Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Work Life

Tomorrow is day 4 of the new job. I have made the decision to suspend my usual cynism and just try to embrace the whole new thing. So far, so good.

Returning to full-time office life for the first time in almost 8 years is going to take some adjustment. It doesn't seem like it should be that different from working in my home office full-time, but it is. I feel inexplicably exhausted by 5 o'clock. But, the job hasn't made me want to cry yet, so that's a plus - and kind of amazing since I mostly have no idea what anyone is talking about all day. (In case you've ever wondered, marketing and corporate communications are really super different.) 

Truth be told, I did cry when I got home on Monday, after having been unavailable for an unprecedented three calls from the school and my mom forgetting to pick the boys up at the end of the day (grandpa came to the rescue, but not until my poor kids had been waiting there for nearly 30 minutes)! That's what's the hardest...not the work or the learning a whole new's the being so much less available for my kids that's hard. I want to be able to drop everything and go running if they need me.

On the bright side, this new work arrangement is forcing me to delegate more things to my husband, which I think will end up being good in the long run. For now, I just have to get used to maybe not knowing what's happening with everything on the homefront at all times. I have to be okay with missing some things. And when that starts to make me feel sad, I'll just think about our fabulous new health insurance. Better yet, I'll call my therapist, who I can now see for a tiny little co-pay. 

Yep, we're gonna get through this. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Stories

I went to a literary event last week called Mother Words. It's an annual celebration of mothers who write about motherhood. This time the theme was breast-feeding, a topic I have pretty much zero interest in at this stage of the game, but the authors were such good writers that I still had a lovely time.

During the Q&A, someone asked about privacy and if there was a time when the authors would stop writing about their children because the stories were no longer theirs to tell. It touched on a nerve I've been feeling...truthfully, I've always worried about mentioning the teenager, even though I've never done so by name, because that line between my story and his is so blurry. (Luckily, I have a readership of, like, 25.) But now, as my boys get older, I'm aware that they are capable of finding and reading my blog and I wonder what they would think.

For the record, all of the authors said they rarely write about the details of their elementary-aged kids' lives anymore...although they've all written books chronicling the early years.

Then today, I read this debate over whether it's okay for parents to tell their children's stories in memoir. Again, the lines are blurry, but I can't help but think that those arguing staunchly in favor of doing what's best for the story over the children, don't actually have any children.

This is all to say that I'm back to trying to figure out what to do with this blog. Do I retire it? I can't just delete it - I'd be sad to lose all these memories. I could make it private, but leave it up here for my own reference. I could use one of those applications that turns it into a printed book...

Part of me doesn't want to let go of this blog until I finish my 40 by 40 list. I could do that. I could just stop detailing the activities of my children. Or I could start a new blog and bring my 40 by 40 list with me.

These aren't real problems, I realize, they are just questions I'm trying to answer. Is there any value in continuing to blog? Well, yes, to me there is. But I know I have to be more careful to separate my stories from my kids' stories. It's not worth hurting anybody, even if it's not intentional.

And so, I'm trying to view this as an opportunity to make my blogging more focused - less schizophrenic - but I don't really know what I'd focus on...baking and reality TV? Is general neurosis a focus?

Any ideas? Please share.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Number 1!

I am both proud and amazed to tell you that just this morning, I completed #1 on my 40 by 40 list! Not just any 5K either, but our very first Big Gay Race, an event to oppose the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex couples from getting married. It was the perfect combination of a good cause and a personal goal.

So yeah, I ran a 5K! Me! The person who up until 4 months ago didn't think she could even run a single mile. I have to say, this seemed like one of the most daunting tasks on my 40 by 40 list. And up until I actually saw that finish line, I was debating whether I'd still be able to count today if I ended up walking part of the race. Actually, I was silently chanting "If you run this whole thing, you never have to run again! Ever!"

I had never run 3.1 miles. I did not follow a training regimen. I tried to, sure, but within the last month, I probably only ran 3 or 4 times because I was sick and then sometimes just lazy. The point being: I really didn't think I could do this.

But I did!

I know I've mentioned this a few times over the last couple years, but setting a goal and accomplishing it is really amazing. And I'm not saying that to be trite. I'm saying it because I honestly don't think I had ever truly set goals for myself until I turned 30. That's not to say that I'd never had a goal or I'd never achieved anything in my life, but I don't think I'd ever truly set a goal that was just for me and that was totally within my control to accomplish. I'm actually a little sad that it took me so long to find out how great it is.

As for running, I'm not ready to train for a marathon or anything, but I would definitely run another 5K. And I do intend to try to stick with it as a form of exercise...assuming that I ever regain the use of my quads. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Sometimes life seems like a big grassy meadow and other times it seems like a brutal climb to the top of something, right? The top of something that you can't even identify and don't even know for sure you want to reach...

My life over the past week has been hilly. Owen got suspended from school on Friday. I thought I'd been thrown off a cliff or something, I was so panicked. 

He got so mad that he stood on his desk and screamed. And then he hit his teacher, which has never happened before. And I was terrified for him because he probably had felt so scared and out of control. And because I worried that they would tell us he couldn't stay in his mainstream classroom, which is crazy, of course, because that's where he's always been and this was only one incident, but that's what I was scared of when I found out. As if he doesn't have the same right to be there as every other kid who's ever flipped out for any number of reasons. 

It's been resolved. The short version is that he had been asked to clean his desk - an activity that was not on the daily schedule that is taped to his desk - and when he refused, he was informed that he would miss out on Friday "choice" time, which is probably the 30 minutes he most looks forward to the entire week. The whole thing seemed unfair to him. The injustice was too much to bear. He couldn't calm himself down and, really, it doesn't sound like anyone was paying close enough attention until he got on his desk. Not that he had the right to hit anyone. Of course not. But the whole thing became so much less scary once I understood his point of view. I wish that his school wasn't so under-resourced so that they could have someone whose job it was to consider his point-of-view. 

Anyway, the very same weekend we were dealing with the suspension (which looked like me pulling info out of Owen like a dentist extracting molars, and researching autism service dogs), the (former) teenager had an emotional breakdown of his own that involved the bubbling up of all those horrible things that I could tell you that I feared he felt, but that he had never voiced, the big one being "I haven't had parents for 4 years." 

We could debate the validity of such a statement for hours. It wouldn't change the fact that when he's at his worst, that's how he feels. The tragedy, I suppose, is that now that he's an adult, he wants exactly what we were killing ourselves to try to give him for so long. 

Again, it's been resolved. Or, rather soothed for now. He and his dad were able to have a hard talk and I think both of them feel a little evidenced by the call I got today saying that the (former) teenager is now thinking of applying to college again. Out of state, where he has friends who also attend college and hold jobs and live independently. Please, set aside all the potential pitfalls of such a scenario to enjoy the good parts of it with me. He has set a goal and sounds excited about it. And that's enough for today.

And so you see, as fast as life feels like it's veering off course, we can just as quickly be back on track. It's hilly. And it's good. And I'm let myself believe that what feels like the end of the world at the time could very well turn out to be nothing more than a blip in what is a pretty great life.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's like Reading, Baking and Eating Rolled Into One!

You guys have to go buy this book immediately and here's why:
  1. It's important to support anyone who runs a dessert detective agency...because c'mon, you know you wish you'd had that idea.
  2. It includes a recipe for Pookie, which is a cookie with a PIE INSIDE IT! (If you're thinking, "But you just linked to the recipe," please see item #1.)
  3. It includes a recipe for Cupcake-Stuffed Cupcakes, which are what would happen if average-sized cupcakes ate mini cupcakes. 
  4. All the other recipes are just about as insane as #2 and #3.
  5. Your kids will want to bake with you.
  6. And finally, the author's response to my tweet:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sky's the Limit

Hey look! My blog is different! Apparently they've released a gazillion more blog templates since I started this thing, so I figured it was time to give the blog a little facelift. It's good timing too, as I believe I am starting a new chapter in my life...

I got a new job! I wasn't really looking for a new job, mind you. But the universe pointed me toward an opportunity to work at a company - a big company - that I'd been admiring from afar. A company that I would have said was on my "Reasons I'd return to corporate America" list, only they didn't have an office anywhere near here...until apparently six months ago, when they opened an office 9 minutes from my house. Fate? Maybe.

I don't start for 3 more weeks, but I'm excited...and nervous...and sad to be leaving my current job. Up until I actually received the job offer, I didn't think I would really leave. It just seemed too risky to leave a job I liked for a job I could potentially hate. A job that will find me trapped back in cubeland after nearly a year and a half of working (mostly) in my slippers. A job where I don't have any friends.

But then I made my husband give me a reality check (He's usually more like, "Whatever you want to do is great!" so I had to make him take sides.). It's a good job. In a big, stable company with a culture that is held up as an example among people in my profession. Plus, the benefits summary nearly made me weep with joy. (Therapy and braces for everyone!) Oh...and let's not forget that my husband runs a struggling, non-profit theater.

So even though I'm scared, I feel like this is what I need to do. And I'm excited about the opportunity to learn new things and have co-workers that I can see.

I think it's the first time I've ever taken a job with the intention of getting the most out of it. In the past I've always just sort of followed the opportunities and done my best, without thinking much about where it might lead. I finally feel like I'm being smart in my career and smart for my family, which is a good feeling. Let's just hope I also feel smart on the job.

So stay tuned for the adventures of a mom trying to remember how to run a household while working in an office full-time...should be interesting.