Posted in Change, Family, Job, Me

The End of the Year of Change…or is it?

364 days ago I posted that 2019 was going to be The Year of Change. I was so nervous, which was completely understandable. Standing on the other side of 2019, though, it’s been a crazy roller coaster like I thought it would be, but man, was it a good year!

I took a class on restarting my career

One of the girls did an intensive counseling day program followed by a less-intensive group program.

Laura was diagnosed with Generalized Epilepsy and had three seizures.

Laura and Bennett graduated high school

Ethan did a one week at camp and a three week summer program, all away from home

Catie worked a summer job every day

Catie applied for and got into CPFA, which cemented her career plan to become an actor.

Bennett got his first job and works full time now at Wawa (a regional convenience store)

Laura moved out into my sister’s house and attended her first semester at college, which went better than any of us could have hoped for. She also (ahem, ahem) made DEANS LIST!

I went to counseling for myself, which definitely helped with addiction and other things.

I got a part time job after 18 years away from the corporate world

I started going back to church and am going to attend a “welcome new people, find out more about us” dinner in January with the idea of becoming a member of this church.

Jim and I did marriage counseling, which we are now finishing up. It was tremendous and I highly recommend it.

Jim is changing positions within his company after being in the same department for three years. It will start in January.

Whew! That’s so much change in one year! Especially for me!

But you know what? It really has been SO GOOD! (well, except for the epilepsy!)

As I look into 2020, there’s so much more change ahead–Bennett going to college, Ethan attending the “school to work” program at Overbrook where he’ll leave our house on Monday morning and come home Friday afternoon. Catie being a senior and doing the whole college search and application rigamarole. But where I faced 2019 with fear and trepidation, I am embracing 2020 with wide open arms. I hope you can face your uncertainties the same way!

Joyous New Year, Dear Readers! See you on the flip side!

Posted in Job

Three Month Work Anniversary

Remember high school where you would celebrate a “one month anniversary” or “6 weeks dating”? Well, I’m “three month’s at my new job” today. I walked in knowing I could be helpful, but full of trepidation because I hadn’t done it for 18 long years.

So far, yeah, I like it! It’s still sometimes a pain scheduling stuff around it, and I’m grocery shopping sometimes on Sunday nights instead of Mondays, but it’s totally doable. I like my coworkers, and my boss has been nothing but nice. My last boss, well, let’s just say he’s the main reason I quit my old job and leave it at that. Whenever I make a mistake (and there have been a few, let me tell you!), he’s like “it’s no big deal” and moves on.

It’s fun (and I mean that) to see exercise equipment for sale on Facebook and recognize the good names (Cybex, Life Fitness, Core, Precor). It’s great to actually start to recognize part numbers that I’m ordering, catch mistakes before they happen, and have Don trust me enough to give me more and more things to do. Let’s also not discount the money! While I make not even 1/8 of what Jim does, it’s still a nice amount to add to our budget and has allowed for extras like driving school for Bennett (because Jim or me teaching was NOT a good fit!) and some counseling for Laura. I’m hoping to put some towards our car payment to bring that down more quickly.

In this season of thankfulness, I am just so thankful for a job that I like, that allows us some financial freedom, and gives me some adult interaction!

Posted in Addiction

Roadblocks, Gateways and Recovery

It’s been awhile since I wrote about Recovery. I had a very bad time earlier in the year (like when graduation happened) that I think finally got me down to that proverbial bottom of the barrel. (Been there before, but apparently needed to get there again!).

In all my recovery time I’ve always left a back door open. Just in case. Even though I have accountability software on my PC and phone, I had the ability to add another browser, which would bypass the accountability software completely. I justified this all sorts of ways, but yeah, it was stupid and self-defeating. So now I can’t do that. If I want to add an app–ANY APP–Jim  has to type in a password. Instant roadblock if I want to “mess up” because I’m absolutely NOT willing to let my husband or accountability partner see how low I can sink.

I was so afraid of giving up romance novels. I love them so very much. But I absolutely KNOW they are the gateway that leads to the harder stuff. I start by skipping “those” scenes, but then reading them, then really reading them and then wanting more and more and…yeah. It’s the SAME exact thing every single time. So I stopped reading them. Cold turkey. I have 2 bookcases in my room with children’s books, fantasy/scifi novels, Christian stuff etc. So I started making my way through them. It was great.

This week I got a notification from Amazon that a novel I had preordered had just shipped. I had done it months ago, before all this happened. It was a romance novel–the third in a set of four–from one of my favorite authors. I approached it with trepidation. I read it, skipping what I needed to skip. You know what? It was meh. Total meh. Like when you give up sugar you stop craving it–that’s what it felt like. I’m not going to order the 4th book.

Singing praise songs has also been a life saver. A thought from a book will pop into my head (with distressing frequency). I say NO out loud and literally start singing any praise song or hymn I can think of. It works! Sin and praising God cannot exist in the same place at the same time.

So I’ve been sober and enjoying it. It’s not without its struggles–oh, happy thought that would be!–but it has so been worth it!

Posted in Health

The Requirements of Aging–an Honest Retelling

As a woman, there are things (like annual pap smears and mammograms) that I’m required to do. I do them because I’m supposed to.

As a human, there are things (like going to the dentist every six months) that I’m required to do. I (mostly) do them because I’m supposed to.

As a 50 year old human, a new thing entered the list of required duties. For various reasons (see previous posts!) it got put off for a year. But I am still a good human, so I yesterday I did what a good human does. I got my first colonoscopy.

Whenever you bring it up, anyone who has had one says the EXACT same thing: The prep is the worst part. Yup. It absolutely is. I thought I would take this post and be honest about it, since I know I have readers who are the right age but haven’t done it yet because they are nervous.

Thursday I spent the day drinking tea and ginger ale and “eating” orange jello and chicken broth. I was honestly mostly not hungry. My stomach thinks sugar is an acceptable alternative, apparently!

At 6pm I drank the first of the two “Suprep” bottles mixed with water to make 16 ounces. IT WAS HORRIBLE. Seriously awful. The manufacturer was going for a cherry flavor, but ended up with an uber cough medicine taste that once I finished I kept spitting. I honestly held my nose closed so I could drink it. It was that awful. I followed it up immediately with 16 ounces of orange Gatorade. 30 minutes later I had 16 ounces of apple juice. (There is another prep that involves Miralax and drinking more liquid. I may ask for that next time to avoid the awful cough medicine taste)

At that point I felt pretty awful. I’m not a big drinker of liquids to begin with. I’m also not a big person (5′ 1.5″), so 48 ounces in 35 minutes was a LOT. The instructions said it could take anywhere from 1-4 hours to start working, so I just hung out in the bedroom near the ensuite. Around 9 I was really tired so I let myself sleep, figuring I’d be up a lot overnight.

10:05 I woke up, realizing that four hours had passed and nothing had happened. I called the oncall doctor, who encouraged me to go and buy Magnesium Citrate, change the time for my next dose of Suprep from 4:45 to 2:30 and then, if necessary, drink the MC at 4:30. I ran out and bought the 10 oz bottle and hoped I wouldn’t have to use it.

10:30/10:45 things finally started. Let’s be honest, people. It was gross. Just lots and lots of diarrhea. The only good thing was no accompanying gas pains. Sometimes I would have five minutes in between bouts. Sometimes even less. Sometimes I would be literally running from the bed to the bathroom–it was that urgent. I changed the wake up time to 4:20 because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be needing the Magnesium Citrate.

Around 12:30 or so I laid down, waiting for the next go around, and woke up with my alarm at 4:20. I took the 2nd dose of Suprep & water then and orange Gatorade (downstairs, which ended up being a mistake because I was too far from the bathroom!), ran upstairs cursing all the way (and waking up my startled teenagers who don’t hear Mom talk that way!).

The directions say you are supposed to drink the prep followed by two 16 ounce clear liquids in an hour. I literally couldn’t do the 2nd one because I knew I would throw it up. I finally finished it around 5:30 or so and did the back and forth with the bathroom for a bit.

Jim got Bennett to work at 6 and Ethan off to school at 7 (Bless him, he was great the whole day!). I went downstairs at 8:30 for him to get a shower and then go one after around 9:40. By that point the bathroom treks had slowed quite a bit.

(As a side note, hunger was just not a thing, so don’t worry about it. You are so full of liquid that it just doesn’t occur to your stomach to miss food.)

10:40 at the endoscopy office, fill out paperwork and wait for my name to be called. I was really thirsty and kept thinking about waking up to sip ginger ale. They got me in the back, took vital signs, chatted about the procedure, put in an IV and wheeled me back. Once they started the Propofol I felt maybe a second of dizzy and then was out.

The next thing I knew I was coming to in the recovery area. My brain woke up more quickly than my eyelids did. I wasn’t tired, per se, but just didn’t want to open my eyes. When I finally did open them, the nurse was smiling and offering something to drink. GINGER ALE IS THE BEST THING EVER. I got one small can in me and woke up more. Jim came back at that point and the doctor came to chat. They found a 4mm polyp and removed it and send it to pathology. I’ll get a call next week about it. If it’s fine, I’ll go back in 7-10 years. If it’s precancerous it will be 3-5 years.

I got dressed, wobbled my way through the medical building and into the car, went home, drank, ate for the first time in 45 hours and slept for a couple of hours. Even through propofol is “quick acting” and out of your system, the combination of that and the poor night’s sleep the night before kept pulling me back into sleep. I forced myself to get up around 4 and stay up so I would sleep ok at night. I wasn’t very hungry the rest of the day, just VERY thirsty. I had two more small cans of ginger ale and two large glasses of apple cider. I hung out on the couch pretty much the rest of the day, watching TV and reading. I went to bed around 10 and slept pretty well until 5am when the cat started being a jerk.

So there you have it. It wasn’t fun, but honestly…it’s fine. Between drinking the awful stuff and the diarrhea, it’s mostly just gross. The things I was worried about –hunger, low blood sugar at work–were really no problem. The thing I didn’t know to worry about–how sore my tushy would be from the diarrhea and endless wiping, well, I’ll be better prepared next time.

If you are putting getting a colonoscopy off because of the prep–don’t. It’s about 12 hours of yuck. That’s it. I’ve been home less than 24 hours and don’t dread it the next time. Just get some bathroom wipes, and something in the Desitin family.  Go! Make the appointment!

Posted in Church, Kids

My Childhood Hymns are Not Their Childhood Worship

Subtitle: What my children are nostalgic about sometimes really surprises me.

Laura is at college. She went away with CRU on a weekend retreat and they had worship time. She texted me with a line from a worship song, wanting to know if I remembered the rest so she could sing it. I was able to, texted it back and she was so happy. Her comment? “I miss worship time when you and Dad led worship. I loved the music then.”

Whoa. I literally never thought about it that way. For me, that time was good, but also stressful. It was about five years of devoting ourselves to being the worship leaders in our church and was extremely draining. I never thought about it being something our kids remembered, let alone loved and were nostalgic about.

I grew up Baptist. Church, from the time I was born, was sitting in the back right pew, singing hymns from the hymnal. As a teenager I hated that and pretty much turned my back on it, embracing modern worship. As a 50+ year old woman, I look back on that time with fondness and gratefulness at the strong theology that was build into those hymns. Plus some great harmonies!

Jim didn’t grow up in church and has no similar memories. Church for him started in high school and, while including some hymns, was more the worship music that is so popular now.

As a dating couple and young marrieds, we were extremely blessed to be part of an incredibly musically talented church with four or fives worship teams, and all different types of music, including a professional Christian band. When we left that church (for many and varied reasons), we skipped church for a good, long time. After finally making our way back, we “sat in the pew” for a few years and then became worship leaders in 2008, when the kids were 7 and 5. So, yeah, in thinking about it, we WERE their worship model for a large portion of their childhood years!

All this to say, it kind of rocked my world to hear my daughter misses when her father and I were her the worship leaders.

Posted in Christian, Family, Health, Money

Where Things Stand

I’ve done this off and on over the years and thought it was time for another:

Health: It’s an uphill battle to getting healthy, but I’m working on it. After my last visit to the endocrinologist, whereby she read me the riot act in a polite way, I’ve been eating better and taking my medication again. I get bloodwork in mid-November and see her the week after, so we’ll see if there’s any improvement. Also, I scheduled my first colonoscopy today (November 15th) and got my umpteenth allergy shot, still continuing weekly. Both boys are getting plastic surgery this month to fix some stuff leftover from when they were tiny babies. Hoping for good outcomes for both.

Education: Laura is thriving at college, Catie is slogging through 11th grade much the same way Bennett and Laura did. Ethan is enjoying senior year. Only one IEP this year, and that’s in December. At this stage I’m not fighting about homework anymore, which is a wonderful thing.

Finances: August and September stunk as usual. October is good and November will be even better. My part time job helped pay for the lawyer’s services this month (special needs paperwork/ HIPAA etc signed by the triplets).

Spirit: I’m feeling friendly towards the Holy Spirit these days. Other than a few days ago, I’ve been to church each Sunday since I started back (and that’s going by myself!). I’m thoroughly enjoying it–the music, the messages, seeing Laura and my sister there….I just need to make some friends, which is a little challenging right now. I’m having a hard time keeping up with my existing ones as it is!

Family: Things are pretty good! Jim and have been doing marriage counseling for awhile now, which has been great. Figuring out how to do things differently has been wonderful for us. Catie is settling into CPFA (fine arts school) and is taking choir, acting, ceramics and piano. In other words, utterly different from the plan that Laura followed. I love how different my girls are from each other, but they are both so talented! Ethan still has a special friend.

All in all, things are actually going well for now. I’m continuing to adjust to working part time–figuring out grocery shopping and doing things around work hours instead of during.

Posted in Job

Four Days In

Sounds like a motel name, doesn’t it?

I have worked at my new job for four days. Today I will complete my first week. Just saying that is still weird!

Having never really worked part time as an adult, it is quite different from working full time. Full time your days are spoken for. You work. You fit things in as you can, take time off when you need to and have those two weeks vacation to plan.

Part time, notsomuch. I leave home around 9:40-9:45 because I live close to work. I work from 10-2 and then leave, regardless of what’s still to do on my desk. I tidy up because I share my office with the techs, but that’s it. My days thus far have been mostly data entry and helping with things for their conference they are hosting today (filling “swag bags”, putting name tags in lanyards etc). Today I will answer the phone while everyone is at the conference, which is a step short of hilarious. I can direct customers to their local offices, but if they need literally anything else I’m just taking a message.

With only five other people in the office I know everyone’s names and speak to them pretty much each day. I know the office manager the best because she’s basically my boss (which she thinks is really funny; she’s not really my boss, but she’s the one that gives me work to do, so I tell her she’s my boss).

ANYWAY! A week in, it’s fun. I know I’m helping them–doing backlogged work and things they literally just haven’t had the time to get to since January. It’s somewhat mindless (as I was putting things in the bags I’m thinking “I went to college for this?”), but I’m viewing these first few months as my proving who I am. I am going to say yes. I am going to do everything you ask me to. I’m going to show you I’m smarter and quicker than you think I am. You’re going to want to give me more responsibility.

The weird thing is with all this, I tend not to believe in myself. I tend to doubt my own worth–constantly! But for whatever reason, in this I’m not. I KNOW I’m good at this job. I KNOW I’m helpful to them and I’m good at what I do. Where did this self-confidence come from???

TL:DR, I’m enjoying my work and like it so far. 🙂

Posted in Job, Me

The Journey is Just as Important as the Destination, but Sometimes the Destination is Pretty Great Too

Last time i wrote about job hunting. I had the interview; it went ok. I didn’t get the job. I was fine. I didn’t really WANT the job–it was honestly more than I was looking for, plus I wasn’t sure about the parking situation and the hours.

The exact same day I got the very nicely worded “thanks but no thanks” email, I got an email response from a Craigslist ad I had responded to back in July. So, 3 weeks beforehand. I hadn’t heard anything back and so figured that was a “nevermind”, but no, I think the wheels just turned rather slowly. They asked me in for an interview on Tuesday. I dressed carefully in dress pants, a nice blouse and black heels.

When I arrived I was greeted by a woman in shorts. And I interviewed with her and the boss, who also wore shorts. SHORTS, people! The boss kind of swiped his hand in a circle over my resume and said “well, everything here just says yes”. Um, ok! The interview, if you want to call it that, was more the boss and the administrative assistant/Gal Friday talking about the company, what they do, what they need, what they have no clue about and me assuring them that yes, whatever it was I could be a big help. They walked me around the office. I met the two other people there. We shook hands and I walked out after maybe 20. But it FELT SO RIGHT every single second I was there. They told me during the interview that I would hear back after Labor Day. Ok, fine.

I drove home just so darn excited. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, because there is always someone out there better than you. But they really seemed to like me? At least, boy, it sure felt like it!

So, today, I was pulling into the UPS store to return a box to Amazon and happened to check my email in the parking lot. There was a JOB OFFER! Which I ACCEPTED! I cheered and yelled and then promptly cried in my SUV. In the parking lot. In front of the Chinese restaurant next to the UPS.

I AM EMPLOYED PEOPLE!! By someone who will take taxes out of my paycheck!

So here’s the thing. This whole process I have not obsessed. I have not worried. I have not been an impatient control freak. I honestly felt this whole time that God had something in mind–the right job for me, and the right Me for the company, if that makes sense. Both had to fit. When I didn’t get that first job–didn’t get an INTERVIEW or even an EMAIL, I was disheartened and disappointed, because it really seemed like the “perfect” job. But I believed that there must be something better out there for me. And this company–from the very first second that I shook the gal’s hand–felt RIGHT. Small company (5 people plus me now), really great boss and really great admin. I know that I will be able to use my gifts and help them.

And while everyone keeps laughing about this, I get to wear JEANS. In all this, I was willing to do the dress up thing. But I didn’t want to. I felt like stamping my foot at the idea. I bought three dress pants (took the tags off one of them only), bought a couple of blouses. But when the admin said “oh, we’re casual here, wear shorts or jeans” I was beyond thrilled.

So here’s the overall details: I’ll work Monday through Friday, 10-2. It’s 11 minutes from my house and 6 minutes to Bennett’s work (so I can pick him up after if his shift ends at 2) (which it frequently does). I get to wear jeans. It’s a very small company that is growing very quickly. It’s a part time job but they could see it turning to full time in a couple of years, which could totally work for me with Ethan’s schooling.

So, basically, the perfect job. Orchestrated by God. I’m just so very grateful!

Posted in Job, Me

Adventures in Job Hunting

As you know, things have changed a bit around here. In four and a half weeks when school starts, I’ll have: one away at college, one working mostly part time, one in school full time at Overbrook and one splitting time between gifted school and performing arts school.

That’s a TINY BIT different from how life has gone on the past almost-18 years.

It was my intention (and how many times have I said THAT on this blog?!) to start looking for jobs once we got past Labor Day.

However, I started looking around. There was a seemingly PERFECT job (literally less than a mile from my house) so I sent out my resume and a cover letter and never heard anything. Once I started looking I just kind of kept on doing it.

As my counselor told me, God knows what’s going to happen and God even has a job in mind for me. Now, sometimes I’m not great with that concept, but this time I actually am. I’ve been checking the job listing posts and sending in resumes–I think six so far–part time administrative assistant jobs within a 10 mile radius of my zip code and not working nights or weekends are not so abundant. I have the luxury (and I totally acknowledge that!) of being picky. I don’t want to work weird hours. I still honestly consider my first responsibility is to my family.

I was getting a little discouraged. I hadn’t heard ANYTHING from ANY of them. And I really think I’d be great at all of them! Finally a few days ago I got an email from one asking if I understood the part time nature of the position and the salary parameters. I’m guessing they’ve been burned by people having issues with either or both? Either way, I’m fine with both. Full time is just NOT an option right now.

Then, weirdly enough, they sent me a request for SIX references! Two coworker/peers (I don’t really have that, but figured it out), two relatives and two manager/supervisor/professor/teacher. For the last one I contacted the teachers of the class I took this past spring and one did it right away. So yesterday afternoon they emailed, wanting a phone interview on Friday!

People, the last time I interviewed was about two years before I left my old job, so roughly 20-odd years ago!

The phone part of it will allow me more time to go out and buy a few things. I have ONE pair of dress pants that I wear to funerals and weddings, and only dressy blouses appropriate for those occasions. Nothing “business like”. I remember how much we spent when Jim needed a professional wardrobe. Hopefully I will be much, much less expensive!

So to wrap this finally up, I’m excited, but keeping it on the downlow, because I 1) don’t want to get my hopes up and 2) don’t want to spend my days obsessing about this!

Posted in Health, Kids, School, To Do List

Summer is Full and Flying By

Sorry for the lack of posting! The last time I posted was June 17. We had celebrated the graduation of Bennett and Laura.

Since then: hosting the largest party I’ve ever hosted for the graduation, TONS of doctor appointments, meeting with our lawyer to set up a special needs trust for another Laura, dropping off Ethan at camp, picking him up after him having a great week, meeting with our future autism services people, dropping off Ethan at TVI (Transition Vocational Initiative) at Overbrook for three weeks, doing med checks and changing meds for the girls, Laura as of today being on the full dose of anti-seizure meds (and therefore sleeping a TON as her body acclimates), buying college stuff for Laura (surprisingly fun!), helping Bennett get a job at Wawa (VERY popular local version of 7-11 for you out of the area people), helping him fill out paperwork and needing to go and buy non-slip shoes, dropping off Catie and picking up Catie every week day from her junior counselor job, figuring out college loans, dealing with Jim working late pretty much all the time for until mid-September…

I somehow thought this summer would be quieter! We only have five weeks left until Laura moves out (it’s FLYING by so quickly as the title says!), and a few days short of seven weeks until school starts for the two attending. TWO? TWO!

Which is why I’m looking for a job. What in the world will I do with myself with only two kids to worry about?!