Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Remembered

Please take time to remember those that have served and been lost.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lawnmower Blues...Part III...Year 2

When spring approached this year, I decided that I was going to get the riding mower fixed. My brother had mentioned that he would put a new drive belt on it to see if that would make it work.

After spending an entire afternoon working on the mower he was able to get it to run(with one condition.) No sharp turns while operating on an incline.(HHHHMMMMMM) It seems that something is bent somewhere and if you make a sharp turn on an incline the belt will slip off, thus locking down the wheels once again. (Oh boy!)

Have I mentioned that I live at the bottom of a hill with pine trees and gopher holes everywhere? It is nearly impossible to avoid going uphill and not making any sudden turns.

I usually mow every other Monday and have had only one episode with the mower this year. Since it was Father's Day, I thought it would be a nice tribute to Dad to mow the lawn on his special day.

I was able to get it to back out of the building without too much effort.(Slight incline) The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, a slight breeze was blowing the grass trimmings away from me, and I was chugging right along. I was mowing in the side yard which I haven't mentioned before because it requires only 3 or 4 passes with the mower.

I turned around and all of a sudden it stops. I hadn't broken any of the rules. It wasn't on an incline and it wasn't a sharp turn. I had dropped it down into 2nd gear on the turn because it was a tight area to maneuver in, wrong thing to do. The dang thing won't run in anything less than 3rd gear or higher. (Which can be a little scary sometimes.)

There I sat. The middle-aged fat woman proceeded to throw and pitch the biggest fit that I could possibly muster. Sailors were blushing! Toddlers were staring in awe that someone could behave worse than them. My cat slunk back into the house...and my Dad is laughing. I slammed that mower into 6th gear,(nothing) put it into reverse,(nothing) rocked it back and forth,(nothing) then it began to smoke. Good, I thought, blow it up. Then I'll go get a new mower.

I began to calm down and realize that it wasn't going to work. I went over and sat on the porch wishing that Dad were here to give me a hand. I suppose about half an hour went by and I thought I would try one more time to get it to run. It cranked on the first try, I slipped it into 3rd gear, popped a wheelie and off I went, laughing and crying at the same time. I think it was Dad's way of letting me know that he will always be there, watching the wheels go by.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lawnmower Blues...Part II...Year 2

As the owner of the cheapest push mower available, I dread the day when I have to mow the grass. It usually takes at least 5 pulls on the cord before the engine will putter, stutter, strain, go BANG and then go POW. (This tends to make my nervous tic, tic twice as fast.)

My arm is about to fall off, and I have rope burns on my arm from where the cord wouldn't pull out fully and has caused me to fall on the ground. (I think I remember this from my childhood.)

As I allow myself the opportunity to cool both my temper and my body, my eyes slide over to the sparkling, gleaming riding mower with the nubby things still on the tires and my temper flares again. (Big piece of junk)(Why does everything have to be so hard?)

I pull the cord once more and surprisingly the engine sputters to life. If I'm careful with the push mower I am able to mow in 10 minute increments before something causes it to cut off.

Thus goes year 3 in the life cycle of my beautiful relatively new riding mower. It sits in the basement, wheels locked into place looking totally innocent while screaming "Sucker" to anyone who walks by. (Dad is saying somewhere, "That's my girl!")...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lawnmower Blues...Year II

****I'm going to repost this story about my problems with lawn mowers. I thought I had fixed the problem, but evidently not. Read on to see what happened.****

I mentioned in an earlier post about my father's fondness for lawn mower wheels. Today, I sure could have used his help, because I must confess, I have the worst riding lawn mower ever made. It made it through only one season before it needed a new battery. One of the headlights quit working somewhere through season two. The first time I mowed in season three a belt broke and it wouldn't move. The wheels locked down and it wouldn't go in neutral. You had to basically slide it to get it to move.(Very frustrating!!)

I don't have a big yard. It slopes downward from the road to the house. It has three big pine trees, one very large holly tree, about 14 stumps, 3 gopher holes, one satellite dish(not working), one water meter and 2 ant hills. My riding mower was so new when it broke down it still had the numbly things on the tires. Of course, it was out of warranty, so I made a few calls to see if anyone would come and try to fix it. It was going to cost hundreds' of dollars one guy said. Another guy said take it to so-and-so and they'll fix it. (Right, the wheels are locked down, the dang thing ain't moving.) So, what did I do? I bought the cheapest push mower I could.

Somewhere, Dad is laughing...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seeking Input And Making New Friends

I've been thinking about doing some spring cleaning on the old blog. I've let things get a bit dull and stale.

I think it could use some new gizmos and gadgets. I've looked around a bit here and there but nothing has really tickled my fancy.

In the past, the blog was black. Now, I've been blue for quite sometime and travelling on a road that is apparently leading to nowhere. It's time for a change!

Where does that leave me? I'm open to suggestions. Seen a widget, gizmo or whatever that you would like to share? Let's hear it!

I'm also expanding my followers list. I'm adding to my blogroll. Want to hang out with the MA Fat Woman? Just leave your info in the comments section and I'll add you to my lists.

Want to increase your followers on Google Friend? Follow me and I'll follow you back. (Just don't be too weird and follow me home.)

MA Fat Woman

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Conversations Of The Unemployed

****Recently, I began a series of articles about my ongoing adventure to find the perfect job (or any job for that matter). If you missed the first article you can check it out here. The following story is about what happened when I attended a Women's Job Fair in Atlanta a few weeks ago.****

Black suits, black notebooks and black shoes, in an early morning seminar of nearly 100 people only ten brave souls dared to wear something other than business black, and I was one of them. I had not planned for that to happen. I had my all business black suit laid out the night before. Come morning, somewhat to my surprise, it was a bit too snug; on to Plan B: black pants and a red sweater.

I had braved the Atlanta early morning rush hour (made me feel like I was working again: nerves were shot to hell by the time I got there) to attend the Women For Hire early morning seminar and career expo. The guest speaker at the early bird event was none other than Tory Johnson--famous for her guest appearances on ABC's Good Morning America where she dispenses no-nonsense career advice. Never one to miss an opportunity to mingle with a famous person, I paid the $10 fee to attend the seminar (the expo was free) and hoped some of her knowledge might help me in my career search.

After a short introduction, Johnson launched into a hour long conversation that was scattered with personal stories, helpful job search tips and an overall feeling of do not give up, all delivered with a smooth and humorous style. I liked her immediately. I am like a kid in most instances when I have to sit through speeches: I fidget, I look around, I look at the other people (that is how I knew what everyone was wearing) I get bored really easily. Tory captured my attention with a joke; I cannot remember what it was, I just know it cracked me up.

The highlights of the seminar according to the notes I took: (Yes, I took notes.)

  • Do not get used to rejection- Treat each 'no' as a separate event. After each one, start over and do not become resigned to the fact.

  • Get rid of things you cannot control-If your dream job is asking for 20 years of experience, and you only have two years; get over it and move on.

  • Be specific in your search-If you are a IT Manager, do not apply to be the cake decorator at the local bakery unless you want to change careers. ( I think that is part of my problem; I do not know what I want to be when I grow up.)

  • Do not be afraid to ask for help- Contact five people you know and let them know that you are looking for a new position.

  • Volunteer where you want to get paid- I have been thinking about this for sometime.

  • Thinking versus Doing- You have to let the right people know you exist. Inaction is almost as bad as doing the wrong thing.

  • Apply and Engage- Join in the Social Media revolution. Get on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Join in on conversations, friend companies that you are interested in and follow HR departments; many list job openings on these sites.

  • Lastly, guard your time- Unemployed people are some of the busiest people around. Friends and family think just because you do not have a job that you are free to run all the errands and become the neighborhood chauffeur.

I have incorporated some of the above tips in my daily routine and I have already gotten more interest in my resume.

After the seminar, it was time to head into the career expo. Over 20 companies were there and most of them were handing out freebies. (Which is a good thing.)

Not only did I receive all those goodies above, I also got to speak to several HR folks from the companies that I was interested in, plus, even hand out a few resumes. I also got my resume tweaked by a professional resume writer which was extremely helpful. (I know I like to talk about myself on the blog, but I have the hardest time describing what I did in my previous jobs. Go figure!)

After I had made the rounds at the expo, I found myself standing in front of the Atlanta Police Department's booth. I do not know if I was feeling sorry for the nice lady sitting there, but I had noticed that not many job-seekers had stopped to chat. Well, you know me, I will talk to anybody, and so I struck up a conversation:

Me: Had many folks stop by?

Policewoman: Not too many. Are you interested in a career with the APD?

Me: Well, I'm not sure. Is it for street patrol?

Policewoman: Yes, it is.

Me: Oh, heavens no. I'd get beat up for sure.

The lady cop looked at me, puzzled I am sure, as to whether I was serious or not, before she broke out into a large smile. She handed me a card that listed other positions within the police department, which were not street patrol.

Policewoman: You never know what you can do if you set your mind to it. Thanks for stopping by. You made my day!

I thought that the Women for Hire career expo was definitely worth my time. I got to meet a famous person, Tory Johnson, (that remembers me and my red sweater) I networked and handed out a few of my business cards promoting my blog, I got useful information for my job search and made a police officer laugh.

If you are searching for a new position and the Women for Hire event comes to your town, be sure to check them out!

Friday, May 13, 2011

In Through There

I talk a lot about my family and the adventures that we have. I've mentioned several times about growing up on a small farm on Cherry Fork Road and the struggles that Mom and Dad had to keep us clothed and fed. I can't say that I remember every little detail because I can't. Sometimes, at family gatherings, one of us will mention a story that we had long forgotten, bringing us to tears and cracking us up at the same time.

Our family likes to tell stories. Nobody could tell a story better than Dad. And every time he told a story each important part would be punctuated with the saying "in through there". I don't know why he said that. He probably didn't realize he was saying it. Maybe, it was how he collected and ciphered through all of those tall tales in his head. One such story might go like this:

Back when I was a kid, in '43 or in through there, there was a boy lived up the holler that we scared so bad, that he lit up a tree and didn't come down for three days. Damn, chicken shit, what he was. See, one night we was coming home from coon hunting and he got distracted, in through there and got left behind. Us fellows decided to teach him a lesson and hid behind a rock down there on Island Creek. You 'member where that is, don't you? Shit, he come around the corner, in through there, and we all just jumped out at him and he jumped back, screamed and took off a running, straight up the holler and up that big old oak tree, pissing his pants and carrying on like a girl. That was the funniest damn thing I ever seen.

I've heard this story many times and I still get a laugh out of it. Besides being a great story teller, here are some other things, in through there, about Dad.

He got drafted into the Army in the 50s and saw Elvis over in Germany.

He was scared of heights.

His nickname was Diddy.

Both of his pinky fingers had been cut off due to accidents as a child.

He liked Hudepohl beer.

He was a pattern marker for the Hercules Trouser Company in Manchester, Ohio, for 25 years.

He could out run anybody in the neighborhood, including Sheldon, the boy from Hawaii.

He loved his family, deeply.

Lastly, he left us 8 years ago today, on this date.

Wherever you are, in through there, we miss you very much.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Made In China

As with almost anything you buy these days, affixed somewhere on the product is a sticker that says Made in China.

That got me to wondering as I sometimes like to do and I came up with this question: Are the Made in China stickers made in China?

Since I don't know anyone in China to ask I did the next best thing: I Googled the question. It seems that there is a fan page on Facebook devoted to this exact question and over 14,000 peole have liked it. But, it didn't give me the answer.

Next, down the list on the Google search page was a company called ULINE from Pleasant Prairie, WI, and they do make the Made in China stickers.

What about that?

The product may be made in China, but the part that holds everything together (the sticker) is made right here in the good old USA.

And they say Americans don't make anything anymore...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there especially my Mom and Sister!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Learning To Say Yes

Have you ever wondered how many times we say, "No, thanks" on a daily basis? Well, I surprised myself recently by saying "yes" to things that I normally say "no" to.

It all started a few weeks ago when Mom's car was in the shop and I was volunteered to give her a ride for the next days. She was starting a new dog sitting assignment and I was going to drive her out to her client's house. Well, midway through the trek it became apparent that this house was a bit off the beaten path. The road went from nicely paved, up hill and down, to thickly gravelled, to lightly travelled and into dirt; we crossed one creek and on into deeply rutted and no-chance-in-hell is my Mustang coming back out here land.

When we finally arrived at the cabin, it was sitting on the side of the mountain and had 4 cars crammed into 3 parking spots. I was less than pleased, I had just put new brakes on the car and the brake pedal was going to the floor. How it the world did they get turned around? Mom must have heard me talking to myself because she said the same thing: I wonder how they turn around?

At that point, an older gentleman came out of the house and greeted Mom with a big hello. "Nice looking car you got there. Want me to turn her around for you?"

Now, I've only let 3 people drive my car, but something about this situation: the location, the brake pedal, my nerves were already shot from the drive up the hill and the genuine offer of help from this old guy made me slowly nod my head with acceptance. "Watch the brake pedal," I said. "I just got new brakes and it's going to the floor."

I guess his years of driving experience was a big payoff because within a few short minutes he had turned my car around. "That was fun!" he said. "I'm glad you said "yes" because the last 2 folks didn't and they backed off the side of the mountain. We had to call in the wreckers and everything; it was a hot mess!"

I'm learning to say "yes" to lots of things:

Wanna help me out with my groceries? Sure!

Can I hold the door for you? Yes, thank you!

Did you want a to-go cup? Definitely!

Would you like to try this sample? Okay!

Would you like to try our 30 day free trial.....?(No, thanks) I still can't say "yes" to telemarketers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Things To Do While Waiting On The Draino To Work

1. Chat with friends on Facebook

2. Check the help wanted ads

3. Check the weather forecast

4. Balance your checkbook

5. Comment on your favorite blog

6. Go get the mail

7. Give the new cat a thorough brushing

8. Look in the fridge for a snack

9. Eat snack

10. Write a blog post about things to do while waiting on the Draino to work.

It's been 15 minutes; time to flush the drain!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

No Longer A Threat

It took almost 10 years, but this man is no longer a threat to us. Osama Bin Laden has been killed.

Good riddance.


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