Friday, July 19, 2013

Scarlett Who?

A year ago, I weighed 165 pounds and wore a size 16 Petite.  I was also 5'0, which I still am, and will remain until I start shrinking.  Today I weigh 133, and wear a size 10.  I lost a lot of the weight in the first few months, since January I've only lost around 5.  I'd still like to lose more weight, and doing it slowly is fine.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself.  It wasn't easy to lose weight. I basically did it by using the LoseIt app to track all my calories, every day.  It made it possible for me to stay a few calories under goal during the week and have a big cheaty meal on the weekend without going over my weekly goal.  It made me realize how little food I actually need, compared to how much I was eating.  It helped me see the difference between eating until I'm not hungry instead of eating until I'm full.  I still eat potato chips and drink wine and have fried food every now and then, I just have to budget for it in my calorie total.

I apparently will never, ever be able to give up potato chips and wine.  

What a different experience shopping is now!  I used to shop only when I had to, and buy whatever didn't look too terrible.  The choices in a size 16 Petite are nearly non-existent, it's in that terrible gray area between Misses sizes and Women's sizes, and it's genuinely hard to find.  Now that I can wear a size 10 it has opened up a whole new world of options.

When I was in my late teens and 20's I wore a size 3 and shopped like it was my part-time job.  *sigh*

Now that it's kind of fun again, looking for sales and trying on different things to see what might be flattering, I've been going shopping more often.  Last weekend I was in the mall and I went past a Victoria's Secret store, which normally I just avert my eyes from in a spasm of self-hatred.  But this time I decided to go in.

Yuck, what happened to the Victoria's secret stores of the 80's, when they had romantic lacy naughty things like garter belts and teddies?  Are teddies even a thing anymore?  All I saw was neon-colored bras and panties and yoga pants and cosmetics.

But then I remembered the Frederick's of Hollywood store.  

I went in slightly uncomfortably, thinking maybe of getting a pretty lacy garter belt and some stockings.  I love old-fashioned, romantic lingerie.  I was immediately swooped upon by a sales girl (I say girl because I believe she was around 11) who smiled at me and used what was probably a lot of training to not only get me to feel comfortable but positively flattered.

"Instead of a garter belt," she said, "what about a corset with garters?  Oh, you would just love a corset," she assured me.

The other sales girl jumped in.  "You've never tried on one of our corsets?", she asked.  "You won't believe how good you look!"

I succumbed and followed her into the fitting room with a black corset, with garters on the bottom and laces on the back and a little row of ruffly lace across the top.  "You just call me when you have it on," the 11-year old said, "and I'll come and lace you up.  You'll love it!"

Okay.  I took off my Adam Ant concert t-shirt and my beige bra and pulled it on.  Hooking it up was pretty challenging, especially given that the hooks were up the side. The bottom ones kept coming undone when I worked on the higher ones. I finally twisted it around and pulled the row of hooks to the front, and managed, after a few minutes, to get them all fastened.

And then I stood there, looking at myself in the mirror, holding the corset against me, with the garters dangling down over my jeans.  What had she said?  Call her when I have it on?  How am I supposed to do that?  I peeked out the door, which was at the very back of the store, not separated at all.  I saw a crowd of people, including several guys, and I quickly retreated back into the dressing room.

Okay.  Surely she meant she would check back with me.  I looked at my watch, and waited.

Five minutes later it occurred to me that I could call her on my cell phone, but that seemed pretty weird.

Ten minutes later I realized the little dressing room had no AC vent, and I was starting to sweat a little.  All righty, that's enough, I thought, and unhooked the corset and put my bra and t-shirt back on.

"You know," I said as I went up to the counter, "I think I really do just want a garter belt."

"Oh no," she said, "I forgot about you!  We just got so busy," she explained, as she took someone's credit card to ring them up.

A woman standing in line saw me holding the corset.  "Oh!," she said to me.  "Did you try it on?  Didn't you just LOVE it?"

"Well, no," I said.  "I think I really just want a garter belt."

She started rooting through her giant purse.  "Oh," she said again, "you really have to try it on.  You would not believe what a difference it made in my life."  She stopped rooting and pulled her cell phone out of her purse.

I stood there, trying to listen politely.  What was she talking about?  And why was she talking to me?

"You know what I mean," she said.  "When you hit that certain age," she rolled her eyes, "everything just goes south, and then I gained weight, and my marriage suffered.  Seriously!  But the corset just pulled everything in and up and made everything look so good, I even took a picture!"

I laughed.

"No really," she said, tapping her phone.  "Here!"

And she held up her phone to me, and showed me a photo of herself -- neck to navel -- wearing the corset.  She did, I must say, have some spectacular cleavage.

"Oh my!"  I said.  "Oh, well, you do look… really good.  Really!  I mean, I see why you took a picture."

"You HAVE to try it on," she entreated me with all the passionate intensity of a Christian trying to save me from hell.

The 11-year old joined in.  "Go on, you really will like it," she smiled at me.

Well.  How could I say no, at this point?  The stranger had showed me her sexy camera photo.  I felt obligated.

"You just let me know when you're in it, and I'll come in and lace you up."

Uh uh.  I looked at the 11-year old.  "How about if you give me three minutes, and then you just come in, okay?"

So there I was back in the dressing room.  At least this time I knew to pull the hooks around to the front first.  I hooked, twisted, then waited.

The 11-year old showed up promptly, knocking on the door.  "Ready?"


She came in and started adjusting the laces up the back, and then yanked.  I actually staggered backwards a little.  "Wow," I laughed.  "I do feel a little like Scarlett O'Hara," I marveled, looking at the way it nipped in my waist.

"A lady said that to me yesterday, too!," the salesgirl said.  "Who is that, was she in the Avengers?"

I hesitated.  "Well, no.  She was in Gone With The Wind."

Our eyes met in the mirror, and I knew she had no idea what that was.  "Oh, right!" she faked. 

"Your pale skin looks so pretty with the black fabric.  Very sophisticated!"

I could just picture the binder of Frederick's of Hollywood Sensitivity Meets Flattery training materials.  "Thank you," I said. 

"There you go!"  She gave one last yank and tied off my laces.  She left me alone so I could admire myself.

Okay, I bought it.

This one, only in black.  And
I look exactly like this in it!

It really is awesome, even if Greg does have to help me get into it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My own tiny personal break room

It may very well be kind of neurotic or anti-social to spend all my breaks in my car.  But I like the parking lot; this is my view.  And I get the best spot in the shade under the big tree because I get in so early.  (Yes, I'm Sheldon.)

I like sitting in my car and eating my lunch, or calling Greg, or calling Mom, or going on Twitter or playing a game on my phone.  It's way more relaxing to me than having to make small talk about congress or work or some popular tv show with a co-worker/stranger in the break room.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. ~ Dolly Parton

Driving home from work, we are on the 408 toll road heading east, going past downtown Orlando.  It's stormy pretty much every day during the summer afternoon commute, although not always this dramatically.

At least we are headed home, where even if it is windy and stormy, we will be cozy with our kitties.  Who may well be hiding in the back closet, but still under the same roof with us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Morning without you is a dwindled dawn. ~ Emily Dickinson

This is actually the same intersection from my previous post, the one with the Poppy Z. Brite quote.  This time, though, it's morning, and I've just dropped Greg off for his stupid day of work and I'm on the 7-minute trip to my stupid day of work.

We went in extra early, and it was a lovely morning, really.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Watering the grass I'm standing on

Well, the job that I wasn't impressed with or interested in actually called and offered me the position, for 5k/year more than I'm making now.  I considered it, but turned it down because A) a lot of that extra money would be eaten up with gas and tolls, B) no pension, C) the work area was depressing, D) no paid PTO days or accruing PTO hours until January 2014, and E) they were just weird and disorganized and strange through the whole process.

The other place brought me in for a second interview.  They remain very interesting to me, but who knows -- we'll see if they come back with an actual job offer.

In the meantime, last week I did it.  I got up the courage and marched in.  I didn't mention to my boss that I know that a half dozen people have gotten many thousands of dollars in bonuses so far this year because of the abandon rate that I have worked to lower.  It's half of what it was last year before I was hired, and it's directly related to my being there to forecast how many calls we will get, schedule agents at the right times to answer the calls, and to set hiring parameters to make sure we have enough agents.  The supervisors and managers have a hand in keeping the abandon rate low by controlling when agents log off the phone for breaks/lunches/impromptu training, however they do it by looking at the call volume numbers from my forecast.

I did mention that he told me, nearly a year ago, that if I did a good job they would reward me, potentially with bonuses.  I asked him if he thought I had done a good job, and he said yes.  I pointed out that my major responsibilities are actually somewhat above my title of Analyst, most of what I do is at a Manager level (and I also reminded him that a couple of times lately he has accidentally referred to me as a Workforce Manager).  

He told me that he would be happy to set me up with a specific compensation plan where I would be paid bonuses based on a scale.  I said that'd be fine with me.  He said he would consult with the director of the call center (who also reports to him) to get his feedback on how that should be set up/measured.

He also told me that he sees changes happening within the next 6 months that would mean the creation of a new Workforce Manager position.  He said while he couldn't promote me into that position (I don't know why not…?) and it would have to be posted as an open job, he thought I would be the obvious candidate given my experience within the company.

So.  Now I'm waiting to hear back from him about what kind of comp plan, and I'm wondering how much of a factor the potential new position should be if I should actually get a job offer.

I also told him that I had been offered a job making more money and with less responsibilities.  I told him that I turned it down, and that I am happy working for this company, and that I think it's a good company (which is true).  He said that he would encourage me, and everyone, to go out into the job market and interview somewhere else occasionally just to "see what else is out there".  He said that can have an impact on the "grass is greener" assumption.

I see his point, but it had the opposite result for me; I have found out that I'm making less money that most others at my level and I'm doing much higher-level things.  When interviewers ask me why I am considering leaving my current position, all I have to do it describe my job, and that answers that.

Still.  I do like it here, and I like having more responsibility.  Also, I heard a great saying recently:  The grass is greener where you water it.  So I'm trying to water my grass here.

For the past several weeks I've been consciously trying to let work go, to NOT check my email when I'm home, to NOT bring my laptop home, and to stop and question the situation if I start to feel pressured or stressy, to hand off work whenever possible.  I've found out that a lot of the stress and pressure I'm putting on myself, and I've been focusing on NOT doing that.  I still think about work when I'm at home, but less.  It's actually made a difference, a noticeable one.