Archive for the ‘The Work’ Category

Laboring

I’m not an ardent observer of Labor Day (and hey, I don’t work on Mondays anyway), but this year, Labor Day marks the first full year of work for me (in my chosen profession). After 25 years of school, 4 years of teaching and several months of motherhood, it was a long journey to get here. And for the most part, I really love my work. I love what I do, I love where I work and I love my coworkers.

But even now, a year in, I still don’t love leaving my baby. The daycare situation has improved tremendously, which definitely helps ease my mind, but just not being there with him, knowing that he’s learning new things and trying new things without me makes me sad. I hate thinking that maybe he took his first steps there and not here, or that he started using words there instead of here (we have a great arrangement so that our daycare doesn’t tell us when he does anything until after we’ve told them, that way we never have to find out it happened there first). It’s just tough because I want to soak up every experience and every moment and so leaving Eli in someone else’s care isn’t easy.

We have a good schedule now of work/daycare, as opposed to last year’s very crazy work schedule and though my work schedule is still often a bit of a living document, the days are well for all of us. I am incredibly fortunate that I’m able to be home part time and still make all the necessary ends meet (and for the skeptics, we even have a pretty impressive savings and are paying above the minimum payment on my loans, so) because I think it’s really good for both of us. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t be fine if I worked full time or stayed home full time (all though, in either situation, one of us would lose our minds, I’m pretty sure), but this is working.

I remember shortly after Eli was born, thinking that there was no way I could ever leave that tiny infant with anyone else. That I wanted to be with him every second of every day. And I still, deep down, have that feeling every time I drop him off at daycare. Eli is the most incredible person and I love every fiber of his being in a way I never knew could even exist. But I think the last year of working has been a really great thing for both of us. It has given him independence that he really needs. It has given me independence that I really need. It has made our time together more precious and I think it’s made us both happier, in the long run.

My job isn’t perfect, Eli’s daycare situation isn’t perfect, but working is good for us. And I’m glad to finally be doing what I love and what’s best for all of us. I can’t help but realize on a regular basis how lucky we all are.

Two Weeks Notice

Okay, I’m going to start with a quick timeline because otherwise this is going to get confusing. From 2006 to 2009 I was a teacher. From 2009 to 2012, I was in grad school. In September of 2012 I started my first post-grad school job (we’ll call it job 1, for the sake of simplicity), where I filled in for others when they went on vacation or jury duty. In January I started a second job (job 2, because I’m creative) where I was initially working 1 day a week consistently.

When I started job 2 in January, I had reservations. It’s pediatric based and I did peds at my last clinical affiliation last year and hated it. I mean, hated it. I didn’t want to go. I called my sister almost daily on the way to work practically in tears for how miserable I was. And yet, when I got an email offering me this position, I jumped at the chance. It’s a cool place with cool people.

And from the first day, I loved it. I felt a little out of my league at parts, but as each week passed my confidence and arguably my skills, improved. I got to where each week I looked forward to Wednesdays and dreaded the days I had to go to work at job 1. After a few weeks, we added a half day at job 2 to accommodate new patients. I was thrilled.

I have been continuing to take days at job 1, but over the past 2 months, they had slowed to a trickle. I accepted every one that came my way, even the ones that were an almost 2 hour commute away, but even still, most weeks I was getting one day of work a week at best. I really liked the company, but I was not working enough to make it worth my while staying per diem at job 2. I spoke with my boss at job 2 and she said that if I wanted to work more, she’d give me the hours and would eventually need me up to 3 days a week, or even more if I was interested.

And with the combination of hospital bills and student loans looming, we knew what had to be done.

2 weeks ago I gave my 2 week notice for job 1 and starting next week I’ll be working up to full part time hours at job 2. Eventually I may go full time, but I like being able to be home with Eli a few days a week and as long as it works with our budget, I’m not in a rush to change it. My boss also has a young daughter, so she’s extremely understanding of the need for a work/home balance and I am beyond appreciative of that.

But the coolest part of all of this is that I truly enjoy going to work now. When I was a teacher, I dreaded going to work each day. I loved my students, I loved interacting with them, but I hated the job. At job 1, I dreaded going to work each day and I started to worry that I had gone into the wrong field because I was miserable. But now, I no longer dread it. I look forward to seeing my patients, to seeing my coworkers, to working with parents. I look forward to even the toughest patients, because they challenge me in a way that is exciting. In a way that makes me want to work more instead of less, and that is a very novel feeling for me. I am pretty stubborn, but when I don’t like my job, when things get tough, I tend to want to bow out. There is no more bowing.

I remember when job 2 was offered to me and the trepidation I felt about returning to pediatrics, but now that I’m there, I feel like I’m home. And that makes the long road to get here seem more than worth it.

Opportunity Knocked

Early in my graduate school career I had an instructor who got me interested in pediatrics. She is one of those endlessly excited and excitable people who everyone knows is in love with what she does. Watching her treat patients is kind of entrancing. She was a major factor in why I didn’t quit school, she reminded me of why I wanted to do this in the first place. And throughout my education, I spoke with her a few times about suggestions for getting into pediatrics and she was incredibly helpful.

And then I did a 14 week pediatrics rotation. That I completely hated. It didn’t help that I was pregnant, contracting like a man woman and chasing around small children, which is not an ideal situation (please know that I know that there are worse things. All I’m saying is that the pregnancy made the clinical harder.). And it didn’t help that I had 2 different clinical instructors who made the affiliation a major challenge by perpetually contradicting one another. I was miserable. I didn’t want to leave in the morning to go to clinic, I wanted to go home early every day.

And so when I got an email from that professor offering me a part time position in her peds clinic, I paused.

Let me just say that I was totally beside myself with surprise and well, pride, for getting asked to join her clinic. It is a small, but renowned place, and my instructor had 95 students from my year alone to choose from, among many other qualified professionals. Yes, I’m bragging. I hate myself for it a little bit, but I’m doing it anyway. This is pretty much the coolest professional thing that ever has and probably ever will happen to me.

I didn’t initially know how to proceed because it was such an incredible opportunity (especially since the type of pediatrics work is not just mainstream clinical peds, it’s a cool combo setting that I’m not going to go into details on because it’ll make things very googleable and I’m not ready for that), but my feelings on pediatrics had been tainted by my past experience, so I was struggling with what to do.

She invited me to come out and watch a few sessions, so Eli and I spent 3 hours watching her treat kids. And I felt a familiar feeling. It was the way I felt about pediatrics my first few years of school. The way I felt after I did my first pediatric affiliation, the way I felt just before I started that last one.

We’ve talked regularly since then and I think I’m going to accept the offer. Basically I’ll be working for her, at least initially, one day a week starting in January, to pick up the slack while she’s teaching. It may also open the door to do some graduate level teaching, which is super cool, but also, it means I get to do some pediatrics and also keep my other job to do some adult work. It’s a fantastic balance. It’s not low stress because she is incredible at what she does and providing her caliber of care will be a big undertaking, but I think that kind of pressure with press me to be better and that’s always good news.

I’m nervous, but excited about this opportunity. I think it will be a great way for me to decide what age group I’m most interested in working with for the long haul. Both jobs will be pretty flexible, which is key, and I’ll still get to be home with Eli a lot, which is important to me right now. Some day I’ll work full time, but I’m not ready and as long as we can get by with me working part time, it’s what we’re going to do.

I know I don’t say it enough, but I really love what I do. I’ve only been working for a little over 6 weeks now, but I’m really enjoying my days at work. And with this new job I feel a little bit like I’m getting the best of all (professional) worlds, and, well, I’m just so very grateful for the opportunity.

Back to Work

It’s my last first day of school picture, only, not school. Work. Today I treated 8 patients and evaluated 3 more. And then I came home and snuggled my baby for several hours. And I’ll do it again (8-1) tomorrow.

So Mom, here’s my last first day of school picture.

photo-7

But don’t worry, it’s his very first of many.

photo-8

(Last year- I miss my body SO SO SO badly)
clinic

(2 years ago- I miss that haircut)
Pretty close.

(3 years ago- I miss nothing because this picture’s a damn mess)
Last year

Thuck it

If you follow my twitter stream, you might have found out that camp was interrupted yesterday afternoon by a nearby fire. Not wanting all the kids or counselors to breathe in the smoke, we moved everything indoors and had the parents come pick the kids up early (well, they left earlier, traffic made it so they arrived at almost the normal time). As the afternoon progressed, the fire was more and more in control and by late last night the Los Angeles fire department declared the fire 90% contained.

And last night, while relaxing at home, I hopped on twitter (okay fine, I was already on it because it’s practically an extension of my consciousness. Whatever) and joked with my boss about the hectic day. I asked her if she thought camp would be cancelled today because of the smoke and she assured me that things had calmed, the skies had cleared considerably and things should be good to go for Thursday.

So I got up at 6, I got ready, including, because today was slated to be a “special” day at camp, blow drying and straightening my hair, and left the house. I normally leave by 6:30 because my 54 mile commute is in the same direction as 30 billion other drivers and I’d rather get to work 20 minutes early than sleep 10 more minutes and get there late.

But today, I left at 6:45. And of course, almost immediately, got stuck at an accident. The first accident in the morning on this freeway in 3 weeks. I ended up getting off the freeway and taking a surface street route to get around some of the looky-loo traffic. I knew I was running late and I considered calling the office at work to let them know, but thought better of it because I’m known to be kind of an alarmist and most likely wasn’t actually going to be late as much as not early.

So I drove on. And on and on. The closer I got the more I worried that camp would be closed, but still didn’t call, figuring that parents would be wondering the same questions and the phone lines would be tied up. I was relieved when the entrance gate was open because that meant that people were there (since it’s otherwise locked).

But curiously, as I drove through the gate, I saw a co-worker drive out of it. And I got a deep sinking feeling in my gut.

As I pulled up, one of my higher ups signaled for me to roll down the window and when I did, she told me that I might want to consider updating my phone number…because they’d been trying to call me all morning. To tell me not to drive 54 miles that morning. Because camp was closed (due to air quality, no damage to the campus).

I got out of the car because I had to pee, and several higher up staff members were all on campus and they all half-heartedly laughed at my outfit (again, special day) and the fact that I was there. I was somewhere between despair and hilarity and found myself alternately laughing and wanting to yelling profanity.

At one point, I walked up to a friend, stomping and made some gritted teeth comment that I couldn’t believe that I’d forgotten to update my new phone number and kicked my foot in the air in disgust. When I did that, my shoe went flying, and of course, landed on the roof. ON THE ROOF.

I then went in and updated my phone number (while someone retrieved the shoe I was planning on leaving for all posterity) and then walked out to my car only to discover that I didn’t have any keys.

And then a horrible thought crossed my mind. If I had locked my keys in my car as I was pretty sure I had, there was nothing I could do. I no longer have evidence of a AAA membership because of the jackass who stole my wallet in December, meaning I’d have to pay to get my damned keys out.

As that scenario passed in my head, I tried to calm down and remember what I might have done after I kicked my shoe on the roof and scarfed down half a donut (why no, I’m not a stress eater. Why?). And then I looked again and discovered that in one of my fits I had set them down on a desk. Oops.

And then I drove the 54 miles home, arriving 3.5 hours after I’d left that morning.

I walked in the door and found my kitten covered from head to toe in a foreign and now dried substance. I initially thought it was vomit (praise the heavens it wasn’t) and then discovered the place where the shower had dripped and he’d created a kitty litter mud pit. I cleaned him, the wall, the floor, the kitchen table and the kitchen pantry door off (apparently, while covered in kitty litter mud, it’s imperative to touch every surface in the house) and the sheets are in the dryer now.

And then I went shopping. Because, damnit, I deserved it.

Thursday can thuck it.

(p.s. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today marks 5 years since the day Slappy and I officially began dating. I feels like just yesterday, and also, like I’ve known him a lifetime. It’s been a remarkable and wonderful 5 years.)

(p.p.s. Today is also our cat’s 4th birthday. I’m not crazy enough to bake her a cake or actually celebrate, but I’d just like to mention that I’m thrilled that she didn’t vomit on the kitten. Though he’d certainly have deserved it.)

Werk

First, the naming contest is officially closed. I have a good idea of what I’m going to name the little guy, but Slappy wants to spend some time with him Sunday before committing to anything, so we’ll see. I’d ideally like to have the winner announced by Sunday night/Monday morning so just watch for that.

Tonight was the first night of work and the last time you’ll hear me talk about it. I’m working, for the last time (sniff sniff) at the summer camp where Slappy and I met. This camp is an incredibly special place to me. I feel more at home there than I do virtually anywhere else (besides the four walls of my actual home). The people are incredible, the kids are incredible and everything just feels right there.

And tonight was a great night. This is my 5th summer working there and I’ve never left the first night feeling as energized as I did tonight. Though, nor have I left with a worse headache ever before either. The fact that I’m still alive is a true testament to my unwillingness to let this pain win. But dude, SO bad. Anyways, the people, old and new, were just on tonight and I really feel like this summer is going to be the best of my tenure there.

The main reason that I won’t be talking about it, besides the fact that my boss the woman who hires and fires and signs my check but does not like to be called boss, reads here is that I feel fiercely protective of these kids. The hold a very important and big part of my heart and I’d never forgive myself if anything happened to them (like the time I nearly broke one of their arms and I kid you not, I did not sleep for days. DAYS people).

So I may casually mention that I went to work or that work is going well, but that will be the extent of it.

But not to worry, I don’t need work to find crazy crap to write about. It finds me. And I’ve got a list of things I want to tell you, I’m just spreading them out.

My whining isn’t close to coming to an end…

Not Friday

That about sums up today, it’s not Friday and as such, I’m having an impossible time finding a redeeming quality about the day.

So, before each unit test for 3 of my 5 classes, I play a review game using a powerpoint program that works like Jeopardy. Sometimes there’s a slight lag and if you’re watching really carefully, you can catch the right answer. And since it’s done on a timer, the first team to get the answer right gets the point. Silly me, I thought that the opportunity to see the answer, and then cheat, was too small, or that if it was noticeable, someone would tell me.

Instead, this morning I discovered that all 3 of these classes are cheating to get the bonus points offered for being the winning team. These are the only bonus points I give out and they’re cheating to get them, not learning, cheating. And these games take me easily an hour a piece to put together, and it’s all for them, I get nothing out of it. And not only are they cheating, but once they figured out how to cheat, they told others, so instead of one small group of people, it’s at least 20 kids.

I’m just disappointed. I thought better of them and I foolishly trusted them. I know it’s not like cheating on a test, but it’s cheating on something that I spent a lot of time on, something that was meant to be fun and useful for studying. And that’s really upsetting.

To make matters worse, I talked with some of the other teachers about it at lunch, expecting some sort of sentiment of sympathy and instead I was told that it was my fault and that I had no right to be upset about it. Furthermore, I shouldn’t talk to the kids about it, I should just go on like normal. One of them told me I was “being ridiculous.” And yea, maybe it’s not the end of the world, but it’s big to me and I think I get to decide when I am and am not allowed to be upset about something. 20 of my students breeching my trust is a big deal. Maybe not to them, but to me it is.

And I just couldn’t shake that conversation. I was upset about the cheating and then I was upset about the teachers, who are really some of my good friends. I was nearly in tears by the end of lunch and excused myself early to try and calm down before the next class.

I also have had a wicked headache since, um, Sunday and now today I have a 2 spots on my face, one just below the right side of my lips and one just above, that are tingling all. the. time. Like pins and needles, only ON MY FACE.

And I just want to lie in a small hole and cry myself to sleep, but, oh right! I have another fucking test tomorrow. Yes it’s the last one, but it’s also the biggest one, and it’s also the one I’ve done the least amount of work for because 6 tests in 9 days is way too effing many.

I’m just ready for this week to die. To die a horrible, painful death. Instead, it has 2 more days which will involve studying, avoiding co-workers, stern lectures to students and, unless this face thing stops tonight, a call to the neurologist.

Someone stop this week, I want the hell off.

So lame I can’t even come up with a title

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t blog yesterday, the answer is because all I can think to write right now goes something like this:

I have a cold that won’t move on from my throat. I hate the new time change. I’m tired of school. I’m tired of work.

LatHer. Rinse. Repeat.

You can see how difficult it was for me to toss that post in the trash. Profound though it was.

Today is not going a whole lot better, so I’m just going to pass on a new nugget of wonder from work. If these stories don’t indicated that I am CLEARLY the best teacher of all time, I honestly don’t know what will.

(And I swear, I am not making this crap up. I’m so not that creative.)

Me: At the end of the period, we’ll watch a little of the movie Marie Antoinette as a preview to next class’ topic.

Student: Is that the movie about the girl?

Me: Can you be more specific?

Student: You know, the one who is blind and deaf?

Me: Yea. Helen Keller’s real name was Marie Antoinette.

Student: Really? How did she get that nickname?

And I kid you not, the child was honestly CONFUSED when Marie Antoinette heard and spoke to someone in the movie. You know, what with her deafness and all. And I definitely did not make fun of her for it. Because THAT would be unkind.

Or so easy that it’s not even fun.

Whales

So today I was talking to one of my classes about Joan of Arc (it should be noted that these are not young students. Most of them are old enough to operate a car on their own…) and after I finished a little lecture about Joan, a student raised her hand.

Her: “Um, wasn’t she the one that lived in the whale?”
Me: “What?”
Her: “You know, Joan and the whale?”
Me: “No, that would be Jonah. As in, from the bible. As in 1400 years before Joan of Arc.”
Her: “Right. Wasn’t Pinocchio also in the whale?”
Me: “Yes. Yes in fact he was. Not at the same time as Jonah”
Her: “And that fish from Finding Nemo?”
Me: “You mean, Nemo?”
Her: “Right. Wait, who built the big ark.”
Me: “That would be Noah.”
Her: “Huh, I kinda thought Joan was involved.”

So um, you can send my teacher of the year award right to this blog.

Exiting the tunnel

This has been the day few days week that never ends. But I finally have good news. Rather lots of it too. Um, but none of it is health related. Feel free to lecture me about advocating for my own healthcare in the comments. I need to hear it. I’m starting the Topamax on Monday and there’s a good chance that I might not remember what advocating for one’s health is afterwards.

Anyways, I left the house at 6:45 this morning to take a Microbiology test that I was not at all prepared for. I could tell you that I haven’t had the time, but we all know that’s a lie. I had a week off of work in which I could’ve learned a lot, but I didn’t. However, despite my lousy studying practices, apparently my guessing abilities have blossomed. Because I got an 88 out of 100. This is fantastic news, especially when you discover that the class average was a 48. So, methinks 40 percent above the average is commendable.

Then I went to work, which was, as usual, a giant zoo of chaos.

Somewhere in the middle of my day I got other good, nay, awesome news. Slappy, who is now in his 4th and final (praise the Lord) year of medical school, sent out his residency application last night around 9. As of this morning, he already has an interview at one of the programs. As of this evening, he has 2. And this is his application without any letters of recommendation attached, which is very impressive and awesome. Did I mention it is awesome? because it is. I’m so freaking proud of him.

Then, I left work early for a sporting event on the Northshore. For those not familiar with the geography of New Orleans, there is a big freaking lake here and to get to the northshore, you must drive across a big freaking bridge over the big freaking lake (that sentence originally contained the F bomb 3 times, I censored it because I’m feeling cool like that, yo). Like seriously, a 25 mile long bridge over water. Which is intimidating. It is horrendously frightening when you have to drive said bridge in wind gusting up to 40 miles an hour. Or when the waves in the middle of the big freaking lake are breaking like a foot below the bridge.

(Also, edited to add, because this was too good not to share: I noticed halfway through the drive that something was moving about in the trunk of my car. And then I noticed a smell. And then I remembered that we never removed the bag of CAT FOOD from my trunk from evacuation. So when I finally got across the freaking big lake, I have like a solid inch of cat food in my trunk. And my car smells like a cat’s mouth. I’m thinking if I just lock the cat in the trunk for about an hour I’ll take care of the mess, but perhaps not the smell.)

But I made it, and the sporting event actually went pretty well, which again, was a wonderful surprise.

To balance out the good, the big freaking bridge was closed by the time I got to leave the sporting event (which was, um, like 8:15pm) and therefore I had to drive AROUND the big freaking lake. I will never again complain about the causeway, because seriously, the amount of time it saves is unreal.

I got home at 9:45, ate dinner, watched America’s Next Top Model from last night (don’t judge me) and now I’m contemplating the merits of packing. This weekend is my weekend to fly home and bomb take another test, but the weather is concerning. We’re not getting a direct hit by Ike by any means, but we are again getting a good bitchslap by the dirty side of it. The winds are a little ridiculous. I might have to switch sides of the broken bed (that’s another story for another time) with Slappy tonight so that if the hammock outside our bedroom comes flying in it takes him out first. What? I have a plane to catch tomorrow.

And, finally, as today marked my 35th day without chocolate, I finally got to re-introduce it into my diet. And maybe I’ve built it up too much in its absence because it was actually not as good as I remember. That said, I’m pretty sure I’ll never ever go 35 consecutive days without it again. Hell, I might not go 35 non-consecutive days without it again.

So while it was a 14.5 hour work day and I’m so completely exhausted I might keel over here and now, it was also a day which included a good grade on a test, my husband getting 2 residency interviews, a success at coaching, not dying on the causeway and chocolate. A good day indeed.

Hallelujah. Can it be the weekend now?

Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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