Archive for the 'Workin' on the Railroad' Category

The Light at the End

I feel terrible for not posting this earlier. I mean, how could I forget?! I suppose the same way I forgot to post Monster’s 12th birthday letter until well over 16 days past his birthday. I think it was the unemployment thing, the stagnation of life that happens and enfolds you when you’re scrabbling to search for that light at the end of the tunnel. The long ass tunnel I was stuck in for 2 months. That was torture.

My last post, on the 5th, was at 5 in the afternoon. Hey, that’s kind of neat. Anyway, I posted shortly after returning home from an interview wherein I got the job. I can’t believe I didn’t mention it or anything, but I guess I was high on life and feeling goopy with emotions towards my son. I’ll never know. The past week was a blur of activity and happiness.

I can honestly say that for the first time in a year I thorougly enjoy what I’m doing. My first job was taxing and frustrating, trying to squish a 40 hour position into 20 hours was too much to ask of one person. My second job was easy, but boring. I guess it was a nice break in the monotony, though. My third job, the most recent past one, was trying in its own way – a personal way.

This job, however, is brilliant. I’m transcribing dictations for two lawyers and helping around the office as needed. I love my boss, even if he is batty, and I love the office manager and other lawyers here. It’s relaxed enough to not make me feel stressed, I don’t have to battle 7 a.m. traffice since I start at 9 a.m. and lunch isn’t a thing to plan around, it just happens. I can’t say it’ll always be like this, what if it won’t? It doesn’t matter. I didn’t fall into a position that was overwhelming in its duties and priorities. I’m easing in, slowly taking things on as they come at me, learning the programmes and systems as things flow. I’m just starting to answer the phones on a more regular basis, with slightly more confidence than last week.

I’m looking at long term employment here. I’ll work here through my transcription degree and transition into a part-time medical transcription job while continuing to work for this law firm. I hope that after two years, I’ll have accrued enough in-field practice to bid the firm adieu and focus full time on my medical transcription job. So I’m going to be insanely busy.

One thing I realized, with great sadness, is that we will be living in our same apartment for another year. Which means Monster is stuck at the same school for another year. Which means we’re stuck in our crappy neighbourhood for another year. Tihs also means we wait another year to get a dog. Which kind of destroyed me for about three days. I want a dog with such a ridiculous passion, I imagine every dog I see on the street as being our dog and how it would work out. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Another year to plan isn’t too bad, though.

The last thing on my mind right now is TTC. It’s still there, though, gnawing at my brain. Every time I see a little baby, my heart gets that fluttery feeling and I wonder when our relationship will get back on that track. Not any time soon, and I’ve accepted that. I cherish that knowledge and hope that when we are ready, we have everything we need to hit the ground running. This includes a dog first. And a bigger place – a rented house, maybe? Who knows.

Right now, I’m happy. I haven’t been happy in months. My last job was sucking my soul straight from my body, and unemployment just made me feel terrible about myself. This job seems to be restoring a huge part of my personality to ‘right’. I’m also spending a lot of time with my best friend, and that seems to be helping substantially with my cabin fever.

My next post will be about the hardcore/awesome/amazing weekend I just spent with her. Let me just say that we communed with nature.

(Also, yesterday was my cat’s birthday. Nefertiti turned 6 years old. I remember the day I got her, she was only 8 weeks old and tiny as can be. It was the middle of summer and she used to cry because she couldn’t get onto the desk to sit with me. She learned how to crawl up the side of my bed, using her baby claws, just so she could sleep by my head. I miss the tiny, sweet kitten who watched Law & Order: SVU before bed and slept with her favourite toy mouse betwee her paws.)

In Sickness

Posting around here has been slim. Things at chez moi have been grimmer than they’ve ever been and I can’t seem to find the optimistic spark that usually gets me through horrible times.

This is how things went after unemployment. At first I was purely depressed. Fil was away – for a top secret reason – and I was stuck alone in a big empty apartment with two sleeping cats. I pretty much watched TV and ignored my parents’ phone calls. Once Fil got home, what got me to the next day was the optimistic ‘what if’. Applying for jobs always leaves that sense of “I could get this, and I could earn that salary and get those benefits and be OKAY.”  It always leaves me with a great sense of possibility and fulfillment. So I tend to apply myself in abundance, knocking through Craig’s List, Yahoo! and the Chronicle with wild eyed enthusiasm. This wears off fast, and what kept me sane and afloat was the extension of my friend’s Netflix account so I could stream movies and TV shows online. It seriously saved my mental status from breaking.

With the introduction of this remarkable thing, I suddenly had pleasure. Something I hadn’t even felt while working. When you have money, things need to be done. We needed to run to the store to do Christmas shopping, or we needed to get groceries or something like that. Without money, there are no errands – except for grocery day, which happens since we get food stamps, but that’s once a month. So, with unemployment came free time, and with Netflix came something to fill the sucking void with noise and shiny happiness.

And then, here I am, saved by alternate realities. Some shows post their episodes as they air – Spartacus: Blood and Sand is one (Legend of the Seeker also has the current season streaming) – but most shows I just watch to enjoy. Mostly sci fi. There, I admit it, science fiction has saved me. And it dawned on me today how startlingly nerdy I am, how I am totally in love with that fact. I may have hurt my ankle (the one that I sprained a while ago) while running and had to put that on hold. I may have the worst writer’s block since forever. I may not have a job and have heartburn and argue with my partner on a far-too-frequent basis. But goddamnit if I don’t have something to keep me sane and happy and it’s science-fucking-fiction. (Don’t mind the cursing, I’m a passionate person at 4 a.m.)

What I’m really posting about is that, despite the unforeseen advantage of finding myself unemployed (as in, reacquainting with a friend who eventually gave me access to Netflix) is that I can finally take Monster to see his asthma specialist. The asthma specialist who put him on this great inhaler and super expensive name brand nasal spray that we couldn’t afford without Medicaid. This guy is wonderful, and although he seems to devalue our knowledge of our own kid, he knows a lot more about asthma than we ever will.

For the past two years Monster has become increasingly sensitive to the allergies in Austin. Anyone from Central Texas will tell you the allergies here are unique and terrible and no one is truly immune. I like to say I’m immune, but I right now I’m feeling the effects of Spring blooming in the form of painful headaches and a sinus infection brewing. I also get hit hard with cedar fever and I feel sick when the molds get crazy high like they tend to do. When Monster first moved here, it was like a light at the end of a long painful tunnel. His asthma seemed to resolve itself! Shock! The lack of constricting smog and chemical vapors seemed to help a lot and he rarely needs an emergency inhaler – usually during a coughing fit to relax his lungs, rather than during an asthma attack. But the seasonal allergies are so intense and cause such bronchial irritation, it is adversely affecting his asthma. Though he hasn’t had any asthma attacks – he takes a nightly inhaler for that – he never goes 3 weeks without getting mucus-y lungs and a terrible cough.

So, this free time I have to take him to his doctor will be used wisely. He’s got that terrible cough again and it woke him up about 30 minutes ago. I told him to turn his alarm off, I couldn’t send him to school with a good conscious, not after hearing how deep and booming it is.

I feel bad for him, because he’s always taken medicine of some sort; nebulizer, ADHD medicine, allergy pills, inhaler. I have no idea what that’s like, so it’s hard to understand how weird it makes him feel. I rarely got sick as a kid, my only regular medicine was a Flinstone vitamin in elementary. Until recently, when I started taking woman’s vitamins, glucosamine and Nex!um I only took medicine when I needed it (i.e. ibuprofen, antibiotics). He’s gotten a rough hand, but I always remind him it could be worse. He just takes a small pill, uses an inhaler and nasal spray every night. He could have to stab his fingers for blood glucose readings all the time, like his aunt, or eat a special diet like his cousin with Crohn’s. I feel bad for him, sure, but I never want to see him feel so bad for himself he thinks he’s been dealt the worst hand. Not a lesson he’ll ever have to learn, because someone always has it worse.

*I’m writing Monster’s year letter. It’s taken me a bit to get it together, but I’ve been … well, blocked.

Day 30: I promised…

Okay, at first, I promised myself I would do NaBloPoMo even if it killed me.

Obviously it didn’t kill me. But I didn’t do it.

And then, last week, I promised myself I would post once, or twice to make up for the whole non-posting thing.

And I broke that promise too.

It’s not like I don’t have anything to say. I could tell you the four wonderful things about my job… and the four terrible things about my job. I could tell you that we may have a donor on hand. I could tell you that I’m so excited about my birthday this Sunday I can hardly keep a smile off my face. I have a lot of things to talk about. Tofurkey day, our new phones, our slow redecorating process, the excitement of February. I really like typing out the word February.

And I guess I will talk about those things. It’s very hard to find myself motivated to blog lately. I feel like we’ve been in TTC limbo for so long, that this blog barely applies to the community I’ve foisted myself upon. I feel surrounded, loved and understood, but I don’t feel like I belong. Most everyone on my blogroll has done the deed and is looking towards #2 or #3. Fil and I are just getting excited and talking more and planning even more (how is that possible when I have a plan tab?!) and it’s starting to seem tangible and real. Maybe it’s this possible-donor. He’s a friend of WonderSperm, our amazing KD who got HIV. The poor guy feels guilty that he can’t donate, and has scoured his friends for a good match. Someone he likes. It kind of hurts the heart. WonderSperm has Fil’s hair, and eyes like mine, and a jawline like McDreamy out of Grey’s Anatomy. The man is gorgeous, and kind, and a beautiful soul and I would have loved to use his DNA, again. So maybe what happened with WonderSperm is holding me back from blogging about this possible YAY! When me 2 years ago would have been all up on this shiz.

And Tofurkey Day was great. We had a big family one at my parents’ house and a small one with my best friend at home. We didn’t weasle out of making a feast, but the tofurkey we did on Saturday was so good it was so worth it all. I can’t say we have much to be thankful for (since we’re still poor and Fil is still sick) but we’re happy that Fil’s tumours seem to be responding to the radiation and that I have a good paying job with benefits.

Speaking of my job.

Here are the 4 good things.

  1. The hours. They’re perfect. Even though I get stuck in the worst of the traffic, it gives me time to think things over, listen to music, and relax away from work and home. I do get stressed, but I tell myself to relax. It’s my only ‘me’ time and I cherish it.
  2. The people. I have great friends here. The receptionist is marvelous, and everyone is incredibly friendly. I’m close with the people downstairs, and I like to park my butt for a few minutes during my mail run and chat with them. I can count on a good laugh at least twice during my run.
  3. The pay. I can gush on and on about the pay because it is so good. I know I don’t make as much as much as most, but it pays the bills and takes care of Christmas. As far as I’m concerned, that is damn good. Also, the overtime pay is great and I get mileage, a big tax free bonus.
  4. Benefits. It’s weird to be getting benefits from my job. It feels so grown up. My first job I was part time, but it didn’t matter because I worked with my dad and was already on that insurance as a dependent. Then, as a receptionist, I could have gotten insurance but it was contingent upon being able to get steady employment, and at a temp agency that’s almost impossible. So, having gotten my 3 months under my belt, I’m ready to receive my benefits. From the looks of it, it’s 90-10 with a $750 deductable. It pays for a lot of stuff my dad’s insurance doesn’t cover. Like artificial insemination. 100% coverage of all treatment after a $30 specialist fee. Yeah.

The 4 things I hate about my job.

  1. My boss. I said it, my BOSS. If Dooce has taught us anything, it’s not to disclose work crap on the net. But I’ll let that go, because I tell everyone with an operating ear. I hate my boss.
  2. The location. It’s a nice area, and I’d love to live here in the future, but it’s far away from my current home and I don’t know if we can afford to move near by. Nor do I know if we’d want to be near by, since my parents are close.
  3. The building. It’s gross, smelly and old. The management company takes very poor care of the place and I have to run to the first floor to use the facilities. Also, the elevators have been broken so many times most people are too scared to take them!
  4. I feel like I’m not good enough. Like nothing is ever good enough for my boss, she always finds something to pull apart, and when I do amazingly well, there’s always a ‘but’. Maybe I’m just sensitive, but some days I just want to cry from all the pressure to be good. I know, I know. Welcome to adulthood.

So, there you have it. My job. It rocks, it sucks. That’s life. The best thing is the benefits. I feel like my TTC limbo visit is all but over. We just need the sperm and a new place and soon we’ll be staring at OPKs, trying to figure out if that’s really a line or the angle of the light hitting the stick off the mirror.

Congrats to all of you who finised NaBloPoMo. You are better than I, this time.

Day 10: Scary Things Happen

Scary thing happened at work today:

I almost died.

Well, kind of. I had a ‘wow, I could have just died’ moment in the elevators.

I jumped in with the mail cart, ready to head down to the 2nd floor to finish my mail run. The elevator whirred and started to drop … fast … and I felt sick and terrified. It lurched to a stop after what seemed like forever, and after a long minute, the doors banged open and revealed that I was stuck between the 1st and 2nd floor. I panicked, and just as I was starting to wish I had my cell phone, the doors slammed closed and the elevator shot to the 3rd floor, repeated the procedure with the doors (open, slam fast) and fell to the 2nd floor like nothing had happened.

I was so shaken, but finished my mail run and quickly hurried back upstairs (in the same death trap elevator). I got the receptionist on getting that fixed and walked back to the mail room, frantically texting Fil for some comfort.

It was ridiculous, had the elevator fallen I probably would have just been bruised, but not dead. Still, I was scared and every time I step into an elevator now I’m going to be gripping something for dear life.

Song of the Day: Storms in Africa - Enya

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I love Enya. Growing up, I listened to her for sleep, for relaxation, and for enjoyment. Needless to say, I was way different from the other kids in my class who were obsessed with boy bands and didn’t know what Gaelic was.

Enya still soothes me as an adult. I can’t listen to her in the car, otherwise I feel incredibly tired and risk dozing off at the wheel. Forget listening to an album on a road trip! I’m sure that’s the exact reason why Enya CDs were always close on hand during a car trip through out my childhood.

Right now, I’m feeling a deep need to be soothed. After the elevator incident, the distressing attack at Fort Hood (in the town my father grew up in) and Obama’s health care plan, my stress and anxiety levels are through the roof. I shall listen to this on repeat until my blood pressure goes down.

Day 4: Officially Hit the Wall

Yesterday was fake, I had things to say, real content to deliver. Today? I got nothin’. While I’m sitting here at work, covering for the receptionist, I know I have mountains of mail to sort when she gets back, and I’m seriously dreading it. Ugh.

Song of the Day: American Woman – Lenny Kravitz

This song really rocks my socks, Lenny’s version is way better than The Guess Who, even if it does cut out a lot of the political jive (it’s still there in the lyrics, but after 19 years, the meaning transformed into something sexy). It helps that in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Heather Graham gyrates around to it near the beginning. What can I say, I bleed rainbow.

It’s already been a long day, and  I really need something upbeat and undeniably good to take me to 5 p.m. I think this will do nicely.

So Far…

So far this is my dream job. It involves a lot of organizing, which I’m champ at. I’ve already made myself comfortable at my little desk area (put up some pictures of the family) and have gotten into the process of getting nice and organised within my own duties.

I love it here. The people are wonderful and so friendly, which is such a plus. My boss is awesome (she’s a lot like me, only way more conservative and imposing) as is my colleague (the receptionist, who is a foul-mouthed Athiest). It’s only been two days but I made my first solo mail run this morning (and I did it in under 20 minutes!) and I feel like it’s the kind of job I can keep up with.

I can’t wait to see where this takes me. I’ve finally relaxed knowing that we won’t have to move to Michigan.

Fil and I have been talking at length about having more children. Fil wants to start stat, and I’m naturally inclined to agree with her. Around Christmas time (on schedule, for once) we’re going to look into a VIP account with FF and start temping. Probably by this coming Summer we’ll start looking into sperm banks, and then hopefully by Winter/Spring of 2011 we’ll start the TTC process in ernest. We may speed up the process, but who knows. We’re just happy that we can talk about it as an actuality. Woohoo!

Oh, right?

This morning I’m sitting in front of the computer watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU that I haven’t seen. I’m tired, because again I can’t manage to go to sleep. I took a quick nap at midnight and have been up since 2.

Just a few minutes ago I was scrolling through the Craigslist job postings when something dawned on me, something I thought was a dream.

I have … a job.

Yes, not 5 hours after my 11 a.m. interview yesterday, I was offered the position. At $13 an hour, on top of that.

I was so happy I yelled, screamed and did a dance.

Now, I’m so happy I could cry.

I start on Wednesday. WOO!

Michigan’s Still Up

The option of moving to Michigan is still on the table, and is getting much more real than ever. I’ve put a deadline on this ridiculous hope that I’ll get a job. September 14th – if I don’t have a job by then, we’re going to start making arrangements. I realise we need to move soon in order to get myself situated in a job up there, and start our lives over again.

I’ve had a few interviews since I lost my job. Two of them were dead ends – one was through a temp agency and another failed to call for a follow-up interview – and these recent two just happened within the past 5 days. In fact, I have a follow-up interview with an HR director in a few hours.

It all sounds promising. It’s all quite exciting, the idea that a job may just be around the corner. I’m so hopeful it’s spilling into all aspects of my life, where depression usually lurks. Yes, I’m still having issues sleeping, but I have managed to sleep in both days this past weekend, and even managed to have an uninterrupted day of fun on Saturday. We saw our nieces, played card games and ate some good food. This may be TMI, but we’ve even found our spark back and we’ve actually had sex lately. It’s amazing.

Despite all this good cheer and hopefullness, I’m mindful to keep an eye on the potential future. What if we move to Michigan? Can I honestly find something good about this place that Fil paints as a terrible place to live. I’ve been thinking, weighing the pros and cons of this new place. And here they are…

Cons:

  • It’s cold
  • There is no Mexican food, whatsoever.
  • Queso is just melted cheese.
  • Did I mention, it’s cold?
  • The poverty rate and unemployment rate are much higher than here.
  • Crime is terrible.
  • Chemical valley.
  • Apparently, the Canadians drive everyone insane. (Not saying anything about Canadians…)
  • It’s very hard to get out of there.
  • Out gay couples are very rare in that city.
  • We would be leaving my family.
  • And our nieces.
  • And my best friend.
  • And Fil’s best friend.
  • Monster’s asthma most likely will come back.
  • Which means he’ll get way sick.
  • Oh, and it’s COLD.

Pros:

  • We would be surrounded by Fil’s very large family.
  • Everyone in her family is very pro-baby.
  • It would be much easier to get state assistance there.
  • Canada is next door and we could get married.
  • Michigan IS a blue state, after all.
  • There are SO MANY BABIES THERE.
  • French is more widely spoken.
  • Fil would have a lot more available treatment for her cancer and bone problems.
  • She already has a file with a local pain management specialist.
  • Rent and food are much cheaper there.
  • It’s not Sahara-desert like in the summer.

We would miss way too much about Austin to leave voluntarily. Hopefully we’re not forced into it, but there it is.

Yes, Fil’s family is very excited about the idea of us having more children. They would be incredibly supportive and more excited about it from the start than my family. Fil would get more help for her cancer and arthritis than she’s getting here. And rent is way cheaper (her brother rents a 2 bedroom for $300…)

But the cons are quite stark, because we love it here. Mexican food, warm winters, music and a large gay community make this place perfect for our little family. I want to raise all of my children in this city and it makes me panic when I imagine driving away from those wide blue skies and purple sunsets.

I pray to who ever that this interview goes well, and that I can come home and take a long nap (since I haven’t slept yet) with the knowledge that things are going in the right direction, finally.

(As a complete aside, I might be allergic to silicone. Anyone have some advice?)

When the shit hits the fan…

I thought, perhaps, things would be okay Wednesday morning when they wheeled my beloved into surgery. I knew she would come out of it because that’s just too cruel to take her away from me now. I knew fate was on my side, if just this once. So, imagine my surprise when her waking up was the last good thing for over 24 hours.

Apparently her surgeon had to shave more bone from her joint than he imagined, he also had to give her more anesthesia and more pain medicine in the operating room. Since her insurance wasn’t willing to pay for a pain pump to administer morphine at home, he decided to keep her over night so she could get over the worse of it.

Since I had to be with her, I called into work and got Thursday off as well. They seemed fine and the temp girl was alright with covering for me for another day. I arranged for Monster to stay with my parents and had the hospital staff send up a cot. We went into this thinking it’d be a night and we’d be out of there by 10 the next morning.

Welp… Fil couldn’t pee. They had to cath her three times, give her special bladder stimulating medicine and we walked all over the hospital. So we ended up staying two nights.

Which wasn’t a problem.

Because I got a phone call on Thursday from the temp agency informing me of my sudden severence from NYL.

You read that right, I LOST MY JOB.

And not because of something I did. They had no problem with me taking Thursday off. The temp agency had no problem with it either. They simply stated that my position was “no longer needed”. I think they filled it with someone who could do data entry as well as being a receptionist.

Assholes.

Suffice to say, we don’t have rent and I’m scrambling to find a job before the end of the month.

FUCK.

Major Crisis… Avoided

After managing to avoid a huge crisis I’m feeling incredibly lucky.

Last night while Fil was getting ready for bed she realized that we had yet to send out the payment for my credit card bill. I knew that the bill was always due on the 13th so I immediately began to panic (thinking that it was already the 12th). This was a huge scare because we’d been hit with past due and overdraft fees way too many times (we paid a bill 13 minutes past the payment posting deadline and they hit us with way too many fees, so Fil yelled at them and they withdrew the charges) and it’s no fun.

I scrambled all day trying to figure out what the hold up was with my pay check. I’m probably getting it in the mail today, so paying my credit card bill with our checking account was a no go. So I begged my dad to loan me the $15 and paid with my bank account under his name.

A crisis avoided, for sure. Especially since it turns out the bill was due today, the 12th, not tomorrow, the 13th.

Whew.

It brings a huge issue into focus for me.

When I was paid twice a month (and given money by the parents twice a month) we planned bills in two runs – at the beginning of the month we paid everything up to the 15th. After the 15th everything else got paid. It was easier because bills due at later dates were already taken care of when their due dates came up. We never really worried about being late on our bills, only a few times were we shocked by a bill’s due date (like the first time our electric bill was due right after the 15th and we had to drive it to the utilities drop box…) and only late once.

It’s a relief to get back to the way things were when Fil was working. She was paid weekly, as well, and our mind set was to take things as they came rather than horde bills and watch the sums pile up. Nothing creates anxiety like lingering cable and credit card bills. I like going back to the way things were, but it’s a stranger to us, since it’s been a year since we’ve lived like that.

But that takes a lot of adjusting. We’ve been living in this two-week-at-a-time mind frame for almost a year now that it’s hard to change the way we do things. I know we’ll be able to do this, pay our bills and be okay, but it makes me worried that once we make this adjustment, are we going to have to, once again, redefine the way we handle our finances when I leave NYL at the end of August?

Who can say.

 

(Pee Ess. I found one sure way to keep me up in the morning and that is free games online.. at least the ones that have made it through the ridiculously strict web nanny programme. Mmm, word vine.)



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