Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Holiday Party

I prepare for a small gathering. Months went by and with wedding plans, ill members of the family, house projects, the time was never quite right. I finally decided to just do it. For two weeks I've been spanking my house into shape, painting window moulding, touching up areas, washing curtains, you name it. The more I do, the more I find to do. The more things seem like they will never look put together. I suppose it's always a work in progress.

I discovered a great place in Old City - Fosters Urban Homeware, right on 3rd St. Many moons ago I was in there and while some things are quite mod and plastic, some things, like the fabulous Wallbands, have resurrected the whole wallpaper/border idea. I cannot wait to paint the living room and go to town with these wallbands - vertical and horizontal. How fun.

Speaking of furnishing places, I've come to the conclusion that bridal registries are no fun. We all think they are - Yay, pick out all the great stuff I want and everyone buys it for me! No. First off, as cool as that bar code toy looks, it's excitement wears off very quickly when you wonder around Macy's and scan 10 things and realize you must scan about 150 more things and the departments don't have what you want anyway. So then you resort to online shopping which is much easier, but alas, the online stores don't carry absolutely everything either. In fact, I feel like the online stores, while convenient (I have added to my list at 11pm), have the tiniest selection. And who wants to choose between Ralph Lauren sheets and Donna Karan? Not me. Or why do they only carry 3 desk frames? That are all brushed stainless steel? By Kate Spade for $100 for a 5x7?

Just give me nice Egyptian cotton sheets and a quality black wood frame, please. And no designers.

Finally, you realize that as much as you love that copper bottom 10 piece cookware, it's $700. And even the 7 piece stainless set is $400. No one in this family has that kind of money to drop on a shower gift for me. And then come back to a wedding and bring another gift. So in reality, a bridal registry is nothing more than managing the needs and price points of department stores and people. Something like registering becomes a business.

In spite of all the managing I've been doing lately, I found time about 6 weeks ago to fix up the yard. Rather, my friend Jocelyn was in town for our friend's wedding and she and Vince got all dirty in the soil, pulled weeds and mulched. I went to Home Depot and purchased the 15 bags of mulch. Here are some photos of our yard with the fabulous mums that have since died with our first frost and first snow.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I'm getting slammed for not updating...Errr. But the title is metaphoric for it's how I've been feeling for the last several weeks. I'm getting slammed with wedding plans. My dress came in and I tried it on and picked out a head piece and all this jewelry last weekend. But then I left my parents house with a mile long list of "To Dos" including scheduling PreCana, determining the priest, talking to the hotel about a block booking rate, and many other items.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Vince and I squabble probably once a week over wedding plans - many of which were made months ago and either he forgot or he wasn't involved in because of everything going on with his mom. Either way, I'm yelled at over something he doesn't like or isn't comfortable with. Case in point - I'd like my friend Jill to sing at the wedding ceremony. Vince stood up and with a very red face said there was no way there would be a Mass and he never agreed to that and blah blah blah. He nearly stormed the 'rents house to tell them he wasn't putting up with that. We're only getting married in the church. I mean, I guess if you know nothing about it, you'd assume no Mass? I don't know.

It's a battle not worth fighting. Especially since I really wanted the ceremony there. Singers and all.

So I'm slammed on that front. I'm also getting slammed at work. I'm so talented, and know so much about marketing products and creating plans and all these great things...and there have been some small successes, but I'm not receiving any ackowledgement for them. In fact, it's the opposite. I'm getting scolded over things at least once a day and none of it makes sense. I was hired to be the marketing manager. In my JD it lays out that I am to create a marketing plan, a SWOT anyalsis, work on maintaining positive customer retention. Weeks ago, I approached my boss about this - how it hadn't been started, I needed to do it, needed her input. Nothing. So instead for the last 4 weeks I've been bogged down with advertising. Two weeks before that I was working with customers to nail down $20,000 in sales for October. The result? I'm told how advertising isn't marketing (um, it's a component), how my boss isn't pleased with the ads (but she has to sign off on them, so she sees them), how my most recent poster for the window was bad (again, something she saw before it went to the printer) and how I hadn't given enough attention to this big event we're having this weekend (Um, I asked my boss on 3 occasions what was going on with the show - how it was managed in the past, what was done, what merchadise was ordered, where the images were...Nothing. And again, the advertising and the sales that have been taking up my time).

But mind you, there are appointments made, people coming, listings and ads on gophila.com and other places and people have said they've seen the ads...

I'm so frustrated. I communicate with her and nothing comes back. I ask for info and nothing. I chase her down and that eats my time and I do the best I can for only being there 3 months and I'm getting put downs left and right. All from a person who knows she doesn't know how to do my job, but sure spends a lot of time micromanaging me and telling me I'm not marketing. So really, my marketing position is being redefined as New Business Developement.

Marc was a pain in my butt, but I could at least scream at him. And Marc wouldn't communicate the whys, but he sure would tell you what he thought. And in a timely manner. That is unless he was emotionally involved and it was personal. Like it usually was with me.

So yes, I'm slammed on every front. Not sure what will work out, if anything will work out, where I am supposed to be.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Great Race

Back in March my friend Kristen and I spoke about the half marathon she and her now fiance had completed the previous fall. What the hell? If Kristen can do this, I sure as hell can! So the week of Easter I pledged to run the Philadelphia Distance Run in September. And a week after Easter around April 10, I took to the pavement after many moons had passed since I'd last donned my New Balance shoes and ran along Kelly Drive. All through the spring and summer I perseveared. On Septemeber 17 I hauled my ass down to the art museum for this race that I thought would never get here. I'd been up since 5 am that morning, warming up with a short run and yoga. Thank heavens I did that because my body hates early morning runs with a passion. I wound up running the first 6-7 miles and then pooped out some. Overall my pace was 13 minutes and some change. I finished the race in 3 hours and 3 minutes. I was never so happy to see that finish line and I just took off when I saw it. Here are some photos from the event. Also, photos of my friend Liz who finished exactly one hour (to the second) before me. And Becca's mom - the Wallingford running machine.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Plastic Toys

Yay Fall. Pumpkin has taken over everything - supermarkets, houses, farm markets, coffee shops, you name it. Driving home from Jiffey Lube (with my Starbucks Pumpkin Misto), I saw moms and kids outside planting colorful blooms and rigging Halloween paraphenalia. Some homes were quite put together (making me yearn for days post wedding when I might actually have disposable income again) and others just looked like they'd stepped out of the past with obnoxious bright orange plastic pumpkins everywhere and white sheets already dangling from trees and lamp posts, blowing in the breeze.

Why? It's like people who hang Easter eggs from trees at Easter. Or litter their entire front lawn with draculas and ghouls. Or plastic Christmas decor. Now the new fad are those blow up snowmen, Pooh characters and the absolute worst? The blow up Eagles football player.

I think I can handle it when I cruise through South Philly - I expect these things from the residents. They've been there their whole lives and maybe never really left 1954. Who knows. But praying plastic hands, a plastic Blessed Mother, tacky lights and plastic Santas don't bother me there. That's their place. But their place isn't next door to me, crapping up the 'hood.

Is there a particular type of person who does this and thinks it's cool? Attractive? To some extent, I understand when you have small children and you do these things for them. But still. I wanted colored lights outside my house when I was small. Did mom ever do that? Hell no. I wanted plastic crap all over the front yard, but mom said no way. It was her house. And now I thank god she had taste. Actually, I thank god she had the balls to know her kids didn't run her life and have a say in the way her house was presented to the neighborhood. Mom had class.

My fiance's parent's erected one of those blow up Tigger's outside their house last year and in classic Italian South Philly style, decked out the front of their Media abode in every colored light imaginable. It was freakin General Electric. It looked TERRIBLE! And they did it for their grandchild who, by the way, was 3. I'm not certain she truly appreciated the light show. Do people stop caring about themselves? Is it always about the kids? It seems unselfish...but at the expense of your house? At the expense of the neighborhood? Your house, like your kids, like your friends, like everything we associate with, are all relections of ourselves.

And I hate HATE Tigger.

I think there's line - a fine line - between getting older and not caring about what others think, and keeping up with the Jones'. I'd like to think my kids will rule the fridge and have a tree of their own to do with what they will. But the exterior of the house - No Italian South Philly for this Italian chick.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Update

Preface: The following is for those of you who have asked for a Chrissie Update and because I still haven't fathomed how this plant managed to die on me.

Chapter 1: Death of One Job, Rebirth in Another

So I left the confines of BAM and while I sure do miss my own office and super clean and tidy area, I certainly do not miss some of the bad things. There's much more to be said on this topic - and I have said it - but for the for the sake of online searches and forwards, I will protect the not so innocent.

Oh and I do miss Siren, the Gap, Coffee and Cream and my other D-town hangouts. And Mrs. Tea.

So down on South St. things are going well. A lot of the first month nerves have lifted. I've made a few big sales and feel more confident on the floor (one good thing I can say came out of BAM - the ability to be more comfortable and confident selling). I've also made some connections with my friends at the Arden and Mum Theater Co. so we'll be working together in the near future on some collaborative marketing programs. Also soon to be hitting the streets with a super slick brochure and distributing to Welcome Kits and all the new swank condos/townhomes that are springing up like crazy around the city. I created an ad last week that I'll attach so you guys can get an idea of some of the pieces in the store, a room layout, and the design techniques of yours truly. Overall things are well and I like most of my co-workers, sans this one guy who is very "Woe is me." Whatever to him.

Chapter 2: Death of a Car, But NOT in the Ghetto of North Jersey

What in the hell? Why do I continuously have these incidents with my car? Why does my car insist on allowing the old saying Found On Road Dead to reign supreme? All those faulty electrical issues I was having earlier this summer came to head this past Saturday when I went to move my car from a 2 hr. parking spot and the mofo wouldn't start. Dead. Nothing. I came back out hours later to attempt it again and still nothing. One call to AAA and 3 hours later, the car was at the dealership and I was home. Not before Big Ed came into the city to spare me some of the embarrassment and certainly not before we held up traffic on 6th Street for 15 minutes. 6th Street, by the way, is one way.

$100 later, I have a new battery and a working car. Praise the lord it was not in Parsippany.

Chapter 3: The Aftermath of Death

How are Vince and I doing? OK. Honestly, I've avoided his family for the last month because things were so intense there for a while. I needed a break. I also told him about some issues I have with his family, even his Uncle Joe, who has continuously hit on me and even made an inappropriate comment to me at the funeral. But now things have simmered...He is doing OK. He's been spending time with his dad, going on some small road trips. He was upset last week because his mom was a HUGE Bird fan and with the NFL season starting, he was really choked up. He spent one night crying over his laptop, but typing away a lot of thoughts and memories. I'm glad he did that. It's weird that it's been a month. I sure do miss her. But the other day I was walking from my car up to South and this woman came out of her house and just started chatting with me. As we parted ways, something about the whole scenario reminded me of his mom. Like this same conversation could have been with her. The way this woman spoke, the quickness of it - just before work - it was very much like conversations I used to have with Mrs. D in the morning. In a way, it was like she was there. She so would have loved American Pie. She'd have bought a million things in the store. I'll have to get her something for the grave...

Chapter 4: The Death of Household Items & Related Housing Issues

My eBay Dirt Devil purchase from a few years back finally bit the dust to my dismay. Vince came charging in with this Panasonic vacuum he was so proud of. The thing is ancient. Yet, it did work. But I was upset...my Dirt Devil was my baby, my pride and joy and always did such a good job. Suddenly Panasonic was putting Baby in a corner. As I said to Joc - Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Finally I realized it was worthy and I had Vince take the Dirt Devil to the curb, missing wheel and busted motor in tow.

The dining room met its match last week as we finished tearing up the floor, gutted the paneling and boards. Much to my dismay, no exposed brick back there. Just some hideous drywall. Partial death to my idea of brand spanking new furniture. Vince - what a dweeb - is insisting those hideous brown couches of his from back in the day are the best made sofas around. I'm not kidding. He swears the brand and manufacturing of them is stallar and will endure all things. It's quite possible being that they've endured cig burns. However, they are mod, they sit right on the ground, and are are completely linear. There's no curve to them whatsoever. I really wanted a cool new but slightly more traditional couch. Tooth and nail we fought over this. RIDICULOUS. Finally I said - "You can reupholster the couch only. The love seat goes. And I pick the carpet color (if the hardwood doesn't pan out) and the chair we get in the room."

Death to the weeds! I busted my butt outside the last two weekends pulling dead weeds and overturning soil - Despite the lies Vince told you, Melissa! This weekend, after my half marathon, I head to Home Depot for some mums (to go in front of the daffodil bulbs I purchased) along the side and front of the house and a shrub of some sort for the front.

Chapter 5: Death of a Plant

This is probably the saddest of them all. I TRIED!!! For weeks I nurtured that plant Marc gave me. It was yellow and the the leaves were healthy...all was well. But something happened. 2 weeks ago. Did I over water it? I watered it daily or every other day. Did it get too much/too little sun? It sat by the kitchen window which gets a nice amount of sun in the afternoon. I don't know. All I know is it's DEAD. Dead dead dead. And I swore to care for this plant. This time, no plant would die. I really cared about this plant. Vince hears me wallow about this plant everyday. Is it seasonal? Maybe it'll bloom again in the spring....???