Bullet mania

Friday, March 18, 2016

All right, time for another bulleted update on random items since I’ve neglected the ol’ bloggie blog for too long. Not that anyone’s reading anyway! Here we go:

  • The Big Sis’s academic challenge team competed in the regional tournament a couple weeks ago, and they pulled out a third-place finish among the 77 teams competing and received a medal for the effort! Coming in second place in the region was another team from her school, with both of those teams just missing for first place.
  • We took both of the girls for eye exams recently (The Little Sis’s first, and The Big Sis’s second). The Little Sis got a clean bill of eye health, but The Big Sis has a slight astigmatism and they said that glasses to correct it were optional at this point. Chances are she’d need glasses in another year or two anyway, and either getting or not getting glasses now wasn’t going to change that, so we went ahead and got them for her so she can get used to wearing them before it becomes a necessity. I thought I might be upset if she had to get glasses, because I remember it was a hard thing for me when I needed them in 7th grade, but she’s actually really excited about having them, and she likes her frames, so I’m excited for her! I’m sure it helps her that so many of her friends already have glasses themselves, so there’s really not much of a stigma attached to it, at least in her current circle of friends.
  • I just wrapped up my second week at the new job, and so far so good! I’m still in the process of learning the ropes, and will be for a while, but I’m feeling more confident with what I need to be doing, and the feedback I’m getting is helpful and is indicating that I’m on the right track.
  • I will travel some for this job, and I just booked my first two trips, one to Dallas and one to Marco Island, FL, both in May. Overall I’m looking forward to the trips, though I’m a little bummed that the Dallas trip means I will have to miss The Little Sis’s preschool graduation. That part breaks my heart, but hopefully she won’t hold it against me for too long. ūüė¶
  • We had to go with plan B for our summer vacation this year because our dog needs surgery next week, so we’ve opted to go to Boston and Maine to visit with friends and family, so we’ll still get to have a vacation but will significantly cut down on costs since we won’t have to pay for lodging (and some meals). At first I was bummed about having to go with alternate plans, but everyone is looking forward to seeing us, so I’m getting excited myself now.
  • The Little Sis had something click a couple weeks ago, and she was suddenly able to read very simple books (like the BOB books)! She’s known her letter sounds for a while, and has been sounding out the letters in words when we read, but she wasn’t able to string it all together to form the words herself. But now she can, at least for words that are pronounced how they’re spelled — words like hug, dog, cat, can, etc.
  • I will admit I was hesitant to have The Big Sis join Girl Scouts this year, but she has really enjoyed the meetings and activities (and even the cookie sales), way more than I expected she would! I believe she came in third place in her troop for cookie sales, which isn’t too shabby at all, especially given the fact that she did the bulk of the sales herself (as opposed to me or The Husband constantly soliciting orders). We stepped back and let her handle the bulk of it on her own, and I think she learned a lot of good things along the way.

Making a break

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

After I accepted the offer for the new editing position, I needed to tell my current supervisor. I’ve been at my current job with him for 3 1/2 years, but I worked under him at my last job too, so we have a history going back 15 years. I have gone down with two previous ships, so to speak, and I am the type of person to see things through, so I knew he would be surprised at news that I was leaving. I had a pretty bad nervous stomach as I waited for him to arrive the morning I was going to tell him. Ideally I would have told him late in the day and then left for the day soon after telling him, but I was so torn up about telling him that I just needed to get it over with. And, as expected, he was pretty shocked and really didn’t know what to say, plus I could see he was quickly realizing the weight of what this meant. I am a hard worker and I am very good at my job, and I have a tremendous about of experience that they won’t find in just anyone pulled off the street, so I was going to be pretty difficult to replace.

I made it through that conversation, but there were still a few other people I needed to make sure I told myself before they heard it from others. One was our copy chief, who just lost another copy editor (that they haven’t replaced) about a month ago. He’s already under a ton of pressure from being overloaded, and I hate disappointing people, so I hated the position I was going to be leaving him in. Thankfully, he was so incredibly kind and gracious at receiving the news, and I expected nothing less than that from him.

Next I needed to call the managing editor and tell him, and he was a more difficult obstacle to get past. He fully realizes what I contribute there, and he didn’t make it easy for me to put in notice. He kept trying to sway me to change my mind, saying he’d go to the CEO with any dollar amount I wanted and try to get it for me if I’d stay. I explained that yes, I was making more money at the new job, but I really just had an opportunity to make a transition to a much more stable industry (medical), and I needed to take control and follow it. He still didn’t give up, and that put me in a position where I felt bad for doing what I needed for me, because I hate disappointing people, but at the same time, I really do appreciate that he was trying to fight to keep me. (Also, regarding that money he wanted to offer me to stay, where was THAT cash when raise times came and went without any pay increase?!)

My current colleagues have very quickly realized just how much I do there — I think they always realized on one level, but not in such specific terms — and how much I need to explain to them before I leave, so last week was a pretty draining one as I work through this transition to make sure they are left in decent shape.

I put in my official written notice the next day, and my supervisor wrote a very nice note back to me about how they’re going to miss me, and thanking me for my excellent performance over the years, and he concluded the email by saying, “You are irreplaceable.” To be 100% honest, I feel the same, but it meant so much to have that acknowledged by him.

My last day of work will be March 1, but my colleagues are doing a going-away lunch for me this coming Friday since a couple of them will be traveling on my last day. I’ll have a few days off before I start my new position on March 7.

A new path awaits.

Moving on to greener pastures

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Update on the GB surgery: My recovery went picture-perfect, and I was even back at the gym (for light exercise) 8 days post-surgery. It was definitely an easier process than the ankle surgery and recovery were.


At the end of December, I had a former colleague come to me, telling me about a new editor position being added at her company, and she thought I should apply. I hadn’t been seeking a new job, but my work stress is sky-high because of a lack of staffing and having more and more projects put on me. My friend said this position was stable, low stress, and pays decent. Hrm, I thought. I have exactly none of those things right now.

So I updated and sent my resume in mid-January, went out to find some interview clothes and shoes, and then waited to get a call for an interview, as I was pretty qualified for this position and figured my connection with my former coworker would at least land me an interview.

I prepared thoroughly for my first interview, getting interview books from the library, reading interview prep articles and blogs on the internet, and formulating rough answers to the most common interview questions. After all, it had been 15+ years since I had interviewed for a job, so I was definitely out of practice, and I’ve had a grand total of three previous job interviews post-college, so it’s not like I had a ton of experience in the first place. My friend/former colleague also holds an editor position at this company, so she was able to heavily guide me during my prep, letting me in on the internal lingo of the job, telling me in detail about the job so I could know how to target my questions, and even meeting with me the weekend before the interview to go over some final things.

Interview day came, and I was pretty nervous until I got there, and then I was fine. And, truthfully, it was about as perfect an interview as I could have hoped for. I was relaxed, didn’t feel or act nervous, my mouth wasn’t dry, my voice wasn’t shaking. I took control of the interview with the mountain of questions I had for them, and we had a nice, relaxed conversation with my friend and her supervisor for nearly two hours. Personality-wise, it really seemed to be a good match, which I knew was important to them because the department is small (four people before the new hire). Qualifications-wise, I really had most of what they were looking for. (I didn’t have a master’s degree, but I think my 15 years of on-the-job editing experience made up for that fact.)

I was contacted later that week to see when I could come in the next week for a second interview, and though my friend wasn’t allowed to say, I had a feeling I was the only candidate being asked to come in again, and that I was going to be offered the job. That was confirmed further when her boss told me, when I asked what to expect so I’d know how to prepare, that I’d be meeting with his boss, who likes to meet with candidates he’s thinking about hiring, and I’d be meeting with HR to talk about benefits. He also said to think about any questions I’d need to have answered before I’d be willing to accept an offer.

So, I went into this second meeting pretty confident in my position, and thus my nerves were washed away, and I performed well. The chat with his boss was nice and engaging, and I met with the other two people in the department and got along great with them (also had a chance to ask them about the reality of working there, as they’ve both been there 25-30 years). At that point, they said they were going to offer me the job, and I was shipped off to HR to talk some more specifics.

Even though they weren’t able to meet me where I wanted salary-wise, we weren’t too far off, and I’ll still be making 20% more than I am currently, plus I’ll have the opportunity for yearly raises, which have been basically absent over the past 10 years for me. I’ll have a pension available to me after two years, I’ll get to do some travel to some nice places (and get comp time for travel, which will be either paid out or converted to vacation time), I’ll get my own office (a first for me), they have an on-site fitness center, and the office is just 10-12 minutes from my house (current office is 20 minutes). Plus add in the fact that the job is not nearly as high-pressure with intense deadlines like I deal with now and the fact that I gain a whole lot more stability with moving to the medical industry and out of print journalism, and it was nearly a n0-brainer to take.

I accepted the job, and then the truly difficult part was coming…telling my current boss and team.

That’s about right…

Friday, October 26, 2012

In looking over the health insurance paperwork for my new job, I discovered that infertility diagnosis and treatment up to and including IUI are covered under the policy. None of those things — not even diagnosis — were covered by my previous employer’s plan.

Doesn’t that sound about right? I finally have a policy that will cover what we ultimately needed — after we’re done building our family.

Still here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Despite the enormous lack of posts, I’m still here, I promise! I would’ve thought that unemployment would have given me more time to write blog posts, but it turns out I was wrong in that regard. I did, however, get to enjoy three days a week of extra baby time, as well as a chance to get some other things done on her days at daycare. I’ve also gotten a chance to gain some extra time with The Big Sis after school, picking her up from the bus stop and helping her with her homework each afternoon and freeing up gobs of time in the evenings.

However, my stint as a pseudo stay-at-home mom will come to an end on Monday, as I’ve accepted a position working on a new venture with an established publication with several former co-workers. I’m looking forward to it, but secretly a little sad that I won’t have as much time with the girls anymore. However, mostly I’m thankful that unemployment was just six weeks long for me, and it’ll be nice to get back to regular paychecks.

I’ll probably continue to slack on posts throughout the rest of October (and during my final week off, though I do have several meetings related to work and unemployment that I have to attend, so it’s not like I’ll be twiddling thumbs), then I’ll attempt NoBloPoMo next month and hopefully get back on track. ūüôā

The letter

Friday, September 21, 2012

Want to know how you DON’T want to find out you’ve lost your job?

Via FedEx overnight letter received on a Saturday morning.

Yet that’s exactly what happened to me last weekend. The overall company that owns my magazine decided to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy on our smaller company, but they didn’t have the decency to tell anyone — not even the founder/editor — in person beforehand. No HR sent our way to answer questions. No company owner coming to talk to us. Nothing. Just a FedEx letter that I had to read in front of my two young girls.

Not cool. (To say the least.) I can’t say that the job loss itself was too much of a surprise, as things have steadily gone downhill over the past four or five years. But the method of delivering the news certainly left a lot to be desired.

I could go into a lot more detail about what a mess this is and how the trustee is looking into several red flags in the bankruptcy filing (basically the owner seems to be declaring himself a creditor through a few of his other entities that have nothing to do with our company). But I really shouldn’t get into the details here, so here’s the bottom line:

*I still don’t have my personal belongings from the office, as we’ve been locked out since this happened. (There was even a security guard on duty there 24/7 for most of the first week.) I still don’t know yet when I’m going to be allowed to go to the office and GET my personal belongings. I’ve heard an estimate of late next week, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.

*I will receive no severance pay, and my final paycheck and the pay from my unused vacation time are tied up in the courts now, meaning the latest estimate is that I won’t receive those until at least February, and even that’s still a guess. I was able to apply for unemployment, but with the delay in that, plus a one-week delay to get benefits in my state, that first benefits check will be for just one week. All of this means that I will go a five-week period with just one week of pay. Ouch.

*We don’t know how long this unemployment will last, so we need to take steps now to save money. I think we’ll be switching to Internet phone and cutting out cable completely (basically the few things we watch are available online, so really not a big deal for us). We put in our notice at The Big Sis’ after-school program and her last day there will be a week from today, after which point she’ll ride the bus home. (She’s excited about that for sure!) We also decided to switch The Little Sis to Tues/Thurs at daycare, and I’ll keep her at home with me the rest of the week. My first instinct was to take her out completely, but for a variety of reasons, I’d prefer to keep her in if we can, so we’ll give this a try for a while and re-evaluate later if necessary. Hopefully it won’t come to that, though.

Overall I’d say I’m doing okay. I’ve taken this week to kind of refresh and regroup. I’ve kept up with my morning bike rides, and between that and dog walks during the week, I’m at about 30 miles for the week so far (and would still like to get out some this weekend if possible). I’ve read. I’ve napped. I’ve done some piddly things around the house. A break is what was definitely in order. Hopefully I find the motivation to get serious about job hunting soon, though I’ll admit that so far my motivation is lacking at the moment. In the meantime, I’ll certainly enjoy the extra time with my girls and hope that something good comes along soon.

Bring on the ice cream!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ever have one of those days that’s just one of those days?

That’s been my day today. Mostly about work stuff, so I won’t bore anyone with details, but suffice it to say that I’ve had better work days.

I actually enjoy what I do, but it’s days like today where I have to repeat my mantra: I’m thankful I have a job. I’m thankful I have a job. I’m thankful I have a job.

Where’s the ice cream?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

I hate pumping. Hate it. I can think of many other unpleasant things I would rather do than pump, but I know it’s for a good cause, so I press on. My feelings on pumping intensified quite a bit on Monday when I returned to work and had to pump every three hours at the office. “This is stupid,” I thought. Our daycare has always been supportive of moms who want to come feed their infants, and my office is less than a half-mile from the daycare. I didn’t do that with The Big Sis because I was afraid of messing up her routine and upsetting her when I left. But it suddenly occurred to me: If I go feed her at lunch, that’s one pumping session I get to skip at work, and I am ALL about that. So I decided to give it a try on Tuesday, and it went just fine, so I’ve done it the rest of the week.

It’s also nice because now that I’m back at work, I don’t get as much one-on-one time with The Little Sis, so I enjoy visiting with her for an hour in the middle of the day. And a bonus: I get the behind-the-scenes scoop from the daycare directors who are in the room for the first part of my time there while covering the teachers for their lunch break, then I get to chat with the teachers when they get back. This is especially good because they leave right at 5 p.m., as do I, so I rarely get to cross paths with them and chat about how things are going, so this allows me that opportunity. (Side note: How in the world is it possible that The Little Sis is usually one of just two babies left in the baby room when I get there between 5:05 and 5:10? Am I the only one who works until 5? What do these other moms do that allows them to get their kid(s) well before then?)

The Little Sis has done well during her first week of daycare. They’ve gotten her to nap in the crib a couple of times — very short stints (less than half an hour each), but it’s more than she does at home. I’d like to attempt to move her to her crib over Thanksgiving weekend so if she has trouble sleeping, we don’t have to worry about getting up for work the next day. I’d also like to give her a little time to adjust to daycare and her new routine before adding on the new transition of sleeping in the crib instead of the swing. Anyway, they say she’s a good baby, very smiley, and generally agreeable.

Getting ready in the mornings has gone pretty well so far. There’s a lot to coordinate to make sure we all leave the house at the right time, but so far the key to success has been doing as much the night before as possible. That was true when it was just The Big Sis, and even more so now. In general, The Husband works on getting The Big Sis ready and I’m more in charge of The Little Sis, and we manage to make it work.

Evenings are a bit busy (though thankfully not chaotic) and we’re trying to find a routine that works for us at this point. The Little Sis may end up wanting to go to bed earlier than The Big Sis did as a baby, so we’re trying to figure out how to handle that and also getting dinner ready and eaten, baths taken, etc. We’ll just play around with it a bit until we find something that works best for all of us. Because of everything that needs to be done (and because I want a chance to catch up on my parenting board and FB), I’ve been getting to bed too late considering what time I have to get up — and I still haven’t incorporated exercise into my evening routine yet; I’m giving that a week or two while I figure out everything else first — but I constantly remind myself that evenings won’t always be so filled. We won’t always have to wash bottles, make bottles, pump, wash pump parts, etc., so that’ll free up some time at some point.

Until then, we’re doing a bit of trial and error to figure out what works best for us. No doubt once we figure it out, things will change and we’ll need to tweak it again. ūüôā

Someone was excited to start daycare yesterday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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First day of work was yesterday, and it went well — no tears! It was a press day, so it was busy, but not TOO busy, so I was able to find my footing a bit. I’d better figure it out soon since I have to work all weekend on our biggest issue of the year. I won’t have two days off in a row for two weeks. Ack. Couldn’t have had that baby on time and missed that issue, could I?? ūüėČ

I am told The Little Sis did well yesterday, so it appears that we all survived intact. She was in a good mood when we came home and handed out candy (The Husband took The Big Sis trick or treating with a school friend), then I put her to bed a little earlier than usual since she was pretty tired (understandably).

All in all, I would say: success! I can tell things are going to be crazy hectic getting everything done in the evenings (well, and in the mornings, for that matter), especially while I’m still nursing and pumping, but I just remind myself that it’s just for a short amount of time. We made it through all this once, and we’ll do it again just fine.

(And so begins NaBloPoMo.)

…must come to an end

Sunday, October 30, 2011

With my return to work set for tomorrow, I’ve had a lot of people ask how I feel about it. I’ve described my thoughts here, but I came up with a better way to explain it. For me it’s sort of like going to the grocery store. It’s something I don’t necessarily want to do (though generally don’t mind it), but there’s no sense in complaining about it because it’s something that has to be done. Oh, and there’s plenty of list-making that needs to be completed before I do it! ūüôā

So that is it; I will return to work tomorrow. It has been a great leave, and for that I am very thankful.

I’m going to attempt NaBloPoMo again in November, though I warn ahead of time that some days may just be a picture that’s posted as we make this transition back to two working parents.

All good things…

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It is a cool, rainy Thursday afternoon.

The “Mamma Mia!” soundtrack has just finished playing.

We are in our usual nursing spot, in the burgundy recliner with a laptop desk in front of us. My link to the outside world.

She is done eating, so she is turned around, sitting on my lap with her back against my chest, eager to explore the room with her eyes. Ceiling fans and lights and shadows and so much more!

She is finally tall enough that when she kicks in this position, her little feet touch the desk and push it forward a bit.

With the music over, I listen to the sounds of the room. Mostly silence. But then she coos. And then she does this little pre-laugh that sounds more like a happy gasp. I turn her around to face me and her eyes light up. I lean in and brush her nose with my nose — an Eskimo kiss, though I doubt the PC police would approve of that term anymore — and her face explodes with happiness.

So does mine.

My days on maternity leave are numbered. I am not cut out to stay home on a full-time basis (nor will our finances allow it), but I’ve certainly enjoyed this time I’ve had with The Little Sis. I can’t say that I’m ready to return to work, but that’s the reality we face, and I know she’ll be in good hands, as she starts at The Big Sis’ daycare on Monday. We’ve done this whole thing once before successfully, and I know we can do it again. There are many moments I will miss now, but me working allows us to give The Girls many other opportunities we couldn’t otherwise afford for them.

She will be okay.

I will be okay.

We all will be okay.

In fact, we all will be better than okay.

I have the power to choose whether this transition is easy or hard. I can be miserable and make my family miserable in the process. Or I can choose to be okay with it and we’ll all move forward to our new norm and make plenty of new memories as a family.

I choose happiness.

Catching up

Monday, October 24, 2011

As per the usual, it’s going to be easiest to catch up here with a bulleted post, since there are many random things to update.

*This is my last week of maternity leave; I begin work a week from today (Halloween). I think with The Big Sis, I was overall ready to get back to work, as she was at times a high-maintenance baby with her reflux issues. I can remember many times just counting the minutes until The Husband would get home from work, but that has not been the case this time. I have thoroughly enjoyed my leave with The Little Sis, and part of me is dreading the return to work. The other part of me knows that I’m not cut out to stay home long term and we’ll all be just fine once we get into our new routine. The anticipation is always the worst part, so I’m doing my best to enjoy this last week as best I can. (And here’s hoping I have a job to return to. I think I’ve mentioned before that the last two people to take a medical leave were asked not to return.)

*Last week we visited The Husband’s family in Maine, and the trip was a resounding success. The Little Sis did GREAT on all four flights, sleeping most of the time. I think she made a couple of seconds-long protests, but one time she just wanted to eat and the other time I just needed to change how I was holding her. I’m so glad we decided to spend the money on the trip, as we got a lot of good visiting time with family and gave them a chance to spend some time with The Girls since most of them are unlikely to make it down here anytime soon.

*The Little Sis slept 13 hours and 15 minutes (uninterrupted) last night. Here’s hoping her great sleeping continues once I return to work.

*I had the Mirena put in on Friday. Aside from some slight cramping during insertion, it went very well, and the PA even said it was probably the easiest insertion she’s ever done. I had some heavy spotting and cramping for a couple days after, but that seems to be better for now.

*The Little Sis is such a laid-back, easy baby. After 11 weeks, I think I can officially declare that now. She spent last weekend being passed from relative to relative, and she just went with it. Occasionally she’d try to look around for me just so she’d know where I was, but not in a panicked way or anything. She would locate me, then turn her attention back to whoever was holding her.

*The Big Sis continues to be her usual feisty, spirited self. She can drain much of my energy at times, but she’s also so much fun that I almost can’t even stand it.

*The Little Sis continues to sleep in her swing at night, breaking The Big Sis’ mark of 8 weeks in the swing. We’re in the “whatever works” camp — see also: sleeping 13+ hours a night — and know that she’ll make it to the crib eventually. We did move her swing from the living room to her bedroom since she’s not waking overnight anymore. This helps give us our evening time back, as now The Husband and I don’t have to keep the living room lights turned off and do things quietly so as not to wake the baby.

Loose ends, here and there

Friday, August 5, 2011

*Nothing like waiting until nearly the last minute, but we finally met in person today with the two people covering for me while I’m out at work, and we got a tentative schedule worked out between them. I’m glad that has been worked out, yet at the same time, I really don’t care anymore. They’ll figure it out.

*My mom informed me last night that neither she nor my dad will be coming to see us in the hospital when I have the baby. (They live in town. Her only issue, as far as I’m aware, is that she doesn’t know how she’s going to feel.) I could make a whole vent post about this, but I will just leave it at the fact that I’m not surprised, yet I’m severely disappointed in them for this.

*I’m at the point now where I continue to assume that I’ll be returning to work the next day — yet at the same time I make sure loose ends are tied up before I leave at the end of the day, just in case that turns out to be my last day.

*I feel like no matter how much sleep I get, I’m always sleepy during the day. Of course, this will not be getting better anytime soon, but just a note I thought I’d add here.

*I am sleepy now, so I’m headed to bed!

The proposal (aka: a good laugh)

Friday, June 3, 2011

I have been mildly concerned about how my work is going to be covered for 12 weeks when I’m on maternity leave. Last time I took a leave, there were several part-timers available to fill in for me, but they have all been laid off or they left and were not replaced, so I have no backup in my absence. Even before I was pregnant, I raised this as a concern, but without the immediate need to take action, nothing ever came of it.

Well, now there’s an impending need, and the clock is ticking.

I said something (yet again) last week, as I don’t look very pregnant and I have a feeling that the last bit of my pregnancy is going to fly by (for them) and they’re going to be caught off-guard when I make the phone call saying that my leave is starting and they’ll be left scrambling to figure out a workable solution.

My supervisor called me into his office yesterday before I left to talk about some options, as he’d discussed the issue with our editor/president shortly after he and I spoke last week.

One of the suggestions that The Editor/President came up with? You’re gonna love this.

Would I want to work from home for the second part of my leave [after my six weeks of disability, during which time I legally am not allowed to work], maybe 20 hours a week or so, coming into the office maybe once a day to pick up stories to read and drop off stories already read at home?

He emphasized to me that he’s not even sure if HR would approve something like that, but they thought it might something that could work and wanted to propose it to me before talking to HR.

I said, “Okay. Can I tell you what I think about it?” He said, “Yes.” I said very clearly, “I have absolutely no interest in doing that.”

I’m simultaneously offended that they would think that’s something I would want to do — but also a little flattered that they seem to have no idea how to cover for me in my absence.

But seriously, I have been saving my vacation time for four YEARS now in order to build up enough time that my final six weeks would be fully paid. Do you really think I want to work part time during that span?

I have put a lot into my job for the past (almost) ten years, but I also put a lot into having this child. This is the last child I plan to have. Do you really think I want to spend half of my bonding time doing work?

Having a young baby at home takes a lot of time and effort. Do you really think I’m going to want to ignore my baby for half the day all because they made staffing decisions that ultimately led to me not having any sort of backup?

The answer to all of those is: HELL NO!

My supervisor backed off the idea immediately and said he wouldn’t move forward with it with HR, though I’m not 100% certain I believe him. I will not be made to feel guilty for choosing to take my full 12 weeks off. I will return to work after that time is up, and I will commit to doing my work during the time I’m there, but don’t give me a hard time about choosing my family in this instance. Is it any wonder so many American workers are unhappy? I actually love my job and I think I’m very good at it, but for a mere 12 weeks, my family will come first.

The gall!

Monday, April 25, 2011

One of the most natural things to do with subsequent pregnancies is compare them with each other — although that’s guaranteed to unearth the people who like to sing out, “But remember that every pregnancy is different!”

Apparently —¬† at least so far through almost 24 weeks — that is not the case for me. Almost everything has been exactly the same, including the most recent proof of that last night: a gallstone attack. I’d had a few attacks last time when I was pregnant with Baby B, including one that I would classify as pretty severe. I’d met with a surgeon back then and they didn’t recommend surgery when I was pregnant or nursing (unless it was an emergency), and since I didn’t have any attacks when not pregnant, it was one of those things that was easy to set on the back burner and basically ignore/put off.

I woke up last night around 2 a.m. to pee, and when I returned to bed I felt pain on both sides around the lower rib cage, both on the front and back. I remembered that happening before, and sure enough, within 30 minutes the pain had localized to the right side, just under the lower ribs, feeling it still on both the front and back sides. I began moaning and writhing in pain, and I took some Tylenol and got out the heating pad to see if those might work. (There’s really not much else you can do during an attack.) The problem with the heating pad, however, was that I couldn’t stay still long enough to be able to use it, as staying in one place made the pain ten times worse, so I had to keep moving constantly.

Around 2:45 a.m., the vomiting kicked in, happening about every 10 minutes for the next hour. I decided to try to see if some breathing exercises might help me deal with the pain (which has been compared by many to labor but without the happy ending). The Dog was lying on the foot of the bed. I stood at the end of the bed and leaned over the bed, laying my upper body on his with my feet still on the ground. Trying to regulate my breathing somewhat with his, I’d try inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth, focusing solely on that. It took about half an hour, but I finally got to the point to where the pain wasn’t nearly as bad and I was able to lie down on the bed with the heating pad around 4:30 a.m. I was awake another half-hour after that, then finally got back to sleep.

At that point I’d already decided that I’d be calling in sick to work — not an easy decision to make as it would mean the first press day I’ve missed in almost 10 years of working there…and now I have no one as a reasonable back-up for me in my absence. I briefly considered telling them that I’d be in sometime in the afternoon after getting some sleep, but I thought about it some more and figured that they’re going to have to figure out that I need a back-up for unexpected times just like this, and they’re also going to have to figure out a good way to cover my duties during maternity leave. Therefore, I decided they can figure out part of it today so I could rest up and recover from this attack, as I still felt pretty drained when I woke up at 8 to call my supervisor. I have no regrets about that decision.

Now here’s hoping this is an isolated incident and I don’t have repeats as I did last time, because I can’t promise that I won’t perform self-surgery during the next attack.

Coming clean

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One thing you should know about me is that I’m not crazy about having the spotlight, so I’ve been feeling some nerves about telling my co-workers about being pregnant. Which is funny because they largely ignored it after the announcement for Baby B, so I don’t even know why I got so nervous about it.

I had planned to tell my supervisor on Wednesday morning, but I was in a closed-door meeting with him about something else on Tuesday afternoon and I decided to go ahead and tell him then. He was about as excited as any single man who is not related to me could be. I brought up my concern about my job after two other people were laid off following a medical leave, and he said that as a friend he definitely understands why I would feel that way, but he said, “If that happened, first of all it would just be a shitty thing for them to do, but you’re also a valuable member of our team and what we do and we need you.” He suggested I talk with our president/editor about my concerns, and at some point I probably will, but right now with The Husband being out of work it’s too emotional of an issue to address at the moment.

On Wednesday morning was when I told my coworkers in the weekly art/production meeting. When I announced the news about¬† Baby B, it came out in just a whisper. This time I managed a full voice to say it, but my face got red and hot. I was supposed to tell the rest of the coworkers I work with on a regular basis at our afternoon editorial meeting, but before I had a chance to say anything, the meeting was dismissed due to a tornado drill.¬† (Yes, a tornado drill. Apparently we need practice walking to the basement. Believe me, most of my coworkers get plenty of practice with this daily when walking down there to the vending machine.) I never had a chance to tell those coworkers since our meeting didn’t reconvene, but I figure eh, they’ll figure it out eventually. Maybe I’ll make it a game to see how long it is before someone decides to ask me.

I switched to maternity pants this week, not out of necessity but because with our dryer broken, my regular work pants are either dirty or crunchy and wrinkled from air drying. I forgot my love/hate relationship with maternity pants. I’m telling you, this wouldn’t be an issue if I could just wear yoga pants everywhere I go. ūüôā

At 20 weeks, I have finally returned to my starting weight.

Next up: the anatomy scan!

Scrambled brain

Monday, March 28, 2011

The move to a Monday press day is overall a good thing, especially for spending time with my family, but it means that Mondays are now insanely busy and hectic, made even more so when certain co-workers don’t do their jobs in a timely manner, creating more of a time crunch for my part of the work. I’m beat.


I’m curious to see if it’s confirmed on Thursday that I do indeed have an anterior placenta, as I feel very little movement at this point. Really just a few times a day I’ll feel something just barely long enough for me to think, “Hey, was that…?” and then it’s gone. Thank goodness for the doppler…and thank goodness for being able to borrow one this time instead of renting it; last time we had to return it earlier than I’d wanted because The Husband had been laid off and we had to cut out that unnecessary cost. I’m very thankful for that’s not the case this time around.


Not the best timing (but is it ever?), but our dryer went out over the weekend. Not the kind of expense we want to be dealing with at this point. The Husband looked at a price list of parts, and with him guessing what we’ll need and going by the age of the dryer, it’s going to make more sense to just buy a new one instead of get it repaired. Thankfully we may have a friend of The Husband’s who is going to give us their unused dryer, as they have to clean out their storage unit next month anyway. As long as we’re able to find someone with a truck to help us get it, we might as well give that a try. Maybe it can help us get by in the interim until we have two full incomes again.


We had originally pondered a trip to Disney World in May for our family, but for a variety of reasons did not follow through. (A major reason being the cost.) Since we weren’t doing that trip, I decided to surprise The Husband and Baby B with tickets to Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes over the weekend. (Yes, bought right before The Layoff.) I’m definitely glad I decided to do that, as both of them were very surprised by it, and we all had a great time. Sometimes, to a four-year-old, it doesn’t really matter that you can’t afford to do something as major as Disney World. Sometimes a two-hour show is just as good — maybe even better — in their eyes.


Baby B will start swimming lessons again on Saturday morning. (Once again, paid for prior to The Layoff.) She will be repeating the same class she took in May 2010 (for ages 3-5), and I’m curious to see how much stronger she is this year compared to last year.


I am still taking Zofran daily and Unisom and B6 at night. I threw up multiple times just over a week ago while on the meds, so I’m not too eager to try going off again. I may try again this weekend, though. Or bump down to 4 mg again to see how that goes.

Some good news

Thursday, March 24, 2011

At least there’s some good news to end the week. I found out this afternoon that my work is moving to a Monday press day, which means that I’ll be moving back to a Monday through Friday schedule starting next week. There will still be about four Sundays a year that I’ll have to work, but that’s to be expected and is much better than having just that many off a year.

I’m very glad to get this news at the end of a rather difficult week.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I really hadn’t anticipated telling family and friends our news next week by asking, “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” But that’s looking like how it’s going to shake out.

So as I mentioned, The Husband was laid off on Monday, as his department is going in a different direction than the types of projects he was working on. The last time this happened when I was pregnant, he got two months’ pay for severance. This time there is no severance. Lovely. He has already filed for unemployment insurance (which his company said they will not be contesting), and we’re in the process of getting financials in order, cutting out things that aren’t necessary, getting The Husband on my health insurance, and generally figuring out how we’re going to make this work while he looks for a job. A priority for us to is keep Baby B in preschool, as this is an important year for her as she prepares to start kindergarten in August of next year. There is a lot I would choose to get rid of before taking her out of school.

Mostly right now I’m shocked that this happened yet again while I was pregnant, and within three weeks of when it happened last time. Just unbelievable. The most scary part of this right now is that my job is by no means secure, certainly not with two people let go within the last three months after coming off medical leave.

We’re trying to remain as optimistic as possible given the circumstances. I’m sure things will work out fine at some point, but that uncertainty right now is paralyzing. And it was one thing to have it happen when I was pregnant the first time, but having it happen with one child here and one on the way adds a whole new dimension. What was supposed to be a happy time for us after conquering infertility has been tainted with stress and worry. We were supposed to start talking about paint colors and what kind of curtains and dresser we’d like to get for the new nursery, not how likely it is we can paint the beat-up old dresser that’s currently in there and find a way to make it work.

Selfishly, it’s frustrating to know that it’s been pointless for The Husband to save his vacation time so he’d have some time home with the baby in August. I was very much looking forward to that, as he’d just started his new job last time and couldn’t take much time off when Baby B was born — I had her on a Saturday night, I was discharged from the hospital on Monday afternoon, and he had to return to work on Tuesday. So we’re looking at two likely scenarios: either he has a job by then (yay!) but no time off with us, or he doesn’t have a job by then (boo!) and has tons of time with us. Neither is particularly ideal. Now, he could get lucky and get a job that lets him take some time off even if he hasn’t earned it yet, but that’s not something we can count on.

I’m certainly not upset with him. Just at the situation we find ourselves in yet again. Definitely not where I’d expected to land this time around.

Oh, hello, other shoe. There you are

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Husband was laid off yesterday.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that I’m 19 weeks pregnant tomorrow. He was due to tell them about it next week.

Perhaps I could stand to remind you that when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Baby B, he was laid off from his last job. Right before he was about to tell them about it that time.

Is this some kind of joke?



I’m sure I’ll write more later or tomorrow, once I process things a little more. We’ll be okay, but it’s hard to see that objectively at the moment.

Planting the seed

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I think I mentioned previously that I took a week of vacation recently partly to give my supervisor a taste of just how much needs to be done in my absence at work. In the couple weeks since, I have heard of several things that went wrong, and just in browsing the issue I missed, I’ve noticed several mistakes that made it into the magazine.

Today I had my annual review. (Don’t get excited. At my company, this is merely a formality and doesn’t really mean anything. Certainly not a raise, which we have not received in 2 1/2 years.) My supervisor told me he tried to give me higher marks on all of my categories, but the company strongly believes that doing excellent work merits only a 3 out of 5 — basically they think it’s impossible to merit a 4 or a 5 — so all of my assessments had to be bumped down to 3. I strongly disagree with this philosophy and think it’s sort of ridiculous, but it’s nice to know that my supervisor is with me on that, even if it’s not reflected in the paperwork that will go in my file.

Anyway, I planted yet another seed for telling them I’ll be taking a maternity leave later this year. I told my supervisor that one of my main concerns (and would be even without a pending leave) is that I have no reliable backup in case I miss more than a day or so, especially if something happens unexpectedly. I didn’t want him to think I had more up my sleeve just yet, so I just used the example that, “Having had a daughter who broke her leg a couple years ago and required me to be out for a week, I know that unexpected things can come up, and the only reason we got through that week is because I had part-timers at that time who could help out in my absence. I do not have that now, nor do I have a reliable plan in case something like that were to happen again.”

Thankfully he agreed and made that one of the goals for the coming year. Not that it’s my duty to come up with a backup plan, he said, but he just wanted some way to indicate that it’s an issue that needs to be looked into.

Probably much sooner than he realizes.

He’ll find that out in less than three weeks.

Tasty treats, anyone?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today was one of our busiest days of the year at work, and Iwas looking at a 14-hour day today (that ended up “only” being 12 hours). I saw Baby B and The Husband very briefly this morning before I left, but I wasn’t going to be home until well after she was in bed.

So wasn’t I pleasantly surprised when the two of them showed up to my work and brought homemade beignets that they’d made that afternoon for me and all of my hard-at-work co-workers! They could stay only a few minutes because I had to get back to work since there was so much to do, but even the quick visit and the lovely treats were enough to keep me going the rest of the day.

I love them so much.

November by the numbers

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cases of swine flu: 3

Trips to the doctor: 4

Full days at work for me: 1

Days at daycare for Baby B: 1

Times Baby B has watched Alice in Wonderland: 237 (approximately)

Friday is my day

Friday, June 5, 2009

I have to admit that one nice thing about my new work schedule is having a day off during the week. That means I can not only get some things done that are easier completed during the week (car maintenance, doctor’s appointments, shopping, etc.), but I also have available child care since we’re paying for it anyway, so I don’t have to take Baby B with me to all these types of things. I love going out with her, but let’s be honest: so many errands so much easier/faster if you don’t have a little one to tow along. (Which is exactly why we do our grocery shopping on Saturday nights after Baby B is in bed.)

I’ll keep Baby B home with me on many Fridays (I did last week), and I’d planned to keep her home with me this week, too, but since she missed two days earlier in the week, I figured I’d go ahead and send her for the day. Today was a good mix of things for me on a day off. I was able to do a little light magazine reading, slept a couple more hours after sending her off to school, took a leisurely shower, ran some errands, paid some bills, had some computer time, did a little light yardwork, and made a nice dinner. (Whew, that’s a lot! No wonder I’m tired now!)

I don’t like giving up my Sundays (in fact, I hate it), but I’ve got to live with it, so I’m trying to find the positive side, and this is definitely one of them.

Lay off!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I wanted to write today about how Baby B can write the number 10.

Or how she’ll pause on the other side of a doorway and look back at us and say, “Bye-bye! I’m leavin’ you here!” and shut the door behind her.

Or how she woke up the other morning with her upper body dangling off the futon and was crying — probably because she was confused waking up there — until we rescued her.

But instead I get to write about the fact that even though I’m very fortunate to have survived a round of layoffs at work (including my part-time proofreader, which I’m very upset about), I’m very unhappy about the fact that my schedule is now changing to a Sunday through Thursday schedule.

I previously worked Sundays — that’s our main magazine production day — and I hated it. At that time, my other day off was Monday, so I never felt like I had any sort of real weekend. That’s solved this time by having off Friday and Saturday, but several disadvantages loom. I will get to see my family for half the traditional weekend. We cannot take traditional weekend trips without me taking off a Sunday (hard to do) or The Husband taking off a Friday. This means The Husband is 100% in charge of Baby B on Sundays, which he did before fine, but I hate putting that on him again. And there’s basically no one to cover me for days off, either planned or unplanned.

But, I still have my job, right?

I need a weekend. Thankfully we’ve got a long one coming up. (My new schedule doesn’t start until after the holiday.)

That’s not in my job description

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

When one of my part-time proofreaders at work (who is twice my age, I should mention) begins acting less mature than the two graduate student proofreaders I have working for me, it quickly reminds me that I don’t want to be forced to be a mother both at home and at work. At home, I love the job, and it’s worthwhile because I’ve got so much invested in it…and I get a lot back.¬†But at work, I think people should be mature enough to act in a responsible and unchildlike manner and I shouldn’t have to put a stop to petty temper tantrums over insignificant things that are beyond my control anyway. (The details are boring and would take too much time¬†to explain, so I’ll just leave it at being general.)

There are many days I wish I didn’t have to work, but there are so many other times I love the fact that it gives me a chance to pursue interests outside the home and really challenge myself in ways that are different from the everyday mom challenges I face at home. I think it not only helps me be a little more well-rounded overall than I might be otherwise, but I think it helps me truly appreciate the time I do have with Baby B. So when I have to bring out my mom persona at work, I think I become a bit resentful and annoyed that I’m having to put my efforts toward that instead of saving such energy for my own child at home. Especially when I’m dealing with people who should know better.

I am more than happy to not be paid actual money for the parenting I do at home, but I’m not paid enough at work to act like a mom to those who need to find a way to grow up.

Recovery, discovering holes, these shoes were made for walking, and dance dance revolution

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Baby B seems to be doing much better overall. She’s got a ton of gunk in her chest, but her breathing is fine and she’s been acting pretty normal all day. I stayed home with her this morning, and I was very fortunate that she decided to sleep until 10:30 a.m., which gave me a chance to nap a little in the living room before tackling the day. (And the best part is that not only did she sleep in significantly, but she still took a 2+ hour nap and went to bed on time a little after 8 p.m. I love this kid.) The Husband came home at lunch and took over baby-care duties so I could go to work for the afternoon and get a few things done. At this point, we’re unsure if we’re going to keep her home again tomorrow, but if we do, then I’ll go to work in the morning and will take the afternoon shift at home.


About a week ago, Baby B learned that her index finger fits just perfectly into each of her nostrils. *sigh* I don’t know why, but I didn’t see that coming quite yet. Part of me is a little amused and find it the tiniest bit funny, and I also realize that she really doesn’t know what she’s doing or why it’s socially unacceptable–but that’s exactly the reason we need to discourage it now and teach her what’s right and wrong to do. Ideally I’d like to take the “ignore it and don’t draw attention to it” approach, because I know a lot of times when you draw attention to something they shouldn’t be doing, it makes them want to do it even more. So far that approach hasn’t worked, so we’ve had to take the “say ‘uh-uh’ and move her hand away” approach, which I hope works better.


And speaking of sticking things into body holes (don’t be scared despite that intro), Baby B¬†decided it was a good idea to put things in her ear at dinner tonight. She started first with the leaf of the Brussels sprout we¬†gave her, then followed¬†up her performance¬†with a¬†few baked beans.¬†Um, I guess it’s better than making herself throw up? (Which she hasn’t done in a few weeks, by the way.) Oh, the things they tend to leave out of parenting books.


We’ve fallen into the camp that believes that babies don’t really need shoes until they’re walking. In fact, Baby B didn’t even own shoes until she was about 8 or 9 months old, and we only got those because that’s when the weather started turning cold and she doesn’t keep socks on unless she has shoes on. With her in the beginning stages of real walking on her own, we decided to take her to get some good walking shoes. I knew just the place we were going to take her, too.

There’s a local children’s shoe store here (you may know it if you’ve ever lived here in town), where my parents took me when I was little. It’s been around since the 1950s, and it’s known for the “talking tree” they have. (I was always amazed by the talking tree. I never got that it was just one of the workers on a microphone out of my direct line of sight. Well, I never got it until after we stopped going there, anyway.) They don’t sell in bulk, and they sell¬†mostly name brands, so I knew we wouldn’t be getting a good deal necessarily, but it was important to me to support a local business that I had fond memories of, and I also wanted to work with someone who knew how to fit young children for shoes since we really don’t have that experience.

So we headed to The Store With the Talking Tree on Saturday afternoon to have Baby B fitted for shoes. The smallest size they had in stock was a size 3, but those fit with room to grow. We went with Perfection by Jumping Jacks, a classic-looking baby walking shoe that has some good ankle support, a flexible sole, and made of¬†good-quality materials. The price was a little (okay, a lot) steeper than I’d originally planned to pay, but we decided to take a chance on it. I came home and did¬†a web search for the shoe, and I’ve seen nothing but rave reviews about it, so I feel pretty good about the decision. She hasn’t worn them much yet since she’s only been at daycare for a half-day so far this week (she goes barefoot at home), but so far she seems to do pretty well in them.


It’s so fun to watch the evolution of Baby B’s dancing. She definitely gets that dancing is what you do when music comes on (we have it on probably 90% of the time when she’s awake–and all night when she’s asleep). At first her “dancing” was just bouncing up and down, but it was always when the music came on. From there, it progressed to a sort of Stevie Wonder side-to-side whole-body sway. Her most recent version of dancing includes holding her arms out from her body with her wrists pointed up (sort of making a low V with her arms), and she does her own little version of The Twist, turning her upper body side to side while keeping her lower body in place. It cracks me up every time. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Pneu week, pneu illness

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baby B had a clear¬†runny nose over the weekend, and I kept my fingers crossed that it wasn’t going to go into anything, but you already¬†know how this story goes.¬† She had a very slight rasp in her chest when she left for daycare this morning, but we were still hoping for the best.¬† I got the phone call around¬†12:30 p.m.¬†from daycare, saying that after lunch she took a quick downturn.¬† She didn’t have a fever, but she had fast, labored breathing and a cough.¬† They know what she was like when she’s had RSV and pneumonia before, and those hit fast, too, so they wanted to call and let me know.¬† They said I didn’t have to pick her up, but thought it was a good idea to keep an eye on her.¬† I finished up our issue (it was a deadline day) and left during my lunch break to check on her and would decide then whether to take her to the doctor.¬†

I got there and she was up and playing on her cot during their naptime. (They said she slept for about 30 minutes and didn’t want to lie down after that because it made her cough worse.)¬† I decided it was probably a good idea to go ahead and take her home and call the doctor.¬† We couldn’t get in until 4:30, so I gave her a treatment of albuterol, which seemed to help her pretty quickly and lasted for about an hour.¬† She played with the dog and acted pretty okay, but it wore off a little before 3:30, and I wanted to give her more, but I also needed the doctor to hear her lungs correctly, so I decided it was best to hold off on another dose.

The nurse did an RSV test since it sounded quite a bit like that (I thought so too), but that came back negative.¬† The doctor then suspected bacterial pneumonia, but she wanted to have an x-ray done to take a look at what was going on there.¬† She said it was perfect because she was on call tonight, so she’d just have radiology e-mail her the pics and she’d give me a call tonight so we wouldn’t have to wait until tomorrow. So we went down to radiology to have her x-rays done, then left the hospital around 5:30 p.m.

Baby B and I got home and we ate dinner, and she was pretty fussy the whole time, though she did eat a decent amount.¬† We gave her a bath, and that perked her up since she got to play with her new light-up bath toys.¬† We did our regular bedtime routine, and she seemed like she was doing better after getting just one dose of antibiotics and another albuterol puff.¬† The doctor called during storytime, and she said she will get an official radiology report in the morning, but she saw a patch of bacterial pneumonia on the right lung, so we’ll treat with the antibiotics.

The good news is that her ears/tubes look perfect.  Whew.

So we’ll keep her home on Tuesday for sure (ug!! one of these weeks I’ll not have to take time off, right?) and see how she feels on Wednesday. She’s been quick to recover from this before, so I’m hoping that’s the case here, too.

Oh yeah, and when I had her there, I asked to have her weighed, and she came in at 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Still itty-bitty. ūüôā

Not so pumped about this change

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I was warned about a month ago that because a division of our company is physically moving from California to our office building, our human resources interview and testing room, where I pump each day, will no longer exist and instead will become the office of someone who, no doubt, gets paid way more than I do and who has not nearly as much of¬†a need for a private space as I currently¬†have. (But that’s beside the point.)

Well, our HR manager told me yesterday that the woman who will be in that office will begin to use it during the week of October 22 (probably the 24th), but they’ll probably have to prepare the room as an office before then, which would mean sometime next week. The translation: Very soon I’m losing the private pumping space I had to fight so hard to get.

Here’s the thing, though. I feel like my¬†company has if not an obligation then at least a courtesy to provide me with a reasonable space for pumping, as it allows me to continue working and feed my baby¬†the most nutritionally perfect¬†food for her. However, I’m down to pumping just once a day at work and I’m not yielding much quantity at this point, so who knows how much longer I’m going to be pumping at work. It could be another week, or it could be another 3 1/2 months as I’d like. I just don’t know, but I do know that¬†I don’t want to be¬†pressured into no longer pumping just because my work is taking away my space.

I sort of want to fight for a new space just on the principle of the matter. However, I feel very half-hearted in my fight this time around because I am near the end of this need, and it feels a little silly to raise a stink when I could very well stop pumping at any time.¬† But then again, it annoys me that the HR manager hasn’t really offered up any alternative solutions to the situation; she does not know about my pumping specifics, so as far as she’s concerned, I’m still pumping multiple times a day, indefinitely. So it’s not like she’s just not trying because she knows I don’t have a need for it much longer, but it seems like she just doesn’t care in general.

She did offer to move the lock that we have on the door somewhere else since that particular office worker won’t need a lock on her door. That’s a great offer, which I appreciate, but what’s the use of having a lock if I have nowhere to put it? Once these new employees move into our building, that takes away all of the individual office space that had previously been available. We have two conference rooms, but both of them are used regularly and frequently. Half of an entire floor is empty, but it’s all open space that offers no privacy. I even looked in a fairly roomy and isolated¬†coat closet on that floor¬†to see if there was perhaps an outlet in there, but no such luck. That wouldn’t have been an ideal solution, but better than nothing. I suppose I have the option of using the one-person bathroom in the basement, but it’s tiny and there’s no place to sit other than the toilet, and I don’t think I’m being too picky when I say it’s just not conducive to pumping, which requires a certain degree of relaxation.

I think my most reasonable alternative is to pump on my lunch break, which also isn’t ideal, but it would mean I can do it at home. The Husband even suggested adding on an extra 10 or 15 minutes to my lunch break¬†if I do that, especially since the HR manager doesn’t seem to be too keen on arranging something for me¬†at the office. Whatever happens, I’ll make it work and remind myself that it’s just a temporary thing and I won’t be doing this forever. I just wish some things didn’t have to be so difficult at times.

Is there a nurse in the house?

Monday, October 8, 2007

I am a copy editor. I read magazine pages and check them for factual and style errors. But twice in the past two weeks, I’ve been asked if I was a nurse, and I have no idea why.

The first time was when I saw my family doctor when it looked like I had strep a couple weeks ago, then it happened again when the pediatric CPR instructor asked me the same thing over the weekend. My only guess is that it’s because of how I listen to people when they’re talking to me. I do my research beforehand, and I tend to nod and acknowledge that¬†I have a previous¬†understanding of what they’re talking about (and they’re not talking to a dummy) or to let them see that I comprehend the new information they’re telling me. I did that in both situations recently, and that’s the only link I can figure out. Aside from that, I’m at a loss.

I had to resist laughing both times I was asked if I was a nurse, though. Some people are made for the job, and I really admire that, but I am not one of those people! The thought of piercing someone’s skin with a needle to draw blood or give a shot makes me weak in the knees, so I think I’ll just stick with dealing with commas, not comas.

Pneu ailment

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Baby B had a slight cough this morning, but I didn’t think much about it. Around 2:15 p.m., her daycare called me and said she was having trouble breathing, that it was shallow, labored, and congested. She also still had her cough and had a slight fever. I figured she was just getting another cold since she’s exposed to so many germs at school, but I called the doctor and they were able to get us in at 4. I picked up Baby B and she definitely wasn’t herself; she was still overall happy, but not normal and she looked sick in her eyes. I was a little annoyed to be going to the doctor, to be honest, since usually it turns out to be nothing and they just send us on our way, but ever since she had an ear infection, I’ve wanted to make sure we’re careful since I know those can be chronic. No sense in taking any chances.

We went over her symptoms, they took her temperature (100.5), and the doctor listened to her chest and determined that she has pneumonia on her right side–on top of a double ear infection. Poor girl! No wonder she was making these awful wimpers all the way to the doctor’s office. They gave us an antibiotic that should treat both ailments, and we’ll keep her home from school at least for tomorrow for sure, maybe longer. They said we should call back if her fever reaches 105 or if she’s taking 60 breaths or more per minute (she was doing 45 when they measured today). Before leaving the office, we did an oxygen test to make sure that was okay; if not, she would have been hospitalized. Thankfully that turned out fine.

This isn’t the easiest week to be taking time off since two of my readers are out of the office, but basically it comes down to the fact that work just isn’t as important as my pneumonia-stricken baby; The Husband and I will find a way to split the time off and make it work.

We stopped at the pharmacy, then I brought Baby B home and she was in fairly good spirits considering how rotten she feels. (Amazing how quickly she went downhill. I’m glad her teacher called us; she said she always likes to call when there’s breathing problems like that since it could be pneumonia. Looks like she was right. I will definitely be thanking her.) I gave her a bath before feeding her one last time, then put her to bed, which went fairly well. Hopefully she’ll sleep soundly tonight, which will help heal her.


Funny thing happened, though. Baby B and I were played before her bath, and she pulled herself to standing for the first time! Maybe she’s just faking this whole pneumonia thing. ūüėČ

Real weekends!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

This is a big weekend for me because, well, I get real weekends for the first time in more than six years. When I first started at my current employer, I was hired part time as a Sunday proofreader, then I picked up four days during the week working on other projects. I moved to a different–full-time–position in the company within six months, which changed my hours to a Sunday through Thursday second-shift schedule. I got two days off in a row, which was good, but my days off did not coincide with anyone else I knew, and doing things during the week was impossible since I worked from 2 p.m. until at least 11 p.m. or midnight.

When I was promoted to chief copy editor in May 2005, I experienced another change in my schedule, working days Tuesday through Friday and on Sundays from noon until usually 10 p.m. (give or take). That was nice because I was back to first shift again, but having that Sunday in there really threw things off. Weekend trips were basically out because the only common day The Husband and I had off was Saturday, and taking off Sundays was nearly impossible. My weeks felt like they never ended because I got only one day off at a time, at least until I got a holiday off–I did not take vacation time because I was saving it for maternity leave–so I felt like I was in a continuous work cycle with no real break.

Without boring you with the details, the gist of it is that about a month and a half ago, my supervisors approached me and said they wanted to change my schedule to a Monday through Friday schedule (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in order to focus on different projects. This was a dream come true–and a dream that I never thought would happen in a million years at this job since the magazine is published on Sunday nights and I had to be there for that. I was thrilled because that meant a return to real weekends, but I had to put up with a lot of crap from my proofreaders who had to pull together to take over my Sunday hours. On the heels of them covering for me during my three-month maternity leave, this did not go over well. In fact, they’re still not happy about it, but it was made clear by my supervisors that this plan was going forward with or without them.

Now, the big drawback will be that I have to work Mondays, which I’d loved having off since it was a good time to run errands, schedule appointments, spend alone time, and spend time with Baby B without The Husband around–just us girls. Baby B will be going to daycare an extra day now, which kind of stinks, but she really does love it there, and now we’ll be getting our money’s worth there since we have to pay for five days a week whether we’re there that much or not. I’m not really used to working five days in a row, either, so I’m sure at first my weeks are going to seem very looooooooong. I think I’ll manage fine. ūüôā

So this is my first weekend experiencing a real weekend! I barely know what to do with myself! I’m excited because a local bookstore does a baby storytime at 11:30 on Sunday mornings, which I couldn’t attend before, but now that’ll be an option. I’d like to do that maybe once a month or so. We chose not to go this weekend, but we’ll definitely start soon. I’m just glad to have some extra time to spend with my family and to have the opportunity to take little weekend trips once again if we so choose.

Judgment day

Friday, August 24, 2007

I felt so bad on Wednesday night that I went to bed at 8:45 p.m., pretty much as soon as I took care of a few things after Baby B went to bed at 8. I slept horribly that night and put in a half-day at work before heading home for the afternoon. I don’t really feel better today, but I don’t feel worse, either.

But poor Baby B! She wasn’t herself yesterday after coming home from daycare; in fact, the two of us sickies slept on the couch for half an hour after she came home. We put her to bed a little early, and she woke up about every two hours just because she was sick and not feeling well. This morning she was worse–she woke up with her head and chest congestion, but she had labored, wheezing breathing on top of it. We decided to keep her home today, and The Husband took her to the doctor this morning. As expected, there’s not really anything they can do for us, though her ears did look fine, so that was good (I was afraid of an ear infection since those often recur).

I have a job where certain things have to get done each week, because we’re a weekly magazine that is published no matter what. (In the 100+ years the magazine has existed, only ONE issue has been missed, back in 2002 when we had a major ice storm that essentially paralyzed the city and knocked out power for a week in our buiding.) So on certain days, it’s hard for me to call in sick, and I can’t work from home, so I have to go in and get these things done. I know my co-workers hate it, but it’s not like I want to come in. That’s just how it is.

But what I love on top of having to deal with working while sick (mostly against my will) is all the judgments I get when they find out I mostly likely got sick from Baby B. “That’s the problem with daycare…the kids are sick all the time.” “I could never send my kid to daycare for that reason.” It goes on and on. Thank you for the support, people. I know this happens. It’s a drawback. Get over it. The way they look at me and say such things, you’d think I’d rolled her around in a vat of botulism before sprinkling on some malaria for good measure, then came into the office and licked all the keyboards.

We’ll take "Flying with Babies" for $800, Alex

Monday, July 9, 2007

Because I used up all of my paid time off during my maternity leave and because my HR screwed up my hours and I returned to work with a negative vacation balance, that’s left traveling with Baby B not much of an option lately. And of course that’s complicated by the fact that I do not have consecutive days off, getting Saturdays and Mondays away from the office, and requesting Sundays off is a difficult task because that’s the day our magazine goes to press.

Now that I’m barely–just technically–above a zero vacation balance and will start earning time again soon, we started to look ahead at times we might be able to travel to New England (east-central Connecticut, specifically) to visit The Husband’s family, many of whom cannot make the trip down here to meet Baby B. Driving that far (from Kentucky to Connecticut), while possible, isn’t realistic since it would take at least two days of driving; we did it in one day each way a few Thanksgivings ago, but it was exhausting for just the two of us, and that was without Baby B in the picture. So, we decided we’d have to fly, though recent searches of flights were not very encouraging, especially since we’d prefer to purchase a seat for Baby B instead of holding her in our laps even though both options are available. Call me cheap if you want, but I refuse to pay $800 per seat on a flight that keeps me in the same hemisphere, but that’s what flight prices were looking like (at least for the times that would possibly work for us) until recently.

Because of my work issues, bumping up a trip against a holiday makes the most sense, because that would give me an extra free day to work with. Labor Day weekend wasn’t possible because The In-Laws weren’t going to be in town (and we already have plans that weekend, though we could’ve canceled if that were the only weekend that might’ve worked). I tried to get flights for Thanksgiving weekend, as we’ve spent a few Thanksgivings up there with them before, but I still can’t get those prices and/or flight times to work out at all. I don’t really want to go up there for Christmas because that would mean flying back on Christmas Dayt this year since I have to work on the 26th.

Looking at New Year’s weekend, however, it seemed like it might be a viable option, so I searched a little further and found a GREAT deal flying out of our own city, as opposed to driving an hour and a half to one of the two bigger airports, and into the city that’s closest to The In-Laws. I should mention that flying out of our city is always, always, always much more expenseive than driving to one of the other major airports, so to find this deal was huge. The next step was to make sure The In-Laws were going to be in town and up for visitors (check) and that I could get someone to cover for me on Sunday, December 30 (check).

So, we’ve got tickets purchased to fly up there on Friday, December 28 and return on Tuesday, January 1, giving us three full days of visiting time. I’m pretty excited, as I love to travel but we haven’t been able to do it much lately because we haven’t had the flexibility to do so, both because of my work stuff and because The Husband doesn’t have a ton of vacation time available since he’s still relatively new at his job. It’s hard to believe what a different person Baby B will be by then…she’ll have just turned 11 months old when we go up there, so it’s quite possible that she’ll be learning to walk and maybe saying a few words. She’ll be twice the age she is now! How in the world is that possible?

I have to admit, though, that I’m a little nervous at the idea of traveling with an infant. I just don’t want to be that parent with a kid that screams for the duration of the flight without the hint of calming down. But, you know, if it happens, it happens. I’m sure things will go much better than I think, though, and obviously it’s not enough of a fear to make me hesitate making the trip, but it’s just one of those things that makes me a bit anxious. I’m so excited go, though, and I just wish it weren’t six months away!

On the outside looking in

Friday, July 6, 2007

There’s something about playgroups that’s always bothered me a little, but I haven’t ever been able to put my finger on what it is that bugs me. Maybe part of it is that I don’t consider myself an outgoing person among a group of strangers–though I’m fine once I get to know people–so the thought of being comfortable in a group of people I don’t know is a little laughable.

However, I’ve started to realize that my interests and priorities are a lot more different now than they used to be, so maybe it’s time I make some additional friends who can relate better to what I’m going through. I’ve gotten good support in this arena with a couple of my online message boards, but it’s just not quite the same as personal, in-the-flesh interaction.

However, after searching online for some playgroups in my area, I’ve come to the realization that nearly all of them are 1) religion-based through a church (no thanks) and/or targeted toward stay-at-home moms (which does not include me). So far I’ve not found a single playgroup that meets at a time other than when I’m at work, so that leaves me shut out of the exclusive club.

Our libraries even have storytimes for young children, and I thought that might be fun to attend from time to time, but those groups meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Naturally there are no programs for infants on Mondays when I’m actually off work and could go during the day. I understand it’s probably easier for the library to schedule these storytimes during the day for a variety of reasons, but I wish they had perhaps a Saturday morning program that rotated throughout the month (infants on the first Saturday of the month, 1- to 2-year olds on the second Saturday, etc.) to give those of us who work a chance to participate in such activities and make connections with others in our local community.

I’m glad that at least Baby B is getting some good social interaction from being at daycare–probably more than I could realistically expose her to if I did stay at home–but makes me a little sad that it means that I miss out on that social interaction with other moms myself.

This is the kind of publicity‚ÄĒyour name in print‚ÄĒthat makes people!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Back in January, we agreed to let our newspaper print Baby B’s birth announcement so we could put it in her baby book. When there was a notice in our company newsletter a few months later to send in birth annoucements to be published, I submitted Baby B’s information, and it was printed along with a picture of the two of us in the June edition.

But look out, folks, because Baby B has made the big-time now. I copy-edit a 1,000-page almanac every year, and her birth was announced and she was mentioned by name in the foreword, which was written by our editorial director to thank everyone who worked hard on the almanac. Of course, I’m convinced that there are only about three readers of our almanac (and I’m one of them because I have to be), but hey, it’s a real book that’s in real bookstores! Fame and glory before she’s five months old. If only riches came along with it!

Oh yeah, and speaking of copy editing and babies, that reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to mention here. One of the great bibs we have says, “More like Mommy everyday.” I’ve come close to stashing the bib in the back of the drawer because “everyday” in this case should actually be two words: every day. Not everyday. A small point, yes, but for a copy editor, it’s quite annoying. Anyone else get the irony of a baby wearing a grammatically incorrect bib that says she’s more like Mommy every day when her mom is a copy editor?

Back soon

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just a quick note to mention that all is well, but things are crazy busy at work right now, so the last thing I want to do is get on the computer for the spare hour I have at the end of the night right before bed. Translation: I don’t have time to make full posts right now. I’ll get back to it this weekend, I hope.

Reflux redux

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Baby B’s daycare teacher called me this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. and said that she wasn’t acting like herself and that she’d spit up and vomited four times in half an hour after waking up from a long nap (and it’s unusual that she actually takes long naps there). They recommended that we take her to the doctor, so I gave the pediatrician a call and they said they could get us in at 1:30. So, despite being pretty busy at work, I packed up and headed out to pick up Baby B for our second doctor’s visit in three days.

As expected, they don’t really know what’s wrong. She had lost 4 1/2 ounces since Monday, but the doctor wasn’t really concerned by it. They’re just guessing that it’s her reflux acting up again, so they doubled the strength of her Zantac. She’s not acting like she’s distressed by this spitting up/vomiting, so that’s good at least. She woke up at 4:30 this morning and had some trouble getting back to sleep, which is very unusual. She’s had a slight fever at times for a couple days, but that could be related to the shots. That’s another guess from the doctor on what’s wrong, that she’s still a little bit off from the shots. Or he said it could be because we recently increased the size of her daytime bottles from 6 ounces to 8 ounces. He said to give the stronger Zantac and play around with the amounts that we’re feeding her and see what that does. Even though the doctor says it’s too early, both of Baby B’s teachers mentioned that a lot of her “symptoms” right now are teething symptoms and that she could be in the early stages of that. It’s not likely at 4 1/2 months, but it’s not out of the question.

She and I went home and I got some work done that I’d brought home with me while she napped in the swing for a couple hours. She was fairly fussy this evening, including one spell for about 20 minutes where she couldn’t be consoled at all, but she still had plenty of happy moments this evening, too. She seemed mostly better after getting her bath and her last feeding, so hopefully this will pass soon. I can’t imagine that her teachers like having to change her clothes three times in half an hour.

A day in the life of

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Inspired by a recent similar post by Bella Loves Pink, I’m going to detail a typical weekday in the life of our family from start to finish, mostly to document it for myself, as I know I’ll forget things like this down the road.

5:30 a.m. – First alarm goes off.
5:50 a.m. – Get out of bed and take my shower.
6:10 a.m. – Wake up The Husband, blow-dry hair, put on make-up.
6:20 a.m. – The Husband wakes up Baby B and changes her diaper.
6:30 a.m. – Nurse Baby B for 15 to 20 minutes while The Husband takes shower and gets ready for work.
7:05 a.m. – Pick out clothes for Baby B, put bottles in daycare bag, change diaper, and dress Baby B.
7:15 a.m. – Put Baby B in car seat and send her and The Husband off.
7:20 a.m. – Grab something I can eat one-handed for breakfast (English muffin, granola bar, something like that) and pump the other side.
7:30 a.m. – The Husband and Baby B arrive at daycare and he spends 10 to 15 minutes with her there to make sure she’s happy and comfortable before he leaves. During the day, she gets bottles at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. right now.
7:40 a.m. – Finish getting dressed and gather my pump (including ice pack for bottles I’ll pump during the day) and work tote bag.
7:55 a.m. – Leave for work.
8:00 a.m. – Arrive at work; often the first one there.
10:30 a.m. – Pumping break (usually 15 minutes).
1:00 p.m. – Go home for lunch break. Fix something quick to eat, then try to get some baby-related tasks done, like folding laundry, starting laundry, replenishing diaper supply, adding more wipes to the container, washing bottles, etc.
3:30 p.m. – Pumping break (usually 15 minutes).
5:00 p.m. – Leave work.
5:05 p.m. – Arrive at daycare to pick up Baby B. Chat with teacher and ask how things went during the day.
5:20 p.m. – Arrive home. Change Baby B’s diaper and possibly her clothes. Boil water for bedtime formula bottle so it has time to cool before feeding.
5:30 p.m. – Play with Baby B, usually on a blanket on the floor, practicing rolling over both ways and sitting up and standing.
6:00 p.m. – Nurse Baby B for 20 or 25 minutes. Sometimes both of us doze off briefly after the feeding. The Husband starts making dinner during the feeding and also starts washing some bottles and dishes.
6:40 p.m. – Eat dinner.
7:00 p.m. – Play with Baby B and/or go for a walk with the whole family.
7:15 p.m. – Bath time (if it’s a bath night). If it’s not a bath night, then the playing continues. Sometimes it’s storytime.
7:30 p.m. – The Husband takes care of Baby B by putting her diaper on, getting her dressed, and making sure she stays calm after her bath. During this time, I prepare the formula bottle.
7:40 p.m. – The Husband and Baby B sit down in the recliner and I bring them the bottle and he feeds her. During this time, I go to the kitchen and make bottles for the next day, wash empty bottles, and usually clean up from dinner. I then fill the tank to the humidifier in her room.
8:15 p.m. – The Husband performs the final diaper check and puts a sleeper on Baby B. He cradles her in his arms and walks the length of the house a few times in order to get her to the point of being drowsy but still awake.
8:20 p.m. – The Husband puts Baby B in her crib, turns on the crib aquarium and her mobile, and leaves the room. She’s usually completely zonked out within minutes.
8:30 p.m. – Finally a chance to check e-mail, check my parenting message boards, pay bills, do baby laundry, and prepare things for the next day’s dinner if possible (even if it’s just taking something out of the freezer). Take a bath if there’s time. Sometimes plead for a backrub.
9:45 p.m. – Pump both sides one last time before going to bed.
11 p.m. (ideally) – Go to bed.

Little no peep

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I know I sound like a broken record, but I can’t help but be excited about how well Baby B is doing with sleeping without the swaddle; she made it all the way from 8:15 p.m. until we woke her up at 6:30 this morning to get ready for work (us)/daycare (her) without a single peep.

On a related note, I’ve done pretty well about keeping stories about Baby B to a minimum when I’m at work, as I’m fully aware that the people I work closest with are NOT baby people, so they don’t really care about the minutia of motherhood that fill my time away from the office. But today, for whatever reason, I caught myself running my mouth about how great it was that Baby B was sleeping without the swaddle. However, by the time I realized what I was doing, I couldn’t just stop talking because I was in the middle of the story and had a big build-up on how good swaddling is for babies, specifically Baby B, and how you’re supposed to be able to stop swaddling around two to four months old, and how we’d still swaddled her because it helped her sleep through the night, but we were so nervous to try to put her to bed without it–you get the idea.

I wrapped up the story as fast as I could without seeming like too much of a spaz, then tried to change the subject as best I could. Much as I love Baby B, I still have plenty of things to talk about with co-workers other than her, so I made sure to direct my topics of conversation elsewhere. I know my audience at work is not baby-friendly, though obviously an occasional lapse will happen from time to time. The highlights…tell them the highlights, but not the play-by-play!