Friday, January 26, 2007

I skipped blogging yesterday because I was spending the day with my son, quite unexpectedly. The day before yesterday, the Columbus Police found a syringe full of cocaine in the possession of a Columbus school bus driver, on the bus. The driver worked for an outsource provider used by Columbus Public Schools. Apparnetly late that evening the outsource company determined that their Columbus office had never run criminal checks on any of the bus drivers in their employ. They called Columbus Schools officials and said they weren't sending any of them out until they were checked. That left Columbus schools too short of buses and drivers to open their doors, and in ripple effect, the Columbus Catholic schools closed, too, because many kids come in on CPS school buses.

Thursday is Ski Club day at Sam's school, which means he has a ski pass good every Thursday. So after I kept a morning appointment, he and I had lunch together while watching an old episode of The Incredible Hulk, then we went to the ski resort. He skied for about 4 hours while I sat in the lodge sipping coffee and reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. On the way home from skiing, he told me it ranked among his top ten all time best days!

My morning appointment yesterday was with the firm where I had an offer to become a financial advisor back in May. They are definitely still interested in me, so I just need to make up my mind if that is really what I want to do. I'm leaning toward it, but not firmly decided yet. The first couple years take a lot of hard, grueling work with long hours, and while I am not opposed to working hard, I don't know if it is the right thing to do when my son is 13. But back when I proactively worked on what kind of work I'd enjoy, this is what I came to, so if I decide it just isn't right for my family, I don't know where to go from there. My friend Jamie, who is a professional life coach, is giving me three free coaching sessions, and I hope to meet with a career counselor next week as well, and I'm hoping that all that professional guidance helps me make the right decision about whether this is the next step for me.

I have also downloaded writers' guidelines from a bunch of places and am hoping I can write something to sell to bring in a little interim cash.

But today, I'm largely being a domestic godess. I did the grocery shopping, I'm doing the laundry, I ran the dishwasher and I'm about to empty it and start refilling it. And I finally, FINALLY forced myself to take all the junk from my office out of my trunk. So far it has only made it to the corner of the family room, but I won't leave it there too long. It feels too good to have a clean family room. But in the trunk of the car, it was largely out of sight and out of mind and it seemed like as long as I left it there, I didn't have to think about it. It became a big mental block for me. So I'm pleased to have broken through.

Tomorrow Bob is at a Boy Scout leader training event most of the day. Sam and I are meeting one of his teachers at the library for some help on a project, then we've discussed going to see The Pursuit of Happyness together. I like the idea, because I realized recently that with all his school issues and social issues, sometimes it feels like all we ever do is talk about problems and hash out how to do stuff. It had been way too long since we relaxed and had fun together. Yesterday felt nice in that way, and tomorrow holds promise, too. And for me, the day ends with a black tie gala on somebody else's nickel. It doesn't get much better than that! I'm wearing a red gown that was already in my closet. I'll try to get a photo I can post!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Well, today was the day when, inevitably, I got a little bluesy about the job situation. I know it had to come eventually, but I hope it doesn't stay around long. I'm still basically optimistic that it will all work out in the long haul, but today I am more focused on the short term. Will I find something before the money troubles set in? Will my family suffer hardship because of me? Will I end up having to go do temp work again? Where will I end up? What ending do I WANT to see?

Other than that, not much new. I've also been struggling to keep up my good diet and exercise habits. There's something about being around the house all day that makes it hard not to eat all the time! But I did get out for a nice outdoor walk this afternoon for the first time in days. The sun definitely helped my mental state. And yesterday, I got through the entire Pilates DVD for the first time.

One thing that I think is contributing to my bluesiness is that I'm home alone all day. I am definitely a people person and with no one to talk to all day, I get a little stir crazy. I haven't even been getting much by way of e-mail. Hint: if you're out there reading this, drop me a line or pick up the phone!

The rest of the week will probably be better, because I have a hair appointment on Wednesday and a job interview on Thursday, so at least I get to go out and interact with other humans those two days. Too much solitude makes me crazy.

Oh, and here's something funny. The last three years, Bob and I have gone to the Catholic Social Services black tie gala as guests of Nationwide Insurance -- they buy a table and then end up scrambling to get people to attend because it would look bad if no one was at their table. We had expected to go this year, but no word, no word, and finally, Bob was told yesterday that whoever is on the CSS Board this year got his own people to sit at the table. So today, Bob calls and asks me if I'd still like to go. We don't really know what happened, but apparently those other guests were a lot less sure than we were led to believe. So in spite of our financial state, I'm going to a black tie dinner dance on Saturday. That will be fun!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Here it is, Monday afternoon after a very enjoyable, restful weekend! I went out to my friend Jamie's house Friday night where she had a little "self-improvement" party that was a lot of fun. I hardly knew any of her other friends who were there, so it was a pleasure to make some new friends.

Then Satruday night we hosted our Euchre Club at our house. We ran around like crazy people cleaning all day, of course, but it was worth it both for the sheer joy of having a clean house plus the fun of having this group of friends in. I don't know what was different about the drinks that night, but I swear it was the rowdiest we have ever seen our Euchre Club!

Yesterday Central Ohio finally got some snow for the first time this winter. I have sort of mixed feelings about it. I actually think it should snow in the winter -- it just feels right. On the other hand, I like to walk outside for my fitness exercise, and snow creates ice which makes that difficult. So I'm going to have to discipline myself to do something else for a while. (Lookout Pilates DVD, here I come!)

I don't think a lot of my blog friends are big sports fans, but the playoff game yesterday evening between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots was an amazing game! The first half was all New England, and it was a moral victory when Indianapolis managed a field goal just before half time to bring it to 21 - 6. But they came back from halftime on fire! It was tied up before I knew it, then they took turns scoring, keeping it tied, until the final moments. Peyton Manning led this beautiful drive to a touchdown with 1 minute to go, bringing Indianapolis to a 4-point lead at 38-33. In football, 1 minute is enough to be dangerous, and I really though New England might turn right around and score again. But then Tom Brady threw and interception and the game was over! It was a really thrilling football game to watch. And with a Chicago-Indianapolis matchup, I'm actually excited about watching the Super Bowl this year!!

Today Sam woke up with an awful sore throat, which he had yesterday, as well, so I took him to the doctor for a strep test this morning. It was not strep, just viral, but I still kept him home from school today because he obviously did feel like hell. He slept the morning away, but has been doing homework this afternoon. I had a long to-do list that I've been marching through, too. Nothing job-hunting related, really, but more domestic.

I do think that tomorrow I'm going to place a call to the Financial Advisor firm that I almost went with back in May of 2006. I have been thinking seriously about going with them, so I suppose I had better first check it out and see if the opportunity is still there. They left me with the feeling I was welcome to come take the offer later if I had a change of mind, but 8 months have passed and who knows what changes may have occurred. No point continuing to consider this and decide it IS the right thing only to find at that point that it is no longer available!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Well this has been a productive day! I broke out of the pattern of the past couple days and it seemed to pay off. After my walk and breakfast, I dug up materials I had prepared when I came close to taking a financial advisor job about a year ago, so I can review them and help myself remember what I liked and didn't like about that option. I also placed a call to the career counseling service I had used back then, as well as placing a few calls on personal matters. I am going to a little party at a friend's house tonight. It's a party to drum up work for her business, but I don't mind -- I will still enjoy it very much. I also did a load of laundry, moved all the furniture out of the kitchen and swept and mopped the entryway, kitchen, half bath and laundry room. Only then, after 2:00 in the afternoon, did I shower and put on better clothes than I walk in each morning. By the time I was finishing my make up after the shower, Sam was arriving home.

This weekend we are hosting our Euchre Club, so I will have lots of activity to keep my mind occupied. As long as I can land a new job in a timely manner so my family doesn't suffer financially, I can't help but feel that Dick, my former boss, has done me a huge favor. I needed to get out of that place and I kept finding excuses not to go. Now that the decision was taken out of my hands, I feel liberated. A little fearful financially, but really more that sense of liberation, that the future will hold something better than the recent past. In my heart, I know that I am going to be OK.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Here I am, about halfway through day #2 of life after the credit union. I have no profound insights, just a few little niggling realizations.

One realization is how diligent I have to be to keep up good habits during this period. I spent the past four months losing 16 pounds and got to a point where I feel pretty good. Actually, I was still thinking of trying to take off 4 more just for good measure, but I'm down two pants sizes and I feel well and I know I'm pretty close to where I want to be. But last night, what did I do? I kicked back with TWO rum-and-Diet-Cokes and about half a bag of Pepperidge Farm goldfish.

That is so pathetic on so many levels. First of all, if I was going to cut loose and do something wild and crazy, I'm thinking it should have been more glamorous or at least more FUN than Diet Coke and goldfish. Yeah, there was rum in there, but big whoop.) Second, it was evening -- a time of day largely unchanged by my change in job status. So why did I decide to lose control THEN? And finally, it really didn't make me particularly happy, so WHY?

Then today at lunch time I turned on the TV while eating my lunch. Big mistake. While there was absolutely nothing on worth watching, I still found myself unable to extricate myself until the end of the episode of What Not to Wear. I don't even like that show, I swear! So the bottom line is that I have to shore up my resolve to stay positive and productive and not fall into the easy traps.

I'm still trying to develop a new routine. I like the start of these two days -- get up, get the guys off, take my walk, eat breakfast and read the paper and then shower. And today, the next step was to go out to stores on the Nintendo Wii hunt. Word at Target is that if I'm there around 4 a.m. Sunday, I may be able to get one. And I'm considering it!

After the shopping trip I checked e-mail, where I had some well-wishes from people just hearing about my change, and sent some more e-mails to people I probably won't be seeing anymore with my job change. That brought me to lunch and the big sucking sound of the TV. When I finish here I plan to do my new Pilates DVD, then it's off to a parent-teacher conference at my son's school. Tomorrow I HAVE to do some major housecleaning, since we are entertaining here on Saturday night, and I want to get together a long household project list so that in the future I don't have to think of things to do, just go to the list and pick one.

I know that sooner than later, I also need to turn my attention to what I want to do for a living and start the process of finding something. But I think that will wait until Monday. It seems reasonable to me to give myself this whole week as a rest and recovery period.

Oh, before I go I have to give credit to Bob for one good insight. I can't remember how he said it, but it was great because it didn't sound mean or judgmental. But when I said something about getting up and starting the rest of my life, he reminded me that at least he isn't dead. (For readers who don't know, Bob's college roommate died suddenly and totally unexpectedly a few minutes past midnight on New Years.) It was a wonderful reminder of perspective -- compared to his roommate's widow, Sue, my problems look pretty small.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Well after letting this blog languish for a few months, it suddenly has a new life. That's because I'm entering a new life myself!

I got fired yesterday. Whew! Is that hard to say. It really blindsided me, too. I expected a contentious review, but I never saw a termination coming. The boss used a sports metaphor. He said that we had not grown membership up to the potential he perceives there to be and just like a sports team that isn't performing, it means it is time for a new coach. He had called me in around 12:30. After the conversation, I went downstairs, packed my things, tried to arrange for an orderly transition of my work, and left for the day and forever around 3:30. Even now, almost 24 hours later, I'm still having trouble getting my head around it. I feel a little numb and it just doesn't feel like it can possibly be real.

Obviously, I haven't had the time, energy or distance yet to figure out where I go from here. I don't feel particularly panicky, but that may just be the numbness again. If anything, I feel cautiously optimistic. About a year ago I explored the option of becoming a personal financial advisor and there was a company I liked that was ready to hire me. So one option is to reopen that discussion and go there. But I feel like I need more time to get past the numbness, experience some grief over this loss, and really assess what I want before I pursue that or any other specific option. There are money worries, of course, but so far they are not of crisis-proportion. I believe God will lead me to a right next step, before the wolf is at the door but in His time. And again, I am well aware of a level of numbness that must be worked through before I am ready to make good decisions.

I will say that compared to the time I was unemployed about six years ago, I feel better equipped to just face the start of a new day. I got up when my husband got up for work this morning, dressed in my walking clothes, and as soon as he and my son left for the day, I went out for a walk. When I returned I had breakfast and read the paper, showered and dressed. (There was a brief moment of thinking "How do I dress when the day is without shape or plan?" But then I sucked it up, put on khakis and a sweatshirt and moved on.) Then I started identifying people from my former work life to whom I wanted to say some kind of good-bye, and sent out some e-mails and made some phone calls. I also sent my old boss a list of items I had remembered that needed attention that were probably on no one else's radar.

It's been kind of funny. Before I left the building yesterday I found that my very top priority was making sure my wonderful staff that I left behind had everything they needed to continue to be successful, and that work could go on without me. And this morning, as I said, I sent that list of additional items for follow up. There is some little voice in my head that says, "Why? Why do you care?" But there is a louder voice that says, "I care because it is who I am, and I will not allow being fired to make me any less than who I am."

I plan to use this blog as a bit of a diary for a while, with the purpose of making it easy for loved ones to check on me. I know I am often reluctant to call a friend too often when they are going through an upheaval, but I really do think about them and wonder how they are doing on a regular basis. This will allow my friends to check in without discomfort.

So wish me luck! I need to work through what happened, figure out what I want to do next, launch a search to find that next thing, and still keep my family running and all that. Oh, here's one lesson learned from my unemployment six years ago -- that time I was too depressed to get a lot done at home. I will not let that happen this time. We have almost twelve-years worth of accumulated junk in the basement, and its days are numbered! And if I conquer the basement, there are plenty of other household projects where I can apply my nervous energy.