Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #10

Have I missed two weeks? Sheesh. I've been feeling a bit dazed and confused lately. Still am, I guess. Work is crazy. It may be tonight or tomorrow before I get to visit people and post links to those who've visited me, but I'll get it done.

Thirteen Things I'd Do If There Were Enough Hours In The Day

1. Put up my clean laundry. I get it washed, but I have a heck of a time getting it put away.
2. Sleep.
3. Maybe wear makeup once in a while. (These days, my desire for 30 more minutes of sleep far outweighs my desire to wear makeup.)
4. Cook better meals. I feel like it's all catch as catch can and more take-out than I care to contemplate.
5. Play more/read more/spend more time with J. Sometimes I worry that I'm not spending enough time with him, that I worry more about getting chores done or getting out the door to get to work than I do about him.
6. Actually mail pictures of J to family, instead of just e-mailing.
7. Write letters to old friends I need to catch up with.
8. Work on my cross-stitch (I don't think I've lifted a needle since J was born).
9. Figure out some way to get the Jolly Rancher sucker that's stuck to my end table unstuck.
10. Clean my carpets. Really clean them, not just halfway do it.
11. Read.
12. Play the piano.
13. Sleep some more.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Christie

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Who am I, and why am I here?

And how did I get here, anyway? I'm having a fairly awful day - not necessarily anything specific, just one of those overwhelming days where I can't ever seem to get my feet under me and get into a groove. I'm floundering and flailing about, and I don't know how to stop it. Days like this make me ponder the path my life has taken (those of you who didn't think Geminis could ponder, you'd be surprised! LOL).

I was the smart child. Never the pretty one, always the smart one. I had a little musical talent, too, but I was smart and I knew it. I was reminded of it every time I turned around. Tested as gifted and talented when I was 5 or 6 - I forget what my IQ tested at, but it was up there. I was reading the encyclopedia when my classmates were working on "Dick and Jane". My parents emphasized grades above all, and it was always understood that I'd go to college and "make something of myself". I was told constantly that I could be whatever I wanted - my parents never said, "you're a girl, you can't do that". So I grew up with this expectation that I'd make a difference, that I'd "be someone".

I did great all the way through high school, and did decently in college (although if I had it to do over again, I'd have applied myself more and really given some serious thought as to what I wanted to do with my life, as opposed to doing whatever seemed like the best idea at the time). In law school, I wasn't the smartest by any means (or at least didn't test the best according to what law school professors were looking for! LOL), but I graduated and passed two bar exams, so, not too shabby.

And now, 14 years and five jobs later, I find myself here. Some jobs I've lost because the positions were done away with, some jobs I've left because I just got tired of them, and I've tried to make the best decision I could with regard to new jobs. I was the main breadwinner, so the best decision usually hinged on what paid the best and/or offered the best benefits rather than what really sounded interesting to me. This job sounded like a good idea at the time - the recruiter talked me into taking a small pay cut to come here, luring me with promises of making it up in raises and bonuses, saying you could get as much as a 25% bonus each year. Well, I should have known it was too good to be true. I've been here nearly three years now, and I've never gotten any bonus, and I doubt anyone gets a 25% bonus (maybe the big, big, big bosses do, but none of my peers get anything like that). I've never gotten a raise. The company doesn't do cost of living raises. And I suck so much at this job, it will be a cold day in hell in this job role before I get a raise. And I make a difference to no one. The times when I might actually be able to do something to really help someone, they don't bother to say thank you. They only call when they've got something to complain about.

That makes me sad. The job isn't mentally challenging, as such. It's not like I'm not smart enough to understand what needs to be done. The challenge is, there's too much work. I don't know how anyone does it. Our regular workload is enough to choke a horse. Throw on all these special projects we're asked to complete, some of which could very easily be knocked out quickly by temporary help, and it's just impossible. I don't know how anyone stays caught up. Yesterday morning I had what would be considered a good morning by any other standard - I got a lot of things accomplished that needed to be done. But when lunchtime rolled around, I couldn't look at my desk and think, "Hey, it's been a good morning, look at what all I got done!" All I could do was think, "Oh, shit, look at how many things got left undone while I was working on that other stuff this morning." I've never worked someplace where people hated taking time off for fear of how much work would accumulate in their absence. I've never worked someplace where the higher-ups try to find reasons not to give raises and bonuses (not just me). I've never worked someplace where so many people would walk out given the right opportunity.

And I've never had a job that I sucked at. I'm not used to not doing well at things. I'm the smart kid. I'm used to being able to handle whatever is thrown at me. And in this job, I can't. I don't know how to do any better. I don't know how to keep up with the barrage of things that are supposed to get done. I don't know how to keep every.single.thing from slipping through the cracks so that I don't miss anything. I've tried every time management technique I can think of, and I get so overwhelmed that I don't take time to update my calendar or set an Outlook reminder or make a note on my whiteboard or whatever I'm trying to do at the time to remind me of things, and I still lose track. It's killing me. This job makes me feel incompetent and stupid on an hourly basis, like I'm worth nothing to the company and entirely replaceable at any given moment, and I'm dragged down by it. My work stress bleeds over into my home life - I'm short with J in the mornings because I'm so worried about how being late, even by a few minutes, might affect me. And then I feel guilty over that.

It floors me that openings in my particular position still advertise for degreed and/or certified professionals. I have and have had co-workers here who are attorneys, CPAs, who have securities licenses or various financial certifications, who have credentials they've worked hard for. We come here, and we're reduced to answering phones and doing data entry, in addition to trying to be what we're supposed to be (but can't really do right because of the volume of work) and trying to make clients happy, some of whom just can't be made happy no matter what. And they wonder why turnover is high.

So, the obvious solution is to find something else to do. And I've looked. And looked. Inside my current company and out. I've sent resumes, I've made phone calls, I've gone on interviews. Nothing works out. Why? Have my career choices doomed me to this for the rest of my life? Is this all there is for me? Has my non-traditional career path come back to bite me in the butt? Should I have sucked up and gone with a firm right out of school, working 18-hour days six days a week? I know I'd have chosen differently earlier in life if I were the person I am now, but I wasn't - I was shy and reserved, and darned near scared of my shadow some days.

Alternatives. More education. Work at home. What do to? How to pay for school? What can I do that will earn me what I need to make? When to study? How can I do that and work, too? Work at home - can I make enough to support me? What else could I do besides transcription? Go with what I already do (Pampered Chef, candles, etc)? Learn something new (piano tuning, which I think would be quite cool). I have all sorts of ideas, but no solid direction that I think I should go.

I read my devotional a few days ago - I don't remember exactly what it said, but the gist was this: When you've asked God for something, don't just sit there with your thumb up your nose. Keep on living your life and doing what you need to do, and in His time, God will intervene. And if there's something you feel like God is telling you to do, do it.

That's all fine and good, but how do I put it into practice? I pray and I read and I think. I feel like working from home would be a good option for a variety of reasons: I'm better suited to just working by myself and being left the hell alone except for the occasional check-in with my employers, I'd be there when J left for school and when he got home, I'd save on gas, I'd have more flexibility for family things, I'd be a lot less stressed, I'm not using my law degree anyway so why not do something I could at least halfway enjoy and benefit from. There are some cons, too - having to pay for my own insurance, no other benefits, and yeah, I might miss the contact with co-workers (although I have other outlets for seeing people and making friends and what have you). But I can see the positives and I can see myself being very happy doing that, even if I'm doing several different things to bring in enough money.

So. At what point does it stop becoming a mental exercise and become time for me to "just do it"? How much confidence do I need to have in my ability to succeed? Or is that why it's called a leap of faith? How do you know you're doing the right thing? I feel like I've already made choices that were what God wanted for me, only to have them bite me in the butt. I've prayed that if certain things aren't meant to be for me, then things would go a certain way (for instance, I'd prayed about one position, asking God that I not even get an interview if the job wasn't meant to be mine, that I didn't want to get my hopes up just to have them dashed again - what happened? I got the interview but no job offer - just what I *hadn't* wanted). How do I know or feel any kind of confidence that I'd be doing the right thing, when I've felt that way in the past only to have things turn out not like I'd expected?

I'm trying to think positively, and some days it works. Some hours it works. Some it doesn't (and being at this job makes it very hard to maintain that positive attitude). I keep telling myself, the JOB sucks, it's not ME that sucks. I am not a fundamentally flawed person because I can't do well at this job. The fact that I'm not good at THIS job doesn't mean I can't be great at a lot of other things. Every once in a while, I actually believe it and I feel a little better.

Gah. I feel like I'm chasing my tail. I have to work. I hope I can hang on here long enough to get to that new and (hopefully ) improved position - days like this, I have my doubts.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm stunned

Talk about out of the blue. My manager just called me in his office. I'm now going to be the risk management officer for my new pod, instead of an administrative trust officer. I'll be a lower level for taking phone calls (meaning I'll be less likely to get them), and I'll get to do the stuff I'm GOOD at! No raise, but this position may give me a chance to do well in my job and to actually earn a raise/bonus at some point. I've still got to hang in until that starts, but surely God won't give me this opportunity and not help me stick around for it. So, yay, that's good news! At least it will be a little relief. I'm still kind of stunned, which is why I'm not bouncing up and down.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day Out With Thomas

We went to see Thomas the Tank Engine yesterday - Day Out With Thomas was at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. We did get a decent parking space, and free, no less - in the public parking lot, not the pay lot. No sobbing (we tried to go in 2005, and J was screaming and trying to run for the car before we ever saw Thomas - still not sure what set that off), although he had a couple of moments - when we first got on the train, he started wigging and telling me he couldn't ride the train. I think the loud sounds and all the people freaked him out a bit. So I just let him sit in my lap for a couple minutes and after a while he was fine. Every so often he'd want me to hold him for a minute or two, and then he'd go right on.

He really doesn't like lots of people. He has a particular fondness for bouncy houses - he'd jump all day if he could. Well, there were other kids in there, and he kept saying they'd all go home in a minute so he could jump. He flat wouldn't get in there with other kids he didn't know. So we put our shoes back on and gave the bouncy house a miss. But overall, we had big fun. We played with toys (the gift shop had more Thomas toys than you can even imagine - I'm going to start saving now for next year!) and watched videos and ate things that were bad for us and had a fun time. We did get an official pic taken - that's it at the top of this post. We got there about 11:30 and by about 2:15 or so he was ready to go. The last thing we did was stop off for our picture, and when we'd paid for it, he said, "Well, I'm glad that's over. Let's go home." LOLOLOL We ate a late lunch at David's Seafood Grill in Cedar Hill - J loves the shrimp martini, and he decided on that. And then we came home. I'm pooped!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm getting my car back!

I'm going to get my car back!!!!!!!!! The dealership called. It's either the fuel pump or the fuel pressure regulator, and they pretty much have to fix the regulator to determine if it's the problem. But it's the least expensive to fix, so we're going to run with that. It will be ready around mid-day tomorrow. If it were the fuel pump, you'd think it would just die at some point and that would be it, so I'm betting the regulator will fix it. If not, at least we'll know what comes next.

Happy news! Let's hope this is the start of a nice little string of happy things.

100 Books

Shamelessly pilfered from Katie.

Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you want to read, and the ones you neither have nor want to read, leave those alone.

Some of these I'm not familiar with, so can't say if I want to read them or not. I'll have to check those out.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) (and I'm the only person I know who's read it and *didn't* like it - in fact, I use the term "read" loosely, because I couldn't get into it enough to finish it)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
(currently reading)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings

This post will probably cover a lot of different topics, hence the title.

The weekend: It was a lovely weekend. :-) Brian finished up with his work, and after that, we test drove Kias. I have serious new car envy. I drove the Sorento (mid-size SUV), Optima (comparable to the Honda Accord), and Sedona (minivan). I liked all of them, but my favorite was the Sorento. If I'd had the money, I'd have left with a new one that day! I may end up going with an Optima because it's less expensive, and that's fine - it's a very nice car, and with the V6, it's got all the power I need. The Sedona was OK, but with the way it's designed now, you have to take the third row of seats out to have any appreciable cargo space in the back. I don't need a third row of seats so much that I want to hassle with that, so it was third on my list. At any rate, now I know what I'd like, and that gives me a goal to work toward.

After fun with cars, we went to Golden's and got lots of books for cheap, did some grocery shopping, and cooked dinner. It was a very domestic evening - Brian cleaned, I cooked. :-) Sunday morning we got up and went to church - Brian had to usher, so we were there for both services. I like their Bible class. The children have their own classes, but all the adults have one big class and the pastor teaches it. I'm sure that if it were a larger church, different age groups would be broken out. But I like the one big class. After church we went to lunch, and then I came back home. Traffic was nasty around Hillsboro - I think it's because of the ongoing road construction on I-35. It will be nice when it's all done, but right now it's just kind of a pain. I never saw any accident or anything, so I figure it was the road work slowing things down.

I don't have my car back yet. I talked to the dealership yesterday. They think they know what the problem is, but can't *prove* it because my car won't act up again. Well, duh, THAT'S the problem - it whacks out once, and then runs fine for three or four days. I don't want to play "guess what the problem is", but it's just about to the point where, if it wouldn't break the bank completely, I'd tell them to just fix what they think it is and go from there. The rental car expense is going to break me. That being said, at this point, I'd almost rather wait until after my refinance funds, so I'll have enough money to cover the cost of all of this. OY.

Yes, I closed on my refi on Monday. I'm glad I'll be getting extra cash out of it, and glad I'll have that cash for this car repair nonsense. But it pisses me off that a big hunk of my so-called emergency fund is going for car repairs and rental expense. Feh.

K asked about switching weekends - A is in a friend's wedding and it's the last weekend in March (which, being a 5th weekend, is supposed to be his weekend with J). I said that was fine, but when we tried to find a weekend to switch to (couldn't be this weekend, because J and I have tickets for Thomas the Tank Engine), every one ended up giving him three weekends in a row. So, not an option. He said he'd just owe me a big favor. Hmm. I wonder what that big favor could be? :-)

I wonder, though, if he realizes how much I hate giving up my free weekends. He's married to A, he sees her every day. Even before they were married, they were close enough that he could see her every day. I see Brian every couple of weeks, maybe two weekends in a row if things work out right. And that sucks. Long distance sucks, and I miss him, and I wish he were here, or I were there, or something just as long as we could be in the same place. I'm sure K would tell me it's my own damn fault for going and falling in love with someone who lives 90 miles away, and maybe that's so. But I didn't start out looking to fall in love, it's just one of those happy surprises that life hands out every once in a while. I just wish we could be together all the time instead of only on the occasional weekend. So, while I don't mind helping out if K is in a bind, and I don't mind switching out if he needs to do that, I do hate that I'm losing a weekend with Brian. J and I are going to go down to Waco that weekend and we're all going to go to the zoo, which will be fun, and I'm glad Brian and J get along to where we can do stuff like that. But it's not quite the same as an entirely free weekend. Oh well, until the logistics work out (and they will), I'll work with what I've got.

Transcription: I got my transcription machine in, and Julie and I are going to get together this week so I can really get going on that. I hope I like it, and I hope I do wonderfully well. It would be fabulous if that worked out to where I could do it full-time. Yeah, I know - great use of my law degree, working from home and doing transcription. But you know what? I don't give a rat's ass about my title or my job description. All I care about is making enough money to take care of me and mine and doing something that I don't hate and don't feel like I suck at.

More later, gotta work.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Finally, some progress

Well, I've got some news on the car. I talked to the service tech, and he said it did act up for them (finally!). There's something called an IAC valve (intake air control, maybe?), and he said it's sticking full open, he thinks it's trying to compensate for the engine getting too much fuel. If it's just that the valve is bad, it won't be too terrible to fix. If it's something more complicated, I don't know how bad it will be to fix. Part of me is glad they're making progress, and part of me is vaguely nauseous at the thought of how much it might cost to fix.

But I knew it was the fuel system! I should be a mechanic.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Round 2

My car is back in the shop. I have another rental car, rented until Monday at this point. I wrote up a detailed description of how the car has acted, how long it's been between times that it's acted up, how far I drove it, what was going on when the problems happened, everything I could think of, and I gave it to the service technician so they'd have more details. I sincerely hope they can find something out, because I can't keep driving around waiting for my car to give me fits, and waiting for the time it *doesn't* start again in just a few minutes. I called just now - my car is next in line, behind one that came in a couple of days ago and that they just got the parts to finish up. The service tech said he hopes they can find that there's a simple solution to the problem and have it fixed today, although I'm not holding out much hope for that. It's after 3:00 already, and they've already had it for two days trying to diagnose the problem.

I am going to Waco this weekend to see Brian. If my car is fixed today, yay, I can drive it. If not, I'll drive the rental - it's unlimited mileage. If I stayed home, 1) there's no guarantee my car would be fixed tomorrow, and 2) I was supposed to be in St. Louis this weekend with a bunch of my best girlfriends, and I'm missing out on that because of the damned car repairs - I am not about to miss out on seeing my sweetie, too. I'd just sit home and mope and be miserable, and what good would that do anyone?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh, no, the hell it didn't

My car started when I left work this afternoon. Ran a bit rough, but started and made a couple of loops around the parking garage. Then it died. Dead like a dodo. Not going. Almost blocking the way out of the garage, and me with no way to move it. (I wasn't very popular with people leaving. Fucking rude bastards. I had my hazards on and was standing by my car crying, you'd think they'd realize I didn't stop just for shit and grins.) Thankfully my manager left just after me, and stopped to help.

And blow me if that car didn't start right up after sitting for just a couple of minutes. My manager followed me home to make sure I got there safely, and it made it with no problems. What. The. Hell.

The dealership knows I'll be there in the morning. I have no idea how this will affect my weekend plans to see Brian - he's got a tour at work on Saturday that he can't get out of, and he's supposed to usher at both services at church on Sunday. I'm hoping he can get someone to cover church and then come up here Saturday afternoon - of all weekends, I need a big ol' hug or ten this weekend. I'm trying to figure out if there's any way I can avoid paying for a rental car the whole weekend and into next week - I don't expect they'll get it fixed tomorrow, and I need to have a way to get around.

Son of a bitch. If there was any way I could afford a car payment, I'd trade mine in tomorrow and walk out with one new. But I can't.

And kudos to K - when I called hysterical asking if he could pick J up from school, he did without a moment's hesitation. :-) So he redeemed himself admirably from the piddly crap of yesterday.

On the road again

I have my car back! Yay!!!! It ended up costing $489 instead of the $525 they'd quoted me yesterday. I'll never complain about it costing less. And given the nature of the problem, they had to drain the oil out of my engine and replace it. So I basically got a free oil change thrown in as part of the deal. The car seems to be running fine so far, no issues starting, and the swooshy/sloshy noise is gone. It seems to drive better, too. My opinion of the dealership has gone up immensely - this experience was much better than a couple I'd had several years ago.

I mentioned my concern to K about him being so tired. He got all defensive and said he'd never fallen asleep driving, that he just fell asleep on the couch. Well, yes, but he does that almost every time he's at my house, falls asleep on the couch. And he's always talking about how tired he is. And no one ever plans to fall asleep while driving, that's why it's called an accident. I just want him to know I'm concerned about him - yes, I want J to be safe while driving with him, but I want him to be safe, too.

I'm so glad today is Thursday. Only one more day, and I get to see Brian! No big plans this weekend, it should be pretty low-key. I could use low-key after the insanity that has been work this week.

Closing on my refinance will be Monday morning at 9:00. They'll then have to give me three days to change my mind, so the money should be paid out on Friday. I may not get it until Saturday, though, but at least I know it's on the way.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Better and then not so much

First, the good news. I'll be doing transcription for 12.5 cents a line! Woo! I'm getting my own machine, found one refurbished on eBay for about a third of the retail price. So once I get that, I'll be good to go! (Julie, if you're reading this, THANK YOU!!!!) I'm excited. It will be good experience, a chance to see how well I might really like it (i.e., could it possibly become a career for me so I could tell corporate America to kiss my big ol' booty?), and much-needed extra cash.

I think I may have mentioned the childcare reimbursement program at work. The guidelines said your individual income had to be less than $34,000 and family income had to be less than $60,000 to qualify. I made the argument that I am the family income and I make less than $60,000, and apparently I qualify. :-) They'll reimburse you up to $175/month for care for children under age five, and up to $152/month for care for children ages five to twelve. Not a lot, but every little bit helps. So that's good news!

My car is fixed. They couldn't duplicate the starting problem, but the swooshing/sloshing noise I heard was a coolant leak from the intake gasket. Cost to fix: $525. I'm not *excited* about spending that much, but it made me wince, not wail and gnash my teeth. It's painful, but not unbearably so. The service technician said that this repair might somehow clear up the starting problem, but if that continued to be an issue, I can bring the car back and they'll do the diagnostic work for free to figure out what's going on. I thought that was pretty cool, although I hope I won't have to take them up on it. So tomorrow morning I'll take the rental car back, get a ride to the dealership, and pick up my car. J will be very disappointed to take the Kia back - he kept telling me, "Mama, I like this car. It's so CLEAN!" LOLOL He said we should keep it, and when I told him we were just using it until I got my car fixed, he said, "OK, we'll just drive it for a few minutes, then." Silly boy. :-)

And now for my bitchy bits.

Does J just not listen? Has he not yet developed a sense of empathy? I know he's not stupid, I know he can understand what I'm telling him - not like I'm using words that are beyond his ability to comprehend.

I was picking up toys tonight and had a big plastic bucket of them in my hands, so no way to break a fall. I stepped on one that had gotten left out, lost my balance and fell into the entertainment center. My arm and hand landed on the edge, but I didn't seriously hurt anything. I could have fallen all the way down, I could have hit my head on an edge or a corner, I could have gone through the glass front, and been seriously hurt. I told J that this is why I ask him to pick up toys, so we don't step on them and fall and get hurt. His response? Nothing. Not even to ask if I was OK. He just kept on playing and pretty much ignored me, even though he'd been looking at me when I talked to him. When do kids start to learn empathy? It makes me wonder if mine is just a late bloomer in that regard, or what.

And K. Once again, I have the urge to smack him (yet I also feel strangely bad at the same time - read on). I had my cell phone in my pocket, and I was trying to get J to sleep. (Note to self: turn ringer off.) It was right about 10:00, and finally, after a rough night, J was just dozing off. The effin' cell phone rang and he sat bolt upright in bed. It was K - apparently he thought J would still be awake, so he called. Um, have we just met?! Do you not remember that this is about the time every night I'm trying to get him to freakin' SLEEP?! Like I said, it was a rather bad night, so I'm sure I sounded pissy. Kevin said he'd talk to me tomorrow and hung up - didn't say anything about why he was calling at a rather odd hour. After a bit, I then thought maybe something was wrong, so I sent him a text message. He wrote back and said he was just missing J, and thought maybe he'd say good night if he was still awake. So then I felt bad. But then I thought, again, it's 10:00. Even if J is awake, K should know that I'd be trying to get him to sleep, not wanting him to be kept awake. And even a short phone call can rev his engines up and keep him from sleeping easily. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Thankfully J didn't get all wound up and did go to sleep in (for him) relatively short order.

This, after tonight. K picked J up for my late night (turns out I didn't have handbells, since it's spring break this week, but I didn't know that). I got home, K left. Fine and good, until I walked across the living room and stepped in a big squishy wet spot - almost a whole glass of milk had been spilled on the carpet and not cleaned up at all. I asked J if he'd told daddy about the spill. He said yes. I thought and then asked if daddy was asleep when J told him (K had said he was tired, and J had already mentioned daddy sleeping). Again, yes. So K just snoozed away while J put a whole cup of milk in the middle of the carpet (rather than on a hard surface, where cups belong) and (not surprisingly) knocked it over. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Then I found that he'd left J's soy milk sitting out. Milk. Needs to go in the fridge. Soy milk. Not cheap. My frustration knows no bounds. Thankfully it hadn't been out long enough to go off, but still. What if I hadn't noticed it? And a grown man should be able to put milk back in the fridge.

I'm irritated because now I have to clean my carpet again (at least I have the Bissell now). And I'm worried that K is that tired, that he couldn't/wouldn't rouse himself when J said something to him. What if J had gotten into something he shouldn't have? What if he'd set something on fire? What if he'd gotten into something worse than milk? What if he'd cut himself? If K can't be roused by his son, that's a problem - he needs to go to bed earlier if it's because he's up too late, or get some medical attention if he's just physically/mentally unable to sleep. That's for J's good when J is with him and for his own good. What if K falls asleep while he's driving? Worse yet, what if he falls asleep while driving with J in the car? These are the things that come to mind and that worry me - brought on by a big puddle of spilled milk. (I'm not crying over it, I'm worrying over it. That's something completely different.) Not sleeping well isn't healthy. There's a reason sleep deprivation can be used as a form of torture - it makes you feel like crap and makes you unable to function. So I'm vexed with K (because there's a big wet milk puddle in the middle of my formerly-somewhat-cleaner carpet) and worried about him, too (because this kind of tired isn't normal).

I'm going to take a bubble bath and have a glass of wine. I am one big stress kitty right now, and I've got to get up early to go get the rental car back and get my car.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More automotive fun


My car wouldn't start again this morning. I tried to rev the engine to get it to catch, as it was running really rough, but it died. I waited a few minutes, and it started. With J in tow, I got the car to the dealership in Waxahachie. They'll check it out and let me know. The guy thinks the starting problems and the strange noise I'm hearing are related. He also said he'd had one with a similar noise problem and it turned out to be a coolant leak. He mentioned the heater core, and I said I'd had mine replaced in December - if Kwik Kar effed something up doing that, I'm going to scream. And if it involves the heater core or that general area, I already know what that involves - taking the whole damn dashboard off and a shitload of labor costs. It cost me over $800 to get that bad boy replaced. Then I went to Hertz to rent a car. I had to get cash out of the bank to rent a car, because my debit card wouldn't go through. When, when, when does it get BETTER?!?!?!

And I'm now driving a nice little Kia Spectra, and thoroughly depressed - it's such a nice, clean, quiet little car, no funny rattles or bumps or things that need fixing, and I know a new car is not even close to being in my budget. :sigh: So I'll keep driving my rattly, bumpy, messy, paid-for heap.

And then there's K. As I've said before, he has helped me out above and beyond child support, and I do appreciate that. I have told him that when I find a better job and my financial situation is more stable, I'll pay him back that amount as I can. Today I called to let him know I'd made it in with the car and gotten the rental car, and I also mentioned that Katy said my loan will go through, and we may be able to close as early as tomorrow. K asked how much cash I was getting, and I told him I was going to ask for a bit more than I'd originally planned, to cover these car repairs. He started asking me if I could pay back part of what I owed him. I said I could pay some, and he started asking for an amount. I was worried about my car, I'd just had my debit card turned down and taken most of my cash out of savings to rent a car to get to my effin' job that I hate, and he wanted to know how much I could pay him from what's supposed to be my emergency fund. GAAAAAAAAAAAH. You know, I appreciate the fact that he helped me out way more than he had to, often to the point that he put himself in a bind. He didn't have to do that, and I am going to pay him back. But this morning was not the best time to push me on it, when I don't even know how much it will cost to fix my car and I'm taking on a huge house note just to get enough cash out to say I have a savings account, and I wish he could have seen that. Of course, I got wiggy and then he got pissed, saying never mind, it doesn't matter. It does matter, I'm going to pay him back because I don't want this hanging over my head. His timing was just severely off. And honestly, I wish I'd never been in the position of having to ask him for help. I feel like I tried my best to carry us financially while we were married and while he had a job that he liked and that liked him but that unfortunately ran out of work periodically, often for long periods of time, and wouldn't even consider a second job to help out. We ran up a shitload of debt just trying to get by, and I filed bankruptcy to get out from under mine (my debt was a good bit more than his, as I had good credit before I got married and credit card companies were happy to give me enough rope to let me hang myself). I've wrecked my credit to try to clean up the mess that was created while we were married, I did not make that mess by myself, and it chaps me that he's now jumping up and down for me to pay him back when he knows my finances aren't good and after me feeling like I carried a substantial portion of the financial load while we were married. He paid off his debt and didn't destroy his credit. I know I owe him the money, and I'm going to pay it back, but it feels like just another creditor dunning me for money, and I so don't need that right this minute. Now is just not a good time for him to be asking me about paying him back, and it hit me the wrong, wrong, wrong way.

On the bright side, I got a voice mail about the transcription work. :) So I'll call back and see if I can get some good news there. Hopefully the second half of the day won't suck as much as the first half has.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

And now the holiday fun begins

And now the holiday fun starts. K's mom had asked me if they could come visit for Easter, and as is my usual reaction, I said sure. But then I realized that Easter is the first weekend in April, and J would be with K, so I said he and I would need to talk first. They were planning to come and stay here with me and J.

K called just now. He's talked to his mom, and now wants me to talk to her and try to dissuade them from staying here. He says he thinks it's inappropriate for them to stay here for the holiday when J will be with A and him, and he hasn't mentioned it to A, but he thinks she'd be uncomfortable with it as well. I told him to speak for himself if he was bothered by it, and to ask A before he said it would bother her - he just insisted that he "knew" it would bother her. I guess I can see that it would be weird having your in-laws staying at their ex-DIL's house, but I'm so used to welcoming them whenever they feel like coming to visit that this hurts. I adore K's parents. I want them to come see us and to feel welcome here. I hate that K wants me to be the one to try to convince them not to stay here. I told him that if he and A were bothered, that needed to come from him, but that I would point out it was K's weekend with J, and that they might want to stay closer to them this visit, not that I minded them staying here but it would be more work for them driving back and forth. I'm sure she'll ask why we couldn't switch weekends, but plans the rest of the month really do work against us doing that. So. I'm not looking forward to this conversation. K says he feels like he's stuck in the middle. Well, so do I. I feel like I'm stuck between what his parents want and what he wants, and if it bothers him and A if they stay here, I wish that would just come from him rather than it coming from me first that I think it might be better if they didn't stay here.

He asked me wouldn't it bother me if Brian's parents went to stay at his ex's house. I said if they still got along, I don't think it would. I know Brian is still on good terms with his ex-ILs, and they get together for dinner periodically, and I'm fine with that. They've told him they'd like to meet me at some point. I'm not bothered by that at all. But maybe I'm just wired differently than some people.

I got upset and cried, and K got all wiggy about that. I told him that it hurt, that I still think of his parents as family and I hate telling them for whatever reason that they can't/shouldn't stay here. He said he wasn't saying they couldn't stay here ever, he just didn't think it was right for a holiday. I'm not sure whether he meant *any* holiday or just one where J was with A and him. At any rate, this sucks, and I don't care what K says, he isn't in the same position. His parents have always been welcome in this house, and it was and still is my home. K is in a different home, one with stairs that would make it difficult for his dad to maneuver to the bedroom to sleep (his dad has arthritis in his hips) - there are logistical reasons why K could say, hey, y'all might be more comfortable in a hotel than here. I hate that it's coming from me, because it never has before.

This sucks.

Today's horoscope

Go ahead and trust those instincts, especially if you're considering taking a radical new step on your life's path. While it may seem overwhelming at first, you'll muddle through somehow. A fresh start awaits.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

A lovely day!

Brian and I took J to the Dallas World Aquarium today. It was fun - J was all over the place, he was so excited. It was really funny, though - he'd exclaim over the plants and the monkeys and the birds and the fish, and then he'd exclaim over the trash cans. LOLOL He had a good time, up until there was a performance of some sort. A group of people came by in what looked like maybe Mayan dress, and that was cool until the two parrots one man had on his shoulders let out this raucous shriek. Poor J, he nearly came unglued, and that was it. He wanted to go home RIGHT THEN. He's definitely sensitive to loud noises, and that was the end of it. So we made our way out, found the gift shop for a little souvenir, and headed back home.

I'd hoped J would go to sleep early, being as how the time changes tonight. Not so much, even though he had to be worn out - the aquarium was a big exciting thing, and he played a lot after we got back home, but he didn't give it up until nearly 8:30 even though he was clearly wiped out. Tiny boy. But he did finally go to sleep, and Brian and I got to have a little time to ourselves. He didn't stay too late, since he'd be out late enough anyway with losing an hour tonight. I cried after he left.

He said there's a possibility someone on the faculty at Baylor in the department he's teaching in (one class this semester) is retiring at the end of this year. I know he's hoping to teach at the college level, and if someone retired, I know he'd love to be hired on at Baylor. I'd be happy for him, because he'd be so good at it and because that's what he'd ultimately like to do. But the thought of that makes me sad, too. What if he gets hired on there and I can't find anything in Waco? I haven't had any luck so far (of course, I haven't had any luck in Dallas, either, now have I?). How long would something long-distance be sustainable? If we couldn't ever be in the same place, would we have to call it quits at some point? I know I'm putting the cart way, way ahead of the horse here. There hasn't even been official word on the retirement. But just the thought of losing him, especially over something as stupid as logistics ("stupid" isn't the right word - it wouldn't be because we wanted to call it off, it would be over something that we really couldn't control completely, at least not in terms of being in the same place and being able to work where we were), makes me want to cry and scream and throw things. I can't imagine my life without him in it. I don't want to. So the part of me that loves him and wants him to be happy and wants him to succeed at his goals hopes he gets on the faculty at Baylor. The selfish part of me doesn't, and wants him to find a job up here right now. And all of me is sitting here crying like a fool right now at the thought of the possibility, may it never come to pass.

I think I need more chocolate.
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Friday, March 09, 2007

I am so not at work today

Well, today I can keep my positive attitude from home - I went out to the driveway this morning, and my car wouldn't start. I'm pretty sure it's just the battery, and once my battery charger is charged (yeah, what kind of dork am I, to buy a battery charger and not charge it immediately upon getting home), I'll give the car a boost and we'll go get a new battery. This just falls in the category of "it's always something". It's only money, right? *SIGH* I hate having to take off work because I've got so much to do, but it can't be helped. If the car doesn't go, I don't go. J is thrilled that we get to stay home from school. LOL

And if it had to happen, at least it happened at home, after I'd bought a battery charger. I'm not stuck at work. I'm not stuck on the side of I-35 during rush hour. I'm not having to try to find a friend with jumper cables or have my car towed just to get a new battery. I can take care of the problem myself, drive the car to Wal-Mart, and have the new battery put in. So, it could be worse. It is only money, after all.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9

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Thirteen Things That Make Me Smile

1. My son. He's busy, infuriating, funny, and sweet, and he can make me want to bang my head against the nearest wall. But he can make me laugh like nothing else, and it warms my heart when he tells me he loves me.

2. Good dark chocolate. Looooooove me some dark chocolate.

3. Festive pens. I love writing in different colors. I doodle a lot, and the more entertaining my doodles can be, the better I like it. I'm especially partial to sparkly inks.

4. A good book. Nothing beats curling up with a good book on a rainy day. (Not that I get to do that often, but when I do, I like it a lot.)

5. Sunny days. I'm a fair-weather child by nature. If I have to live with too much rain and gloom, I get grumpy.

6. Clean sheets. It feels wonderful to slip into bed with clean, cool sheets at the end of the day.

7. A bubble bath. #6 is especially nice if you've had a bubble bath first. And a bubble bath in the middle of the day, for example, if you take the day off work, just feels downright decadent.

8. A nap. See #7 for my thoughts about naps in the middle of the day. I think that's the best sleep there is, taking a nap on a vacation day, knowing everyone else is at work and you aren't. I wish I could take a nap right now.

9. Chocolate chip cookies. Especially if they're warm and fresh from the oven.

10. Flowers. I can't grow 'em, but I can enjoy 'em.

11. Cotton candy. How can you not smile when you've got a big fluffy blob of spun sugar in your hand? I very seldom have any, but it's always a smiley occasion when I do.

12. Butterflies. I love butterflies. I had one land on my arm once when J and I were outside. Very cool.

13. Brian. I don't understand how I can feel so secure and centered when I'm around him, and yet all hair-standing-on-end/toes-curling at the same time. It's a mystery, but one that darn sure makes me happy.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dad had a bad day. What a day Dad had.

OK, Mom. But geez, it has been a day and a half.

Yesterday ended, and today started, with me trying frantically to clean as much as I could before the appraiser came at 8:30 this morning. I was trying to clean, shower, get dressed, get J settled with breakfast and get him dressed, and get out the door. I was hoping to get J to school early, so I could run back home and pick up a couple more things before the appraisal.

Ha. Then there was the great yogurt throwdown. J has taken lately to wanting to bring something for snack at school. I guess some of his classmates bring their own snacks rather than eating what the school provides, and that's fine. Today, though, he wanted yogurt. I told him no, yogurt needs to stay cold or it gets yucky. He said he liked it yucky. I told him yogurt had to be put in the refrigerator and there wasn't one in his class. He then started howling that he WANTED yogurt, and there was a refrigerator in his CUBBY. I tried to be patient and gentle and remember that he wasn't doing this to push my buttons. That lasted for all of about three seconds before I snapped. *SIGH* So the day started off with a screamfest over yogurt.

We left later than I'd intended, and J was in prime dawdle mode. I was antsy thinking I might not even make it home by 8:30, much less would I be there in time to pick anything up or clean anything, and I was short with J. (Yeah, today was not my best parenting moment.) But we had hugs and kisses before I left, so that was good. Still, I felt guilty for being abrupt with him. No one tells you in parenting classes that guilt is a huge part of becoming a mother.

I made it home by 8:27, resigned to not getting any more cleaning done. 8:30 comes and goes. No appraiser. 8:45. 9:00. Still no appraiser. I was thinking of leaving for work - tonight is my late shift, and I was supposed to be at work by 10:00. Finally at 9:15 he got there. He'd gotten stuck in traffic (I can relate to that) and hadn't had my number to call and let me know. So he did his thing and was finished by about 9:40 or so. I tried to schedule this on an off time, so I wouldn't have to take extra time off work, and damn if I wasn't going to end up late to work anyway.

I head out the door, and as I'm toodling up the highway, it hits me. I had a conference call scheduled for 10:00. It's 9:51 at this point, I am NOT making it to work by 10:00. D'OH. I called my buddy and asked him to call my client, apologize for me, let her know I was held up, and tell her I'd call back to reschedule. Turns out she thought the call was at 10:00 Eastern time (her time), so she was already miffed. *SIGH* I called and got her voice mail. I'll have to try again.

Then work is a three-ring circus, as always. I'm crazy busy trying to dig out of all the stuff on my desk when we get word that a co-worker has passed away unexpectedly. She had some outpatient surgery this morning, and came through that fine, but died in recovery. They're not sure if it was a heart attack or blood clot or what.

And I thought my day was bad.

Godspeed, Doris. Things won't be the same around here without you, and you will be missed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The weekend, and a conundrum solved?

I had a wonderful weekend with Brian. It's funny, it's like my time with Brian makes me so happy that I don't want to talk about it much, I just want to hold it in my heart. I love him so much, and this logistical issue just needs to work out some way or the other. I wish we were in a situation where one of us could just move and count on a job being there, but we aren't. So, we look and we wait. That part sucks.

We went to see The Number 23. Good movie - not one you think, "Oh, I want to see it again and again," but worth seeing.

And in other news, I think I have solved the conundrum that is J. Brian and I went to Half Price Books on Friday evening - I was looking for The Out of Sync Child, but didn't find it there. Instead I found Raising Your Spirited Child. I kind of flipped through it in the store, and I bought it. Best $6 I think I've ever spent. It describes J to a T. Spirited children are more everything - more energetic, more sensitive, more persistent, more perceptive, more intense. The throwdowns over sock seams in the wrong place, the fits over itchy tags, the seeming inability to remember a simple direction, the high highs and the low lows, the drama, the texture issues with food - all traits of a spirited child. The book was clear that this is considered "normal" behavior, that the spirited child doesn't have any kind of neurological or sensory problems. They're loud in joy or anger because they really do feel everything that much more strongly. They're easily frustrated because they feel the frustration more so than people who can try and try again without getting stressed out. They're in constant motion because they're wired that way. The itchy tag really does bother him that much more than it bothers me. This is his temperament, and to ask him to stop being that way is asking him to stop being himself. He's not doing any of this to get on my nerves, he's just that way. The book goes into different ways of working with your child's temperament, seeing the positive instead of the negative (i.e., "assertive" rather than "aggressive", "tenacious" rather than "stubborn"), and helps the parent determine his or her temperament as well (apparently I'm more spirited than I thought, which is why J and I bang heads so much - irresistible force, meet immovable object! LOL). I feel so much better knowing there are enough kids out there like J that there's a name for it! I'm not a weak mother, I'm not ineffective, I'm not doing something wrong, there isn't anything wrong with J, he's not "difficult" - I just need to learn to work with J to help him channel all this intensity.

And the book distinguished between the spirited child's lack of focus and the ADHD child's lack of focus. The spirited child, if interested, can focus for a good long while (sound like any little boy I know? :) ). If it's his idea, he's a lot more likely to be interested than if it's someone else's, but if it's something that appeals, he'll be engaged. The ADHD child, no matter how much he may *want* to complete a task or participate in an activity, *can't* focus - it's not that he isn't interested, it's that there's something going on in his brain that keeps him from attaining that focus. That made me feel better, too, and will be handy knowledge should someone down the road want to label my child ADHD and stuff him full of Ritalin.

Bedtime: He was asleep by 9:00 last night. Not sure if this is the growing part of the growth spurt I suspect (he's not eating nearly as much, and he does seem more tired than usual), if he was just tired from the weekend with K (he was up at 6:30 yesterday morning), or if the Serenite Jr. helped. I put a couple of drops into a little milk like the instructions said, but he only drank about half of that little bit of milk. I guess it might have been enough to make a difference. At any rate, he sacked out while I was reading to him and slept most all night - he came and climbed into bed with me at some point, and then fell right to sleep there.

And now it's another fun and exciting day at the office. Woo.

I've applied with a medical transcription company to see about the possibility of doing some part-time work. Supposedly they train you, and you can work as much or as little as you like. I typed up my transcription sample and sent it in on Friday. It can't hurt to talk to them, and if it works out to bring in a couple hundred extra a month, then that's a good thing. I'm thinking I may really need to make a complete change of career. Law and/or finance/estate planning may really not be my thing.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Well, all righty then

I called the attorney in Waco, as time was running out on my refinance (after 30 days, I'd have had to start the process over). He said they really had concerns about the fact that I hadn't practiced in a while (seven years, give or take). Well, you big dumb box of duh, you could see that from my resume - why even bother to give me a call and tell me my resume stood out?!?! I was really irritated that day - I mean, why call me and get my hopes up if my resume clearly shows I'm not what you need? I can respect the fact that they need someone who can hit the ground running - that's their call to make, and no reflection on me if I don't meet those criteria. But why, why, why, when it's something you can clearly see from my resume, did they bother giving me a call if I hadn't been practicing and they need someone who has been? Then he said, "But we haven't made a decision yet." Well, I think they've pretty well decided not to call me for an interview. I was upset and pissy and grumpy at first, but now I'm better. Not great, because I want out of where I am now, but better.

So - the refinance will proceed. My appraisal is on Tuesday. I hope this is a good thing and not one of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" things.

J's sleep issues continue. Some nights are worse than others, some bedtimes are easier than others, but none are particularly good. *SIGH* Last night he was awake until 11:00. Not up running around, but awake. Not sleeping. Lying in his bed fidgeting. And then he was up before 7:00 this morning. I'm sorry, whether he needs lots of sleep or a little sleep, eight hours for a boy who doesn't nap can't be sufficient. I did order the Serenite Jr., and it's come in. I'm sending it with J to K's house this weekend, so they can go ahead and try it out. (I did tell K to make sure he sends it back - if it works wonders, I want it here for sure! LOL)

I really had to laugh, though. Last night he was sitting in the floor watching TV, and suddenly he said with a sigh in his voice, "Kids these days." I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing. I said, "What?!" He said, "Kids these days. They just don't watch as much TV as they used to." I roared. He sounded like a little old man, and it was hysterical. I wish I could follow him around with a video camera all the time to record all the funny random things he says and does.

He must be having a growth spurt, because he's been eating me out of house and home. Last night he asked for five sausage links (five!!!), and spaghetti, and ice cream. He didn't get all of that (I told him that was silly, that he couldn't eat that much), so we settled on sausage. He didn't eat five, but he did eat three links. That's a lot. He's been going on like this for about a week. I expect him to wake up one morning six inches taller.

I'm taking today off - I needed a mental health day. Work is absolutely insane. Seriously. I have so much to do, I don't know how I'll get it all done. They've just dumped a new project in our laps that has a pretty strict time limit and takes some huge amount of hours to finish - I'd like to know how exactly we're supposed to do that on top of all our other work and special projects, and why we can't just hire some temp help to get it done and be finished with it. Because that would make too much sense, I guess. At any rate, if I were really good and diligent and dedicated and all that, I'd have worked today. But I figured it was more important that my head not pop off from all the stress, so - mental health day it is.

And it's a Brian weekend! Yay!!! He's only got one tour group at work today, so hopefully he'll be up here earlier than usual.

Now, I've got to get stuff done around here. More later. I'll have to remember to write about the career aptitude test.