Thursday, January 19, 2012
OH MY LORD! When will the nonsense with M's job/funding/schooling END?! Yesterday I was muddling my way through what I hoped would be my last double shift day in a LONG time when I called M to see if he was around and wanted to meet up for dinner. It was the only time we were going to be able to get together, so imagine my surprise when he answers the phone with a cranky, "What?!" I asked him if he was okay, and he told me that yes, he is okay, but there is a lot of stuff going down at school and that he has been forced to become a part-time student for this semester! Color ME shocked! He said he would meet me for a quick bite and we could talk about it then.
Backstory: At the end of the 2011 spring semester, M was informed that money was a little tight and he would not be allowed to take a class over the summer. In July, M was told that the funding his advisor was waiting for had not come through and that he would not be getting any paychecks in August. Then he was told that because the US budget was not balanced yet, he would not be getting paid in September, and in addition, they had no funding for his classes and he had to drop them and take a one credit "internship" so that he would still be eligible for his PhD program. Next he was told that he would be getting emergency pay in November, which he didn't get. FINALLY in December he finally started to get some pay again, and though he was told all along that he would get backpay for the four months of work that he did for free, thus far there has been none. At that time M registered for his classes, happy enough to be back to being a student and getting paid, and wasn't going to worry about backpay just yet.
So on Monday, M stayed home with me rather than go in to work. We are just two months wed, and already we are VERY aware that we don't spend nearly enough time together. it was a very laid back and easy day, and we loved it! I was futzing on the computer when I saw that he had gotten an e-mail. I clicked over to that tab and saw it was from his department's administrative assistant with the title, "Please come see me in the office as soon as possible." Now, I don't know a lot of good that comes from e-mails like that! I told M, and he said he would talk to her tomorrow.
Tuesday I was in a super duper crabby mood. The infant/toddler center I was working at drove me to the brink! Two of the kids were in RARE moods and would not follow direction, clean up, stay on the ground, nap, or in general, BEHAVE at all! Another child was there who rarely comes, and he is severely developmentally delayed and is utterly non-communicative. I was supposed to work until 5:30, but due to bad weather, many kids were picked up early. I NEVER put my hand up to get out early, but I was practically begging to get out of there! I was released at 4 and M came to pick me up as we decided to drive to town together that morning. I was a crank pants the WHOLE time we were together, and while I noticed that M was also cranky, I was in no mood to find out why! What a terrible wife I am! I went to Zumba that night and started to feel a little better, but we were cranky together the rest of the night, wallowing in our own issues.
SO now we're meeting for dinner before I head to my other job. M was told on Tuesday that there was problems with funding again, but I was so wrapped up in my own dramas that I didn't pay attention to his. I felt awful! He said he knew how stressed I was and didn't want to worry me unless it became a big deal, but now it is a big deal. His GUARANTEED three year grant was unceremoniously taken back, with no explanation, and with the added insult that the agency is going to pretend that they never got the application and that they can resubmit it if they would like. This is a MAJOR problem. More than likely, the agency didn't actually have the money to fund the grant that they were awarding, and are trying to back out. This is leaving M's advisor in a very awkward place, but it is leaving M in a WAY worse place. He has been assured that no, they are not going to stop paying him. They have some magical source now that will ensure that he will be receiving paychecks (where was this when we were broke, I ask you?!), but they do not have funding for his classes again. He is now a part-time student, and as such, now his student loans are no longer in forbearance and will need to be paid monthly, this insurance will go up, and he has basically lost a full YEAR of study. Grrr. All I can say, is that if they do not continue to pay M, they will actually be seeing an advocate, and irate, not-taking-any-more-crap advocate, in the form of me.
Frustration abounds in our household! Our new-to-us car was just purchased a month ago, and already one of the front headlights had to be replaced (no big deal), and now, all of a sudden, the four wheel drive has been acting weird. The whole reason we bought this car was because of the four wheel drive and relatively low mileage! The day that the light blew, the four wheel drive was doing something weird, but when we brought it in the next day, it was acting fine, and we didn't mention it. Now we brought it in and there is something VERY wrong. There is some sort of a leak that is causing the car to lose transmission, which is shorting the four wheel drive. And apparently, all of a sudden, the shocks are not working well. We've been reorganizing our papers for taxes and neither of us can figure out where we put the extended warranty! I've put in a call to the dealership for a copy so that we can get the replacements started, and hopefully without costing us hundreds and hundreds of dollars. It irritates me to think that we might have been sold a lemon. But, honestly, nothing was wrong with it when we got it!
Poor M is going to have to go back to being my car service for a while. I work from 6:30-12 tonight, and if we are lucky the parts might come in tomorrow, but I wouldn't hold my breath on getting the car back until Monday. I have work on Friday and Saturday too, not to mention Monday! Oh bother. I woke up in a great mood, thinking, how wonderful that I didn't have to work until 6:30 and could do whatever I wanted for the majority of the day. Now it's like doom and gloom is trying to muscle in... I won't have it! Rant done!
Monday, January 16, 2012
Well I've been back at my jobs since last Wednesday, and I was called in to work on Thursday AND Friday, and I foolishly agreed to work tomorrow when I was cornered by one of my bosses in a grocery store.... long story short, I was staring down the barrel of eleven straight work days with at least two days working at both of my jobs. I couldn't blame anyone else for what I did, but I WAS pretty annoyed about being called in to work on 1) my day off and 2) after already working over 8 hours at my other job. I asked if it would be possible for the person who I covered for to work my shift today, and got super antsy waiting for my boss to get back to me! I e-mailed, I called, I got NO RESPONSE! I just needed to know that I was going to have a much needed mental health day, so I stepped around her and asked the oncall staff if he would approve the switch. Lucky for me, I was working with him on the two days that I got called in, and he promptly agreed that I needed a mental health day!
Considering the person who is covering for me today has been calling in left and right and is a breath away from being let go, I have to admit that I'm not QUITE believing that I won't be getting a call at 3:45 asking me to haul my booty in to work. But, I got verbal confirmation that she would be there yesterday, so I've been planning my day accordingly!
This morning I put together my first crock-pot dinner of Indiana Farmstand Chicken Corn Chowder. I got this slow cooker mix back in the summer before I even owned a slow cooker, and since I'm a total newbie, I decided that I would graciously accept help from this salf-free mix my first time out of the gate! That said, yesterday I went for a long (3 mile, in the snow!) walk with one of the boys I work with to the library just to find out that the library was closed! Should have done some research beforehand! So, we ducked into a bookstore along the main road in town to warm up and be with books. While I was there I found a Better Homes and Gardens special issue magazine called "Skinny Slow Cooker" over 125 recipes with reduces calories, fat, and sodium! I checked it out and decided I had to own it. I've been drooling ever since, haha!
M and I bought a 4-quart basic slow cooker when it was on sale for $8.88 impulsively, and for our wedding we got the bells and whistles slow cooker we had on our registry. Since I have Five more days of work coming up, we started looking through the cookbook to see if we see anything else that we would like to try our hand at today. M is at the local grocery store RIGHT NOW picking up some ingredients so that we can start round two of slow cooking glory!
We STILL haven't found the time to get a new dryer (though thankfully, we DO have the money to do so now!) so I'm washing all the laundry now, and plan to go into town around the start time of my shift to dry it at a laundromat JUST in case! I plan on going in to Curves for to do a traditional Curves work out for the first time in a LONNNNNGGGGG time while it dries, and then coming home to finish up the meal that is in crock pot number one!
We're also planning on taking down the Christmas tree and decorations, and hopefully finding homes for the mounds of presents that are still under the tree! This is the first time in a long time that I haven't been working in an urban school celebrating MLK day, but I think that by NOT working, I'm going to be able to remain more sane and promote more peace! I'll try to find a more concrete way to honor this fantastic American hero too!
Have a great one guys!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Ok! I'm trying to be real with myself, and I have to admit I'm a little nervous about going back to work today! It is my first day back in ten days (thank you honeymoon!!!), and I can only say that it was a MUCH needed break! I work with at-risk teenagers that have been removed from their families, and even on the easy days, it's so draining to have to be "Mom" to these kids. Coupled with that, the week and a half before my vacation I was with them ALL. THE. TIME. I am the newest hire, and the low lady on the totem pole. All the other employees were able to get in their requests for Christmas off before I was even hired, so I might as well have brought a blanket with me and slept on the couch - that's how often I was there. Between my two jobs, I had one day off over a thirteen day span, and the line between following the program, and surviving my increasing exhaustion started to blur towards the end.
Now I am nervous that there may be some expectation that I will be more willing to bend the rules than before those days together. I am hopeful that the girls understood that since THEY were on break from school, it was bound to be more laid back than when the structure of the school week was upon them. I do NOT want my first day back to be a battle in any way, but I'm also quite prepared to lay down the law now, so that there is no mistake in the future.
I spent four years teaching on the west side of Chicago with students that were CHALLENGING. I do NOT have a problem with setting boundaries or dishing out consequences for actions when warranted, but this job is a little more complex than teaching was. I'm with them in the parenting hours, the hours when they are fully aware that they are NOT at home, that their parents have failed them, or that their own bad choices have caused them to be removed from their "normal" life. Boundaries are more fluid because they need more than just a strong authority figure, they also need a counselor, and someone who can help them work through their choices and learn new cooping skills. It's tricky to be black and white sometimes when you can see that they are picking a fight because they need to get something off their chest, but don't know how to do so in a respectful manner.
I do think it's ironic that this is the job that I finally found after months of fruitless searches... the ONE thing I declared when I left Chicago is that I did not want another high-stress job. Over the past few months, I have been regularly cussed at, disobeyed, and in one particularly terrible night, I was separating a physical altercation and one of the girls turned on me and started to punch, hit, and kick me. I've saved a girl's life when she was trying to take her life, and been a shoulder to cry on when one of the girls found out she is pregnant. I have grown to care deeply for these girls and in many ways I'm really glad that I DID land in this roll. It really does take someone special to stick it through with kids that are used to watching people give up or leave them. I constantly pray that I am doing the right thing with them, and that my influence is a positive one that will help them in the future when they are not in the program anymore.
Within two weeks of working here, I was asking M if he would consider becoming a foster parent with me sometime in 2012. It has absolutely broken my heart to see how terribly some of the kid's parents have failed them. I KNOW I can't save everyone, but I also know that we could make a real difference in some kid's life, even for a short time. If and when we decide to make that leap, I'll let you know! But for now I'll just say that I thank my lucky starts AND my parents that I was raised in a loving family, and hope that you will remember to be good to your kids!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Wow. I guess I have no right to be as shocked as I am that I have slid back this far. I haven't logged on in a month! I hadn't logged in before that for many weeks either! I have basically been MIA, swimming in stress, and losing control little by little.
It was truly a blessing when I got hired at my jobs. We were in financial straights like you wouldn't believe, and I was so thankful to be DOING something that I said YES to everything that was asked of me. The week before we went down to Illinois was the first week that I REALLY got a taste of what working two 30 hour a week jobs was like. In six days, I worked 62 hours, and I was EXHAUSTED. I was working up to 14 hours a day, not sleeping well, not working out, freaking out about the wedding, and my eating habits were ridiculous. I gained three pounds in that week alone!
The wedding week was WONDERFUL! It was a fantastic celebration of life and love, and I'm so thankful that it went so well! I posted a few of my favorite pictures on here right after it happened, and I hope to share more of the day with you in another blog some time too! We were rushing back here the day after the ceremony because I was working at 2 the Monday after the ceremony! No time to rest!
December just KICKED MY BUTT! I worked every single day of December save four. The majority of my days were over nine hours long, and many of my days I was working both of my jobs. It was crazy pants! Since we got some money from the wedding, M FINALLY started to get paid again (in December!!! FOUR MONTHS!!!), and I was making good money between the two jobs, we knew that financially, we were starting to get into a better place. Hooray! But we also knew that we had to get a second car and FAST when we lost control of our sweet, 200k+ car on an icy patch and the engine started to smell funny. We went to the car dealership the next day and found the perfect vehicle for us, we we are now the proud parents of a 2003 Ford Explorer! It only had 81,000 miles on it, and the four wheel drive has made traveling SO much nicer!
I really wasn't working out at all during December unless it was with the kids. I ran around with the preschoolers, and I would workout with the teenagers from time to time, but I was not in any sort of a fitness groove anymore. I am still bummed about this because I worked HARD to make it a pattern in my life, and in a matter of months I'm back to square one! But, I know how much better I will feel when it is back in the mix, so I am ready, willing, and able to schedule it in with everything else!
The biggest problem I'm facing right now is food. I am required to eat what is served at both of my jobs. For the preschools, we are supposed to be modeling how to eat, and we eat with the children. My other job is with at-risk youth that have been removed from their homes either because of their parent's loss of custodial rights, or because of troubles with the law. It is a 24 hour facility, and you are required to be with the teens every minute you are on shift, so yes, you eat with them. Now, the food that is served is really NOT that bad for you overall. But when you are used to knowing exactly what you are putting in your mouth, and the exact amount that you are putting in, and suddenly food is being served that you have NO idea of the caloric value... well... let's just say bad stuff is happening! The hardest thing for me has been watching the wastefulness that happens at the preschools. They send WAY too much food to the children, and it all gets thrown out! This hurts my soul - especially since we didn't even have enough money to buy food on a regular basis for a few months! I started to compulsively overeat to reduce the waste, and I would bring home leftovers when I was allowed. The main problem with this food is that it is extremely oversalted. Our cooking was at a point where we added NO salt to anything, and I know I started to retain water like crazy!
In the last month I have gained TEN POUNDS! Granted, some of this if period weight gain, and some of this is residual from our all inclusive honeymoon in Mexico that we just got back from. I KNOW we overate, drank, and indulged, and I would guess that three of these pounds are honeymoon pounds. One or two are period pounds, and the other five are a combo of stress, bad food, and no exercise.
I want to be totally honest so that I know where I'm starting from. I am BEYOND bummed out that I am over 250 pounds again. I was in the 230s just months ago, and clearly I am spiraling! Time to pull it together and get a plan started!
My New Year's resolution was so easy for me this year: FIND BALANCE. I can not and WILL not continue to work 50-60 hour weeks with a maximum of one day off a week. I will SAY NO, especially to subbing. It pays nearly $5 less than my more steady counseling job, and while it is a GREAT deal of fun, so is sanity! I will start with basics again; drinking 8 glasses of water a day, working out three to four times a week, sleeping seven to nine hours a night, and maximizing the meals that I have absolute control over. I will control the portions of the food I eat at my jobs, and not overeat just because I see people being wasteful! Control the controllable, and start there!
2011 really didn't go at all like I thought it would, and overall I was happy to kiss it goodbye! I think I have learned a lot about my self over the past twelve months though, and I think that I have all the tools for success necessary, I just have to use them correctly! Here's to 2012 - the year that I reach onederland!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I've been off my game for INSPIRE the last few weeks, lots of traveling for the most part! I didn't weigh in twice because I was out of town, and got 0 points both weeks too! That's not normal for me, and I realized this morning I was on my way to another 0 week for points! So, I decided to at least do this blog and get some points since my weight seems to be staying steady this week.
This blog is supposed to be an update on our personal challenge of completing 100 pushups or the C25K program. I was totally gung-ho about the C25K when I heard about it, and did the first three weeks before I started to get less consistent. I didn't have a good plan in place for crappy weather, really didn't have good running shoes, and I found that i actually didn't LIKE running much (which I already knew, but thought might have changed as I am more fit than in high school!).
One of my teammates suggested the five week wogging program that Spark sponsors, and I thought it sounded GREAT! But, truthfully I never started it! I am determined to get a 5K under belt before my birthday next year in June. I do plan on doing this program, but right now I have an AWFUL lot on my plate! I'm getting married two weeks from today, I've just started two jobs and I'm averaging over 50 hours of working between them right now. I'm also quite sick, and I'm hoping that this weekend I will be able to shake it off.
Truthfully, my exercise and food intake has taken a back seat right now, but I am not abandoning ship! I'm just not single mindedly focused on weight loss right now.
So that's the non-update update!
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