I am a child of the world

Listen to my fears

Listen to my heart

Listen to ME


Let me know I’m important

to someone


If I can’t say it

Say it for me


Let me know I’m

not alone in the world


Give my life meaning

Give me an opportunity

to be heard.

Give me a voice.



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For further information on becoming a CASA volunteer or to make a donation:  http://casagalveston.org/




Garage sale observations

Each region of the USA has a garage sale aptitude. Previous experience did not seem to make a bit of difference with the rhythm and dance of each community from Florida to Pennsylvania and different locations in Texas. We all know Texas is like it’s own country. What happens in Brownsville is foreign to Fort Worth.

Advertising plays a huge part in the prospective customer’s expectations. An estate sale will conjure up the customer seeking the Antique Road Show treasure they can retire with. We did make sure there were no $100.00 bills stuffed into book pages or rolled into a pair of socks. A yard sale banks on a casual customer and those flying the nest with tighter budgets or the presumption you are willing to all but give away the merchandise. The famous garage sale fires up the trepidation that there may be further entrance into the home or higher end assets must be protected from the elements. Multiple times we had offers to purchase the home or property. I don’t feel the inquiries were sincere. It was more or less the human need for further information. Not all sales are out of desperation, foreclosure or a move out.Garage sale observations

Pennsylvania sale attendees seem to be aggressive prior to opening day. They knock on the front door and ask if they can see the forthcoming riches. It doesn’t concern them that it is dawn and you’re in your robe with bed head and lion breath. It doesn’t faze them to bang on the doorbell after dark when man and beast is already butt up on the couch. They are non-apologetic and even act a little ticked that you won’t let them traipse through your home.If I didn’t know any better, they camp down at the stop sign until “Sale is On”. I even had a woman ask me what I was going to do with the valuable jewelry and glass! I informed her there wasn’t any valuable jewelry or glass. She said, “Honey, we know all the relatives strip everything bare before the garage sale!” I informed her that it was my junk. I’m very much alive at age 27 and I didn’t have any of that stuff!

The Quaker State buyers snatch and grab. They don’t even examine the items. It is as though they are on a game show and the clock is ticking. A favorite and common comment – after accumulating all of the highest priced items, is to offer you $8.00 for the entire mountain of merchandise. Itemization may total $482.50 and they are ready with the shocked and disgusted garage sale face. The attitude is they are there to do you a favor and you are an ingrate. I favored the patron feigning  to be deaf and waiving the $8.00 at me because they were stroking out because you are telling them, “no” to their cheap ass offer.

Florida had the most polite and gracious group imaginable! During multiple garage sales, they would line up in a formation similar to the Metro bus riders in downtown Houston. It was fascinating. Hail and tropical storms did not hither this assembly. It reminded me of the affluent bunch politely scouring the shoe sale at Nieman Marcus in Dallas. Their hearts are beating wildly but you can not appear to be uncouth. To our knowledge there was neither theft or breakage at the Florida sales. Offers were reasonable. No one asked me to deliver a furniture item to their 36th floor condo, 84 miles down the coast. I still shake my head at the man who purchased the pile of debris that was swept into a pile in the middle of the garage floor at the closing of a sale. What on earth was he going to do with wood chips and a very small piece of chain?

Oh, Texas, my Texas! Garage sales in a Houston subdivision are civil and non-eventful. It was the quintessential block party. You may have lived next door to the engineer from Exxon and his Junior League wife for 4 years and didn’t know them. Stick a Weber grill in the driveway with a table full of your kid’s Transformer underpants and it’s old home week. You would’ve thought we were joined at the hip. I wouldn’t have know these people if I ran into them at the corner dry cleaners. It was a discovery of we golf at the same club and share the same arm pit specialist. They pay what is posted and notice that the satchel you pack their new belongings into is from Ann Taylor. You pick and choose who to give your prized shopping bags to.Some of these egos can’t tolerate a Walmart plastic bag. A bag from Barneys will actually yield an additional sale because they think you’re a regular shopper at a place that has extremely overpriced pants.

Garage sales in the paradise of Paris, Texas let you know you are a real person among good people, except for the family dropping “F” bombs on each other. During my short tenure at country living, in the bible belt, this behavior was, as my grandmother would say, “rather unbecoming”! “Yeah, baby”, every character type, cowboy, farmer, Hispanic, MeeMaws, ranchers, city folk, single parents, widows and widowers marched through at a consistent stream. This group didn’t do “the line-up”. A large number of them stopped by the house the day before the sale to observe the setup! In fact, the first customer didn’t appear until a half hour after opening. Country folk like to visit. I had 7 gentleman tell me they lived alone and some even told me how big their house was – 4 bedroom, 3 baths! Instead of Match.com, I guess they see who is available at garage sales! I did try to introduce a few to each other but I don’t know if there were any hook ups! Over a 2 day period, almost everything got sold, even an old bicycle seat.

True and experienced garage sale buyers, eager to be the first customer, fancy themselves on presenting a $100.00 bill for an item priced at $.25. They know it will wipe out your cash fund, if you have that much in your cash fund. They are banking on you to say, “just take it”.

Garage sales are social events and a way of clearing out the closets and out buildings. My favorite part is watching the eager and ecstatic people so pleased with their new treasures.




Complaint-Lamar County Tax Assessor/Collector office

Recently, I went to the Lamar County courthouse in Paris, Texas to conduct changes on vehicle titles. I also had a registration that had expired in November 2013. The reason this specific registration had not been updated was due to Haskell Maroney – I take it is the person as the named Lamar County Tax Assessor-Collector, returned my check to me because the bank or credit union does not appear on their list as being “local”.

I asked the “representative” behind the counter, what specifically constitutes a local bank. Said “representative” told me if the bank wasn’t on their list, they could not accept the check. I asked how this policy or rule got instituted. She informed me the county lawyer made the rule because he was unable to collect on bounced out-of-town checks.

I think an attorney who knows how to collect bounced out-of-town checks needs to replace an attorney who does not know how to collect on insufficient out-of-town checks. For pennies per item, the checks can also be validated at the counter from an out sourced system. So, to save this “attorney” from conducting due diligence, the citizens of this county are subjected to being treated like a deadbeat. The assumption is every check not written on a local bank is bad.

If you use a debit or credit card, you are charged an extra percentage above the transaction. Without being privy to their merchant agreements, I don’t know if this percentage exceeds the amount the financial institution is charging. There are not any disclosures displayed at the counters.

Your choices for paying for the vehicle registrations are:

1. Get back into your car, find an ATM and obtain cash to pay the registration transaction.

2. Use your debit or credit card and pay an additional fee.

3. Get back into your car and drive to a bank, listed as a “local bank”, open an account, drive back to the courthouse, and wait to see if the bank is still on the local list and your check is accepted.

I did #3. When the local check was presented for the registration, I was then asked how many tickets did I receive for driving a vehicle with an expired registration. I informed the “representative” that the vehicle had not been driven with an expired registration. I had just paid her for title changes on two other vehicles with current registrations. Again, being treated like a deadbeat.

One of the title changes I requested was for an antique plate. The original antique plate registration was paid for in March 2013. This plate was good for 5 years. The “representative” told me it was expired. I informed her it was less than a year old and expires in 2018. She told me it was too late, she had already entered into the system to reissue a new one in my name only. The previous owner was my deceased husband. Because she read the expiration date as 2013 instead of 2018, it cost me more money to issue the new antique plate. When I questioned the transaction, I was immediately dismissed, again with “it’s too late, I already put it in the system”.Auto Registration 01-2014

There seemed to be little to no interest in looking at the insurance verification I presented at the window. It makes me wonder who is insured around here and who isn’t.

Word to the wise – don’t change the titles until the registration expires. Know who your elected officials are and what they won’t do when you go to the polls. Mail your “local bank check” to the Lamar County, Texas Tax Assessor/Collector so you don’t feel like a common thief, deadbeat, low life when doing it in person.

Customer service is non-existent when there is no competition. It takes training, common sense and effort to convey respect and “delight” to serve from behind the counter of a public office. Even if the policies were made by someone uneducated in the means to create fair and non-discriminating practices to the majority, the message could be relayed in a professional and positive manner. I’ve goggled this specific office and have found this situation is not new or recent. The solution to the problem is someone speaking up, providing the information necessary to rectify the adverse actions and implementing the personnel willing to practice the golden rule.

I have volunteered at a local food pantry. The clients utilizing the services of the food pantry are treated with higher regard and respect than at the courthouse where we pay all of the salaries.


Building a dream house – Plans and planning

Plans & Planning

Plans & Planning

It took a long time to plan the move to the Paris area. Years of fretting over how to leave a city life behind. The decision actually fell into place with frustrating 2 hour commutes, road rage incidents,employment incidents, turning neighborhoods and the world we knew changing – as we changed.

There have been a great number of sacrifices, including leaving the locale of where our grown children live. Reality kicked in full blast with the lack of retail access to items we took for granted. It was beyond comprehension a convenience store would close at 9:00 pm before moving to Northeast Texas. The sidewalks roll up early here. If you want a Hostess fried pie – you’d better get your ass in the car before 8:45 pm.

We tried to buy a house here. It didn’t work for me. We bought our property before we were sure what to even do with it. Countless hours were spent searching the internet and home plan sites. We made the final choice of house plans about 4 times. The size of the house and how much bucks it would take to build it were the most prevalent factors. Sure I could pick out plans for a huge mausoleum but who was going to clean and maintain it. How could we afford a gazillion doors? With a few bottles of wine and endless conversation, we came to the conclusion, this new house would have to take care of us when we are unable to care for ourselves. Just as our first house raised our children and created the suburban dream.

Your house is never truly yours. I always wanted to create a fantasy world in my home. I didn’t want to be like my parents – which were the epitome of “The Wonder Years”. I didn’t want that but that is exactly what we created. We are – what we know. We did keep a bicycle in the vestibule and had huge acrylic abstract paintings on the walls but it was a mainstream house. The new house was initially going to be like an urban modern loft type of joint. Then I realized no one in Paris, Texas would want to purchase it when we truly needed a buyer. The taste of most homeowners in the Northeast Texas area points more toward kikker cowboy western motifs. So, we will be traveling the middle of the road type of hacienda.

The outside will be beautiful garden-variety by the home plans we purchased and will be to the liking of many. We have become minimalist in the sense we are tired of cleaning and packing and kicking around chachkis.  I enjoy them at other people’s homes but not in ours. The interior will be easily switched to unexceptional and standard when we are ready to exit the premises permanently. I am tired of painting everything country white, white-white and beige by all the names – eg: Swiss Coffee. Paint is easy to change.

We’re not going to go crazy and hang the Jeep Scrambler from the ceiling. It will be uncrowded, modern and artsy-fartsy. Less is best. It is not what has been planned, but rather what is disliked, discarded and eliminated. We now know what we don’t want.

The last of the brush and stumps on the house site.

The last of the brush and stumps on the house site.

The wood on the lot is actually still smoldering. It smolders slower in the rain. It hasn’t rained here for months until we needed to get ride of a bunch of debris. The extra dirt needs brought in. The next step will be to sit and watch it settle!

We are in need of a truss builder, either on-site or off-site. There are a lack of them listed in the vicinity. Hardly any craftsman have websites. It may be the lack of internet access. Still planning and researching where to find materials and construction experts. There is no sense of urgency among the masses here. I guess they’re waiting for a bigger job to come along – like cousin Eddy.

We are building a dream house

Our decision to move from a major metropolis to east of Egypt has necessitated the building of a home. We knew this a few years ago when I began the optimistic search for a perfect love nest for our cohabitation. There are very few homes in Powderly, Texas from which to choose.

I am an experienced real estate agent. I know how to research and find the flawless and elegant abode to meet any prospect’s heart’s desire. It really helps if you have more than a handful of choices. I know there are great homes here. It is evident the current owners wish to continue living in them! Our choices have resembled Elvis Presley flocked wallpaper decor, no hallway or privacy floor plan – you have to walk through each bedroom to get to the next bedroom (heard they designed the home themselves!), the 4 bedroom, 1 bath house and omg there is a “huge” built-in pool included with the listing! We’ve had a pool. No one had time in their schedule to clean it. Everyone swam in it the first 2 weeks and then it became this “thing” we had in the backyard to look at. I remember cleaning it, in the dark in my corporate blue suit and running all over town trying to find the correct size filters for the pump. If we ever have a home with a pool, it will include a guy named Sven, wearing a speedo. He will know how to mix a chilled Cosmopolitan and instinctively know when to turn the pages on my trashy magazine as I lay in a chaise lounge blabbing on my phone.

We came to the conclusion, we are going to have to have a home built. Is there nothing that will please me? I don’t need a horse stable or RV port. I am tired of remodeling and gutting the joint to the bricks to replace all plumbing and electricity. I’ve sucked up more sheet rock dust than a contractor. I am not in the mood to fix a slab foundation which is cracked in half. Weighing out the pros and cons, starting from scratch will at least be a different adventure.

Eight years ago, after sustaining damage from Hurricane Rita and a 21 hour car ride to escape her wrath, we purchased 8+ acres on a wooded lot, in a subdivision which includes a private lake, in Powderly.  It is beautiful. I have scoured countless websites and bought books with floor plans. The most difficult real estate agents are themselves. My husband was a commercial builder. I, actually worked for a residential builder for years. We think we are experts. The more we research, the less we know. We have agreed on the perfect set of plans, 3 times. Yesterday, we had to commit to the perfect floor plan and elevation so it could be presented to the man trying to plan the foundation work. The husband and I have agreed, after 2 fights, to be our own general contractors. We are building a dream house.We are building a dream house

My cousin-in-law asked me how many fights we have had over this decision. She is keeping track. I, initially, wanted to commit to a builder. Give them the plans and tell them to build the house. Challenges with this commitment occur when they insist on their own vendors. There are extreme limitations with cabinet, woodwork, tile, counters and window choices, to name a few. The husband does not want to put up with shoddy work, inferior product and the front door facing the wrong direction. We have talked to a lot of people with having their home built by the name brand contractors in the area. The majority were very pleased with the final project but admitted there are limitations.  I am a little picky. Personality plays a primary focus for the project. I would rather fight with my lover than a stranger. He is more handsome and I always win.

So, the project truly begins today – the floor plan is being dropped with the concrete man. He has already walked the property. We are calling the bulldozer guy, again, to clear additional trees and brush. The driveway was cut in last year, as was the initial clearing for the house.The survey was verified – to make sure the front yard is not on the guy’s lot next door! In fact, the house will sit almost exactly in the middle of the 8 acres. Trenching for utilities will chunk a huge bite of the budget but privacy does cost a few bucks.  Honestly, it was more important to want to sit half naked on a back porch eight years ago than it is now, but what the hell!

I know there is hope for this endeavor. In 2000, we purchased a home on Crystal Beach which was hand built by a retired couple. The neighbors conveyed stories of a menopausal woman, hammering shingles on the roof of a home which sat on 10 foot pilings. The beach house was literally created with this remarkable couple’s bare hands, in 1973. This little fortress withstood the wrath of Hurricane Alicia and Hurricane Rita with countless tropical depressions and storms in between. On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike came to shore with a direct hit to Bolivar Peninsula and wiped our dream house off the face of the earth. If a house, nailed with hand carried lumber and shingles can stand for 35 years with the coastal environmental challenges it faced from the Gulf of Mexico, we certainly can be our own general contractors without choking each other to death. I wonder what their fight count ended up being?





Naked homeowner association

We attended a property homeowner association meeting this morning in Powderly, Texas. The bylaws and deed restrictions have expired because the original developer input a specific term in the documents with the commencement of this organization.

Each member was given due notification in reference to the creation of the combination covenant with new by-laws and deed restrictions. A committee working diligently on this project, was accessible through email and telephone. An informational meeting was also scheduled for questions, answers and suggestions. A tiny minority showed up.

A vote was taken during this mornings meeting and the newly constructed covenant was not passed because a select few (3) people want language restricting farm animals from being kept on owner’s properties. One of the individuals went so far as to suggest children could raise FFA animals, except pigs, if they went through a board of director approval process. Quite honestly, I view this as FFA pig discrimination. By the time the board of directors takes action on the approval process, we’ll be eating the FFA animals for Sunday dinner. Another individual did not want large numbers of domestic cats and dogs. Funny, no one mentioned rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, snakes and iguanas. Is a llama a farm animal?

Since everyone was talking at the same time, the reality of not having an approved document in place with who is in charge and what you can and can not do has let us know it is a no holds barred venue for my family now. There is a homeowner association but it is now naked, devoid of bylaws and deed restrictions. We have eight acres and have not begun construction of our home yet.

If we hurry, we can throw up any kind of structure our heart’s desire without the conflict of an architectural committee or deed restriction. I am picturing a few hen houses, pig pens, mobile home park, a bar/strip joint, nudist camp and a big ass house in 1960s psychedelic color schemes. Of course the house can have a flat roof with a natural bark and mud exterior.

The few property owners holding out on the passage of the new covenant failed to comprehend or understand that there is no covenant now. While they were bickering and ranting about farm animals, the door is wide open for anything goes. There is nothing to stop utilizing one’s property for a junk yard, tattoo parlor or hourly motel.

If they would’ve passed and approved the document presented, they could’ve presented and advocated for an amendment in reference to cow and duck avoidance at a future meeting.

I understand passion and standing up for something you believe in. What I don’t understand is being so closed minded you have cut off your nose in spite of your face. Where is the common sense? Where were these people when everyone else was busting butt to protect property value and a commitment for a select standard for their community? They lost the entire war and don’t even realize it.

I can’t wait to see what happens when a circus relocates to Hidden Lake Drive.



Why Isn’t My Home Selling?

Expedite the sale of your home. A great number of resale homes languish on the market a lot longer than necessary. Your rationale, as the seller, may be a down market, pricing, timing, sentimentality or opinions from an outside influence. Finding a buyer is easier than you realize. Learn what your competition is doing. Why are the other homes selling quickly?

Do you have a “grab and wow” factor in your home. If you are selling a starter home, every first time home buyer needs a brag item. Shiny stainless steel appliances, gleaming ceramic tile floors, sparkling granite counter tops, a partying wet bar or the multicolored blown glass phenomenal light fixture hanging in the vestibule have the ability to tap enthrallment. Take the time to walk through model homes at your local home builder. Listen to the comments made by prospective buyers. There is a need to have a “feel good” element to make their future home special.

If you have a McMansion listed for sale, review and update the features you fell in love with. Is the hot tub or pool in need of maintenance or polish? Check out the newest kitchen trends to insure you have an item shining above the rest.Technological – a computerized central command station for lighting, security, and media or higher end appliances can be the enlightened spark for a buyer. Is the purpose of each room designated? Buyers like to know a room is used for exercise, home office, library/study or media.

While walking through the model homes, notice they are white glove inspection clean. Each model home is designed to allow the buyer to picture themselves living in the house. If your home is not immaculately spotless, review your cleaning routine. Does it smell good? Are there spots on furniture or carpets? A clean home may still give the impression of being unclean if detailed maintenance is overlooked. A hem hanging on a window treatment may give the impression bigger problems are pending. A bathtub stain, a missing baseboard, sheet rock watermarks need immediate attention.

I ask each buyer of my listings, why did you choose this house? Multiple times I have heard the other resale homes have an odor from pets, cooking or smoking. The landscaping is in need of attention. Kitchens and bathrooms were cluttered. Dark paint colors generated the cave environment. Buyers choose light, bright, inviting and open homes.

Create a generic appearance within your home. Remove family photos, children’s artwork, refrigerator magnets, chachkies, and half of what is hanging on your walls. Less is definitely best. Pack up decorative items requiring extra cleaning attention. Create a clear view for your prospective buyer to picture their “stuff’ adorning the home. If possible, paint the interior of the house a neutral color. Don’t blow your sale with a vibrant orange bathroom or shocking pink bedroom. Your unique tastes may not reflect the prospective buyer’s individual choices.

An experienced real estate agent will be able to walk you through a successful selling process. Honest critique, upfront opinion and direct advice are to assist you with an accelerator for the sale of your home.


Democrat in a Republican State

It is election time. Acquaintances flash their politics in public. Friends ask my opinion in reference to something Mitt said. Politicians bash each other in political ads. Each one keeps talking and talking. It is like watching bobble heads on the back dash of a bashed up yellow Pinto, while sitting in grid lock traffic.

Borderlines is a small cafe in Powderly, TX. While eating biscuits and gravy one early morning, CNN was blaring from the television above my head. The room was full of omnipotent  “good ole boys,” sloshing coffee and bleating their derogatory racial opinions about my president. I was the only female in the restaurant and their conversation was intended to be heard by all. The majority laughed and agreed. It prompted a general consensus within the room while creating a competitive rally for attention and like remarks.

I felt sorry for these men. Blatant ignorance is intolerable. Obviously, they felt comfortable to release their hatred in the familiar environment. It appeared to be repetitive mimics rendered from the habitual exposure to a community unable to think for themselves. If they have any education, it failed them. If they have no education, their families and the state of Texas have failed them.You don’t go to school to learn stuff. You go to school to learn to think.

Texas is a conservative state. It is Bush and Perry country. The more these politicians talk, the obvious becomes evident. Perry bumbled and fumbled during his recent “skip and fail” to the White House. A few years ago, I sent a written request to Governor Perry, requesting information in reference to the status of “No Child Left Behind”. One of his underlings mailed me a large manilla envelope full of grandiloquence. It was a mirror image of the governor’s recent debate performance. He kept talking – and talking. We learned what it appears to be unprepared, unstudied and lost. The manila envelope reflected the same performance. BTW, the illustrious Governor Bush mimicked the same sentiments. Texas is at the bottom of education rankings, according to the most recent statistics. http://www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/wwstand/wws0512ed/

Texans are very proud of their political convictions. It is easy when the majority follows as cows do in the pasture. Conversations escalate into emotional uprising. Exemption for time and place is non-existent. During a business lunch appointment, I was confronted by a co-worker, in front of my client, because I did not express my view of the adoration for the current party in office. Because I did not openly confess my political view or confirmation of their views, the assumption was made that I must be a liberal. I have been subjected to southern belle and “keep in your place” conversation in reference to how stately the First Lady looks or how “presidential” George is looking. Included in this conversation was one acquaintance telling the small gathering, she had to return a dress to the store because her husband didn’t like it! She wasn’t allowed to keep it, if he didn’t approve. This woman had a 6 figure income, a college degree and high professional recognition. Her opinion is “well trained”. Years later, I am still flabbergasted by this mode of behavior.

Before the last presidential election, my brother-in-law was laid off, my brother was laid off, my Realtor® associates were struggling and starving, our oldest son was an unemployed veteran, and I was laid off. A close friend asked me if I was voting for George W. She stated they have always voted Republican. I told her I take a common sense view of how an election would personally affect me. Our family still had utility and mortgage payments due. Grocery and gasoline prices were rapidly escalating. Hurricane Ike had taken one of our homes. George W closed the air space above Bolivar Peninsula so the American public wouldn’t view the devastation or repeat the Katrina nightmare. My nieces didn’t have school clothes because their father was unemployed, as were their aunt and uncles. My laid off co-workers were losing their cars to repossession and homes to foreclosure. We were living off of our emergency funds which were earning interest lower than the fees to sustain the accounts. Our home values were recklessly declining. “No,” I told my friend. “I am not voting for a continuation of the same condition”.

When the democrats are in office, we are purchasing homes, We are well employed. Our children have what they need. There is food on the table and gas in the car. When Reagan was in office, it was almost prohibitive to purchase a home due to the exorbitant interest rates.If you did purchase the home, you couldn’t afford anything else.  Clinton created a viable and sustaining standard of living – allowing us to enjoy our families and take a trip or two to Dairy Queen. We were able to save money for retirement, A lot of retirement savings have been spent to survive the last Bush administration.

As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for you?” Call it brave or call it stupid – I can only make a decision based on personal experience. As a female, it is a choice I am able to make without an illiterate politician making it for me.






New Age vs Old Age Employmemt Challenges

Unemployment is difficult enough. If your previous employment spanned many, many years – the process is similar to getting a divorce after the silver anniversary. The interview process is in the same category as “What do I wear on the post-divorce first date and am I expected to sleep with them?”

Without going into the world viewing youth as intelligence and aging as demented, crazy and invisible, the interview process is arduous, at best. Interviewers are getting younger as you age in the lobby, surrounded by people your kid’s ages. Especially for the first five or six interview outings, you are most likely over dressed and lacking a nose ring. Your wrinkles and graying hair are secondary to the archaic briefcase or portfolio under your arm. Shoes with buckles and shoestrings are passe’. A good pair of flip-flops or any shoes made of rubber and dirty toenails are available for viewing. The employment opportunities for this scenario are not blue-collar. They are actually professional sales, financial and technological positions.

I had been laid off, for the first time in my long-term professional life, after the age of 40. One interviewer, who appeared to have just rolled out of couch, held his Blackberry up in front of me and asked, “Do you know what this is?” Another wiseass asked if I knew how to turn a laptop on. I informed him that I had the capability of not only turning it on, but take it apart, put it back together and re-program the entire thing. I guess he didn’t like my response because “Tiffany Cleavage” in the lobby, got the job. One of my friends, a current employee with this up and coming executive, was seeking new employment but was in desperate financial straits and stuck. She was also ten years younger than I was.

Being a bit outspoken, follow-up to an interview, always yielded jolly propaganda. I always asked what my deficits may have been. The ones who didn’t blow smoke gave me some true insight such as:

  • You look like a banker
  • I couldn’t picture you unloading product from an 18 wheeler – (This was not in the job description or mentioned during the interview!)
  • You would have my job in a day or two and I couldn’t risk hiring you.

One employment opportunity resulted in four interviews. The first three “show and tells”  allowed the escalation of executives a chance to increase expenses by flying into Houston from Boston – otherwise, they would have flown me and/or the other candidates to Boston! The position, up for grabs, was highly compensated and possessed an upper echelon profile. An assessment after Interview #2 yielded that I had an “extreme sense of urgency”! During the process, the company recruiter would telephone me and discuss the previous appointment and inform me of the “going forward” recommendation for yet another go around. A Don Draper, Mad Men type conducted interview #4.  He was the epitome of a well upholstered “suit”. Five minutes into the engagement, he mocked my responses which included one of my hand gestures. Looking back, I wished it had been one of my other hand gestures. He challenged each one of my replies to his questions in a most derogatory and demeaning manner. Fifteen minutes later, as the hair on the back of my neck stood up, I backed my way to the conference room exit while he continued to prattle. I ended the interview.

The recruiter called a few hours later. She asked why I exited the interview early. I gave her the generic response that I was not the right candidate for the position. She informed me that my competition for the job was only one other person. Again, I told her it was not a “good fit”. A few days later, she called me again. She was insistent in knowing why I left the interview. Was it my place to inform her Mr. Suit intuitively appeared a predator, woman-hater, wife beater and general asshole? Yea, Baby, I could just imagine a cross-country travel rendezvous business trip with him as my vice-president! The telephone conversation created the instantaneous response reflex of:

  • Do I assassinate his character and risk a lawsuit?
  • What are the benefits of telling the recruiter something she already knew?
  • Did she really want to hear my conclusions based on life experience, knowing of a bunch of gems like him and intuition?

I made a business quick wit and allowed the recruiter to conclude the outcome with the results of the process. A lot of time, money, travel, and dry cleaning expense to have a qualified candidate turn them down when the horses were coming around the bend and headed for the straight a way. They’re smart people. I think this may have been a déjà vu.

Appropriately, each of us knows when we are qualified and age was a non-hire condition. My personal experience with the hiring process yields the following direction with the interview process:

  •  Do not use Old Spice or Youth-Dew fragrances.
  • Do not be late – Especially a whole day.
  •  Do not have your significant other drive you and wait with the kids in the reception area.
  • Keep the cocktail wear for bar mitzvahs, wedding receptions, glamour shots and family portraits –  Send a photo to the Ellen Show.
  • Stay awake and sober for the interview.
  • Be yourself.
  • Be true to yourself.



Cable Cut – Dish Cut – Cost Cut

Extensive research has revealed there are a lot of people cutting the cable and disconnecting the satellite dish. The numbers vary depending on the data source. It is a huge decision because it changes your routine, habits, lifestyle and psyche.

When our children were young, we moved into a new home. A demanding job did not allow me the luxury of making an appointment to have the cable company set up service immediately. You would have thought someone ripped our 9-year-old’s heart out without an anesthetic. The cable company would not give a specific appointment time. It was a block of time which spanned morning or afternoon. I had been a previous victim. Taking a day off of work for a no-show technician did nothing but set me off like Sputnik. Our 9 year old did not receive the “luxury” of cable/satellite, again until he was 14 years old. The only reason he then received the gift of hundreds of channels was because his older brother was on a ship in a war zone and we became extreme news junkies.

By the way, when the satellite was installed, I had to call the billing department every month for years because the billing was incorrect. A credit would be issued, but the problem persisted. Every time it rained or the wind picked up, the service was “iffy”. I called customer service so many times, I eventually could re-program and re-position the satellite dish, with someone on the roof to scream instruction to,  without their assistance. Hurricane Ike blew the satellite off of the roof. My relationship with the satellite dish was starting to fray.

When you have a satellite/cable service – the family takes it for granted. The majority of the viewing, to my observation, were channels we were able to access at no charge with a homemade antenna created from leftover ceiling grid in our attic. The billing statement reflected a fee for HD access. When the televisions were on the antenna, we had HD at no charge. The satellite provider scrambled the HD and we were paying them a fee for HD to be accessible through their service. We were also paying to access local programming for which we were able to access “FREE” on the antenna. For an outrageous total charge per month, we could watch repetitious commercials, a whole lot of shopping channels, MTV that wasn’t the MTV I had loved and every single time I turned HBO on, they were showing “Somewhere in Time” starring Christopher Reeves. It didn’t matter what day or what time – that movie was on. Christopher will always be Superman to me – and dearly missed.

The 14-year-old grew up and graduated from college. A decision was made to stop the tv service madness. At the time, we lived outside of Houston. There were 54 channels available through the antenna. Now, some were in languages I had always intended to learn and a few were extremely religious. Most were in HD and reception was crystal clear. The same can’t be said for living outside of beautiful Paris, TX. Our antenna access amounts to CBS, Fox and 2 limited Oklahoma PBS channels. If anyone with money is in Oklahoma reading this – please contribute to your PBS station. The programs showing now were seen in Houston a long time ago. That said, my interest lies in access to local weather which can be seen on the CBS channel.

Any television viewing is now accomplished by switching over to Roku. World news, national news, Pandora, Netflix, HuluPlus, etc are here to entertain, educate and teach me how to make my own creme fraiche. Netflix is better at less or no commercial interruptions than HuluPlus. It was a fantastic to watch 4 seasons of Mad Men without any commercials. Continuous story line and actual use of the 18 minutes, average, time in my life to do something constructive – instead of multiple and redundant commercials to stop hemmoroid itching or to lose weight. By the way, we didn’t do the Mad Men marathon where you start the gig at 10:00 am, in your night clothes and watch continuously for 20 hours at a time! No, we watched the episodes in the evening over a period of weeks!

Instead of watching mindless prattle available for a fee, we are now able to choose exactly what we want to watch and when we want to watch it. It was not a hard habit to break. Think of how many hours your children and family members are glued to the tv out of habit. Ask them when they last saw a movie or program on a premium channel and discuss the subject matter. You will be amazed by the feedback.

If you subscribe to Netflix, HuluPlus and assorted other programs accessible through the internet, your savings can amount to over $1,000.00 per year by cutting the cable/satellite service. This depends on your current expenditure and your future decisions. The most valued benefit we have received is time.