Category Archives: Work

Keep On Keeping On

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So here is what I know: working full time while looking for a new job basically means that I’m working two jobs all in the hopes of getting paid for one. Throw in some extra stress about the Government Shutdown and wondering when the Hubs will get paid next and you’d think we’d be complete stress-balls.  And you’d be right- sort of.  This all IS stressful, but you know what? Life goes on.

Lunches need to be made. Dishes need to be washed. The kids need to get to school on time. Library books need to be returned. It’s sounds terrible cliche- but it’s true. There really isn’t a lot of time for moping and sulking in the life we live, which is a good thing! We told the kids today about  my job and we shaped it as a grand adventure, which hopefully it will be!

Many thanks to those of you who have reached out and offered to help- it means more than you know!

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Let Go

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Thursdays are often a crazy day for me. I work from 7 – 3:30, then I pick up the kids and we rush around doing errands for 35 minutes, then it’s off to swim lessons and a quick dinner before I pass the kids off to the Hubs so I can rush back to school and work at Bingo for 2.5 hours before finally crashing around 10:30. This particular Thursday was shaping up like all the rest, but the sun was shining and the kids went to school without a fuss so I figured it was going to be a good day.  I was going to attack my to-do list, manage my time and have a good afternoon with the kids. That was the plan at least.

Until I got laid off.

When my boss’s boss pinged me to see if I had time to chat, I wasn’t surprised. He and I had been playing tag for weeks trying to connect on a project and I figured he was grabbing 15 minutes with me to finally nail it down.  What I wasn’t expecting was for him to tell me that, due to budget constraints, I was to consider our conversation my 30 days notice as they were doing away with my department altogether.

*POOF*  Laid off.

I have been with my current employer for 13 years and I’ve genuinely enjoyed all of them. I wasn’t saving the world, but I was helping customers and, most importantly, I worked with an incredible group of people that I’m proud to call my friends. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve dreaded going to work and I generally find most of what I do to be interesting. I know it sound naive given the economy, but I honestly thought I could retire from this company.  Unfortunately, due to cost savings considerations, they felt differently.

I won’t lie, the first couple days after I got the news, I was reeling. I cried at the drop of a hat, I was angry and I was ashamed.  But, with the help of the Hubs, family and amazing friends, I got past being ashamed. I have nothing to be ashamed about- life happens and companies have to make hard decisions. I am wrestling with guilt- guilt about how my family’s life is going to change if I don’t find a job quickly. Guilt over the things they’ll have to give up because unemployment, while very helpful, isn’t a replacement for my salary. I still cry occasionally and part of me is still angry- but I’m moving past that.

Now I’m starting to get excited and hopeful. There is a big, glorious world out there and while I’m very much a creature of habit, being shaken out of my rut is going to force me to see more of it! Maybe I’ll get lucky and find a new job right away and my family won’t have to deal with any major bumps in our road. Or maybe I’ll get lucky and I won’t find a job right away and I’ll have some time to volunteer at the kid’s school and get creative with my cooking. I honestly don’t know which way things are going to go, so I’m trying to swallow my terror and have faith that somehow, we’ll be just fine.

Home Again

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And it’s like I never left. Except that I did leave. And it was awesome. The conference was fantastic- I got to meet some of my long time colleagues, eat some truly wonderful food, dance to a band I’ve never heard of but were evidently famous in the 70s/80s, sleep in a gorgeous hotel room with huge ceilings, take a 2 hour tour of an incredible city, watch too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on NetFlix, read some very good books and meet some cool people on the plane. I came home energized and so enthused about what I do for a living.

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And it was all really, really amazing and I’m so glad I went.  And when I got home, I was picked up at the airport and whisked off to baseball practice and just like that- BAM– I was back in my life. Except today, the Hubs made the kids lunches while I showered. And I was told numerous times by everyone how much they missed me.  And all that makes me think that I need to go away for a week a bit more often just to keep my family on their toes.

I Left My Heart…

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Many, many months ago I signed up to come to a conference for work in San Francisco. Many, many months ago when I signed up, the conference seemed forever away- so long away, in fact, it didn’t seem real. But time did its thing and before I knew it, that conference that seemed so very far into the future was here.  And I, being the wuss that I am, started to get a little nervous. Not about the conference- I’m a conference geek. Small talk, learning new things, meeting new people- all of it makes me happy. No, I was nervous about that whole spending-5-days-across-the-country thing.

I mean- 5 days is a long time. I’ve never left my kids for 5 days and I’ve never been this far away.  Then you throw in the events of last week in Boston and all the news stories about the FAA furloughs that will result in major flight delays and my little bit of nerves turned into a whole bundle of nerves really quick.  But, I didn’t have a choice. I was committed.  So yesterday I made the trek cross country to San Francisco.

And I’m so very, very glad I did.  It’s a tough life having to sleep in a huge bed by myself with no children waking me up at 4 am.  It’s a hardship to eat meals while they’re hot and not have to share a bit.  And it’s horrible to have this gorgeous view from my window.

 

Today I spent the day taking a fascinating class, filling up 4 pages of paper with notes on things to do at my job when I get home.  Then I got to have dinner with wonderful people that I’ve got to work with for the past 2 years but have never met while looking out at this view:

Yup, I miss my family. And I’ll be dying to get home to them on Friday.  But for now, I’m just going to enjoy every second of this gorgeous city, my nerves be damned.

Playing Catch Up

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The Good

> Hell week at work is over. My project was out on time and with minimal bumps. Doesn’t mean the work is over (it’s never, ever over) but I’m over the first hurdle.

> We had a fantastic weekend. My parents picked up the kids after school on Friday because the Hubs and I had a wedding to attend 6 hours away on Saturday. We spent Friday night at home (I was coming off a 16 hour work day)- we went out to dinner to celebrate and were in bed by 10. My idea of a perfect evening. We got up and out on Saturday and drove to my favorite city (DC) for a quick 24 hour visit. The wedding was beautiful, we had a great time and the car ride was blissful with no kids to worry about.  It always makes me very, very happy to be reminded of how much I like spending time with my husband.

> We were spared Sandy’s wrath. The forecast was not looking good yesterday during the day- we were told to prepare for 3-5 days without power, but a last minute turn in the storm means we got hit with exactly nothing. Some rain and some wind, but nothing crazy or life threatening. My heart goes out to all those hit hard by the storm.

> Halloween tomorrow! I’m ignoring the ugly weather we’re going to get (40’s and pouring rain) and just focusing on how excited the kids are!

Now, for the bad…I have 7 loads of laundry to fold. Blech.  Back tomorrow with a more coherent post…promise.

Simplification: Part 2

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A year ago, I shared that we made the decision to close our small business.  What I didn’t get into is how very, very hard that decision was.

We bought that business when Scorch was 5 months old. It was a huge leap of faith and one we made convinced that doing so would only improve our lives.  I remember the three of us driving around after we signed all the papers looking at some of the fanciest homes in town wondering how long it would take us to make enough money to afford one. Surely not more then 4 or 5 years until the only job the Hubs had to work was one that he loved, one where he set his own hours, that one that was his true passion.

And for the first 2 years, life was great.  Our business wasn’t making us rich, but it was doing well and we loved running it. Every dime we made, we put back into it upgrading equipment and making cosmetic repairs. We’d spend weekends there cleaning or making improvements with Scorch, and then the Bean, in the pack n play watching us dance around as we painted the walls or steam cleaned the carpets.  It wasn’t fancy- but it was ours and we were determined to make it work.

But then things got hard. The economy crashed and our clientele dried up as most people didn’t have $100+ per week to spend on our services any more. Local businesses who sent their employees to us went bankrupt.  With two little kids at home, I didn’t have the time to devote to the business, so the Hubs was picking up all the slack.  The hours there weren’t fun any more- they were desperate as we tried to keep things going.  We had 2 full time and 3 part time people working there that depended on us- we couldn’t fail.

The stress invaded every single aspect of our lives.  Weekends that used to include family time now included the kids and I at home alone while the Hubs worked his butt off coming up with new ideas, new programs, new anything to keep clients coming in our door so we could make payroll and pay our rent.  We didn’t feel like we could make family trips or even enjoy any time away from home because we were so consumed with how we could make things work.  We were so afraid that if we stepped away for even a moment, that is when disaster would strike. I really thought we were heading for divorce as all we could think about, talk about, surround ourselves with were issues related to the business.

It was a miserable way to live.

Finally a year ago, things came to a head and after trying to make a few last minute desperate changes we came to the realization that our  business wasn’t working any more. After weeks of sleepless night, more tears then I could count and more stress then I ever want to feel again, we closed our doors. I can’t even describe to you the sick feeling in the pits of our stomach when we made that decision. We could barely look at each other- all our hopes and dreams were shattered and all we were left with was the balance of our small business loans and each other.  I didn’t know how we’d pick up the pieces- that time was almost as dark as the hours we spent trying to make it all work.

But here we are- a year later and we’re still standing. I still can’t think of the business without feeling sad and disappointed. But I also feel free.  I feel like our life is ours again. I have a husband who’s home and involved and so very present in our lives- and it’s the biggest blessing.  We’re not walking around on egg shells with each other anymore in fear of setting the other person- a person who’s already on edge- completely off.   There is no feeling of dread and physical sickness when we have to pay our bills wondering how in the hell we’re going to make ends meet.  Yes, we’ve had to tighten our belt over this past year to pay down our loans, but I’ll take that over the way we were living last year any day of the week.

I don’t know why I’m sharing all this now, but I guess with the year anniversary of the closing it’s on my mind a lot. I look around and marvel how much life has changed for the better in this past year and I’m so very, very thankful we decided to simplify.

Home Again

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After a whirlwind trip down to VA, I’m home again! It’s always fun for me to travel for work, especially now that I’m working with folks that I haven’t met before.  I love seeing if my mental picture lines up with what people look like in person. On this particular case, I was only close with one out of the five people I met. Clearly I’m losing my edge.

From the plane on the way home…

I got home yesterday around 9:30, so it was perfect timing. The kids were sound asleep, but I still had enough time to before I had to hit the sack to catch up with the Hubs.  The Hubs did a wonderful job while I was gone, but I have to admit to being more then a little pleased when he copped to how frazzled he was yesterday morning.  It’s not easy trying to get yourself and two little people out the door in the morning between breakfast and getting dressed and teeth and vitamins and making lunches. Throw in a dog who needs two different kinds of medicine, to be fed and to be let out twice and it’s easy to go from frazzled to crazy in no time.  After he was done telling me about his morning, I told him how nice it was to sleep 9 hours straight and to shower in peace and quiet for as long as I wanted.  He didn’t find it as funny as I did.

Flying into some cloud cover over Philly.

But now that I’m back, the real craziness begins. On top of my page long to-do list from my meeting, we’re gearing up for a weekend full of birthday parties for Scorch.  Saturday we’re hosting 25 family members at our house and on Sunday we’re heading to a party location so Scorch can celebrate with 32 of his closest buddies. It’ll be a mad house- so say a prayer for us!

On The Road

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When anyone in our family has a crazy schedule, 9 time out of 10, it’s the Hubs. Early mornings, late nights and the occasional business trips- that life is his domain. I’m the steady parent at home- always there to get the kids  to school, always there to pick them up.

But not today.

My view at 10 am this morning…

 

This morning I got up at my normal time, but instead of going for a run, I got suited up.  Dress pants, a blouse, heels and a full face of make up before I headed to the airport. 4 hours and 1 lay over later, I arrived at an the office. I got to spend the afternoon and evening with adults, talking about grown up things and feeling ridiculously productive.  Then I got to go out to dinner with my boss at a place with cloth napkins- and I didn’t need to wipe anyone’s face once.

After dinner my boss had to take off, so I spend a lovely evening walking around an outdoor shopping center going into places I never go with the kids. Then I got dessert and didn’t have to share a single bit. Best of all, I get to do it all over again tomorrow before heading home tomorrow night.

I love my family like crazy and I can’t wait to see them tomorrow- but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy every stinking minute of this time away!

Here

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I’m here- but barely.  Today marks Week 2 of working mandatory 12 hour days/ 6 days a week.  What I do isn’t terribly hard either physically or mentally, but I’m wiped out.  Being glued to the computer from 7 am – 7 pm looking as long spreadsheet when you’re not used to it is much more taxing then you’d think.

Because I had to work all day Saturday, my parents offered to take the kids that morning for an overnight (Total. Godsend.)  All was well until I got the call at 10:30 am yesterday saying that the Bean had a stomach bug.  So I wrapped up what I was doing (grocery shopping), took the dog to the kennel and moved myself down to my parents house so I had help with the kids today while I continued to work (I honestly have no idea if I get sick days right now, I don’t think so).

So- to recap. 12 hour work days + 1 sick, cranky, pathetic kid = my head exploding.  Also, I’m nominating my parents for sainthood.

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I wrote that post this morning and after a nice evening at my parents I was going to scrap it and write something sincere and full of gratitude for the great people in our lives. And I still may do that. But not tonight as I just took me 1.5 hours to get the Bean to bed. *sigh* I feel so badly for that little girl, but I really, really wish she’d stay in bed.

Be Careful What You Wish For

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Two weeks ago, the Hubs and I left on 4.5 day road trip down to VA and NC to spend some time with family and friends and attend a much anticipated wedding.  I was so excited about this trip- the Hubs and I love road trips, we travel well together and we were going to see a lot of people we love.  It wasn’t a the most romantic or exotic of trips, but- hey, it was time away just the two of us and we were running with it.  The trip was fantastic and we so much fun!

The only rain cloud hanging over my head was the timing of an upcoming business trip- we arrived back home late on Sunday and I had to leave for a 3 days business trip to TX 18 hours later.  Normally I love traveling for business. I work from home, so I always enjoy seeing my coworkers, eating out and sleeping uninterrupted on the company’s dime. But this time because both trips were back to back, I was less then thrilled.  This was my longest time away from my kids and I knew I was going to miss them terribly and was feeling all sorts of guilty wishing I could spend more time with them. But I sucked it up, enjoyed my time in TX and very happily arrived the airport 2 hours early for my flight home. But it wasn’t meant to be.

The flight was delayed by more then 4 hours due to bad weather in Dallas. The delay caused me to miss my connecting flight in Newark, NJ.  After some scrambling when I was in TX, I found a hotel in Newark to stay at until I could catch the next flight home in the morning.  I think the hotel, a Hilton, was nice- but considering I only spent 4.5 hours in it (4.3 of which were spent sleeping), I can’t be entirely sure.  However, motherhood and all it’s lack of sleep prepared me well and I arrived back at the airport at 6 am smelling as fresh as I could be in the same clothes I’d been wearing for 24 hours (checked luggage- with all my clothes- couldn’t leave the airport for security reasons).

After I checked into my flight, I called home.  The Hubs answered with a “If you’re calling to tell me your flight is delayed I’m going to lose it.”  Hmmm…not the greeting I expected.  Turns out the Bean was up the whole night before throwing up every hour which meant no sleep for the Hubs and the Bean.  Quite honestly, at that point, my delay seemed like God sparing me from what I hated most, so I was almost cheerful as I waited for my 8 am flight. I got myself a nice breakfast, I enjoyed my book and I savored the last hour of me-time I had before descending back into the House of Vomit.

And thank God I did.  Since I got home last Thursday, I haven’t left the house for longer then 2 hours at a time and the time I have been home I’ve had a child draped over me.  The Bean was sick Wednesday night through Saturday night.  She finally started to perk up on Sunday just in time for Scorch to catch the bug and spend all Sunday night into Monday throwing up.  People- I was the one who got up with him the first time he woke  up feeling poorly.  I didn’t realize what was coming, he didn’t realize what was coming and it was ugly.  I’m still patting myself on the back for not running out of this house in horror.  And it didn’t stop for 17 hours.  That poor kid was leveled and the Hubs and I were walking Zombies.

Thankfully we have gotten past the puking part (please God, let it be over) and we’re just into the part of the virus where Scorch has a high fever and can fall asleep anywhere. Like in the bath, like he did today.  The Bean is completely back to normal and making us all freaking crazy. I called Mary, our nanny, this morning and begged her to take the Bean somewhere- anywhere- today for a few hours before I completely lost my mind.  Beaner didn’t sleep well for whatever reason last night, which turned her in to raging psychopath all day long.  She’d rain down the wrath of avenging angels  on your head if you didn’t give her the yogurt covered pretzels exactly how she asked for him.  And if you didn’t sit on the couch next to her just right? May heaven help you, because she had no pity for your stupidity and lack of mind reading abilities.

So, I wished for more time with my kids and I got it.  It’s just not exactly how I pictured it and frankly all of us are too tired, too ill or too sick of each other to enjoy much of it.