Friday, February 18, 2011

So about those Christmas Gifts.....

Remember this summer when I was canning and I was trying to be all secretive due to people who would receive said canned items reading my blog.


That totally rocked.

I am a gift giving GENIUS. Tell your friends.

So for Christmas to close friends and family we gave what we referred to as our Canned Family. It was a basket of 6 items that represented each of us.

Mine was White Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Micah's was Caramel Apple Butter. I don't have a picture of that lid because I bought the image online and so we don't have it anywhere I can display it. Sorry.

Ky's was Cinnamon Apple Sauce

Notice the ingredient "teen angst". So appropriate.

Lizzie's was Vanilla Strawberry Jam

Will's was Peach Butter

And Tasha and Molly had Peach Salsa

Really the only family member left out was Jason so hopefully next year I'll be creative enough to come up with something for him as well.

The baskets with the Canned Family were a big hit and it felt really good to give something local that I also knew would be used. To date I've received a couple of jars back and feel like this might be something I'd like to do next year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Plumbers cry

He sits across from me. He's hunched over, he's got tears in his eyes. He didn't know who to talk to.

I had asked him to see me about his car insurance. I had a new policy number for him. That was it. The next thing I know he's got my door shut and he's about to cry.

It's his wife. She says she hates Colorado. She says her Grandma is sick. Her Aunt is dying. She needs to go home. But he knows she's not coming back. He knows she's making up excuses. He knows she's leaving him.

But every night he goes home and they have dinner and they watch TV and they share money and a bed and a life. But she's leaving him. In 2 weeks she's getting on a plane and going to a place that means she's never coming back.

He's devasated. He feels lost and yet not lost because his life is normal. Today. Tonight he'll go home and they will eat dinner and talk and pretend like she's not leaving in two weeks.

I ask him what makes him think she's not coming back. They fight. They argue. They don't seem to get along. She's talked about leaving before. She's taking precious things, she's shipped boxes to "there" under the guise of "I might be there awhile".

I am at a loss.

My heart breaks for him. I want to tell him she's not leaving. I want to tell him it's okay.

I don't know them. I don't know him. I don't know what to do.

I hand him a kleenex. I sit next to him. In my head my mind races with the splitting of assets and taxes and time off of work. I tell him "You're going to be okay".

It's all I've got.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Alternatively title : Animals really are a boys best friend

When I was pregnant Micah and I were concerned about how the animals would adapt to the new baby. He would be loud and grabby and sticky and loud. Our dogs are good dogs with the older two girls but, well, babies are different.

We figured the cat wouldn't care either way. He's a cat.

Fast forward to about 3 months ago. Will was just learning how to walk and he was walking with what we refer to as a "drunk zombie" gait. That is, he stumbles everywhere and doesn't bend his knees much. The dogs were constantly running in fear of his little body hurdling toward them. When he would get close to them initially they would look fearful.

After a little praise of them being "good dogs" when the boy was around Tasha realized it was her job to keep him safe. Ever since Molly arrived Tasha has been the big sister and her attitude and demeanor are certainly that of a protective, sometimes scolding big sister to Molly's devil-may-care lifestyle.

2 months ago when the boy would stumble/fall towards Molly Tasha would immediately stand up and put her head toward Molly's head as a reminder not to scamper off or snap (not that Molly has). She would also stand between the boy and Molly to corral him and protect Molly.

This month has brought unexpected patience from both dogs. Molly likes to lay directly next to the couch when Micah or I are sitting on it. The boy also likes to be on the couch in between riding his dinosaur toy and pretending to be a bulldozer with his head. So Molly is often used by Will as a step in order to crawl onto the couch. Now she doesn't even move or life her head as he steps on her. Tasha rarely has to even remind her to be polite.

Tasha also is the victim of the boys love and this weekend patiently allowed him to POKE HER EYES while he was sitting in his Grandma's lap. She sat there with her mouth literally 2 inches from his face and just let him poke. Grandma was so focused on the mouth that she initially missed the eye poking. Yet Tasha still loves him and has been known to share kisses with him from time to time.

It's the cat though that has garnered the most surprise from me regarding his love for Will. When the baby was new the cat was known to cuddle up with him and initiate his own petting from a few month old, still close fisted baby. Still, it comes as a surprise when I see Will laying against the cat and grabbing his tail while the cat contentedly lays there and doesn't nothing. He's never scratched or hissed at the baby.

This weekend though, he took his love to a whole new level. He thought the baby might be hungry given Will's demonstrated desire to place everything in his mouth and/or consume anything placed on his high chair. So he brought him a dead bird.


Micah was horrified.

After a thorough shower with generous amounts of shampoo and soap I voiced that I believe it was very loving and noble of the cat.

After all, those flying things are hard to catch.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Resume No-No

Dear Potential Employee,

While I appreciate your taking the time to send me your resume. While your credentials did not match with our requirements at this time I will keep your resume on hand in case another position for which you may be qualified opens up.

I would like to take a moment and make a suggestion about your application process. While I am certain that you are very proud of your accomplishments and I, too, find them to be impressive it may be a little off putting to future employers to view your accomplishments as a Sniper and Marksman with automatic weapons on your resume. Unless you are applying for a position that directly involves firearm usage I suggest removing those 5 items from your resume.


What do you do?

The new job I have seems to bring out this question often. It happens a LOT at the actual place I work coupled with friends and even in some cases family.

I've had someone very close to me tell me that Human Resources is essentially useless. (That totally didn't hurt my feelings MICAH)

And I get it. Most people think Human Resources is benefits. Health stuff right? So what do you do the other 99% of your time since there are only 36 employees at the company?

So let me share with everyone else what a person working for a small business in HR actually DOES with her time.

I actually do VERY little with benefits if you must know. But I am responsible for negotiating with the broker to get affordable yet good benefits for our employees. Having a good benefits package makes us competitive and we need to be competitive to get the best employees. I am also responsible for knowing the plans inside and out so that when an employee comes to me with a question I can answer it or tell them where to go for better information. So I need to know 3 different medical plans, 2 different dental plans and life insurance pricing (for us and the employees) and I need to pull the information out at a moments notice.

I hire people. A job which, until 4 weeks ago I'd never done. Hiring itself isn't too difficult but the interviews are BRUTAL. I hate them. You'd never know that if you were sitting in a room with me during an interview but goodness I loathe them. I think the biggest problem is that I'm hiring for entry level positions in a crappy economy. The whole economy thing SEEMS like it would help but it doesn't. Because the economy sucks (recovery is slow) unemployment was extended so now I have to try and compete with unemployment in terms of pay and let me tell you that there are a LOT of people out there who would rather sit at home and make slightly less with unemployment that work, at least at this job.

So I page through literally HUNDREDS of resumes (Over 300 on the last ad I placed. Which I rewrote. Another thing that I "do".) and maybe I get 10 that I like. Because people need only send their resume to show to overwhelmed unemployment that they are looking for work I get TONS where they aren't qualified or are WAY over qualified. I send those 10 to the manager of the department I'm hiring for. She says yes, bring them in for an interview. I call all 10 people. On average I speak with 8 of them, 2 don't bother to answer the phone or call me back. I do at LEAST a 10 minute phone interview with them explaining the job, the hours we are open and asking them questions. Assuming that goes well I ask them in for an interview. Let's say I ask all 8 because pickings are slim. Fully HALF won't show up. That's an average and this last posting went MUCH better in terms of applicants showing up but this has been my overall average. Half of them don't show.

So now I have to interview in person 4 people. Which means more/new questions and I interview in tandem, usually with the manager of the department but sometimes the Vice President of the company if she's not available. While they are busy asking questions such as "Can you work on Saturday?" I'm busy asking "What motivates you as an employee?". Interviews on average go 30 minutes. HOPEFULLY the manager likes one enough to offer a position to, which I will do for her either later that day or the next day. Then I have to call my other 3 interviewees and tell them thanks but no thanks.

Then I have to process their background check information, walk them through the new hire paperwork and facilitate their new hire orientation and training. Which doesn't exist. Well, it does, kind of. I've been busy creating it for the last couple of weeks. And by creating it, I mean I wrote a training program called "First Impressions Matter" for both the dispatch folks and the plumbers. I've also taken a TON of new hire training online that they now have to complete. Things like safety but also things like sexual harassment and customer service skills. I've developed a 2 day on boarding program that never existed before.

I've rewritten the company's employee manual. I've made us ready to be in compliance with laws that aren't applicable to us. Yet. They will be if we hire another 15 people. Which is a goal we have.

Oh, I'm working on creating goals for employees. They've never had them. Their interview process has been about what they've done but there has never been a planning or expectation process for the employees. That's the focus for February.

I file. I type. I spend 3 hours on the phone and Internet trying to secure a government contract.

And let's be honest, I'm not really even talking about the human part of Human Resources yet.