Thursday, December 6, 2018

Twas Almost an Incident at the Walmarts.....


The hubs constantly makes fun of the fact that I love Amazon. They deliver to our house at least once twice six times a week. Whatever. I’m busy, I’m lazy, I know my limitations with people. Today I went to the Walmart in town, against my better judgment, and I nearly lost my shit in the pharmacy 9 minutes in. No one was working the Pick Up counter. There were folks running around the pharmacy ignoring all 6 of us in line. FINALLY, after a 9 minute death stare, a lady came to the register visibly irritated by our mere existence. And as my luck would have it, the first pharmacy pick up shopper was not only picking up her meds, but decided to buy a small wardrobe for her kids, among other items and PAY FOR THEM ALL RIGHT THERE. After contemplating healing foot cream, a foot spa, and sole inserts (the pharmacy pick up line is beside the foot care aisle), it was my turn…..22 minutes later. Guess who didn’t have my medicine ready?

Walmart: “Ma’am, the refill was called in but insurance has some questions. They won’t cover this.”

Me: “I’ve been taking this same medicine for 10 years. What is the question?”

Walmart: “I don’t know. Call your doctor to ask. Then have them call the insurance company. Then the insurance company can call us and we can refill it.”

Great. That chain of events could take anywhere from 10 weeks to 10 months. I am basically screwed because all of the folks in the scenario above move about as fast as a sloth. Now I get to go through the holidays without migraine medicine. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DRINK MY WINE STRESS FREE WITHOUT MY NEXT DAY “OOPS, I PROLLY OVERDID IT” BACK UP??  Thanks for nothing, Walmart. I wanted to cuss her out, but it wasn't her fault and I'm fairly certain the person 2 people behind me in line was about to cover that for all of us. 

Frustrated, I rolled over the greeting card aisle only to find I was in a face-off with not one, but TWO motorized carts operated by, not one, but TWO ladies who basically were in a race for who could take the longest to find a sympathy card. This isn’t Hallmark, y’all. Our Walmart sympathy card selection is quite sparse. How long does it take one to choose among 9 different cards? AT LEAST 15 minutes. I shit you not. I left the card section and came back and they were both still there! At this point, I was so filled with rage, I forgot the other items I wanted to pick up while I was there. My attention deficit disorder kicked in and I just started haphazardly grabbing random items that I didn’t need because I was shangry. (Shopping Angry)

Credit: www.somecards.com
Credit: www.cmonmama.com
I’m pretty sure I blacked out from the spike in my blood pressure at some point. I came to in the self-checkout line when the stupid red light for assistance came on because one of my items wouldn’t scan. It was a bottle of wine. I guess it’s common sense you need to show ID for that in self-checkout. The lady took one look at me, punched in her code on my register, without even asking for my ID, and sent me on my merry-freakin’ way. I’m fairly certain she feared for her safety.

As I walked to my car, I realized I spent $70 on stuff I did not need (except the wine) and I still didn’t get my medicine which was the main reason I went. In addition, I forgot one of the items I meant to buy. Rather than go back in the store, I got on Amazon and ordered it on the App sitting in my car in the parking lot. Waiting for a 2 day delivery is a small price to pay for my sanity and the safety of others.

The moral of this story? If you have the nerves of steel, time to kill, and the patience of a saint, shop the Walmarts. If you are a normal person, shop Amazon.











Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Big Freaking Yellow Box.

Courtesy Cartoon Stock.
I've been traveling a lot with my new job which I really enjoy for the most part. However, there is one aspect that gives me great anxiety. Airport security. Since March my mid-section has consistently illuminated the scanner screen. Granted, I know I need to lose some LBs, but I don't need TSA to tell me. Every time I have to get the pat down. EVERY-freaking-time. I've tried jeans, work pants, yoga pants, and shorts, all, with no luck. BAM. There's a bright yellow box. WTF.

Just last week I had a very disturbing experience at the Atlanta airport that left me scratching my head and questioning whether I cheated on my husband. The not-so-nice TSA worker asked if I wanted the pat down in a private room. Um, no, why would I want to do that? Whatever you plan to do, you can do here. Little did I know, she would get more action than my hubs because of her very THOROUGH search of my lady region. The initial pat down was routine - checking waistband, patting around with the back of her hand then all of sudden it turned Porn 101 in the ATL South Terminal when she practically reached for my tonsils as she patted up each leg. I KID YOU NOT. I flinched the first time thinking maybe she had a seizure causing her hand to smack me in the who-ha. I wanted to give this chick the benefit of the doubt, but nope, whilst patting up my other leg, she gave me my yearly exam yet again. It wasn't a graze, y'all. I didn't even get dinner and drinks!!! It seriously was a scene out of Orange is the New Black.
I have written and complained to TSA, but chances are, they don't give a sh*t. I, do, however give a sh*t. It's molestation.

Today, the RDU airport was very kind. I broke out in a full sweat as a I approached the 360 scanner. I wasn't prepared for the va-jay-jay exploration again, but they gently checked my waistband and sent me on my merry way. Tomorrow may be a different story and you might see me on the Louisville Kentucky news. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, now I'm concerned I have a tumor because WHY THE HELL DOES IT KEEP ILLUMINATING!!!?? Does the TSA machine know something I don't? Or is the universe just f*#king with me? If so, NOT funny, universe. NOT funny.









Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Deep Thoughts By MidLife Crisis Kristen

Mama always said, "You never know what's going to happen when you wake up in the morning." And, boy, was she right. I have had several "Mamas mornings" over the past year.

I would've never predicted I would be job-less the majority of 2017. I would've never predicted I would start my own business. And I would've most definitely never predicted an opportunity would come out of no where to sweep me off my feet after 10 months of stress, depression and frustration. And when I say it came out of no where, it did.

I have lots of emotions, mostly elation with relief as a close second. Third, is disappointment in myself. I really wanted my small business to take off, but the timing was off, coupled with the fact that I needed to be able to financially invest more in order to escalate the visibility. It just wasn't working. I believe in Social Media APPtitude and will continue to help parents who need the guidance and support, but for now, I need stability - financial, emotional and mental!

I look back at the past year and the events in which life happened. Several job opportunities presented themselves, but none of which were a fit for me. There were so many ups and downs. And, boy, do I wish I had found solace in exercise instead of junk food. I'd be one skinny beeotch. But I digress.

I did learn a lot about myself while I was having my mini-midlife crisis at home.

  • I like projects. And Amazon Prime was my assistant superintendent on each of them. I do believe my husband almost had a coronary after one delivery came in a UPS 18 wheeler. (true story - about the truck, not the coronary). Close call, that one.
  • I like to annoy my kids. I am certain each of them prayed for the day I would go back to an office far, far away.
  • I like food. Pretty sure I covered that already.
  • I like my husband. He isn't a patient man (shocker to those of you who know him. LOL), but he has been super patient with me during this entire ordeal. I believe he sensed an exorcism would be in order if he dared to say the wrong thing to me during my fragile state. 
  • I like my friends. Dear lord, you guys have put up with a lot! Will you still be my friend once I'm not so pathetic?
  • I like me. I mean, what's not to like with the messy gray hair, sweats, wrinkles, and a few extra LBs. In all seriousness, I am my own worst critic, for sure. But it's amazing what a little gift of time will do when you are left alone with just your thoughts. I'm not so bad afterall!
  • I liked the time at home, but now I'm ready. I used this time to really dig deep within myself to understand what path I wanted to take moving forward. I never would've thought I'd say this out loud, but I actually missed the fast paced corporate world. I missed the daily challenges and my brain actually getting stimulated by something other than "what show should I watch next on Netflix?" 
  • Don't ever cruise in January. Why is this relevant? It really isn't, but it's good advice. TRUST ME.
I know you're probably thinking, "well, if I had 10 months off, I would've done this and I would've done that." You think that, but when you're in it, truly in it emotionally, your body and mind go into another mode. I could ponder "I wish I had done..." all day long, but what's the point? The most important thing is it's the timeframe in my life that lead me to the next chapter. And I have an awesome renovated deck now too! 

March 5th begins this new chapter in my life, just under a year of being unemployed. I cannot wait. I have lots to do. I am mostly excited to see that gal in the mirror with a glimmer of excitement in her eyes instead of the one who resembles a homeless lady on crack. I've missed that gal!

Say goodbye to this one!
No filter = No Bueno














Now please excuse me while I go lose 30lbs in 3 weeks.

- Kristen



****Shout out to my friends and family for your support the past year. I have THE best village. <3











Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Parents: What is YOUR Social Media APPtitude?

I started Social Media APPtitude in the Fall of 2017 to educate parents on all things social media. It's an ever evolving subject as new apps are released daily and new apps suddenly become cool with our kids and teens. Who can keep up? I made it my job to do so and it is sometimes difficult. However, I've dedicated my life to do this for my fellow Moms, Dads, Stepparents, Grandparents, Godparents, etc. so I am all in.

Social Media APPtitude's material and message is part research, part lessons learned (what to do and what NOT to do after raising 4 boys). I would never tell a parent not to allow their kid to have social media, because it is not going away. What I do advise is to get educated first before doing so. Know what will be acceptable in your household, not just app-wise, but daily screen time, permissible followers and, even more importantly, permissible people for them to follow. Just because she's a Kardashian and on TV doesn't make her automatically acceptable for your 13 year old daughter to follow. (Simply search "Kim Kardashian West" on Instagram and see for yourself). I use her as an example because she was #5 on Top 10 Most Followed Instagram Accounts in 2017. If 106 million people follow her, it should be OK for my kid, right?

Make that judgment for yourself. You know your moral compass. Help collaborate your kid's on social media.
  • Set your own standards and rules for your household. 
  • Make them clear.
  • Have consequences when rules are broken.
  • Follow through.
  • Have conversations with your kids about the avenue in which people use social media. 
    • For every one "pretty selfie", it took a dozen "ugly tries".
    • Most people only want you to see the good/the pretty/the popular/the socially acceptable. We are all human beings with imperfections and fears. Be true to who you are online by embracing who you are in real life.
    • Never EVER let social media likes, retweets, shares, comments, Snapchat views, heart emojis, etc. define your self worth. (and if it starts to, it may be time to take a break)
    • Do not post/Tweet/Snap hurtful content about another person or on another person's page. Seems like a no brainer, but you have to cover all bases, even ones you think go without saying. 
    • Treat all words/photos/videos as if they are never truly deleted. There are always ways to recover content. 
    • If you question sending a text or photo, ask yourself "would I be embarrassed if their mom/dad saw this". If the answer is Yes, don't click send.


And a little advice from one parent to another:
  • Choose how interactive you want/need to be. If you feel you need to monitor their every move, then your child might not be ready. Find your balance.
  • Consider steering clear of the parental spy apps that record every text exchange. (Unless you feel like your child is in danger or putting someone else in danger) You will find yourself nit-picking the fact they wrote a curse word in a text to their friend instead of looking at the bigger picture of why you're trying to protect them to begin with. Give them some privacy, but with the previous mentioned guidance, rules and follow up. 
  • Treat social media access privileges similarly to your child getting their drivers license. Just because they passed Drivers Ed with flying colors doesn't mean you won't correct them as often as necessary when you're in the passenger seat. It's OK to tell them to slow down even after they have been driving for some time. Calibrate as long as you deem necessary. You're a parent and every important decision you make for them is with their best interest at heart. Don't treat social media any less. It is for their safety and emotional wellbeing.
  • Explain the importance of setting a positive digital footprint.
  • Make the decision to allow them to have a smart phone and social media access based on their maturity not their age. 
  • Make the decision to allow them to have a smart phone and social media access based on your emotional fortitude to set the boundaries, monitor as often and long as needed and continued education on what new apps kids are using.

There is a lot to take into consideration when making the decision to let your child have access to such an enormous digital world. As parents, we are all so busy, it is sometimes too easy to fall in the trap of "well, everyone else's kid has a smartphone and Snapchat. I suppose it's time." The good news is, YOU get to determine when it's time. And it doesn't have to be so overwhelming with resources at your fingertips such as Social Media APPtitude.
For more information on specific apps, guidance on how to do a quick phone sweep, set parental controls for apps including YouTube (an unsuspecting culprit), a list of apps to beware of including anonymous & vault apps, and hands on tutorials of apps such as Snapchat, contact Social Media APPtitude.

One of the greatest investments you can make as a parent today is investing your time in preparing and guiding them through this social media age. 



Follow Social Media APPtitude:
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @smapptitude
Email: smapptitude@gmail.com














Thursday, September 28, 2017

Letting Your Inner Voice Lead You to Your "Supposed To's".

2017 has been a very interesting year. As mentioned in a prior blog, I lost my job in April. It was quite a blow, but hindsight 20/20, I brought it on myself when I started to pay attention to my inner voice that had been telling me for some time I needed to make some adjustments in my life.  So I did what I thought I was supposed to do and go to my boss about transferring into another role within the company. I had been burned out for some time and needed a change. That inner voice would NOT shut up about this darn change.

Battle amongst my brain and inner voice: OK, OK, inner voice, I mentioned it!! You happy?
Inner voice: Nope, not yet.

I had been with the company for nearly 15 years. I loved the people and the culture, so I wanted to stay. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for me to stay and 3 months after I let my inner voice open her big mouth, I walked out the door of a great company which had given me stability and allowed me to grow professionally. I was devastated to say the least. For months, I got up every single morning, logged on to my computer and filled out application after application. I was never called, called occasionally, turned down and even offered a handful of positions, but for one reason or another nothing seemed to be working out. My inner voice sat back with her hands crossed with a look of frustration nodding her head in disappointment. I would squash her down when I’d start to hear her voice. After all, I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do! One day I looked at the calendar and I had been without a job for 3 months. How could that be? Why aren’t any of these jobs panning out?
Inner voice: I know why…..

Me: Shut up, already. You GOT me in this mess.
Inner voice: (Sitting back, crossing her arms.....waiting patiently) 

After the 3 month mark, that damn inner voice started to speak up a bit louder each day. I tried to ignore her, because she wasn’t making any sense. My brain was in job mode: gotta pay bills, get insurance, have stability, etc. That’s what I was supposed to do. Yet she continued to silently argue to the point I couldn’t ignore her, as much as I tried. One day I was meeting a friend for lunch and on the drive there, my inner voice broke through with a roar.
Inner voice: LISTEN UP!! IF YOU DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO ME, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM. I can’t tell you the hows, whens or whats, but I can tell you WHY you need to pay attention.

In the silent moments within her rant, my brain stopped what it was doing to listen. “There is more for you than this. The time has come for you to make a change and follow me. Trust me.” 
I cried like I hadn’t cried for quite some time releasing frustration, disappointment, anger, guilt and sadness from where they had slept quietly in their imaginary vault so I could be doing what I was supposed to do.  
I knew that day that the reason I hadn’t gotten another job wasn’t because of all the reasons my brain was telling me, but because I wasn’t being my authentic self. When I truly began to listen, I realized she had been speaking to me for several years, planting a seed here and there, waiting patiently for it to grow in the hopes I would see it. And there were days I noticed and nurtured it, but more days than not, I ignored it so I could do what I was supposed to do. So I made the decision that day to try and pay more attention to that inner voice. I must be missing something. Meanwhile, the bills weren’t paying themselves.

Four months home, still no leads, my inner voice screaming a bunch of nonsense and I was nearing the end of my wits, a friend asked to meet for lunch. That particular day, she brought a former coworker who I hadn’t seen in months. The three of us sat outside enjoying the breeze and catching up on life. My story had pretty much been a 4 month broken record but I repeated it nonetheless.
And then it happened.

The former coworker who is a successful business woman and a mom of two small children said: “Do you know what keeps me up at night? Worrying about my kids and social media.” She remembered the blog I wrote a few years back about parenting and social media. “I need someone like you around to teach me when they get old enough to have that technology.”

Out of nowhere, bells and whistles started to sound, and I am fairly certain my inner voice did a cartwheel and a split. A door that had been hidden suddenly appeared, opened and opportunity presented itself in the most amazing fashion while my inner voice arrogantly exclaimed, “Ta Da!!!”
September 7th was the fateful date. I texted my husband before I even left the restaurant and said “I know what I’m supposed to do!” After months of questioning my every turn and every decision, I did not question this. Not once. Once that door opened, thoughts and ideas began to flow. I couldn’t keep up with the speed at which they were coming to me. I would sit straight up in bed at night and make notes as to not forget the next day. That inner voice, which I thought had been so annoying, was now fueling me with determination and idea after idea. She knew all along what I was supposed to be doing. I just needed to listen.

Within 2 weeks, I had done tons of research, built a website, held a focus group meeting, created social media pages for marketing, and even found an inexpensive office space that practically fell into my lap from an angel. Less than 3 weeks in, I had my first booking.
Today marks 3 weeks to the day that the seed of Social Media APPtitude was planted. As I sit in my office, I am ever so grateful for small blessings that happened along the way without me even realizing. I'm mostly thankful for the blessing of wisdom and finally knowing when to listen. Sometimes what society and your brain says you are supposed to be doing is nothing at all what your inner voice is telling you. Is it going to be an easy road? No. Will it take patience? Yes. Am I scared? Absolutely. But **something** tells me, I’m going to be just fine.




Thursday, July 6, 2017

I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, I am swipe right worthy!

Dear diary,

Since we last spoke, I have gained 20 lbs and lost my job. Aside from that, things have been going amazingly well.

Yours truly,
Kristen


Well, here I am......at the pinnacle of what should be my career. Instead, on this glorious Thursday July morning, sitting at my kitchen counter, frantically searching for a job....and my life's meaning.

I have ridden the roller coaster of emotions since late April, yet somehow I find myself back to feeling at peace with it. And then I snap out of that and realize these bills ain't payin' themselves.

CareerTinder (see below)
I've painstakingly filled out close to 100 applications for jobs of all types and had the pleasure of being interviewed, raked over the coals, and stared at blankly multiple times. I realize, unless it's a role in the construction or engineering industry, no one else really knows what to do with me. I kind of think I'm a catch. I'd date me. I'd date the hell out of me. But CareerTinder* sees my profile and that I am loyal, hard working, advanced my career through the years and......over 40 and, suddenly....

They swipe left*. Bastards.


Many people say job hunting is a lot like dating with feeling each other up (out), rejections, butterflies, and wishing for that second or third date (interview). It's sometimes even getting way too far in the date (interview process) to realize this person (job) is NOT for you but not knowing how to back out of it. Or the opposite; trying hard to not show them how much you like them, maintaining a poker face while internally screaming "Love me! Love me! ("Hire me! Hire me, please for the love of god!")

No one wants to appear desperate even when they are. But, hey, sometimes desperate gets the "right swipe" on CareerTinder. However, I am not ready to change my profile to job-floozy just yet.

Meanwhile, as I flail around in this unemployment vortex, my yard and deck have never looked better. This time home has channeled some type of superhero power that drives me to do projects around my house. I expect at any moment my husband will admit me to a psych ward somewhere but he just so happens to enjoy the benefits of my small home improvement projects. I believe he's holding off until I make my way to his office and start organizing his sh*t. (which is very soon by the way)

All joking aside, the job hunting process as a 40 something female is brutal. On the plus side, it has forced me to do a lot of soul searching on what makes the most sense for my family and, more importantly, ME. This is the time where I need to ask myself: Is it time for me to do what I need to do or want to do? (barring that what I want can still cover the bills)

What is it I want, you ask? Honestly, I am still on the path to figuring that out completely. I love to write and dabbling in social media, but have no work experience or degree in English or Journalism. I want to help people, but have no work experience or degree in Philanthropy, Social Services, Psychology or any medical related field. I want to make people laugh, feel normal, and love and appreciate who they are and what they mean to the people around them. (I have no damn clue what degree THAT would entail, but I am fairly certain my 2 year Associates Degree in Mechanical Drafting doesn't cover it). In short, I want to make a difference. It's kinda vague and doesn't really sound sexy enough to put on CareerTinder, now does it? At some point, a decision needs to be made. Do I continue to market the career driven gal in the AEC industry? Or do I take a chance on change? Honestly, I am not ready to pull the trigger on choosing one over the other. Rather, I plan to keep my options open and see what happens. I shall be patient for what molds perfectly into my 20+ career background. Or take a chance on the most unlikely opportunity to swipe right.

Soooo.... if it just so happens you're reading this and know someone who'd consider me CareerTinder swipe-right worthy, have 'em hit me up on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, PowerSchool, WeatherBug, FindFriends, Timehop, ESPN, PicStitch or the Chick-Fil-A app. Or send me an email if they are old-school like that. If you need me, I'll be working on my next home improvement project: How to Get Rid of the Kids for the Remainder of the Summer.

-Kristen


* Career-Tinder: my made up job hunting version of the dating (hooking up) app, Tinder. Swipes right: shows interest. Swipes left: moves on to the next candidate.

**I tried merging the two names, but Careerinder and Tinderreer sounded really negative. Not to mention the icon looks a bit like a career is up in flames, but it's all I could muster up in such a short amount of creative time in my kitchen... and it's ironic.










Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pitching Fits & Pointing Fingers - Parenting's Biggest Hurdle.

Anyone that knows me, knows I love my kids. But here's the truth..... I don't always like them (and I'm certain that those feelings can be mutual at times). I've worked really, really hard not to let them turn out to be a$$holes, but it's hard. It's a constant battle. The entitlement thing is the real deal and I struggle with it on a regular basis. And I know I'm not alone in the WOE (War On Entitlement). 

Entitled generation POV:
  • Don’t feel like verbally communicating? 
    • I’m too tired, too busy and would rather text.
  • Frustrated because you’ve been asked two times in a row to take out the garbage and your sibling hasn’t? 
    • Mom is a b*tch.
  • Feel as though your clothes and sneakers are outdated? 
    • Mom/Dad never make time to go shopping.
  • Don’t want to eat spaghetti AGAIN? 
    • Bojangles is so much better.
  • Xbox keeps disconnecting because wifi is on the blink AGAIN? 
    • My parents are so frustrating by not getting this fixed by now.
  • Made a bad grade on your test in school? 
    • The teacher is terrible. Ask anyone.
  • Can’t find your earbuds? 
    • The dryer ruined them AGAIN.

 

Real life:
  • Don’t feel like verbally communicating? 
    • Hey, YOU! Step away from the smartphone screen.
  • Frustrated because you’ve been asked two times in a row to take out the garbage and your sibling hasn’t?
    • If I say it’s YOUR turn, it’s your turn.
  • Feel as though your clothes and sneakers are outdated? 
    • Have you seen my closet? I have clothes from before YOU were born. (and I still wear them) Get a job. 
  • Don’t want to eat spaghetti AGAIN? 
    • Refer to “Get a job”. Too young for a job? Here’s extra marinara sauce, just like YOU like it.
  • Xbox keeps disconnecting because wifi is on the blink AGAIN? 
    • Let me get YOU Time Warner’s customer service number 1-800-TWCsux. Be thankful you're b*tching about lack of wifi vs. lack of food and shelter.
  • Made a bad grade on your test in school? 
    • Step away from the smartphone (again) and study.  YOU have to pay attention in class, read the material, and repeat.
  • Can’t find your earbuds? 
    • Stop leaving them in YOUR damn pockets!!
At some point I hope my words resonate with them, but realistically, it probably won't happen until my kids are older, independent and have someone complaining to them about wifi, and regular-ole spaghetti. 

Until then, I'm happy to be the Naggy-McNaggerston. They can hate me now and love me later. Sure beats the hell out of the alternative.

Loving me now (for giving in to their demands) and hating me later (for setting them up for failure).