Friday, February 26, 2010

A Long Weekend

( Smokey on our computer)
Yesterday our second big snow storm hit us. I was nervous driving to work in the slush. When I first arrived I was the only one there on my team. Later two more people came in. Around noon they decided to let us leave and get paid for the rest of the day. I hurried home and my sweetie was here with the dryer repairman. My dryer once again is working. I am so happy but I felt $236 was a bit on the high side since it was a fuse blown. It did require two visits and the guy showed Rob that we had to be more careful cleaning out lint. He feels that is why it overheated in the first place. As though that were not enough excitement for the week, Rob's car broke down on Wednesday on his way home from work. It had to be towed to a garage and it was a big repair. The water pump went and the mechanic found that the timing belt which was due, needed to be done. He also saw other belts that were worn and we had them taken care of too. The final bill was about $600.00. On top of the dryer bill.

Earlier in the month I urged Rob to pick a grill as a belated birthday present. Our old one was in terrible condition. It was eight years old and rusting out inside. We found a great one at Lowe's $150 off and we had to get the cover and some new utensils too. My paychecks for the next few weeks are spoken for. I know we will really enjoy the grill. My brother and his wife picked it up for us with their truck and when they delivered it,they gave Rob a grocery store gift card for some steaks for it. That was so nice. My brother also helped us with the car repair.

Today I tried to go through the kitchen and refill things like the spice rack on the counter. Made a large grocery list and after supper we went to the market and got many staples we needed. My doctor said my hair loss is due to vitamin loss from my illness and many meds. She wants me to have a lot of soy and protein in my diet. For dinner I made a wonderful stir fry with edeme or soy beans. There was some chicken in it also and it was really good. I made a homemade apple cobbler yesterday and had that for dessert. I bought some soy milk which I have never tried before. It certainly is expensive. She also recommended I have a sugar free Carnation instant breakfast in the morning. I got that. I feel that I do eat very healthy so it is frustrating to have these problems. My hair is so thin now and the strands left are as fine as baby hair. I also have an appointment to see a dermatologist to make sure there is nothing else going on.

Can't believe I still have our weekend ahead of us. I am looking forward to taking it easy. The only thing we must do is take our Sheltie to the vet on Sunday. He has what almost looks like a hive by his eye. It may be nothing but I am very cautious with the health of my furbabies. They have been going crazy with the snow. Smokey is an indoor cat but we allow him out briefly in the fenced in section of the yard. He hates the snow and getting his feet wet. Duffy loves the snow and hates to have to come back indoors. They are such individuals.

Hope you all have a relaxing weekend.

Monday, February 22, 2010

US Pride

I am so happy that we won over Canada in hockey....except that Martin Brodeur my secret crush is the goalie for the NJ Devils and was on the Canadian team. Did I mention he got whacked in the head by a puck? Knowing how tough he is I only shuddered for a moment. I have never enjoyed sports until I went to a hockey game. My first was in 1990. I was hooked on the NJ Devils. If only I could afford season tickets. Of course it would be very difficult to attend the games and get up the next day for work. I am far too practical, even in my fantasies I guess.

Today at work I was the recipient of a lot of prizes of sorts. I got a notebook that I really like (for a survey that was very favorable), three strands of purple mardi gras beads, a keychain with an LED light and an Amazon bookcard. It's nice to get recognition for your hard work.

I am very tired today. Took my iron but I am still dragging a bit. Coffee gets me through the day. Hoping for a better night's sleep. It's just too tempting to stay awake to watch the Olympics. More later in the week.....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winding Down

It was a rather hectic week for me...both good and bad. The week started off with me going back to dealing directly with customers where I work (it's a call center). This can be very stressful, especially when you are getting used to all the policy changes and a major revamp of one of the computer systems you are in. Things had changed drastically and I really didn't know how I would manage to catch up. I watched other agents for two weeks but that is totally different than navigating through the system yourself, making one wrong choice can cause you minutes. Customers are not always patient. On Monday, I was reluctant and was given another day to prepare. Tuesday I went live. Fortunately, I have many friends where I work and they all were very helpful. My new supervisor and department head were helpful as well. I am so relieved to be with this new supervisor and her team. One of my former teammates is with me as well. She is so helpful and a very kind person. My past two supervisors were young men and it's a totally different environment with them. This new team are the top performers in our department and we were gifted a party of sorts with two hours off work. We had a room in which to eat a Chinese buffet and lots of enjoyable things to do, such as a pool table and Wii. It ended up with us playing music and these people were so much fun! I am getting to know them personally and they are one great group of people. Our department head joined us and he is a lot of fun too. I really like him. He gets a lot of things done to make our work environment better. I feel so relieved that my job feels so much less stressful.

On the home front my dryer broke. I've had it eight years. It's a Maytag and I bought it for the quality. Not top of the line but it's been great until this week. The repairman is coming this morning. I had washed two tubs of clothes before I learned the dryer would not start. After work I ran to my neighbor Stacey's and she told me to come dry the clothes at her house. I had intended to go to a laundromat. (After all my recent illnesses I was not looking forward to exposing my bedding to more germs.) I thanked her profusely and while the clothes dried, we enjoyed some white wine. When I count my many blessings, I always put good neighbors at the top of my list. We are blessed with a melting pot of people who are all helpful to each other. This is the lowest income area I have lived in (meaning my development, not my town) but these are the most generous and helpful people. I find that so interesting. I lived in an affluent neighborhood previously and those neighbors were never helpful. In an emergency you never knew if they would answer their doors. How sad.

I am still experiencing some dizzy spells and when I walk I still have shortness of breath. In addition to that, my hair is thinning out a lot. I had blood test and I am anemic. I am starting on iron supplements and hoping that will help with the hair issue too. Having less stress at work has certainly helped me. I am going to bed earlier and trying to make sure I get more sleep.

That's about all I have going on here. How are things in your little corner of the world? It's going up to a heated 40 degrees today and the huge mounds of snow continue to melt. Making chicken marsala for dinner. Life is good.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Under the Weather

Yesterday at work I was not feeling too good. I toughed it out and we had training in the afternoon and I struggled to stay with it. Came home and fell asleep immediately after having dinner and missed the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Crawled into bed at 10:30 and slept until 7 a.m. which is late for me. I got up and let Rob sleep in. His back is really bothering him. We went to Walmart and got a few things this morning then we went to Lonestar Steak House for his belated birthday luncheon. He got a steak he loved, sirloin with crumbled bacon on it. We then came home and just as we finished a cup of tea my sister called to say she had seen a desk in a used furniture store I might like. We went and looked. I should have taken pictures of this store. It's like being in a huge flea market but the store itself used to be a grocery store. The aisles are overflowing with things and many have shelves that are six or eight high. Dishes, Christmas decorations, furniture, you name it, they have it! The roof was leaking I'm sure from the melting snow. We couldn't get up and down every aisle. One desk interested me but that was already being held for another customer. When my desk top computer went we took apart and threw out the large computer hutch. It had been moved several times and was being held together with screws. It was wobbly and with a laptop I use my kitchen table which is far more comfortable and convenient. Rob's computer has a computer hutch that matches our guest room furniture.

Valentines Day is tomorrow. My thoughts on love and a significant other offend some. I do not believe that there is ONE person in the entire world for you. I don't really believe in soul mates, at least not the way most people use that word.
If people were 100% alike a relationship would be quite boring. What I do believe is that too many people put all of their chance for happiness on one individual. My friend D (who does not read my blog) always talks about her soul mate B.
Mind you, when they met she told him that she was already divorced twice and had been cheated on and that is one thing she would never tolerate. He swore by the sun and the moon that he would never do such a thing. Well, guess what he was doing the last four months? When she found out, I basically asked her, if that was the ONE thing she had told him she would end their relationship over and he did it, didn't she feel he was sending her the message that he wanted out?
He swore all these other things and then two weeks later left her for the other woman. Shortly after that she made some statements to him and he came back. She swears this is because of his devotion/promises to her. In my opinion, she is being ridiculous. If she was together herself, she would let him go but she cannot because he is her "EVERYTHING and she is nothing without him."

Firstly, I believe an individual needs to have love and respect for themselves. Far too many people think they will find a person who will fill all the holes they have. They need to fill them themselves, sometimes with the help of therapists or friends but not by someone who they will then never be able to let go of. We are complete individuals, not halves looking for the other half of ourself. Too often this person who feels only partial will look for someone who seems romantically interested and proclaim them their soul mate. They will then put the responsibility for their happiness on this individual who in time may crumble from the pressure of it. That is not to say that someone in a crisis cannot lean on another person for a time. When people meet they can fall into a romantic love. That is usually when all the courting and often commitment take place. In time, romantic love lessens and they make a decision to love the person. IF they make the decision to, they will make all their decisions, hopefully, based on their "love" for the person. If they decide not to, or if they rethink and change their mind about the decision, they will allow themselves to consider other options. Twice in my life, although in love with someone, I realized that they were having a very negative impact on me and I made the decision to end the relationship. I do realize many people are in bad relationships because they lack the strength to change the situation OR it's not possible for them to due at a given time.

The best feeling in the world is to CHOOSE to love someone and to keep reaffirming to ones self that this is right for them. Having said that, to know that they are a total person on their own and should something change, they will be okay. We all come into this world alone (birth is a solitary experience) and we all leave the world alone (so is death.) I fail to understand why some people cannot go for weeks or months without having someone in their lives. I have a wonderful caring and loving significant other. I rejoice that he is in my life but I know that regardless, I would be okay.
Knowing that allows me the freedom to choose to be with him.

Happy Valentines Day to all of you. Rob, this is our tenth Valentines Day. They all said it wouldn't last. The day you told me that you would have me no matter what, if I had the courage to marry you or not, I knew you were the one for me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard Conditions and a Day Off Work

I woke up about four a.m. to see that it had snowed several inches. I was really wondering whether or not I would have to work but leaning towards yes. I called work and they said at that time they were open, but if you felt it was not safe to come in, you could opt for a vacation day. I then called Rob's work and found they were closed so I decided to take the day. I get ten hours a month to use for sickness/vacation. It's not a lot of time so I try to be careful about how and when I use it. All my accumulated time was used when I went out on disability last September. I called the weather line later and was told that the building was closed and we would be paid for the day, and would not be expected to use our days off. Hooray! These are the times I love working. Rob slept in and I took a two hour nap between ten a.m. and noon. He used the snow blower to assist a few neighbors and is now trying out his new Wii game Resorts. My Internet connection varies. I have FIOS and am wondering if we might lose it altogether.

Rob and I have had an upset recently. It seems last summer when I posted that I was hurt because I was not allowed to see his niece, his mother's family members told her I posted "horrible things about her." Anyone who knows me, knows this is absurd. You would have to be pretty stupid to post something on Facebook that you didn't want spread around. Secondly, the post was about MY feelings and not his mother. His cousin railed on in her postings which prompted many of my friends to post saying that what she was saying was untrue. The greatest irony of all was how his cousin said I should have kept it all private. She could post all she wanted on FB but I should use better judgement. The fact is that I cannot understand how his mother would believe this. If someone came to me and told me such a thing I would
A. insist on seeing the actual postings
B. confront the person and ask them why they did it.
I would not simply get angry about it and bring it up nine months later. Rob told her that he had read the posts. In fact, he made one, defending what I had said and pointing out the inaccuracies. His mother basically told him that he was not being honest when he told her I did not post anything horrible about her.

Life is very short. I no longer have the time, patience or desire to deal with this trivial b.s. I am an open and honest person. It has been difficult at times to deal with repercussions for speaking my mind. I will not have people in my life who wish to cause chaos or hurt others that I love and try to blame me for the pain they inflict. What makes me so very sad is that Rob has a niece who lost her mother two years ago. The whole thing started when his mother came through our town on the way back from Michigan. His mother lives in Rhode Island. She called Rob and told him she would meet him at the mall for dinner and he could spend ONE hour with his niece who lives three hundred miles away. Rob told her that I could not be there because I had just returned to work a few weeks earlier after a bout with pneumonia. She said that she was on a schedule and would be there at that time. He told her if she wouldn't accommodate me he would not come. She called him the next day and talked him into meeting them, even though she knew I could not join them and I was devastated at knowing his niece was so close and I would not be able to see her. I asked my boss if there was any way I could leave early and he told me absolutely not. I called and left his mother three phone messages telling her how hurt I was. I got no call back and neither of us heard from her for months. To this day, I have not spoken with her. She calls usually when she knows I am not home, still working. (She used to call Rob only on his cell phone but gave up when he stopped answering it during working hours.) I discussed this with a therapist who told me that she shows me no respect and that she seems to want to cause marital problems for us. I know she pushed her daughters to get divorced, one did and the other who is still married, moved far away. As a mother, I cannot understand why any mother would not be happy that her son found someone he loves, who loves him and has a good life. Granted, he lives far away but when his sister was dying we both took off work for a week and went to be there. We also went up several weekends during her illness and several times right after her passing. I don't understand where she is coming from or why. I guess I don't need to. I just need to distance myself. I would never discourage Rob from spending time with his niece or his mother. I just can't go through anymore right now. I am still grieving over the loss of my grandmother, watching my father slowly die, and trying to regain my health. That's enough. All else has to be put on the back burner. All my life I lived to please others and care for others, now it's going to be about me, at least for now.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Snowy Sparkling Saturday

Friends I finished my first week back at work. It was really a good week. In my absence my previous supervisor was promoted and my former team dispensed to other existing teams. I lost many people I had been with a long time. One friend, Jasmine, is on my new team with me. I have known many of the people on my new team and they are lovely people. For the first time, I have some women who are mothers of grown children and I related much better to them.
Some of the younger people show respect to those of us who they consider their elders by calling us "Miss Nelle" or Miss O. They are very helpful and smiling and laughing. We have a happy group. Our supervisor name is a lovely woman who is intelligent, thoughtful, kind and supportive. She expects us to do what we should, but will assist us in any way we need.
I really look forward to being a part of this group. Our entire department got a new top manager. I like him as well. He is so much more personable then people of the past. Our company has made some wonderful changes recently. I was so nervous about returning after four months off but I returned to find a new computer, a new team, two new bosses and a feeling of excitement. It's all good.

Just yesterday I received my disability check which I should have received Jan. 3rd. If I were on my own, supporting myself I would have been in serious jeopardy. As it was, I owed every cent of that check. This Friday I will once again get a paycheck from my employer and can finally be caught up. The cost of food has gone up significantly here. I honestly don't know how people in this area could make it on one income. I find that I am spending at least $50 more per week over last year.

It began snowing about 11 p.m. It hasn't stopped and I would guess we have 20 inches on the ground right now. My mother only lives about two miles away and she is very upset that the health aide she has for my Dad is not going to come at all today. My Dad is a big man and trying to change his diaper at 200 lbs is very difficult. He cannot even stand on his own so getting him out of the bed or into his wheelchair is not possible for her. On days Bryant doesn't come it means my Dad remaining in bed which put him at risk for bed sores. Rob is snow blowing out our driveway but the roads are really bad. We could get there but neither of us can lift Dad either. He is paralyzed on his right side and when you touch that arm he cries out in pain. It's so difficult to care for someone in this condition. My mother turned 78 last week and I don't know how much longer she can do this. It is just so costly to put him in a nice place and she feels that he worked so hard (often two jobs) and he should be able to be in his home he worked so hard for, as long as possible.

We have a pot of stew in the crockpot. Since being told I was anemic I have been trying to eat more beef and the dizzy spells I was having seem to be less and less. Time to catch up on blogs, Facebook games and emails. Hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Early Morning Thoughts

Taken about seven years ago: Rob and Jennifer

It's Wednesday morning. It's Rob's birthday. Am I prepared? That would be a negative. I started back to work on Monday. It went better than I expected. Last time I was out on disability about a year ago for about six weeks when I returned I was expected to take calls immediately. Since things change frequently, that was a bit overwhelming for me.

There have been many changes this time over a period of four months. I have a new boss, a wonderful lady named Shonda. She is kind and patient and is giving me the time, and preparing for me to receive the training I need to continue in my position. There have been some real positive things that have happened. I will have an opportunity to make more money than in the past as a bonus system is once again in place. It's very exciting.

I have been awake since 2:30 a.m. when Rob got up to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, I am sleeping very lightly. It is now 6 a.m. and I start work at 9. There is a beautiful snow falling, we are only expecting an inch total. I am going to try to take about an hour nap now before getting ready for work. It has been a long time since I actually felt excited about my job. It's a good feeling.

I'm going to pick up dinners from our favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. When birthdays fall midweek and you are both working full time, it's hard to celebrate properly. I'm sure we will do some celebrating over the weekend. Birthdays are bittersweet for Rob. His baby sister, Jennifer's birthday was the next day. They always had a joint celebration and shared a cake. We lost Jen to cancer two and a half years ago. She would only have been 36 tomorrow. What makes it even harder is that she left a daughter who is now only ten years old. Jen was divorced when her daughter was a toddler.
Her daughter is being raised by her grandmother. Sometimes life is hard and throws things our way that no matter how we try we cannot make sense of. There will never be a February 4th where we don't grieve for our beloved Jen. At the same time we feel her with us and we laugh about some of the great moments we had with her. She loved her big brother and she never ended a phone call with telling us she loved both of us. It just doesn't get much better than that.

So happy birthday dearest Rob and Jen you live in our hearts and always will baby girl.