Posted in Family, Me

The Sandwich Generation

Life in Coronaville continues. Jim is still employed, I’m still mostly not (before I worked 20 hours per week. Last two weeks I worked five hours total). Still, we do not NEED my salary, so I can continue to be thankful for that mercy as well.

In the midst of everything, my sister and I find ourselves starting to need to step up with our parents. My brother lives many hours away (HOURS AND HOURS), where my sister and I live about 10-15 minutes each from our parents.

My dad is 88 and my mom is 87. They have been blessed, for the most part, with good physical and mental health. A few years ago my dad had a kidney removed and he never really went back to his “old self”. Last year my mother had a hip replacement. and that took quite a toll on her as well. My sister is a few years older than me and all four of her children are grown and out of the house. She’s even a grandmother to one adorable grandson and one unknown-gender-grandchild on the way. I, obviously, am at quite a different stage of life with four still at home, although two in college this fall and another one fall of 2021. So much change coming, but not here yet.

My mother has asthma to the extent that she uses nebulizer-infused medication three to four times each day. She has not left their yard since mid-March. My father, while increasingly frail, has an independent streak a mile long, but is currently experiencing issues with his eyesight. Which necessitates my sister and me being more involved than we had been. And seeing more clearly what has changed.

As of now, I’m doing the grocery side of things–taking my dad out to their main store (he refuses to let me do it for him outright), and running to get things from other stores if they want. My sister is doing the medical stuff–taking Dad to his eye doctor appointments–even into Wills Eye in Philadelphia, which for Dad was a BIG DEAL.

A few things we’ve noticed: 1. Their world has shrunk. Philadelphia may have well been the moon for all he felt comfortable going there. Even before Corona, they mostly stay within their town and the route to and from church. That’s it. My sister lives literally SEVEN miles away (I’m six) and they feel like visiting her is kind of difficult. To get to my house from theirs they mostly stay on the same road, with just a couple of turns, so they are more willing to come my way.

2. Housekeeping is falling by the wayside. Like A LOT. They just don’t SEE the dirt (or smell it) anymore. We went over a couple of weeks ago and worked on a few main areas that they hang out in and will need to go back and help. We are working up to the idea of talking Dad into a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning service.

3. For a long time they’ve been fairly stable. They’ve had surgeries and issues over the years, but they were dips in the road. The road is starting to head downward now. They are forgetting things–mom will tell me the same story twice in one conversation. Dad will swear something happened or didn’t happen, but just not remember. A few months ago, when I went over to drive him to the store for the first time and noticed that he wasn’t just older, he was old. He looked frail. It was hard to see.

I finally called their pastor of more than 30 years. We spoke for a good bit, and he has been experiencing the same thing with his wife’s parents. He has been seeing the same things that we are seeing, although obviously not recently because of Corona. He encouraged me, which was needed, and I brought him into the loop of everything, which was also needed.

So I’m left with the question: How does one parent the parent when the parent doesn’t want or see the need for it?

Posted in Me

For Today

Haven’t done this in a couple of years!

FOR TODAY May 13, 2020

Outside my window…Mostly cloudy, windy, mid-50’s.

I am thinking…about all the things on my To Do List. That I don’t want to do. At All.

I am thankful… That we have our health and Jim is still employed. That we can financially help out others. That we haven’t become hateful in the midst of this.

In the kitchen…Depending on how today goes, either spaghetti or ordering pizza for dinner.

I am wearing… Jeans, Overbrook long sleeve tee and socks. It’s chilly y’all!

I am creating… a mess? Really don’t know how to answer this one!

I am going… to my parent’s house this afternoon to be supportive during a termite inspection. We know they have an infestation, we just don’t know how bad it is.

I am wondering… how long we are going to be in lock down. It’s been two months as fo today.

I am reading… A series by Grace Burrowes and a different series by Nancy Atherton. Depends on what room I’m in.

I am hoping… that Ethan is able to actually GO to his summer program instead of having it virtually. He needs structure and he needs to get out of our house. He’s so bored!

I am looking forward to…getting back to normal life at some point. If that’s even possible.

I am hearing…Ethan’s daily classroom time. I can hear his classmates and his teacher, but it’s sort of background noise.

Around the house… Trying to keep up with the kitchen and trying to work up the gumption to remove wallpaper. I’d rather pay someone!

I am pondering… what this summer will look like with Laura recovering from shoulder surgery, Ethan most likely home, and Catie potentially titrating up on anti-seizure meds. And me going back to work.

One of my favorite things… Sleeping through the night. Such a rare and lovely thing.

A few plans for the rest of the week… Parents house this afternoon, with UPS and the bank tossed in, EEG tomorrow morning for Catie to hopefully diagnose epilepsy, OT zoom  room with Ethan on Friday, and working from home calling our major vendors. Saturday canceling our free month of CBS All Access. We’ve totally enjoyed having it, but I don’t want to pay for it!

 

Posted in Church, God, Me

A Quiet Monday Morning

This Monday morning it’s 6:45. One hour ago I took Bennett to work (since he still doesn’t drive, but that’s another post). Laura is most likely still asleep at college, because she doesn’t have any early classes this semester. Ethan is just getting up because his bus comes in an hour. Catie might be asleep with both dogs on her bed, or she might be awake scrolling through Instagram or whatever teenage girls look at when it’s 6:45 in the morning. Jim is in the shower, so I should probably start his coffee because he’ll be leaving for work soon.

At 6:45 on this Monday morning, life is….unsettled, I guess is the best word. And that’s actually different from what it was 24 hours ago. 24 hours ago I was getting up on a Sunday morning, getting ready for church, and processing the evening before, which was “newcomer dinner” for the newer folks at our church (that being me and Laura). Yesterday at church, though, the pastor talked about ITM (Intentionality, Transformation and Missional), which are three Peak Priorities within the vision that our church is doing for three years (this being the 2nd year). Within the Missional part there is a leader, and a staff consultant, but there is an opening in “admin”. I felt a pinprick. For the first time in YEARS, I felt a pinprick–the Holy Spirit poking me and saying HEY, PAY ATTENTION.

But people, I’m scared. I’m not even a member of this church…yet. I pretty much made that decision to become a member, which is rather huge for me. So, yes pinprick, but I kind of shoved it aside.

Then yesterday evening I read a sobering, sickening and completely horrifying article on sex trafficking, the descriptions and stories within I will likely never forget. And I prayed that, while I often feel like one of the few things I have to give at this season of my life is only money, that God would use me within this need.  Because, O GOD, this world is horrific and dying and evil and there is so much need. And once your eyes are opened, how can you go back?

And hello pinprick, remember me? So I told God last night in the midst of agonized prayer that I would follow up with the admin in Missional. What was involved? Was it even something I COULD do? Etc. And I just this moment emailed the church to ask those questions.

So here I am on a Monday morning. Unsettled. Having “regular” life to deal with–always, always–but feeling a call to do more. To use my gifts, which was my “word for the year”. I thought it would be musically. We’ll see.

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, 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 Kids, Me

Managing

I am. Managing, that is. Managing four teenagers, their schedules, their schooling, their mental health (and lack thereof), driving them hither and yon, my own life (thankyouverymuch) and, a little, my husband.

My daughter finishes up her Partial Hospitalization Program tomorrow. Finishes because they have seen much progress and she is ready to move down to a group therapy setting four times per week 2 hours per session. Down from 8:30-2:40 Monday through Friday at a place that was about 30 minutes away. Including dropping my other daughter off at her school, I would leave at 7:45am and return at 9:10ish. and then repeat at 2:00 and return around 3:15.

I saw some joy returning to her this past weekend. Joy that I hadn’t seen–honestly–in three or four years. It has deeply grieved me and I was almost in tears yesterday seeing it. So I will unilaterally say this program has been GOOD. I had my doubts in the beginning, although I supported her going because she wanted it and the team thought she needed it.

I think I’m just a little tired of keeping too many balls in the air. Some are starting to fall, and I really dislike that. But there’s just one of me, and I can only do as much as I can do, so I’m trying to give myself grace. Not necessarily doing well with it, but I’m trying.