Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You can't take my holiday spirit

It's been a rough day.  Actually, sort of a rough week.  Actually, it has been rough for a while.

But not because any of us are sick or hurt or injured.  And not because our family has suffered unimaginable loss.  And certainly not because we don't feel loved.

We are all healthy. We have come through another year with minor setbacks and a few tears.  We know we are loved, and it shows by the actions of our friends, neighbors and family.

So while I am feeling down and out at times - panicking about the future - uncertain when life will feel "normal" again - I am going to be thankful and grateful this holiday season. I'm going to remember this year as a lesson in life and move on in the coming months. 

You can take away some of the conveniences, luxuries and indulgences in my life, but without a doubt you can't take away my holiday spirit.  My kids find it magical and so do I - I hope I've given them that gift of wonder and joy this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Surround yourself with love and laughter.  I am.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Words and whinnies

In one corner, weighing in at 49lbs, at 42 inches tall is the little man armed with pencil, notebook and anything with a word on it, including the remote control.

In the other corner, weighing in at 65lbs, at 50 inches tall is the little lady armed with....ahhh....well....not really armed with anything, just on all fours prancing around the living room.

Little man spent the night copying words from everywhere and anywhere - he wants to learn how to spell and wants to read and asks 1,000 questions an hour. He can retain knowledge like no ones business.

Little lady spent the night pretending she was a horse on a farm, complete with neighing, whinnies, rearing and other imaginary horses. She can conduct a mean session of make believe.

As we approach their birthdays in a few weeks, I find myself pausing and wondering what they'll be when the grow up...right now, I have a sponge and a horse.  Stay tuned to see how it all plays out.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Allow me this bitch session

9 days.

That's how long it took me to get someone from the Massachusetts Dept of Unemployment Assistance on the phone. No joke. 9 days.

See, their service works like this.  You call a number. You pick a language. You enter your social security number. You get a message "Due to an unusually high volume of calls all our reps are busy so please call back later or on another business day."


If you are lucky, you get to the step after the social security number and get to enter in the year you were born. Then you are told they are transferring your call. THEN you get the "We are experiencing a high volume of calls please try your call again later."


So I'm good at following directoins and I call back later. I call an hour later. A day later. Various times for the next 9 days later.  Nothing.

Then, I get through to an automated system that tells me I am in a queue but will have to wait - 41 minutes.  So, I do. Actually, 43 minutes.

My complaint? I went through this similar process back in Sept after I received a check for vacation pay that was due to me in August after I was laid off but wasn't paid to me until September - and the women on the phone in Sept said "No problem. You didn't work this week so you can still collect.  It wasn't for wages earned this week."  Awesome! She was so nice and helpful. I only waited 5 days and 28 mins on hold (oh, I remember!)

Then suddenly 2 weeks ago I call in to the system to claim my unemployment and the money stops coming in. Money I use for gas to find a job. Money I use for food for the house. Money to pay bills, car payments, Diet Coke.  I've even stopped buying bottles of wine.  Now that's cutting back!!

The woman this time tells me the reason I'm not seeing money is because my previous employer paid me vacation pay.  I explained how DUA knew that from my call in Sept. and I explain it again. Then she tells me, sorry, they need an adjuster to call me. But she doesn't know when this will happen because the adjusters are helping to answer the phones.  Really? Really? Then they are doing an awful job because it took me 9 days to get a live person.

She said it could be a week, maybe two. Then she admitted she has no idea when they'll call.

Fan-fxcking-tastic. So in the meantime does anyone at DUA want to share their paychecks for all the overtime they must be making since it's so busy and help me pay for food for Thanskgiving, Christmas gifts, mortgage, gas and electric.

While I bitch, I am rather fortunate that our savings isn't down to zero (yet!) but I can not imagine families that rely on that check to LIVE day to day who are getting the same horrible customer service that I am - 9 days. NINE DAYS to talk to someone.

Who do I call about this?  Oh, never mind.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A sore throat in sheep's clothing looked like a stomach bug...acted like a stomach bug...but it ended up being strep throat.

Apparently stage 1 of Ab's strep is nausea. One throat culture later and a dose of amoxicillin and things are looking brighter.

Hope Santa is feeling ok because we did squeeze in a visit yesterday before our diagnosis. Sorry big guy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A happy Hannah moment

Little lady wasn't feeling well last night - stomach bug is flying through her school - and although she never actually fell victim, we were up for a couple of hours back and forth to the bathroom just waiting...and waiting...and waiting. I was not teaching an 8 yo how to make herself vomit - as much as I thought it would probably help. I finally put her blanket and pillow in the bathroom so she felt certain she'd make it to the toilet and I retreated to bed.

The joys of parenting.

She bounced up this morning with a skip in her step and seemed fine. We had plans to go see Santa to check that off the holiday list - too many things happening on the weekends starting tomorrow - so I sent her to the shower.

After she was all dressed I peered into her bedroom to find her lip syncing to a Hannah Montana song (don't ask me which one, I block them from my mind whenever possible) and she had her hands waving over her head, the invisible microphone in her hand, some fancy footwork going on and a huge smile on her face.

I stepped away so she wouldn't see me and I cried a little. Not sad tears, but happy ones. I remember those innocent moments in my room with just me and my record player and my favorite 45. I wanted to be a singer...I just couldn't sing.  She was having a blast just being a kid.  I loved that for her...just being a kid.

She's curled up in my bed right now with a fever and a woozy stomach, again.  I'm sure she overdid it, and being up at 4 a.m. didn't help.  We'll work through these germs and on to the next. We put Santa on hold for now.  But for 10 minutes this morning she was a rock star without a stomach ache. Totally awesome.

Friday, November 12, 2010

And I dare to call myself a blogger?

I am least when it comes to blogging these days.

I swear there are a million great posts floating around in my head, but by the time I sit down to the computer I get distracted by emails, Twitter and Facebook and before you know it - my post has left the building.

And with the holiday season quickly approaching I fear I may never blog again...ever...ever again...never.

I don't really believe that either, but time is moving at the speed of Rudolph and if I don't stop and smell the snowflakes, it's going to be January and I won't know where 2010 went.

How are you holding up as the holidays approach? Ready to throw your turkey out the window or have you found the strength the relax, smile and ignore the fact that Santa has arrived at every major US Mall before Thanksgiving?  I'm not so thrilled about that recent development.  Let me digest my stuffing before I have to panic about filling stockings and cyber-Monday deals, for pete's sake!

Gobble, gobble!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Epilepsy, Halloween and other random turn of events


1. Our dog apparently has epilepsy. We've begun to medicate him twice a day and his seizures have significantly reduced but haven't completely gone away.

2. BREW (Boston Region Entrepreneurship Week) is OVER.  One week of events turned into a whole month and WHOLE lot of my unemployed time...was it worth it?  If you consider I've started some paid consulting gigs, then YES!

3. Did I mention, I've started some paid consulting gigs.  Just don't tell Massachusetts because I haven't billed for any and I still need my weekly check to pay for the dog's medication.

4. Halloween was awesomely awesome.  Kids are at the perfect age and we had a blast in the cold running from house to house and to new neighborhoods outside our cul-de-sac.  I, however, didn't eat dinner and thought it would be a fantastic idea to do shots with the neighbors...for which I am paying for it dearly today.  Headache is gone...nausea is not.

5.  My kids are turning 6 and 8 in a month and I'm freaking out.  I still think of them in months so that would be 72 months and 96 months...that feels better.

6.  The kids are getting baptized again and we have a date and willful Catholics to stand in as Godparents. Check that off the list of "things I never, ever, thought I'd do once, let alone twice"...that list also includes some other things I can't share because my parents read my blog. Ha ha!

7.  I am once again running out the door, because we have reached that time in our lives when the taxi service kicks into gear and carting my children around town, back and forth to friends, and all around the gateway of NH (where we live) is in full swing. 

Carry on! Just wanted to say Hello and throw you some updates.  Cheers! Scratch that...I don't think I can cheer anything right now unless I do it with water!