The Bar

So just to update you all. The layoffs have come and gone and I am still here. Grateful to have a job still.

We did lose some people. Some were long overdue and honestly should have been fired years ago. Some just weren’t in areas that were needed anymore. But most stemmed from performance and behavior issues. Which makes sense. We did however lose one member of our team who and this person was very valuable and did a really great job. It was upsetting because we have 2 team members who consistently need to be asked to do their jobs and underperform. But I am not even going to get into them. I was going to, because it is very upsetting to see one in particular rewarded for bad behavior once again.

I won’t get into it all, but our leaders have been made aware multiple times of this individual’s issues and have themselves even witnessed some of the many times this individual is fast asleep at their desk. Our management has yet to provide any action that has made a difference.

Last week was rough when the team learned about this individual’s high performance rating (they bragged about it, they were also sure they were going to be fired the week before, they knew they were a low performer). Now they know they can get away with anything. And when the rest of the team found out that they had achieved the same and didn’t exceed this, we were livid and morale has plummeted.

Sleeping, being lazy, lying, not doing your job and doing more work to get out of doing work? Apparently that is were the bar is.

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A different Limbo

Over the years, I have been used to being in limbo.

Am I pregnant?

Is the line dark enough?

Are the numbers going to rise enough?

Is there a heartbeat?

When will I start bleeding?

When will the test results come back? And what do they mean?

When can I try again?

Rinse repeat.

 

And then also during the successful pregnancy:

Is it still alive?

Does it have all of the right chromosomes?

Is he going to make it through this?

 

But now I face a different limbo. One that when announced a couple of months ago, I honestly wasn’t worried about. But now as the time goes by and it is looming over us, I am getting increasingly nervous.

I will not mention the name of the company that I work for, but they announced major layoffs back in November. Layoffs to take place by the end of January. Ones that they are waiting until the last minute for it seems. Which just ramps up the nerves and makes it hard to focus on anything else at work, especially when the week so far has been particularly slow.

You may remember, I only just started this job in March. Had I been here longer, long enough for my performance scores to be on record, I would not be worried. I am a great employee and my bosses agree and constantly reward me and let me know this. The problem is… they aren’t the ones who made the decisions. Everything at this point is really just ‘rumors’ but what seems to be true is that the decisions were made based off of these scores from the previous years and probably various other things. No emotion or bias. Which sounds great. We SHOULD be judging people at work based on their performance and behaviors. Not whether they are your boss’s buddy. But for someone who doesn’t have these performance scores yet, I am worried. I don’t know how they made the decisions. We do know that the decisions have been made though, and not by our bosses.

The things we don’t know:

When will this happen?

Will it be me?

How much severance will I get?

Will my child be uninsured?

Can we afford insurance on only my DH’s salary?

Do I need to start looking for another job?

Will I find another job?

When will this be over?

Just like in the TTC times, I wish I just knew. I wish they would just do the ‘Band-Aid” method.

It will be fine if I get let go. We will make it work. DH and I have planned for these such scenarios with our savings. I know one thing about this scenario, it would be the company’s loss. More so than mine.

But I just NEED to know. So I can move on. Move on from the company, or move on with the company and most importantly move on with my life. Because since this announcement, all of the plans we were making have been halted. No vacations, no visiting friends, no booking accommodations for wedding. No big purchases (necessary or not). Not many small purchases either.

I can live with the outcome. Whatever it may be. But I can’t keep dealing with this limbo.

 

Is it February yet?

S

 

Why I went “No gifts” and the result

I have a 2 year old.

TWO. Like I have kept a human being alive for 2 years.

I decided well before his birthday that I wanted to do a ‘no gifts’ party. I did some research on how to present this on an invitation, which was interesting to see from both sides. I just really didn’t want or need more toys in our house! In fact, I want even less than we already have!

DH and I didn’t really agree here. He wanted Little Bach to get gifts and be able to open them. But we obviously would still be getting him gifts as would his grandparents. I really didn’t want more trucks and balls and trains, I swear this kid already has all the toys a kid needs for a lifetime. And it makes me upset when I see members of my family and B’s family who live check to check, no retirement, no college savings for the kids, and the kids have SO MANY TOYS. And at their birthday parties they get SO MANY MORE! I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it. Here were some of the reasons I gave my husband:

  • I have been that person. That person who was invited to a party that couldn’t afford to give a nice gift. The one who felt embarrassed when my friend opened other extravagant gifts and then opened mine. The person whose family had to choose between buying a birthday gift for someone and buying necessities. I don’t ever want anyone to feel like this.
  • He is 2! He won’t even remember! He doesn’t understand it anyway!
  • It’s Christmas in a month… he will get stuff. Believe me.
  • I want him to know the feeling of giving and to enjoy it even more than the feeling of getting.
  • I want him to know that spending time with family is more important than getting ‘things’ in fact there are many things more important than having ‘things’
  • Less toys = bigger imagination
  • I don’t want him to feel entitled: “You made it another year without killing yourself, have anything you want!”

After a lot of discussion DH agreed, but with the stipulation that we may not do this for birthdays in the future.

I decided to go with “No gifts please. **** would just like to celebrate with you! If you would like to gift something please consider bringing a food donation for [Local Charity Organization] instead.”

People felt really weird about this when they received it. Really just B’s family. His cousin came up to me on Thanksgiving told me she felt weird not bringing a gift to a birthday party. She asked if she could bring a card and give him a little money instead. Well of course! We have put all of his birthday and Christmas money so far in an education savings program for him. Because what will a 2 year old do with $20? Rip it up and eat it, that’s what!

But we were happy to accept the gifts of money that he got, and I know that the people giving it don’t feel like it is as personal, but I can assure them that when he graduates high school and goes to college (assuming anyway) or even if he doesn’t and takes the money out of the account and pays the taxes on it, it will be a lot more meaningful to him than that plastic truck he got when he was 2 and doesn’t remember jumping on and breaking 2 months later.

We had people who brought just cards, some gave cards with some money and some didn’t, and some brought a book (fine) and a lot of people brought food donations which Little Bach will be taking to the local pantry to donate himself. And a few still brought toys, which we did not open at the party, we told people if they wanted to see him open it, they would have to stay after. One of the things I had read about was when the invitation says “No gifts” then the kid gets a lot of gifts and the parents do the whole gift opening thing during the party and how awkward that makes people feel. I was not about to do that.

Overall, it was a little awkward, at times before the party I was regretting it just because of how weird people thought it was and it felt weird to answer their questions when they asked if they could give him money or a check, because yes, they can, and yes it would go to his college fund, but I didn’t want it to seem like this was the whole intent of the ‘no gifts’ thing. We appreciate everything that he got, and he will appreciate it even more when he gets older.

It is nice to not have a bunch more toys at the house, though I still have to purge before Christmas. But it sickens me the amount of money that people spend on toys, I mean, if you have the money for it, right on, but I swear I know so many people who will go into debt or not pay their bills but their kids have tons of toys that they will break soon! Not judging anyone, this is each person’s own choice. I’m just voicing mine.

I don’t mean to sound like a Scrooge, I am getting my son a couple of toys for Christmas, and I’m sure when he gets older and understands a little more, I will get him more than that. But at 2? He is just going to be happy to get to rip some paper apart. he won’t care what is in it!

My gift to him every year is my contribution to his Educational Savings Account. I guess growing up without having any education (or regular) savings and having to start my life out with the debt of student loans helps me to want to give my son a better start and a better opportunity.

So one of the changes I have made since becoming “Mom” is that I no longer gift toys to young kids, they get money, money that I hope goes to an account for them for later, but that is up to the parents (In the case of our families, the money probably gets spent within the week on a toy the kid wants and doesn’t already have). Their kids, their decisions.

 

Wow… this does sound kind of judgey… wasn’t the intention. Just sharing my views on thing, this is after all, my blog, and apparently I have some strong views on this!

Why I am so ‘cheap’

My step-mom made a joke about it last week, how cheap I am, I don’t remember how it went, I was initially bothered by it, but not for long, I am proud of being ‘frugal’.

My sister told me on Sunday that I’m ‘tighter than the skin on a hot dog’ to which I replied “And that is why I am in the position I am in, and you guys aren’t”. which she laughed about. I am in a better place financially than the rest of my family, but that doesn’t mean I can (or want to) blow my money.

I don’t want to have my son grow up how I did. Getting evicted and having to move all the time. Living in some bad areas. Living in a camper in my relative’s driveway. Sleeping on the kitchen floor because the oven was the only heat we had some cold nights. No savings for college, having to foot the whole bill myself.

Long story short in short(ish): My mom can’t work, she has RA, which makes her unable to keep a consistent schedule not knowing when what part of her body will be in too much pain for being crippled each week, she wasn’t able to keep a steady job because of this. She had 2 crappy disability lawyers and ended up being denied TWICE for her condition for horrible reasons (especially when I see people who do get disability and do all kinds of running around and heavy lifting) So she won’t be able to get that, but she was recently diagnosed with COPD, so she should be able to get disability with that (just no back pay). Her husband (my step dad) is an alcoholic. I mean, pints of whiskey everyday. EVERY. DAY. plus whatever else he can get his hands on. He doesn’t make much, and they are bad with money. They buy stuff instead of paying their bills with the money they DO have.

So who helps them pay the bills when they have shutoff notices? That’s right. You just won $100 if you guessed me! (Just kidding about the $100, haven’t you been reading along? I’m cheap, no money for you!)

Well, after a great Thanksgiving celebration at my house Sunday (I cooked everything) and everyone having a great time, my A*hole step dad ruined it for everyone, made so many people cry on drunk rampage. 3 days later, and both of my sisters have been staying at my house since, and now it look like my mom is leaving him over it, which is great for her emotionally (maybe?).

Except she has no income. So… who is going to be helping support her financially? You probably guessed it again.

Note: I am fine with supporting her to get out of that relationship. But I’m horrified because I don’t know what things will look like going forward. My sister can’t support herself, she is still living with my mom and working part time and spending money on all kinds of luxuries she wants, and thinks that she deserves to because of all she lost in her divorce. And with my company going through free cash flow issues and going through a major organizational restructure, I wasn’t worried about my job, but maybe I should be.

So yes, I am tight. Probably more than I should be. But I am tight because I HAVE to be.

 

I just want to go home and cry… but I can’t. My sisters are still staying there. And I have an adorable toddler to take care of.

The final straw

I was sick with a cold for nearly 2 weeks. It wouldn’t have been all that bad if I just could have slept! But it is hard to sleep when you can’t breathe. Every day I would wake up hoping that today was the day I would finally feel better. I was supposed to have a meeting with my counselor last Monday, but when I ended up not sleeping well Sunday night I gave her a call and left a message hoping that we could reschedule. When she finally called back she was like “What’s going on?” I told her and she asked “So there is no way you can come in? Being that this is late notice?” Sorry, my cold didn’t give me enough of a notice for you….

After I told her I could make it happen if I HAD to, she said we could just reschedule (flaky, eh?). The rescheduled appointment was yesterday. She seemed in a bad mood since she answered the door, telling me that I can just come in after ringing the bell (My bad for using manners to wait for someone to answer their own door at their home) and then when I went to shut the door she told me to leave it, so the next person knows to just come in. It doesn’t sound that bad in writing, but she did not say any of this in a very nice tone. Okay, whatever, we all have bad days.

For the past week or so I was afraid that DH would not follow through on his month of planning a date, at which time I would schedule us with a marriage counselor. Well, he did follow through, he asked my sister to watch Little Bach and he made dinner reservations to a place he knew I had been wanting to go for a while now. I was really excited about it. Of course I still ended up feeling like crap that day, but we still went out and had a good time experiencing fondue for the first time together.

I told (We will call her Mrs. B) that he came through on date night. She asked what we did and I told her we went to dinner.

Mrs. B “What else?”

Me “That was it. He asked me what I wanted to do after we left there, but I was still sick and couldn’t even stay awake, I just wanted to go to sleep”

Mrs. B “So he didn’t plan anything else?”

Me “No”

Mrs. B “So he STILL doesn’t understand what you want?”

And then it got into her saying that because he asked me what I wanted to do after, that he didn’t do what I wanted him to do. I told her I was happy just to go to dinner! And he booked it all and set it up at a place that he knew I wanted to try for a while. And she was just really trying to get me to be mad about it!! “But… he still didn’t know what you wanted to do after. He still asked you and wanted you to figure it out.”

I was seriously picturing in my head leaping across the room to choke a bitch. I was SO MAD.

I defended him saying that of course he asked me what I wanted to do, he knew I had been sick for over a week and it is not just perfectly fine, but also perfectly logical for him to ask me what I want to do in that situation so he can learn what I was up for in my condition. (Which turned out to be nothing. Going home and sleeping).

She did not like that answer. I am getting fuzzy on the details of the conversation by now because I am just so mad. But she seriously kept trying to convince me that I didn’t get what I wanted and that I should be upset about it. “But don’t you think that he … didn’t do… blah blah blah”

Finally after our arguing she said “So you are okay with it?” In a tone that suggested she thinks I shouldn’t be (which was obvious). I told her “Yes.” And she just stared at me (mean look on her face). And finally said “K.” pause as she looks at her notes and then said “What else then?”

I was so mad at this point (10 minutes in) that I wanted to just leave.

I know that no one else was there and couldn’t back this stuff up. But just based on her words alone. Does this seem like a legit reason to get mad and be done? I am on my period, so maybe I’m just over-reacting.

I had other things I had written down to talk about regarding my husband, but at that point I had NO intention of sharing those. I really felt like she was villain-izing my husband.

I had to fill the remaining time with something. So I brought up one of the biggest issues for me, being my anxiety, and how it keeps me up at night some times, when DS doesn’t get up and cry at night I get worried something is wrong, I get up, check the monitor, sometimes I even go into his room to make sure he is okay. This is ridiculous, and I can’t keep doing this, I recognize that. Her response: “You have to stop.” Ummmm Thanks Lady… “How?” she told me “You just have to discipline yourself to stop”

But she didn’t stop there she went on to tell me how my anxiety could affect my son, which I realize is something that could happen and is an okay thing to tell someone on its own. But she described this at length. “He will see you scared, and then he will be scared and will grow up being scared of things that aren’t scary, and then you will have to console him and then what will you say to him?”

So here I am pissed that I have to defend my husband after making what I think is great progress (and isn’t this whole therapy thing about me and my feelings?) and now ready to cry because I feel like an awful mother. I really did, she gave me no help in how to stop my anxious feelings but proceeded to tell me the terrible things that could happen if I don’t. Well as you ladies with anxiety know, telling an anxiety riddled person about all of the things that can go wrong is NOT going to help ANYONE!

The most advice she gave me during this session: say to yourself “I’m calm, I’m relaxed”

That’s it.

Never even brought up the perfectionist thing from the previous appointment. Didn’t have the info on it she was going to give me. Nothing.

 

Am I overreacting? Either way, I’m done with this B.

 

Perfectionist

So I learned something huge from the new therapist (Who I am not still sure is the right fit or not).

Last week after listening to me talk (for the 3rd time) she asked me if I was a perfectionist. I can see the confusion on my face, I am sure I looked at her like she was crazy. I fail way too much to be a perfectionist. Then she told me that people often mis-interpret the term. I took a “Am I perfectionist” test when I got home and… well, it actually fits me.

When painting or doing any house project, it drives me nuts when something isn’t perfect. Even when everyone else thinks it looks great, all I can see are the flaws. I often don’t start new home projects anymore because I don’t think they can be done as well as I want them to. So instead of doing something, I let the fear of failure/dislike stop me from even trying. When we go out to dinner (or anywhere really) I get frustrated the minute that something doesn’t go well (which is always with a toddler) and I tell my husband that we shouldn’t have even wasted our time to do said activity. Whether it is going to dinner or even trying to shop.

It has helped to realize this. But now I need to figure out what to do about it…

I have been looking forward to the holidays and my mom wants me to make a list of all of the things we should do to make the holidays fun like they were when I was little. And it is really easy to make a list and get this picture in my head of all of the things Little Bach will enjoy. And I get excited and really look forward to the memories. When in reality, he may not want to sit still and watch the Grinch, he may want to pull all of the ornaments off of the tree, he is going to cry when we meet Santa, it may be too cold for him to make a snowman.

DH and I actually talked about this last night. I need to figure out how to let go of my expectations and just take things as they come and be very grateful for the few things that do go right instead of dwelling on what I wanted it to be like. And not wishing that I hadn’t even tried the activities.

Seems simple enough. But I know it will be a big task. I’m ready to make some changes though. For my sanity and for my family.

 

Also… I got a candle from Kohl’s yesterday and it smells just like warmth and happiness.

Fall

Happy Fall Y’all.

The Afterthought

One of the things my counselor asked me in my first session with her is if I had friends. I responded “Yes” Of course I have friends. But the more I think about it, do I really have a good, amazing best friend? The one that I can tell everything to? One that understands or at least empathizes with various aspects of my life?

Suddenly, all of the friends I thought of didn’t seem to fit this bill. They are friends for sure, and good ones. But not many that I would actually be comfortable talking to about certain things. Not ones that would even know how to respond.

Honestly there is only 1 friend I have told everything I can think of to, and I have only met her once in real life, lol. But we do text almost every day.

The person I consider my best friend will go out with me and we text, but seemingly always about the normal stuff, kids etc. She would be awkward and not know how to respond in any kind of personal situation, and she only really would attempt to if she was completely drunk. She definitely doesn’t know what the right things to say are in most situations.  So when we do hang out, I just keep a lot to myself. The hardest most personal things. The things that you really need a good friend for.

I had recently started bonding with a neighborhood lady (who happens to have a balanced translocation and had many losses) and she is really nice. Once she invited me to have lunch with her (we work at the same location) and only a couple of times has she invited me on her evening walks. But she walks usually with another neighborhood lady, and it seems that I seem to get the invite when she is unavailable. Same with lunch, only when her normal lunch companions are busy did I get an invite. Her and the other lady started a “wine and walk” around the neighborhood and invited all of us as well. First one was last night, and it was a great turn out, 8 ladies, 2 laps (2.5 miles!) it was a good time. But I didn’t seem to fit in where most of them are. They spent the whole time talking about which teachers their kids have and the bus drivers etc. Things that I have not yet experienced (And I am a ways off) They ALL have kids in school. Not a problem, they are just all at a point that I don’t quite fit into yet. So it was a nice walk, and I will continue to go, just didn’t get the companionship out of it that I was hoping to. Not yet… but maybe next time.

One of my coworkers, A, (who I really like, as he is super nice and friendly and open and honest about everything, too much sometimes! lol) was texting another coworker, F,  from their personal phones, as they do hang out and shoot guns and stuff outside of work, and he showed me the message from F about how he wanted to go out to lunch with him to discuss non-work life stuff. Completely fair. But I did feel left out as A was telling me this and made it a point to tell me that this was all on their non-work phones. I really like the people I work with and I would love to bond with all of them (and their families) outside of this place. But being a woman makes it harder I guess. I do feel very lonely here sometimes. A lot of people here are friends outside of work and I just feel like an outsider.

Today when I came back to my desk before lunch, a bunch of the guys were standing at the end of the aisle and asked if I wanted to go get tacos. It was a nice offer, I almost always go with them, but had I not walked by at that moment I would not have been asked. They all had been texting each other and inviting each other and waiting for others so they could go, and since I walked by they invited me too: the afterthought. I have even filled my car up with these people and driven to lunch before. Why do I not come to mind? I do wonder if this is just one of those things about working in a male-dominated field.

I’m sure they don’t realize this. How could they know how hard it is to be a woman in a male-dominated field?

 

I’m sure this is all just me over-thinking things, but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel lonely.

 

But at least at the end of this day, I get to go home to an adorable little boy who melts his mama’s heart.