Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why I don't like the phrase "Happy Holidays"...

... or any other generic, all-inclusive greeting.

It's not that I don't want to be inclusive. It's that I want everyone to be able to celebrate their own holiday without someone else getting offended. Everyone.

As a Christian, yes, my holiday at this time of year would be Christmas, and so yes, I choose to greet others with "Merry Christmas".
If you choose to reply with "Happy Hannakuh", "Happy Kwanzaa", or even "Merry Festivus"... then so be it.

I am so tired of hearing how sharing a happy greeting, any happy greeting with someone is offensive.
I'm also tired of hearing non-Christians make comments like "I wonder how they would feel if the tables were turned.
Go ahead! Please do! Turn those tables! Greet me with the greeting of your holiday!

If I wish you a Merry Christmas, it's not because I'm trying to offend you, or because I'm trying to ignore your beliefs, or because I'm trying to convert you or anything. It's because Christmas is a big deal to me, and I want to share that with you, if even in some tiny minute way, by wishing you a Merry Christmas as well. I want you to share in the joyousness of what this season means to me. I want you to be as happy about what Christmas means as I am.

And if you want to share your holiday with me, in even a tiny way, then... Thank You! Thank you for caring enough to want to share something that is important to you, with little ole me!

I just really wish we would stop watering this stuff down, making everything so politically correct. Wouldn't it be a better world if instead of pretending like none of us have a specific holiday to celebrate, we all take joy in seeing each other celebrate whatever holiday we want? Without worry that we might be offending someone by doing so? I think it would be.

So... MERRY CHRISTMAS to each of you. I wish you & yours a very happy holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Do you ever just want to give up ??

I do.

A lot lately.

It just seems... like I'm never good enough. For anyone. Work, home, boss, family, extended family, friends, whatever. No one's happy with me.

I can't tell you how many times in the past few weeks I've thought about packing up the car, taking FireGirl, and just driving. Just. Driving.

Sometimes I think I must just really suck this badly. I must just really be awful.

Sometimes I think maybe I'm terribly misunderstood.

And it seems like just when I start to feel good about myself again, something happens, someone says something, and it all goes out the window.

FireMan would tell me to stop worrying so much about what other people think. But when those people are people you care about, who seem to care about you, and they express such negative feelings about you, then how can you not care about what they think? If the people who are supposed to care about you the most think that badly about you, then what does everyone else think? Right?

Sometimes I think maybe it's my PPD.
But then I get angry because then that implies that it's all my fault. Again.

I'm tired of everything being my fault. I'm tired of being blamed for everything. I'm tired of not being good enough.

But if it is my PPD, I don't want it to go without getting more appropriate treatment. Whether it's counselling, a higher does of my meds, a different med, whatever.

But I'm really tired of it being my fault. I want it to be someone else's fault for once.

I just don't know what to do anymore. This goes beyond FireMan. It goes beyond my job. It goes beyond FireGirl. It's just... everything. And I am at a loss.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm a little embarrassed

I realized, thanks to a comment by Jene which got me thinking, that some of my posts might make it sound like FireMan is a crappy husband. So let me make it clear, he is not!

FireMan is so awesome, and I am so blessed to be living out my life with him.

Sure, we have our issues, every couple does, and since I often use this blog to vent my frustrations, it might sometimes sound like I am less than happy with him as my partner thru this journey, but let me assure you, that is not the case!

He is the perfect match for me, a loving & caring man, who works very hard to support his family and provide us with what we need, and more!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I heart messy houses...

...that aren't mine.

Last night I dropped off some Pampered Chef items at a friend's house. I've never been to their house before, and couldn't stay I just peeked thru the doorway, and was relieved to see that it was messy.

Same thing when we dropped by my cousin's house a few weeks ago.

I realize that this might sound mean or something, but I don't intend it that way. It just reassures me that I'm not alone. That I'm not the only one that doesn't always have a neat house. That maybe, just maybe, our cozy little mess is, in fact, normal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Church was crowded on Sunday

I realize this is a good thing. A really good thing. Our church has been growing by leaps & bounds. We had to split into two services to accomodate the number of people. This is a good thing. More people hearing the Word of God. More people growing in the Word of God.

But I hate crowds. They make me anxious. They make me nervous. I get very tense. I get very uncomfortable. So I did not have a good time on Sunday. I kept telling myelf it was a good thing, but I hated it. I realized halfway thru the song service that I was white-knuckling the chair in front of me.

That's another thing. I really prefer pews to chairs, but our church, and a lot of "modern" churces, have chairs. One reason I prefer pews? Because you can create a buffer zone. I put my coat in the pew right next to me, or even just my purse & Bible, and I have a small buffer zone. But with chairs? When it's that crowded? No such luck. So we were right on top of each other, shoulder to shoulder. Ugh.
I also think it gives you more room, even with the buffer zones. Some people, children for example, don't need the space of an entire chair. In a pew, you can scoot close together with your loved ones, thereby freeing up more room.
Another reason? There are those that need more room than one chair provides. If you have a pew, these people are free to take up as much room as they need, without inconveniencing anyone. But if there are chairs? They either have to lay claim to two chairs, or try to squeeze onto one chair, but really be invading the space of their neighbor.
I like pews.

Back to Sunday.
It didn't help that the woman next to me didn't seem to have any respect for personal space. She's a hand-waver. You know, lifting their hands and waving them during the worship service? Which is fine. I don't, but to each his own. Except that when you're shoulder to shoulder, you pretty much can't wave your hands in the air without invading the space of the person next to you. Then when she sat down, she crossed her legs towards me, instead of towards the man she was with, so that her crossed leg was about halfway into my chair space. If it weren't church I probably would have "accidentally" kicked her.

You know what else doesn't help the situation? I don't even really want to go to this church. FireMan decided that this is where we were going. Period. End of discussion. Obviously, I could go to another church by myself, but I think it's super-important for families to worship together. So I didn't get a say. Actually, I got a say, I wanted to continue visiting churches until we found one that was a better fit for us. But he likes it there, and wants to go there, and I refuse to worship separately so, end of discussion.
And yes, I kind of resent him for this. And it makes it really easy to find fault with the church on Sundays like this past Sunday. And I really have no interest in getting involved with the church. We go on Sundays, we give our offering, we leave. I have no interest in service, or even small groups.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I went off on FireMan last night

And while I'm not sorry for anything I said, I probably could have handled it better.

I reached the end of my rope. I fell, and I took him with me. It wasn't pretty.

Today at work isn't much better. I've already gone off on one tirade. Which was louder than I thought it was, as evidenced by the fact that my co-worker from across the room (and it's a big room) came over afterward to applaud me on what I said. Oops.
Or not. I think it was something that a lot of people needed to hear.

It has been a perfect storm of incidents that has occurred to have me on my emotional edge. Or maybe I should say "ledge". Because I feel like if I don't jump off soon, I'm gonna fall off anyway.

Basically, I feel like I am taken advantage of, unappreciated, and sometimes disrespected. At work, and at home. And a million little things boiled themselves into one hot mess.

Let me be clear. These are not new issues. These are issues that I have brought to the attention of my husband and my boss (respectively) in the past. These are concerns that I have had before, and have voiced them in what I believe to be a calm and reasonable manner.

But things have not changed. In either place.

And I'd finally had enough.

So... I'd originally started writing thinking I would detail everything. But that might take days.

Here's the very abbreviated version (which is still long):

At Home:
FireMan is gone 2 out of every 3 days. Including weekends, holidays, etc. He's a FireMan, it's his job. He works hard, and I appreciate the work that he does.
What I do not appreciate, is the lack of appreciation he shows to me. With him working this schedule, this means that 2 out of every 3 days I am a single working mom (sort of - you get the point). I work full time outside of the home. I am the sole caretaker of FireGirl. I do all of the household chores.
The days that he is home? He pretty much sits on the computer all day. If he's taking care of FireGirl while I'm at work, do you think he could take 5 min to put a load of laundry in? Nope. In fact, it's not unusual for me to come home to what remains of her breakfast sitting on the couch, toys strewn about the living room, dishes piled in the sink.
I understand, it's his only day off. He works hard the other two days. But seriously. I'm asking for 5-10 min to do one miserable little chore to help me out. And he refuses.
And seriously, when does Mommy get a day off? I work 5 out of every 7 days. Come home and have to be "on" to take care of FireGirl. Try to do a few chores after she goes to bed. Weekends? Usually spent running errands, being Mommy, and doing chores. When do I get a day off?
This wouldn't be too bad, I mean I do appreciate how much and how hard he works. But does he show any appreciation at all for the work that I do? Does he say "thank you"? Does he tell me how good the house looks? Does he even notice the work I put into re-doing our bathroom, or putting up the Christmas decorations? No. Nothing.
And if I say anything, he usually starts going on about how he's gone all the time and he works so hard, and blah, blah, blah.
I never said he didn't, I just want some respect & appreciation for how much I work as well. It should be mutual, and right now I really feel that it's one-sided.

At Work:
I am a temp. I have been on the same assignment with the same company for nearly six years. While the individuals that I work with are awesome and treat me well, the company as a whole treats me, and every other variable worker, like crap. We are worthless. We are 2nd class citizens.
So this morning I come in to an email telling me that they've instated a new requirement, for temps only. We now must pass a quiz in order to maintain security clearance to our work area. Let me be clear, I have double-checked, and this quiz is only for temps. The full-time employees have no such requirement. It is a safety-related quiz, and I have asked multiple FT employees if they are required to take anything similar. They are not. Only temps.
I strongly feel that this is discriminatory and unethical.
If this safety quiz were so important, they would be requiring it of everyone, including FT employees. By only requiring it of temp workers, they are singling out a group of people for a specific course of action.
I lost it. Well, not at first.
I emailed our division's diversity representatives, copied my direct supervisor, and explained my position and asked that they investigate further and make sure that this new requirement meets all diversity, ethical, and legal requirements. That's all. I don't think that's bad. Probably should have been done in the first place, right?
So far, I'm being told (in a nice way), that I'm being irrational.
As you can imagine, this did not go over well. Hence my tirade.

So that's the short version. Even though it's long. I left soooooo much out of both.

I didn't mean to go off on FireMan. I didn't intend to have a tirade in the office. But I've just had enough.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How Small Businesses Create Jobs

So, FireMan & I are starting a business.

I mentioned this to my dad the other day, and he asked if we had any plans to eventually hire anyone else. We said "no".

He then proceeded to tell me that this is what is wrong with all the government money that is out there for small business. They do nothing to create jobs, or even to improve the economic situation at all. Apparently he had recently watched a program that argued that gov't money should not be given to small businesses because they rarely hire anyone outside of the one or two people actually starting it.
I should mention that now that Dad is retired, he spends a great deal of his day watching various news programs, and C-SPAN. So generally I will accept his words on these items as fact, or at least as the words of a man who has watched and listened to a great deal more on the subject as I have.
But not this time. From the minute he said it, I knew he was wrong. It just took me a couple of hours to realize why he was wrong.

So, using our small business as an example, let me explain.

FireMan currently works two jobs. If his business grows & does well, he will quit his 2nd job to focus more time on the business. Thus creating a job opening that did not exist before.
Similarly with me, if the business creates enough of an income for us, I will reduce my hours to part time, or possibly even quit my current job. Thus creating at least a part-time job opening that did not exist before.

So even though our business itself will not directly create any jobs, the success of the business will indirectly create job openings by taking us out of the mainstream workforce.

Did that make sense?

On the surface it looks like we aren't creating any jobs. But if you scratch thru the top layer, you see that underneath our business will (hopefully) create two jobs.

More importantly, this is another example of why we need to take what we hear with a grain of salt. We need to think for ourselves and create our own conclusions from the bevy of information available. Listen to various viewpoints, research additional info if you feel so inclined, and reach your own educated conclusion.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Family. Specifically In-Laws.

My sister's in-laws came to stay with them over Thanksgiving weekend. It was a disaster. And it got me thinking about my own relationship with my in-laws.

Maybe in-laws isn't the right term. Maybe it is.

I'm thinking a lot about the struggles we have to merge the two families. Everything from scheduling holidays, scheduling time with FireGirl (now that they are grandparents), to how we communicate, traditions we have, how we handle things differently, view things differently, etc.

I struggle a lot. A lot.

I try not to show it, but I know it comes out from time-to-time.

My in-laws are not, by any means, bad. They are great people. They are very nice, and can be very generous.

But we do not see eye-to-eye in a lot of areas. And that creates... tension. We also do things differently, and handle communication differently.

For example, my family plans things in advance. FireMan's family does not. This has created some tension regarding holidays, as my in-laws now feel that they are being slighted and are "not important" to see during the holidays. Not the case.
What happens is that my family plans holiday gatherings way in advance. Sometimes months. My in-laws usually wait until a day or two before to decide what they are doing. When we tell them we already have plans, they feel slighted, as if we are giving my family preference. I'm honestly not sure how to make this situation better. I've tried asking ahead of time what they're plans are, and I get a lot of "I-don't-know"s, probablys, maybes, etc. So I feel like I have no choice but to go ahead & commit to my family, because we have no other plans. But then my mother-in-law gets upset when we can't make it to her plans, or ask her to change her plans, because she doesn't plan anything or notifiy us until right before. I just don't know what to do.

We also struggle with the issue of respect.
I feel like I am fighting to gain respect in their eyes as the matriarch of my own family, and I am pretty darn sure she feels like I am not respecting her because I don't let her do whatever she wants. It's a fine line, and I don't know that either one of us is going to win this struggle.
I understand her point of view. She is a very strong womanly presence in her family of men (3 sons, no daughters). She has run their family & household, and run it well.
Then her baby (FireMan is indeed the baby of the family) goes off & marries another strong woman.
I don't think she likes that he has another woman in his life. In fact, I know she doesn't. FireMan has told me himself that his relationship with his mother was a cause of tension in his first marriage, because he gave his mom priority over his wife. And he has learned from that, and knows that once you are married your spouse is to be the priority, and so works to that end in our relationship. And momma no like that.
And I don't feel like she respects me at all. Or him, really. I think she still sees him as her baby. And I don't know how she sees me. But not as someone to be respected, that's for sure.

I've been with FireMan for almost four years. Married for over two. And I still don't feel accepted as part of the family. It still feels... almost... like when you start dating someone. You know? and you're just kind of that outsider at family functions? and it seems like no matter what you say, it comes out wrong (or is taken wrong)? and they don't get you? and so you feel awkward and just want to go home, but you can't because it's your new beau's family and he wants to stay? I still feel like that.
FireMan & I are perfect fit. But I do not fit with his family at all. And I don't really know how to make it better, without compromising who I am, which I'm not really willing to do.

I don't know. I realize this post is kind of rambling. And I have so much more to say on this matter. But I'll stop for now.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

I have Post Partum Depression. Still.


Even after I was diagnosed & began treatment, I never thought I would hit the 1 year post-partum mark and still be living with PPD.

But I am.

Last week, when I was sick, I didn't take my meds for a couple of days. Partly because I was taking so many other meds that I just didn't want to pop another pill. Partly because I was curious to see if I was ready to go off of them yet.

I wasn't.

I made it two days before I started irrationally crying at stupid stuff. Ugh. So annoying.

Better than the severe anxiety that is usually my primary symptom.

So here I am. Nearly 14 months post-partum. And still dealing with it. Blah.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A few family pics

Because we all like to see pictures.

Thanks to FireMan's cousin, Rob, for taking the pictures.

All of them taken at the same park where we got married two years ago.

My angel-faced baby.

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