Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random babble

So apparently, the St. Louis Cardinals won game 6 last night of the World Series. It was all over facebook! Ha! Somehow I truly believe that if I didn't watch it, we had a better chance of winning. And I heard it was a big deal. Something about extra innings. Everyone is seeing red, Cardinal red. I am a fair-weather fan, for sure. But it is good to be on the winning side. And when you're from Missouri, that has happened 10 times... going on 11.

Which brings us to autumn. I love autumn the best. Some people think autumn is the end, the end of summer, the end of warmth. But I see the leaves turning colors is the beginning of God's palette of colors. Sure, there will be dreary days ahead with grays and browns, but it is the red maple leaf that brings me hope that life continues. For without the dreary days of winter, we would not have the beauty of spring, summer, and autumn. I am reminded that it takes the previous seasons' rain, snow, and drought to make the glorious autumn. Sort of like not having the rainbow without the rain. You can explain all about green and oxygen and chlorophyll and rain, but I will always see God with a set of outrageous water colors enjoying this time of year more than we can imagine. Purple, yellow, orange, green, gold, brown, resplendent in hope and joy.

When I was teaching (30 years ago!), I was the yearbook sponsor. No, I did not have a journalism degree but having been on the award-winning newspaper staff in highs school, I knew a good student publication when I saw it. The students and I grew together and learned the ropes step by step. To earn extra money, we sold Boosters for 50 cents a line. I told the kids that if some kid wanted to buy a questionable booster, we took the money and ran. Only when they would come back after the book was produced and questioned our judgment would we reveal that we had edited big time... in order to save my job, of course. There was the occasional "Football players do it in 4 quarters" and "Let's eat tacos in the 'Y'" that did not make it into the booster section. But to appease the kids, I allowed "Ms. B soaks her head in tomato juice." I figured if that was the meanest thing they could say about me, then I would share the laugh.

For all intents and purposes, I should be dead. Just stupid things from childhood. Like doing donuts in a Honda in the back of the capitol building during an ice storm to see how close we could get to the building without hitting it. WTF? Until I was 7, my mother worked nights and my sisters, ages 5, 10, & 11, watched over me. By today's standards, that's child endangerment. But back in the 50s, I was blessed to have such wonderful angels in my life. I didn't see them wearing white robes and gossamer wings with golden halos. They were just beautiful angels with light brown, dark brown, and blond hair. Eyes of blue, hazel, and green, skin so soft. Love so abundant. They loved me unconditionally, changed my diapers, fed me, dressed me, carried me around when I cried, sang to me, rocked me, and protected me. I grew up with these angels and more, a kind neighbor who was like a grandmother, the attendance secretary who knew my sisters had to take off school when one of us was sick, a teacher who always watched over me even when I wasn't in her class, a priest who would miss me if I wasn't at church on Sunday morning, random people who looked out for me even when I didn't know they were out there. Watching over this little kid whose head was obviously soaked in tomato juice... until she could fend for herself.

I still feel those angels around me, checking in with me when I'm down, holding me up when I can't stand, loving me when I don't feel lovable, cheering me on when I can't be my own cheerleader, hugging me when I am low. None of them wear wings, but they all have halos! At least they do in my eyes.


While IMing with my "mean" bloggy friend about my current state of depression, he gave me another assignment. And it has a deadline so I must get this out without much thinking. I mentioned something about the fact that sometimes I think I shouldn't have had kids. My older sister had 3 at a very young age, and it was 16 years before I, the "baby" of the family, had children. I don't know what possessed me to do such a thing. It's not as if I longed for children all my life or grew up thinking about being a mother. Like the other parts of my life, it just came along as the next step (college, marriage, children etc). My assignment said I couldn't write the 2 lists below side-by-side but one after the other so they weren't parallel. Here goes:

Why I shouldn't have become a mother:
  1. Couldn't afford them (WHAT was I thinking?)
  2. Not a good cook or, worse yet, good planner of meals.
  3. Not spontaneous (no lemonade stands for my kids)
  4. Love to sleep (late and often) yet lived on very little
  5. Not adventurous enough (no skateboards or roller skates or hand gliding)
  6. Our house was never big enough to accommodate more than the 4 us, and sometimes even then, it was too crowded.
  7. Not the volunteer kind of mom (no PTO or room mother here)
  8. Didn't love my husband enough to pass that along to my kids.
  9. My housecleaning skills were questionable (although we didn't live in a pig sty)
  10. Too loud, emotional, depressed to to have children in the mix.

Why I'm a great mother:
  1. Great sense of humor (passed that down to my daughters)
  2. High pain threshold (2 natural births and no tears over skinned knees)
  3. When my older daughter turned 2, I learned how to French braid hair.
  4. Saw the wonder in a rainbow every time.
  5. Strong morals & values (education, commitment, volunteerism, doing the right thing)
  6. Could proofread their papers (only thing my degree/expertise was good for)
  7. Practical (don't cry over spilled milk)
  8. Creative (made all their Halloween costumes)
  9. Tried not to worry too much and passed that along to my kids
  10. I write thank you notes, send birthday cards, and was nice to old people at church

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Should Have Been More Specific

I received a comment on my previous entry from a stranger. That was kinda weird, thinking someone I don't even know was reading my internet journal. Sure, I know anyone can read this, but who would want to? But seeing my blog reminded me that I have not written in over 3 months. Could be because nothing (I mean practically nothing) has happened in 3 months. But in the last 4 weeks, I have had 3 interviews, bam, bam, bam. The first was with my "dream" job for the 2nd time. That went well, but I did not get it. The 2nd was as a project manager for a publishing company. And the 3rd was for an administrative assistant for the county government. Well, a few days before the 3rd interview, I got an e-mail from the 2nd interview that they wanted to hire me, 4 days after the interview. Part of me was in shock and disbelief because I didn't think anyone offered jobs over e-mail, and the e-mail started out like the standards "thanks but no thanks letter." I couldn't believe I was reading what I was reading. I had to read it twice, even 3 times to make sure I was being offered the job and not just being given the kiss-off. I would receive an offer letter along with the document explaining benefits the next day.

That's when the other shoe dropped. I should have known when I walked into a room for a group interview, and everyone in the interview was the entire team, unlike the other 2 interviews where several interviewed me, but I knew there were a lot more employees elsewhere in the building. All women. For a brief moment, I let myself get excited and planned a mini-vacation since my start date wasn't until November 1. I called to have #1 on the benefits list explained because I couldn't believe what I was reading. No health benefits. Nothing. Sure, they appeared to be a fine group of women and there were sick days and vacation days and comp time, but no health insurance. I was in shock. Incredulous. Angry. Worried. Pissed. Frustrated. I just knew it was because all the other women were married and had their husbands' health benefits. I called an independent insurance agent to find out how much it would cost to get health insurance. Suffice it to say, it would be like making a monthly car payment for a VERY NICE car, but I never get to drive the car... ever. Never. They gave me till Monday to decide.* I sent e-mails to several friends, called sisters, talked to people, and we all came up with one, and only one, conclusion. I had to take the job. In this economy, you just turn down work. I don't have insurance now and no paycheck. At least I will have a paycheck. Many have said to take it and then take the first job with benefits that comes along. But I don't want to work at a job while always looking for another. Yes, I am loyal to a fault, but I don't think it's fair to am employer. Some have told me it's not fair that some companies don't provide benefits. But I canceled plans to visit my friend in Vermont. Looks like I won't be making plans to do anything fun for a very long time. Or, at least, that's the way I feel.

Then it hit me. I should have been more specific. When praying for a job, I should have prayed for one with benefits. Remind me, when I'm praying for a man to pray for one who can still get it up. Make my needs known. Be specific. Next time I pray for a man, I will be praying for one... with benefits!

One sweet friend (from my old job that fired me) said maybe this is God's plan. If so, God has a sick sense of humor. But maybe this is the plan I need to accept. Instead of looking back and thinking, "Mmmm, perhaps that was God's plan," I need to look towards the future and think, "Maybe this is the plan." I don't know. While the job is a good fit, I just can't help but think I will have this black cloud hanging over me. Who knew that the whole time I was looking for a job, I should have been looking for a husband instead.

*The reason they gave me till Monday to decide is a very dear friend from back home died rather suddenly. She was about my age. We went to church together, raised our daughters together. She had chest pains one Tuesday, and her husband took her to the ER. She walked in. They even had to hook her up to machines to determine she was having a heart attack. They did some tests and found out that her blood sugar was sky high. Apparently, she was diabetic but had never gone to the doctor and, therefore, never got it diagnosed or treated. Within 2 days she was transferred to the big university hospital and put on the heart transplant list. WTF? She died the same day as Steve Jobs, the same age, 2 weeks after those first chest pains. My daughters drove back with me to St. Louis for her memorial service. Although they have been to their share of memorial services and funerals, this was the first time they went for the living. That is a big step in maturity, and I was so proud of them. One even brought tissues for me. We since discovered she hated doctors so so never went. And I know she had health insurance. It put things into perspective but, in many ways, made me wonder if I will go to the doctor for yearly physicals and such if I don't have insurance. Still, I wondered why someone with insurance wouldn't take better care of herself. And I worried that, without health benefits, will I take good care of myself? Seems I will have to take better care of myself because I sure as hell can't afford to get sick!

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