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First day of Kindergarten for the boys, First day of 2nd grade for Sofia

I know that it’s been a very long time since I posted. I don’t have a very good reason for not posting, other than not feeling particularly inspired.

The summer flew by, but lots going on….

Money – The husband and I decided to file for bankruptcy. Not an easy decision, but the one that makes the most sense for us at this point. Obviously things are not great. Clearly. But they could be worse. We’re taking it one day at a time.

Marriage – Status quo. We get along most of the time, but things will never be the same after last year. At least for me.

Job for husband – Currently trying to find work, pretty much anything at this point. So discouraged here. Because we don’t want to pay child care, we’re trying to find something at night or swing shift. One day at a time.

Work – As many of you know, I came to my current place of employment after losing out to the BIG job I originally tried out for in fall of 2009

That BIG job recently opened up again. The person who held the position became very ill and over the course of about a year, it became clear she wasn’t able to come back. I was consistently encouraged by every person in management (my boss included) to apply again for that position. As the BIG BOSS had no Secretary for the better part of a year, he relied on me to help him with a variety of things. I was happy to do so as it gave me an opportunity to show him what I was capable of. Many people did not like him, but he was always very good to me. When he announced his impending retirement, I was disappointed. He had been a cheerleader for me and now, he would be gone. The decision was made that his replacement, THE NEW BIG BOSS, would select a secretary and make the final decision on this job I so desperately wanted.

So old BIG BOSS left, new BIG BOSS came and the process began. I went through the series of interviews and felt really good about everything. I had a letter of recommendation from my current boss (CBO) and the BIG BOSS. I made it to the final two, beating out someone who I considered my main competition. 

I didn’t have much time to revel in that fact as ultimately, I lost out to someone who is in a lower administrative classification than myself. New BIG BOSS chose to go in a different direction, I guess you could say, as my competitor was bilingual.  As I’d been working towards this job since 2010, to say it was a crushing disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover it. I get the bilingual thing, but it hadn’t been a requirement for the job. A Bachelor’s Degree had been, something I did have and my competitor did not.

I simmered through weeks of bitter and angry feelings toward my employer, feeling burned and defeated. It knocked me off my feet for a good 6 weeks and only recently have I begun to see clearly. I’m not perfect, but I’ve consistently performed my job well and risen through the ranks accordingly. This was my first taste of having the door slammed in my face due to politics and ya know what? Not so fun

I definitely feel differently about my job and workplace at this point. While my goal is to eventually find something better (made difficult due to generous total compensation here), at the moment I am focused on the kids. I’ve decided to embrace the fact that I don’t have a high pressure job, count my blessings and be happy that I have a job that is flexible, pays decently, provides wonderful medical coverage for my family and contributes generously to my pension. It’s hard to wrap my head around thinking about my pension, but I guess I’m at that age (20 years out) that I have to start thinking in those terms.

School – We made the very difficult decision to remove Sofia from private school so that all 3 children will attend school together. The boys were starting kindergarten and let’s be honest, we are in no position to be paying tuition. Sofia handled it better than I did. Her main concern? When can we go clothes shopping? They’re all settled in and we’re very happy with the decision. They boys love school and Sofia has a great teacher. I did decide to separate the twins, which I think is best for them but obviously harder on me. It’s a new world for me having to make sure all 3 kids have clothes to wear, 3 lunches to prepare, 3 sets of homework to oversee, etc. I am going to need a separate calendar to keep track of who’s class I am volunteering in and when. The school is moving towards a more minimal homework philosophy (emphasis on reading, reading, reading), so that works in my favor.

Weight – Not good. Not good at all. Not sure what to do about it as my plate is so full. No pun intended. I’m considering joining a gym near my house ($9 per month to go 4 days per week). Need to check it out. Need to get moving. My doctor put me on meds for high BP and I’m not sure they are working. Still having a lot of back pain due to degenerative disc and arthritis, exacerbated by weight, of course. I guess you could say I’m a hot mess.  

Sofia – Seems to be a little better, but still has an explosive temper, anxiety and several phobias. I discussed it with her primary pediatrician over the summer and he spoke to a child psychologist colleague who felt that between the family history (schizophrenia, general mental illness and anxiety disorders) and her behavior, there was more than enough there for an assessment. He gave me some names, but I’ve yet to look into it. I am hesitant to open the can of worms. For the most part, she is a happy, bright and engaged little girl. But she does display a lot of anxiety and an explosive temper. I’m sort of on the fence on what to do about it.

David – He’s a living, breathing cartoon character. Always smiling and trying to make people laugh. He’s like a 5 year old Jim Carrey with all his facial gestures and body movements. I can’t even begin to describe how animated he can be. I call him the “song and dance” man. He still can exhibit a little temper once in a while, but for the most part, is a sweet, extremely affectionate little boy.

William – A dream child. Innately good, he just wants to follow the rules and have things in order. For the most part, he doesn’t complain, picks up when he is supposed to, eats when he’s supposed to, follows directions. He makes things easier for me and thank god one of them does. Quiet and reserved and not overly touchy feely, he’s always thinking. It’s pretty evident he’s going to be a little heartthrob, with his enormous brown eyes, thick shock of hair and beautiful olive skin, but don’t let him hear you say that. If you even whisper that he is cute or handsome, he flips out. One thing William does not like is attention. Negative, positive, doesn’t matter, he doesn’t want it. I guess you could say he is humble. Steve says he will probably be a priest. He’s joking, sort of.

All the kids are now going to catechism. I know that’s not what it’s called anymore, but that is what I call it. They go every other Sunday after mass, so that means I have 3 hours to myself. Talk about a dream come true. It doesn’t get much better.

I think that’s about it for the last 6 months. I’ll probably try to upload some photos and for god sakes, try to post regularly – if there are any readers left!! If you are still out there, please post and let me know.

 

 

 

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I had several people ask me about that last post and what my husband was doing during the day.

I did start thinking about it and was like, WTF? How did *I* get to be the one to bring home the bacon and fry it up in the f’ing pan?

I have myself to blame for a lot of it. I am a control freak. I don’t trust that he will do things the way I would, so I just take over. It’s an issue.

That said, yes, he could have got his ass out of bed when my daughter hit her finger.

I won’t argue that he can do more (grocery shopping, folding and putting away laundry *properly and timely*), but as far as what he does do on a normal day – he herds the kittens during the day, does laundry and light cleaning (very light), does drop off and pick up, breakfast, lunch and often dinner and basically makes sure everyone is in one piece when I get home. This is no small feat, especially the boys with scooter accidents and all sorts of shenanigans.

Also, the speech therapist was impressed that Will was *so* kindergarten ready, but wasn’t attending preschool. She asked who had been working with him and I had to give it up to my husband, ’cause it certainly hasn’t been me. I didn’t feel the need to mention that Sprout TV can also take a lot of credit for his mad kindergarten readiness.

My husband is far from perfect, something I have detailed ad nauseum over the past 5 years (5 years!!!!!) in this blog. However, I don’t know too many men who would be able to (almost) singlehandedly care for newborn, one month old twins (and an almost 2 yr old) at the drop of a hat, take care of everything on minimal sleep, with his wife seriously ill in the hospital and still remain positive. (Sidenote – My boss has a 3 week old newborn and he and his wife are completely overwhelmed. They have a live in grandma. I do have to resist the urge to say ‘You have no idea what overwhelmed means’ *insert evil laugh*)

The husband and I have a lot of heavy shit going on right now, and he is almost always Mr. Glass Half Full. There is something to be said for that, especially since I’m Miss Glass Half Empty most of the time. Oh man, if I was with someone more like myself, I’d be a walking basket case most of the time.

So as hard as my life is most of the time, I am thankful that I don’t have to do laundry. Or clean the toilet. Or mop the floor. Or do the dishes. Or prepare too many meals at night. Gives me more times to spend with the kids. And watching Bravo TV, of course.

And regarding that top photo – only my husband would be stupid brave enough to bring 3 little kids to a beach. Alone.

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New Boss Scoop!

It seemed that everyone took today off at my office, not sure why. The new boss was off as today is a  prominent Muslim holiday.

Oh my gosh, the new boss! With all the stuff going on, I haven’t had a chance to talk about my new boss!!

So far, so good. He’s been there about 10 days. He’s personable, reasonable, incredibly smart. He also has a pretty good sense of humor. And, he’s Muslim.

He is quite a departure from the outgoing boss (retiring) in every way. He is quite a departure from pretty much everyone who works in this Tea Party loving culture  otherwise known as the district office. I don’t have anything against the Tea Partiers per se (well, that’s not entirely true), but  I try not to use broad strokes when talking about them. After all, I’m married to one. But it’s the only way I can describe the environment I work in so that you can understand.

There have been rumblings – natch – about him being Muslim. About him being openly Muslim.You can imagine. Wise cracks about him being a terrorist, how people are going to bring in their rosary beads and hang them at their desk, calling us women in the business department a “harem,” you name it.

But he’s been nothing but kind to me. He has taken to calling me “Melly,” which of course, everyone thinks is pretty.darn.funny.

He met with all of us individually and I can tell by what I was told by others about their meetings that he shared things in confidence with me that he probably did not share with others. I am new so he understands that I will be the easiest to adapt to changes he wants to implement. Some of the other women have been there a looooooooooooong time, they do not like change. He recognizes that and will take it slow, but ultimately will be bringing the department and D.O. out of the dark ages, something that is near and dear to me. Something I’ve been trying to do since I started there almost 10 months ago. (Hey, I got us a PDF scanner on the Xerox. It’s a start!) He will probably be using me less for the accounting stuff and more for writing, editing, organizing – all the stuff I’m supposed to do and love to do.

As far as his religion…At  first, it was a little foreign to me as I’ve never worked with someone who was so open about their religion in the workplace – any religion – but he made it clear from the beginning that prayer is a huge part of his daily life and takes precedence over everything, at certain times of the day. He prays a few times while at work and is not to have anything scheduled on Friday afternoons. Again, this is all new to me, but I absolutely respect his dedication and commitment.

On Friday, my outgoing boss snapped at me and kind of made a scene about something she was incorrect about (but wouldn’t admit to being incorrect about). I could tell he was shocked at the way she handled herself. In fact, the minute she left, he approached me and basically apologized *for* her. A few people heard this take place and he scored lots of points that day. Lots.

We’ll see how he is when it’s only him in charge, but so far, he’s a vast improvement and makes me feel good about coming to work. That’s always a good thing. I think that people were intially not sure how to act around him, but are slowly seeing he’s going to be a good boss and for the most part, are pleased. 

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So, I went to my first union meeting last night. It was our chance to vote on the contract agreement that was reached between the classified union and management.

Dear God.

There are 2 things I’m certain of after going to the meeting.

1. This district needs new blood, like ASAP. Oh for the love. The room was populated with mostly overweight, 60 something women with scowls frozen on their face. These are the districts clerks, librarians, aides, secretaries. I know I have made fun of the district office staff, but they are the cream of this crop.

2. The union hierarchy hate, hate, hates management. I mean, they make no bones about it. There is open animosity between management and the union. Specifically the superintendent. I believe someone said he was “not a nice person” and he has “no scruples.” Ouch!

Now, granted, they have their reasons for thinking this way, but they only see him briefly – at meetings, for his visits to sites, etc. We at the D.O. see him every day, in numerous circumstances and scenarios. Is he a schmoozy slickster? Yeah, kinda. Picture the father on Frasier, a little younger, a little better looking and dressed well. Can he be kind of a dick at times? I guess. I’ve heard things. But to say he has no scruples, well that is a bit over the line to me.

Most of these women have been in the district for 30+ years. That is a long time. Maybe they never worked in the private sector, maybe they rarely leave this crunchy/rural/artsy/very unique community very much. I don’t know. I do know that it is so hard for me to bite my lip when they are aghast that a family still has to contribute 10% towards an almost $2000 monthly family policy that the district offers. They have no concept of how much people in the private sector pay for their policies. It’s truly staggering, their ignorance on this topic.

But anyway. That is that and not likely to change. I felt like a young whipper snapper in the room and god knows, at 42, I’m not young!

I went out to dinner for Mexican with about 10 employees and it was fun. Unfortunately, we all got sick during the night, so something was not good with the food. Even poor Steve (I brought him home a burrito) was not feeling well. I won’t be going back there anytime soon.

Tomorrow, there is a citywide garage sale and I really want join in. Of course, this is going to mean working my ass off tonight. Oy. And the kids will be wound and Sofia will want to play Mickey Mouse Yahtzee and the house will be trashed and Steve will be sitting at the computer and I’ll probably have one of my ever-increasing tantrums. I will just say that my house has never looked so freaking disgusting as it has the past 6 weeks. The combination of my working full time and the kids starting school over the hill (Steve not home as much as he stays over there until pick up time) is resulting in a very neglected household. I do come home at lunch, but have a half hour, just enough time to throw in a load of laundry, make beds, go to the bathroom and maybe make a quick sandwich.

At this point, I just feel like getting a big debris box and getting rid of everything. I won’t do that, but that is where I’m at mentally.

There is something very exciting about going back to a clean, new house. Clean slate and all. I’m trying to decide on paint colors. You would think that it was the biggest decision of the century by all the time I’m taking on it.

That’s all I’ve got today.

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Passing this very important update along regarding the unemployment extension…

Pass it along!

Friends,

We have good news. Senator Robert Byrd’s successor is going to be sworn in next Tuesday afternoon, and immediately after that, the Senate will hold another vote on extending Emergency Unemployment Compensation and full federal funding of Extended Benefits through the end of November 2010. We expect we will finally have the 60 votes needed to proceed to a final vote on the bill. The House can quickly take up the Senate version, and hopefully, well before the end of next week, the President can sign the bill into law and the programs will be retroactively reinstated.
We need your help for one last push. Between now and next Tuesday, it is imperative that you keep calling and emailing both your Senators and Representatives to let them know how important it is that they vote yes on this bill. We need to hold all the votes together and get this done!
Please continue to take action by emailing your representatives and urging them to immediately pass H.R.5618, which will reinstate the federal extensions. You can also call the Congressional Switchboards, (202) 224-3121 for the Senate, and (202) 225-3121 for the House, and ask for your members’ offices.

For some additional talking points, please see our chart that shows which Senators and Congress Members voted against the extensions, as well as the impact their vote has had in your state. Please make sure to reach out to those who have voted against the extensions in the past, and let them know how their actions – and the resulting extension lapse – have impacted you. We’ll be sure to post updates on our blog with any updates that we receive.

Thanks for all your dogged determination to see this through. We hope that for those of you who will be getting benefits restored that it provides a measure of comfort, no matter how temporary.

Your friends at unemployedworkers.org

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Benefits not in sight for the long-term jobless

430,000 Lose Jobless Aid in California

Republicans Blocking Unemployment Extension

Our Broken Politics on Full Display

The Unemployed Thrown Under the Bus

******

“They really need to cut off the unemployment extensions. Those people are just lazy. They don’t want to work. I saw they are hiring at McDonald’s. The jobs are there if people wanted to do them.”

This is an example of the kind of rhetoric I have to listen to every day. Not only is it incredibly infuriating for me, it’s factually inaccurate.

“Friend of mine was making $100k a year and he’s now working at Starbucks. Couldn’t even get anyone to return his calls.”

That sounds a little more accurate.

I have a secret. Actually, it’s not much of a secret in my private life and in my blogging life, but when it comes to my professional life, it’s something I am struggling to keep under wraps.

My husband has been unemployed for approximately 70 weeks. 18 months to be exact.

When he was layed off in January 2009, as the world stood on the precipice of financial collapse, I knew it was going to be bad. I never suspected it would be this this bad.

I started to get an inkling of what was to come when I was told of my own impending lay off and started my own job search. I have over 15 years of experience in my field, a college degree, a pretty decent resume if I do say so myself. I even blogged about.

I couldn’t even get anyone to respond to my inquiries. Granted, I already had a job to fall back on, but believe me when I say that it is brutal out there. After a while, it became very clear to me that getting a job in this economy was going to be arduous at best. What scared me most was that despite my husband’s years of experience (he owned an operated his own company for a number of years), he lacked a college degree. If I couldn’t even get someone to return my inquiries, what chance did he stand?

I have two friends (one with a degree, one without), well qualified in their field and both were out of jobs for over a year. They have only recently found employment and one of them is a “contract” position. She is glad to have it as her husband just lost his job…

It’s been a very difficult 18 months. Resources have been depleted. And it’s not like he hasn’t been looking. He actively applies for jobs every single week. It’s a condition of unemployment. He’s applied to every sales job he can find as well as many that he is vastly overqualified for (dog walker, valet, customer service rep). Still nothing.

I think the lack of response is due to a number of factors. The first one is obvious. Supply and demand. I can understand that. The second one is much more subtle and insidious. Ageism. Why should a company give any credence to an “older” worker (meaning over 40) when they can hire a young person for less money? This is what my husband and thousands of long term unemployed people are up against. And there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do about it. For the first time in a long time, I am really scared about our future.

Too young for social security, too old to employ? It’s blatant, horribly wrong and sickening, as far as I’m concerned.

These people who like to spout off about the “lazy” people bleeding the system dry have not a clue of what they speak. Are there likely to be people who are manipulating the system and maybe not trying as hard to get a job as they would be? Sure. I think that goes without saying. Still, the vast majority of people are capable of and want to work. To cut them off now would be catastrophic to their lives, not to mention the economy.

We are one of those middle class families struggling to stay afloat. My husband has been a collector of vintage albums and musical equipment for years and thankfully, is able to sell a lot of it now (I feel bad that he has to part with it, but not that bad). I am working my butt off while my husband tends to the children, which seems to be the new dynamic. I don’t make a ton of money, but enough to get us by (barely) and certainly the government employee level benefits make it worth my having to leave my babies every day. Still, I don’t think David understands that I have to go to work to pay for his Healthnet (his recent asthma meds would have been $1500 without insurance). He only knows that mommy isn’t there. But I won’t complain. Can’t complain because at least I have a job. For now.

I am hoping to GOD that the senate gets their act together and stops using the long term unemployed as political pawns in their very dangerous game. The unemployment extensions won’t go on forever, but when they end, I predict we will see a whole second wave of foreclosures, bankruptcies, etc. People don’t realize that this money is the only thing keeping many, many, millions of Americans afloat for the past 2 years. You take away that life preserver and you’ve got a bad, bad situation brewing.

This post was written as part of Mamakat’s Losin it, Writer’s Workshop.

It was inspired by the prompt…

Choose a headline from The Today Show website and write up an opinion post based on the story you chose.

I obviously took some liberties with my news source, but felt strongly about this topic, for obvious reasons…

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Break Out the Hazmat Gear

In keeping with all things gross in my blog this past few weeks, I must share the latest ickyness with y’all. Just to catch you up, we had a Mr. Mouse situation last week that was left unresolved.

This morning, the holidays behind us, my co worker and I investigated the still lingering *odor* at my desk in depth.

Thank god that woman is here. I told her she should work for CSI. She was so brave whilst I stood 10 feet back in my boss’ office.

We went in to the drawer I had suspicions about.

Slowly, she dissected the contents. Found more droppings.

Opened my bottom drawer and a most pungent odor hit, even for my congested friend.

More droppings.

Then some weird bug looking things. Initially, I thought they were just bigger droppings, but alas, no.

In the end, it was a rotting, dead mouse in there.

A DEAD FUCKING MOUSE AT MY DESK.

Oh yes. That’s right. A dead mouse at my desk.

The bugs were maggots.

I’m so creeped out at this point, I can’t even begin to describe.

Good news is that the dead mouse is gone. Bad news is that dead mouse stench does not dissipate quickly. My CSI loving co-worker is trying to figure out *how* Mr. Mouse died. We’re thinking he O’D’ed on M&M’s?

I will not be sitting at my desk anytime soon, for a variety of reasons.

Can I get a collective EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW???!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Photobucket

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