things have really kicked up in the last week.  Three months to go!  (Looking like a bank robber every morning with a black hooded jacket, black bandanna, and black wrap sunglasses?  It makes me giggle inside.  Giggle, not sneeze.  And that's what counts.)

Homemade chicken and rice soup for dinner, a little more DC for dessert.  Life is goooooood.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Off The Deep End

Sorry for not posting late this week.  I've been a bit preoccupied.  Since season 7 of Deadliest Catch aired Tuesday night, I haven't been right in the head.

Well, I guess that's not entirely true.  I managed to go to work and make dinner and, you know, function like a normal person.  My sad little mind, however, was not always focused on the task at hand.

There is no reason I should even give another thought to Bering Sea fishermen.  I don't eat crab except maybe once or twice a decade when somebody I know has gone down to the bay to catch it and are willing to share.  I don't particularly like crab.  I'd much, much rather eat crawdads or real fish.

I'm not the show's target audience.  I've only ever been fishing once (at Forest Glen, no less), and we had to throw my fish back anyway.  Though I have taught myself to swim--no thanks to teachers that pushed me under in grade and high school--I'm not a fan of the water.  I don't drink, smoke, or get in bar fights.  And while I guess someone, somewhere would call me a bit of an environmentalist (maybe?), I am not terribly concerned with how many crab get pulled from the ocean each year.  The big, pretty mammals? Sure.  Crab?  Not so much.

But I'm totally, completely, absolutely hooked on this show.  I've been a fan of the show for probably six seasons already, but I mostly waited for marathons or several episodes in a row in order to really watch the show.  I'm not drawn in by the crabbing.  Watching guys haul pots out of the deep?  Snoozefest.  But the camaraderie, the brotherhood of fishermen, the trials of life at sea, that's what I want to watch.  I know nothing on Deadliest Catch is scripted (unlike just about everything on TLC), so it's the truest "reality TV" I can find.

I must admit a certain level of attraction to some of the fishermen.  Not that I would ever want to get all snuggly with a slimy-fish-guts-covered-haven't-showered-in-a-week guy (I have my own smelly-at-times-and-way-less-dangerously-employed husband).  I do find it somewhat odd--but not surprising--that the guy I'm most attracted to is the one that looks most like The Man (Edgar, F/V Northwestern, I'm looking at you).  Anyone who has been reading here for a while knows one of my earliest celebrity crushes was George Clooney (One Fine Day? Love it).  Every once in a while, I catch myself thinking Capt. Andy from the F/V Time Bandit looks strikingly like a younger Clooney--just a little less chiseled, but in a good way.  Of course, Cornelia Marie brothers Josh and Jake are total cuties, but admiring from a distance is just fine by me.  Even Wild Bill on the Kodiak isn't hard on the eyes.  Let's just say I don't have a favorite boat or that I root for one boat over another.  As long as they all come home safely, that's what I want to see.

I bought the book Time Bandit, written by the Hillstrands, and read it in two evenings.  Funny, remarkable, and surprisingly good.  I really enjoyed the book, especially the explanations of how and why things happen the way they do.  Each brother has his own writing style, and I liked hearing their own voices shine through in the writing.

Lastly, every episode except the current season are available free on Netflix instant watch.  I can get a LOT of quilting done over six seasons, lemme tell ya.  Guess where I'll be tonight!  and tomorrow! :)

Postscript: While I'm sure Alaskan King crab and snow crab are delicious, the Oregonian in me demands Dungeness.  Support your local sustainable fisheries, please.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dear Yogurt Manufacturers

To the Nice Innovator People at Dannon, Yoplait, and other national (and local) yogurt places:

I understand that many people, most people even, like fruit in their yogurt.  They like fruity flavors, fruit chunks, even whole fruits in their yogurt.  There are people who like granola or oatmeal or corn flakes in their yogurt.  Some are fond of graham crackers or corn chips or all manner of other crunchy foods as an additive.  I am not one of those people.

You see, I like pudding.  Butterscotch pudding is probably the most heavenly thing on earth, on par with a good cheesecake in my opinion.  The consistency of pudding is spectacular.  Yogurt, likewise, has a fine consistency.  But yogurt has a tang that pudding doesn't.  I'm not a fan of the tang.  It just won't go down.  That tangy yogurty flavor hits my tongue and promptly causes reflexes I don't think I'm supposed to have.

Furthermore, there's nothing quite as disconcerting as taking a nice, creamy bite of pudding and hitting something with a different texture.  Pudding doesn't have bumps or lumps or chewy bits in it (or it shouldn't!), no gelatinous pieces, no thicker parts, and certainly no looser parts.  Yogurt, likewise, shouldn't have bits in it.  No different texture areas, no cream on top, no fruit on the bottom.  I mean, really, the quality of the fruit in yogurt can't be good.  And nothing says gross like slimy strawberry bits that have already been partly digested by the bacteria soup they're sitting in.  Yuck.

Nice yogurt manufacturers, can you make an adult-oriented non-vanilla yogurt without chunks?  Even your "creamy" drinks have chunks, and I'm sorry, I'm not okay with that.  I don't like firm bits hitting my lips or clogging the straw.  A few types of non-vanilla yogurt are chunk-free, but Trix yogurt? Uh, last time I checked, Trix are for kids.  I think I'd look pretty silly pulling up to the lunch table with my middle-aged coworkers and eating from a container with cartoons on it.

Not to mention the sugar content in children's yogurt!  Parents think they're feeding their kids something healthy, but nooooooo, it's a ruse.  All that "healthy" fruit has been replaced by sugar!  Every yogurt container I looked at contained more than nine grams of sugar.  A half-cup serving with that much sugar might as well just be raw sugar.

I'm just asking for a healthy, adult-oriented, fruit-free, non-vanilla-flavored yogurt that isn't whipped, shaken, or over-processed.  And doesn't have that nasty, nasty tang.

If you could make it taste exactly like butterscotch pudding, that'd be incredible.  Chocolate cake would be a great second.  Hell, pepperoni flavored would score major points, too.

I know it's a lot to ask, but I can't be the only one in this boat.  Good luck in your quest.  Hope to hear from you soon and all that.

Peace, love, and lactobacillus acidophilus,

Jaggy

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Terms of Un-Endearment

I've long been told that the pitter-patter of little feet is something to be treasured.  Happy, running, dancing children are one of God's greatest gifts.  And I'm all for happy children, I really am.  I love happy kids.  I even usually love less-than-happy kids.  Running children?  More power to them.  Get that energy out!  Dancing children?  Heck, I'm in favor of everyone dancing.

But I am not in favor of happy, running, dancing toddlers that live right above me at 6:00am.  The pitter-patter-stompy-stomps need to wait until at least 8:00am.  I don't know if the kid weighs a ton or what, but he must be chock-full of energy at the crack of dawn in order to stomp that hard.  The somewhat larger woman who has lived above us the last few months never made much noise, the occasional thump or bump, nothing to complain about (and it's actually reassuring that she's still kickin' and doing well).  I am hoping that the young hellion living there at the moment is merely one of her visitors as I cannot take much more of the whumpy-thumpy-stompy-jumpy.

I've never had to complain about a neighbor before.  Even in our last apartment with Captain Rock Band and his vociferous harem at all hours of the day, even that was less annoying than the one child above us now.  The disco-freaks on the other side of my bedroom wall were less annoying than the BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM such a small creature creates first thing in the morning.

I don't know what to do.  Children are loud.  There's no real way the parents can prevent their kid from running full-bore through a tiny apartment.  The apartment managers likely won't do anything.  I just don't know if I can take being awoken unexpectedly at o-dark-hundred morning after morning.

Between the trains barreling through rattling our windows and doors at 3:00am and the child upstairs, I'm seriously considering breaking a lease.  One or the other, I can't handle both.

What can I do?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adult Chore Chart: Update

Our new chore chart and meal planning charts have been successfully utilized (for the most part).  The Man and I gave them a solid two weeks as a trial run.  Some chores just don't have to be done precisely the day the are assigned (cleaning the shower, dusting), and we're pretty good about allowing each other grace periods to get those chores done.  Otherwise, not completing any assigned chore on any given day results in the forfeiture of that entire weeks' "pay."

Sometimes I'll swap chores around for us, so that if he forgets to make the bed on Monday, I'll do it, but I'll give him my bed-making on Tuesday.  Splits the difference, right?  Speaking of that chore, I love not having to make the bed every day.  I'm very thankful The Man has chosen to help.  I can't say he's terribly excited about making the bed... but he's trying.  And he's getting much better at it, too!

In our discussion this weekend, he revealed that he has yet to use the meal planning chart.  I usually either have dinner started by the time he gets home or we go out (once a week or so), so he usually doesn't need to know.  On the other hand, I've really hit my stride thawing meat ahead of time or buying food for two weeks instead of just the current week.  We're able to save a few pennies with fewer trips to the store.  The meal chart also helps me remember which meals I moved around to make it easier on the chef on any given night.

The Man admitted to me that he really likes being able to see what is expected of him right when he gets up.  He doesn't have to wander the apartment looking at garbage cans or checking the dishwasher or getting into the laundry.  He can see at a glance that he needs to empty bins or fold towels or vacuum.  Plus, he can budget his time and get the easy stuff done before work.  He'll unload the dishwasher before leaving so that I have an empty  and clean kitchen in which to start dinner when I get home.

In fact, the chore chart is so handy that I found myself bored this weekend.  Everything was clean, tidy, or put away.  I'd crafted my heart out.  I'd played computer games and read blogs and caught up on all manner of useless knowledge.  It's been a long time since I was bored.  But I have to say I rather liked it (a little bit).

Saturday, April 09, 2011

It Never Fails

Somehow, for whatever reason, I always need to cut my bangs immediately after I clean the bathroom.  The Man always needs a haircut right after we clean the shower.

Why would I cut my hair over the sink and cut his hair in the tub, you ask?  And why would I, against all advice, run the clippings down the drain?  That's easy: we live in an apartment.  Not our drains.  Not our problem.

But tonight, shortly after scrubbing the bathroom top-to-bottom, I remembered I needed a trim.  Dang it!

Hair cut, sink and counter cleaned again. Sigh.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Crafting Updates

I've been hand-quilting my first oversized lap quilt for a couple months, and I'm just about halfway around the quilt.  My stitches continue to get smaller and somewhat more even.  I've noticed, though, that if I take a break, I have to relearn how to keep the stitches even, and that isn't my favorite part.  I know pride is a terrible thing, but I'm incredibly proud of how even the stitches are on the back of my quilt.  The back almost looks better than the front.  For a first-timer, I'd giving myself a A+ (narcissism aside, it does look very, very good).

My paint-by-number piece is also shaping up well.  I estimate that I'm about two-thirds done now.  Once I fill in the large green grassy areas and the huge sky portions, I figure I'll be 90% done.  Of course, because all of the little areas have numbers with arrows indicating where to fill in, I have to get those all filled before I do the bigger sky and grass areas, and waiting to do those is torture.  I should be able to fill in the large, easy areas first, right? *Sigh maybe another week or two until that project is all wrapped up.

I've been eyebrow-deep in my Jen Lancaster books the last couple weeks, so I haven't had time for much creative crafting.  I'm trying to get through two more books before the beginning of next month so that I am ready for book #5 when the paperback hits shelves.  I'm just a little too cheap to shell out big bucks for hardbacks, so I wait another whole year to get the paperback.  Book #6 comes out next month, so I'll wait a year to get it (probably).  By the way, Jen Lancaster?  Hilarious.  Her recounting of the paper gown incident at the girly doctor's office is probably the funniest piece of literature I've ever read.

I keep meaning to break out my brand-spankin'-new rubber stamps, but I just don't have enough time between laundry, cooking, quilting, keeping up with my TV shows (important!), playing computer games, cleaning, painting, and trying to spend time with The Man.

Because, really, somebody has to beat the snot out of him at Trivial Pursuit (because I can't beat him at Scrabble, dang it!).

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

I am not affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I do not understand how rain and greyness can be gloomy.   The weather cannot have emotions.  People get emotions.  People need to not associate how they live their lives by the weather outside.  Anything you can do in Oregon in the summer can also be done in the winter.  You just have to resign yourself to getting wet.  And getting wet?  Normal.  Think of it as getting a shower and washing your clothes all at the same time (only please continue to shower and wash your clothes because, you know, eew).

I love Oregon and all of the greyness and rain and gloom and doom associated with living in the valley.  See, the thing is, if you're not so keen on rain and grey and SAD, move.  I hear Florida has a high vacancy rate after all of the boomers tried to sell vacation homes during the recession.  Property values plummeted.  Weather?  Still sunny in Miami!

Everyone I've talked to is ready for the rain to go away.  They are all about sunshine and rainbows and ponies from what I can tell (retching noises).  They want hot weather, longer days, and afternoons for golfing or swimming with dolphins or (Jaggy's most dreaded chore) yard work.

I'm so not ready for allergy season to start.  This year, though, I figured I'd be smart and start taking my Singulair a couple weeks before the pollen counts skyrocket.  I take Zyrtec year-round for indoor allergies (although one pill every two or three days is good for the winter months).  I'll probably be on the Singulair until August now, so hopefully the next four months pass by sneeze-free.

I don't want it to become hot outside.  I wilt at the idea of weather warmer than 80°.  Anything hotter and I'm a couch potato.  A stay-in-the-shade-in-front-of-a-fan-drinking-shaved-ice potato.  I don't enjoy picnics unless there is shade, picnic benches (the clean, non-graffiti-ed, not moldy/mossy/mildewy kind), and a solid breeze.  I'm pretty much not okay with laying on a blanket reading: there are these things called rocking chairs which are indoors  and work quite well for reading.  Even better, there are air conditioned libraries for reading.  The Man and I could live in bookstores and libraries.  And air conditioning? Worth every penny.

I love the spring and fall in Oregon since it rains just about every day for ten minutes, and then we get an hour of sunshine sometime in the morning or afternoon.  The rest of the time I get to look outside and see a perfect blanket of grey clouds.  Grey sun-obstructing clouds.  No harsh glare, no worries of melting in the heat.  Perfect, blissful grey.

Sure, the lawns around here could use some sun, and the farmers would probably love to be able to harvest without sinking into mud.  But I'm not ready for the sun yet.  I'm not ready for allergies.  I don't want to be hot and sticky and gross by 3:00pm.  Rain, sweet rain, don't go away quite yet.  And come back soon after you've gone.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ridiculousness

My husband, The Man, deserves better.  We're not talking about me, here, nor our relationship.  We're talking wages.  Overtime, specifically.  I believe my husband is getting screwed by his employer.  I think he should be paid for all of the overtime he's working.  And, just to make sure my little bloggy rant doesn't get him fired, I won't name names, mkay?

My husband is an "assistant project manager."  He assists the project managers.  He does not make legal, monetary, or executive decisions.  He does not sell a product, make a product, or fix a product.  He simply facilitates a service utilizing written procedural manuals.  No specific degree is necessary to do his job, especially considering how overqualified he is anyway.  He does not work in a field of science or learning (like medicine or law or education).  The Man doesn't supervise anyone else.

Let's take a look at the federal exemptions (which apply verbatim in Oregon, thankfully):

Executive ExemptionTo qualify for the executive employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
Administrative ExemptionsTo qualify for the administrative employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
Professional ExemptionTo qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and
The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

To qualify for the creative professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.
As you can see, it's obvious The Man does not qualify for the Executive Exemption.  He definitely does not qualify for the Professional Exemption.  The only possible exemption is the Administrative exemption.  He does (barely) meet the salary requirement.  He does non-manual work directly related to the business operations, but he is in no way responsible for management of anything.  He assists, but he does not supervise or make decisions.  And the decisions he does get to make are about as limited as deciding which side of the pickles are up in a burger (does. not. matter!).  Everything he does goes through the project managers or his boss.

Now I know that definitions are often loosely applied in salary vs. hourly wages.  I know there are people who work where I do exempted under the Professional Exemption that are neither learned nor decision-makers.  Overall, though, their job is seen as one of a learned individual who could make decisions (even though they have difficulty with that whole process).  My husband is not expected to make decisions.  He's not expected to be educated.  He's essentially a line worker with a fancy title.

And his employer expects him to work twelve hours days without paying him overtime.  I'm not okay with that.

What can I do?  What can he do?  What would you do?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Staycation Perfection

I took Thursday afternoon through Sunday off, so I had a near-four-day-weekend the last few days.  Thursday was nice since our couches arrived.  We spent that evening hauling away our futon and the old rocker to my sister's and my parents' houses.  Of course, that meant we had to have dinner out at our favorite place in Albany... yum!

Friday was quiet since I was alone most of the day.  I spent six hours covering four pillow forms with purple suede.  Since our couches are a sort of greyish-tan, I thought purple suede would be a big contrast without being hot pink or electric green or some ugly color.  Jo-Ann Fabrics in Corvallis is moving, so I scored two yards of the suede on a good sale.  I did have to make a trip to Albany for the pillow forms and deep purple zippers.  I also taught myself how to sew invisible zippers (that aren't made to be invisible, they're just regular zippers and I made them to be invisible).  Overall, I didn't save a huge amount of money over retail pillows, but I never would have found the deep purple suede in the size I made on a shelf in a store for less than $25 each.  That means I saved about a third on the total cost if you include thread and all the seams I had to rip out in the learning process.  The Man was so impressed, though, and he didn't realize I made them at first, they're that professional. :)

Saturday and Sunday both involved sleeping until 9:00am.  Blissful.  I was going to get up earlier on Sunday, but with nothing needing to be done, I opted for more sleep.  Perfect way to start the day!

On Saturday, we did a little shopping--browsing, really, since we only spent $10.  We visited my parents, had a car washing party since the weather wasn't too bad, and had dinner with them.  Sunday saw us in Salem at a friend's barbecue.  We had a fun time reconnecting, but it was nice to get home in the early evening and veg together on our new couches with a movie.  And another movie.  Yeah, we were pretty much "two with the couches" for the remainder of our weekend.

The Man and I even managed to spend pretty much the whole weekend together and never squabbled or fought or anything.  We have nice weekends like that from time to time, and it was great to be on the same wavelength again.  Maybe that trend will continue?

I woke up tired but relaxed today, feeling good, ready to tackle my week.  That lasted about ten minutes... but at least I got to feel great for a little bit!