Thursday, January 12, 2017

I am going to be an adult soon

My First Work Picture from 1999

So I am coming up on my 18th year at my company.  I am thinking we need a party or something.  I mean it isn't everyday that a girl turns 18.  I have held several different positions at my company and I have seen many people come and go.  I even ran away from home for a few months only to return appreciating what I had.  I have so many great memories of my colleagues.  Everyone knows that you spend more time at work than you do with your family, so you either learn to get along with people or you are miserable.  I have had several different "work husbands" over the years and currently am in a polygamist relationship with several depending on the day and project.

Our company is very old school.  We work 8 to 5, in the office, no working from home.  Ties and jackets for the men and business dress for women.  We most definitely do not have a pool table, ping pong table or a dart board, but who says there is no Fun in Fiberglass. The people are what make work fun and we have definitely had some characters. Don't worry, I won't name names, but here are a few of my favorite memories in no particular order.
  • Apr├Ęs Sales Meeting Soirees on the Boat
  • Peach Moonshine (or at least the first part of that night, definitely not the next day)
  • Rocky Horror Ladies Night Out
  • All Ladies Night Outs
  • A certain custom products manager retirement roast.
  • Going to Appomattox with an Operations Manager who was like a grandpa on the way home from a site visit
  • Afternoon conversations with above Operations Manager
  • Putting somebody's face on a shirt since they didn't want it on a retirement cake
  • Walking into work and having the hall plastered with pictures of me doing Karaoke the night before- I think it was Family Tradition.
  • Coming back from a conference and my office being plastered with pictures of me pretending to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader
  • Relay for Life and learning to do the Electric Slide
  • My pitiful attempts at redneck photoshop- aka color printers, scissors and tape
  • Creating Jib Jabs of co workers
  • A certain estimator doing the Cupid Shuffle
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Sharing a dumpling
  • Saying something stupid when the Go To Meeting is asking for your name
  • Lunch room random conversations
  • Giving a book to a colleague who was leaving- a book written by someone who had the same name and was about a gay stripper- still makes me laugh thinking about the presentation
  • Trying to teach a co worker how to get his game on so he can get a date
  • Negotiating ice cream parties for big order days
  • Pageant for Relay for Life
  • Bartending in the NASCAR Race Suite
  • Posting pictures on FB of me with the new UT Football Coach and then having to take them down because he turned out to be a major %**&^$
  • Having Dinner with Pat Summit at Tribute to Women
  • After Work Cocktails ( I said AFTER work)
  • Parties
  • All the Babysitters that were coworkers kids
  • Pen Kidnapping
  • Ice Ice Baby
There are just too many to list really.  

I told the owner and Chairman of the Board that I moved out of my parents house to go to college when I was 17 so in a few short months he will have had the pleasure of being in charge of me longer than my father did.  He rolled his eyes and grumbled something about that must be why my dad has more hair than him.  (Don't anybody tell him but I have a tremendous amount of respect for JDT, but he would think I was mad at him if I didn't give him a hard time).

So in a few short months I will be 18.  My days of childhood and teenagerhood (is that a word?) are coming to an end. I guess that means I have to act like a grown up so I will try and be serious and professional at all times.  Anybody want to take bets on how long that will last?   And if anybody is interested my start date was March 1, 1999 if you want to plan the party. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We're off to see the Wizard


When I was a little girl The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie.  I used to wear red shoes that I called my Ruby Slippers and would say in my best witch voice "Take off those Ruby Slippers".  I am not sure why it was my favorite, but I think part of the reason is when I was kid, before VCR's and DVD's, the only way you could see the movie was when it came on Thanksgiving weekend on tv. We were usually at my grandparents for Thanksgiving and we would all gather in the family room with Grandpa's popcorn and watch the movie again.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow would come on the screen and I would dream of being Dorothy.  I would get so excited when the munchkins would appear and I would hide my eyes when the Wicked Witch would come to scare everyone.  I was so enthralled with the songs and the sets that I didn't realize until much later that the characters in Oz were the same as the ones in Kansas.  I know, I know, I am a little slow on uptake.

When I went to DC for the first time as a kid I couldn't wait to get through the monuments so we could go to the Smithsonian Museum of American History to see the Ruby Slippers.  I still go to see them.  Every. Single. Time.  Here I am the last time I went.

I was so excited when Liam auditioned for a part in Theatre Bristol's production when he was 11 years old.  He received the role of The Mayor of Munchkinland. I couldn't have been prouder.  He owned that part.

Seeing Wicked on Broadway was life changing. I had always loved the Wicked Witch of the West and knew there had to be more to the story.  (People always think the pretty girl with blond hair and the sugary sweet voice can do no wrong, but it is generally the dark haired girl who is kind of awkward and brash that you want on your side. Right?! )  I took Liam and Owen to see the traveling show a few years ago.  After the first song Owen proclaimed that it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.  When we hear Defying Gravity in the car we all sing, very loud.  I make Defying Gravity my theme song when I need to make positive changes in my life.  (yes, I have different theme songs for different times in my life as well as a supporting soundtrack.  doesn't everyone?)

A few years ago we were able to go to The Autumn at Oz.  In Beech Mountain, NC there is an old amusement park that is a replica of the movie.  It is closed now, but once a year they have a festival where you can walk through the park on the yellow brick road and meet all the characters.  We met up my parents and rented a chalet for the weekend.  It was unseasonably cold, and by cold I mean crazy cold for North Carolina in October.  There was snow and crazy cold wind, but we bundled up and went to Oz.  I have to admit, it was magical.  For a short time we were there.  On our way to see the wizard.

So why do I love The Wizard of Oz so much?  Well, it is a musical, and musical's have singing and dancing and of course Jazz Hands.  But seriously, my memories of the movie aren't just the movie, they are family moments related to the story and it is such a great story with great lessons.  Black and White Kansas is really dull compared to Oz with all it's colorful characters on the other side of the rainbow. Those colorful characters deep down are more like the black and white characters then you think at first. You already have inside you what you think it is that you most want, you just need to find it.  In the words of Scarecrow- "Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking don't they".  The great and powerful are really just people, just like us.  The Wizard says "A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others".  Dorothy learns that happiness doesn't come from a place, but comes from being with the ones you love. There is no place but home.




Monday, January 9, 2017

The Camper

Some of the Cousins

My mom comes from a really big family. She was one of seven and her mom was one of seven  of McPhillips. I can't ever keep them all straight.  My mom had a ton of cousins. Real bonafide first cousins. Not third cousins twice removed or anything like that. 35 First cousins.  They all grew up in the same town and have always been very close. Several years ago they started the tradition of the family reunion. When my grandmother and her siblings were alive these were huge multi-day events. There were even t-shirts. Each of the families would take turns hosting and planning these reunions.  One year would be my grandmother's families turn, the next would be one of the sisters turns, and so on.  One year the family in charge found a really nice campground with an indoor pool, a great pavilion and even a tractor for hayrides.  My mom asked my brother and I to please come to the reunion that year.  Liam was about 3 and she knew there were several things planned for the kids that he would enjoy.   She also wanted to have all of us together which had not happened in a while.  I think she was also losing her mind a little because instead of staying in a hotel she decided that we would rent a camper that the campsite had for rent. She kept saying how nice she heard they were and then she told us it was only $35 a night. Really.  What kind of place goes for $35 a night. Now Graham was kind of used to living in some questionable apartments. I think we found that at least 3 of his apartments where he lived in college got condemned after he moved out. Me on the other hand, not so much.  I knew it was bad when I walked in and mom was spraying Lysol everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  The mattresses, the seats, the bathroom, everywhere.  We may die from asphyxiation, but we would definitely not catch the rotavirus.  Mom and Dad were taking the "bedroom". The mattress was visibly sunken in the middle.  This brought on visions of mom and dad laying on top of each other and I really didn't want to go there.  Graham was going to take the couch bed in the front of the camper.  Probably the best spot. Of course. Right. Liam and I were to share the table bed.  The bed that is made by turning the table upside down and putting cushions on it.  I am sure when the cushions were new this would have been delightful, but 20 years and God knows how many families splurging for the $35 a night camper later the cushions had lost whatever fluff they once had.

My mother was surprisingly optimistic about everything.  I think it was probably because she wasn't going to give dad the opportunity to gloat and say I told you so, but she kept saying how it wasn't that bad was it.  We weren't planning on spending that much time there right.

The reunion was fun.  Liam had a blast. By the end of the day he was covered in mud, food, hay, and sweat.  He was exhausted .  We threw him in the summer's excuse for a bath, the pool, and planned for him to pass out from exhaustion.  Didn't happen.  Parent's Worst Nightmare- The OverTired Child.  We were all trying to go to sleep.  I imagine mom and dad on top of each other in the sunken bed.  Graham trying to sleep but mosquitoes hanging out buzzing in his ears, me on the table bed with a kid that won't quit crying.  Graham finally lost it.  Jumped out of bed and yelled "Oh my God, this sucks so bad.  It is like we are the F*****g Griswolds".

Things eventually calmed down and I wouldn't say it was restful, but we were able to get some sleep. The next morning when we were all pretty sure we had all the family togetherness that we could take I hear Graham screaming from the bathroom.  " Oh my God, oh my God, come quick, it happened again". I rushed to him thinking he might be getting attacked by a giant cockroach (as if I would help ) and he is standing in front of the mirror.  He turns and says to me- " I got better looking than I was yesterday".  Yes, he has always been like that.

Graham and I headed back to our homes that day.  Mom and Dad were supposed to stay a few more nights at the camper.  She has never really admitted it, but we know she checked into a hotel for the rest of the trip.  Even penny pinching dad was happy to pay for it.