Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ringing in John's lucky number 14

You know that New Year's song..... the one that is played in all the cute RomComs with Tom Hanks and/ or Meg Ryan (or for you youngun's, Jennifer Lawrence and/ or Liam Hemsworth and the song is going to be penned by Taylor Swift)?  Auld Lang Syne!  Yeah, that one.  That song cracks me up.  Know why?  The song is taunting us to hurry up before THIS year ends to finish up all our business so that the new year can start fresh.

That's. Just. Dumb.

First off, for those of you with real grown up jobs- you've taken the last week or two off.  You were smart and didn't check the work e- mail and made damn sure that your assistant didn't forward any voicemails to you.  Hell, that employee went above and beyond by just checking your messages, summing them up in a tidy e- mail and marked the e- mail as urgent so that when you go back on the next business day, it's the first thing you see.  But if you are not so lucky to have someone awesome like that (ahem, like me), then you are going back in with a screaming client/ boss/ employee/ co-worker/ vendor on your e- mail/ voicemail.  From last year.

Second off, guess what.  No one suddenly develops a new personality at the stroke of midnight.  Actually, I think most of us drunks are more annoying at midnight.  Unless you're a nun, then you are just sleeping.  Unless you're a good Catholic nun.  Then you are at church praying for us drunkards at midnight.  Joking aside, we go in with the best intentions, but unless we are willing to REALLY look in the mirror, we are still the same.

BUT, we are stronger from the past year.  That might be the big change.  I know I'm definitely stronger, but I'm still annoying.  It's just part of my ADD.

Third, because people like the false hope that Auld Lang Syne presents us with, they actually end being more of a stressful person to be around (no matter what the capacity).  Some of you are in this big hurry to have all this "business" completed by December 31st, so that January 1st can be that fresh start!  With the new calendar up, that serene picture of SomeIslandNoOneHasEverHeardOf replacing December's picture of ReallyCuteAnneGeddesBabyInSantaDiapersUnderAPristineTree, you suddenly catch all the upcoming important dates.  Credit card payments due, mortgage/ rent due, you just got your bill in from AmEx detailing alllllllll those purchases made on Black Friday (you see now that those weren't really good deals, huh).  Once again, you guys, stop hurrying!  There is no magical stroke of midnight that changes everything (okay Cinderella?).  I have a friend who is stuck at her office today dealing with her clients' need to RUSH.  Seriously guys, most of those tax breaks aren't that big of a deal anyway.  Let the woman go home.

I've already kind of detailed what has gone on this past year.  It wasn't a very good one, but I know people who had it worse than me, so those blessings are counted and definitely passed along to those who need them.  I have no special business that I feel like has to be completed by today, except keeping whatever nasty cooties that John has at bay, or not... Actually, they can just hit.  The sooner I'm over with the bug, the better.  I learned that my method of job searching sucks and I need to get off my fat ass and actually get people face to face.  I learned that there are inspiring and awesome people around me.  I learned that my kids are rock stars.  I learned that I don't need to put up with anyone's shit, but also need to have some patience.

You want to know why else nothing magically changes at midnight?  Because you were so busy trying to accomplish all those BIG things to be done and over with, that you left behind the little things.  Your oil still needs changed.  The decorations still need put away.  The dog still needs walked, fed, thrown the tennis ball, and vaccinated.  Your pool still needs cleaned.  Your hair still needs cut.  Your spouse still needs a hug.  All those things that you were actually trying to hide, are still there.  Deal with them.  NOW.  Okay, at least write it down so that it doesn't come up and bite you in the ass when it's Valentine's Day and you are feeling the romantic pressure of setting that reservation up at the really cool rooftop restaurant overlooking the mountains/ ocean/ prairie land.  Or April 15th.

Oh, and something I really miss every year since we left Ohio?  The fun we had with our good friends playing beer pong, socializing, EATING, drinking and playing other games.  Then we would brave the icy roads of North Ridgeville to get home and sleep it off.  Ever since we got here, we have not built those kinds of relationships and I'm not sure why.  Maybe because we missed home, maybe because we felt out of place, maybe because we subconsciously didn't want to.

Also, I wonder if the Cleveland Browns camp even bothers playing that song at their holiday party.  Because seriously, they change staff more than I change my mind.  Those parties must be fun "hey, Haslam, remember when we fired Chud?" "Why yes, Banner, that was just yesterday!  Happy New Year, this will be our year!"  Ugh.  That's why they need to hire me as their Organizational Development/ Staff Development guru.  They suck.

Whether you will be at home tonight watching Ryan Seacrest's Rockin' New Year's Eve, out at the coolest place getting your drink on with friends, or being safe and having a house party..... I wish you all a healthy and happy 2014.  I know great things are coming.  And I'll be where God wants me to be- with my husband in a safe place (we'll probably be asleep thanks to his antibiotics and my tendency to crash by 8).  And because I'm not planning on shopping for a new outfit for any funerals, please use this service:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Conquering the Christmas spirit and my Facebook year in review

I used to say "I hate Christmas".  Pretty strong words from a Christian gal.  I would attempt to force myself into the spirit by decorating, baking, wrapping the gifts, blah blah blah.


Yet, every year I was still grumpy.  I was pissed that I couldn't buy John that boomin' new stereo system he wanted.  Or the kids the latest and greatest in toys, electronics, etc.  I was pissed that I can't bake the freaking kick- ass goodies that my mother-in-law and her sister do.  I was pissed that we didn't have a house where I could decorate like Clark Griswold.  I was pissed that we didn't attend Christmas Eve services at church because for the last two years I've worked at the Cheesecake, making other families' memories happen.  Then I would stay up till 1 or 2 in the morning to wrap the few gifts we got the kids.  I was just PISSED!  Pessimistic, sarcastic, depressing me.  

There was a shift this year.  2013 has been pretty rough for us.  I still don't have the proper job with my $30,000 Master's degree.  I'm still making $4.80/ hour + tips at a restaurant.  Then there were some family issues that went down (other than the proceeding sentences).  Zach was diagnosed with ADHD and the summer was spent trying to find the right medication for him and us trying to work on the behavior management.  I think the most exciting thing to happen to any of us was Adam's trip to New York for the MMUN.

We finally got Zach on the right type of medication, but the behaviors and family dynamics had to change.  So we decided that counseling was needed.  It started out as us going with him to work with a person to teach us how to parent a child with ADHD and for him understand what he needs to do as well.  Then it turned into John and I going for some separate counseling to better understand why we've made some of the parenting choices we've made.  Gotta tell you, this woman is amazing.  She's not a Ph.D and I'm not sure what her actual qualifications are other than the fact that she is just simply uh-may-zing.  She's made both of us dig down REAL deep.  She makes us think.  She makes us own. She makes us (really me) understand that I am pretty awesome and as soon as I let my wall down, I can let all the good in.  We started doing group counseling with other families for the ADHD.  However, getting through this with Zach is going be a long process because we've got to undo 10 years of crappy parenting.  Yay us!

For those of you who aren't sure what my career goals are, I'll explain it again.  I obtained my Master's in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology.  I want to go into Training and Organizational Development.  Because I lack actual, direct experience in this, I've been applying for entry- level HR positions.  Almost 300 jobs applied for and I think I've had two interviews this year.  

I had an opportunity to go back and work as a legal assistant.  Due to a really stupid move on my part, this fell through AND I lost a friend in the process.  YAY SARAH!  You go girl.......  Also, I was on the board of a professional organization in hopes of boosting my networking and job opportunities.  Pppppfffft, that was a joke.  Seriously.... a joke.  Then, it almost happened this month. I got a call for an interview.  The job was PERFECT.  They loved me.  I was so confident that I was going to be hired that I actually gave notice at CCF.  Then I got the call.  
"Oh, they really really loved you, but felt that the travel was going to be a problem"
"Um, what, no.  Call them back tell them it's not an issue"
"It's non- negotiable at this point, they wish they had something else for you"
Whatever, they knew I had kids and felt that up to 50% travel was going to wear me down.  So, they discriminated.

Oh, I also lost another friend for a very strange reason.  But I'm not going to go into that.  All I'm going to say is that if you unfriend me on Facebook and then want me to join Twitter so I can follow you and your shitty sales pitches for a company that is clearly like Amway and a cult..... yeah.

I want to get back to Christmas.  We had a blast two weekends ago visiting my brother-in-law in San Diego.  I've never stayed downtown and we spent the whole weekend walking around.  Do you know how freaking peaceful and calming it is there?  Here.....

I didn't do any decorating this year.  Our storage situation is really strange and we actually couldn't get to the decorations.  I figured that I just didn't care this year, I couldn't handle forcing myself into the spirit.  The kids were going to be disappointed and I'm surprised that John didn't put up more of a fight because he LOVES Christmas.  But I think he knew and just understood.  Then we had a serious discussion about our finances and not purchasing gifts.  Thanksgiving had been so perfect with just the four of us and keeping it minimal and that was how I wanted Christmas to be.  Every year we stretch ourselves so thin with buying gifts for the kids and then paying bills.  I was noticing a change in the customers' Christmas spirit at work too.  Usually at least one guest per night will tip above and beyond and it wasn't so much that I was expecting that this year, but what I wasn't expecting were the ANGRY people.  The people who came in and tipped $3 on $60.  The people who were just downright rude.  This actually made it easier for me to tell John NO GIFTS THIS YEAR!  I was tired of the kids expecting stuff.  I was tired of our last minute trips the few days before Christmas to purchase stuff.  I was tired of staying up till 1 or 2 a.m. wrapping crap.  Hey, we didn't even watch Christmas movies this year or played music.  I was tired of us needing stuff that we don't buy and then using Christmas as an excuse to buy a bunch of crap.

I did some baking.  I spent Christmas Eve bawling because I was thinking of all the people who mean so much to me.  I texted my best friend from college whom I rarely talk to anymore and per my counselor's instructions, I needed to reconnect with her.  Then another friend had posted a Facebook status where she was feeling inadequate, etc.  This person needed to hear the impact she has had on not just me, but everyone we work with.  So I called her and we bawled together.  Then I talked to my other best friend and something was said that really hurt my feelings, but I know it wasn't intentional.  So, I have to discuss that with her.

  Wanna know what our tree was?  A rosemary plant.  Yep, we went to Sprouts and bought this little plant that smelled like pine and I stuck a few candy canes on it.  We broke down and bought the boys a few things and put those gifts around the plant on the dining room table.  We spent Christmas Day with TBS and it's 24 hour run of A Christmas Story on.  The boys played on their iPad/ iTouch with the Roblox gift cards we got them and we laid in bed all day.  Then I cried some more because I'm so happy and thankful.  Finally, the true meaning of Christmas is upon me.  I wasn't upset that we couldn't do all those things.  I wasn't upset that we weren't with family.  I wasn't upset that we only got three Christmas cards in the mail (does anyone do those anymore?).  I didn't focus on our mounting bills.  I focused on us and what we have.  I've been humbled.

2014 will be our year.  For anyone who had it rough in 2013.... 2014 will kick its ass.  I promise.