Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Ride Along!

I can't believe there are only 2 classes left in the Citizen's Police Academy. I've learned a few things but mostly it's nice to be around non LEO people that are in awe of what our men and women in blue do. I have to say it's very refreshing to walk through the classroom doors and be surrounded by citizens and city council members who support law enforcement.

But enough mushiness- Friday I went on my first ride along! For 4 hours I was immersed in what my DH does everyday:

  • Gave a death notice, took almost an hour since we didn't have a valid address and had to respond to a building alarm across town during the hunt
  • Pulled 2 people over with tinted windows (one person was cited, the other got a warning)
  • Pulled over a car with expired tags and the driver had a warrant for arrest- my first trip to jail (kind of smelly don't recommend it)
  • Assisted another agency with information on a stop within the city limits
  • Got to see Cop Watch in action (for those that don't know our local Cop Watch goes around on patrol taping officers doing their job, invading their personal space, and generally just creating a scene, I'd link to their page so you could see the ridiculousness but I don't want them to find me!)
  • Responded to a 911 hang up when dispatch couldn't get a hold of the caller (gosh darn those 2 year olds. At least the family was very nice and apologetic)
  • Checked out an apartment for loud music and underage drinking
  • Looked for juveniles who overturned a porta potty and were being chased by a neighbor (we didn't see anything)
  • Searched for a municipal code violation of camping but again couldn't find anything in the location given
  • Responded to a fight call and assisted in locating a caregiver for an unknown 2 year old who was left by her drunk mother when the crowd broke up
It was actually a pretty slow night according to the officer but I was exhausted and a little bit car sick. Who knew how tiring it can be to get in and out of a car! And there were times I swear we were driving in circles (okay we were- we kept trying to catch up with cars to pull over but traffic was getting in the way or we'd get dispatched some where).

I have a new respect for how tired DH is when he gets home and I was only out from 6-10!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monthly Recap- Feb 2009

February was a whirl wind of taxes and parties (but no parties for taxes). Our spending seems to have reached a consistent number month to month with minimal fluctuation. We’ve weeded out our over the top spending and are consistently able to put more money aside each month for savings. There are certainly many areas we can continue to cut back on, but at this point neither of us is motivated enough to make the big sacrifices.

Here were the dingers for the month:

  • Dog food doubled as our bi weekly trip to the feed store caught us on the first and last day of the month, maximizing the spending for all 28 days of February
  • DH’s truck was registered in February- DH, I hope the $311 is worth it!
  • Our groceries were $100 higher due to our every few months Costco trip.
  • Our eating out bill was another $100 higher from the overwhelming number of birthdays in February.

The plus side was we got a fatty refund from the government. Although I’m disappointed as I hate to think of giving away my money for free. On the flip side there probably wasn’t much I could have done differently as I think most of the tax refund was due to all my PTO payouts that bumped me into higher tax brackets for several paychecks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Ultimate Compliment

I've been feeling pretty good about myself lately and have taken the next step to bring goodwill to others. One of my goals for work this year is to be a corporate cheerleader of sorts. I know there will be a lot of changes this year for the company, some good and some not so good, but as a good leader I need to rally the troops when we they are needed and address their concerns so they can do their work.

This past week I've been working on a presentation for my boss' boss. It was stressful and I saw things that I wish I didn't, but I knew how important it was for me to do a great job, to be professional, and to do everything I could to make her job easier.

At the same time I couldn't let my stress bring down the morale of my team. I need them to believe in me and to trust me. They've been asking difficult questions but I felt it was important to answer them as honestly as I could and to explain the reasoning behind such decisions to prevent panic and to squelch any anti-company feelings that would prevent them from getting their job done. It's amazing how little things like a mandatory corporate desktop display can cause employee uproar.

At the end of my stressful week my employees thanked me. They thanked me for keeping such an upbeat attitude during this stressful time because it made work a lot easier and even fun. They thanked me for answering their questions about the upcoming changes. They understood that many things still needed to be addressed and decided but appreciated that I didn't deny that things were going to change and some of them were going to be difficult. And an employee that had more experience on the job than I have been alive told me she admired how professional I am.

While I've always appreciated compliments and atta boys from my boss and the higher ups, I've always valued my employees feedback more. When people under me thank me for doing a good job, for making work a fun place to be, and for being professional and forthcoming with information I feel like I've truly done my job well.

Sometimes corporate life can be rewarding. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Getting involved

This month marks my 3 year anniversary of living on the West Coast in the middle of nowhere. In some ways it's hard to believe it's only been 3 years and in other ways I'm sure it's only been two. But alas it's really been 3 and outside of work I don't have any connections here.

I've taken matters into my own hands this last month and have started volunteering to get involved in activities outside of work (hence my lack of posting). My goal is 3 fold:

  1. I want to expand my network beyond just people I work with
  2. I use to be very involved in community activities before moving here and I miss it
  3. It looks good on the resume should I end up on the job market
In some ways my motivations are selfish, I want to have a larger support network since I don't have family close by that I can rely on and I'm trying to cover my bases in case I become unemployed. Local involvement will look good as will having connections outside of work that I can draw from. But there is also the element of being engaged in the community that makes you feel good.

I'm currently attending a Citizen's Police Academy which is a lot of fun. I was nervous that I would meet a lot of LE haters but in fact everyone has been incredible nice and in total awe of what LEO and Dispatchers do and what they put up with. A few city council members are attending and I'm also meeting more people that DH works with which is nice. I did a sit along in dispatch for a few hours last weekend and all I can say is that dispatchers have an incredibly stressful job and are perhaps the best multi-taskers on earth!

I've also joined a local book group with 5 other ladies. I love to read and was really excited when a co-worker introduced me to his friend that lead the group. I think the best part about the group is that no one from my work or DH's work is part of it so I'm actually opening up new doors!

This week is the annual Bowl for Kids' Sake to support our local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. I'm one of the team captains and we've done some really successful fundraising which I'm pretty excited about. And next week I'm volunteering at the local Jazz Festival.

Since getting involved I've felt a lot happier and believe it or not have more energy when I come home (even when it's past my bedtime). I'm doing a better job of eating well and keeping the house clean. I'm starting to feel like the old me again and I like it!