26 July 2007

dream come true

The Thursday morning of our vacation, my husband woke up from a nightmare that he was fired. Now, to understand this you need to know that he loves his job and takes it very seriously. He is a civil engineer who worked and went to school for the first six years of our marriage. Last month marked ten years at the same company, and next month will be four years since he received his degree. Where many employees surf the web during the day and stop to chatter at length, my husband works to stay focused and make sure he does the best job he can. I can tell you that he cares more for the quality of work than many of those around him; I know this because he is amazed by their lack of concern over certain details. His dedication is well-balanced as hard as that can be to attain, and that makes me even happier. He is not a workaholic in any manner, but will willingly put in the extra hours when projects require it; I am fine with that. This man makes me so proud I could burst some buttons. Really. But he can also be extremely hard on himself at times and it cycles through. He worries that he isn’t doing well enough or worries about not meeting deadlines (which had been an ongoing issue, but he was not getting reasonable ones; more on that later).

And so, all this wrapped into the bad end of his cycle of worries caused the nightmare; it’s not his first, but at this time there was extra pressure about a project and he’d checked his work email before bed. A bad combination, and it resulted in a lousy night for a man who’d been driving all day.

The oddest part of what happened is that when he arrived at work on Monday morning, he discovered his boss had been fired on Thursday. Let go, laid off, fired, who knows the actual term used, but the reasons became clear over the next week. He was a nice man, and got along well with everyone. He tried very hard; he’d been at the company for 17 years and was a partner. But he was no longer really qualified for the job he did. He was paid well, but his entire department was falling apart, deadlines were not reasonable (at all, I can testify to this), and he didn’t have quite the communication skills to pull it all off. And so, the owner of the company spent six months trying to find a well-qualified replacement.

A week later, he started. My husband has been working 60ish hours each week since our trip to pick up some slack while things were beginning to change in positive ways. For one, he will be getting an office rather than the cubicle setting he’s been in for a decade. Another change is the drafter he’s been assigned; and most of all, the new boss communicates, has the qualifications to clearly understand how things are and what needs doing. He is compassionate man with his own family, a man who believes in getting the job done right in a reasonable way. This means that the second week he saw my husband’s time sheet showed 60 hours, he asked “How is your wife doing?” Sixty hours is not the norm, and it is not expected except in rare circumstances under a deadline; it’s only happening now because of a multitude of changing factors, but is expected to ease up soon. At the time, my husband honestly answered, “Fine; we’re able to work it out.”

Now, as you know, I’m pregnant. Read: hormonal. I have a child at home with Sensory Processing Disorder who needs a lot more sensory input than I feel physically capable of accommodating at the moment, and it makes for some intensely long days. Last night, I fell apart. Badly. Dinner has been consistently my most difficult meal to eat much less prepare, and therefore the kids often wait for Daddy to get home and help me deal with that prep…and it’s past a reasonable dinnertime every night (I do not make them starve, offering decent snacks, but that’s the best I can do some days; other days they get fish sticks or chicken fingers when I know they just need to have a real meal SOON). I bawled on the phone as my husband left work close to 6:30 again (he has about a 35-45 minute commute) and told him I needed, NEEDED him to leave between 5:15-5:30pm tonight.

And you know what, when he talked to his boss today, explaining carefully that I was pregnant and had a really hard night last night, his boss said, “I want you to leave at 5:00 today. And 4:00 tomorrow.” Guess what? I cried again. I really like his boss. He got it. He wasn’t phased, he didn’t think anyone was whining, and he realized that 60 hours is just a lot. And he is a smart enough man to know that family must be taken care of. I am so grateful.

I must go now. My husband should be home soon. And I put a roast in the crock pot this morning, so he won’t even have to help me with that. I’m still feeling hormonal, but I’ve been blessed with a peaceful day, happy kids, and an early-arriving husband. Definitely a dream come true, not a nightmare.

23 July 2007

these days

Week-long migraines are never a good thing, and especially worse when all you have to battle it is an ice pack, 8-Hour Tylenol and a soda (versus the usual half-dozen Motrin with the soda). Oh well, this too, shall pass. Or so I keep telling it! At least I am not alone in that every one of my migraine-prone friends in the area has had one equally long. It must be the weather.

I am definitely in my maternity clothes; I feel my walk changing and Miss C now talks to the baby in my tummy, even kissing it and telling it she love it. Little B does that, too, of course, but he actually gets what is going on. I love the feel of the baby "sitting" on my lap as I lean forward just a bit, and the new shorts and tees make it look like a little ball on my belly. I swear it happened overnight!

We are gearing up for school to start in just over 2 weeks; we start back sooner than the rest of the county since we're in the city district. I rather like our Thursday start date, giving the kids (and parents) a weekend to recoup before starting again on Monday! School supplies are ready, the new, strict dress code is available in Little B's closet, and bed time schedules are getting more rigid by the week. Me? I'm just so ready for Fall, and I suppose that school starting signals to me that it will indeed arrive again this year. ;)

Oh, and I'm trying to fly again. As in FlyLady. I've tried this long ago, and for the most part like the way it works. I just chose a bad week to start--migraines are not conducive to progress. But, I need a better routine and I've got the motivation even if I am still exhausted. And so I'm going to give it my best effort.

17 July 2007

second trimester

I am officially in my second trimester now.

Other than being poochier, with all my regular clothes too tight and maternity still drooping though showing my new shape, I feel exactly the same - sick most days. Based on my previous pregnancies, I've probably got as much as 6 weeks left to feel ill. I've lost a few pounds, and gained back one, I think. The most exciting news is that I'm back up to a "B" cup...heheh (thus the pound gained?). =) So, my baby is about 3 1/2 inches, or the size of my fist and depending on what you read, either 1 oz or 2. It even has fingerprints now.

Names are harder this time around. I've used my favorites and while we think we have a first name for a boy, there are 2 or 3 choices for a middle. And a girl...I'm at a loss. There is one name that stands out to me exceedingly, but there's a delicate connotation within the family (the name of a cousin's ex-wife, and his brother used that name for a child after the fact. . .I don't want to cross anyone!). But I'm still in love with the name, and perhaps we'll fit it in as a middle name. We just cannot settle on anything for sure.

13 July 2007

vacation, part two

As I mentioned, we arrived very late Thursday night, after traveling all day. Shortly before we arrived, “Grandma C” as my kids know her, called to make sure we were all right. We are “one of the kids” and she checks on us just as she does her own, which we love. We weren’t far at that point, and when we finally got to the hotel, she was arriving in the lobby, no doubt watching for us. She sat with Little B and loved on him the way my own parents do while we checked in and unloaded all our junk. Miss C was sleeping soundly, at very long last.

My friend Bek was visiting another friend of hers 10 miles from there, and leaving the next morning, so we had a quick visit (around 11:30pm!), which was a real treat considering our homes are roughly 17 hours apart! After that, I settled into the incredibly nice hotel bed with about the best pillow in the world and slept soundly. Friday morning arrived way too soon, but at least I was rested.

The groom’s family consists of Grandma C, Grandaddy, Auntie A and Auntie T…each “auntie” has two kids, and my son was in heaven with four kids/cousins to play with. (Oh, and “Uncle E” is the groom…and yes, those abbreviations are for real life, not just my blog…how convenient!). Anyhow, Auntie A was headed out with her mom to work on the rehearsal dinner site, and I left my two kids and husband to play with her two kids and husband, giving me freedom to help out and no children to chase for a few hours. One of the tasks I had during this time was ironing several table cloths. It was interesting. At home, the only ironing I do is fabric for sewing. My husband does all the rest. But, table cloths are not exactly complicated (unless you count the hotel iron that had an auto-shut off every few minutes). And yet, as I ironed these large white pieces of fabric, I had the sense of washing the feet of someone I cared about. I felt humbled and honored to be serving E and his family in this small way. I used that time to pray for the bride and groom, and to pour love and blessing out onto them.

Around lunch time, we switched with our husbands and they finished setting up while we took our kids to eat and the rehearsal. That was pretty funny considering Miss C would have nothing to do with the wreath they wanted her to wear, and while she was great at dropping petals she insisted I hold her hand down the aisle. Everyone was a good sport and said if she didn’t seem willing to go down alone at the wedding, to just let it go and not force the issue (thank goodness they didn’t want me to walk with her…that was so not gonna happen!).

Of course, the day sped by and by the time we got finished it was almost time for the rehearsal dinner. After using an emergency sewing kit to replace one button and strengthen another for my husband, we were planning to pick up Happy Meals for our kids since it was impractical to find out what ingredients would be in the catered food. At this point, we learned that E was on his way to the hotel to iron his pants and shirt since the friends he was staying with did not have an iron. My husband offered to do the ironing. I had the same sense of washing E’s feet, though my husband was doing the washing this time. It was a sweet serving. I left for the meals, planning to pick him back up, but E arrived as I left, and he just caught a ride which was easier.

Other than chasing the kids around (mostly the husbands had the outdoors chasing job, but I did my share of keeping tabs, and we missed most of the lovely toasts/speeches that were given), it was a nice evening. I felt submersed in the loving arms of my extended family by choice.

Saturday dawned very beautiful, and I think the wedding was one of best I’ve ever attended. Miss C was a total champ; she slept until right before they needed her for pictures, and I slipped her dress on just in time (her “princess dress” that Grandma C made for her). While she was quite playful at times, she did manage to walk the aisle in style, wearing the wreath (but forgetting to drop petals), and without mommy to hold on to. I raced down the side aisle, banging a loud vent in my efforts to meet her at the front, but she refused to come to me, wandering a bit, almost returning to the back, and having E point her my way (she earned many adoring chuckles and I heard many comments later about how cute she was); finally she found her way to Grandma C’s arms and then to mine when we all stood for the bride. Little B walked down as a ring bearer, handsome as could be, with one of his “cousins”; they were spectacular, old enough to do their job perfectly. And later, the two of them danced at the reception for a long time (his mother and agree we’d both be very pleased if they get married someday).

E is an incredibly romantic man, and I wept during his toast to his new in-laws and his lovely bride. As in, my eyes would not stop leaking for several minutes. I could not be happier for him.

That night, the family all went to a nice, fun restaurant, and had a splendid time. Bedtime was very late as usual, but every moment of the day was worth it. We slept in then had a leisurely breakfast with the family before rushing to load the van and check out. As we checked out, it began to rain. So, we chatted and hung out in the lobby for a little bit, waiting for it to pass. Only, it didn’t pass. The sky fell out for about 80% of our drive home, making it take longer than it should by a couple of hours. But, even that was worth the lovely weekend. I came home feeling full and happy; and Grandma C called to check on us as we drove, then made sure we arrived home safely. We are definitely cared for.

12 July 2007

vacation, part one

I must confess: I am not a beach-lover. If I could walk the edge of the surf and wiggle my toes in the sand, I'd love it (and I’m talking a quiet, unpopulated beach, not some hot-spot that draws every half-naked person within two thousand miles). But I am typically making sure sand is not in someone's mouth, chasing a toddler from visiting other beach-goers, reminding small people belonging to me to please not fling the sand as it gets into other's faces and eyes, and battling a boy who does not want to leave yet (which contrasts sharply with the little girl who adamantly waves “bye-bye ocean” and won’t go too close). I do not find that relaxing. I cannot stand getting sand in my swimsuit; it's disgusting. I don't enjoy sunscreen all over my body, either—and the sand that sticks to the sunscreen…ugh. Then there are the gritty grains that manage to find a way into my mouth. And the sand that traipses through the van and hotel room and the bathtub and ultimately the suitcases...sigh. I much prefer the sandbox at home that I do not have to participate in.

And yes, the first part of our vacation, we went to the beach. We were there for three nights at an incredibly good rate because we had to listen to a time-share spiel. Overall, that kind of deal doesn’t bother me, and I grew up attending a few of them with my parents. However, the poor customer service of the “marketing” part of the company set a bad tone from the get-go (odd, the sales lady seemed to claim no part of the marketing people, as though they were a totally different company—ha, NOT). And the ruthless, rude, conniving, potentially lying side of salespeople irks me to no end. There is absolutely NO reason for me to share personal information with them; they have NO right to inquire multiple times as to who in our family is in therapy and for what reason (information I kicked myself for sharing in the first place, and I refused to tell her any more to the point of wanting to walk out, only I didn’t want to be fined the $200 for not completing the tour and presentation that lasted a whopping two hours at lunch time after which I was ready to pass out from lack of food…yes, at NOON, at least I took lunch with me for the kids to keep them busy; looking back, the fee would probably have been well worth the satisfaction of walking out on her terrible manners.). Oh, and the office area smelled like smoke…?

I can tell you that if I was in the market for a time-share, this particular company would absolutely not get my business (and actually, I’d buy a used time-share at a tiny fraction of the original cost thanks to a tip from a friend!). They were the sour icing on the burnt cake of my beach trip. Well, undercooked cake, it really wasn’t that terrible, just a bit annoying at times. At least the Holiday Inn disguised as a different hotel (yes, the elevator permit listed them as Holiday Inn, but the hotel name on all the signage was different…go figure) had much better quality customer service and an excellent free breakfast in spite of the aging appearance of the place. What I don’t get is why they would not offer to put us up in a location like what they want to sell us…let us really experience the condos (which was in view of a golf course, not beachfront), rather than glimpse it for five minutes.

All in all, it wasn’t that atrocious, as I was with my three (well, four) most favorite people in the world—my husband and my children. Truly, the worst day of the entire week was Thursday, which found us driving 12 hours (the map said 8, and we didn’t stop that often…?) to get to the town where our friend would be getting married. We got in late that night and could only be thankful for the one hour time change that made it appear to be earlier. . .

(Stay tuned for part two, which was far more pleasant and enjoyable for me!)

10 July 2007

pass go, collect $200

Do you not absolutely love it when you discover that you have more money than you thought?

I entered several items twice into our money management software, simply estimating what the actual cost was, only to re-enter it later correctly, rather than adjusting it, so that it appeared we spent more. Upon balancing the account, I was able to delete those transactions, as well as the auto-entered payment for a therapy session we did not go to because of our trip.

Oh, and over the weekend, I made two moderate returns; today I made a large return. Returns can almost be as addictive as purchasing.

I'm feeling rich right about now. So sad it's only a temporary feeling. hahaha!!
(But I do think we should eat out to celebrate, no?)

09 July 2007

home again and tired to boot

We got home a week ago from a trek to the beach and then the wedding I've talked about. Neither half of the trip was in our state. And they were not in the same state, either. Indeed, we went south of home for three nights, then north of home (literally cutting through the main city near our home!) for the other three nights. The day between locations about killed me with the 12 hours in the van; thank God it wasn't a tiny car anymore. I have spent the past week trying to recover from all the travel and late nights!

I want to share some bits and pieces from each place, but for the moment my day's energy is seriously waning. Once lunch is over, I can only dream of resting while the children play or watch TV (or "Tee" as my daughter calls it). "Dream" is the operative word here. When I do lounge on the bed (our sofa is a love seat, not a full-size couch, so it is not funcitonal for lounging very long in my opinion), the Tee is on in my room under my watchful, very awake eye, and the kids are rambunctious so I repeatedly have to get up to handle things.

It's funny. I have a friend who is expecting her first baby in November, and she was recently talking about napping several times a day...I actually do remember that luxury. And I napped a bit with this one before Little B got out of school for the summer, but now? I scoff at my desire for rest. Ah well.

More later, friends...I promise. I want to lay down. Badly. And I need to run interference between Rafael--no, it's Spiderman, now--and a little girl who's half playing and half uncertain of what is going on.