Sunday, June 23, 2013

There are seventeen bullet points in this post.

Thursday night I had a lovely dinner out with my mom and brother.  There was much drama in the planning but none whatsoever in the execution.  (Unless you count the gi-normous blister on one of my toes, which I should have left the hell alone.)

Friday...I'm not sure how to characterize it.  I don't think it would meet the clinical definition of a panic attack, but it was way, way past an ordinary lousy mood.  I think it was basically a clusterfuck of self-loathing and decision-making:

  • where to take the car for maintenance, since there is a very scary light on the dashboard and I need an oil change anyway
  • have I voided various warranties by being slack about oil changes (almost certainly not, but still)
  • should I reactivate my law license or not (running smack into an expensive continuing-ed obligation if I do)
  • should I pay my church pledge all at once or stretch it out monthly, since it's due at the same time as bar fees
  • do we really have to get new primary care doctors, or have the billing issues of the last month just  been a glitch (sure, the new doctor sounds great, but we adore current ones and have been with them for years; on the other hand, they don't seem to like our insurance anymore)
  • what if new doctor says something critical about my age, weight, lack of babies, or all three
  • should I get my Depo shot next time
  • what if it takes 2-3 years for my periods to start up again
  • what the hell do we use in the interim (waiting to have 3 regular periods), during which I'm still not supposed to get pregnant
  • am I seriously thinking about futzing with my crazy meds?!
  • should I go to the play tonight, technically by myself, even though I will definitely know people there
  • should I go to Pride on Saturday, even though I might overheat, because it's important to me and I'll regret missing it
  • will I ever like my hair again, because its texture has morphed into something one could sell for scrubbing pots, and the gray is back with reinforcements after 3 weeks
  • am I going to end up bald instead, because I seem to have traded biting my nails and cuticles for yanking out hairs that I deem "weird" 
  • should I address, with loppers, my hair the towering lavender bush that makes it difficult to see when backing out of the driveway and is fully occupied by loud, fuzzy bees
  • this new squishy keyboard can go in the dishwasher if I spill something on it but my God, shifting is a nightmare, and I NEED my capitals and exclamation points!!!!!
  • etc., etc. 
So, in retrospect, that is quite a lot of shit to put oneself through all in one fell swoop, and also, pelting my husband with most of it as soon as he walked in from work was not exactly the healthiest way to deal, either. On the other hand, bonus points should be awarded because I refrained from phoning him up.

I ended up staying home from both the play and Pride, which kind of sucks. But if I was flipping out that much about going, maybe not going was the better option. Walking the parade route with church is highly uplifting but both times has resulted in rushing myself home to Gatorade and a cold shower.  So I will take a shift tabling, under a tent, next year.  And the play is something that will probably be restaged soon.

Then I woke up before 8 this morning and realized, contrary to recollections of careful planning, that I threw out two empty prescription bottles, apparently without calling in or picking up the refills.  This is not a crisis and shoulding all over myself is not going to help, and if anything, the short pick-up trip has donuts on the way, and according to the manual, may even result in the stupid dashboard light righting itself.    








Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Visualize this!

So...for a while there I was trying to teach pre-K.  I ran away from that in January and am much the better for it. The long, sordid story will probably come out in bits and pieces here.  Meanwhile, I am basically a kept woman, the antithesis of what I was raised to be, which is probably why it bugs me so damn much.

I have no idea what to do next. The thought of getting back on the rejection hamster wheel that was applying to lawyer jobs is terrifying.  The thought of trying to write professionally--hopping onto another such wheel--is about equally scary.  I have had so damn much I've wanted to say that the idea of coming back here to type in this little box got overwhelming.  But one has to start somewhere.

I have been trying to make (readying finger quotes) a vision board--Lord knows I have mountains of magazines to mine.  Some of the little scraps of paper I've been hanging onto for years.  It is bound to be somewhat vague as far as certain Life Goals, because I really don't know what I want exactly. Of course there will be various enouragements re kicking butt and taking names, but nothing so specific as a picture of, say, a briefcase.  I'm not about to put a picture of a baby on there because of the harsh reality that it might not work out that way.  There will be cats, however. Of that I am certain.

So I've been going through my piles and piles of magazines.  As gifts from my mother and grandmother, I am subscribed to Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Bon Appetit, and O[prah's mag].  Mom also passes along the occasional Real Simple, Garden & Gun (which can be great despite its frightening title), and Every Day with Rachael Ray, which is SO! very! busy!, and full of exclamation points!!!, but which also discusses food I might actually eat, as opposed to BA, which is full of things like fish sauce (not only no, but Hell No).  BA and O have both been full of pseudoscience lately (white sugar bad! juice fast good!), but BA recently redeemed itself partway, by putting Mel Brooks on its back page.

Anyway, one of the volumes advised checking the reliability of one's oven thermostat, because they are notoriously screwy, and since I had to bake for church today anyway, I put the oven thermometer in there and checked it after 6 minutes, which is when the oven beeps to tell me, ostensibly, that it is fully pre-heated and ready to accept cargo. In reality, it was over 200 degrees short of 350.  So if you are like me, and turn on the oven when you start baking, only to fret about wasted heat as your creation takes forever to come together:  I wouldn't fret quite so much.  Which is good advice for life, really, and just the kind of thing one might affix to a piece of posterboard.

  




  






Sunday, August 26, 2012

The pee in the fridge

In addition to all the regular stress of a new school year, I have been flipping out about kids, whether we really want them, whether we should have them, whether or not I will deeply regret my decision either way, etc. etc. My primary care guy said I should see an OB-GYN specialist before we got serious about it, and I'd heard it can take a while to get into a new practice, so I went looking and to my surprise got in for the following week.

I was there for more than three hours.  I was told about amnio and the likelihood of Down's.  I gave them as much family medical history as I could.  I was given a giant jug to fill with 24 hours' worth of pee, which I had to store in my fridge, behind the milk. I was told that "high-risk" is just a word, that 35 is still young, that we'd have to futz with all or nearly all of my meds, that everything will go better the more weight I can lose before I get pregnant.  I was told that after waiting for the Depo to wear off, I'd want to have 3 regular cycles before we started really trying.  I was told the Depo should wear off in 3-6 months, and that was a relief, because I'd read it would take longer.

There are a number of looming questions.  One is that my husband and I are really happy together and I don't want to fuck that up.  Another is we are barely holding it together, household-management wise, and we'd have to seriously step it up in order to create a child-SAFE environment, let alone a child-friendly one.  Another is that we should really move somewhere else so we have a place to put the baby, unless we want it to sleep in a dresser drawer.  Another:  we always thought we'd have cats first (forbidden under our lease; see above re eventually needing to move).  Another:  Teaching has really made me re-think the whole kids thing, period. Another:  Assuming I could get my head around NOT having them, will my mom be able to respect that?

Another: While I put it off for so long, waiting to be gainfully employed and "ready," wanting it to be planned,  others around me have neither planned nor waited, and it makes me furious.  So do I really want kids, or am I just angry that so many less prudent others get to have them?  Do I really want kids, or will I just be angry if it turns out I can't?  

What if we try and it doesn't work?

What about the fact that when I came home from the damn doctor, flipping out and sobbing, my husband said, "You can't really plan for a baby!  It just happens!"?

I came to the conclusion weeks ago that in order for us to do this both of us would have to change how we live.  An awful lot.  And I'm not sure he gets that or is really willing to do that.

The doctor said she didn't think we were ready, and that for now I should stay on the Depo, so I went for my shot.  I'm covered for three more months.  I'll see her again right after Labor Day and she'll tell me about my pee.











Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where the hell I've been

Uhh. I spent last summer in a training program, part of a new alternate route to teacher certification.  It was challenging but I really liked working with the kids, who were at the older end of the elementary range.

Then I had the extraordinary luck of getting a position, teaching the very youngest elementary students.  In what is really a very good school.  And it was rough. There were wonderful moments, and the first year of teaching is supposed to be very difficult.  But still. Rough.  Nonetheless, I got through the year.  All signs indicated I would be earning my certification and moving on to my second year of teaching with that boulder lifted.

Summer started and it took me a while to get used to it.  You spend the last two months of the year going 90 miles an hour, and then BOOM--you hit the wall, turn in your keys, and go home, and all that adrenaline has nowhere to go.  During the year I didn't enjoy time off.  I was so resentful of the massive amount of shit I had to do that I would refuse to do it until the last minute, and so tired and grumpy that I didn't do anything really satisfying instead.  The summer began much the same way:  having assigned myself 50 million zillion "projects,"  I immediately began procrastinating and feeling bad about those.  But after a couple weeks, I had gotten a little bit accomplished, and I was starting to feel grateful for the time, and even a tiny bit excited about next year.  It would be different, I kept telling myself.  I went to TarJAY for the first time in ages and bought myself a nice folder to keep my projects in, some Sesame Street stickers, a Bert and Ernie pirate book for next year (because I love Bert and Ernie, and the kids love pirates).  I took a somewhat credible online quiz that told me I'm a right-brainer, which I took to mean that the law thing probably wouldn't have worked out anyway and that I was really meant to be a teacher.  Things were looking up, in other words.

And then I got the bad news, which is really not all that big a deal:  I'm just not done.  I still have my job, I'm just not certified yet, so I'll still be in the program next year.  There's no point in speculating or disaster-cising about what it will be like, because we haven't been told anything.  I know it will cost still more money, and I'll have busywork to do, and multiple layers of observation, evaluation, "next steps," and follow-up.  Even so, it probably won't be as big a pain in the ass as it was this year.

And instead of getting on with my life, I've been hardcore moping since I got the stupid email. I've been reliving every bad thing about teaching, every uncomfortable moment of training.  I've been thinking about how much I hated it, about spamming law firms with my resume, about how next year is going to be even more uncomfortable than before because they've already decided I suck.  I messed up with someone very important on the very last day of school and it keeps replaying over and over again.  I apologized and she was extremely gracious about it but I can't believe it.  I'm convinced that I'm doomed and that the only reason my principal didn't just fire me outright was because it must be a bigger pain in the ass to do that than deal with me again.

To put it concisely, I already felt like I failed at law.  Now it feels like I've failed at teaching, too. Neither of those things are true, but that's how it feels, and given how much debt I went into to become a lawyer, and what I've endured becoming a teacher, it just HURTS.

I take this career crap especially hard.  Sometimes I think I left the best job I will ever have to go to law school, and since then I have struggled hard to even hold onto work, let alone do well at it.  Also, both my parents did something that is impossible nowadays:  they got good jobs and stayed at the same employers for more than thirty years.  Their jobs came first because that was how they took care of us.  If the cars broke down, it was a very big deal because that's how they got to work.  

And that's what I thought work was.  I thought that you are nothing if you don't have the sort of work that consumes you.  So when I've struggled, I've thought the very worst.  If I go on an interview and don't get hired, I must have said the wrong thing.  If I get bad feedback about anything at work--and this year, that was pretty much daily--I assume it's time to pack my things.

I no longer think there is any one career that we are "meant" to do. It just happens that you fall into doing something you enjoy and are good at.  Or, more likely, you don't, and then work is what you do, but not what you love.  And maybe that's healthier.














Monday, August 8, 2011

I had no idea there were that many types of blocks.

Updating just for a moment to say that I did get through the summer program, and it was an adventure. We finished on a Friday. By the end of Monday, I had zapped my resume to every elementary school principal in the county. And by the end of Tuesday, I had an offer.

I'm teaching pre-K which starts later than the rest of the grades. This reflects severe state budget cuts but to me it is a huge help, because my LORD, people, my classroom is a mess. There is so much stuff and so many surfaces and everything needs to be thoroughly attacked with antibacterial wipes. I do not know how they used to fit eighteen small people and two adult-size people in there, and am similarly perplexed as to how I am going to fit twenty-two small people and two adult-size people in there.

I will have an aide--the second adult-size person--but s/he hasn't been hired yet. I hope to heck I have some sort of curriculum to follow, too. (I do have a bunch of state standards, but as far as parceling them out over the year, in a way that gets them all taught? I have no idea.)

I am trying to figure out how to regularly blog again without getting myself into trouble. Another worry for another day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Fluxing Capacitor (with thanks to Mir and Ellen)

I should begin by saying that Spouse's job sitch worked out exactly like Swistle predicted on my last entry, and not long after I wrote it, either. He is really a ton happier.

Things are fixin' to change in a big way for me, as well. Since August 2008, I have applied to lawyer or lawyer-appropriate jobs whenever I've learned of opportunities, and gone on a number of interviews, and even gone on a couple of second interviews. My outlook on life has depended on where I was in the waiting game at any given moment. Recently, after one more turn on the hamster wheel that didn't work out, I decided I was done.

That same week, I'd found out about a new alternative teacher certification program. I'd looked into teaching before, but this was a new thing, only recruiting for high-need subjects in high-need schools. So I went to the info night, and found out that I could take tests and qualify to teach special ed. A field in which the law degree, that $160,000 albatross, would actually come in handy. That just blew my mind.

So I wrote my application essays, sent them off, and was invited to interview for the program. Prior to the interview, as requested, I signed up to take three state certification tests. The interview day went really well--my five-minute lesson was definitely one of the better ones in my small group, and I was absolutely sure I would get into the program. So positive, in fact, that I went inactive with the state bar, which is easily reversible, and really not that big a deal procedure-wise, but my Lord, did it hurt. (I was only mostly done.)

Fast forward to the night before the first test: I got an email saying I was wait-listed. OUCH. I dwelled about this for weeks. I felt like I had been rejected yet again, and like I was being punished for something. Really, though, it meant that I got some sleep, instead of staying up all night trying to teach myself electromagnetism via Wikipedia. (Capacitance is a real thing; flux is a real thing; flux capacitors remain theoretical, but I couldn't tell you why.) I would have kept going, because I'm just that goofy, but once I had that news, I felt ok to eat pizza with Spouse and go to bed.

Eventually I got word that I passed that test, and not long after, that I had gotten into the program. Then I passed another test. Then I did a school visit and was blown away by how skilled the teachers were, how deftly they handled everything the kids threw at them. I've had homework to do, too--a big guidebook to read, a bunch of essays to write about my school visit.

I've been procrastinating, in part because that's what I do, and in part because of ambivalence. This is going to be hard. (On the other hand, it cannot possibly be as hard as the bar exam. Or law school. Or the aforementioned hamster dance.) Historically, I used to bolt when things get hard. (On the other hand: since then, I have become tenacious as all hell.) I still have to actually get a teaching job, which will involve more interviews (but there will be help with that; I won't be completely on my own and isolated like I have been with the law stuff). Communication from the program has not been as instantaneous or as detailed as I would like. (But I can be a tad obsessive: see, for example, having pecked at this all day.)

Summer training starts tomorrow, and until yesterday I'd been feeling disconnected and put-upon and meh about it. I got a very lucky break yesterday, when I read Mir's entry about whether or not public school is right for her son, who has Aspberger's. She was indirectly advised, by a very well-known person on the spectrum, to pull him out ASAP. Strangely, even with teaching stuff all over my desk, I didn't make the connection until I read this comment. A teacher named Ellen wrote,
At my school, we are getting ready to say goodbye to a girl who came in 6th grade totally lost. I am not saying we’d do a great job with Monkey, but [...] It is possible to have success in a public, diverse middle school.
And the light bulb went off: Hey! That's where I'm gonna be this summer!

And: Holy crap! I could do a great job with Monkey! (Eventually, I mean.)

And then I felt a LOT more invested and connected and hopeful.

I have this pernicious tendency to over-believe the negative. I told myself during this whole process that I would end up feeling really silly about all the turmoil re the waiting list if it all worked out in the end. And, well, I've got to got figure out what to wear tomorrow, because it did work out. So my goal for this summer is to focus on the positive, regardless of whatever crap hits the fan. I have no idea where I'm going, only that I'm going somewhere else, and that is HUGE.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dreamin' is free

My husband, who has been keeping us afloat financially for the 3 years we've been married, lost his job early last week. He's only told a couple of friends. He hasn't said anything about it on Facebook and asked that I wait to mention it until he does. My mom and a couple other people I haven't been able to avoid know, but otherwise I've been keeping radio silence. It's been just over a week now. Hence me typing in this box.

We'd both been eagerly contemplating both of us having Real Jobs. He had been talking a lot about how great it was that we had built up our savings again. In fact, he'd been talking about it so much that it was making me nervous. For my part, I'd been spending hours writing in this box about how part of me still badly wanted to have kids but another part, a surprisingly loud, anxious part, did not want to go back to worrying about money so soon. I didn't post any of this for fear of sounding materialistic, or like I wasn't sincere about having a baby.

He'd left that morning at about 8:45, and I'd stayed in bed and conked out again immediately. Then I heard him come back in and I thought he had forgotten his inhaler or something, not realizing I'd been asleep for half an hour. So I murmured something like "What happened?" into my pillow and wasn't even looking at him when he told me. My loyal, supportive, loving response was "Are you fucking kidding me?!"

I've been on an emo roller coaster ever since. He said he almost replied "thank you" when they told him, because he had been abso-freaking-miserable there. I knew he wasn't happy--a week or two earlier, he'd politely but firmly told me I wasn't allowed to ask him about work--but I had no idea how miserable it was making him. So in the first minute or so, I was happy, even excited. I didn't cry until I remembered all the prescription bottles in our bathroom. But at the end of the day I felt all right. I went to meditation that night and on the way home I left a message for my therapist saying that this was the worst possible thing that could happen, I'd thought, and it wasn't really all that bad.

My thoughts have changed slightly since then. We still don't know what COBRA might cost. I've been on it before, and it was exorbitant. I was excited about the 65% subsidy until I read that it was allowed to lapse by Congress. By Democrats in Congress. On one hand the premiums were still so high that relatively few families were taking advantage of the subsidy. On the other hand I feel like my team deserved to lose if it is that completely incompetent, and in a weird, circular way, that makes me feel less horrible about the elections.

Spouse was looking forward to taking a little break and was hoping we could get by on unemployment. Unfortunately we live in a lousy backwards Southern state. Even if he gets the maximum level of benefits, Spouse will receive less than half of what he'd been earning. I successfully represented clients in unemployment hearings in another state as a law student. This summer during my internship I did research for a couple of unemployment appeals. In other words, I am supposed to know something about unemployment. Yet I was blindsided by the fact that the benefits are capped in my state, and at a ridiculously low sum. Of course it's better than nothing. A lot better. It's not enough to live on for very long without exhausting our savings, but at least we have savings to exhaust.

I am STILL supposed to have an second interview at the place that hosted me this summer. I got that confirmed today and am waiting to hear about scheduling. This is a good thing. When you've gotten used to having zero prospects, you can get a ton of mileage out of having one.

I am studiously avoiding Christmas and will be doing well if I can get our Thanksgiving scheduled without crying. That would be a new thing for me. Three houses to hit + plans coming together at the last minute + one of the houses being 45 minutes away + baking for Dad's birthday + stuffing, at minimum, for Mom's house + Mom's having surgery the week before + Spouse's delicate tummy + my various neuroses = an overly complicated Turkey Day situation.

Spouse has just suggested we host something HERE, since we both have some time on our hands, and I just told him he might as well go to a certain part of town that has a number of pawn shops and buy himself a shotgun. Because Oh MY GOD.