Did you ever have one of those days where you ask yourself, Can this day possibly get any weirder? Oy vey, had that yesterday! Things you think you would never disclose come out to those you feel comfortable with. Is that a problem or a good thing? I guess it depends on the person. I have said numerous times before I’m sure that I have trust issues where people who are not family are concerned so this goes back to what “Dr. Kevin” said during the whole business thing, Is it better to keep things close to the vest or show your cards when you feel the time is right? I don’t know. . . I actually got pretty giddy after having this weird conversation. Again I don’t know. It certainly surfaces a whole bunch of strange emotions and thoughts. You sit and wonder, what the hell is that person thinking after you disclose your info.
My husband, my brother, and I went to the Prudential Center on Wednesday to see the BULLS play the Nets. We are huge Bulls fans. They lost by a bucket. UGH! It’s so frustrating when a first place team loses to the bottom feeders of the NBA! It was my first time at The Prudential Center – very nice. Last night I met an old friend for a glass of wine. I hadn’t seen her in about two years. Makin the most of my time before school rips me of my social life again!
Songs of the day:
Last post Dec 20. Now that we are through the holidays and I am over the cold I had all week, I am back. LOVE LOVE LOVING my break!!! ME time!!! WOO HOO! I have been cooking, writing, reading, watching movies, going to the movies, and seeing friends. I took my mother to see Burlesque – the movie with Christina Aguilera and Cher. My mother LOVES Cher. I have taken her to every Farewell tour there has been in the NJ area. Anyway, the movie was AWESOME! If you are into theater or musical theater, go see it! I was dancing in my seat and ran out and bought the CD for my mother (Christmas gift) and I the same night. I can sing in that range and I have the song Somethings Got a Hold on Me as my ring tone on my cell. Christina has a set of pipes boy WOW! I was all into it! My mother of course loved it.
Now that 2011 is here, I did a Facebook clean out. I needed to alleviate the dead weight that was bringing me down. Some people I thought I had a relationship with but it’s like out of sight out of mind and who needs friends like that! This is going to be a good year I think. The Giants were eliminated from the playoffs which wasn’t so good for the new year but other than that, things will be great! All I have to say is GO BULLS! GO ST. LOUIS CARDS! Speaking of the Bulls, me, my hubby, and my brother are going to see the Bulls play the Nets on Wednesday at The Prudential Center. I can’t wait! Getting all my fun in while I can because once school starts up again, I go back to not having a life!
I still haven’t gotten my placement for my internship, which at first annoyed me, but you know what, whatever. I sent them an email today inquiring. It is what it is. I did find out however, that the illustrious state of New Jersey is pulling my unemployment as soon as I am finished with school. Isn’t that great? They want you to go to school to get trained in a new career but they don’t want to pay you until you find a job in that new career. Lovely. I need to get a job come May!
The holidays were low-key. A lot of family time and WAY too much eating! As I said earlier I had a cold all this week which prevented me from getting to the gym everyday like I wanted! UGH! I am starting back at the gym tomorrow. I had a nice routine going and then the holidays and this cold happened.
We are almost done with our second one act play and I have 53 word pages in the book I am writing. I need an editor and a literary agent.
Some good songs from Burlesque:
Happy December! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving or a tolerable one for those of you that have family issues. I have not had the time to blog as much as I have wanted to. School work and internship work has been crazy. I just finished that mini portfolio thing today – 50 friggin pages. So much for a mini huh? Good Lord! I still have papers to grade, an exam on Tuesday the 7th, a presentation on the 14th and then my supervisor decides he is coming my last day at the high school to observe me. Can you say ready for the semester to be over? I have been so stressed that I have been having like a glass of wine or two a night since Wednesday. I hate drinking during the week because I work out so much. When I finished that portfolio today it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders but who knows if my work is even acceptable. I don’t know. I am so fried and drained that I will even take a B on it. I just can’t push anymore. I don’t have anything else in me.
I entered some of my poems into poetry contests. Let’s see what happens. I have no expectations but I am giving myself a lot of credit because I stopped doing that kind of stuff due to lack of confidence. Now I just say to hell with it. If they like it and publish it, great, if they don’t, there will be more writings.
The night before Thanksgiving I went out with a friend to have a girls night and blow off some stress. What a Blast! I didn’t get home until 1 a.m. and I can’t tell you the last time I stayed out that late. Good times! We had a very interesting conversation. It’s good to be able to have girl talk sometimes, ya know? I’m still going through the whole aspect of who can I really talk to or trust. My brain also seems to be going through stuff that won’t let me understand it – weirdness. It seems the only place to turn is this blog or a piece of paper.
I wrote another poem last night called Tinted Windows. I’m writing all this stuff about being masked, hiding, who am I, being exposed or being cold. These writings cry ISSUES! LOL! But who the hell doesn’t have them man, ya know? I had another dream last night about a similar subject which I will never discuss because it’s beyond impossible and people would run in the other direction no doubt. I think this is where these poems are coming from. I don’t know.
Three weeks of school left. THANK GOD! I have to put together this mini teacher portfolio for my Monday night class. I’m kinda freakin about it. I mean I am sure with research I can come up with 6-11 lesson plans but . . . Sometimes I don’t have the confidence I should in myself. I HAVE to do it so I know it will get done but how good it will be is another question.
I miss doing theatre. I haven’t had time for singing lessons or rehearsals and performing. That part of me feels empty. At least my words are flowing with my pen.
For now I leave you with this holiday tune – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY
I found out that I will be playing Zoe in the one-act my husband and I wrote. We can’t find anyone available or with a normal schedule. I really didn’t want to be in it. This is the first time a work I was involved in is being performed. I wanted to get excited and watch. Zoe is a serious character. SIGH. My mind is working overtime now. I have to learn these lines in addition to taking care of all my responsibilities with school and interning. I can’t complain really though. Good things are starting to happen at least! I know I have changed. I still may have my wit and humor but I am not the same person I was at the beginning months of 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4VwhQlf1cc I want to continue to write. I work so better with structure and deadlines. Anyone out there want to push me? 🙂 I would kill for an agent or something to give me deadlines.
Oh man. I just read that 39-year-old Joseph Cerniglia who owns Campania in Fair Lawn killed himself over debt. He is leaving behind a wife and 3 kids. That’s a shame. His restaurant was on Season 2 of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. That’s the second person to commit suicide that was on one of Gordon Ramsey’s shows. YIKES! While I am sure Joseph Cerniglia’s debts were way more than ours were when we owned the fitness facility, I certainly understand the stress of the debt. You honestly don’t understand or know the sinking feeling and feeling of failure that overcomes you. There have been people who have owned the same franchise I owned that have committed suicide because they felt like there was no way out. When you tell people about it and they answer, “I can imagine,” they really can’t. You don’t know how it feels to almost lose a marriage and in this case a life because overwhelming amounts of debt. I am not even going to pretend I understand what his family is going through right now. It’s a shame. It’s sad. My heart goes out to the Cerniglia family especially his kids.
Since the phone wasn’t ringing when I was applying for teaching jobs through alternate route or any other job I applied for, I registered for classes at Kean University for the Fall September 2009 semester. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdpkFPKo1o4
I had not been in school for 10 years. I was never really good at school. I mean, grammar school my grades were very good but my academics sort of declined as I got older. When I graduated William Paterson University in 1999, my GPA was only a 2.52. I was too immature to be in college when I was there and I was also working almost 40 hours a week to help my mother pay bills. Now I get to do it all over again. I should mention that in July 2009, I taught Creative Writing to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from an urban district at William Paterson Summer Youth Camp. I initially applied to William Paterson to get my certification. I read on the Board of Education site that a 2.75 GPA was required to get into any education program BUT if you graduated before 2004, you needed to have at least a 2.5 GPA. Apparently William Paterson was not aware of this, and did not accept me into their education program. I filed an appeal. (I have to add that when I initially took the Praxis back in 2005 or so I looked into William Paterson’s Education Program and was told by the Assistant Dean at that time I would NEVER get accepted into any education program without going back to school and getting a different Bachelors degree to prove that I could have a better GPA. Really now?) This did not make any sense to me. I had the requirement because I graduated in 1999 and I just taught middle school kids there that summer. After I filed the appeal, I started looking into Kean. Kean accepted me immediately when I applied. The funny thing is way after I registered for 2 classes at Kean and got my books, William Paterson calls to tell me they reversed their decision and decided to take me. I laughed and said, “Sorry I am going to Kean.” Too bad so sad for William Paterson. They initially rejected me because of a GPA I had when I was 18, dealing with parents going through a divorce, and working 40 hours to help my mother? Not my loss. It’s theirs because I currently have a 3.784 GPA at Kean. Whose laughing now? After everything I have been through, it is so gratifying to prove people wrong. I know some of this sounds bitter but that is not my intent. It’s just, well, you get the idea.
Oh brother. Unbelievable. The Jersey Shore cast gets seats to the MTV VMAs. I’m not going to lie I do watch that show but all the perks they get annoys me. I mean I have a real life “situation” to discuss but people would rather see 20 somethings getting wasted and having sex. Sigh.
Sorry there was a lapse in time. I started classes. Today as a matter of fact was my first day interning at a local high school. I will elaborate on being back in college at a later time. Oh boy, I am definitely not used to getting out of bed at 5:10 a.m. The school’s first bell is at 7:20 a.m.
March 20, 2009 – Time for court! My husband and I arrived in a downtown urban area where the court was housed. We walked four blocks to the court building, took the elevator up, and entered the waiting room. The court was PACKED. It was like a sardine can in there. I couldn’t believe all the individuals there for the same reason. Since there wasn’t any room, we stood up against the wall near the entrance and waited for our attorney. When she arrived, she took us into the actual court area we were seated and waited for our case to be called. Supposedly the trustee we were assigned was a real hard ass. When our case number was called, the trustee asked if counsel was present. We approached the table and answered all his questions. He was actually very nice to us. My attorney was shocked at how well he treated us. We explained everything. He had a copy of our Quickbooks. It was very easy to see how much money we lost from this lemon. Listening to him read back our situation left a sour taste. We were sitting with him no more than 10 minutes. He concluded our meeting by saying, “I am assuming you wouldn’t be here if it had not been for this business, correct?” We answered, “correct” in unison. That was it. Our attorney bought us lunch and we left our future in the trustee’s hands. It was another waiting game.
In the next month and month and a half we received news on both fronts. My test scores had come in to ETS Testing Service and we received a letter in the mail from the district court. Nervously I logged into the test site. I clicked on test scores and up they came. WOO HOO! I passed! I got a 164. In order to get a Certificate of Eligibility, a score of 162 had to be obtained.
When my husband got home from work we opened the letter from the Bankruptcy court – DISCHARGED! The feeling was unbelievable. It was like having an enormous weight lifted off our shoulders. Bye Bye Albatross! We craved a fresh start and now we were going to finally have the chance to get one. One can only watch The Secret so many times!
When I received my Certificate of Eligibility in English in the mail, I started to submit resumes for a Teacher of English position to various districts. I even submitted for Teacher Aide positions. I had two interviews for an Aide’s position out of the 30 something resumes I sent out. This is another situation one has to laugh at. I wonder if people even look at resumes before they call you in.
The Alternate Route path was not working out. A friend of my husband’s who is a principal told him for every position open, the district was receiving 200 resumes. He also said that when he received resumes he separated them into 3 piles – Experience, No experience, and Alternate Route. If someone was alternate route, he didn’t even bother with the resume. Apparently student teaching was a very important component to most districts. That prompted a discussion with my husband about applying to college and getting the certification the standard way. I hadn’t been in college since 1999. Now at 34 I was applying to go back.
You may ask why we didn’t phone the Franchise corporation duiring all this. We did. They did NOTHING to help. It was more or less a “Too bad so sad” situation. They did not want to hear you weren’t making any money. They didn’t care. As long as they were EFTing your advertising fees and franchise fees every month, to hell with the owners who are making them this money.
My specific franchise went through 3 different local directors. We never even had one of them come to the franchise until 2.5 years into it. The woman wasn’t even our state director. She was the Connecticut director. She had never driven a NJ U-turn before and called our gym in hysterics.
At the same time, the company was coming out with digitalized equipment that would have cost franchisees $5,000.00 plus a fee every month. This company was money hungry. Anyway, when the Connecticut director showed up, I had my best employee out on the floor doing her thing while the director watched clients to see if we trained them with proper form. When the gym closed for the day, my husband and I sat down with this woman. Of course the first thing she tried to do was get us to buy the new equipment. We were like “Yeah um with what?” She got into the “You have to spend money to make money” garbage. How can one spend what one does not have? The corporation’s philosophy I was finding out from other owners was do what you have to do to get money and keep your business afloat. If that meant a home equity loan or draining your savings, so be it. If you had to borrow it, beg, steal, lie, or more or less prostitute yourself, you better do it. If owners’ franchises didn’t make money, the Corporation franchise fee goes down. In addition, they charged this ridiculous advertising fee every month. Where the hell was the advertising? If you saw one commercial every few months that was a lot. During this meeting with the Connecticut director, she was explaining how we should give away two month memberships with a guest pass. She wrote down some notes and said she was going to have our regular state director come up with a game plan and that we would be getting a phone call to help us. We NEVER received a phone call. Membership just kept declining. I even tried giving away almost 100 free 2 month memberships to women in the local school district. They enjoyed the free two months but when their gift certificates expired, none of them joined. It was hopeless.
At this point, we started looking into shutting the franchise down. Oh my God you can’t even imagine what the corporation puts you through. If you break your franchise agreement, they charge you a $10,000 penalty plus all your back franchise and advertising fees for the remainder of your agreement. If you refused to pay them, a lien would be placed on your property or in our case whatever we owned. I found that if this was placed on us and we bought a house in the future, a lien would be placed on future property. The only way out of paying them their money and be totally free of this albatross was to file bankruptcy. During these discussions, higher ups kept trying to talk me into selling the gym for a penny. I’m sorry. You want me to incur lawyer fees for a transaction to sell the franchise for a penny so that the corporation keeps making money while I’m losing my shirt? As they say on ESPN, “COME ON MAN!” This is supposed to be a franchise based on religious individuals? You must be joking! Doesn’t it say in the Bible to “Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing?”