Friday, May 27, 2016

TGIF

Ack!  This week has been so hectic.  Sunday night I had some doubts on whether or not I would make it through and here it is Friday night.  Breathing.

Let's go back to Sunday night and the missed call on my phone from my brother.  "Mom's at the hospital waiting for an x-ray.  She got out of my car and hurt her leg.  I called my paramedic friend who thinks it could possibly be a blood clot from sitting in the car for so long (road trip back from Kentucky) or she broke something."  Now, this is going to sound like I wasn't concerned for my mother's health.  I was but I tend to not freak out or overreact if there is no actual diagnosis.  (I did almost pass out when my mom thought she was having a heart attack and then Rich thought we were both suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and I was screaming for him to check on the girls, who were upstairs asleep.  That was a freak out.)  With my brother's phone call, I assumed that my mom had broken a bone in her foot.  She hadn't fallen or tripped so I didn't see how she could be majorly injured.  She does like to break bones in her feet though.

I was freaking out over the fact that I HAD to go to work the next day. (See.  Sounds like I didn't care about my mom.)  It has been so incredibly helpful to have had my mom's help for all these years but our back up plan for when she's out of commission is that I (or Rich) stay at home and I had just been out of work for a week and Rich had had to shuffle things around for three days while I was gone and I had no back-up plan for a failed back-up plan.    

It turns out Grammy pulled (didn't tear) ligaments near her knee when she stepped out of my brother's car, which is a mid-size SUV.  Who does that?  I guess short people.  She's in a knee brace and Monday she needed to rest her leg as much as possible and use crutches to get around.  For this week, Rich dropped the girls off at school in the morning.  It's not that much of a schedule shift to do so.  We all leave the house together, go to the train station first (I take the train after my normal train) and then Rich drives to the school.  Monday, Rich took a late lunch in order to pick the girls up from school and bring them to Grammy's house.  My dad was there and able to help out until Rich picked them up after work so Grammy didn't have to move around.  She was able to cath Anna, which was key in all of this.

Grammy's knee is feeling much, much better.  She's graduated to walking around with just the brace on and no longer needs the crutches.  It is expected to heal completely on its own.  I'm relieved this wasn't a big deal because seriously, a blood clot.

I didn't leave work Monday night until after 8:00 and because I didn't want the girls going to bed late, I walked home.  I'm getting too old for this.  I walked in the door all sweaty at 9:40 which isn't really that late but it felt like it was midnight.  Tonight was the only night I left work at a normal hour.  I can't complain too much because Rich and I did sneak over to a Sox game the other night.  Not good timing but there wasn't much we could do about that.  It's a nice little date night but we did leave the game early so we wouldn't get home too late.

5.27a

5.27b

5.27c

5.27d
Pronounced:  Fen-way Pahk

When old people take selfies.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Option A and I'm Done

At the end of 2014, Rich and I set our final financial goals into motion and I was looking at an early 2016 retirement date.  Because I had basically an entire year to really digest my future, I gave quite a bit of thought to alternatives.  I knew that if I walked into work and said, "Instead of resigning, I'd like Option B," they would most likely agree to Option B.

What does Option B look like?

Well, I attempted to create the ultimate, comfortable work situation.  Option B included a reduction of my work schedule to four days a week.  Two of those days would be at home.  I would be able to shift my day "off" as necessary to accommodate appointments and school activities.  The best of both worlds, right?  Unfortunately, I knew that it would never work.  First, I would have to demand that several responsibilities be removed from my role. Otherwise, I would be in the same boat as before, cramming 40+ hours into 4 days but only receiving 80% pay.  And, in the future, additional responsibilities would not be added to my role.  Hahaha

I tend to avoid working from home because I'm not as productive due to the fact that I'm working on a laptop and don't have paper files and my two monitor set-up like back at the office.  Last week was a taste of working from home and it solidified my decision to resign.  Grammy flew to Michigan on Sunday to assist and comfort her mom after Papaw's passing.  We have family members who can help out in a pinch but there's the issue of cathing Anna so I had no choice but to work from home until I traveled for the funeral.

I typically work at least eight hours a day.  May is a busy season for us and it's not unusual for me to work 10+ hours a day.  The girls are only in school for six hours and once you subtract out commuting time to drop them off and pick them up, I was left with about five and a half hours of time to work.  Unless I wanted to shower.  It's difficult to work when they are home in the afternoon because I basically have to tell them to pretend Mommy doesn't exist.  I also feel like I can't disconnect.  It's 8:30 at night and I'm still working.

My employer has a generous bereavement leave policy, allowing for up to five days off.  Technically, I could have been out of work for the entire week but who would do my work?  Someone did pick up some items that couldn't wait but the bulk of the work remained.  I spent this past weekend working from home in an attempt to catch up while still being around.  I had thought about going into the office but I knew someone would pitch a fit.  Plus, at least I can run laundry whilst working from home.  My current project consists of state flow-through filings, including composite and withholding returns.  When I'm in the office, here's what I use to review:
  1. Last year's paper workpapers
  2. Current year workpapers
  3. Monitor A
  4. Monitor B
  5. Print outs
At home, my only review tool is my laptop.  By Sunday night, I was so frustrated because it was taking me twice as long to get through everything.  I eventually just had to shut down and walk away.

I was with a much smaller company before the girls were born and for the most part, I was able to work exclusively from home without issue.  Well, except for the belief that you aren't working unless you are at work.  It's too bad that my current role doesn't fit into the work from home model.  I'm done.

I'm so tired right now.  The earliest I've arrived home at night this week is 8:30.

It's almost over.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Papaw's funeral and travels

Last week, Papaw was laid to rest in Lexington, Kentucky.  I take comfort in knowing that he is no longer suffering or afraid, but that doesn't erase the sadness of our loss.  It has been extremely difficult for my grandmother, who now has to learn to live without her husband of 68 years.  Alzheimer's took away his ability to say, "This is my wife, Ruth," but he always knew that she was 'the lady with the hair' that took care of him.  His heart stayed true to the end.

My grandparents moved from Kentucky to Michigan over 40 years ago but aside from my uncle and his family, and my mom's cousin, my extended family still lives in Kentucky.  It's been almost 20 years since I last visited and I definitely felt like a fish out of water.  I was born in Boston and I've lived here my entire life.  I have traveled to other parts of the country so the differences shouldn't surprise me, but they always do.

Differences between Boston and Kentucky:
  • Homemade sweet tea
  • Cherry coke in vending machines
  • Everyone has an accent. I act as if I am accent-less.
  • I speak too fast.
  • Ma'am

I ate Chick-fil-A for the first time (there aren't any around here) and I don't see what the big deal is.  It was a chicken sandwich.  Anyway, I walked up to the counter, the teenager working there greeted me, I gave him my order and then he greeted me again.  So I ordered again speaking slowly.  We're fast talkers up here.  I also do realize that I have aged terribly and I was feeling extremely conscious with all the ma'aming going on.  Until the girl in line next to me, who was clearly 15 years old, was yes, ma'amed several times.  Then I didn't feel so bad.

I would like to bring the girls to Kentucky to meet family there at some point in the next few years.  You know, before they refuse to be seen with me. 

I was going to talk about my adventures flying on "regional" planes but I need to get to bed.  It's already turning out to be a rough workweek.   

Monday, May 16, 2016

A somber weekend

5.16a

5.16b

Saturday mornings have been hectic for us since we moved the girls' gymnastics lessons to the weekend.  Up until this year, we'd been able to avoid Saturday activities but when Emily and Allie were moved up to the next level in gymnastics, the only open spots were Saturday morning.  Hmmmm, I wonder why that is?  Rich volunteered to be in a performance at the end of the girls' dance recital.  (Don't ask. Just rest assured that I do make fun.)  He's been waking up at 7:00 to get to rehearsal on time and because I'm such a light sleeper, this means that I'm awake at 7:00 as well.  I was actually awake from 5:30 to 6:15.  Ugh, not a good morning for sleeping.  I usually make the girls whatever they request for breakfast (eggs, egg + cheese sandwiches, hash browns) so they are full of energy for their two hour lesson.  Anna's is only an hour long but I'm sure it feels like two hours to her.  By the time I eat, clean up and shower, there is no time for messing around.    

As I was grabbing what I needed to rush out the door with Emily and Allie, I picked up my phone and saw a missed call and voicemail from my uncle.  I knew in that moment that Papaw had gone.  After I spoke with my uncle, everyone was crying but I still need to leave with Allie and Emily.  Anna hugged me and through tears said, "I'm sorry about your grandpa."  The girls had questions on the drive to the gym but then we changed the subject to keep the tears away.  For some reason, their class was called in a few minutes late and I was trying my best to keep them from crying.  Well, not even five minutes later, one of the instructors came out with a crying Emily.  Allie was ten steps behind them.  Everyone was really nice and told us we could schedule a make-up class if we needed to leave.  We went out to the van to cool down and I managed to get them back into class.

After gymnastics, we rushed home to eat lunch, change clothes and head off to a birthday party at an indoor pool.  The girls haven't been in a body of water since last summer so it took them a few minutes to get used to the water.  (By the way, they looked adorably awesome in their new swimsuits.) You had to pass a swim test in order to go into the deep end.  After some coaxing, Allie and Emily took the swim test and they passed, as I knew they would.  They all had a blast swimming and I'll tell you, that hour of swimming combined with gymnastics made for some good sleep.  Even though there were four lifeguards, I stood there counting kids.  One, two, three.  One, two, three.  

5.16d

The weather was gorgeous Saturday.  Bright and 79 degrees.  Then rain moved in and it was only in the 50s for Sunday. Meteorologists are predicting a hot summer for us.  Bring it.

5.16e

I was one of the last people in the office Friday night as I had to send out deliverables via email. As I was packing up, I grabbed a few items to take home with me.  No reason to wait until the very end to clean out my personal items.  I keep my own lightweight laptop bag in the office and use it instead of the clunky one provided by my employer.  I grabbed the laptop bag and stuffed the photos from my wall in it.  For a moment, I thought of taking my laptop just in case.  But I didn't.  Instead of commuting into work this morning and then immediately turning around to head home with my computer, I decided to drive in Sunday afternoon to pick it up.  I had a few things to wrap up that couldn't be done from home.  Rich and the girls came with me.  Their favorite places in the office were the kitchen and the conference room where you can see the airport.
   
5.16c

The girls had a ton of questions surrounding Papaw and the fact that he is being waked in one state and buried in another.  For example, they thought the airline would place his casket in that space under the seats.  How would a kid know any different?  Rich and I eventually began limiting our discussions regarding arrangements as I didn't want that to be first and foremost in their thoughts.

I probably won't be posting again this week as travel is required to attend my grandfather's funeral.  Thank you for all the kind comments.