Happy Friday! Today we continue our series for our Foto Fridays. The images in this series were snapped at my local park in that awesome time (for me) where winter gives way to spring. Enjoy!
This has been a really tough year. We have been challenged in so many ways, and although we’re doing reasonably well (or so I’d like to think), there’s definitely been some ugly moments. It’s not easy balancing two kids and a job and a newly self-employed spouse, along with all the uncertainty in my job, my threadbare mental health and the precariousness of living in Donald Trump’s ‘Murica.
Most of my conversations with my friends involve a LOT of complaining from me, just because it’s often the only time I can complete a sentence without being interrupted by the chattiest 4 year old on the planet. I’m exhausted, as my kids are just terrible at sleeping through the night, and I’m cranky because I’m tired, and I can’t get anything done on my own time.
So, with all that in mind, it’s hard to stay present in the moment, and see these times for what they are. We’re done having children, so there won’t be many more of these sleepless nights after the kids get to be a certain age (or so I tell myself). We will only have our cuddly baby times for so long, because my boys grow big and fast, and soon they’ll outgrow it. What gets me through, always, is the feeling that we’re right where we should be, that two kids is perfect for us, and four makes us a great family unit. We’re adventuring more together, spending more time in each other’s faces, which isn’t always great, but it does bond us together.
The best part of my day is getting home from work and seeing my family. Even (or especially) if they’ve had a rough day. I get frustrated if my son doesn’t get his “green light” (the daycare’s indication of good behavior), but I know if he’s below that, it’s time for some quality time with mommy. It ALWAYS helps. Like, it’s almost scary. I also am grateful for my baby’s ability to be patient JUST long enough for me to do something, like go to the bathroom, before needing my attention. It’s moments like that where I find myself thanking a patient baby, which is weird and nonsensical, but I don’t care. He gets it, and I’m so lucky.
The best thing, though, is how much my boys love each other. I’m astounded at how easily my oldest looks after his baby brother. It’s so wonderful to see the baby’s face light up with attention from his big brother. My heart soars when they chill out together, playing not with, but near each other and more importantly not fighting with each other. It’s not always easy, but now that we’re a foursome, things feel right and I’m holding onto that with everything I can to get me through the rough days.
While I like having work done on the house, I didn’t appreciate the discovery that we’d be responsible for putting all the heavy items moved by the contractors back to where they were before. Most of the things in my home are moveable with little assistance. Although now everything was covered with a thin coat of brown dust from the new flooring. After we got that swept and dusted off, we had to move the heaviest item, the entertainment center with the faux fireplace, back into place.
This particular piece of furniture is a pretty hefty point of contention. I needed to slide it a few inches into place, but my husband insisted we lift it. I couldn’t get a grip on it and after several attempts, finally yanked it into place awkwardly. Then I looked down.
My belly button was inverted and some mushy ball like thing was pushing out in its place. Oh shit, I thought. I tore my incision from my tubal, and *that* is probably a hernia. I tried to put it back where it came from, but it kept plooping out again.
I declared that I was done moving things, and that no further activity could continue. I took it easy for the rest of the weekend, hoping it would resolve on its. I think it did, and as I was recounting this information to a coworker that Monday, she got very stern with me. She told me that these things just “don’t go away on their own” and that I would “absolutely need” surgery.
Freaked out, I called my doctor’s office to see if they could see me. The doctor wasn’t available, but I did get a chance to see the nurse practitioner. She didn’t feel any protruding from it, which was a good sign. She did recommend a CT scan, however, just to make sure. So, now I’ve got that to work on. Next week, I’ll have to drink this awful barium sulfate stuff and hopefully get some good news. If not, I guess it’s another round of surgery. I’m frustrated thinking that after two pregnancies, I didn’t manage a single stretch mark or injury, but moving damn furniture managed to rupture my abdomen like swiss cheese.
When I began taking my night class, it was out of place of fear and uncertainty, hoping that the education I would get would further my career and make my life more stable. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was to be paired with such supportive, hard-working, funny, kind and thoughtful people.
I have tremendously enjoyed my time working together and hope we can stay in touch after the course ends. I’m so grateful to them for everything they’ve done to make our team successful. I can’t express how proud I am of how well we collaborated, how respectfully we treated each other, and how much fun I truly had getting to know all of them. My team was so awesome!
We volunteered to go first, to get it out of the way. It would mean, as the team leader, I would be the first of any of us to speak in the class. I was nervous, but then my mind clicked over into “get it done” mode and it just sort of fell into place. At the end, our presentation was well received and no questions were asked. I felt this was a good sign.
The rest of the presentations went well too. There was a lot of great energy in the room. Happily, we parted ways, project managers and friends.
My married life is plagued by rain. It rained on our wedding (like a LOT – thank you Hurricane Ivan!). It rains on my birthday like every year. It rains on the days we want to do stuff outside. Our house has been damaged by water in two of the three major storms that hit us. So when my husband texted me after I returned to work from maternity leave, I wasn’t really shocked to read that water was yet again fucking our shit up.
Luckily, we were able to use our homeowner’s policy for the repairs. The out of pocket expenses for the rest would be there, of course. I was less than thrilled about spending money from our savings, but water damage is not something I want to ignore. After meeting with the inspector and contractors, we needed to replace our floor in one room, rehang the doors on the deck and rewrap all of the outside with new tyvek and repair and repaint the ceiling and walls in the basement.
The week the work would be done, we ended up having to pack out the rooms that we spent the most time in. The boys were less than thrilled about it. In preparation, I had to put away almost all of their toys. This was not well received. My older son thought it was a punishment of sorts and spent the week trying to apologize for whatever he did to get the toys back. No matter what I said, he couldn’t wrap his mind around this concept and continued to lament whatever offense must have set me off.
While the flooring was being replaced, we lived in the kitchen and bedrooms, which wasn’t terrible. Extra cuddles were had, which was nice. And now that it’s done, it looks much better. The long unpacking begins as we search for all the things I had to put away.
I looked forward to this Mother’s Day with heated anticipation. Last year, I had spent the day regrettably sober and pregnant, with a moody older child and a cranky husband. We had attempted to get to our favorite restaurant, but the road there was blocked by some sort of marathon that NEEDED to have that particular street. This year, I told myself, it would be different. And it was. Just not the way I’d hoped.
This year, Mother’s Day fell on the same weekend as a beer festival. They have this same fest every year, and it’s one of my favorites. I bought tickets and set about finding child care. I asked our normal sitter if she could watch the boys, but she backed out a week later because of scheduling conflict. We discussed the possibility with my MIL, but since her partner was about to undergo surgery, we decided it wasn’t the best plan. So, I finally approached my FIL and my husband’s brother and girlfriend to see if they’d be so kind to assist, which they agreed to. They would watch the boys and drive us back and forth to the fest, and let us crash on to sleep off what we drank when we got home. It was a perfect plan.
The Friday before we were set to drive up to spend the weekend with them, we got a call from the daycare that the baby was sick with a fever and throwing up. Sigh. So, instead of taking the boys to see the family, we were stuck home with a contagious baby. Oh, and it rained, like crazy, so we couldn’t go out. Instead, I stayed home with the baby and my husband took my son to the children’s museum and to visit some of our friends. It wasn’t ideal, but staying home and doing mom stuff is the whole point of mother’s day. So, while I was really bummed to be out the money we spent on tickets, and the quality time with each other and family, it is what it is.
I guess there’s always next year.
It’s no secret that I don’t like my coworkers. Having gone a few years without ever speaking to one of them because I’d just had enough of her bullshit came to an end after I returned from maternity leave. It wasn’t a conscious decision, just something that sort of happened. It began with polite acknowledgement and remained out of a lack of enthusiasm for ongoing dramatics. I never initiated the conversations with her, however, and still don’t. I told myself that I could always revert back to the “professional silent treatment” if she did something to irritate me, so for now, I sort of tolerate her. My feelings about her personally are unchanged, I think everyone knows that.
Still, this shift gave me an opportunity to sort of mess with her. One morning, after the boss had been out sick for a few days, she came in to tell us how she had fallen outside our building. The weather was super rainy, and she was attempting to carry her lunch, coffee, and purse and umbrella (while walking), and slipped and fell in front of the building. She didn’t mention any injury, only lamenting the spilled coffee being her second lost cup of the day. After a few minutes, she realized the boss would be out of the office, did she decide to parlay this embarrassing fall into a free day for herself. She was relaying this information to me and another staffer when I decided to stick it to her.
What she neglected to consider was that a fall on our campus, especially one so bad that she needs to go home for, has to be reported according to standard practice and policy. If you fall at work here, you must complete an incident report, get examined by employee health for injuries (she claimed several), and be interviewed by public safety. Oh, and they also make you submit to a drug screen and follow ups. All of your time off for a fall is under workmen’s comp, so has to have extra documentation that’s required to be submitted. We made her do all of this.
So, instead of skipping out the door and going home, she got stuck in employee health for half the day (did I mention that it was new employee physicals that day? Super crowded and busy over there!), and had to recount her harrowing tale to public safety officers who now think that in addition to being a klutz, is also a terrible liar. And, while the boss won’t ever say so, he’s furious that she’s taking such a simple thing and making it into such a big deal. Of course, he doesn’t realized we made her. She’s had to stick to her lies (or at least over-embellishments) about her injuries, and is milking the eyeroll garnering attention for all its worth.
How do I know she’s faking her injuries, you might ask? Well, before the fall, I had placed a random screw I had found in the hallway under her seat. I thought it would only incur some paranoia, but it gave up a goldmine. I came in to find her crawling around on the floor looking for its source. Ms. I’m Too Hurt To Stay At Work was having no trouble contorting her injured body to find the non-existent source of this screw, and must’ve been down there for about 20 minutes.