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So, Atlanta and the state of Georgia (along with much of the Southeast) have been pummeled by a major snow storm that has been topped off with a nice glaze of freezing rain.  The city and state have shut down, literally.  I was looking at a list of closings, and there were more than 900 schools, businesses, and churches closed today.  A large chunk of them will be closed tomorrow.  (I am still waiting with bated breath for my boss to share the great news with us that the office will be closed.  I’m not sure what she is waiting for, all major businesses and school systems are closed.  The state government is telling people to stay home.  I live at the top of a large hill that was an ice luge earlier today; I’m not risking myself or my car to go to work tomorrow.)

Laugh all you will my northern friends, but the south is not equipped to handle this.  We don’t have the equipment to handle the snow, and you add ice into the mix and we are just fucked.  People who were stupid enough to try to drive today either ended up in an accident or had to abandon their cars on the side of the road because they couldn’t get enough traction to go anywhere.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed being snowed in at my house with T and my kitties, cooking and eating good food, and enjoying the icy winter wonderland waiting outside our windows.  The extra time off is a major plus too!

T and I were both off today, so we made the most of it and went out a few times to enjoy the snow.  We got snowed in in New York when we were there for Christmas, but it was too powdery to do anything with and the winds were gusting at 20+ miles an hour, making the 20s feel like teens.  Here it wasn’t too horrible.  It was brisk (but not NY brisk) and a little icy rainy, but we tromped around the neighborhood for a while.  Then we decided to make a snowman.

Since the snow had already begun to ice over, it was too difficult to make a large snowman.  Instead, we opted to make a mini one, along with a snowcat to keep him company.  I had so much fun!  I felt like I was a little kid again.  When we were done, we headed inside to make some chili and warm up.

Later in the day, we went sledding.  Since we were unprepared for the conditions, we didn’t have a sled.  So we had to improvise.  First we tried a garbage can lid, which didn’t work at all.  We were pretty bummed, until we saw a mom with her kids, sledding on a cookie sheet.  Luckily we had two really large ones, so we took the less nicer of the two and hit the slopes (or the iced-over street).  Here we were, late 20-somethings, laughing and giggling like kids.  The only other sledders were young kids who were being watched by their parents.  It was so much fun!  It’s days like today that make me really miss living in snowy places (even though I know if we were up north, we’d have been at work today).  I can’t wait to bust out the cookie sheet again tomorrow!

Here are some fun pictures from our Snowcation in Hotlanta!

 

Mini snowman and snowcat

The snowfall Sunday night

Fado checking out the snow this morning

T, after his cookie sheet luge

Me with our "sled," rocking the Eskimo look

 

And to round this bad boy out, here are a couple of  “sledding” videos:

Hello lovelies!  Wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve last posted.  Sorry about that.  Things have been a little hectic.  Last week there was some serious work-related drama that put me in a less than stellar mood.  Things have smoothed over, but still, last week was sucky.

I know you are all dying to know what my Snuggie looked like during the pub crawl.  Well, JD and I went Jersey Shore on those bitches, and I am very confident to say I think that we had the best looking Snuggies by far.  We were slightly hungover that day from too much late night partying with friends, but we managed to still have a good time.  The best part of the night was when strangers came up to me and tried to read Poughkeepsie out loud.  Hilarious!

Jersey Shore Snuggies

Snug Life

~

I have to say, our Super Bowl Party was quite the success.  We had an amazing spread of goodies to choose from that included homemade humus, sliders, crawfish and shrimp, buffalo chicken dip, mini meatball subs, chicken tenders, taquitos, taco cups, chips, cheese and crackers.  We seriously had so much food that it barely fit on the table.  Since about 20 people showed up, we had to do some serious rearranging to fit everyone into the condo.  We ended up rearranging our living room and bringing our futon down from the guest room, which makes the living room look more open and gives us a ton more seating.  We also set up a TV on our bar that is in the dining room so people had options on where they wanted to hang out to watch the game.  It was so much fun – one of kegs ended up getting floated (it was a small one that we’d had for a bit) and beer pong was set up in the dining room.

~

We had quite the snow storm for Atlanta on Friday.  I think we ended up with 3-4 inches – I know that’s not a lot for most of you, but it’s quite the ordeal here.  Since the snow was seriously coming down, we got to leave work early.  Unfortunately, since the rest of Atlanta got out early as well, it took me almost an hour and a half to get home (I only live 10 miles from the office).  Major suckage.  But everything was so pretty when it was covered with snow, and I am sad to see it melted away already.

This was about 4 hours into the snow storm

And of course nothing will stop Fado from going outside, not even the snow.  He’s such a brave little guy!

~

T and I had planned to go to Savannah for a nice romantic Valentine’s Day weekend trip, but the work drama and snow poo-pooed on our plans.  Luckily the B&B we were going to stay in was nice enough to let us cancel at the last minute without charging us a fee.  We will definitely be staying there when we finally take this trip, and I seriously think we aren’t meant to ever take it because something always pops up and causes us to postpone – ankle sprains, weddings, work issues, weather.  You name it, it’s stopped us.  Sigh…

Our Valentine’s Day was pretty unproductive.  We lazed around the house watching True Life marathons and made a nice dinner.  What did we make?  Well, be prepared to drool – crab stuffed lobster tails, bacon wrapped scallops, mushroom bruschetta, and a salad with dried cranberries, cherries, nuts and blue cheese.  It was amazing!  We meant to take some pictures of it, but we went a little fat kid and ate the whole thing without snapping any images…oh well.  This coming Saturday, we will go see the DaVinci Exhibit at the High Museum of Art and go out for a nice dinner before meeting up with friends for a birthday celebration.  Who says lovey dovey activities can only take place on February 14th? 😉

Do you ever feel like you are stuck on a dead-end road that leads to nowhere?  I think I’m sort of hitting that point.  I am starting to dread the daily grind.  I feel stuck.  I want to be able to learn and grow more, but there really aren’t that many options here.  Maybe I’m becoming a little unmotivated because I receive little reward for my efforts.  Positive reinforcement and rewards (more money) breed harder work and happiness.

Nothing ever seems good enough – it could always be better.  There could have always been more.  I know there are people who appreciate what I do and think I am doing a great job, but I feel negative vibes from some.  Even though I am doing a lot and getting positive results in return.

You think all the time off I just had would leave me feeling refreshed.  Instead, I am feeling this sense of dread and discontentment.  I don’t want to be back.  I want to be anywhere but here.

Maybe I feel this way because my time off just flew by way too fast.  Maybe I’m sad that the happy and festive times of the holidays are over.  Maybe I’m just stressed about all the things that are rushing out of the gate at the start of the year.  Maybe I’m being super emotional because I skipped my period for the last 2 months and now all those hormones are taking over my emotions.  Maybe it’s the winter blues.  Or maybe it’s just time for a change…

Ok, ok – I know the title of this post is a wee bit dramatic.  But after sitting at work for the first time in 2010, I was just smacked with the reality that I don’t have an official day off again until Memorial Day – which is on May 31st.  Kill me now.  After having the last glorious 11 days work free, this is hard news to swallow.

T found out at the end of December that he gets off for MLK Day and Presidents Day since he has ties to the financial industry.  You know what sucks?  I don’t have those days off, and it’s so not fair!  Waaah.  I definitely see some sick days coming up during the next 5 months to make up for the lack of official holidays…  🙂

Yesterday, T and I finally dug ourselves free from the T and Bing-shaped molds we’d made in the couch got motivated and got off of our lazy butts to run errands.  We went to Best Buy to return a copy of The Hangover that we received for Christmas (I’d also bought him the movie, and we realized that it was downloaded on our PlayStation – is there any way to get it off of there and onto a disk?).  We were only supposed to go there to exchange the movie and get T and new wireless mouse.  While we were there, we both blurted out that we wanted a Wii – we are random, I know.

Then we spent the next 30 minutes or so debating whether or not we should get one.  I keep reading about everyone in blog-land who has a Wii fit, which is a big reason I want one.  I also like to play Mario.  Best Buy was looking a little sold out, so we opted for Target instead.  There we purchased a Wii and the new Super Mario game – yay!  Of course we couldn’t find an additional remote anywhere – we seriously went to like 4 stores trying to find one more damn remote.  Luckily, I found one today while I was running errands.  Even though it’s black and doesn’t match the rest of the Wii gear, but I really don’t care.   What can I say, we are total impulse shoppers! Cha-ching!

By the time we got home last night, it was after 8 and we still had to eat dinner.  We decided to watch one of our new movie purchases (we ended up getting 2 instead of 1 to replace The Hangover) while we ate.  Based on the movie’s length, we opted for Paranormal Activity over Inglourious Bastards.

Paranormal Activity was pretty damn freaky.  I was twitching a decent amount while watching it at home.  I’m sure seeing it in the theater would have resulted in me screaming out loud and maybe spastically grabbing onto T’s arm.  At home, I was a little more controlled – I was under a nice fuzzy blanket and Fado was curled up in my lap.  It kind of removes some of the creepy factor.  But I really love movies that have a huge suspense factor, which this did.  They are so much more scary than all of those gross and gory, blood and guts everywhere films.

After the movie, we were going to play Wii but we only had one remote, which would not have been as much fun.  Instead, we decided to watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose to keep up with our horror movie theme of the evening.  This movie is so eerie, and I just love it.  After seeing it for the first time years ago, I would slightly freak out any time I woke up at 3 a.m.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it – actually if you like scary movies, you should watch both of them.

So, here is where you lovelies come in…

If you have a Wii Fit, do you love it?  Do you recommend it?  I need all the help I can get back into working out – I’m so lazy!  Are there any other awesome games you recommend?  We are totally getting Mario Kart later this week!

Thanks for the help! 🙂

Sorry for being MIA this week so far, but Monday I was out of the office for a client meeting all day, and yesterday I was laid up on the couch with a sinus infection – sweet!  My poor nose is about to fall off of my face!  And it’s so dry and flaky!

This past Saturday and Sunday, my boss hosted the entire office and our families at our mountain client for a work retreat to show us how much she appreciates all of the hard work we do.  T and I got up early on Saturday morning, picked up my co-worker Mel, and hit the road for our weekend adventure.

Of course the weekend we were headed into the mountains, it was freezing outside.  It was cold in Atlanta, so you knew it was going to be brutal 2.5 hours north.  We hit the road, and naturally it started raining, then we got stuck in traffic.  That always happens when I am driving somewhere for a lengthy amount of time!

Once we arrived at the property, it was a blustery winterish day (ok, so it may only be fall-like to my Northern readers, but 40-something as a daytime high is winter in Atlanta).  We got checked into our cottage that most of us were in – we all had separate rooms but shared a common living room.

When we got into the room, I noticed that my boss had gotten us gifts.  Sitting on the dresser was a box, which had the cutest hand-painted wine glass in it, candy, a little book of encouraging sayings, and a bottle of wine.  Along with that was a hand-written note saying how much she appreciated all of the hard work  I put in with the clients.  It was so sweet!

After we got settled, we all hurried to lunch.  I didn’t have much time (or didn’t want) to eat too much because I had a spa appointment at 2 p.m. that I was super excited about.  I ended up getting a hot stone massage, which was amazing.  Since it was cold and drizzly outside, warm stones were the perfect way to relax and de-stress.

It’s funny, I haven’t had many massages in my life but out of the 5 I’ve had, 3 of the therapists have been male.  My very first one was on a media trip, so naturally I was totally surprised when a man came out to take me to the therapy room.  It was a little awkward for me at first because I was nervous, but he did such a great job that I wasn’t weirded out by being half naked around a strange guy by the time it was over.  I guess that’s why I’m not really bothered by if the masseuse is male or female anymore.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent.  What I was getting at was that my hot stone massage was given by a guy.  If you have never had a hot stone massage, I totally recommend it.  It’s such a unique experience.  First he placed warm stones all over my back, arms and legs.  It’s funny – you notice the stones when they are first placed on you, but after a while you forget that they are there.  So when they are finally moved to a new spot, you feel like all of this weight is lifted off of you that you didn’t even know was there.  It’s a really weird but cool feeling.  The massage portion alternated between his hands, warm and cool stones, but sometimes I had a hard time discerning the difference between hands and stones.  It was bizarre!  By the time it was over, I was totally blissed out.  I really think I’m going to start getting massages once a month!

By the time we headed back to the cottage, it had started sleeting.  So that meant that we weren’t going to be doing any outdoor activities that day.  We hung out in the room for a bit, went and had afternoon tea and cookies, then checked out some football (T’s wish, not mine).

After everyone was spa-ed out, we got ready for dinner and gathered in our living room for pre-dinner drinks.  Of course all of us drank out of our pretty new glasses and put a hurting on our wine supply before we went to dinner.  We returned to the cottage after dinner to all hang out (there was a bar, but since there were some children along, we couldn’t go in there with them).  We lit a fire, poured more wine, sent the kids to play, and received funny office awards.  We were all cracking up because some of them were so out there, yet so true.

Some funny moments of the trip include:

~ the accountant’s 5-year-old son flipping our 50-something year old co-worker WWE style in the dining room during dinner – she’s very small and had had a few glasses of wine

~ T passing out before 11 p.m. and having my co-worker’s 1.5 year old climb all over him to wake him up – he didn’t budge

~ my boss’s daughters bonding with me over “G-power” – they are both UGA fans

~ me passing out in Mel’s bed “just for a minute,” which turned into 7 hours – I went to my own room at 7 a.m.

The trip was a lot of fun.  Our office is all women, so it was a good chance for all of us to bond and get to know everyone’s family members/significant others.

Has your boss or office ever done anything similar?  What are your massage preferences – male or female?

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but it appears that Swine Flu (and the regular flu) is running rampant in Georgia and Florida.  That freaks me the fuck out.  I am leaving for Germany in 6 days and can’t be infected with this highly contagious illness – especially since we will be spending some time with my grandparents when we first arrive.  They are older and not so healthy…

You want to know why I think flu is running rampant?  Because people continue to send their kids to school or go to work when they aren’t feeling well.  It’s so stupid, selfish and rude.  If you are sick, stay the hell home.  Don’t go out in public and spread your germs around.  Plus, you will be anything but productive if you aren’t healthy.  If you stay home and rest up, you will get better much faster.

I personally have never understood the reason why people insist on going to work or school when they don’t feel well – don’t even get me started on the bullshit prize that kids win for perfect attendance.  I know some companies don’t give sick days (which is so stupid and blows my mind) but I don’t think people should get punished for being sick by having to use a precious vacation day or not get paid at all.  When a sick person comes to work, they affect the company in so many ways.  First of all, they are not at the top of their game, so they aren’t being as productive as they would be if they were healthy.  Second, they will infect the rest of the office, which will severely decrease productivity – especially in a small office.

At McHell.com, we didn’t get sick days.  In fact, they were super stingy on our vacation time as well.  This meant that people didn’t really take off, unless they didn’t mind not getting paid.  One January, one of the customer service reps had a really bad cold, but because of the lack of sick days, he came in anyway.  Well, he ended up getting about 10 other people in the office sick – including me and JD.  We both caught his nasty head cold that gave us fevers and wiped us out for days.  We didn’t miss any work because we got sick on Friday night and had the weekend to recover.  But a couple of our sales guys ended up being out during the week because you can’t sell things over the phone when you’re hacking up a lung.

The reason I’m talking about Swine Flu in particular is because one of my boss’ daughters has it.  She’s been out all week because she’s had a horrible fever and this nasty hacking cold.  They went to the doctor on Tuesday and the doctors were fairly certain she had it – they never ran a test though.  Why?  I’m not sure, especially since the CDC is in Atlanta. Then our accountant called and said she thought her daughter had it too.

My boss came back to work today, and I hope to God that she isn’t carrying it because we had to work on something that required us to next to each other.  I. Can. Not. Get. Sick!

Last week one of my clients had a VIP preview night for a new lounge-like place they were opening.  I pretty much came up with a unique campaign idea the used unique marketing strategies – a cool Web site, t-shirts, a huge banner, cards to pass out around town, etc.  It was a really fun project to work on.

Since my client is about 2 hours from Atlanta  and the VIP night went until 9 p.m., I was able to stay the night in their hotel so I wouldn’t get back to Atlanta after midnight – that was super nice of them.  I got to the hotel about 45 minutes before the event started Thursday afternoon,  so I decided to check in and freshen up before meeting with my clients.

As I got my key and headed into the elevator, I noticed that I was on the top floor of the hotel.  I thought that was pretty cool because I expected to just be somewhere on one of the lower floors.  Imagine my surprise when I unlocked the door and walked in to a suite (sweet!).  My jaw nearly hit the floor.

The hotel underwent a major renovation last year (which I also helped promote), so everything is less than a year old and very modern.  As I walked in, I glanced to the right.  There was an additional bathroom and vanity area.  I had a giant bathroom in my room, which had a huge tub and separate shower.  Then I headed further into the room and ended up in the living room, which had a huge leather couch and chair and a wet bar.  On the table there was an array of dark chocolate candy bars, a plate with a baguette and cheeses, and an ice bucket filled with Diet Dr. Pepper.  Apparently someone had called my office to find out what kind of chocolate and drinks I liked so they could put them into my room.   I found out later from one of the girls on the sales team that they don’t even have Dr. Pepper there, so someone went out and bought it especially for me.  Next to all of that was a thank you note thanking me for all of my hard work.

The whole thing brought tears to my eyes because it was just so sweet.  They often thank me and tell me that I am doing a great job, which is wonderful in my book.  The fact that they went above and beyond really touched me.  It’s my job to inform the public about them, whether I get special treatment or not.  It was such a shock to know that they arranged everything just to show me how much they appreciate my hard work.  Not everyone is as lucky as me to have such cool clients!

~

On another note, we leave for Germany in 16 days.  I. Can’t. Wait.

In preparation for my trip, I did some online shopping.  Since the weather in Bavaria can be a little freaky in September (70s in the day, 30s-40s at night, a decent amount of wind and rain), I figured I should buy myself a nice waterproof jacket.  I found a really cute North Face one at a decent price.  The best thing about it is that it has a fleece liner that I can zip out and wear alone or use inside the jacket if it’s colder.  So I basically ended up with 3 jackets for the price of one – yay!

jacketI really like the color of it!

I also just went on a mini Old Navy shopping spree.  I figured that I should stock up on a few long and mid-arm sleeved shirts to wear on those cooler fall days.  I just hope everything fits…

It’s just one of those days.  When ya don’t wanna wake up.  Everything is fucked, everybody sucks.  You don’t really know why, but you wanna justify rippin’ someone’s head off.

Yeah, I am PMSing.  And I am totally going old school and throwing out lyrics to Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” song.  Which is sort of funny because T and I totally listened to this song on the way to the Braves vs. Yankees round 2 last night.

Anyway, I am just in one of those moods.  Nothing particular is bothering me, but I feel like I could snap.

I am so over working at the moment.  I feel like a slave to the man, busting my ass to make other people look good, but not really getting much in return.  Not a lot of pay.  No time off. (I think this is compounded by the fact that T has basically had the last 2 weeks off because his new job doesn’t start until Monday).

I love my job, but I feel burned out.  I want a break.  A mini vacation.

I want to sleep late and lounge at the pool, soaking up rays.  I haven’t been to the pool once this year.

I want to be able to go to the gym and have the energy to go at the end of the day because I’m not drained from working all day.

Even though I’ve been working full time for the last 4 years, it’s hard to accept the fact that I will no longer have all summer off to lounge around, travel or do whatever else I want.  And it just sucks.  A lot.

I want to be able to pack my bags and head to wherever I want without having to worry about taking time off.  Maybe I should start my own company one of these days so I can be boss.

I am also a fan of mandatory half days on Fridays.  It’s summer time.  No one is really busting their ass too hard.  We wouldn’t be missed if we left at 1:00 on Friday.  Things could definitely wait until Monday to be handled.

At least the weekend is almost here…I live for the weekends.

So, what’s gotten you irritated lately?

So, we have FINALLY finished all of the daunting repairs to the condo.  While we were in NY, my dad was nice enough to come up a few times to do some work.  I am really so lucky and grateful that he enjoys doing work like this.  Even though he seems exhausted when we are finished, I  can tell he secretly loves it.  Why?  I’m not sure.  But I love him for always going that extra mile to fix something that is broken!

Both of our upstairs bathrooms have been painted and have new shiny silver towel bars and toilet paper holders hanging up.  The hole in the laundry room ceiling has been patched and repainted, along with the walls.  My dad hung up new shelves that are much nicer than the old ones that were in there.  Now we just need to do one more final clean…

Today I spoke with our realtor, and she is beginning the paperwork to get our house listed.  We’ve picked a price, and it should be on the market by the end of the week.  I really can’t believe this is actually happening!

I also just received some information back from the loan officer about qualifying for a mortgage, and everything looks good!  Yippee!

Oh, and on the work-related front…

T got a new job!  He’ll start in a couple of weeks, and he  received a decent pay raise.  So even if I’ll be stuck with my shitty salary forever, at least he’s moving on up!

In April, I celebrated my 2-year anniversary at my current job.  Some of you may remember the not so happy outcome of my review last year.  It wasn’t at all negative – except for the fact that I didn’t get a raise.  It really was not what I had envisioned.

This morning, I walked by my boss’ office, and she and Mel (co-worker) were discussing reviews.  Mel has been here a little over a year now, and she wants a raise too.  After Mel came out, she gave me a head’s up that the boss had mentioned doing half-year reviews for the office.  Sweet!

I didn’t even have to bring it up this time around, which makes me happy.  And I am hoping there will be some additional compensation coming my way.  I have been working full time for 4 years, 2 of which have been here.  I am also an account executive who works on 3 accounts with a little bit of assistance, but mainly it’s all me.  Let me say, my current salary is not reflective of what my responsibilities are.  And it sucks!

That is the hard part about working for a smaller company.  You get a lot more flexibility, but money and benefits aren’t always so amazing.  That said, I really do love what I do and want to stay here for as long as possible.  I am getting amazing experience, and I think my resume will definitely speak for itself when I decide to move on one of these days.

My review is on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.  Send some happy vibes my way and hopefully I’ll be getting a bigger paycheck in the next few weeks!  🙂

Happy weekend!

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