Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Easter

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Maybe Don Henley was right. Maybe it really is about forgiveness. Today is a day in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice, a celebration of a renewed life and the most immense forgiveness we have ever known. If He could sacrifice himself so that we could be forgiven, we should show the same forgiveness in our lives. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing and releases the mind and body of so much negativity. Forgiveness is little by little cleansing my soul and showing me firsthand of the joy that you can receive when you allow yourself to forgive. Today let us not begrudge one another or harbor ill feelings or bitterness but forgive and love as He has taught us. Wishing you and yours a happy and blessed Easter.

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Vampires & Aliens

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Stephanie Meyer’s new movie The Host is now in theaters. In case I haven’t mentioned it before I’m a total Twihard – as in complete obsessed with the Twilight Saga. I read all the books in four days and proudly display live-sized Edward and Jacob cardboard cutouts in my house. Have seen all the movies – several times and the soundtracks for each of the movies are still what’s in my disc changer in my car.

So now this new movie is coming out and they are playing it up because it’s based on a book by the same author. Yet strangely enough it’s just a little too farfetched to me. Vampires? Sure why not. Aliens? No, not so much. It’s weird – especially when you think that there’s actually a better chance that aliens exist than vampires. I’ve just never really been on the whole alien trip. If there is life out there I just always envision the goofy-eyed big headed weird ones and not some sexy being. I’ll probably still end up seeing the movie but at the end of the day I’ll stand by my decision: It’s vampires over aliens for me.

Historically women have always swooned over the eternally romantic, always perfect, never  aging vampires from films and TV series. We’ve got our True Blood and Vampire Diaries hotties, the Twilight hunks, and way before that, our eye candy from The Lost Boys and Interview With a Vampire. The list goes on and on. When I think of aliens the only thing that comes to mind is E.T., Alf, and Starman (who I never really found attractive). I’m sure there’s more but, like I said, they just don’t do it for me. If I could have Mork or Edward Cullen, I’m going Cullen all day, every day, for eternity over that nanu-nanu crap.

I had a coworker once that called in sick because she had been abducted by aliens. We all laughed about the story and how she probably just drank or smoked a little too much the night before but the girl was serious as a heart attack. Hearing all her recollections of her abduction in the years I worked with her made me a little skeptical of just how sane she was. Yet, you get me on a Twilight kick and I could go on and on about how there’s a vampire out ready to impregnate me with his half human, half vampire baby before turning me so we could live forever as  a happy little family. Yes I know that they’re not real and that whole scenario isn’t going to happen but it doesn’t lessen my obsession much. I realize now that there’s a whole slew of people that would scratch their heads at me too. Funny how that works.

From vampires to aliens to steamy romance novels or Star Wars followers I guess the moral of the story is that, even when we think someone else is crazy over something ridiculous, we all have a little something that makes us tick that’s just as equally farfetched. What’s yours?

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Good Friday

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It’s been a week since my back trouble started. Been to the chiropractor every day since Monday but it’s Good Friday today so they are closed until next week. I had hoped I’d be able to walk on my own by Easter since we have a ton of places to go but, alas, that isn’t going to be the case. I can sit with a little more comfort than before but I’m still not able to stand up or put any weight on my leg. It’s so ridiculous how simply these things can happen and how long they can take to fix. The doc says this appears to be sciatica and L4-L5 / L5-S1 ruptured disc. All the diagrams I found say L1-L2 usually are what cause hip pain too so we won’t know for sure until I get an MRI but even then the treatment is the same as the regimen they’ve already got me on so the only difference that will make is telling us where the sources are. He swears he can make it better but it’ll just take time. The only thing that’ll make it feel better in the meantime is pain meds and l don’t want to go that route because they don’t actually help anything. They just make it worse by making you feel better when you’re not so you hurt the injury more and then have to keep taking the pills. Plus I’m breastfeeding so it’s not even an option to me. Come Monday it’ll just be daily visits to the chiropractor again and physical therapy I can start to do from home little by little. Until then, I just have to be patient and have faith.

Today is a day dedicated to faith. It’s Good Friday. My patience and faith have been tested all week with this injury. My faith in the goodness of people was tested by the whole work situation. My faith in my family had been tarnished very badly for a long time over the years. Faith in general can be a tricky thing sometimes. The friends you think you have that let you down can chip away at your faith. Family can do the same. You can work so hard at something and give your all and in the end be made to feel like it didn’t matter or just wasn’t appreciated. The important thing is that you don’t lose faith in yourself or God. God put your here for an intended purpose and you may not know why yet but you have to have faith.

I doubted the decision I had made about work for a while because I fear change and whether we will be able to get by. Yet faith (and continued bulldookie I’ve had to deal with from the office since leaving) is telling me every day that it was the right decision and I’m growing more and more easy with it.

I worried over the situation with my family and the broken bridge between my mother, grandmother and I. Yet, I made the decision to let my mother into my daughter’s life and, in doing so, mine again as well. I then started to worry if I made the right decision with that too. The bond may never be mended between my mother and grandmother but this injury has shown me that they can both love me and be there for me separately. It sucks it has to be that way and who knows what the future holds but for now, I have to be content with that and appreciative for the small progresses. For as easy as it may be to say bad things of a person and as hurt as I was by the whole situation, I can honestly say that my mother has shown nothing but love to my daughter and that she has been there for me and helped me so much these past few weeks that I know I made the right decision here and God is showing me that in a way I can understand.  It doesn’t undo the past and some wounds may never heal but it helps to move on with the future.

The hurt that I felt before from so many things has dwindled and I realize it’s because it’s not important to hang on to anymore. There is so much more joy to feel here in the moments God is giving me. I woke up with my baby this morning who was all smiles at the ceiling fan. The fan that wasn’t even on but apparently is one funny S.O.B. I stared at it with her waiting for the moment it hit me too then contemplating if this was just some inside joke I didn’t understand. She woke with so much happiness at practically nothing though and this restored my faith completely. If she can find such joy in so little I don’t want to miss that opportunity either or fail to see all the joy around me. You know, the whole “seeing the forest through the trees” thing.

I have to have faith that something better is coming. Work was just stress and money. Neither are worth sacrificing these moments.  Work and money will be there to be made when I’m ready again. Hell, I just read a story about a guy that fakes being a handicap bum and makes $60,000 – $100,000 every year from it. I’m a hardworking honest person so I know I will be able to do well when the time comes. In the meantime, once I feel better obviously, I can start using my creative gene to make some money here and there I’m sure. Things will be pretty tight for us for a while but it’s worth it.

The point is that even as fearful as I was before, I have faith in the decision we made and where God is taking us. I am so thankful that I can see the Grace of God in something as pure and simple as my little girl’s smile and that such a small act can remind me what it’s really all about and reassure me so deeply.

I know religion can be a tricky thing to delve into for some and far be it from me to “preach” to people but, if this day is intended to celebrate the gift of life that God and Jesus gave to humankind, the sacrifice of Himself for us, His willingness to forego his life and His faith that something great awaited him, then I think it should be easy enough for us to appreciate all that we’ve been given and have faith in ourselves and the plans He has for us in our lives as well.

So on this Good Friday, in addition to everything it is intended to mean for everyone – whether a religious observance or just a start to the weekend –  I also hope each of you find your faith in yourselves and have faith in the road that lies ahead of you. Do all you can to be a good person and treat others well and don’t let their mistreatment of you make you falter. Don’t forget to enjoy the moments you’re given or get caught up in what’s not important. Don’t hang on to grief that will only hinder your travels on the road onward and upward. Let it go. God has so much more planned for you. Just have faith.

Back Breaking Beginning

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Not such a great start to the first days of the rest of our lives. With Friday being my last day at work I was ready to wake up fresh Saturday morning and embrace this new phase of our lives. Friday was my grandmother’s birthday. After leaving there though my back was really giving me trouble. It only got worse from there. Needless to say it’s been a very trying four days since then. My back issue escalated into me being totally out of commission by Saturday morning. Like literally couldn’t even walk or even stand up. Getting out of bed someone walking by would have thought I was having a baby naturally again. And with a two month old baby? Talk about complicated!

Another big issue is not wanting to or being able to take any pain meds. My theory on that is that they don’t help you get better at all – they just mask the pain long enough to trick you into thinking you’re better and then you go doing the very things that got you into trouble in the first place and when the numbness wears off your worse and so, of course, then you need more pills. No wonder people are addicted to them. The other negative is that you can’t really take pain meds while breastfeeding without drugging your baby. If I went through all the trouble of a natural childbirth for the very same reason why would I renege on that now?

Thank God for family that could help out. Between my grandmother, uncle, sister, mother and husband we were able to make it through the weekend and past two days managing the baby, the house and food. I am blessed but I feel totally helpless and that’s not a feeling I’m used to admitting or that I can appreciate much. I have such a hard time asking for help from anyone so it’s pretty bad when your mother has to dry you off from a bath because you can’t. My pride is nonexistent at this point. On the positive side, at least I can wipe my own ass. It’s a small victory that I can have that small piece of dignity left.

After surviving the weekend I was able to get in to a chiropractor first thing Monday morning and got some crutches from my grandmother. They at least get me mobile if I push down on them hard enough to take the weight off my leg. I can manage a few steps that way though my armpits are killing me now. The chiropractor predicts either a badly bulging disk or fully blown one in my lower back and pinched sciatic nerve.  We’ll be getting an MRI to determine exactly what we’re dealing with but in the meantime, he’s got me in all sorts of contraptions trying to realign my spine and space my vertebrae out to free the nerve up a bit so I can walk. The disk itself is painful but nothing compared to the nerve issue having me incapacitated and sending shooting pains down my leg. My muscles are all so inflamed around the injured area too that it doesn’t help.  After two days back to back at the chiropractor though I can at least sit and nurse without crying the whole time. I’ve got bruised hips from the kneading he did on my knotted muscles but it’s a slight improvement so I’ll take it.

I’ll be visiting the chiropractor every day an hopefully by the weekend I will be able to at least walk on my own. We’ve got lots of Easters to attend this weekend and it’s going to really suck if I’m hurting like this the whole time. Worse case scenario I’ll be wearing a bunny costume to accommodate my walking on all fours!

 

Here goes

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This week has been kind of a flop. I would say I’d like a do over but at this point I would just much prefer to move forward. Onward and upward. So this will be my bitch and release.

Spring is supposed to be in the air. Easter is next weekend. Instead winter has decided to dig in her claws and is just having a hard time getting the hell out of dodge. They’re calling for six inches of snow on Sunday. Two weeks to April and six inches of snow? What the hell is this Alaska?!

My back has been so jacked up this week I could probably audition and score a role in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I feel like a total idiot trying to bend down to pick the baby up out of her crib or swing and then try to stand back up straight. I’m 31, not 203. At least we figured out the culprit. Turns out this is all thanks to our wonderful Termpurpedic bed. We splurged on this stupid bed a couple years ago and it was the greatest thing since sliced bread for my husband for quite a while. I never quite adjusted to it and shortly after finding out I was pregnant I found myself in physical therapy with some severe lower back issues. Coming home from the hospital I slept on the couch for over a month but surprisingly never really had any issues. Then sure as shit once we moved back into the bedroom a few weeks ago, it set in again and now is back full force ready to kill me. This time my husband’s feeling it too. He  started reading some reviews and found hundreds of them with complaints of the same thing – lower back pain, physical therapy, Cortizone shots! All that eased as soon as they trashed their Tempurpedic. This freaking bed is crippling us! Looks like we’ll be camping out on our old queen mattress until we get rid of this thing and get a new one.

Yesterday was pictures with the Easter Bunny at the mall. The place is a ghost town of empty stores for lease and unknown ghetto fabulous stores in place of the stores I used to love. Now I know why I don’t go to the mall. I actually expected to see tumbleweeds roll across our path at any point. Their Easter bunny was a little goofy too but it’s a tacky little traditional photo anyway. It all went just like the movies. One kid that’s staring off into space refusing to look at the camera, followed by a kid that’s clutching to her mother as if she’s about to be tossed into the jaws of death screaming bloody murder and a much less than enthused photographer who figures she’s not getting paid enough to interact with her subjects or use any of the giggle inducing puppets she’s got behind the counter. The biggest gripe about this trip though actually had nothing to do with the pictures or the unimpressive Easter Bunny. That all went fairly well. It was my freaking shoes that pissed me off the most. I decided  to wear black ankle boots and about halfway through our voyage my back is so jacked up that my body literally ditched the concept of how to walk in heels. Between all these excess pounds I’m carrying trying to be supported by skinny heels and lower back issues making me walk like an invalid, I’m actually surprised I didn’t break my damn ankle. The upside: There is never a line at an empty mall so we got in pretty quickly and my baby did swimmingly well with her first encounter of the Easter Bunny (minus one eyebrow raising “Who the hell is this guy” look but then again she is my child so that’s a given).

We also went to our appointment yesterday for our spring/Easter pictures. We dressed the baby in her easter dress and donned our spring colors. They told us we could bring as many dress changes as we wanted and after a poll of friends, it was decided we’d bring a few. After the day at the mall the baby was exhausted. We got a few family shots in before she went waco lulu for food. We let the next family go head of us and I fed her. (Thankfully I had pumped that morning and brought a reserve bottle with us). So while she finished her dinner we sat at watched every employee get called over try their tricks and work their magic on a three year old girl who absolutely refused to do anything but look at everyone like they were stupid. Photographers repeatedly hit themselves in the head trying to procure a laugh and only scoring an “Are you crazy” look from the kid.  It was hysterical. When it was our turn again we gave it another shot. The baby (who is usually all smiles) just wasn’t feeling it. The photographer gave her best but it just wasn’t a good night for pictures. We got a few more shots in and attempted a wardrobe change but by then she was just too tired and that was a wrap. The upside: Even though we only got pictures in one outfit, we still got some cute ones and her first Easter pictures will still go down as absolute cuteness in the family album.

Then when I woke up this morning I felt a bit of sentiment already. It was my last day at work. Lots of people have moved on from the office over the years. Some have come back, others not. One thing we always did was bid them adieu with a parting gift and a farewell lunch party. I personally have ordered engraved Tiffany’s bracelets and Michael Kors engraved watches, etc and food for these parties. Granted, I wasn’t expecting anything that nice, I at least figured that there would be some sort of send off, well wishes, good lucks, a card perhaps signed by everyone. Something. The dogs getting knotted up in the back yard and the baby spitting up all over herself (which she never does) before we left for the office this morning should have been a clear indication of what laid before me.

I got to work and set out to finishing up getting my office cleared and getting things transferred over. I had offered to help as much as I could from home if they needed me to in an effort to at least not be a total bitch over the situation even though they more than deserved it. So they decided they may take me up on it but then had other plans of how they could screw me over in doing it. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to in being despicable.  Ironically The Minion worked from home for years and made out quite well doing it. She also was the recipient of the Tiffany’s bracelet when she quit and started working from home. Yet here she sits now trying to get me to do all this work and not wanting to pay for it and not even extending any sort of farewell function whatsoever. I just need to learn not to let this bother me I reminded myself. Today is my last day here and let’s just get it over with. So the day went on and then lunch came and went and nothing. I returned to my office from transferring some files and found a gift bag there. Well, it was snuck in there when I wasn’t there but at least it was something right!? Only when I opened the bag it was a single gift and note from one co-worker. So it was clear – nothing was planned or organized for today. This was it. On the bright side, the gift was a beautiful set of potted orchids and a very sweet note. Taking out the last of my belongings and getting the baby together I sent out a farewell message to the staff and wished them all well. I got back several sweet emails but still felt the compelling itch to call someone out on their bullshit. I mean at this point I was kinda shocked, a little hurt even but mostly very upset that I’ve spent more than the past decade busting my ass for people like that. Besides, that the owner had even said last week that he wanted to throw me a farewell party after all. Why would you tell someone that and then renege? Who does that?! So I sent him a message and basically thanked him for the great learning experience over the years (I left out the lessons he was still teaching me on dealing with greedy, heartless bastards) and that it would have been nice to have been able to have everyone together for lunch or something to say goodbye. To my surprise he then responded that they were planning a party to commemorate my hard work but that I just needed to be patient. Umm, in other words, he totally abandoned the idea and figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. I mean who the hell throws you a farewell party after you’re already gone? I’ve heard of throwing a party BECAUSE someone is gone. In fact, the staff had all wanted one when The Minion quit years back in an almost “ding dong the witch is dead” kinda way. But a farewell party for me after I’m gone is just a little far fetched and a little more than I could take.

The upside is that it’s all over with. Tomorrow starts a whole new chapter for us and I don’t have to deal with any of that anymore. The perks of spending my days with my daughter are immense and the rewards of managing our house more efficiently and focusing my time here are far greater than any job. “You’ll have plenty of time to get back to work”, everyone says. “Enjoy this time”, they tell me. Well folks, here goes.

Cheeese!

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I just realized this week that I only have a week and a half until Easter. Easter for us before was always just driving from one place to another, spending time with family and eating too much. It just dawned on me that this is no longer the case. We now have a baby – and a new requirement to officially “celebrate” all holiday traditions. And for Easter that means a cute flowery Easter dress, Spring pictures, an Easter basket and a trip to the mall for that classic Easter bunny picture.

I haven’t been in a mall for quite a while. I avoid them at all costs actually. I’m a shopaholic and I hate crowds anyway. It always only leads to one thing – me getting pissed off with people and just rush-buying things to get the hell out of there. It’s been so long since I’ve been at the mall during any holiday that I nearly forgot about the Easter Bunny and Santa pictures that are now going to be a part of our lives.

The baby was exceptionally awake last night. She did not want to go to sleep at all. It doesn’t help that my back is killing me this week too and all I wanted to do was lay flat. I stayed up with her after until midnight when she finally went down. The up side to this is that I woke her up at 7:45 this morning so she (and I) got a nice big chunk of beauty rest for our pictures. The down side: I can’t move this morning. I literally screamed when I bent down to pick her up out of bed. Great.

Our pictures are today. First stop the dreaded mall to meet the Easter Bunny for the first time. Next stop the family portrait studio with several outfit changes. More milestones. More firsts. I can’t wait! Hopefully the pictures turn out great…You never what you’re going to get with babies.  I already know what the route to the pictures will be like and I’ll be easy to spot. I’ll be the crippled one.

Cheeeeese!

Karma

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After giving my notice on Wednesday I spent the day Thursday contemplating when my last day would be. Well, and enjoying my baby and the fact that soon I’ll be spending every day with her. My husband and family kept telling me to just not go back and let them figure everything out. I am a big believer in karma though. I don’t want to screw anyone over even if they did me wrong because I don’t want that on my conscience. I wouldn’t be screwing over the right people anyway by not going back. Plus I don’t want to burn any bridges because who knows that the future might bring. You are only a victim of your own actions. Do right and you will be alright. The only ones you should worry about getting even with are those that have helped you. Karma will take care of the others.

After discussing it with my husband, who has been waking up at 4:00 am to go to work earlier on the days I work so he can pick the baby up earlier and at least get home before dark after the commute, he said he’ll gladly go back to his normal schedule and get to sleep a couple more hours in the mornings. Plus he’d rather not keep spending all this money in gas if we don’t need to.  We had pretty much been breaking even in my pay with me only working three days a week and after paying the gas and babysitter. It was only temporary though. I planned to work my way back up to five days a week and knew I just needed to be patient. Apparently after 11 years of service, they couldn’t be patient. They couldn’t realize that in the meantime my working three days a week was only benefitting them at this point. So once they made the decision the take things away from my pay it didn’t add up anymore and I wasn’t going to pay to work. My husband was right. I needed to just get this over with as soon as possible and get on with our lives. If I meant so little to them there was no sense in our suffering to continue to help them out at this point. Part of me felt that I should at least get a proper send off though after this many years and hoped they’d at least considered that. But, after my “welcome back party” that consisted of everyone eating their free pizza in their offices alone I figured I shouldn’t hold my breath.

The whole situation just makes me angry. Bitter. Resentful. How people can plot while you’re gone and somehow blemish an otherwise beautiful, amazing time in my life with their drama. I have to swallow these thoughts and let go of these feelings though because they are the poison of life and my life is just beginning a new happy time. Nothing should interfere with that. Let go and let God…and karma.  I have to just get on with my life as quickly as possible. So I decided I would give them  a few more days just until my work had all been transferred. But since I would only be working a few hours each day I wasn’t going to be driving two hours to do it and making my husband get up at 4:00 am to get off in time to do the same. The simple fact of the matter is, I’ll do right for the situation but this situation is only coming as the result of “The Minion” (see prior post) trying to screw me over and the owners trying to take advantage of me.

Karma is one of those inescapable things. A good illustration of karma is what the office was like Friday when I went in and explained to The Minion that we decided I needed to just try to get this over with as soon as possible. It’s not like I was cutting out, I mean most people give two weeks. That’s pretty much what they’re getting. So her huffing and puffing and attitude toward me was a little tacky. Her slamming things and storming around the office the rest of the day was just humorous though. I don’t like the feeling that I am leaving them with more work because I know it is also more work for the people that are already overworked and underpaid like me. But I had to fight back the smile because all I kept thinking was, “Here you were plotting how to screw me over with the owner while I was out thinking that I would just take it and you could look good to them and then your plan backfired and I decided not to tolerate it and now you are realizing the amount of work this is going to result in for you”. She is guilty of not thinking things through very well with everything so I guess she should probably get used to things backfiring on her since she’s now going to be managing the place too. If you don’t think things through very carefully this is the chance you take.  If you stick your nose in a situation and try to meddle this is the chance you take. If you make suggestions that you know will effect someone else’s life negatively, this is the chance you take. Karma is only a bitch if you are.

The Next Chapter

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You know how you can kinda sense when things are about to totally change in your life? As if having a baby wasn’t enough but the whole time I was home with my baby on maternity leave i kept getting this feeling that everything was about to get derailed on the company train I have worked so hard at for the past 11 years. Little things kept happening here and there that made it obvious that things were about to get interesting. The way the office handles things like this though is never respectable. They always keep you in the dark and just resort to lying to or evading you to get as much of what’s needed until they’re ready.  It was pretty obvious when the wife, who never really involves herself in the company, all of a sudden came on the scene.

I structured my maternity leave so that I would have 20 hours of vacation time each week. That way I would still have a check every week and could keep paying my insurance dues. I also told them I was happy to help from home with anything I could do from there if the staff got too busy. They took full advantage of that asking me to do lots of stuff but then said they were under the impression I was going to do it all for free. Apparently years of spending extra time at my own expense isn’t appreciated but expected now. So then they decided to have other staff start working on things two weeks before my return because they said they didn’t want me combining my vacation time with any work from home even though the office was slammed.  Then they decided to have someone else start doing the payroll, compensation packages and budget work that took me years to perfect and who had no idea about anything to do with it but then asked me to still come in on the weekends to do other things. So I got a feeling the sharks were moving in. Only that little voice in my head just kept saying, “It’s okay, you’ve got more important things to worry about now”. So I went with it. Whatever.

Less than a month i’ve been back to work and everything has been falling apart. The work they had redistributed to others while I was out wasn’t done at all so I came back to a circus of stuff to do which apparently is what they wanted because they’ve basically been making me the bad guy for being gone. Yes, even though I offered to help while I was out to avoid all this. God forbid you have a baby and screw everyone over.  The owner and her minion are making changes that I have voiced are not in the best interest of the company.They’re in cahoots with what they can change up and everything is in an uproar. Always stirring the pot. “The Minion” is the old office manager who left about 10 years ago to be a stay at home mom. Only her husband decided he hated her (imagine that) and checked out so she divorced him and needed to work again. She and the wife who owns the company get along very well because they both like to cook things up and throw wrenches in things without fully thinking things through. Everyone in the office can’t stand her but deal with her because they have to. Once she came back everyone pretty much knew it was only a matter of time. And when I found out I was pregnant I pretty much knew how this story was going to pan out. “When the cat’s away the mice will play”. So when all of a sudden the wife starts calling the office umpteen times a day and having closed door conversations with The Minion the staff knows that the tides of change are rolling in and that something’s up.  It’s okay though. It was all their decisions to be made and I had better things to occupy my time with anyway now. I was slammed with work and then consumed with baby.

The trend of the place has been to keep cutting our budget to continue the owners’ lavish budget in Florida. It’s a very “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” theme with them. They have a $12 Million mansion on the beach, movie star neighbors, plastic surgeons on speed dial, trips across the country for a Vegas show or a shopping trip in Beverly Hills, trips out of the country. For just small business owners you’d think they’d invented the Post-It or something. And it’s all paid for by our company. I fight tooth and nail to be able to get our lawn mowed or leaking roof fixed and they are spending thousands on pool boys and landscapers. Our office furniture is literally falling apart and they’re buying thousand dollar custom swivel chairs. I made it work though. We always just eked by thankfully having a staff that would tolerate low working conditions. I made it work for them because there was no other choice.

The economy has sucked for a few years now that’s no mystery but things are definitely improving. Lots of people are still out of work so we should feel lucky to even have a job  they’d remind us. I never bitched about the fact that I haven’t had a raise in pay for the past six years or that the last raise I did get more than six years ago wasn’t even actually a raise in pay but the company offering to take over my cell phone bill. That way it helped reduce my out of pocket and got them a tax write off instead of having to pay more taxes for incasing a salary. I just went with it and kept busting my arse, appreciating having a job just like they wanted us to.

They cancelled our retirement plan last year. It had been an IRA that was matched up to 3% the years before but then they decided not to match anymore so they had to roll it over to a 401k. Then they found out that they had to make a contribution at the end of the year and pulled the plug on it all together. Conveniently, they continued it for just the two of them – just stopped offering it to anyone else. The only benefits I had left aside from my cell phone bill being paid were my three weeks of vacation I’d earned for being there 11 years, my health insurance which they are required to pay half of under our policy, and the ability to earn commissions on months where our income exceeded our operating budget.

Every month at our meetings it’s been the same thing though “We can’t consider any pay increases because our money isn’t where we want it to be yet”. The economy is still just too bad. (Which is all fine and well when you don’t know that the company is footing the bill for all of their fine dining and shopping trips, all of their car payments, mortgages, insurances, personal expenses, etc.). It’s just convenient to use the economy as your scapegoat but it gets old after a while. You start to realize that you’re being taken advantage of. You start to get tired of staff continuously griping to you about needing more money or threatening to leave. You start to feel bad for staff who have to go to the public drive food pantries to get their holiday meals because they can’t afford to buy it when the company is footing the bill for a big fancy dinner out in Marco. You just start to feel it period. Had I not gotten pregnant I probably would have just continued working that way until I had a heart attack. I would have continued to work late and drive my husband crazy at never being able to get home in time for things. I would have continued to be chained to a desk, not having time to eat let alone pee during the day and just living off of coffee. Only when I became pregnant I HAD to start doing things differently. I couldn’t go all day not eating. I had to eat healthy, no more coffee. I had to pee dammit!

While I was out they also apparently decided to change our commissions program so that the staff could only get their monthly commission at the end of the year IF the company showed a profit. They say it was to avoid paying money out when we’re not bringing enough money in and are doing it to encourage the staff to work harder. Ever heard the saying “Can’t bleed a turnip?”. This sent most everyone into an uproar. Funny how they aren’t as naive as you think. They get the general idea that their rare bonuses are about to become nonexistent but what they don’t know is that the company never shows a profit at all. We’ve had years of more than $100,000.00 profits and they actually showed losses by the time they finished racking up “expenses” so the accountants could write it all off. It sucks to know that and but it sucks more to have it now affect your pockets.

So let’s recap, they had taken my retirement, they have taken my bonus ability, they had me slammed with weeks of backed up work because they refused to have it worked on while I was out. So now I’m left with my insurance and my phone bill benefits. I’m working three days a week for now and planned to gradually work my way back up to full time. For now it’s saving them more money anyway so I figured they’d be all for it – especially when I’m working just as hard in 24-25 hours a week then I did with 40. Only they announce at the staff meeting too that they’re also now changing the way they pay insurance and “other things” too but only for “part time” people which they announce really only effects me. He says they’ll call me later to discuss things. Gee, thanks. I could hardly wait.

My husband and I had talked about what we would do in this situation. We had a feeling they were going to try to mess with my compensation package at some point because before I got back to work The Minion was calling me to find out how much my cell phone bill was. When I got back to the office they had said they were changing how they paid it and instead of paying it directly to the provider as a tax write off they were going to start adding it to paychecks (they pay one other girl’s cell phone in the office too). Only they didn’t mention if they were adding it to my hourly rate, making it a once monthly payment on my check or what. I knew that they knew this meant spending more money in taxes too and I found it quite hard to believe that they would want to change it this way and actually pay more out of pocket than they had been. So I figured something may be brewing. Yet they remained silent and my check remained unchanged. My husband said that with us commuting two hours each way on the days I worked was already costing us over $50 in gas each day. Plus the cost of babysitting. Plus the time involved. He said if they started to tamper with my pay that I may as well quit. That I had spent 11 years making their money work for them and that I could just focus on making our money work for us. He said he was confident that no matter how tight things got, that if I quit I could succeed in making us stay afloat. That I was used to working miracles with next  to nothing so why not do it at home and with my baby where I can watch her grow and spend every minute with her? Well, you already know his take on my job if you’ve read some of my prior posts. He hated that place and everything they expected of me all the time. His confidence in me must have finally sunk in. That I could do this if I need to. We’ll make it work. The down side is that with us trying to buy a house we need me to show an income – even if just part time – so that means we would have to put  that on hold for a while. I texted him to let him know that something was brewing so I would know what to do. A few minutes later I got his response, just like we’d discussed, that if they are going to take anything else away at this point it’s time to just say “peace” and get the hell out of there. So then I waited for the phone call.

Sure enough, they danced around the insurance and phone bills and said that they were adding the cost to the other girl’s check. They said they weren’t going to be able to keep paying 50% of my insurance costs anymore with me only being part time. They’re actually required to under our policy guidelines but I know that with me only being part time they can just say I don’t qualify period and terminate my plan all together. The other side of this is that the only reason I kept my plan and didn’t get on my husband’s was because we already aren’t meeting the quota needed with enrollments (it has to be half of the eligible staff) and if I terminated mine that would likely make them terminate our whole group plan and screw the other person on the plan out of coverage. But, no biggie, I can enroll to my husband’s insurance I guess. So what about my phone bill? Yeah, they’re not paying that anymore at all. The wife plays the “It’s his fault for doing it to begin with” card and he plays the “I’m the stupid husband and it’s out of my control” card like usual.   So there it is, the cue we talked about. I held back my tears at knowing after this long I could just be treated without any regard and just let them know it gives me lots to consider then. After hanging up with them I realized I was overdue for my next pumping section. Sitting in my office in dairy cow mode I reminded myself how much I hate having to do this here in this disgusting office that they refuse to take care of. I reminded myself of all the things I’ve done that have gone unappreciated and how when given the chance they apparently will screw me over at the drop of a hat despite 11 years of dedication. I reminded myself of everything my husband and I talked about. And I typed my farewell memo.

Of course the wife has no clue what my departure may mean nor does she care. Her and The Minion will make do she figures.The husband seems a little upset but basically said he was surprised that I came back at all. Had I known it would pan out this way I probably wouldn’t have. Could have saved myself the hassle. I realized they can take it so easily because it’s really the staff that are going to suffer again and they don’t care about that anyway. In fact it works better for them to have another scapegoat to cling to. Now they can blame my departure for everything. That I stuck everyone with more work. That I made things harder for the company. It makes me feel bad in a way. Guilty almost. That’s what manipulative people will do to you. They’ll make you feel bad for making decisions for yourself and your family. They’ll make you question it and reconsider and change your mind and just give them what they want. Only this time it’s not just my wellbeing I have to consider and throw away for them. I have a baby now. And it’s true, a baby changes everything.

So, 11 years of service have come down to nothing. It means nothing and is already being belittled. Soon I will be that ghost of the office that gets mentioned at Christmas parties and wondered about occasionally but blamed for anything when it’s convenient and go down in history not for what I actually did or didn’t do but for whatever they want to create. The one perk the owners can use to their advantage is shutting up anyone else threatening to walk with a pay increase now that “they have money to work with since they’re not paying me anymore”. It makes them the good guys again and makes the staff glad I’m gone too. They used that one before – Gave a $2 per hour raise to everyone in the office when The Minion left the first time to stay home with her baby. Everyone was so excited when they came in that morning… Then they were all upset when they came in the next morning to find a note from the wife saying it wasn’t happening. I remember that and smile knowing I won’t have to deal with that type of backwards business sense anymore. I won’t have to make excuses for them anymore. I won’t have to deal with any of it. I’ve spent 11 years making this family business work. Now it’s time to focus on my own family business. I always wanted to have kids and be a great wife and be that family. Then my career took over those plans. I rewrote my book. Or so I thought…until I got pregnant. Now my the book has changed again. Apparently you can have both stories in the same lifetime. The first part has been a wild ride. I’m glad to know everything I can accomplish when I have to and that I can do so well with so little in the business world. Now my story takes a turn into something new and unknown again. Something else I will have to learn from scratch. Something I will hopefully be as good at, if not better. But something much more important and rewarding. It’s time for the next chapter.

Mommy’s Big “Guh”

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My daughter rolled over twice yesterday! Twice!! She’s only two months old and she rolled over twice! That’s huge! It’s amazing!… It only sucks I wasn’t there to see it. She is getting so big.

My heart swells with so much pride at all of her little developmental milestones. She’s been talking up a storm lately. Baby talk that is. “Guh” is her favorite word so far. She says it a lot when it’s play time and when she’ s on her activity mat looking in the mirror so I say it’s the “guh” in the mirror. “Where is the guh in the mirror?“. She loves it. She pushes herself up when she’s on her belly and can hold her head steady and look around at everything while she does it.  We watched her notice her hands for the first time last week too. She reaches out to something and then stops and brings her hand in real close to her face examining it until she’s nearly cross-eyed. “Hey wait! I did that! OMG, I have hands!” It’s so cute.

Her vision is getting much better now too so she’s recognizing us and smiling so much. It’s so amazing to see the look of confusion when your daughter wakes up turn to happiness when she sees your face. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing that just your being there can make this little angel so happy. I’m the luckiest person in the world. The only down side is that it makes you never want to be away. It’s not the wanting part that’s the downside but the fact that you have to that stings a little.

Little by little all of her developmental milestones happen and come with the consequences of the bittersweet fact that she’s getting bigger. Every step of growing she takes is a step of not being so dependent on mommy anymore. My separation anxiety can barely take it but it seems like whenever I fret over it she gives me something to be happy about in its place. Little exchanges that make it easier and encourage mommy too. Thank you for that God.

It was a big step having her go from sleeping on my chest to sleeping in her swing right next to me on the couch. After weeks of sleeping on the couch then it was hard to put her to sleep in her portable crib in our room. But then she started talking and noticing her hands after that so I could put it in the back of mind. Now I can listen as she talks herself to sleep and smile from the bed at how cute she is knowing that she’s okay and that this is good for her.

On the days I’m off I can’t justify not holding her. Like, I’m here to be with her so what’s the point of letting her hang out in her swing when she’s wide awake and I can be holding her and interacting with her? But now she’s started rolling over and talking more so it makes it a little easier to deal with and more fun for me to watch her and play with her in her activity center. NOTE TO SELF: There are benefits to not holding your baby all the time – They actually start to show you the amazing things they’re learning and you won’t see that if you don’t put them down once in a while.

One thing remains unchanged though – It was hard to get things done when I spent the whole day holding her and napping with her. Now it’s still just as hard to get things done when I’m spending all the time I’m not holding her just staring at her waiting for the next big thing she’ll start doing so I don’t miss it.

Auto Correct & Afros

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Auto Correct likes to change my baby’s nickname to “Afro” in text messages. I think it’s funny and I usually just giggle when I get a text that says it…but then sometimes I wonder if it’s actually seen her hair.

I had horrible heartburn during my third trimester and when she was born it became evident why – The kid has a full head of hair. Like thick long hair – it actually hangs over the collars of her shirts. I’ve never seen anything like it. When she gets out of the bath it lays so nice and pretty. Then it dries and phlump! It’s sticking straight up.

I love it and it makes me smile so I don’t care and right now Afro doesn’t care either. 😉