Mini-Post: Post-Weekend

I just got back from a long weekend attending a wedding back in my hometown. It was lovely. The wedding, I mean. The drama that inevitably erupts anytime I attempt to spend time with my family was categorically un-lovely. Do you people have functional families?  Anyone? Bueller?

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Those with normal families raise your hands!

A few things I am left with:

  1. I love my child, but holy shit I cannot look after him full time. He is getting too big to manhandle but still wants to be held by me and only me. My back is killing me, and I have BITE MARKS. Yes, this is Chick’s latest way of expressing that he is tired. I mean, I get cranky when I’m sleepy but biting is not okay. Like ever. Today, I never felt better about dropping him off at daycare.
  2. After a weekend in small town/suburbia, I want to buy a house. Bad. I have loved city living for the past 15 years, but I need a nest to call my own. Also realized that moving out West is likely not happening soon, for other reasons I won’t go into now. Good reasons, like an impending promotion. In the meantime, I yearn for a yard.
  3. Came back to a job a generally love, but man… its days like this I wish I were an archivist at a tiny presidential library for someone no one cares about, like James Polk or Chester Arthur. I want to retreat into my brain and have no one talk to me for a few days. The bonus of being surrounded by dusty books and handling antiquities with care… swoon.

I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed

So I didn’t get the job.

Before you offer your condolences, I’m okay with it. Sorta. More along the lines of “You broke up with me before I could break up with you.” Ultimately, I knew I wouldn’t take the job, but no one likes to feel rejected. It is, in fact, only the 3rd time ever I have interviewed for a job and not received an offer. This feeling is weird, but I’ll get over it. (This is just me stating facts, haters.)

I found out I didn’t get the job the same week as my birthday. For the first time EVER, I was not looking forward to my birthday and that’s odd. I’m usually all into my birthday because I am awesome and like to take at least one day a year to celebrate said awesomeness.

Instead I spent the day in back-to-fricking-back meetings, doing double duty on pick-up and drop off because Mr. O had a haircut after work, then bitching him out because he didn’t actually wish me Happy Birthday until I reminded him it was my birthday… at 8:00 pm.

Then I cried. Then Chick fell and hit his head. And we both cried.

My birthday present to myself was a historic tour 5K. (#runningnerdalert) We were supposed to do it as a family– me, Mr. O, and Chick in the stroller. I was all set, but Mr. O fell ill so he stayed home with Chick. Instead of the family run I had been hoping for, I was going solo.

On my way to the meeting point (alone) I thought:

I’m just tired of being disappointed.

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#sadturtle

That’s where I’m at these days. I’m disappointed in so many things, I can’t even begin to list them (and we know how I love lists.) Nothing is out and out terrible any more –infertility and death of a loved one have a strange way of putting things in perspective. But I’m left with this general residue of severe let-down-ed-ness. And I don’t think I have been asking the Universe for too much. Honestly.

A few years ago at Christmas, my family requested a list of things I wanted as gifts. This has been a contentious issue for years– my family is notoriously cheap so you can’t recommend anything over $20 which is tricky because if I see something I want that is under 20 bucks, I’ll just buy it my damn self. Anyway… I spent a lot of time coming up with a few ideas that I wanted, needed, and magically came in around budget.

I had asked for a pair of black gloves and a Stevie Wonder CD. Instead I got a pair of socks from my brother, a book of poetry (by my dad’s favorite poet) from my parents, and a statement necklace from the J. Crew sale rack from my sister. Oh, and I also got the gift of white hot rage, because I was pissed. Why ask what I want when you’re just going to get me what you want anyway?! Then I felt horrible because I also felt ungrateful.

Because on top of feeling disappointed that my life right now is not what I would like it to be, I also feel immensely guilty for not being grateful. I have a good job, a roof over my head, a mostly decent spouse when he remembers not to be an idiot on my birthday… I look down at Chick and am filled with a wee bit of self loathing because he doesn’t make up for all the short-comings. It took me ages to have this baby, shouldn’t he just wipe away all my cares and woe? (Um, no… because it is uncool for a parent to make their child responsible for all the happiness in the world. Or at least that is what I tell myself for feeling like a bad person when Chick isn’t the only reason my day is awesome/shit.)

Should I pull an Oprah and list out my gratitude? That’s a little too Shiny Happy People for me… Besides, I’ve always hated this exercise because it seems to imply that if you have anything to be grateful for, you magically shouldn’t care about all the serious crappy things going on.

Good things in life don’t erase the bad ones. They just add to the texture.

I Am the Accountant

Here I was, thrashing around in my midlife crisis, when a recruiter came a knocking. As braggy as it sounds, I get contacted with a degree of regularity by recruiters. Normally I say no. Because I was stewing in my own angsty juices, I decided to talk to this one. It’s a small start-up in the city, building an app for something I personally find interesting.

At first, I was all “Whatever…” but then I talked with the founder. You guys. YOU GUYS. I love this company. And I love this job. I would be employee #6 and get to build my team from the ground up. When I went in for the in-person last week, I talked with the founder for almost two hours and realized that every job I’ve had in my wayward career has made me the perfect candidate for this job.

But damn it… It’s a start up. Which comes with a lot of instability, terrible health insurance, long hours. Over the weekend, I have debated the pros and cons of my situation replete with the tiny angel and tiny devil duking it out on my shoulders. It dawned on me sometime yesterday (as I was weeping in a grocery store parking lot stuffing my face with brownies, btw) that I probably can’t take it even if I was offered the job.

Here are all the reasons why this is probably a waste of my time:

  1. Insurance at most start-ups looks like this: Tylenol, an ice pack, and a coupla band-aids. Mr. O and I are socializing the idea of Chick Part Deux, which means we’d need actual grown up insurance that covers infertility treatments. Though I haven’t seen the plan, I seriously doubt it covers this– certainly not as generously as mine currently does.
  2. New job would likely not have maternity leave. Thank you, America, for treating new mothers like shit. Birth that baby, then get back on the factory floor! #rantover
  3. Should said attempt at baby-making not work out, I would like to be in a place where I could lick my wounds for a little bit. I’m not sure the 24/7 nature of a start-up would be conducive.
  4. This new job would probably not help me with a relocation effort. After a particularly insightful comment from labmonkey2, I realized I should try moving to some place that makes me less hostile. Right now I’m working for a known company in a high growth unit, which is part of the reason recruiters contact me all the time. Coming from an unknown company that may or may not get off the ground… not as attractive.
  5. Depending on the way the position evolves, it may not actually be the direction I want my career to go in. Long story, but I’m in the middle of a pivot right now and this would keep me firmly planted in the area where I already have expertise.
  6. This will not be the last cool start-up ever. Though this specific job may not be open again, opportunities like this are not infrequent in my field. It’s totally possible I could have another shot like this one, if not with this company.

My current sitch isn’t bad– I go to work at 9, run at lunch, eat a salad from the company cafe, answer some emails, then I’m home by 5:30 to spend time with my gorgeous kid. I’m not weeping at my desk everyday, I’m just kinda bored. Boring, I’ve found, is sometimes necessary. I needed it for a few years, what with my mom’s health and my own shitastic fertility treatments. But now that I’m sorta waking up from that period of emotional trauma, I’m realizing the day in and out isn’t too exciting. It explains why I’ve been a little out to sea with this job lately. Yawn.

And yet… This is not the direction I thought my career would go in. Indeed, this isn’t exactly how I thought my life would end up. I am a responsible adult, damnit. In my heart of hearts, I had always assumed Mr. O would be the adult and get a stable job as an accountant or something, leaving me free to be risky and irresponsible. (Woohoo!) Through an odd turn of events, I am the accountant (metaphorically speaking, that is.) Being the breadwinner was never on my bucket list.

As I was moping around this weekend, I realized that this will be the first decision I’ve made not to do something I want to do. If it weren’t for Mr. O, Chick, the twinkle of Chick #2, I would be jumping in with both feet. I don’t mean to imply that I wish they weren’t there. More that it was a strange realization that I have to be responsible, even if it goes against my own personal wishes. My choices have an impact on my family now in a way they never did before.

I can’t decided if this is depressing or just the truth.

Is it just me, or did Arthur Miller write a play about this? Death of an Accountant? Was that a thing?

This is How I Midlife Crisis

I’ve been… funky lately.

I don’t know how to explain it exactly. It all started a few months ago when I was approached by a recruiter for an AMAZING company– likely one you’ve heard of and very likely use everyday. They are huge in the space I work in. If it had been two years ago, I would have peed my pants. As it was, I was like… meh.

I went through the motions and did a few interviews, but after the second one it was pretty clear that I was not the droid they were looking for. No big deal.

But it bothered me. Because “meh” isn’t my usual response to anything. And this overall meh-ness seems to have stuck with my like a little grey cloud for the past several months. It’s not raining. But it sure as shit isn’t sunshine either.

I can’t figure it out. Since I can’t figure out what it is, I can certainly tell you what it is not.

  1. Chick. Yes, he is a handful, but I adore him– even when he pulls baby dramatics. Parenting a tiny human is hard, but on the balance I’ve found a groove that works.
  2. My job. I really love my job. I love my team. 
  3. My running. I’ve been able to get that back into my life which is amazing. It’s not like it used to be- I now squeeze it in during lunch or between meetings. But my practice is back and that means everything.
  4. My family. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they have largely been okay. Yes, my dad has his moments, but we seem to be riding out the rough patches nicely. Any drama doesn’t involve me and is often happening hundreds of miles away.

Here are some contenders for what it might be.

  1. My home. I rent a two bedroom apartment. It works… for now. But since Chick was born, I am having a downright primal urge to “settle down.” The trouble is I don’t want to settle down where I am.  I don’t see a future here… my city is changing a lot. It’s no where for middle class people to live. Conversely, the ‘burbs are so expensive, not to mention devoid of any kind of diversity. Think lots of wealthy white people with advanced degrees. Oy.
  2. Mr. O’s family. Mr. O comes from a fairly large family, so there are family-events almost every weekend. We are obliged to go, are peppered with comments about our baby/parenting/plans to have more, and I go home to complain for the next two hours about how intrusive and weird everyone is. There is more– indeed, I could write a post on this very subject. But in summary, both Mr. O and I are interested in getting far, far away.
  3. The Northeast. I’m actually having a hard time coming to terms with this one. See I grew up in the South, but never felt at home there. I went up North for college, and felt almost instantly lighter. But now… I’m tired of the winters. I’m tired of all the people almost literally piled on top of one another. I’m tired of the strange hyper-competitiveness over “success” and want everyone to just go away.  
  4. My job. Yes, I know… I love my job. I’m also thinking I may have gone as far as I can here. I’m still waiting on an official promotion, but once I get that… What next? Also through some complete accident, I work in tech. It’s tough being a woman working in the tech industry, even when you’re not explicitly in engineering. It’s very young, white, and male… and lo! I do not identify as any of those things. They just aren’t my tribe– my people are teachers, writers, non-profit fundraisers… Tech, however, pays me a livable wage, and I am the breadwinner.

I am, by nature, a problem solver. I see the problem, and for the first time EVER I have no obvious solution. And so I embrace the thrash, hoping that one of these days my path forward becomes clear. Sorta like a magic 8 ball.

On Controlling my face

This is not baby-related, but life-related. In case you find office politics boring, you can skip this one.

I just learned that this guy on my team got a promotion, one that I cannot fathom he deserves. This person has been mostly innocuous– I don’t have to deal with him on the regular, and he is pleasant enough as a person. Just not someone who I think is terribly good at what he does for a living. But my “live and let live” attitude towards things has made this bearable.

Recently, he has been poking his nose into a lot of my projects. Not in a judegy way, just asking for updates which seems odd since I don’t report to him and he manages a different side of the business. After it happening again this morning, I pulled a coworker aside and asked what the deal was. And this is how I learned of my mediocre coworker’s rise to power.

(Aside: Dear senior management: you really need to do a better job about announcing promotions and changes in responsibilities. I shouldn’t have learned about this from my COWORKER.)

There is more to it– this promotion was available because my good friend left, which I’ve found difficult professionally and personally. The idea that this person has moved into her role makes me nauseous because she is ten times more talented than he is.

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Totally afraid my face will get me into trouble… 

I know the world isn’t fair, workplaces aren’t meritocracies, etc. But for the love of Pete, how am I supposed to control my face every time he says something pointless, which is pretty regularly? I’m gonna have to work on not rolling my eyes every time he says something.

We’ve all run into this at one point or another. How do you deal with situations like this without completely losing it?

A day in the life

Like many new parents, I get emails from companies trying to sell me shit. Or get me to sign up for shit. Or whatever. I’ve mostly ignored them, but there are a few I find helpful on occasion. One is Lucie’s List, which I’m a big fan of. Useful information with a dash of humor. I also like the ones from BabyCenter, because they recommend different development games you can play with your baby based on their age. A lot of the other stuff on their site is mindnumbingly idiotic, but there are a few gems.

So I was poking around the site this morning and came across something called “Baby Schedules.” I think “Huh? Baby schedules? Isn’t the whole point of babies that they say ‘F*CK YOU!’ to any and all plans?”  Needless to say, I was intrigued.

The article goes on to link to 8 different schedules, based on a whole bunch of variables.

Are you a stay at home mom?  Or are you a formula feeding working mom? How about a stay at home mom who is breastfeeding twins? We’ve got you covered!

Then I read these schedules and laughed my ass off. Of course, I picked the one that most closely resembles my sitch, only to realize whoever wrote this is a plan old liar. Okay, maybe not a liar, but leaving out all the good parts.

So ladies… here for your entertainment is my “Schedule” (Really. This happened yesterday.)

6:15 am: Wake up, stumble into the shower. My child is awesome and has slept through the night again. Hear Chick thrashing around in his crib the moment water hits my face. Realize I have about 10 minutes before he gets all diva on my ass.

6:25 am: Hop out of the shower to Chick getting his bossy on. Ask Mr. O to delay leaving for work by 5 minutes so I can dry off and put some product in my hair while he attends to The Supreme Leader.

6:30 am: Take Chick from Mr. O. Sing him his “Good Morning” song as I change his diaper and take him out of his pjs.

6:45 am: Heat up Chick’s bottle with his daily dose of vitamins while performing our morning “chores” which include turning down the heat, turning off his humidifier, and setting up my pump equipment.

7:00 am: Feed Chick. First we breastfeed, then he takes an oz or so from the the vitamin bottle. Chick has decided he would rather yell into my boob than eat from it. He also decides that smacking me in the face while nursing is a great way to test out his new motor skills.

7:30 am: Chick is finished eating. I lay him down in the middle of my bed so that I can get dressed while he laughs and plays. Then it’s time to get Chick dressed, which proves a little challenging because he has recently discovered that he has feet. “Look, Mom! I have FEET! Feet that can go in my mouth! What do you mean you need to put my pants on?”

7:45 am: Chick and I migrate to the living room where he hangs out in his exersaucer while I pump, ideally for 20 minutes. I’ve got a lot of milk let in them boobies, since Chick decided food time was actually fun time.

7:55 am: Chick develops a deeply complicated relationship with the starfish on his exersaucer. He laughs one minute, cries the next. Then laughs again. I apply makeup because no one needs to know what my face really looks like.

8:00 am: Chick and Starfish are no longer on speaking terms. From across the room, hooked up to my breast pump, I try to distract him from this painful break up with a basket of shiny toys. (We’ve all done that once or twice, amiright?)

8:05 am: I unhook myself from the pump, and attempt to get Chick’s bottles ready for the day. This requires that I’m in the kitchen, and Chick must have an audience AT ALL TIMES or there will be yelling. So I run back into the living room, take Chick out of the exersaucer and prepare all the bottles and his bag for daycare with one hand.

8:15 am: Take Chick into his room to get his winter gear. As if sensing I might want to leave the house soon, Chick pukes all over himself. My catlike reflexes successfully keep most of the puke off me and his clothes, but not the floor. SPLAT. And so I find myself cleaning puke from the floor with a baby on my hip.

[I would like to point out that I have now been awake for over 2 hours.]

8:25 am: I wrestle Chick into his bunting and car seat. Little known fact: This is apparently an act of torture as outlined by the Geneva Convention.

8:35 am: I waddle out to the car with a baby, my laptop, pump equipment for the day, and Chick’s daycare bag. Get in the car, and get on the road.

8:45 am: Get to daycare, hoist Chick out of the car. Carry him and all his crap up the very steep driveway that leads to daycare. Drop him off.

8:55 am: Arrive at work and get an amazing parking spot. SCORE.

9:05 am: I’ve settled into my desk with a cup of coffee, only to realize something smells like… what is that smell? Is that…?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I missed a puke spot.

9:15 am: Run to the bathroom to clean up said puke and readjust scarf to cover it up.

10:00 am: Skype meeting with colleague in London.

10:35 am: Said meeting runs over, so I am 5 minutes late to my pump session. Run over the Mothers Room and attach vacuum suction to my boobs. I’ve given up on the idea I can concentrate on anything while pumping and watch “Ms. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” in 20 minute installments.

12:00 pm: Eat lunch at my desk to prepare slides for a meeting the next day. I wade through spreadsheets like a shipwrecked cast away.

1:30 pm: Pump session #2. Finally find out who is responsible for poisoning the old lady in “Mozzarella and MURDER.”

2:00 pm: Run to another meeting with someone who makes my brain itch. Try very hard not to think “I put my baby in daycare for this shit?!”

3:00 pm: Weekly status meeting. I say smart things. Mr. O texts me to say that he forgot he has a haircut appointment after work, so could I do pick up? Please?

4:25 pm: Last office pump session of the day. I get started a little early so I can maybe leave a little early since I now have to do daycare pick up.

4:55 pm: Just about to leave when my boss wants to catch up the presentation for tomorrow’s meeting. I walk through it a few times. We’re all set.

5:35 pm: Make it to daycare. Chick just fell asleep, and I’m the meanie who wakes him up for his most favorite thing: bunting and car seat time! Yelling!

5:55 pm: Home. Chick sits in his car seat peacefully for about 5 minutes before the grunting and whining begins.

6:05 pm: I realize Mr. O never told me when he was coming home. Realize I will have to make dinner and hold Chick at the same time. I put him in his Becco, and chop vegetables while dancing him around to Shakira. (Yes, my baby likes Shakira. His hips don’t lie…)

6:45 pm: Mr. O still isn’t home yet, and Chick and I are both getting hungry. I make dinner while bouncing Chick on my hip.

7:15 pm: Mr. O gets home just as I finish cooking. I would sass him at his inability to let me know when he would be home, but I’m too hungry to give a shit.

7:30 pm: Food is on the table. Mine, Chick’s, Mr. O’s. Because Chick is all about the solids, he gets excited by the avocado just inches from his face, so I put down my fork and feed him. After about 10 minutes, Mr. O offers to feed Chick so I can eat. I say “Thank you” out loud and things that aren’t so nice in my head.

7:45 pm: Mr. O (who normally does all the dishes and bottles) offers me one of two options. I can a) play with Chick while he does the dishes or b) I can do the dishes while he has some Chick time. I opt for dishes because though I love my kid, I need some alone time right about now.

8:00 pm: Finish the dishes and the bottles. Wonder how it takes Mr. O twice as long when he does them. (Ahem. SERIOUSLY.)

8:30 pm: Start socializing the idea of bedtime. Change Chick into his pjs, sing him his pajama song, and get his room ready for the night.

8:45 pm: Nurse Chick. He struggles for about 5 minutes, then gives in. I hand him over to Mr. O who gives him a bottle and then puts him to bed.

9:15 pm: Last pump session of the day. To make this less tedious, I reward myself with a bowl of ice cream. Not sure why I bother because I get an ounce at most. Put all my pump equipment in the wash. Brush my teeth. Get ready for bed.

9:45 pm: Finally in bed. Read for 10 minutes until I pass out.

Then we wake up and do it all over again.