Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A New Life Chapter

I have officially been unemployed for two days.  (Eek!) I’m still a little in shock, but I can already see some good from being around more.  It also feels like I jumped without a parachute or safety net and I’m still falling (or plummeting) towards the ground.  It was a tough decision to make.  Dan is behind me 100%.  But, I wonder what happens when I finally hit the ground?  I’ve done a lot of praying and cutting back on expenses.  I’ve got the support of friends and family, which is awesome.  But, I still have a tiny nagging bit of worry. (Probably normal?) 

I have to admit, I do feel less stressed.  I’m surprised I’m not my usual radiating ball of stress over it all.  Perhaps it is because I feel good about the decision.  As soon as the decision was made, I felt like a weight had been lifted.  Yes, I’m very scared, very very scared.  I believe this new chapter in my life is part of a plan, a plan I really have no control over.  I don’t know what the outcome will be, or how I will handle things.  But, I am going to try to keep an open mind and look for the positives.  I’ve already seen some positives!

  • Zoë and I actually sit down for healthy breakfasts! 
  • Prudy snuggles with me!  (I swear the dog used to hate me.)
  • We have laughter in the house and things seem much more relaxed!
  • Dan has commented multiple times that I seem very happy!

I know there are more examples.  I plan to write them down as I think of them, so this list will most likely expand.  I hope to find a part time job, a job with a flexible schedule or even a telecommuting job for extra income.  I feel like I’ve been neglecting my family for so long and Zoe will only be little once.  I don’t want to miss anything.

Prudy - The ultimate in “No Worries”!


Friday, July 22, 2011

A chat with myself

Lately my attitude could really use some work. I need to snap out of the negative and find some positive energy somewhere. I’m surrounded by negative energy at work and even though it is sucking me dry, I can’t totally blame work. I’m starting to feel like things are falling apart around me, so I need to get life into perspective. In other words, I need a strong talking to, so, Self, here are some things to be thankful for.

You woke up this morning – Yes, both Zoe and Prudy climbed into bed sometime in the middle of the night to crowd you out, but you’re here to see another day.

You have a family that loves you – It may not seem like it at times, but trust me, they do.

You have a house, car, clothes and food – The basics. It all comes down to the basics and don’t you forget it. 

You have great friends – Your friends have put up with your crap for years and they are still around. They deserve a reward. The least you can do is appreciate them. 

You currently have a job – I know, the job thing has really been getting you down lately and that’s a bummer. But, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I think you know what that means.

Another thing, Self, you need to get over yourself. You need to remember that not everybody will like you. They don’t have to like you. You don’t like everyone, so why should everyone like you? You also need to take some time out for yourself. In fact, you need to take care of yourself a little better. Live a little. Have some fun. Stop stressing over every damn thing. It’s not worth it. You need to lighten up. Life is too short.  You take yourself waaaaaaaay to seriously. You don’t have to do everything for everyone. No one expects you to, but, hey, no one’s going to turn it down either. Here’s the thing Self, what you worry about totally outweighs the important stuff, and that’s just wrong.

Stop worrying about what other people think.
You can’t be a friend to everyone. Who has the time?
Your family will not suffer if you take some time for yourself.
No one cares if you wear the same clothes each week, they don’t even notice.
No one cares if Zoe wants to wear a hoodie and sweat pants in 100 degree weather.
No one cares if your car is dirty.
Your bad hair days are really just your issue.

So, Self, take a step back and get your shit together. Bad things happen and you will get through them. God, family, and good friends will always be there for you, no matter what. No one really cares about the little things. Keep the faith!  Life goes on, try to enjoy it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Office Bully

Bullying - To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner.  To make (one's way) aggressively.

We talk about bullying in schools, bullying on the internet, bullying on the playground, etc. But, what about bullies in the work place? I never really thought about it until recently. I have an office bully. He has bullied me for years and years. I never thought of him as being a bully, but it makes total sense. He fits the definition to a T. The light bulb came on when a co-worker/friend said “don’t let him bother you, he’s just a bully”! I guess I thought once you were a “grown up” you didn’t have to worry about bullies any more, except to protect children.

This guy is unbelievable. I’ve tried everything. I’ve gone the really nice and kind route (killing with kindness doesn’t really work on evil people). I’ve tried the passive aggressive route. I’ve tried the getting mad approach. I’ve reported him to HR. I’ve even tried not speaking to him. But, as with most bullies, this made no difference and trying to ignore him was almost impossible. I’ve seen this guy berate his assistants into tears. Heck, he even bullies his wife on the phone. What I don’t understand is why he is allowed to act like this in the office. Maybe it’s because others haven’t looked at this as bullying. Maybe they need to be enlightened. Sometimes, we think things change once we become adults. But, I’m filing this in the “high school never ends” category. The more I think about my working years, I realize that I’ve encountered quite a few bullies along the way. (Male and female.) I wish I had realized they were bullies at the time. I probably would have handled things differently.

I wonder if my current bully was always a bully or if he was bullied growing up. I suspect the later. I used to think of him as a giant jerk that always seemed to get his way. Now I realize he is nothing more than a grown up bully. Not sure why that would make such a difference to me. I suspect it is because I really can’t tolerate bullying of any kind. (I was bullied all through school.) When I believed he was just a “jerk”, I let him get under my skin, upset me, and make my life miserable. Now that I realize he's just a bully, it’s like he doesn’t matter. I can easily dismiss him and his antics. I wish I had realized that sooner. Bullies get no respect in my book.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stepping out of my comfort zone – Part 2 "The Recital"

This tap dancing venture was a huge step for me. I never thought I’d actually go through with it. But, it has really been a lot of fun and I plan to take the class again next year. I might even consider the adult Hip Hop class. (Not sure about that one yet!)

The biggest leap for me is going to be the (dreaded) dance recital. I am so freaking nervous! First, I never thought I would actually make it this far through the class. I figured I would give it a couple of tries, make a fool out of myself, and quit. I never really gave this recital thing enough thought. But, I’ve come this far. The actual routine is only 1 minute and 50 seconds, but it feels like 1 hour and 50 minutes! We are dancing to “Ain’t too proud to beg, by the Temptations. Which, I figure could be a whole lot worse. (I’ve heard some of the songs from other classes!)

The stage scares me. Not only will I be on stage under harsh bright lights, there are only 5 ladies in my class. So, when I screw up, and we all know I will, it will be an epic screw up for the world to see (in shining lights). The only time I’ve done any type of performing on stage was back in my orchestra days, where I got to hide behind a music stand. My classmates keep trying to tell me that I won’t actually see people in the crowd, but I think they are lying. Plus, they have been through this before. On a positive note, the outfit for our routine is normal. Thank God! I was afraid they would try to put this chunky girl in ruffles, or worse, spandex, which would have been a deal killer. But, it’s very tasteful. Long-sleeved white dress shirts, black dress pants and sequined bowties. I think I can handle that!

The thought of an audience truly scares me. I’ve been practicing (without an audience). Any time I think someone is watching, I get nervous and mess up. What am I going to do with a theater full of people? OMG! I really did not think this through! I should have picked a dance studio way on the other side of town. On top of screwing up in front of family, I get to screw up in front of moms I know, church members, etc! What the heck was I thinking?!? (I can feel my blood pressure rising.) What if I fall off the stage? (Now I’m starting to hyperventilate.) What if I pass out on stage? (My heart is racing!) What if people laugh? (Now I’m shaking.) What if I slip and fall and have to be carted off stage on a stretcher? Aaaaagggghhhhh! There are only 3 more classes! What have I done? (Passing out now.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zoë's money lesson

Like most children, I don’t know if Zoë fully understands that we all have to work to earn money to get the things we need and want. Sometimes I think she believes money either grows on trees or that credit/debit cards just magically have a never-ending balance. I blame the credit card thing on web games like Webkinz and Club Penguin, where virtual money is always just “there”. From an early age, she could put virtual items in a virtual shopping cart and virtually checkout. Then these virtual items would magically appear in her online account so her Penguin or Webkinz could wear different clothes. LOL! She also realized that things could be purchased online if you had a plastic card with magic numbers. She even asked for my credit card number one day, while on the computer. Whatever kid. LOL! 

Zoë does get to earn some money by doing a few chores around the house, if she gets a 100 on her weekly spelling tests, has a good report card, etc. Also, relatives will send her money occasionally in cards. Unfortunately, money seems to burn a hole in her pocket. She hasn’t quite grasped the mindset that if she would save her money, she could then purchase some of those larger items she wants. She would rather spend it on just “something”. Well, a few weeks ago she learned a pretty valuable lesson. 

She had enough money to get a new Beyblade. So, we told her we would take her to Wal-Mart after her soccer game. Wal-Mart was completely out of Beyblades, so I told her we could come back another day. She just had to buy something. She finally settled on a Tech Deck skateboard and ramp. We get home; she takes it out, changes the wheels on the skateboard and decides the whole thing is boring and dumb. (I couldn’t agree more.) That’s when the meltdown occurred. The meltdown of all meltdowns! She was so mad that she spent her dollars (what she calls money) on a dumb toy. She asked if I would give her some of my money. Nope. I asked her why she picked that toy, when she could have just waited until we went back to the store. She said it looked like fun whenever Alex played with them. LOL! She was pissed! She kicked, screamed, and started throwing things and was promptly sent to her room. 


Well, the next week she asked to go to the store again. We went to a different store this time, and they were also out of Beyblades. (Apparently these are very popular right now.) She wanted to look around for something else and I reminded her of the Tech Deck incident. She got quiet, thought about it and decided to wait and not get anything. She wasn’t thrilled about it, but I say lesson learned. 

Tech Deck

Monday, February 14, 2011

How far until the breaking point?

They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I really hope this is true. I’m at the breaking point and I’m not sure just how much more I can hold on my shoulders before completely falling apart. I’m doing my best to hold it together for Zoë, but even she is starting to ask why I’m crying sometimes. I try to hide that from her as much as I can. It’s not fair to her. I know what it’s like to see your mom cry. I’ve been there, it’s very unsettling to a child. I was that child.

I’m trying to stay strong for my family. I try to tell myself that things will work out in the end, things will be OK. I think I’ve gotten past one hurdle, only to find another one. I’ve been keeping most of this to myself, because I don’t want to be that friend. You know the one I mean. That friend that always has some sort of problem or issue going on in life and that’s all they talk about. I don’t want to be that person. So, I just try to keep it to myself.

Currently, it doesn’t even feel like I have a “safe” place. A place where I can go that’s not falling apart at the seams. Not at home or at work. I don’t even want to be friends with myself right now. I’m getting on my own nerves.

My husband has been unemployed for 7 months. Along the way, he has become very depressed. We have, somehow, made it this far. I carry the benefits and work as hard as I can. I take care of the house, plan the meals, do most of the cooking and cleaning, take care of the budget, pay the bills, etc. I also try to be active at Zoë’s school and attend Church. Dan’s depression has lead to some bad behaviors and choices. But, I continue to do my best. I’ve been here through the ups and downs, the fights, the trust issues, etc. We have our first couples counseling session tomorrow. I’m leaving a ton of stuff out. I probably need to start going back to counseling myself.

Work used to be a place where I felt appreciated and happy. Before my company merged, I was working a schedule that allowed me to work some from home, so I could participate in Zoë’s school activities, have more family time, etc. It was a great schedule, very flexible. They were a family oriented company. Now, I work 35 hours a week, am still considered salary, and still put in as much time as my counterparts at 40 hours. I get paid less. I had a very disturbing work phone call today. It seems the new company (mind you it’s been almost a year) does not like my current schedule. In fact, they really don’t like the “work at home” portion. They say because I’m salaried, no matter if it’s at 35 hours or 40 hours, I have to work as many hours as necessary. I can’t just stop my week at 35 hours, like my original agreement. I really wish someone had come to me about this during the whole merger, but that’s neither here nor there. It looks like my current work schedule is no longer an option and my suggestions were also unacceptable. So, I’ve been told that they will get back to me with schedule requirements. The entire conversation left me with a bad feeling in my gut.

So, I feel unappreciated at home and at work. Bills keep coming, things keep breaking. Mostly, I’m just exhausted. I’m tired. If I lose my job right now, we are royally screwed. And you know what? No one really cares. Makes me wonder why I care so much.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dog vs Cone

I am not going to make it 10 days. That’s how long Prudy, our boxer pup, has to wear the “cone” since she was spayed. Somehow, we are supposed to keep this hyper dog “calm” for 10 days so she doesn’t pop her stitches. Talk about impossible! The first two days we had the hard plastic cone, aka the lampshade, aka the satellite dish. It was awful! Pru would walk past things and knock them over. We lost an entire potted plant to the plastic cone. We would take her outside and the cone would get caught on the door, trees, you name it.

Day 1 in the lampshade:

Day 2:

We started looking for a soft cone. I found one at a pet store a little farther away, called and had them put that sucker on hold. I think I would have driven hours for it.

Pru in the Comfy Cone (kind of looks like a pirate):

Huge improvement, but still a giant pain. At least she isn’t destroying the house with it. Since the cone is soft, we can fold back parts of it, making it easier for her to eat and drink.  (Hmmm, therefore making it easier for her to much on a Hex Bug, a bracelet and a Beyblade.)  The hardest part for Prudy is that she has to be in the backyard on a leash. What she doesn’t realize is that this is much harder for me, since I hate to be outside. (Unless the weather is perfect and there are no bugs, then I love it.) Pru loves to be outside, she could sit in her sun spot all day if you let her. She likes to do her terror runs, play, bark, etc. Since she is supposed to stay “calm” (I can’t even write that without rolling my eyes), we have to take her out there on the leash. Did I mention I hate to be outside? Especially when it’s muddy. And cold.
Today is Day 5, just 5 more to go. I’ve already developed a slight twitch.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Gold Star Mom Badge

Sometimes I think there we should have badges for mommies, like Foursquare or the Girl Scouts. Because I seriously think I deserve a Club Penguin badge. I don’t even want to calculate the number of times I have played Card Jitsu Water to win Zoë the Water Ninja Suit. In fact, I should get 2 badges, one for figuring that stupid game out and the other for Gold-Star Mom status.

I don’t know how I get sucked into these things, but in the end they usually are kind of fun. (Shhh, don’t tell Zoë!) Let’s see, I got a Webkinz account so that we could link up and play online games, and visit each other’s house. I would get on my laptop downstairs and she would get on the “house” computer upstairs, and we’d have a good old time. We would send each other Webkinz mail and packages, play “rock paper scissors”, shoot some pool, grow virtual vegetables and hang out in the clubhouse game rooms. LOL!

I have my BFF’s daughter to thank for Club Penguin. (Thank you Shelby, really.) She introduced Zoë to it, showed her how to play some of the games and complete some of the “missions”. Then I got sucked in again. I created an account for myself, so she could add me as a “buddy”, and then we would play online. Then the little schemer somehow got me to log in with her account to earn Club Penguin coins so she could “buy” things. So, I became pretty good with the pizza making game and the fishing game. I’d earn some coins and she would dress up her penguin. Then she got really greedy. The next request was for enough coins to purchase a Dojo, to upgrade her penguin’s house/igloo. Instead of just saying “no”, I found myself playing lots of Club Penguin to earn 5,000 coins for a Dojo. (Yep, you read that correctly.) I also earned coins for Puffles (pets for the penguins), that would run away if you didn’t feed and take care of them. There have got to be at least 8 wild Puffles out there looking for food. (They are nice enough to send you a postcard when they run away.)

So, I really shouldn’t have been surprised with this recent Club Penguin request, to earn the elusive Water Ninja Suit. LOL! We finally earned the entire suit last night. The suit comes in 4 parts, which each have to be earned individually. (Of course they do! Making it just one piece would have been too easy.) I had to play Card Jitsu Water so many times I think my eyes started to bleed. Then, just to stick it to me again, after we got to 100% on the 4th item I had to “challenge” the Sensei! So, when Zoë says she is a Club Penguin Water Ninja, what she really means is “I, the greatest mommy in the world, am a Club Penguin Water Ninja”. LOL!

I wonder what the next online game site will be for us? Littlest Pet Shop? Toon Town? More Club Penguin? I hear there’s an Ice/Snow Ninja suit that might be next. Game on!