Living the Prepared Life

I’m trying to figure out how to make life for Fernando and myself a bit more prepared. We want to be frugal with our lives and spend less time and money on things that don’t matter, like lots of food that just sits in our kitchen and eventually goes bad because I haven’t spent time making a meal plan for the week.

Yeah, I’m that person.

I like the idea of having lots of food in the fridge so I can eat whenever I like. But I never seem to have a solid plan on what I’ll do with said food.

Then there are the leftovers. I’m also the person who loves the idea of leftovers but can’t seem to commit to eating them. It’s like saying that the food is only good the first night and never again. That’s how I am and how I end up with tubs of Tupperware containers in my fridge full of foods growing who knows what.

Yeah, I’m that person, too.

So in an effort to change my habits of wasting money, I’m working on only buying things that we’ll use. If that means buying things that have a longer shelf-life to save money and save me the headache of emptying containers of moldy food, then I’m attempting that. If it means not buying food until we’re out of things to eat at home, I’ve tried that.

But I’m also trying to be more conscious of how we eat. I like having fresh fruits and vegetables in the house. I just never have a plan for how we’ll use them. This becomes a problem when said fruits and vegetables inevitably go bad. And let’s not even talk about freezer burnt meats.

Instead, let’s talk about how I’m making preparedness more of a concept in a frugal lifestyle. I have a job where I work part-time and most of my income is divided between my car payments and our grocery bill. I’m attempting to make that second one a great deal smaller by utilizing Pinterest lists and actually planning what we’ll eat each week.

Have you ever done that before? Planned out your meals? It’s actually quite cathartic in a way I never imagined it could be. I spent all Saturday taking ingredients I purchased at my local Aldi and chopping, slicing, dicing, pouring, and combining them into gallon-sized bags of freezer goodness to be thawed later for the crockpot meals they’ll eventually become. How prepared is that? I was incredibly proud of myself and then realized how much of an adult I really have become.

I still have a number of meals left to prepare, but they take less chopping, slicing and dicing. They can also be done on days when I have more time and don’t just have a break between the classes I teach. So I chose to leave those well enough alone. I am, however, spending time planning out exactly what we’ll eat on each day of the week so I don’t have anything left to chance and find myself saying: “Oh, let’s go out!”

It’s a favorite thing for me.

If I have something prepared or something in mind, it’ll be harder for me to be lazy. Or so I like to tell myself. I’ll have to report back here and let you know how it goes, though.

On a side note, I think I’ve mentioned that Fernando is in university currently. He applied to two local businesses for internships even though he’s essentially still a freshman (I think a bachelor-degree holding student should automatically get some credit, but apparently having an English degree and going to study a science major puts you right back at the beginning). Well, we got some hopeful news this week!

Fernando heard back from one of the companies he applied to and has been asked to do a conference call interview on Tuesday morning! It wouldn’t be in the exact field he’s studying, but really, who cares if it gets him a foot in the door? (Not to mention out of fast food hell!) So please be thinking good thoughts and sending up some prayers for him for his interview!

– RaeNezL


What a Crazy Month

It’s now officially March, and as a wrap up to February, I just want to say that it’s been more than a little exciting, crazy, nerve-wracking, romantic, and overall exhausting.

But it has got to be my favorite month in 2013 so far, and ladies and gentlemen, we’re only in the third month now. So that is a very good thing. We’re on course for this year to shape up to be one of the best years I’ve had in a very long time.

Yes, I’m still working in a call center. Yes, I visited HR twice in the last two weeks to discuss conditions on the job that have yielded very interesting conversations with people who probably don’t know much about working in a call center. Yes, my stats are generally going downhill in a job that has frustrated me to no end.

I’ve never been happier.

The last week alone has been full of all kinds of things that have turned my world upside down, and I want to take the right amount of time to go through all of them in the correct order because it’s important that you understand just why I’ve been away so long and just why it’s been so crazy for me.

Suffice it so say, dear readers, your writer is ecstatic and busy like a bee and thrilled to bits and pieces to be involved in things that will likely leave her busy for the next several months on a rather important project.

However, let’s rewind a bit.

I think I mentioned that I’d been praying for an interview with a company after I had a phone interview with them. If I didn’t mention it, well, that’s part of what happened over the course of February. If I pulled out my calendar, I could share with you the exact date, but either way, I had a phone interview for a position that sounded relatively mediocre when I first read the details of it but would at least get me out of my current job.

The phone interview enlightened me, and the remaining details sounded more promising. That resulted in an in-person interview with the management team. Now for this particular company, they’ve been going through some growing pains, and that has resulted in something that left them without a management team for the department the position I interviewed for was in. Have you got all that?

I went into the interview and interviewed with the CEO and president of the company because they are the acting management team for the department.

The CEO and president.


I was a bit intimidated, but they were incredibly personable. It was an hour and a half long, and they asked me questions going all the way back to high school. (Wow!) When I began asking them questions about the company, I was struck by how much they loved what they did and how passionate they were about the industry and the company mission. Not to mention they have an internal mission to make the company a place where people love coming to work.

I can definitely get on board with that.

I had good and bad feelings at the end of the interview, and I was so hoping they’d let me know if I’d advanced enough to be able to come in for a second in-person interview, which would be the final interview step in the process.

It took a week before I heard back from them, but they emailed me last Friday (meaning February 22nd) to say they liked me and wanted me to come back for a second interview.

Can you imagine how thrilled I was? I hadn’t been so excited in a long time, and I was starting to hope for the possibility I might actually be able to get a better job.

I set up the next interview for March 1st.

And that, my dear readers, is my first update. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much news, but you’ll be hearing much, much more about this last week within my next few posts!

– RaeNez

Scheduling Blues & Valentine’s Recap

Well, I’ve been away several days, and it’s been an exciting and busy few days to say the least. I’ll start by saying that on Friday (yes, I’m bypassing Valentine’s for a moment) we had a meeting at work. That’s always a danger. It was even more of a danger because it was with our outbound collections team only instead of the entire call center team.

The meeting began with the management team informing us we’re going to a new schedule. Now while it isn’t pleasant for me, I wasn’t as upset by the changes as some people were. It’s not like I can complain anyway. They do what they want, and I simply do as I’m told, right? Right.

Our current schedule is a Monday-Thursday 9-hour shift and Friday 4-hour shift. You can see why some people were upset. They cherish their 4-hour Fridays. As do I. It’s one of the few days I’m really able to see Fernando, after all, since his crazy schedule as fast food assistant manager keeps him busy on 10-hour shifts five days a week, he ends up taking off Fridays and Saturdays to see me. So we get my half-day Fridays and all day Saturdays and most of Sundays.

If we’re lucky, we’ll see each other at various times during the week. But that hasn’t happened often lately due to our schedules.

Now my schedule will be changing starting in a few short weeks. It’s going from the above to a straight 8-hour Monday-Friday shift. They determined this was the best option to get the most call outs done and get things taken care of in the timeliest manner.

I have no quibbles with leaving an hour earlier. I’m not too chuffed at losing my half-day. I’m just rather tired with all the changes. It’s every other week we’re having a meeting about changing this or that policy. Or perhaps we’re getting an email at least once or twice a week about being able to accept or deny new pieces of information for customers when they apply for different programs. Then there’s the constant change in seating arrangements. I feel like I’m back in high school, moving desks because the teachers disapprove of so-and-so sitting next to so-and-so or whatnot.

In fact…

I had to move my desk to a desk literally not two feet away from where I was sitting. It wasn’t a big deal. They had me move on Thursday. And while I’m not really complaining, I find it amusing that I was moved.

You see, I didn’t ask to be moved.

Evelyn did.

She has severe asthma, and it’s been acting up terribly in our prior seating arrangement next to the supervisor. We were seated directly under a vent that constantly pumped out air (whether warm or cold) that would irritate her asthma and cause her to cough uncontrollably. Honestly, it was an OSHA issue more than anything else. But she was going nuts trying to get over the coughing, and she had requested to be moved to a seat where there was no vent (a seemingly impossible task in our large facility).

She requested to take over the resident “bro-ski’s” seat because he sat in an area that wasn’t as heavily hit by vents. Now “bro-ski” is an okay guy, but he’s not someone I talk to a lot, and I’m not particularly a fan of his. Evelyn took him aside and explained her situation and asked him nicely if he’d consider switching seats with her. His response was, unfortunately, predictable.

He told her in no uncertain terms he would raise cain if she tried to get him to move.

Well, strike one.

Then my supervisor came up to me on Thursday morning after I noticed her speaking to “bro-ski” and asked if I would move. She told me she knew I wasn’t really interested in moving but asked if I’d be willing to. I said I would, end of story. I mean, they’d move me anyway, so I had little choice in the matter.

That afternoon our systems went down completely for about an hour. It was great and glorious. I couldn’t take calls. It was a really beautiful world. And that’s when I moved. I took over another “bro-ski’s” desk who was out sick that day, and that’s when I realized what had happened.

In order to pacify “bro-ski,” they moved me so that his “bromance” with our other “bro-ski” could continue unhindered by distance. And of course, because the “bromance brothers” are the “teacher’s pet” types in the call center, they get pacified in their desires.

I know that’s very sarcastic and all, but you have to understand the call center life is one of those things that is very similar to high school. You have the teacher’s pets who suck up to the supervisors and get what they want. You have the cool kids who band together and get to do special things because they’re cool and they can. And then you have people who don’t really fit and just try to make it without getting in trouble.

There’s more to it than that, but I’ll likely do a separate post about how the call center is just like high school.

In short, I got bumped for the “bromance” duo, and I’m not altogether unhappy, just amused at the irony of favoritism.

In other news: I am hoping and praying for a favorable review of an interview I had Friday afternoon with an amazing company that I’d love to work for. I won’t say much here now, but I had a phone interview with them last Thursday and arranged for an in-person interview with them Friday afternoon. And now it’s a matter of waiting for them to call me this Friday to let me know if I get to go on to an executive interview, the next step in their process. I’ll definitely keep you posted on how that goes! Be wishing me lots of luck!

Finally, I have to say I had an excellent Valentine’s Day with my dear Fernando.

He surprised me big time, and though the women at work were wagering on how many bouquets I’d receive and whether he’d propose or not (to both of which they were disappointed), I was frustrated by the end of the work day. The flowers rolled in, and it was a riot of roses in the office, but none came for me. And what really frustrated me wasn’t the lack of a delivery but my co-workers’ constant jabbing at me about how I hadn’t gotten anything yet and how something much bigger and shinier must be waiting for me at home. (Or as one co-worker put it, I must have a “butt naked man” waiting for me.)

By the time I went home, I was annoyed and ready to call it a night and just go wherever for dinner and not even bother with all the hoopla surrounding Valentines, even though I’d made Fernando a card on Sunday and gotten him chocolate-covered strawberries the day before. So when he showed up at my door dressed nicely with his hands behind his back and told me to pick a hand, I was taken aback and felt annoyed with myself for being annoyed.

He brought me chocolates and a beautiful bouquet of red and pink roses and the sweetest card. I think I liked the card best. Probably because he wrote me the most wonderful note, and I’m nothing if not won over by a few lines of ink on paper. I almost cried but didn’t and instead hugged him and didn’t want to let go to get dinner.

We went to a seafood restaurant here in town and got a delicious meal. I got a nice fish that wasn’t too fishy tasting with a lemon caper sauce and au gratin potatoes. He got filet mignon and lobster and steamed broccoli. And it was all just lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed my Valentine’s Day with my first Valentine.

I’m not going to make a huge deal out of it, but he was incredibly sweet, and I adored him for it. And now here’s hoping all the good vibes from Valentine’s allowed my interview Friday to push me toward the potential for a new and better job in a company that seems to be really amazing and, more importantly, cares for its employees and wants them to enjoy coming to work.

What a difference that would make!

We shall see. And I will definitely keep you posted.

– RaeNez