Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm moving my blog!

Yep, you read that correctly. It's something I've been thinking about for a while.

I'll be posting at both sites for a while, but this URL will be taken down in the next couple of weeks, so please update any bookmarks you might have.

The new site is:

Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Husband & I Disagree on Child Care

So, you know we've been trying to decide on new child care for FireGirl, right? and you know that I'm not comfortable with the daycare facility setting, right? well, I also have not been 100% comfortable with the friend we have babysitting her either. No structure, all fun, lots of TV.

Then, the in-home day care option showed up. And I fell in love with this lady's program, right?

So I asked FireMan about it last night, what he thought about asking her if she had long-term openings for FireGirl.

He asked what type of schedule I was thinking. I told him four days a week for now (she goes to preschool one day a week thru May), then once my parents are able & willing to watch her, two or three days per week after that, depending on what my parents want to do.
He said no.

Basically, our thoughts are the exact opposite.

He'd rather she be in the facility setting. Or the babysitter is his 2nd choice.

Although I'm pretty sure the babysitter as the 2nd choice is a strictly financial one. She's cheaper by $10/day (since we're technically part time our rates are daily).

His logic behind choosing the facility setting over the in-home setting is two-fold.

#1 - he feels she will have greater opportunity for academic development
hmmm.... yes, and no. More stuff, yes. But listen. FireGirl is already ahead academically. On what few items her preschool tracks at this age, she's already performing at the level of their four-year-old class in several areas. Two years ahead of schedule. So no, I'm not convinced that putting her in a large class (10 students) with a set curriculum aimed at two-year-olds is going to help her advance at all. In fact, it may hinder her academic development.
Personally, I think considering the in-home professional has a curriculum she follows for each age, and a smaller number of children, that FireGirl has better opportunity for moving forward at her own pace in that setting than in a facility.

#2 - he feels her social development will progress better in the facility setting, since there are more children, and they will all be her age
okay, this one is more valid. And more sensitive for him. She has been behind socially, although this has all but vanished since she started pre-school three months ago. So there's definitely an argument for this. But being devil's advocate, I also think she would benefit from being around children of all ages as well (in-home provider ages range from infant thru age five, with 1-3 other children being close to FireGirl's age on any given day).

If she goes full-time the cost of each is comparable. If she goes part-time, the in-home provider is significantly cheaper, because the facility lowers their per day rate significantly based on the number of days attending. Both are licensed by the state. The facility just received it's 4th star earlier this year. The in-home provider has 3 stars (rating system issued by the state, four being the highest).

Ugh. It goes back to my earlier post. There is no "right" or "wrong" answer. It's just different.

But what do you do when the parents disagree on what is best for your child? What if your spouse doesn't want to send your child to the day care you fell in love with? What if the idea of sending your child to the day care your spouse has chosen makes you horribly uncomfortable? What then?
We have to decide, fill out forms, and make arrangements so she can start at one or the other on January 3rd.

I have a feeling that's not as much time as it sounds.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A FireFamily Christmas

Well, here it is. Four years as a full-time firefighter, and we have the first time Jason has to work Christmas Day. We've been blessed by the timing of Leap Year. Other families have been cursed by it.

We got a small taste of what it will be like on Thanksgiving. It stinks. We did Thanksgiving with his family on Tuesday night. Thanksgiving with my family went on as planned on Thursday, without him. I had originally planned on leaving around 2pm to drive Jena and myself down to visit him, but since my family lives two hours from his firehouse, he told me he didn't want us driving that much, especially on the holiday with all the "crazies". So we didn't even see each other.

I think it bothered me more than it did him.

See, for him, it was a normal work day. Pretend nothing was different, and it doesn't seem so bad, right? But to me, being at my aunt's house, surrounded by family, repeatedly answering questions about where Jason was, even just the fact that we were doing our normal... without him. It just felt... weird.

Jodi no likey.

But, that is the life of the FireFamily, right? That is what we signed up for.

So this Christmas will be different.

Santa will come to our house the night of the 23rd, and we will celebrate Christmas Eve morning as if it were Christmas morning. And Jena will certainly not know the difference yet, which is grand. We will open presents and have breakfast together as a family, the three of us, then head over to his parents' house to have Christmas with his family on Christmas Eve (as usual).

The hard part will be Christmas Day.

There will be a part of me that I know will be sad waking up Christmas Day knowing that our Christmas morning is already over.
And Jena & I will get up and get ready and head over to my parents' house to have Christmas over there with my family, as usual (although a little earlier than usual, since we don't have to do our Christmas morning this year), and that will be weird.

Jason has never not been there, since I've met him. I will miss his presence, miss sharing that day with him. I anticipate... part of me will be sad.

My hope is... that Jena will be so enthralled by her aunts & uncles & cousins & grandparents & presents & decorations & lights, that perhaps by the time she thinks to ask where Daddy is it will be time to kiss her goodnight... and he willl walk in the door the next morning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A few days ago FireGirl and I spent the day babysitting taking care of visiting my dad so my mom could get some Christmas shopping done.

It. Was. Wonderful.

We got there around 12noon. Mom got home from shopping around 5:30pm. We left around 8:30pm. It was great.

Dad looks awesome! Really. He said he wishes people would stop telling him that because he doesn't really feel any better, and I told him that he may not notice the difference day by day, but since it had been 10 days since I had seen him... he looks awesome compared to 10 days earlier, much improved.

Honestly, if you didn't know better, you really wouldn't even know he had a triple bypass just a couple of weeks ago. I mean, he's tired, and still took two naps that day, and has to be really careful moving around, can't pick FireGirl up yet, etc. - but other than that, you'd never know. He didn't need to take any pain pills the entire day, had no acid reflux the entire day (a huge improvement), and really just seemed to feel great, no matter what he said.

While he & FireGirl took their afternoon nap, I downloaded some pics from my mom's camera onto our laptop. We usually do this regularly, but were already behind when all this happened, so had about two months worth of pictures to download. Oh, and my mom is a total camera-hound, so there are always a ton, which I am grateful for.

I couldn't help but get choked up at the pictures from late November. Pictures of FireGirl playing outside with her grandpa. There was a moment when I realized the "what if's". What if his doctor hadn't ordered the stress test? What if my dad had decided to reschedule it till after the holidays? What if? What if? What if? I stared at this one picture forever. I just couldn't help but think that at one point in time there was a very real possibility that it could have been the last picture ever taken of FireGirl & Grandpa together.

So after they woke up, and Dad felt good enough to move over to the couch so FireGirl could snuggle in next to him (he can't have her on his lap just yet) to watch her "show" (30 min DVD of kids songs to video of kids & animals), I couldn't help but just sit & watch them. At one point I thought of getting up to get the camera, but I didn't want to ruin the moment, didn't want to miss even one second of it.

I left there that day happier than I'd been in a long time. Renewed. Appreciative of the life we've been given. Appreciative of second chances. We all get second chances, don't we, in one way or another? Chances we don't necessarily deserve, but are mercifully given anyway.

My heart is full. I am in love. Life is hard, but life is good.

You know what else?

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

s/o Daycare (and a tiny pit on Parenting in general)

So in my post the other day I mentioned that I am not comfortable putting FireGirl in a school-type daycare setting for an extended period of time during the week.

I just want to make it clear that I am not in any way, shape, or form against daycare centers, Montessori or otherwise. Not one little bit.
Daycare facilities are a valid, worthwhile choice for working parents, an option that, like all others, has its own sets of pros and cons.

It's just an option that I am not comfortable with, for my daughter, for our family, for our current situation.

See, there's this theory I have on parenting, that, well, everyone is different. Every child is different. Every family is different. Every situation is different. What works for one won't work for another. What is ideal for one isn't ideal for another.

I think there is very little "right" or "wrong" (assuming there is no abuse or neglect, of course), but just figuring out what works for you and yours.

So really, just because I might say that I choose to do something with FireGirl that maybe you didn't do, or that I'm not doing something that you did, or what-not, it doesn't mean that I think that you're wrong, or made a bad decision. It just means that I don't think it's best for us, right now. And that's okay too. And it doesn't bother me one bit if you want to do things differently than we did. Go right ahead. Won't hurt my feelings at all!
side note - I really wish I could also get my mother-in-law to understand this point as well. She seems to get very offended if I don't do things exactly as she did, or if I ask her to do something for FireGirl that is something she didn't do with her kids. Even if it's something the pediatrician told us to do (ie "I didn't have to do that with my kids"). Ugh.

So, back to the daycare.

I recently came across an in-home daycare whose contract / curriculum / and schedule I love. She is fully licensed, she runs a structured program, but it is run out of her home. I've been to her home and seen the setup. FireGirl has already played with this woman's daughter.
The bonuses? She lives right in-between my home & work. Ten minutes from each. Short detour into her neighborhood, but otherwise it's on the way. And her rates are very reasonable.
I am comfortable with this. For us, this feels right to me.

Of course, I have no idea what her long-term openings are, haven't discussed it with FireMan, none of that. So I don't even know if it's possible. But I'm hopeful.

What I would actually love to see is for FireGirl to attend there four days a week for now (she still attends preschool one day a week thru May), then once my dad's health is better and they feel they are able & willing to watch her again (they've already expressed how much they miss watching her), we could drop down to two days with my parents, two days at the in-home daycare, and one day at pre-school.

And if for some reason she's not available, I'm hoping she can recommend a similar in-home provider in our area.

That, I think, would work very well for our family. For FireGirl. That, I am comfortable with.

Now, I can't decide if I should talk to her first to check her availability and see what she thinks about my plan, or if I should talk to FireMan first. FireMan doesn't usually like being bothered with these details, so I kinda want to know as much as I can before I approach him. But at the same time I don't want to talk to her and get her hopes up of having another client if he's gonna shoot her down. Hmmmm.....

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Fatt Butt

It dawns on me that I forgot to update you on My Fat Butt after my first monthly checkup with my endocrinologist.

So, about a week or so ago, I had my first monthly checkup. At that point I had lost a total of 14 lbs! Like I mentioned before, a significant portion of that was water weight, but still.

We talked about any side effects, my weight loss, how I'm feeling, etc. Checked my vitals, did a physical exam, etc.

Then I asked him about the water weight thing. He went into this long explanation (one of the reasons I heart this doctor - he's really good about explaining things to me) about how our body processes food, and how my insulin disorder screwed up how my body processed food, and said that the water molecules are actually attached to the sugar molecules in the cells, and had they stayed there long enough, would have eventually turned into fat. So the fact that I lost so much water weight (and yes, we actually discussed how much I peed, in order for him to confirm that it was water weight, ha!) is a very good sign that not only is his original diagnosis right on, but that this course of treatment is working very well for me. He went on to say that not all patients lose the water weight like that, and they have to "tweak" their medicine, adding this, taking away that, to get the right combo to get their body to process food correctly. But so far it looks like this combo is working very well for me.

His hope is that over time my body will re-learn how to process food correctly, and we can eventually wean off of most, if not all, of the medication. Hopefully. Although because of my family history of diabetes he said he would want to keep a close eye on my insulin performance pretty much forever and ever, just to be safe.

So, before I left he told me not to be surprised if I didn't lose as much weight this month. He said some patients do, but most don't, especially if they, like me, have lost a lot of water weight the first month. But not to get discouraged, keep with it, etc.
He explained that for some reason that even the medical community doesn't understand, weight loss tends to come in stair steps - large loss, plateau, loss, plateau, rinse, repeat. He said it is rare to find evenly trending weight loss over time, no matter what the method. Interesting.

And he said he was "pleased with my progress, and my efforts". He said that yes, I would have lost some amount of weight just from the medication regulating everything, but I would not have lost 14 lbs if I weren't also been following my calorie restriction as instructed. So, yay! for me last month.


To be honest, with all the stress I've been under the past few weeks... I haven't been counting my calories. At all. I know I'm not eating as much as before. Not nearly as much. But... I just haven't been counting. Bad FireWife, I know. It's such a little thing, but it just seems like... one more thing.

Is that stupid? Sometimes I think it is. But sometimes it feels like it's one of the few things that I have the privilege of saying "no" to. One of the few things I can let go by the wayside for now as I get my life together.

So, that... is the update on My Fat Butt. Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Love My Husband

Seriously. This is a mushy, praise-my-hubby, no-he-didn't-hack-my-account, I'm-actually-writing-this post.

Thru all of this, FireMan has been awesome.

Awesome in a who-are-you? and where's-my-real-husband? sorta way.

Actually, he started being awesome before the crap went down, maybe... six to eight weeks ago? I kept thinking about writing about him, but to be honest, after everything we struggled with this year, I was scared it was a phase. Maybe he was sick or something, ha!

But... he's kept it up, going strong, and with everything with my dad, and our daycare struggles, and how stressed out and awful I've been at times, he has been... just perfect.

Okay, maybe not perfect, because no one is, but seriously, awesome just doesn't begin to describe.

A few weeks ago I joked with him that I couldn't decide if I finally got back the man that I married, or if I someone better had taken his place.

But I'm only half-joking.

I don't think he's ever been so patient with me, so attentive to FireGirl, so considerate of us. Ever.

For those of you who have followed what few details I have provided on our struggles this year, I'm sure you understand that parts of me still wonder at times: is he doing this out of guilt? did he mess up again? I thought things were good before too, didn't I?

But you know... the more time that passes, and the more consistent that he is... the more I think maybe, just maybe, this time it's real. That it really does seem like a real and lasting change. Or maybe not so much a change as a reversion back to who he really is, and the mire we went thru this year was a misstep for him. A bad huge one, to be sure, but...

I guess what I'm saying, in this post that I intended to be solely about how awesome my husband has been lately, is that my husband's recent and so-far-lasting awesomeness has me hopeful, really hopeful about our marriage.

And that is one of the few bright spots in my life right now. FireMan, and Hope.

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On. The. Edge.

That's the only way I can describe it.

Ever since my dad's surgery, I feel like I'm teetering on the edge. Like I'm walking this fine line, and that I'm gonna fall off at any moment. Or maybe one day I'll just get tired of struggling to stay on it, and I'll jump off.

Truth be told, it doesn't really take much to push me over that edge right now.

I had a breakdown at Toys-R-Us yesterday because I couldn't find winter pajamas that I liked in FireGirl's size for her to wear Christmas morning, and thru the rest of the winter.

I got mad, like really angry, at FireMan the other day because he off-handedly called me "boring".

I told you, it doesn't take much.

And in case you've never walked the edge of a steep cliff, or balanced on a tight rope, or anything similar, it also takes an enormous amount of energy just to keep going.

So I'm constantly exhausted.

I just keep telling myself I just have to make it to January. If I can just get thru this year, get thru the rest of this month, next year will be better, 2011 is gonna be awesome. Right?

Please don't tell me any differently, because right now that's keeping me going.

So that's me in a nutshell right now. On the edge. I really don't know how else to describe it. Just teetering on the edge.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Barber and God

I received this story as an email forward from a friend a few days ago and thought it was too good not to share, so I'm sharing it with you.


A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: 'I don't believe that God exists.'

'Why do you say that?' asked the customer.

'Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children?
If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.'

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument.

The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.
Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard.

He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber:

'You know what? Barbers do not exist.'

'How can you say that?' asked the surprised barber. 'I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!'

'No!' the customer exclaimed. 'Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.'

'Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me.'

'Exactly!' affirmed the customer. 'That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world.'
I really like this story. It's not a perfect picture of God, but it makes a good point.
I know God exists because I have experienced His work in my life.
If you have not experienced this, you may doubt His existence. And you know what? No matter how many times I tell you what great haircuts I have gotten He has done for me, no matter how many barbershops churches full of satisfied fulfilled customers parishioners you may pass each day, well, for some people none of that will ever be enough. They'll never believe that barbers God exists until they get a haircut realize His work in their own lives

The problem? You can't see how great the barber's God's work can be, until you walk into his shop acknowledge His existence.

Just because you have not gotten your hair cut realized God's work in your life yet, doesn't mean the barber He doesn't exist.
Maybe, just maybe, it simply means that you haven't met hHim yet.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Don't Wanna Do This Anymore

I'm tired of struggling. Tired of fighting. Tired of not being good enough. Well, tired of not feeling like I'm good enough.

I'm tired of wondering. Tired of watching. Tired of waiting. Tired of battling. Tired of proving myself. Tired of taking the high road.

Tired of being tired.

Tired of being judged. Tired of being accused. Tired of never having enough to give. Tired of feeling like I'm not satisfying... anyone. Tired of being pulled in all directions. Tired of giving 110%, but since that means everyone only gets about 5% each, tired of shortchanging everyone in my life.

Tired of being on the edge. Tired of teetering over the edge.

Tired of being dependent. Tired of others being dependent on me. Tired of everyone wanting a piece of me. Tired of no one wanting me.

Tired of giving.

Tired of wondering. Tired of thinking. Tired of being wary. Tired of not trusting. Tired of not trusting. Tired of not trusting. Tired of not trusting.

Tired of not trusting.

Tired of being "on" 24/7. Tired of being looked down on. Tired of being judged. Tired of others not thinking I'm doing a good job.

I'm doing the best I can.

Tired of being sorry. Tired of being tired. Tired of being tired. Tired of being tired.

Tired of wondering. Tired of waiting. Tired of thinking. Tired of being reminded. Tired of caring. Tired of wondering.

Tired of being sick. Tired of staying awake. Tired of no sleep. Tired of this feeling in the pit of my stomach. Tired of wondering. Tired of watching. Tired of waiting.

Tired of being told I'm weak. Tired of choosing my battles, then being told I should've still fought harder. Whose war is this anyway?

Tired of being wary. Tired of wondering. Tired of not trusting. Tired of not trusting. Tired of not trusting.

I don't wanna do this anymore.

I'd like to quit now.

Friday, December 10, 2010

We. Have. Heat.

Did I tell you we got our furnace up & working? It's been a few weeks (thank goodness!), but I don't think I ever told you that.

Still, we use the wood-burning fireplace as our primary source of heat, and the furnace rarely kicks on. Especially with the new doors & windows we put in.

Like, we leave for work in the morning, come back over nine hours later, and it's still 65 degrees in the house, furnace never kicked on once, even with the outside temp being in the teens the past few nights.

Wood heat is nice. It's free, for one thing. And I love the smell. Especially considering our house is nestled in a hickory grove, and we lost a few large limbs during a windstorm about 6 weeks ago, that are now providing us some good firewood. Hickory is hardwood, which means that it burns long (ie. one decent sized log will burn all night), and it smells awesome. Think hickory-smoked bacon. Yum! There's a reason they use hickory for that stuff.

Wood heat does have it's drawbacks though. Having wood in the house pretty much means that the fireplace room will never be 100% clean during the winter months. Because with the wood comes traces of leaves, twigs, dirt, bark, and the lovely wood roaches that we discovered in our home (now gone). And with the fire comes ashes and soot, and it makes your house more dusty than usual.
And then there are the splinters. Before this year I couldn't tell you the last time I'd gotten a splinter. Now? Several times a week.

And I burned my finger earlier this week. Wasn't paying attention while putting wood in and touched the edge of the insert. Owie!

And you have to start the fire every time you come home.

And tend to it while you're there. Like all the time. Because if you forget, it goes out and you have to start all over, which is just annoying.

But overall? Yeah, I like this wood heat thing.

And did I mention that it's free?

A few updates

My dad is doing well, I suppose. He had his follow-up with the surgeon yesterday, who said he looked really good and seemed to be doing really well, but dad hasn't been feeling well at all.

He's been sick to his stomach, hasn't been able to keep much food down, and when he does feel like eating, has horrible acid reflux. He finally got some meds to help with the acid reflux, but he still doesn't feel well, has no energy, etc.

I know some of that is to be expected, but I just worry that if he doesn't eat he won't have the strength his body needs to heal. In fact, he's supposed to weigh himself every day. If he gains too much in one day, he has to call the surgeon for concerns about fluid retention. If he loses too much in one week (I think), he has to call the surgeon. The words "feeding tube" have been heard. I don't like it.


We toured a daycare yesterday. It was really nice. I guess. I mean, the facility is awesome. The setup is awesome. And starting at age three it doubles as a Montessori preschool. They have two activity areas, great classrooms, good teacher/student ratios, the best security system I've ever seen on a daycare, plus they have weekly music, dance, and art "classes" for all age groups. And with the discount I get with my new permanent employee status, it's a decent price - if you go at least three days per week.

So what's the problem? I'm not sure I'm comfortable with FireGirl being in that type of setting for that length of time at this young of age.

I just can't see sending a two year old to a school-type setting for longer than you average 17-year-old spends in school during the week. Nine hours a day? Really?

I mean, she's two. Still a baby, really.

I know, I know. People do it all the time, right? I mean, this daycare has three different infant rooms they have so many little babies. So obviously it works for a lot of families.

But... I'm not feeling comfortable about it. Not at all.

I just don't know what to do.

We have a couple of friends who might be options for watching FireGirl in their home, but that has its pro's and cons as well.

So, basically, I don't know what to do at this point.

And it's tearing me apart.


As for my (sorta) new job, if you ignore the incredible amount of working mom's guilt I feel right now, and the enormous amount of stress I'm under trying to juggle our sudden daycare dilemma that started the 2nd day of my job, plus the guilt I feel that this is at all affecting my co-workers, but that I just can't help it, because... well, I just can't, then... it's going really well.

I sat down with my boss yesterday and he went over some of my new responsibilities and I actually got excited about my job for the first time in a long time. Like... years. So, I guess that's cool.


Tonight is the Christmas Party at the firehouse. FireMan also happens to be on shift, so after work today I'll be picking FireGirl up from the sitter's, then driving the hour to the firehouse, doing the party, then the hour drive back. I'm excited for the party, but not for the drive, or the late night.


Tomorrow is a wedding for one of FireMan's co-workers. The only female firefighter at his station. And we're going. And of course, it's an adult-only reception, and it's an hour west of our home. Oh, and it's the same night as my family Christmas party. But she's the only one of FireMan's co-workers that came to our wedding, so we're definitely going. And as I'm typing this I suddenly realize that we didn't get her anything yet and I have no idea where she's registered, if anywhere.
Our sitters for tomorrow? My brother, who lives an hour east of our home. So, the wedding's at 4pm, we're dropping FireGirl off at my brother's by 1pm, wedding, formal reception doesn't start until 8pm (I know, right?), gotta stay... what? 10pm minimum, then an hour drive back home. Home by 11pm at the absolute earliest, but like that's really gonna happen. Picking up FireGirl after church on Sunday.


Because, you know, what's the big deal in not seeing your daughter most of Saturday and half of Sunday just because you already spent Mon-Fri gone at work all week? Right? And you're gonna leave Monday morning to do it all again. No biggie, right? Who cares if  your sitter / daycare worker sees your child almost twice as many waking hours as you do? I mean, those waking hours during your child's most formative years surely can't be that important. Can they? 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How I Got Hired On... (long)

... after a mere six-and-a-half years as a temp.

Okay, this is what I did. My circumstances are unique. This will not work at all companies, or in all circumstances. Heck, change one person in my story, and the outcome could very well have been very different. Badly different. But I know some people out there are really curious, so... here's the very, very short version.

In chronological order:

First, I worked. Hard. I did everything that was asked of me. Seriously. To this day, I don't recall ever telling someone "no". I not only fulfilled my job responsibilities, I took on more. And more. And more.

I did my work well. It didn't take long for co-workers and management to realize that I did a good job, that they could count on me to produce quality work. And I still do.

I worked efficiently. The phrase "Man, you're fast" is still heard around my desk. I can turn out projects, with quality work, in record time.

I built relationships. When asked to work with other divisions, I accepted. I treated everyone with respect, no matter their title, even when I didn't feel like it.

I learned new skills. I asked for classes. I took classes. I developed myself. I found free classes and asked to take them. I found expensive classes and asked to take them. I got additional certifications. All Mostly job-related, of course.

I made it known that I wanted to be a permanent employee. Repeatedly. And again. And one more time.

I very politely explained why it was not in the company's best interest to keep me as a temp. This included financial reports, morale surveys, and stability of someone with my responsibilities.

I formally requested to be hired on (verbally). Set a meeting with my company supervisor, and presented my arguments. When he said he had tried repeatedly to hire me on, and kept getting blocked by someone higher up in the process, I informed him I would begin looking elsewhere.
And I did
**note** already having a decent paying job allowed me to be picky. Combine that with the job market going downhill fast, and the only job offers I got increased my commute by 60+ minutes, with no increase in compensation, so I stayed. But the point being that I was prepared to leave, and willing to do so

I formally requested to be hired on (written). This one almost got me in trouble. I wrote a four page letter to my company supervisor outlining the reasons I should be hired on permanently, and requesting a response in writing. When I did not receive a response within 10 days, I sent an identical letter to his supervisor. Another 10 days had followed, and I had already printed the letter to his supervisor, when a meeting was called with HR.

See, when you're employed by an employment agency, they worry about the legality of this little thing called "co-employment". For some reason, when my boss received this letter, he sorta panicked about how to handle it, so he contacted my employment agency, who contacted the HR department of the company I was contracted to.

So when in the middle of the day my boss asks to speak with me (not unusual), but then as we start walking to the conference room I see the rep from my agency, and a member of HR, yeah, I actually thought I was being let go. I. Was. Terrified.

But... I was also ready to fight this battle. Strapped my balls on and stepped into the room.

I let them say what they wanted to say. I let them finish, not saying a word, except to nod when they asked if I understood. Then they asked if I had any questions.

I turned to my agency rep and asked why she was even here. I explained: I wrote a letter directly to the company asking for employment. Nowhere in the letter do I mention the agency. I outline my skills, my strengths, the logical reasons they should hire me. I included a copy of my resume. What does the agency have to do with that?
Silence. Stutter, stutter, stutter. Somebody muttered something about "co-employment".

I turned to the company representatives. "So, your answer is that you're not going to hire me?"
"Not at this time."
"Then I'd like you to leave"
Shocked looks. They left.

I turned to my agency rep and asked her when we were getting our base pay back (18 months prior we had taken a 10% reduction in our base pay that permanent employees did not have to take). She said she didn't know, but that the issue was "on the table" every time she talked with HR. I asked her how often. She said it varied. I asked her who she spoke with. She said she couldn't disclose that. I asked her why. She said privacy. I told her I thought that was very cowardly of these HR ghosts to hide behind her like that.

And then I left the room.

I spoke with a high-ranking company executive. Very high-ranking. I can't express enough how high this guy ranks. He talks, people jump. Sometimes literally. A lot of people are afraid of him. He walks into a room, people literally jump out of their desks to see what he wants. Remember that "building relationships" thing I talked about before? Yeah, we got that.

I ask him what I must do to be a permanent employee (I worded this very carefully, not asking him to hire me, but asking what I must do). He looked confused. I briefly explained the situation. He said he needed to think, and left the room.

He returned about 10 minutes later and called me over to his desk. He said he was confused. You see...

are you ready for this...

when I was pregnant....

the minute those words came out of his mouth, I knew why I hadn't been hired on, and I knew who was responsible (story later, this post is long enough as is).

Anyway... when I was pregnant, the issue of hiring me on was brought up, and he was told that I would no longer be interested because now I was a mother and that was no longer important to me, as if I had expressed this myself. So it was dropped and from then on when it was brought up to him... he had in mind that I was not interested.

I told him no, I was here. I have been here. I am here.

He said "okay"

A few minutes later he asked me to check the schedule of my General Manager, to see if he would be here the next day. He would. He said "I will discuss with him tomorrow. {pause} No... I will order".

And walked away.

Three days later the position was officially approved by HR, and for a company that notoriously takes a loooooong time in its hiring process, this has been shoved thru in record time (although I did still have to go thru the normal application & interview process just like anyone other outside hire).

So now, after six-and-a-half years as a "temp", I am a permanent employee. Doing pretty much the same job, with some increase in responsibility. And a huge increase in employee benefits.

And that... is how I got hired on.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Religion: Path(s) to God ???

**disclaimer** understanding that not all religions share a belief in a single higher power, or "God", as referenced in this entry, but acknowledging that it would be impossible to actually cite the ultimate goal of each & every individual religion in existence

So, there is an idea out there now that seems to be gaining prevalence in our society and it's one that I don't really understand.

The idea is that there are multiple paths to God.

So, basically, the idea is that you are Religion A, but you also think that Religion B, C, D, and E all lead to God also.

It's a very nice, friendly, all-inclusive idea. But quite frankly, it doesn't make much sense to me.

Religion is not inclusive of other religions. It's not. It's kinda why there are other religions. It's kinda why different religions start, why people convert from one religion to another, etc.

Think about it.

Using Christianity as an example, because that is what I am most familiar:

The foundation of Christianity is that Jesus is God made man, is the Son of God, is the Messiah. Right?

Islam acknowledges Jesus as a prophet and a messenger, but makes it clear that Jesus cannot be God.

Judaism also acknowledges Jesus as a prophet and a great man, but does not recognize him as the Messiah.

So if Christianity is true, the other two cannot be, right?. Therefore, if you believe that Christianity is the path to God, then Islam or Judaism cannot be. Or vice versa. If you follow the Quran as a path to Allah, then how can you believe that Christianity is also a path to Allah?

These thoughts have been mulling in my head for a while. Most recently when someone said that they don't like Christianity because Christians have a superiority complex, believing that theirs is the only way to Heaven.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought, wait, is it just Christians? This doesn't make sense. Don't all religions think that theirs is the only way to Heaven, the only path to God? Isn't that why people are the religion they are in the first place?

I mean, right? Am I missing something here? Isn't that why we all, regardless of which religious / spiritual beliefs we hold true, don't we believe them because we, well... believe them? Because we believe that that particular set of beliefs is correct?
So why are Christians getting the bad rap? Why don't we hear about those arrogant Jewish people, or the superiority complex of those Muslims, or how dare that Buddhist think that he's right?

My theory? I think it's because, generally speaking, Christians talk about it. We admit it. We actually come right out and say it.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  -- John 14:6

But you know what? Why wouldn't you tell the world? If you honestly believed you had found the one true path to God... why wouln't you share it with others? Why would you keep that knowledge to yourself?

So the question I am struggling with... why hasn't anyone else shared their faith with me? Why the secret? Even friends. In my circle of friends / acquaintances: Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu. No one has once volunteered to share their faith, to share their beliefs with me. If I have asked questions, they have been happy to answer. But no one has volunteered the information.


There is a small part of me that is a little bit... offended? hurt?... that none of these people have chosen to share their one path to God / enlightenment with me. Am I not worth that information? Whether or not I choose to embrace it, if they believe they know the truth, do they not care enough about me to share that knowledge with me?

And then, of course, I must turn the mirror back on myself. Since I believe that I know the Truth, who have I not shared it with? Why or why not? and more importantly... what will I do in the future to change?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Update on my daddy

He's doing really well. Well, considering.

Wednesday morning he had a triple bypass. When we left the hospital Wednesday night he still had not regained consciousness.

But Thursday... when I left the hospital last night he was sitting up, talking, trying to eat, and had even taken a short walk! The nurse said he is doing "unusually well for his age". Woo hoo!

They haven't declared him "out of the woods" yet though. Just getting closer to the edge of the treeline. It's a touchy road, and recovery is just as important as the procedure. In some ways I think even moreso.

But still. He's doing really well. They said there was no evidence that he had ever had any episodes of any kind, even minor ones, so his heart is in perfect health, it was just blocked, which is really good for future prognosis.

Right now his biggest complaint is that he's in a lot of pain. Not only from the procedure, but because he has arthritis in his back, and he has to lie in on his back for the vast majority of the day. And hospital beds are just not comfortable. I'm sure I hope there's some medically better-for-you reason why those beds are made that way, but they really aren't. I remember. Especially if you're in them for more than a day. I honestly think patients would do better if they could find a way to make those beds more comfortable. I really, really do.

So, anyway, I guess he had a really rough night last night, from the pain. No problems or complications from the procedure, just a lot of pain, mostly in his back.

He'll be in the hospital, in the cardio-vascular ICU, for at least another three days, then home. Home recovery takes 6-8 weeks, assuming he follows the rules and doesn't screw anything up. There are lots of rules. Like not picking up his granddaughter. At all. Big one. I keep telling him, go six weeks without picking her up and be fine, or pick her up once, break his wires (the wires that are now holding his sternum together), and have to go six months without picking her up. His choice.

Well, I cannot thank all of you enough for all of your thoughts and prayers for my family. I really can't. I'd like to expound on this prayer thing a little more later, but really, THANK YOU.
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