Farewell to Morinda

After just about ten years at Morinda, I am moving on. Today was my last day and I’m excited about what the future may hold.

About a year ago, I made a list of priorities in things that I would look for in a new job. Morinda treated me well, so I was going to be very picky about my next career step.

Last day at Morinda

The timing of my resignation was less than ideal. Most of my peers and superiors were out for spring break for the entire previous week. So, this week has been extremely busy trying to make the transition as smooth as possible. But that all came to an end today.

This morning I brought in several dozen warm Krispy Kreme donuts and passed them out to my coworkers to celebrate my last day. Almost everyone was positive and excited for me. It was a strangely emotionally-taxing morning, but as one wise person mentioned, this kind of change is good. “It’s good for the company because someone new will step up, a new person will get hired, and old problems will be attacked from new angles. And good for you because you’re going somewhere fresh where you can learn from new experiences and ways of doing business.”

After making the farewell donut tour, there was still work to do. I spent an hour or so doing last-minute training for Mark and Carter on some technical functionality, wrote a super-simple farewell email, then I handed in my equipment and walked out the door.

My department took me to lunch at Wild Zucchini, which was nice because I was already close to home. I picked up a new cell phone (I’d turned in my Morinda-issued phone just hours before) and then drove home.

Congratulations Poster

My cute wife had some gifts and a poster laid out on the kitchen table, which brought a giant smile to my face as soon as I walked in the door. I love all the notes from the kids (particularly Drew’s which reads, “Dad we love you as a dad from drew”). Manina even bought me a couple new shirts which will be have me looking sharp at my new job. But, more on that new job next week.

Thanks Morinda, but it’s time for my next chapter.

Life and Health Insurance Exam

I began working for Links Consulting and Producers FMO about a year and a half ago. Not long after I began working there, my boss, Mike, confided in me that, although I was mostly just doing the billing and commissions, one of the main reasons he hired me was because he thought I had real potential in this type of business. At the time I didn’t think much of it. I was having a tough time just keeping my head above water, much less think of future job opportunities. After about a year on the job, and after Ellie started attending three days of preschool a week, I realized I had more time that I could devote to my work.

In September, Mike inquired as to whether or not I would want to take the life insurance exam. I knew I did because this would open up other opportunities, but I wasn’t sure how I would find the time. I decided to bite the bullet and around mid-October I decided to do it. I ordered the study materials and began the preparation process. This is not known as an easy test. I had been warned. The goal was just to pass the test, not score high. No one scores high. My competitive nature was sure I could but after I saw the hundreds and hundreds of facts and definitions, I knew I was in for a long haul.

I also attended a two-day class where the instructor went over the majority of the materials. It was quite helpful because he made it easier to understand and apply the information to real-life. I don’t think I mentioned this, but Mike suggested I take both the life AND health insurance exam. He never did but wished he had so I agreed. Unfortunately, this added on even more study material. I spent hours and hours studying. I would lock myself up in my room for hours at a time. Every place I went, my book was in hand. I gave it all I could considering I was raising a family and being a wife and mom at the same time.

Finally test day arrived, December 5th. I remembered what my instructor said. He told me, “You can miss 45 questions out of 150. You have to look at it like that.” He was right. I knew I had to get a 70% or better. That was all I needed. Seth was so supportive through this process. The day of the test he put these cute notes and treats all through the house and all the way out to my car. It was so sweet.

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I got in the car and headed to McDonalds for a Dr. Pepper. I knew I would need one to get me through the test. Twenty minutes later I arrived at the testing center. Who would have known what an ordeal it was to get into the testing center. I had to empty my pockets, take off my jewelry, lock up my stuff, go through a metal detector. They weren’t messing around. Once I settled into my cubby and began working through my test, the jitters lessened. I marked my scratch paper each time I was unsure of a question, making sure I didn’t have more than 45 I didn’t know. I was getting worried. I was making too many marks.

There was a time limit, two hours to be exact. At 1 hour and 45 minutes I had completed the test. I reviewed a few questions and counted the ones I wasn’t sure on. I had about 40 and of those 40 I assumed I probably got close to half of those right. In my mind, I thought I had passed, but some doubts were creeping in. Oh well, time was up. I submitted my test and immediately on the screen I see “PASSED”. Man was a I happy! I didn’t even care that I had only gotten a 78%. I was just thrilled to have passed. So now I have my life and health insurance license. I am “kind of” happy about that. Now I just need to learn how to use it! 🙂

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Wild Wild West

Our kids look forward to my employer’s annual Summer party like it’s going to Disneyland or Lagoon. The date is circled on the calendar as soon as I bring home the invitation from work, and for good reason—Morinda throws a great party.

This year the theme of the party was the wild, wild west. The kids did the usual activities: ceramic piggy banks, all-you-can-eat popcorn, sodas, and snow-cones, and all the bouncy castles and slides a kid can handle. To close out our night of fun Manina thought it would be a good idea to get a family portrait, Western style. A rough lookin’ bunch of outlaws.

A rough looking crew

Fit challenge results: month 1

Seth came home from work about a month and a half ago with some information on a new Fit program that his work was launching. All employees and spouses were invited to join the challenge and would receive protein shakes, multivitamins, fiber drinks, snack bars, and the other FIT products free of charge. By sticking with the program and meeting certain goals you could get another month of product.

I was interested because six babies have really changed my body composition. It has been a little frustrating at times and I’d often get discouraged about it. The most difficult thing for me is finding the time. Exercising and healthy eating aren’t easy and require great self-discipline. Fast foods and freezer foods are so convenient when you are on the go (which is our family most days). However, I needed to make a change so I decided I would do it.

To start the program we had to get weighed, measured, and even get our photos taken so we could have a baseline to measure our results from.

As part of the Fit program for this past month I have cut out a lot of the sugars, empty carbs, late night snacking and introduced healthier eating. Seth is doing it too (mostly just to decrease his fat percentage and increase muscle tone). We do aerobic exercise (mostly running until the weather warms up) three times a week and try to do strength training three times a week too. We use all of the Fit products, and most of them we really like. We no longer eat after 7pm and have nearly eliminated junk food and soda.

I am not one to eliminate things from my diet. I do better cutting back. Diets aren’t my thing. I prefer to exercise and eat less. However, when you take that philosophy of exercising and eating less to another level (make the food you do eat healthier) you lose weight and feel better.

I have done the Fit challenge for one month. I went in yesterday for my weigh-in to get my results. Here is what I have accomplished:

  • I have lost 8 pounds so far!
  • I also lost 3 inches on from my waist
  • My body fat percentage went down 2.5%

I am pretty proud of myself. I qualified for a second round of products and will be working hard to see what I can do in another month. I’ll report again with my results. I’m hoping for 10 more!

Ski Date: Deer Valley

Just like last year, I managed to get a free ski pass to the world famous Deer Valley resort. I thought it would be fun to bring Manina along this time so we could make a date out of it. Manina was pretty nervous. So nervous, in fact, that her anxiety was making her borderline grumpy. She thought I was going to take her up a mountain and ditch her on a double black diamond run as a joke. She obviously has never seen me ski before—I’m a complete novice.

Grandma Jan came down to babysit the kids Saturday morning and we hit the road at about 9AM. We got to the resort at about 10am, got our free passes (thank you Oracle) and got our gear ready. Both of us borrowed gear from friends and family which worked out great. We hit the bunny hill first, and Manina got less nervous. She insisted we do it again so she would be more comfortable. Then it was off to the Success run.

After doing the Success run, Manina started to get much less anxious about skiing with me—she’d figured out that I wasn’t any good and wouldn’t be taking her to any daredevil runs. We had lunch in the Silver Lake lodge, and skied just about every nearby green (beginner) run. Ontario was our favorite.

We probably squeezed in a couple more runs than we should have, because when we finally pulled off our boots at about 3:30pm, we were totally exhausted. We had been invited to a customer appreciation dinner, but were simply too wiped out to stay any longer. So, we headed back toward home. We stopped for a quick bite at Chipotle to give us enough energy to deal with the kids when we got home.

It was a great date and a very fun day on the slopes. Also, check out the video of our lack of skiing ability.