Well, That Was Unexpected

Labor Day has come and gone. Rain has finally arrived in our neck of the woods. The kids are struggling in school. I got an award at work. Let’s discuss.

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day last weekend. Denis and CootieBoy hit the road for DC and went to a Mets/Nats game. Needless to say, Denis is thrilled with how well his Mets are doing this season, and he couldn’t resist $35 seats along the 3rd base line. They stayed with my sister’s family the night before the game and were happy that the Mets won. All in all, a good guy’s weekend for my fellas.

The girls stayed here and watched movies. We saw Ant-Man (loved it), Jupiter Ascending (ugh – so bad in all the wrong ways – it was not even craptastic), and San Andreas (now THAT was craptastic). The plan was to stay up all night on Sunday watching movies and eating junk food, but after Jupiter Ascending, CootieGirl went up to her room and never came back down. Oh well, so much for that. It was still fun to hang out with her and just listen to her talk about her life and things of interest to her. Although my ears got tired after a while – the girl can become a chatterbox when the opportunity arises.

Our area has not gotten a lot of rain lately, and the hedge plants we planted in the backyard this past spring have suffered for it. However, this week rain finally arrived and they are perking up again. At least 3 plants look like they may not make it at all, but I’m hopeful that the rain will help over the next few months as we head into winter. I need to have the irrigation company come back and put in underground drip lines to the two outside hedge plants. Our new sprinkler set up back there does not provide ANY water to those two plants at all. And I mean AT ALL. So I’m going to call and see if they can somehow attach a drip line to the line so that when we run the sprinklers, the water gets to those plants via the underground drip line. We’ll see. The plants that are doing well are doing really well – new growth, getting taller, etc. But the ones that are struggling are pitiful.

Speaking of struggling, the kids are struggling this year in school. Avoiding homework, turning it in late, getting a couple low grades for no reason. Some of it is baffling. Your homework was done, but you just decided not to turn it in? Why? You could have had a 100, but now you got a 90 because you didn’t feel like it? Nope, uh uh, not acceptable. BOTH kids have done that this year, and we’re only a month in! CG got written up for copying someone else’s homework because she didn’t finish it the night before (although she told us she had). Now admittedly, I’m not checking their homework every night, because I shouldn’t have to anymore. They are in 6th and 7th grade. Time for them to show some responsibility and not have to be watched like a hawk. I’m trying to give them room to show they can do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. And sadly, they are not at that level yet. Also, CB is sad because he ran for 6th grade student council and lost. Last year he won the 5th grade election, and so Denis and I encouraged him to run this year as well. But this year he didn’t win one of the three spots. He came home devastated yesterday. Poor kid. He really, really wanted to win.

As for me, work has been good. Busy, but good. I’ve mentioned before that my group is in charge of some corporate retreats, with a goal of getting about 6,000 staff members to attend over the next few years. I’m mostly in charge of the audio/visual logistics, but last month I was asked to present a portion of the content itself. The main retreat speaker (who does a fantastic job) was not going to be able to attend the retreat at all, so the rest of the team needed to fill in. Since by this time I’d heard the entire day’s content over a dozen times, I knew I could do it with no problem. And so I did. And I apparently did well – I got some good feedback on it. I think everyone was really surprised that I did as well as I did, because I’m “just” a secretary. But I’ve done public speaking before – and not just for two speech classes in school. I’ve also been in a play, I’ve worked in radio, I’ve been in a church band (keyboard and vocals), and also sang and played piano at events in college. So I’m not uncomfortable getting in front of people to perform or speak. And I knew the content. A couple weeks later, the retreat leader asked for volunteers from the team to speak again and I told her if she wanted me to do it, I could. She immediately said yes. So I did my section again – this time with her there to see. She liked it, and said she definitely appreciated how I made the section my own with my own anecdotes instead of using hers, and that I tied in the last slide (which is not strictly on topic to the section) better than she ever had. So we’ll see where that goes in the future. Truthfully, I would feel comfortable doing just about any section of the retreat. I’ve thought about saying that to the leader, but the rest of the team was assigned topics, and I don’t want to step on their toes if they start to feels it’s “their” section.

trophy 1 | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczykIn other work news, over Labor Day weekend I was surprised to get a piece of mail from the company, telling me that I had been nominated for a very special award. Anyone in the company is eligible to be nominated, and from that they pick the top 80 to be finalists. From that group of 80 they narrow it down to the final 12 that will be the honorees. Just getting nominated is great, and I teared up a bit as I read the nomination letter that my boss submitted about me. So imagine my surprise when on Wednesday I found out that I had made the top 80! THAT is a big deal. We have 40K+ employees in our company. I don’t know exactly how many nominations they get, but know that it is at least several hundred – if not more. So to be picked to be in the top 80 is a major accomplishment. I was shocked and humbled, needless to say. In my mind, this award is for people who actually do something AMAZING, and while I do my job very, very well, but I don’t know that I necessarily change the organization or people’s lives for the better when working on my spreadsheets, or doing data analysis, or setting up a computer presentation. But the committee felt differently, and I’m very proud that they picked me as a finalist.

A few weeks ago Denis and I saw Jim Gaffigan perform in Charlotte. It was an outdoor show and it rained cats and dogs on us while we waited for them to decide if the show would go on. We had no umbrellas, and no rain ponchos, so we were soaked. But in the end the show DID go on once the rain stopped, and Gaffigan was great. Tomorrow evening I’m going to see Michael W. Smith in concert. I’m going by myself, which is fine – I’ve done that before. I’m happy that I have a front row seat, too. I haven’t seen him in concert since my college days, so it’ll be nice to see a show of his again. I wonder if he’ll sing “Friends?” “Rocketown?” I had a friend since a MWS song at my wedding (“The Other Side of Me”), so I’m definitely a fan.

And that’s it from the Cootie front at the moment. Today Denis and I went to a local BBQ festival for an hour or so, and then I came home and mowed the lawn. Exciting stuff, right?

My Signature

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  1. Congratulations, Finalist! That’s awesome, and I’m not at all surprised. And I definitely think you have a speaking gift that I’m glad you can use leading at the retreats.

  2. Also, I went through a similar phase with my boys, even though we were homeschooling. I felt they were old enough that I shouldn’t have to be checking all their work every day (and they were older than your kids at this point!) but in reality I did have to keep checking. I would call them both very responsible now, but that didn’t happen as soon as I thought it should. Hang in there.

  3. Thanks, Kelly!

    As for the kids, their grades are improving. CootieBoy now has all As and 1 B (albeit a low one), and CootieGirl has 3 As, 2 Bs and 1 C (albeit a high one). We’re still having an issue with homework being incomplete or turned in late, thus earning a lower grade than necessary. Blerg…

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