Friday, June 19, 2009

The Nylon Dance

So I believe there are certain articles of clothing that women should ban together and refuse to wear anymore; the first of these articles being nylons.

I will admit, nylons do serve a few beneficial purposes; they keep you warm in cold weather, they keep your thighs from sticking together when wearing a skirt on hot days, and they can hide scars or the fact you haven't shaved your legs in a few days. However, they are the most cumbersome, constricting pieces of clothing ever designed. How is it we can log onto the internet with our cell phones and upload videos directly to our Facebook accounts, but we still have to look like there are serious ants in our pants when we struggle to don a pair of nylons. Not once have I ever gracefully pulled on a pair of nylons. First there is the confusion of finding the front and the back. I am not sure, even after 24 years, if there is a front or back. Then, oh so cautiously, one must gather up the delicate nylons and begin the dance of first inserting toes, then pulling the nylons up our thighs. This is where things can get tricky. If in a rush, it is guaranteed the nylons will become twisted. This leads to the art of pulling to the left and twisting to the right. After many unsuccessful attempts, the nylons may now be somewhat straight and at this time we can begin the task of deciding where we want to place the top of the nylons. Being as nylons are made of an extremely stretchy material, they will cause a muffin-topping of your hips, regardless of current weight or body shape. So the decision is where you would like your muffin-top to appear. After careful consideration and a number of trial and errors, we finally settle on the least obvious muffin location. Now as we turn to put on our skirt, we notice in the mirror the dreaded tear near our heels in the nylons. Our efforts have been thwarted. The nylons have mutinied. In a panic, we examine the damage, praying clear nail polish will stop the uprising. It is too late, the tear is spreading to our calves and clear nail polish may stop the tear, but the harm is done. In a fit of rage, we rip the nylons from our legs, only to find once again we are made a mockery of by our clothing. The nylons refuse to eradicate themselves from our lower extremities, stretching to new limits, but never seeming to separate from our skin. After stomping, pulling, kicking, and several naughty words, we are free from our captors and left to dig through our drawers in search of another pair.

Nylons, you are the ban of my existence.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm a PowerTip!

This morning while checking my emails, I was pleasently suprised to see I was the topic of the PowerTip newsletter. Charlie and I are memebers of Remodelers Advantage, a national consultant group of Remodelers from around the nation. We get together twice a year in all sorts of locations and review our financials, systems, and talk about problems, sucesses, goals, woes, and all sorts of stuff. I have loved being a part of this group and thus was honored to see somthing I did become the topic of a PowerTip, their weekly newsletter. For some reason, I can't get the newsletter to post here, but here is the article anyway.

The Key to Project Binder Sanity
The folks at Hudson Remodeling, Inc., have an easy--and intuitive--system for organizing information for each of their project contracts: they simply store everything pertaining to the contract in a blue classification folder.The blue folder system is the brainchild of Jessica Hudson, office manager of the Lynden, Wash.-based full-service remodeling company. It works likes this: After the company starts the estimating process for a lead, Hudson creates a blue folder for each job; even if it is a repeat client, the new job gets a new folder. Using a label maker, she labels the accordion-style folder with the client's last name and first name(s).
The folder contains three dividers, which yield six places for documents: The first slot contains invoices and copies of payment checks from the client. The second slot holds the estimate, actual contract, and change orders. The third slot includes the spec list, a list of trade contractors working on the project, and the material selections. The fourth slot contains quotes from trade contractors and other various materials gathered in the estimating process. The fifth holds printed copies of e-mails from the clients, copies of phone messages, and any other communications between the company and the client. The sixth slot includes the project house number and contact information such as the client’s cell phone numbers, work phone numbers, address, and e-mail address.
“We decided to place the contact information on the last page of the blue dividers because it is easy to flip to when you need a number or such,” says Hudson.
The blue folder then goes to the estimator, who uses it to keep track of the paperwork and copies of the estimate until a final number is reached. Once the contract is signed, copies of that document, any trade contractor work orders, and the payment schedule are put in the blue folder.
After the project is complete, the company does a job-cost analysis, reviews it, and places the analysis in the blue folder with the estimate and contract. Hudson then stores the blue folder in a completed jobs filing cabinet.
The blue folder system benefits all of the company’s back-office processes. “Charlie, the owner, is able to keep the paperwork associated with an estimate much more organized,” says Hudson. In addition, “when the contract has been signed, I know which estimate was used for the final contract numbers, and I can accurately enter the information in QuickBooks without having to wait for Charlie to have a spare moment so that I can ask him.” The system also makes it easy for Hudson to prepare in advance all the invoices, trade contractor work orders, and associated documents to get each job started smoothly.
“Having each blue folder organized with the same information in the same spots has allowed for consistency and ease of finding and filing information,” says Hudson. “It has really saved me time when I am trying to find information for a job or trying to file copies of paid invoices and other documents.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughtfulness in Expression

"Writing takes more time, usually much more time than talk. The written word requires a certain level of artfulness and thoughtfulness in expression. In writing, we do not ramble on and on, as we do in speech. We choose our words more carefully. The words remain to be reread, refined, a source for reflection and mindful change if necessary."

--Thomas Moore

Monday, March 2, 2009


So much has been happening...

We lost Mike to a better place and celebrated his life with friends and family. It was a beautiful ceremony, with a focus of striving to learn from Mike. His message was to leave life like we were dying. I have really taken this message to heart, letting go of hurts, of dislikes, and of anger. Mike left everyone a personal message, a note of appreciation and thanks for friendship over the past years. It was an amazing blessing to have one last conversation with Mike.

The wedding plans are coming right along. I have my dress, the location and the date! Next up, designing the stationary, the decorations, and the flower and food arrangements. Joel has booked our honeymoon and at the advice of his mother, he has decided not to keep it a secret from me. It was going to be a surprise, but he knew he wouldn't be able to to get away with asking me to pack for a trip where I have no idea where I'm going or for how long. After our beautiful wedding, Joel and I will spending three weeks in Hawaii. We are visiting two islands, and are busy now planning all the hikes, beaches and snorkeling sites we want to visit.

Work is picking up. We have finally signed a job which saves us from having no work. The end of the month takes Charlie and I to Oregon for the next Remodeler's Advantage meeting. In Portland, Or I hope we will finally make the transition to next level in the group. We are among the senior members in our group, and I think we are ready to move up. I'm looking forward to learning all the little nuggets, insider-information from people who have already made the mistakes needed to learn the lesson.

Well, that is all the time I have now...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My List of 25

My List of 25 was inspired by a friend who posted her list of 25. These are my fears, my secrets, my hidden talents, things from my past, present, and future, and other miscellaneous tidbits about me. It was fun to read through her list of 25 and so to return the favor, here is my list of 25.

1. I love to make car sounds as I drive in my car; like when I speed up I make the sounds of a race car driver and when I brake I make the sounds of braking really, really hard. It is entertaining to imagine what it would be like to drive like a crazy person while running mundane errands.

2. I hate peppers, onions, some tomatoes, but I love salsa and pico de gallo.

3. I am very competitive. It doesn't matter what it is, I will try to to it better, faster, harder, stronger, or longer than anyone else. I don't like this part of my personality.

4. Napping is one of my favorite pastimes; I can sleep anywhere, anytime.

5. Fearing what people will think keeps me from making decisions about my wedding. I don't want people to think my decorations are lame, or my colors are boring, or my food is gross. So I just don't make any decisions.

6. If I could learn how to paint, or draw that would be wonderful. I can think of what I want my picture to look like, but somehow as the message travels from my brain to my hand it gets messed up.

7. Most of the time I feel more comfortable in a setting with more males than females. I know how judgemental and catty females can be, and I hate feeling like I am being judged. I don't feel like guys judge as much as females do.

8. I hate wearing jeans for longer than eight hours. I much prefer pants with elastic waist bands such as trackies, sweats, and yoga pants.

9. When Jack-Rabbit binkies, my heart literally flutters. Nothing makes me feel as happy as when I watch Jack race around the house and binkie to his heart content. I feel like I have accomplished at least one thing in my life when I see how happy my bunny-boy is.

10. Cleaning always makes me feel better, when I am upset, lonely, or lacking something in my life - I clean. If I can make my house, my car, or my yard clean and orderly than maybe my life will follow.

11. I love to smell books. Different genres have different smells. Sometimes I will a read a book just because I like how it smells.

12. People tell me that I am a good story teller and I like that part of my personality. I like to tell stories and one day I am going to write a book. That is one of my life goals.

13. When I ride my bike around the neighborhood, or when I go running, or make the drive to Redmond, I like to imagine myself as being in the opening credits of a movie. I picture the camera being zoomed in on my bike tire as I ride through a puddle, and close shots of my feet peddling for a bit, and then maybe a shot of changing gears... I like to then imagine what the movie is about, who my character is, and what is going to happen.

14. Puzzles are one of my favorite past times. I enjoy turning the chaos of jumbled pieces into the finished puzzle.

15. I love to watch Super Nanny and Trading Spouses... I really do and I have even gotten my roommates addicted to the shows too.

16. I love how Joel smells. I like to put his t-shirts on my extra pillows so during the week when we are apart, I can still feel like he is close.

17. I listen to classical music more than I want to admit.

18. I made my younger sister poop in a bucket when we were kids because if we went into the house mom would remember to make us do our chores. I feel really bad about how I treated my sisters when we were growing up.

19. I have really gained a lot of weight and it makes me angry. Why is it so easy to put and so hard to take off?

20. I really don't care if people laugh at me. I honestly do not. My life motto is "Laugh with me or at me; just as long as we are laughing". I know that I am goof and klutzy person, I am over being worried about other people knowing this about me. Laughter makes people happy, so I will sacrifice myself to make everyone happy.

21. When I think about how much I love everyone in my life I honestly get teary eyed. I love my family, my friends, and my fiance more than I know how to say.

22. Sometimes I go to bed without brushing my teeth just because I am too lazy.

23. When Joel and I first started dating, I would wait until he went to the bathroom and then I would quickly go out the patio door and fart and then race back to the couch before he returned. I will not fart in front of ANYONE!

24. I bite my nails and won't stop even when it starts to hurt. I can relate to that song, "make it hurt so good..." I'm trying to stop this habit.

25. I am orally fixated (according to Freud). I have this heart blanket that is so worn out it is nearly threadbare in spots, and I love to rub those parts on my lips when I watch TV. When I am nervous I bite my nails. When I am angry I clench my jaws.

Well, that was my list of 25. Please leave a comment or if you so choose make your own list of 25 and share.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I'm Engaged!

I know, I know! It's true, I was finally able to convince someone they wanted to spend the rest of their life with ME! I'm still not sure how I did it, but I have the ring to prove it!

Joel and I are engaged for an October 2009 wedding. He totally surprised me on the day of my graduation from Western Washington University with a ring and a proposal. I thought I was getting a puzzle not a ring!

Here's the story... So the Wednesday before graduation, after a long night in the computer lab on campus, I was driving home and decided to see what Joel was doing. I gave him a call, and he told me he was wrapping a present. My ears perked up, at the word, "present". For those who know me, I have always been a gift shaker, poker, and man-handler... I just have to know what is in there. I started to ask him questions about my present to see if I could guess what it was. This always gets Joel all flustered because he hates my ability to accurately guess what the gift is after only five questions. I asked him if I would be able to shake the gift when he arrived on Friday night. He told me "No!". So then I started thinking, "What could be identified by shaking alone? A puzzle!!" (I should probably note, I have an embarrassing addiction to puzzles. I love them!! I will sit and work on a puzzle for hours, happy lost in my puzzle.) So I blurt out, "Is it a puzzle?" Joel paused for a moment before replying in a frustrated tone, "No..". I thought to myself, ah-ha it is a puzzle! He just doesn't want me to know I have guessed it! I keep guessing other items, to make Joel think I don't know what it is, all the while trying to imagine what the puzzle might look like. So Friday comes, and Joel arrives at my house. I just can't wait any longer, I have to see the box just to confirm my suspicions. I go through his overnight bag until I come across a box about 6"x4" wrapped in gold paper. I just knew it, it was a puzzle!

Saturday was the big day, and my family was going to meet me at my house before heading to campus all together. Mom, dad, Jackie, and her boyfriend Chris arrive right on time. Dad went outside to wave down Cathy, who would be arriving shortly. It was long before Cathy called me to let me know she fell back asleep and wouldn't be able to make my graduation. So Joel went outside to let Dad know Cathy wasn't coming (and also to ask my dad's blessing on our engagement). So as we all walked out of the house, I noticed Joel was bringing the present with him. I thought that was weird, but maybe he wanted me to open it in the car. But when we got out of the car in WWU's parking lot, he brought the gift with him. He just acting like it was no big deal. So we head off toward the gym for the ceremony. After the ceremony we decided to avoid the big crowd and head toward Haskell Plaza in front of Artzen for family pictures. As we approached a good place for pictures, Joel said, "Well, I guess you can open your present now." I excitedly tore through the wrapping as my family looked on. Inside the box, was another box. Inside of that box, was a small wooden box. As I looked at that small wood box, my stomached dropped. Was this a ring?!? Was this the moment every girl waits for? Is this really happening? Am I about to be engaged? No... It is probably just earrings or something. I took the box out of the wrapping and slowly opened it. Inside was a beautiful diamond ring. Joel took me by the shoulders and said, "Jessie, will you marry me?" I just started crying, I was so happy! I couldn't believe this was happening to me. Of all the people out there, me, the most awkward, goofiest, oddball of them all, I was being asked to marry the man of my dreams. I just started crying and hugging Joel, who was also teary. As he slid the ring on my finger, my family came forward with congratulations and hugs. It was an amazing moment!

And thanks to Dad, who was the only person aside from Joel to know what was coming, we have pictures of the moment.