Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Change - Up

Ok.  I did it.  I went and got myself a new job.  My last day here is this Thursday.  I. AM. FREAKING. OUT.

I think I knew it had to happen once I let myself buy on to accepting the hand that was dealt to me.  I told my current company the typical reason of, "It's me, not you"  - the line you give when it's always NOT you.  My boss has been great and genuinely happy for me, I think.  He knew I couldn't get what I wanted here, so it came as no surprise when I made the decision to move on.

The freak out part:  It's been 5 1/2 years of the same and now I'm moving to a portfolio three times the size of my existing AND, wait for it.... I have a new title!  I know a title shouldn't get me all giddy like a school girl, but adding Vice President to my resume seems like a really good thing!  I'm scared of the change, but  I need to practice what I preach and walk the walk.

The icing on the cake is that it's Spring Break and my kids are happy, albeit LOUD.  Without jinxing it, I feel like we may have turned a corner with my Big Girl.  I feel like she's been genuinely trying to check her attitude or sassy comments lately and it has made my life easier.  She is excelling at sports and embodies all the busybody traits of what a 9, almost 10, year old should.  I love that she's a real kid still and not pressured by social influences...yet. She wears what she likes, regardless of its coolness, thinks regardless of the affect and still holds my hand and hugs me in public.  I'll never get tired of that...

My Little Man, who is barely "little" anymore, is the one jumping onto the sassy train.  He's always been such an easy tempered, peace keeping, kid so this new streak of antagonizing his sisters and talking back is a bit surprising.  I think he'll come around quicker than the girls in this department...fingers crossed.  He's a quiet one, so I'm not always sure how he feels about things.  But, I know he pays attention and files different things in his head because snippets of how something may have affected him come out in small talk conversations - sometimes six months later.  He's not gonna be a loud fighter like my girls, he's going to need those extra hugs from mom when no one else is looking.

My Baby Girl learned how to ride a bike with no training wheels a few weeks ago and she is UNSTOPPABLE.  She is the perfect blend of both of the other kids, but is still so special in her own right.  She's feisty and is learning early on that if she screams loud enough her siblings will fold and give her what she wants just to shut her up.  But then she'll hug both of them and tell them she loves them and will want to be their buddy again.  I didn't cry when the two older kids went to school, but this one might break me.  If I could keep her sweet cupcake self my little itty-bitty girl forever, I think I'd do it.  She loves so big...I hope this never changes.

I think me taking this job is going to be tough at first, but within the next 5 years it'll be the best move I made.  It allows my husband to breath a little more and also allows him to figure out his next steps without the financial pressure to work all the time.  The job will allow me to work from home on occasion without feeling guilty...working in sweats is SO underrated!  I'm also supposed to have a great staff who can hold the reigns if I want to take a vacation for a whole week, something I haven't done in about 6 years.  Hard or not hard, this is still going to be MY year, OUR year as a family, even though I struggle to hold onto this some days. The Optimist's shoes are feeling pretty comfy right now :).

Bonus:  Baseball season opened yesterday....GO SF GIANTS!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hello, 2013!


A new year.  I am typically a pessimist by nature, but the prospect of a clean start in 2013 is so refreshing I’m almost willing to try on the optimist’s hat for a change.

2012 was a really hard year for me.  So much of our early life is spent with the confidence of feeling invincible.  Time had always felt like a huge savings account waiting for me to take my draw at my leisure for whatever I deemed.  Last year I had to admit to myself that I am no longer young enough to take frivolous draws from my life account by means of artery clogging food or working too long or playing with my kids “tomorrow” because I was too tired.  I had to face that just because I want my blood pressure to go down, it doesn’t.  And just because I don’t want to be overweight,  I won’t be.  I had to make life changes and it took me a good while to wrap my head around my actual mortality and not just the concept of it.  This was of course made even more important when I watched a man I work with have a heart attack and die.  The sadness of his family and the immense loss his five children feel daily is like hitting a wall and it became clear to me I did not want this for my family - ever.  I want longevity and great memories throughout my life – not just “once I retire” (or win the lottery for that matter).

This year has to be better than last year, both personally and professionally.  Work is crazy as usual and I don’t want to be here but I am and whining about it doesn’t change that (and you all know I’ve confirmed this).  Going to work is getting easier with the kids getting older and also knowing my husband is able to get to them if I can’t. For the last 5 years I have had no desire for promotion or career advancement.  My heart has been so busy aching to be with my family, I honestly couldn’t take on anything else.  I think I’ve also finally accepted that if I have to work, it’s time to stop treading water and go at it.  I recently shared my intentions to do this with my boss.  Unexpectedly, he was very supportive (considering I just told him I want his job) and he validated my work performance and agreed that I am ready to move into a bigger position.  We’ll see where this goes… 

As of this morning I have lost a total of 31 pounds.  I am down to one blood pressure medication which I think I’m ready to come off of, but will wait for my doctor to bless it.  I feel a lot better physiccally, but at the same time my plight to lose weight is all-consuming.  I wake up thinking about it and I go to bed thinking about it – every freaking day.  I count every calorie, I know the nutritional content of just about anything you can eat and if I don’t, I don’t eat it.  I haven’t lost any weight (except the damage done during the holidays)  for about a month and I am frustrated.  Tuesday, I signed up for the Disneyland Half-Marathon and I’m hoping this is the kick start I need to drop the last 30 20 pounds to meet my goal weight.

I am constantly telling my kids “you can only control your actions, not anyone else’s.”  This year is my year to make good on these words.  My fingers are crossed…

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Odds & Ends


It’s been too long since I’ve sat down to pen what’s going on in my world.  A good part of it is just the time to sit down and the other is, frankly, I get tired of thinking about all the different things going on and putting fingers to keys just extends that sometimes.  Last year I had aimed for 2012 to be a better year because 2011 was so hard on me. In some ways it has been and in other ways I found struggle I did not anticipate.
My husband’s business venture did not go the way we’d hoped.  It’s going to be tougher financially, but I have to believe something new – maybe even better awaits him.  We’ll be okay and frankly it’s nice to close this chapter in our lives.
One of my goals in 2012 was to take better care of myself.  In a recent meeting with my co-worker, I watched him have a heart attack and subsequently die.  I was devastated – more so than I had anticipated.  He was a good man, a husband, a father of 5 children and far too young to pass so soon.  There is not a day that goes by that I am not reminded of how my life could be gone in an instant.
Today I got on my scale and I have officially lost 30 pounds.  That’s at least a 3 year old, right?  I’m borderline obsessed about the last 25 pounds to go.  Focusing on this is a nice distraction from the sadness of losing someone I worked so closely with.  It makes me feel like I have control – which (SHOCKER) I like.  For the first time in 4 years I fit back into a size 8!  More than vanity, I want a long life with my family. 
This year has also brought with it a shift in how I feel about working.  Work has always been my toughest hurdle for a myriad of reasons.   For one, it is still a boy’s club and even though I’m aware of this, it is sometimes tough for me to chew on.  Can we please get through one meeting without talking about ESPN highlights??  It has never been about wanting to be a country club wife (though I’d like to give this a shot) or being lazy.  My struggle has revolved around the guilt of not being able to be a part of my babies’ lives the way I would like.  I want to hold them when their sick, see the smile on their face when I pick them up from school and to be a constant in their lives.  It all goes so fast, especially in those first few years from crawling baby to running little person.  I really do feel like I’ve missed a lot, but at the same time I know I’ve done the best I can with the time I’m working with.   Would I quit my job if I could?  ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY, but it may never happen and this is getting easier to stomach as the kids get bigger.

My baby girl turned 4 last month and she hasn’t skipped a beat.    We still call her “Baby” but she is anything but.  She’s happy and spicy and constantly tries to convince us she’s at least 7, which I hear is a common attempt by many “youngest” kids.  She is so much more affectionate than her cohorts, loving her dad and me equally.  Her joy and love for everyone melts my heart on a daily basis and I’m so thankful for having her.
 
My Little Man is all of his 7 years and is pure “boy.”  He’s so different than my girls who are both hams and bask in positive attention.  He played his first basketball game this past weekend and he did GREAT.    He is a hard worker and likes to succeed, but shies away from the whoops and hollers of a crowd.  He scored his first basket and when the scorekeeper asked “Hey was that you?” He said “Uhhhh…” covered his face and ran down the court. It was sweet to see him have his turn at recognition. I’m so proud of the boy he’s growing into.  When he gives you a hug and tells you he loves you, you know he really means it.   

My Big Girl is taking charge of her 9th year on the planet.  She is an exceptional athlete and a good student and she works very hard for both of these.  She is my wild card because she is a mini version of me.  I can already see the fine line between extraordinary and unruly she tip-toes on just to tease the possibilities of what may await her.  She’s beginning to try and take charge of who she is and I know this is hard for the both of us because our goals are not always the same.  I have to remind myself that she’s only 9 when I hear some of the things that come out of her mouth – both good and bad. She is my “first” on every front of childrearing and I cross my fingers daily that I’m not screwing it all up. 
 
Well that is me in a nutshell today.  I might wig-out and give life the “bird” tomorrow, but I’ll embrace optimism for a change today.  If I don’t post anything new before the holiday, I hope everyone is safe and well.  Hug your family – and be good to yourself!





Monday, September 10, 2012

M.I.A.



I have been M.I.A. for the last few weeks for a number of reasons.  I am exhausted—and weekends yield zero rest with busy kids and a house to clean. Football season is also in full swing which means my husband is in his own world of crazy. I am in my busy budget season which means early mornings and late nights. On days I have to get in the office early, I need to make sure everything is prep’d because there’s no time to steal on these mornings.  My kids will also get up if they think they hear me jostling around.  It’s usually pitch black downstairs when I leave and I literally grab my bag and walk out the door as to not wake a soul. 

My kids also went back to school last week to really make things interesting.  I now have a 4th, 1st and preschooler in the house.  So far, so good on the school front as long as I can keep shelling out the cash for preschool…ouch!  My little girl made it a whole week without crying, which is a major accomplishment.  It’s amazing what the bribe of a new Dora the Explorer place setting can do to hold the tears back.   They all have great teachers and seem genuinely happy to be there – thank goodness!

My last day of a 3:30am alarm clock last week was unwelcome to say the least this past Friday.  On that morning, I got in the car, turned it on and heard a “DING.”  Seriously, on a morning I really need things to go smooth, I’m out of gas?!  I pulled into the station, desperate to go back to bed.  I placed the pump into the tank receptacle and looked up to see a California Lottery sign.  HOPE.  If I could win just this one time, I could go back to bed and never get up this early again.  I pathetically didn’t have a dollar in my purse, but I did have a handful of change that when all pushed together made a dollar.

This could be it.   I walked into the small store, dropped my change on the counter and asked for a Lotto ticket.  “Sorry, Ma’am.  I can’t sell you that ticket for another hour and a half.”  I just stared at the man. “What?” was all I could muster.  “We can’t sell tickets ‘till 6am, it’s the rules.” I scooped up my change and said “Okay, thanks…” to the man before heading to my life. Am I the only one on the planet that didn’t know the lottery is shut down from 2am – 6am?!?  The lottery gods once again felt it appropriate to mock me.  I think it’s safe to assume, I’m not winning anytime soon.

I began my first round of interviews for a position I am overqualified for, but would really like.  The benefits and perks are off the charts.  The commute is the same, but a new scene would be nice.  I am tired of San Francisco.  The only thing I’m worried about is a few hint words the interviewer dropped like “lax” and “flexible schedule.”  These are all code words to me for “low pay.”  I can stomach a nominal pay cut, but I’ve determined my lowest point and just can’t take anything below that.  For ego’s sake, I would REALLY like to get an offer even if it makes me want to cry if I can’t take it.  My fingers are crossed!

Worst  case scenario is I’ll just continue bouncing between my “Lottery” and “Grass is Greener” fantasy most of you have heard all about, so I won’t explain today.

Here’s to a better week!!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Walking in the Other Shoes


Empathy is both a piercing realization and a necessity in growing as a human being.  The older I get, the longer I work, and the more bridges I cross as a parent the more true this statement becomes.
Before you have children, you have all these righteous beliefs on what you will and won’t do “someday” as a parent.  You walk through all the mistakes you think you’re parents made and you swear, hand over heart, you won’t make those same mistakes; say those same things you’re parents said to you that seemed so ridiculous and drove you crazy.  You think to yourself, someday when I have kids I’m not going to scream “Don’t make me pull this car over” all the while swinging a smacking hand between the front console and back seat and really giving the separating air space a good run for its money.  And then you cross that bridge, foot on the break pad indicating to your brood “you mean business” and will indeed pull this car over right now.
I remember when I was a stay-at-home mom and I had a three year old pitching a screaming tantrum, a one year old quick on his sister’s heels to emulate the tantrum, a messy house and a pile of laundry tall as Everest.  I remember I sat on the couch, surrounded by the small pounding fists and ear piercing noise, and began to cry.  I was still so sleep deprived and I had run out of options to appease my babies.  The screaming only clouded my thinking even more.  I could feel myself breaking and I honestly wasn’t sure what I might be capable of in an effort to make everything quiet.
I stood up off the couch, walked into the office and shut and held the door.  The kids followed me, pounding on the door and screaming and crying even louder than they had been in the family room.  With one hand pressed on the door, I rested one ear on my arm and plugged the other ear with my free hand.  I remember thinking if they are screaming it’s a good sign they’re still breathing and very much alive.  I needed to just a moment to work my head out so I could remember how much I love the two screaming and hysterical beings on the other side of the door. 

I left them out there for less than five minutes, but in those five minutes I learned a lifelong lesson about empathy.  I want to be clear that I do not condone or understand how parents can actually hurt their children, but in those moments behind the closed door, I learned that decent people, if pushed hard enough, are capable of breaking and crossing over to a dark place I hope to never become fully acquainted with.
Something else also happened that day.  I learned to forgive my parents,  to stop being so hard on them for their missteps, to stop blaming them for my inadequacies and to recognize they did the best they knew how to do, just like I’m doing now. I think sometimes we all feel like we’re the only dysfunctional family in the neighborhood, but we’re not.  We’re all just trying to figure stuff out all the while flinging easy judgments out on what we don’t always understand.
Parenting is one of the most uncertain and self-deprecating paths I’ve ever had the privilege to walk.  I still have to remind myself frequently that it really is a privilege and that I’m one of the lucky ones who against her will became a “mommy.”  Truth be told, I still feel the urge to hide behind a closed door on occasion – literally and metaphorically, but as long as I keep opening the door back up I know there is hope.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday

Today is the day I had set as my line in the sand for my job.  Last night I got the email that said I did not get the high school teaching position I had applied for.  I think because it took them so freaking long to tell me, I had already worked out all my anxiety.  Oddly enough, I'm actually okay with not getting the job, but I just hate that I'm still in this job.

The upside to today is that it's my little boy's 7th Birthday.  I remember going into labor with him like it was yesterday.  It was the middle of the night and I woke up thinking I had wet myself in the night and it was hot.  I remember scooping up my Big Girl and thinking how can I have another baby when my baby is still a baby...

It's funny how so much and so little have changed over the course of the last 7 years.  Just as my son was born, I was quitting this profession for the first - and I thought final time.  I was both thrilled and overwhelmed by the thought of having two kids and being a stay-at-home mom.  Fast forward seven years and I'm back where I started, loathing the same job just as much, just more successful at it this time around.

I'm so proud of my little boy.  He is so kind and thoughtful, patient and focused.  He's a very reserved boy, so when you get a hug from him you know he really means it.  To think I only wanted little girls...if seven years has taught me anything it's that I was wrong about little boys.  His hugs, his "I love you's," his toothless smiles and his contagious giggles are worth staying at a job I hate if it means taking care of him and the girls.  As long as he grows up to be a good man, I will have accomplished my most important job of all as his mommy.

Happy Birthday, Little Man!  I love you to the moon and back.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fast as a Snail

I went on the interview and it was fine.  It was my second one and I think I was past the jitters.  There were supposed to let me know last week where I stood, but they pushed it to the end of this week.  Clearly there is no urgency on their part.  Here's the problem...


I would LOVE this job, but now that I've had a FEW WEEKS to sit on it and contemplate the salary cut, I'm not sure I can justify sending our family into financial ruin just because I'm a wienie and hate my job.  I've got other meetings for other positions set up in the meantime, but there is nothing out there I'm super excited about.  I can see the toll this purgatory I subject myself to has had on me.  I look tired.  I've gained weight.  I take a handful of pills before I go to bed. I'm stuck...


To top it all off, last week's humiliation pie, served right up, by ME was enough to drive a girl to drink.  I am always the only female in meetings and was invited to tour and go to lunch.  Whatever, no problem.  Now, I've been running around in this town with heels on for sometime now - even pregnant, so I'm pretty comfortable on my toes.  For whatever reason, my balance was off and I must have tripped three times before completely eating it during my client's visit.  Yep.  I rolled my ankle and fell right there on the sidewalk, flanked by my client, my boss and two other gents.  I would've probably recovered in a cat-like manner if my boss hadn't YELLED "Oh my GOD!" which caused the other three people - and everyone else on the street to stop and see me on all 4's - OH and I was wearing a skirt.  For the record, Spanx do more than just suck in all your bits and pieces.  They protect you from flashing your panties if you eat shit in a skirt.  HUMILIATING.


I've now been limping for 3 days and although it's getting better, it serves as a reminder that I am lame.  I think the "Pity" gods were on my side this morning because as I was driving to work, I saw a woman with coffee, pastry and lap top bag totally fall, then literally roll on the sidewalk.  Only one woman stopped to ask if she needed help.  One guy in a suit glanced over, before nearly breaking into a run - literally.  JERK.  I think that was supposed to make me feel like I'm not alone, but all it did is make me feel bad for the poor lady.


This can't be as good as life gets:  one ankle roll from flashing my panties.  Something has to change and God knows I'm trying...Can't someone just tell me what to do; tell me what the right answer is?  I want someone else to think about all of this, but I know it has to be me who saves me.