Being a (Temporary) Misfit

This is my 3rd week back to work.  In many ways it feels like I never left, but then it becomes apparent I was gone for 7 months.

The hardest part is not knowing my place anymore.  I had only been in my new position two months when I went out on leave (but with the organization doing this job two years).  I knew my purpose, and what I was doing, and where I was needed.  Even on leave I helped out a bit when things got backlogged.  But now, I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do or where I fit in.

Two new people were hired to do the same type of job I do.  This had been planned, but the first one was supposed to be hired a year after me, with the third a year after that.  My being gone precipitated moving the hiring timeline up.  I’m still the senior person in the position, for whatever that’s worth.

I find myself not doing what everyone else is doing, because nothing is being sent my way.  It takes a good year to truly learn the processes, and feel like one has a handle on things.  The new people are in their 4th month.  But even though I’ve answered questions and done training for them, I’m still lost.

Not much work is heading my way.  I know this is only my 3rd week, but I’m the kind of person who prefers to be busy.  I like it when I don’t know how I’ll get everything done, but then I do.  I’m taking on some special projects, by request, because I want to get involved and get busy.  I’m excited to be involved in these, and it will open doors for future projects, but it’s not quite what I expected.

In my job I loved – and still love – in an organization I think is great among people I actually like to work with I’m feeling like a fish out of water.  It’s a really uncomfortable feeling.  I’m sure it will be fine soon, because I’m always optimistic.  But in a place where I used to know most things going on I now don’t know anything going on, and no one is asking me to join in and figure it out.  And jumping in isn’t helping.  I don’t like feeling like a misfit in a place I considered home.

Not Sure What to Think

I’m not sure if I was insulted or complimented this morning.

It took me over an hour to get to work, which is kind of stressful.  I’m not really enjoying my new work hours because the drive is so bad.  But, I made it to the parking lot, parked, zipped up my too big jacket, slung my lunch bag and purse over my shoulder, and started the walk to the building.

I have to cross a major street to get from the parking lot to my work building.  Today it is really windy, so all my very long hair was blowing everywhere.  I kind of got it under control by the time I got to the stoplight.  Where I was standing, waiting for the light to change so I could cross.

Along comes this truck with a business logo, with a man in it.  He slowed down, was looking at me, and honked his horn.  I was the only one at the stoplight at that time.  I looked at the guy as he drove away and thought “Really?  Did that just happen?”

I’m in my late 40’s.  I’ll be married 20 years next month.  I don’t think of myself (and probably never did) as someone guys in trucks honk at.  I may think of myself as a hot mess, but not a hot mama (as one of my friends said I was in commenting about this).

Not knowing a thing about this man, except he is someone who will honk at a lone woman at a stoplight, I guess I should take it as a compliment.  As Husband says, it is always best to assume good intentions, and I think that can apply to this situation.  And it’s better than getting a creepy feeling, which is the other way this can go.

So today, I am a Hot Mama! Let the day continue on!

2nd Time is the Charm!

I’ve been gone for a while again, but it was for a better reason.  The doctors finally figured out the issue, I had surgery, and I’m back to work!  All of my extreme leg pain that caused me to barely walk, not be able to sit, and have problems standing was caused by my left ovary.  Which I no longer have.  It’s a very rare condition (of course!), which is why it took so long to be diagnosed.  And, I have a lot of back issues, so with the way the pain was, it seemed to be coming from my back.

I just want to jump back into life, and all of its activities.  I can’t, because I spent so many months barely able to move, but I feel like I missed so much that I want to make up for lost time right now.  So I’m doing as much as I can each day, and then falling into the recliner to recover.  It’s so wonderful to wear pants again, and to know I can just get in the car and go to the store if I need something, and that I’m not dependent on Husband to make it happen.

My family was amazing, and I couldn’t have made it through all of this without them.  I truly do have the best and most amazing Husband in the world.  It fell to him to do everything, including clothes shopping with Oldest One for sorority rush clothes, and going to the dance store with Little One for school dance class items.  He did it without complaint.  He drove, cleaned, cooked, shopped, and went to doctor’s appointments, procedures, and surgeries.  I know there is a lot more he did, but you get the idea.  He was there to make me smile, cheer me up, make sure I ate, hold my hand, and just be the most incredible all round best friend and Husband anybody could ask for.  I am truly blessed being married to him.

The girls were great too.  They got used to me just lying there, but they did a lot of getting me things, watching TV with me, talking to me, and helping me.  Oldest One did household shopping before she left for college, and she called me several times a week to chat and see how I was.  Little One would make sure I was comfortable, and keep me company, and was very happy to tell me about her day in detail.  My girls both cheered me up and kept me going through all of this.  I love them so very much!

I can’t say I’ll write every day, or even every week, but I’ll make an effort.  Getting back into the swing of things, and starting to run around again, as well as working full-time is going to keep me busy and exhausted for a while.  But writing and reading all of the wonderful blogs I follow truly helped me to keep going, so I don’t want to feel cut off from all of it.  And once I find my groove again, I’m sure it will include time to write, post, and read.

So for now, I hope everyone is enjoying the New Year, and that life is treating you well!

I Don’t Want Them to Cry

Dating.   Relationship.  Boyfriend.  All words as a parent I’m just not that fond of.  And luckily haven’t really had to deal with.  I’ve seen Oldest One’s friends go through relationships and angst, and I’ve even hugged some as they cried because the boy didn’t want to be with them anymore.  Oldest One had a couple of boys hurt her feelings, but she didn’t really date.  Little One has already had a boy make her cry.  I know it is a part of life, but I hate to see my girls cry, especially over a boy who just isn’t worth it.  Yes, that is so parent talk to say that.

Last night I stayed up late to chat with Oldest One. We talked about grades, and her roommate, and an upcoming sorority event she is really excited about.  And then she mentioned B.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard about him, but I wasn’t too excited to hear he was back, because from a parental view he is nothing but bad news.

She met B along with a bunch of other kids in the dorm when school started. She thought he was cute, and he seemed to like her.  Then he started to spend time with another girl in the dorm, G.  But G said she wasn’t spending time with him, he said he wasn’t spending time with her, but yet there they were together.  And it seemed they were, from what she heard from others in the dorm, losing their clothes when they were together.  It happens.  Then it turned out B had a girlfriend back home.  Quite the player, at least in my mind.

So Oldest One and I talked about it, after she quit talking to him. We talked about how it was better to find all this out about him early, and about how she wanted someone who would treat her a lot better than that.  Someone who would respect her, and wouldn’t lie about things.  You know, someone decent.  Because there was nothing I heard about this kid that was good.  He’s young, he can do what he wants and say what he wants, just not with my daughter.

But last night she said they are talking, and there were circumstances she didn’t know about. She of course didn’t go into those circumstances with me.  I asked her why she would want to consider being with someone who lied and didn’t respect her, and she went back to these circumstances.  Apparently these circumstances absolve him of all lies and rude behavior.  I said if she wanted to be friends that’s great, be friends with the world.  But don’t date someone who doesn’t respect you and who isn’t nice to you.  I asked her what she would say to someone telling her all of this.  Apparently I overstepped my parental bounds at that point because she got irritated with me and cut that conversation off.  But not before telling me he might be one of our Thanksgiving guests.  Yippee.

I have a lot more I’d like to say to her, but I know I have to let her get hurt if she decides to date him. It’s not like I didn’t have a B in college, I did, and I’m pretty sure he was worse than this guy.  And a whole lot older.  But I remember how much it hurt, and I wasn’t even in love with my B.  But I sure liked him a whole lot, and I was willing to overlook a lot of things I shouldn’t have.  It was a good learning experience, and I know I have to let her have her learning experiences with relationships.

I just don’t want to see her hurt, and upset, and crying. I don’t care that it’s a part of life and growing up and figuring out who you are and what you want in a person.  I want to keep my daughters from getting hurt, which is impossible.  So I’ll do my best, instead, to be there when I’m needed.  I’ll listen when she needs me to, and try to not criticize and put B down.  When things don’t work out, I’ll support her, and send a lot of chocolate.  Most of all, I’ll continue to love her unconditionally.

Religon & Food

One of my friends was complaining about her religion yesterday, so I told her to become Jewish, the food is great! And thinking about it, with the holidays coming up, I do enjoy the food.  And the celebration.  And the being with family.

I grew up the youngest, with the brother closest in age to me 6.5 years older. So holidays were important, because my brothers would be home, and my Mom cooked, and is was happy.  By junior high all my brothers were out of the house most of the time, so it was like being an only child.

I remember if Chanukah didn’t fall close to Christmas we’d celebrate it late, so my brothers could be home. My Mom would cook a big dinner, and we’d have yummy potato latkes with sour cream.  The sour cream is important, because they can be served with sour cream or with applesauce, and I’m sorry, but applesauce is wrong, and I won’t offer it in my house.  We’d light the menorah, enjoy dinner, and open gifts.  I liked it because we were all together, and eating good food.

Husband has learned to make amazing homemade latkes, wanting nothing to do with the box mix stuff I grew up on. And I make a great cake shaped like a dreidle.  Or cookies in the shape of a dreidles with blue frosting.  We eat the heck out of the latkes.  We introduced my in-laws to latkes a few years ago, and they loved them too.  I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t, because what’s not to like about fried potatoes with sour cream?

I also love Passover food, but done the right way. We once had a Passover with a whole lot of prunes in the food.  I have no idea what was going on there, but me, Husband and the girls did not like it.  Passover food does require not using leavened bread, but there are so many delicious recipes out there that doesn’t matter.  We didn’t go to a Seder last year, and I missed the fun of being with others, doing the whole Seder story, and eating all of the food.

I don’t recommend choosing or converting to a religion for the food. But, for me, food is a big part of being Jewish.  We eat at all the holidays, and if someone is sick, gets married, has a baby, or passes away food is involved.  When I was away at college, and came home for a weekend visit, my Mom always had a noodle kugel waiting for me.  It was wonderful.  And I’m getting hungry.  I wish we had some kugel, or matzo ball soup, or even some kimish bread, which was my Bubbe’s special treat she made me, in the house.  But we don’t.  So, a PB&J for me.  Definitely not on the Jewish food list, but still tasty!

Being Alone

As a parent you don’t get much alone time. You get the kids off to school, you go to work, you get the kids from school, you get them to activities, you get them home and to bed.  And you try to squeeze in spouse time and bills or housework.  At least that is how it could be for me.  So I learned to enjoy the drive to and from work.

I work 15 miles from where I live. In freeway time that is a 45 minute drive from September through March, and over an hour if there is an accident.  The rest of the year it’s about 30 minutes.  In the morning I turn on my favorite radio station and listen to the morning team, and the music they play.  On the way home I plug in my iPod, or listen to the CD Oldest One made me for a birthday gift.  It’s luxurious time alone, where no one needs me or wants me, and where I can transition from home to work, or from work to home.  I really enjoy my drive time, which is one of the reasons I don’t carpool or take the bus.  I’m selfish, and I won’t give up my time alone in the car.  Another plus is I don’t get upset with traffic delays, because I’m on me time.

As I’ve been at home since June I haven’t had the drive time. But something weird has happened; instead of enjoying the quiet of the house when I’m alone, and the me time, I now dislike being alone.  Too much time with just myself makes me sad, and a bit depressed.  I used to enjoy the brief bits of time alone in the house.  Now I just cringe.  I’m sure it has to do with medication (which I loathe taking) and the situation, but knowing that doesn’t help.

Husband had to go into work today. He’ll be gone about 3 hours.  Our work buildings are close to each other, so when I’m at work it’s a treat when he has to go in.  We drive in together in the morning, and drive home together in the evening.  He’s the one person I’ll give up my me time for.  Today he’ll have to pay to park (I drop him off and then park in my work space), and I’ll be alone in the house.  I have a book series I’m reading (yes, it was so good I allowed myself to buy book 2!), and of course blogs to read, but I can feel the loneliness setting in as soon as the front door closes.  It’s only a few hours!  Geez, show some backbone Broad!

I don’t like these new feelings, and want them to go away.  I want to enjoy time alone again in the quiet of the house.  I know I’ll get there again, once I am able to leave the house and get life back on track.  But right now, today, it’s not like that.  Maybe I’ll get the dogs riled up, barking and chasing each other.  It’s hard to be lonely when silly dogs are playing.

Halloween is Coming!

Halloween is in a few days. I like Halloween.  I enjoy seeing the little kids dressed up cute, and I love the candy.  Oldest One and I have a thing for candy corn, which Husband and Little One think is very wrong.  I know you can buy candy corn all year, but it only feels right to eat it around this time.

I’ve done a lot of Halloweens with the girls. Oldest One wasn’t quite 2 months old for her 1st Halloween, and I dressed her up in a clown outfit my Mom bought to hand out candy.  Sometimes all of us dressed up, and sometimes only the girls.  It was always a big deal at the beginning of October to talk about costumes, and figure out what to get.

I love looking at the pictures of past Halloweens. Little One wore a great lady bug costume one year that Husband made huge wings for.  They both spent a couple of years in the toddler blue and purple clown outfit, complete with a shiny blue tinsel wig and lipstick red nose.  Little One went as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz one year, and she looked just like her, except her skirt was sparkly.  Sparkle and glitter are very important for my girls.  One year I ordered a pirate costume for Oldest One, which was too short when we got it, so she had to wear shorts underneath to not flash everyone.  Last year, her senior year, I bought her the Sandy from Grease outfit of black leather pants and the black shirt.  I curled her hair, and she looked amazing.  Her friend dressed as Danny, and they were so cute together.

This year Little One was supposed to be cheering a football game on Halloween, but parents and athletes weren’t too happy with that (I was fine, candy is expensive!) so the game was moved to Thursday. Little One isn’t sure what she is going to do, but all I know is she has no costume, and time is running out, and teenage girls can get very upset if the costume isn’t right.  Husband has to go buy candy, but that is the easy part.  Oldest One needed 3 costumes, but traded with friends so we didn’t have to buy all 3.  I’m hoping to see pictures, but since she was a cat at the sorority meeting last night, and I didn’t get sent anything, I’m probably not going to.

I think I understand why those whose kids have left home might not be as excited about Halloween. It reminds you of the fun you used to have dressing the kids up and taking them out, and that those days are over.  That everyone is getting older, including you.  That time marches on, no matter how much you try to slow things down and live in the minute.  That those pictures taken through the years are worth more than any artwork.

Well, I think right now I’m going to go get my valuable artwork, and spend some time with it. And then eat some candy corn.  And brace myself for the costume chat with Little One.  Because I want to be fully in the moment this year, and remember it always, so feeling sad is tempered with feeling grateful all of us made it through sane.