Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Beginning of the End

I pretty much love this time of year. The sun's still up when I leave the office, it get's a little bit warmer every day, and everyone is all 'a-buzz' about March Madness, all of which are signals of the beginning of the end of 'busy season'. And I can hardly believe that I have made it through another one. That makes four, in total, that I have been through, counting my internship.

So, a little about busy season, for those of you who are not public accountants. My busy season is not related to tax season whatsoever. April 15th means nothing to me, except that I know that I have to have my own taxes filed by that date. I deal very little in taxes and have never completed a tax return. Unless, of course, you count the return that I helped my sister with this year, which was all done on Turbo tax.

Well, if I don't do taxes, then what the heck do I do all day?! Perhaps you have heard of a little company called Enron. Well, in a nutshell, my job is to make sure that Enron doesn't happen. No me, myself, obviously, but that is the best way that I can think to describe the purpose of my job. It's to perform an examination and verification of accounts and records of different companies to ensure that investors and banks know what is going on so they don't get 'Enronned'. The typical auditor may have several different engagements they work on, which means several different deadlines occuring in high frequency starting in January and through March, and dropping off somewhat in April and May. Our deadlines are not related to tax returns that are due, but are related to reports that are due to investors and banks. And that is why we have a 'busy season' from January through March.

So far, I have helped out with four different busy season engagements, including a two week stint in Minnetonka, MN. At the peak of my busy season, my day went like this:

5:30 a.m. Up to work out (b/c you put on weight fast during busy season if you don't make time to work out.)
8:30 a.m. At the office in front of my computer with coffee and surrounded by 3-ring binders, stacks and stacks of papers. Blearily checking through my email for the day.
11:00 a.m. Wondering where the morning has gone and how in the heck I'm going to get everything done that I need to do for the day.
11:30 a.m. Time for lunch. No time to drive anywhere. Walk across to the client's cafeteria (it's about as good as it sounds). We have about 30 to 45 minutes to veg-out, 'enjoy' lunch, and chat about things besides work.
12:00 to 12:15 p.m. Back to the office (or more of a storage room actually is where they have the auditors crammed into). Somehow I have a million new emails, and three new stacks of paper have shown up on my desk.
3:30 p.m. My mandatory afternoon 'stand up for a while and get a diet dr. pepper and snack' break.
3:40 p.m. While I was away from my desk (more like a long cafeteria table where I am shoulder to shoulder with the other members of the team) someone dropped something else off for me to take care off.
5:30 p.m. Thinking about how normal people are off. But we still have another 5+ hours to go.
6:30 p.m. Dinner has been ordered and has arrived. Someone dole's out the food and we eat in front of our computers. Maybe taking a few minute facebook break.
10:00 to 11:00 p.m. Someone finally gives the orders to pack up and go home.
Rest and Repeat.

Sounds fun doesn't it? And my busy season is relatively easy compared to a lot of other folks. One of my peers was working until 12 or 2 a.m.!! The good news is, I just started on my fifth (and last) busy season engagement for the year, which means my busy season will be winding down shortly (hooray! hooray!). Len is probably more excited about that than I am because it means dinner gets made occasionally, laudry is done, house is regaining cleanliness, and my sanity is slowly starting to return.

So here's to spring, warm weather and the end of busy season!!! May the end of my busy season be more consistent then the warm weather that we get with our spring.

Spring Break

Well obviously, I don't get a Spring Break, but my mom sure does, and she got to spend her very first Spring Break at the wonderful and special Lake LBJ. For the most part they had gorgeous weather. So, of course, when Shonnah, Lulu and myself went to meet her for the weekend, the notorious Texas weather did a 360*. It went from beautiful, warm and sunny on Friday, to freezing, windy and gross on Saturday. Oh well! We got to hang inside, watch movies, catch up with everyone, and Lulu (Shonnah's 'lil pup) kept us quite entertained. Video of Lulu and Mom playing below.


video

Lulu and Mom


And of course it was nice Sunday when we had to leave...


Bye-bye lake. Hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ready to Run

Well, I finally talked my big bro into running a 1/2 marathon with me. We both ran in the Innaugural Dallas Rock in Roll 1/2 marathon. A little background on this particular race series, they have them all over. There is one in Vegas, Nashville, Denver, San Diego, and San Antonio (to name a few). It is called the Rock and Roll series because there are various bands and musicians along the course, and then usually a big concert afterwards.

I ran the one in San Antonio in November, which is how I think I finally convinced Seth to do it. He and Len had the pleasure of getting up at 5 a.m., taking me and dropping me at the start line, and then waiting around for the race to start at 8, and then for me to finish two hours later. I think after all that he decided he should have just run the stupid thing with me :).


Picking up our packages at Dallas City Hall Saturday afternoon.


5 a.m. on race day (which was really 4 a.m. thanks to the time change). We were both tired and a little nervous. And poor Len is taking the pictures and playing taxi all by himself since Seth is now a participant. Maybe he'll decide to run the next one :).

Nearing the end. So happy that the end is in site. At this point all of the spectators are telling us 'the finish line is just around the corner', 'you've almost got it', 'you're almost there'.

Still searching for the finish line.....




We did it! Here we are enjoying our post race carb load and painkiller.


Thanks so much Seth for running with me!!!! It made the experience 100% more pleasant, and it was so fun to get to high five my big bro after crossing the finish line.
We are thinking it would be a neat experience to hit up the one in Vegas or Nashville if anyone is interested!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

PBR

This year we had a family birthday celebration in Dallas at the PBR. It was in Jerry World (aka the new Dallas Cowboy stadium) so it was a good chance for everyone to get to see the stadium and witness what was supposedly the biggest event in the history of PBR.

We all had a fantastic time. It was a really fun event, and Dad of course was in heaven. I mean who doesn't enjoy bullriding, but this guy LOOOVVEEESSSS it! He and mom can tell you all about the riders, and all about the bulls, and all about everything else.


No...we were not sitting this close and my camera's zoom function is not that good. This was a shot of the GIGANTIC tv. It's mesmerizing.

Gotcha! Hehe!



Patiently waiting for the gates to open....
Some bonus features of the event were:
1) Gary Allen had a little pre-concert which was quite good.
2) Our seats were directly in front of Jerry Jones' suite. We got a couple of glimpses of him.
3) Justin McBride (aka World Champion Bullrider) sang a few songs in the middle of the event. We all decided he shouldn't quit his day job....



'And she acts like one too'

It seems like my birthdays keep getting closer and closer together. For the past 3 years I have been absolutely mystified by how fast the year seems to go by! Since Len worked that Saturday, Shonnah and Dan were sweet enough to let me tag along with them and celebrate. And then we had a little birthday dinner Sunday evening at Ozona's with Amanda and Blake. The weekend was fun, but I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and kept thinking....'I didn't even get any cake and ice cream'. [I know....call out the Waaaaaahhmbulance]. And like I really even needed cake and ice cream.

So the next weekend, Len and I had a free weekend so we packed up and went to Lazbuddie to see my parents. As soon as we walked in the door there was a delicious smell of something baking filling the house. My mom had stayed up late to 1) wait on us to get there and 2) to make me a birthday cake!!!! My sweet mom had made me a strawberry cake (my favorite!) So the next day we invited Mawmaw out for cake and ice cream. Mom put candles on the cake and sang me Happy Birthday and made me blow them out and everything! It was really sweet. Thanks mom for still making me feel special on my birthday even at 26 years old :).



I got this package in the mail from Miss Nancy!

Len was so proud of the fishing pole that he got me! I can't tell you much about it, except he kept saying it was better than the one he had. So, I am fully equipped to catch some major fish this summer with my 'big girl' fishing pole, my hot pink wading belt, matching hat and fishing shirt, and duh, Gulp! bait.
Haha! Couldn't resist. Thanks for taking me out to celebrate!


I wish I had a picture of my very own, home-made, strawberry birthday cake. It was phenomenal. Probably the best cake ever. Mmmm.....






Monday, March 1, 2010

Napa.....Oh what fun it is to taste!

After our quick self guided tour of San Francisco we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and into wine country. It is a beautiful drive and full of neat things to see. Since we only had one day in Napa, and lots of things to do, Shonnah and Mom coordinated our tastings while I drove. Our goal was to hit as many wineries as we could in our short amount of time. Not necessarily the recommended way to go about it there, but hey, we had a fabulous time!

Last stop of the day....Merryvale

I think this was in front of Mumm....it's champagne.....yum-o!

Robert Mondavi


And again. We were so excited to visit this vineyard because we LOVE his grocery store wine!



'She heard it through the grapevine'




THIS is our view from our picnic table. Oakgrove has the cutest little deli where you can buy sandwhiches or meats, cheeses breads, etc. and do it yourself. They also had fabulous desserts! So we purchased our lunch at Oakgrove Grocery and then drove up to Diamond Oaks Vineyards and had ourselves a little picnic. It was such a pretty day, and the view was amazing, and we just loved getting to sit and take it all in. Especially after our full day of speed touring and speed tasting.






This was at Domaine Chandon, also champagne. We got there a little later than intended so it was super crowded but we finally got our bubbly!





The entrance to Domaine.








This was our very first tasting. Darioush. Really neat building and we really enjoyed their wine selections.


















San Francisco

I have been lucky enough to get put on an audit that has required me to travel to Napa for a hotel audit for the past few years. This year, I decided if I was lucky enough to get to go again that someone just had to come with me. It turned out that Mom and Shonnah just happened to be available the weekend before, so off we went!

We spent the first night in San Francisco near Fisherman's Wharf. So we got up first thing Saturday morning and went to see as much of Fisherman's Wharf as we could get in. 'Speed touring' if you will....

Trying to get a shot of the skyline.

Fisherman's Wharf

Crossing the Golden Gate. Napa here we come!




Where the sea otters come to play...



You can see Alcatraz in the back ground.




Alcatraz







On the pier