I Will Never Understand

The boys’ father is now complaining that I have enrolled B1 I the Little Brother/Little Sister program. Seriously…could you PLEASE get your own life and stay out of mine now that I have moved on with mine? He fought over hockey (and lost), now he’s trying to fight over this. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to realize that THIS is a moot point. It in no way interferes with his parenting time and there is no cost involved that he would be responsible for splitting.

The following is the redacted response I sent to his whining email this morning:

After reading through and discussing with the LBLS coordinator, I enrolled (B1) in the program as a way for him to have an adult mentor who is able to spend dedicated time with him and give him time to explore what his independence and build his self-esteem. The mentor chosen for him works at (PERSEC).

 

A Big Brother is not in any way meant as a replacement parent. He is only a friend and mentor to the Little. (B1) will be able to spend time with his Big and do things that he might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. There is no cost involved in this program. They will spend approximately two hours every other week together and build a relationship that is meant to be lifelong. As we figure out our schedules it is likely that he will have his time during the time when (B2) and I are at hockey practice. I feel this will give (B1) more of a sense of independence as well as to build his self-confidence.

 

The following is from the Little Brother/Little Sister brochure:

 

Youth mentoring exposes a Little (B1) to a positive role model. Mentoring can help focus on their future and on setting academic and career goals. Our mentors work to expose them to new experiences and people from a diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and professional background. The one on one environment provides Little’s with attention and a concerned friend to encourage emotional and social growth. Mentoring can foster increased confidence and self-esteem.

~~Pardon my language~~

Now go fuck yourself you piece of shit. You have never EVER tried to involve yourself in any of the children’s passions unless they align with your own. Now I have a ten year old boy who has no idea of himself. B1 NEEDS to find his own passion, not isolate himself because he doesn’t want to ‘put you out’ by needing a ride or any sort of compromise between the parents as he already understands that it will be me who will be the only one to go out of my way to make sure that he gets to participate because you refuse to budge on ANYTHING that is not your idea. He already sees that he and his little brother are nothing more than an inconvenience to you when it comes to activities. While they hate missing out with either of us, he already sees that I am more than willing to give up time, money, anything…for him and B2. How sad for him to already think he does not matter. Fuck you for making him feel this way. Fuck you

The fact that you feel threatened as a parent by a two hour commitment every other week…four hours a month…should be an eye opener. Of course it won’t be though because you cannot see past your own insecurities and hang-ups to provide a childhood for these boys.

I will continue to fight for my boys and their future. You were the one who wanted a divorce, you were the one who wanted to split up our family. THEY shouldn’t have to suffer, their future shouldn’t have to be shaped by your inability to move on.

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First ER Visit Due To Chemo

After hockey practice this morning (around 12:30) I developed a rash on the left side of my neck. I went to the ER as it is a common indicator of an allergic reaction. By the time I was admitted (12:55pm) it covered my entire face, my shoulders and upper body. Although the ER doc insists it is not related to my chemo…I know it is. He said allergic reactions would show during administration of medication, not the next day. I explained that chemo reactions are often delayed due to the pre-meds that are given at the time of infusion. He said this is still highly unlikely…I didn’t care what he thought, I just wanted what I knew I needed…IV Benadryl and IV steroids. He ordered both along with Pepcid (even tough I told him I use Zantac as part of my chemo regimen) and checked on me an hour later. There was no improvement, but it was no worse so he ordered a second round of Benadryl. An hour later there was still no improvement yet no progression so he ordered on more dose of steroids and sent me home. Told me to go buy some Benadryl and continue to take it every 2 hours until the rash disappeared.

He is sure that I was exposed to something that morning…I tried to explain that I was NOT exposed to anything unusual, I have no other known allergies, and that chemo reactions can happen up to three weeks after infusion of certain medications.

I realized today that I am so lucky. The nurses at the infusion center are always so impressed that I even know the name of each of my drugs, never mind I know the specific duty of each of them. They apparently have long term patients who have no idea what medications they are taking or what the medicine is aimed to do.

People, I URGE YOU STRONGLY…nobody has a bigger dog in the fight for your life than YOU do. Be your own advocate, know your stuff, learn everything possible about your treatments and embrace your journey. Do not walk this path blindly and then whine when nothing seems to be working.

Start with your diagnosis: what is your specific diagnosis:

  1. I have locally advanced, stage III Invasive Ductal Carcinoma with extensive Ductal Carcinoma Insitu.
  2. My receptor status is ER+ PR+ HER2+
    1. ER+ means my cancer is Estrogen Receptor Positive and it is fed by the estrogen in my body.
    2. PR+ means my cancer is Progesterone Receptor Positive and is fed by the progesterone in my body.
    3. HER2+ means the cells have too many receptors for the gene that makes the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2…essentially this is the on/off switch to tell the cells when and how fast to multiply and when to stop. With too many of these, my tumor (in layman’s terms) does not have an off switch. This why the cancer is considered aggressive.

Know your treatment plan and the reason for each step:

  1. 20 weeks of chemo:
    1. To shrink the tumor
    2. To kill any possible micro-metastases throughout my body
  2. Mastectomy:
    1. To remove the diseased breast.

Lots of big words sure, lots of info, no doubt. How do I sleep at night with all this info in my head? LIKE A BABY. I KNOW that I am doing everything I can to EFFECTIVELY treat my specific cancer.

I belong to a few discussion groups online about breast cancer and am appalled and have had to leave a few of them because there are so many women who are so lost in their own journey. I feel sympathy for those who won’t get a port placed as it will be yet another scar they will carry. A two inch scar below your collar bone or the possibility of not having accessible veins in your aging years due to scarring from repeated IV pokes. I’ll take the scar, thank you very much. (My port gets placed Friday, January 9). The women who are so vain that the thought of losing their hair is traumatic…get over it ladies…your hair or your life? Easy call for me. (I was told day 12-15 it would start to fall out…I’m on day 9 and getting more excited every day!)

It is no wonder so many people are so very scared of cancer, they hear the word and they freeze. Their brains stop. I understand that, I truly do. There comes a time when you have to say, “Yep, I’m TERRIFIED and I think I might die, time to get to work.” Hopefully there is somebody in your support network who can do this for you if you can’t, unfortunately due to the fear associated with cancer they are just as scared (if not more so than you are) and are even less educated. Many of them have no idea how to approach you, talk to you, or even say hi, let alone tell you to get your head out of your ass and get busy living or get busy dying. If you are getting busy dying; I’ll help you embrace that too. Don’t expect me to sugar coat the reality or your choices. I have compassion, I know there is a quality versus quantity balance. Your choices are yours…and I respect them and will embrace them with you if they are rational, well planned, educated choices.

If even ONE person takes control of their health due to this journal and my journey, the final outcome is a win in my book…whether I live or die. (Only the good die young…I got more than a few years left!)

Off to buy more Benadryl…

This Could Get Interesting

The ex signed the boys up for Summer Rec baseball in the town where he lives. I am glad to see them involved and enjoying it.

Today after their game, B1 called to tell me they lost and said that B2 played right center field (whatever that means) and that when a kid hit the ball to him he forgot to throw it in and instead ran to the home plate from the outfield…and BEAT the kid!! He told me “…his tiny legs were going so fast Mom…”  Apparently the batter was B1’s age or older (9) and B2 is only 6! LOL

But I digress…as usual

Summer Rec takes place beginning at 9 am and for away games the bus sometimes leaves as early as 7:45. I am now working in the town where I live. I made it clear to the ex that I would not be able to get them to ball when they are with me due to my schedule and was willing to exchange parenting time so that the boys stayed exclusively with him through the ball season and I would exercise parenting time every other weekend. When ball finishes up, I would take the boys exclusively to make up for the time I missed with him exercising every other weekend through that time.

Although the divorce decree clearly states it is the responsibility of the parent with parenting time to provide transportation to and from the children’s activities, it also states that the parties are to work together in the best interests of the children.

I was told what my duties as a parent were when we exchanged the kids yesterday (to get them to baseball during my time) and a few other things…apparently I don’t know how to read or understand the divorce decree “…as it says right in there…” And right in front of the boys…good one dad…good job motherfucker.

This morning I sent the following email to the parenting time expeditor and the ex:

This email is regarding the boys playing summer rec baseball in Dad’s town.
 
I understand that it is reasonable for the boys to be involved every week with their friends and team in this sport. Up until this last week there had been no issue with the boys missing the week they are with me due to my work schedule. They understand that there are things that are not the same when mom and dad are divorced and living in different towns.
 
I also believe it is in the boys best interest that I remain employed to support them. My current work schedule prevents me from taking a minimum two and a half hours off three or four days per week.
 
I am still offering to switch parenting time so the boys spend the weekdays in Dad’s town so they don’t have to miss any baseball games or practices (I offered this when they were first signed up). I will continue every other weekend parenting time through those weeks and will then make up my weeks missed after the season is over; allowing parenting time with Dad every other weekend during that time.
 
I do not think it reasonable to be told what my duties as a parent are while exchanging the children in Exchange Location as happened during the exchange Sunday, July 6, 2014 in front of the children. While I understand the court decree states it is the parent who has parenting time’s responsibility to transport the children to their activities, it is sometimes necessary to make changes for the best interests of the children as it is the CHILDREN’S time, not the parent’s which is the priority.
 
Mom
 
I have no idea what will come of this…I just don’t need the threat of being taken to court over Summer Rec baseball or whatever the next petty thing he comes up with…
 
With our parenting time expeditor, we are to try and make these decisions on our own, amongst ourselves but include him in the emails we exchange so he can have all necessary info if and when he needs to make a decision.
 
Will I miss the heck out of the kids when they are with Dad and I only get every other weekend??? You know I will…I will also make sure our weekends are full of mini golf, fishing, bike rides, adventures, and cool stuff to enjoy every minute of what time we have.
 

After Midnight

Night two of tossing and turning. I’ve tried breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, hot bath, warm milk…and still I can’t sleep.

Part of it is wanting this divorce finished, part of it is still not having a job, part of it is being over tired, and part of it is an ongoing spiritual battle I’m in the middle of.

I’ve reached out to a couple of groups at church and in both groups I am finding it difficult to express myself clearly to those who are not as strong in thier faith. A simple “give it to God” does more harm than good if they are not secure in His promises for them.

I also struggle listening to those who spout the ‘I’ve been good enough why do bad things happen to me’ party line. There are people who seem to be ‘doing the right thing’ only in hopes of bettering themselves. Are you kidding me?? You think deserve to be rewarded in this life (or the next) when your heart is not pure in its intentions?

Please don’t play the victim if things don’t go your way when your motives are less than thinly veiled in the first place. 

I know it’s not going to happen over night and some people may never have the relationship with God that I feel. I’m sorry for those people. They will never learn true love, true devotion, and peace of mind.

My struggle now is not regarding my relationship with the Lord, but about finding like-minded people to surround myself with.

I’m going back to bed, and will say a prayer for the hearts of the hurting that they will learn of the grace and promises  given to all of us.

Figuring It Out

Monday after the boys went home I was fine until later in the evening. I had spent the day doing laundry, dishes, cleaning, and then I made their beds…HUGE mistake. That did it for me, I was a mess. I even posted on my Facebook status, “And then it hits you.” Of course I got all the regular smart-ass comments from friends and family about ducking, or opening my eyes when I play catch…and I said nope, just made the boys beds, beds that won’t be slept in for a week. The next day, my mom (ever the comedienne and best support person in the world) said that a month ago I wasn’t guaranteed a week at a time, only a few days…damn her. Why is she always right? So I replied back to that *insert sarcastic teenager tone* NO MOM…it just taught me not to make their damn beds.

I talked to the Lunch Lady a bit about the feelings and the Battle Buddy. They were both very encouraging and helpful. It feels as though this is a step to full custody, I just can’t allow my heart to get my hopes up that high. I will take this as it comes.

Unfortunately there has been a disappointment with the new job I was to start. Due to the new parenting time schedule, I am no longer a good fit as she was requiring one over night each week out of town for classes she is taking starting in January…when it rains, right?

So now, I am broke, out of work, and the boys come next week and I have to transport them back and forth to school and it is B2’s birthday on Monday, B1’s is three weeks later. Then, of course, there is Christmas coming and we don’t have so much as a tree. Yes, I’m well aware that it is the experiences that matter, not the material aspects, but the material aspects help build the traditions and memories (such as trimming the tree).

I filed some papers with social services today to see what programs are available to help in my current situation. I am considering calling my boss at the hotel to get back on a few days per week…it is better than nothing.

My Battle Buddy was extremely blessed. He found out of his ex-wife’s infidelity/pregnancy only 8 weeks ago. Their divorce was final on Tuesday. He had his lawyer draw up some papers (VERY much in his favor) and without even hardly looking them over, she signed them. He has custody, and she gets them every other weekend. All the credit cards that were in her name are her responsibility, all the ones in his are for him to worry about, he gets the house, they each get one vehicle, and she will pay him support. Earlier in the day he asked if I’d be willing to go for a long drive after court. I said I’d be around if he needed a shoulder/friend/ear. He stopped over after court and after asking if my vehicle was good on the road said, “Let’s go.” Before I could tell him I had no gas, he offered to put gas in if we could take my vehicle because his car had a tire go bad.

We ended up driving for over an hour and then stopped for something to eat. While at supper we talked about the early years of both of our marriages, our kids, our goals for the next year, hindsight, etc. Then he said, “Let’s go, I have an idea.” I told him he was pretty pushy…he reminded me he had the keys (I let him drive because I didn’t know where he wanted to drive). We went and watched Last Vegas with Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman, and Danny Devito. He said we both needed a giggle after such a serious talk at supper. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time.

It’s comforting to have somebody figuring out some of the same stuff during the same time. Glad we met up when we did. He has a sick and twisted sense of humor and the Lunch Lady, Milk Man, and Peaches* thinks he will be a great addition to our madness. I tried to warn him. I told him that he and the Milk Man, and Soldier Boy (Peaches Hubby) can stay home with the kids…13 of them I think if we put them all together; never mind, I’d go to bingo with the girls too!!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘fair and equitable distribution’ as far as my divorce goes. That is the preferred language of the court. What I wonder is what is fair, what is equitable in my case? There is nearly $70k equity in the house he is living in, he got all the household goods and furnishings, I got nothing. I will work on it more as things progress.

So a few things to figure out, a few avenues to travel, more to explore.

*Peaches got her name because she was wearing some peach scented body spray or lotion…(or something, I am too traumatized to remember right now) and she grabbed my hand and rubbed it between her breasts AT THE BAR that night we were out and said, “Smell that, don’t you just love it?”

Welcome to the blog Peaches…now that you have a confirmed name, you’ll be here a lot!! LOL

Sense of Humor

I have given birth to a certain eight year old boy that I love dearly. Lately, me and said boy get in to discussions that are like reading ‘If you Give a Mouse a Cookie’ written by Laura Numeroff.  If you have not read these series of books I HIGHLY recommend them.  If you give him a cookie, he’ll want milk, if you give him milk he’ll want a mirror to check for a milk mustache, if you give him a mirror he’ll want scissors to trim his hair…you can see how this goes. Bubba asks why for every answer I give him to see how creative I can get. Here’s a recent conversation:

Can I have a Pepsi?

No

Why?

We don’t drink pop for breakfast.

Why?

Because it’s unhealthy.

Why?

Because there is too much sugar.

Why?

That’s how it gets flavor.

Why?

So it tastes good.

Why?

So kids want to drink it for breakfast.

Why?

So they can argue with their mother

Why?

Because they like to have their x-box taken away

Why?

Because they enjoy standing in a corner

Why?

For exercise

Why?

Because exercise is good

Why?

Because it burns energy

Why?

because there’s some cycle that includes ATP that I don’t remember

Why?

Because I’m old

Why?

Because my kids ask too many questions

Why?

Because they think duct tape is a hot fashion accessory across their mouths

Why?

Because I haven’t figured out how to lock the closet

Why?

Because I am too busy answering questions

Why?

Because I’m an awesome mom

Why?

Because my mom is awesome

Why?

Because she had me

Why?

Why not?

I’ll ask the questions here, lady.

Why?

Because I’m the kid

Why?

Because you had me

Why?

Because I am your birthday present

Why?

Because you found out you were pregnant with me on your birthday

Why?

Ummmm, Mom….

HA…GOTCHA…you little shit!

Of course by now he still has not forgotten that he wants a Pepsi for breakfast, but we are all giggling and have just wasted a good five or ten minutes.

The pastor from my old church used to tell me that if I ever doubted God had a sense of humor to make a plan…lately God’s sense of humor is shining through in my life in SOOOOOO many ways. I still try to laugh…but lately He seems to have taken things a bit far.

I took the leap and quit my job. Tomorrow is my last day. I have my finances figured out, I have several job prospects, I have a plan in place. Looks good right? Last night I get home and go to plug in my laptop which is dead from a call with the boyfriend after work…and the pin to plug the charger in is busted. The milk man is going to look at it for me, but I think it’s toast.

I don’t have the money to replace my laptop right now…it wasn’t in the plan…and I am having trouble finding the humor in this one. I know I don’t NEED a laptop…but it sure is nice having a computer at home. I have the x-box, but I don’t have a keyboard for it…and I’m WAY too cheap to go buy one…and if I buy a keyboard I have to buy a camera/mic set up so I can use Skype…well, now I might as well just buy a new computer…but it’s not in the plan.

The library has computers for public access, the workforce center has computers for public use…but neither one of those places is going to let me sleep there in case The Boyfriend calls in the middle of the night. Neither one of them has Skype or Yahoo Messenger capabilities. So, I do what I do best. I pout, then I pick my head up and move forward. My birthday is coming up in April…I can save up after I go back to work and then spoil myself.

But this means that for the foreseeable future I may not be blogging regularly, I have to rely on snail mail with The Boyfriend which at the moment is not an option due to his current status/location…not funny God.

So, just another challenge to face, another hurdle to jump. We grow through adversity. In the last 6 months I have:

  • Been homeless
  • Lived with no furniture when I did get a home
  • Started dating
  • Quit my job
  • Learned how to be a Wildland Fire Fighter
  • Found a new church
  • Began teaching Sunday School again
  • Taught my boys how to fish
  • Got my butt kicked at mini-golf more times than I’d like to count
  • Taken my kids bowling
  • Loved intentionally
  • Lived intentionally
  • Moved on.

This little blip is nothing compared to some of those things. I’m a warrior, I got this. Just like rules are made to be broken, plans are made to be changed. I believe that everything is exactly as it is supposed to be at this moment.

Moving on…

Today I did something I have been praying about and struggling over for months (since January really). I put in my two weeks notice at work. I began working here November 21, 2011 and immediately fell in love with my job. I worked my butt off to learn everything I could about the industry and specifically the brand I was employed by. I took online classes on my own time, studied every bit of information I could get my hands on, made sure my guests needs were met and that they knew I valued their business.

Within three months I was made Front Desk Manager. I got my own office, and a ton of responsibilities…but no raise. I was told the raise would come when the numbers came. As I was already doing most of the managerial duties at that time, the money wasn’t an issue. Money was never the issue. The issue was being able to make decisions for the hotel and the staff to ensure a positive experience for the guests.

The numbers not only came, they flooded in. Sales doubled over the previous year and continued to skyrocket. At the end of October 2012 there were some major wildland fires in the area. We now had state and federal teams in the local area. At first the teams were dispersed amongst all the local hotels and motels, spreading the wealth, if you will.

Within 10 days of the start of the fire I had everybody they could fit in our hotel staying here. They completely moved out of three of the four other hotels and had as many as they could based out of here. I ended up with 94 firefighters, FEMA employees, state employees, etc. staying here. I worked my ass off for this group. I knew who was in what rooms at all times, who was working on which fire (up to five separate fire incidents), the status of each fire, and several other above and beyond tidbits. It was an ongoing joke that they got their REAL briefing from me before heading to the Incident Command Center where they were often quizzed on what I had already told them. lol

The over head team LOVED me. I developed a spreadsheet of the personnel staying here and kept it up-to-date. The Logistics Section Chief called me from his next assignment and asked if I could email him the spreadsheet template to use…he was now working Hurricane Sandy.

I still talk to several of them on a regular basis. They made it known to my boss that I was the ONLY reason they were at this property and that the above and beyond service I provided them was second to none. My boss hated the fact that the front lobby looked like a funeral home due to the number of flower arrangements that showed up several times a week.

I often would do laundry for several of the firefighters in the evenings. They spent 12 hours each day on the fire line…throwing a few loads of laundry into the hotel washer/drier a couple times a week while I was working was no skin off my back. They LOVED it and because I wouldn’t take their money they would buy me flowers and chocolate. I never asked for or expected payment, I saw it as a gift I gave to them. These men and women put their lives on the line, spent weeks at a time away from their families and friends…all I did was wash clothes and fold socks. Our property had an increase of more than $70,000 in room revenue for the month of October alone.

Not long after the fires were out, the pipeline crews moved in. Many of them spend the summers living in campgrounds and move in to the hotels when the weather gets cold. They had heard from others about the personal service provided and the great management (me).

In January we had an issue with a guest not wanting to pay his bill (over $1500) and he decided to use me as a pawn to get out of paying his bill. He used information from another source as well as completely lied about issues he ‘had’ while at the hotel and sent them to my boss in an email. Well, in arguing his case with his credit card company our boss had to provide proof of his stay, etc. On the registration card, whomever had checked this particular guest in did not have him sign the payment agreement, nor was his credit card preauthorized.

When this come to light I was taken in to the office and told that if he got out of paying his bill due to these oversights I was out of a job completely. Well…this princess don’t take shit laying down. I said that while I understood the implications of this man getting a free room for the length of his stay, it was not me who checked him in therefor it should not be me that was punished.

Well, let me tell you…this did not make the boss happy one bit. We looked up the records and there was the proof that I had not officially dealt with this man on ANY level except to take his initial reservation over the phone. The only other time I had any contact with him was off the clock (a few times a week I would sit in the bar and visit with various guests).

Within a week I was again taken into the office and told that ‘the owners’ (there are four owners, one of whom is the General Manager here) had decided that I wouldn’t be the Front Desk Manager anymore. While it upset me initially, I quickly realized that I was the one who came out ahead in this deal.

I did not loose any pay, I only lost the weight of the hotel resting on my shoulders. I no longer spent my days agonizing over ways to improve our steadily increasing customer service scores, responding to requests from guests past and future about concerns or questions, developing and implementing staff training, hiring and firing, scheduling, and the millions of other little things I did. I now clocked in at 7:00am and clocked out at 3:00pm and refused to take after hours calls.

The issues began nearly immediately when my boss realized that he had no idea how I spent my days. He had no idea the time, effort, and dedication I put in to my job which was now for him to worry about it. Several of my ‘regulars this summer were beyond shocked that I was no longer management but they made it clear that several things now made sense (lack of staff training, why I wasn’t available when they had an issue, and things of that nature).

As the complaints rolled in my boss knew he had bit the hand that fed him. He also knew that there was no way he could apologize and make things right with me. My heart was no longer here. I stayed much longer than I should have. I should have left immediately. Instead, I stayed because I love the flexibility, I love the interaction with my guests, and for the amount of ‘actual’ work I now did, the pay wasn’t bad.

The lack of appreciation has gotten to me. I have begun my job search but have found myself not very enthusiastically looking; probably because I have this one already and there is no panic. So today I put in my two week notice.

With tomorrow’s paycheck I will have all of my bills paid through October. I will also have one full paycheck and one paycheck for one week still coming. My next full paycheck will pay my November rent (my largest expense) and I am confident that I will find employment long before December. The recession missed this area of the country completely and right now it is an employees market up here. The cost of living is low and the wages are good.

I can get a job working at McDonald’s and start at the same wage I make right now. I’m not worried, nor am I above a fast food job. I will do what it takes to pay my bills (anybody looking to book a public speaker in the near future) and I will do so with a smile on my face.

I will blog more on the leap of faith this is for me on another post as well as a few more details of my current game plan.

Stay tuned boys and girls…we’re going on a ride, I just hope it doesn’t get too bumpy.