Monday, March 25, 2013

Seriously, I won't tell anyone.

March 25, 2013

It is spring break for Beth and CJ and they are living it up, oh yeah.  The weather here is not especially Spring-like as it is currently snowing and in the low 30s.  Bummer.  No chance for Beth to run around in her bikini and rob banks like that Selena Gomez chick.  CJ has either been in the basement or in the kitchen for 71 of the past 72 hours.  Showered much?  Uh, no.  As my father used to say, don't go in there. 

So any news we may have would depend on what is happening on the television.  That is why I am here today to talk to you about guilty pleasures.  I refuse to reveal the name of the show I watched whose theme was "Guilty Pleasures", as that would totally expose one of mine.  Beth would gleefully tell you, but I will not let her as you would think me to be a gleek.  Therefore, I will not be gleaking that information.

Just in case some of you went all mentalist on me up there, you may know the show I watch.  If so, I think I need to defend myself.  For the record, I do not care who Finn may or may not have gotten pregnant, what boys like other boys, or that Brittany's cat is into Scientology.  I really only care about the singing. 

Thus reveals my guilty pleasure.  I love to hear Lea Michele sing.  I have been know to go on YouTube just to search for videos of her performances.  The same goes for other performers I like such as Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, and some of the contestants auditioning for X Factor or The Voice.   I really enjoy a great female singing voice.  That does not mean that I am biased against male voices.  I do think Darius Rucker could be the singing voice of God in a musical and either Brooks or Dunn (I can never remember which one has the incredible vocals) has caused me to play the song "I Believe" 5 times in a row.

So, what is your guilty pleasure?  If you are not sure how to pick one, pretend you could go on You Tube with no history of what you viewed.  And if someone came in the room, you would have to sign off quickly.  Musically, Glee defined it as liking Wham or being a Fan-ilow.  My sister was a Maniloonie as a teen.  They also sang some ABBA which was my brother's guilty pleasure.  Coincidence, I think so.

However, it does not have to be about music.  It could be those baby pigs dressed in American Girl dresses.  Or American Girl dolls dressed as Teacup piglets. 

This your chance to get a secret off your chest in a forum that is perhaps the last bastion of confidentiality-The Internet.

Finally, if I do not get the chance to blog before Sunday, have a Happy Easter.

And if any of you are March Madness fans, my first round score was 22/32 and second round, 11/16.  I have lost 3 elite eight teams already, but none of my final four.  My champ is Michigan.  Just another validation that I should never take up gambling for a living.

Speaking of which, Beth, her mom, and her brother are going to the new casino on Thursday.  If any of you see her there, please remind her that we have bills to pay and she should know when to stop before she starts.  Thanks.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We don't have The Showtime channel, but I was trying to use a current reference.

March 16, 2013

We will see what happens any second, but I have started countless (two) posts in the past couple weeks only to have the computer do something weird.  This causes cursing, loss of patience, and blog terminus.  Not necessarily in that order.

Beth has worked diligently and even called in Tim McGee to break through some firewalls and get the viruses out of our computer.  It has even gotten to the point of Beth saying that buying a new computer may be the way to go.  What an inexpensive option.  The best moment of the computer intervention came when CJ, the 16 year-old, chastised Beth, the 39 year-old, for clicking on ads on other peoples' blogs.  "Not a good idea", he tried to calmly coach.   "Those people are not your friends."

So here's hoping peace has been restored in this world of bits and bytes.

Tim McGee, you ask?  Then you must be under the age of 38 as watching NCIS becomes a mandatory viewing requirement for those of us over 38.  It is akin to watching Matlock and Murder She Wrote when our parents turned 39.

So the only real news in my life right now is that I am switching stores.  An assistant violated a rather important policy in another store and was terminated.  Not good and I wish him the best.  For me though, it means going to this store to help out for a while.  "A while" meaning "this is permanent until you get your own store."  It works for me for a few reasons.

1.  The store needs help and I can make a difference there.
2.  The store is not open 24 hours and runs on fewer operating hours, so it will be good to see how that half lives.
3.  My drive time will be cut in half.  The money saved in gas alone is kind of like getting a raise.
4.  I have worked at this store several times and there are good employees and customers there.

Therefore, I am looking forward to the move.  I have lost a little sleep trying to figure out how to empty this store's stockroom (it is too full) without stepping on the store manager's toes, but I think it will turn out okay. As long as she does not wear toe-less shoes to work.

As for my family's life, CJ recently had a Jazz Ensemble concert that was really good.  If you are not music savvy, the jazz genre is not just about playing music that style, it is about learning how to improvise.  I can certainly not explain it to you, but I can tell you it is a tremendous learning experience for the young musicians.  It was thoroughly entertaining.

CJ's GF suffered a concussion in gym class on Thursday.  Not sure how that happened, but she is currently dealing with the symptoms.  It also means there are some things she cannot do this weekend:  read, look at screens with movement on them, exercise, receive head slaps from Gibbs.  Or in other words, live the life of a teenager.  Unfortunately, GF has a project due in math class on Monday that would have involved some hours spent on a computer, using a calculator, and thinking.  Sorry, not allowed when you are concussed.

So who has jumped to the rescue?  Is it gallant CJ?  You betcha.  He is going to, selflessly, go to her house today to spend time with her as her aide. It's like he is Nurse Jackie.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Almond Joy has nuts, but coconut is white. Darn.

March 3, 2013

I went to the CVS Minute Clinic yesterday to have a health screening.  It is a requirement of my health insurance carrier unless I would prefer to pay an extra $600 per year.  I would not.  Therefore, Beth went with me and we drove up there.  A health screening is not terribly invasive and simply involves blood pressure, height and weight, and a finger stick allowing them some blood to test cholesterol.  I didn't even cry and she gave me a lollipop.

As Rose, the nurse practitioner, entered my information, she asked if I had gotten a flu shot.  I explained that, even though CVS wants everyone in America to get a flu shot at CVS, I had not gotten one.  Since I switched jobs and started with CVS in September, I had a 90 day period in which I was without insurance.  While CVS probably would have still allowed me a free flu shot, I wasn't sure and decided to risk it rather than pay the $32 dollars.  During this explanation, I think Rose lost interest.  A simple "no" would have sufficed.  I could tell she stopped paying attention when she asked me when I started with CVS.  I reiterated, September.  "Oh, of this year."  said Rose.  "Yes, Rose, I am from the future."  said I. 

This exchange proceeded my finger stick, so I must complement Rose for not retaliating for my use of sarcasm on my poor finger.

Since I know you are all interested in my health, I will let you know that my blood pressure was 110/70 which falls in the normal range.  My body mass index was 22.1 which means she did not ask me to remove my clothing since she said that result meant my body fat and weight were in good shape.  I don't know if the eye test would have revealed the same result.  My bad cholesterol number was good, but my good cholesterol number was too low.  Therefore, I have been given some recommendations to improve this number thus lowering my risk of stroke and/or heart disease.

More exercise, more nuts, fruits and vegetables, and less white foods like pasta, potatoes, and rice.  Since my health is my number one concern, I took to this advice immediately. 

Last night for dinner we went to Chipotle.  I had a veggie bol (with white rice).  For breakfast this morning, I had two scrambled eggs (with a baked potato mixed in).  My lunch plan involves eating some left over food in the fridge which may or may not include elbow macaroni with Alfredo sauce and/or some Tuna Helper.  Rose did suggest more fish as well, so I think Charlie once told me that tuna comes from the sea.

Obviously, I am not off to a good start with my diet changes.  A good portion of my diet involves white foods so I do have some changes to make.  I will be joining the foods of color movement.  Seems rather important.  Keeping me around is on Beth's to do list.  It's not like my father ever had a heart attack when he was in his forties.  He was fifty.  That gives me a couple of years before I am actually at risk, right?

Okay, okay!  More salads less colorless foods.  Being healthy can be stressful.  It leads to stress eating.  I need some chocolate.  But not white chocolate!

Friday, March 1, 2013

AND the word conversate is not in the dictionary! Do not use it!!

March 1, 2013

CJ had his first job interview this yesterday.  He wants to work at the local swim club this summer.  He is not lifeguard certified so he wants to either be the guy who signs you in at the gate or the person who under cooks your frozen pizza at the concession stand.  I thought it would be a good time to prep him for potential interview questions since his interview was being conducted by a real job search company as opposed to dude with a whistle and the white stuff on his nose at the pool.

CJ was able to fill out a good looking application, with the help of his mom, and it included his work as a soccer referee.  It is excellent when a teenager is able to put some experience on their application even if it is babysitting.  However, conducting missions in the World of Warcraft should not be on there.

Therefore, since I thought it possible that the person conducting his interview may ask him real interview questions, I prepped him on the way to the place in the car.  When I had first asked him a typical one, "Why do you want to work at the pool?" he thought I was asking him as his dad.  He told me it was a good way to make money that was close to home and could be a lot of fun.  In his head I am sure he was also thinking that GF belongs to to the pool, but he did not say that out loud.  I then explained that I was asking as an interviewer and wondered (hopefully) that he would then change his answer.  He did.  We discussed that real honesty is not any better than lying.  His next answer included the fondness for working outside, working with people, and hard work that could also be fun.  Not bad.

Here are some other typical basic questions us employers like to ask so you can help your child get ready for interviews this summer.

1.  Why do you want to work here?
2.  What are your strengths?
3.  What are your weaknesses?
4.  What did you like most about your last job?
5.  What did you like least about your last job?
6.  Do you have any questions?

Here are some general dos and don'ts for their answers.

Do smile and show some personality.
Don't be sarcastic.
NEVER use curse words, even if the interviewer does.
Do tell the interviewer what they want to hear as long as is also the truth.
Don't say you have used a forklift before if you have not.
Do spin negatives into positives.  I have not used a register before, but I it am good at handling money and I learn quickly.
Do tailor your strengths to requirements of the job you are interviewing for.
Don't use a weakness that is glaringly bad like not liking to get out of bed in the morning, always late, etc.
Do turn you weakness into a strength.  CJ's was that he gets frustrated too quickly when his referee partner does not take the job seriously.  He is learning to be more of a leader and explain why they need to be professional when they referee.
Don't say you did not like your last job because it was too hard or your boss was an A-hole.
Do say that you did not feel it was preparing you for what you wanted to do later in life, or you wanted to experience new things, etc.

Finally, when it is question time, don't ask about pay if you can help it or how much time you can get off, or if you get free stuff, etc.
Do ask about training or advancement opportunities or dress code or something like that.

We do not know yet if CJ got the job, so perhaps all of my coaching did not help.  However, I have interviewed plenty of teens (and adults) who could have used some of this advise.  I hope it can help.