F That Noise!

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Not going to lie… I’m frustrated.  More frustrated than I’ve been in a while.  You would think that I would get used to feeling frustrated, especially when my family is involved… and yet, here I am, feeling a bit blindsided once again.

So it’s been a busy week.  I’ve had a few phone interviews, all materializing into in person ones next week.  On the “Find Jen a new Job” front… things are moving along.  But I also got a letter from unemployment this week.  They are reviewing my application and it could take 3-5 weeks to be completed.  So until then… no money for me.  And my severance money from my previous job will not be mailed out until the end of august.  That money will be a good chunk of money to keep me going until spring should I so desire.

Thankfully, I saved some for a rainy day.  It’s enough to cover my house payment.  Which – obviously means it’s not enough – but at least I had that.  I’ve never been out of work for very long, and I am confident that I’ll land one of these jobs.  But I’m frustrated with this strange place of finding myself in a bind.

This morning, I sucked up my pride and I called my dad.  Perhaps he could loan me a little in order to float until I get my severance.  Hell – charge me interest I don’t care.  He wasn’t available to talk to and I put it out of my head.  This evening, I got an earful.  A guilt trip piled on extra thick.  He even ended it with pressuring me to sell the house.

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I’m sorry what?!

… FUCK that!

I’ve come too far… I’ve fought too long and too hard… that is absolute BULLSHIT right there.  And where the hell is the faith Dad?!  I’ve been out of work once in 12 years.  And that one time… it took me approximately 45 days to land a job that made 40K more than the one I’d lost.  If only I had my severance right now… but it’s coming!  I’m not a TOTAL loser here!!  Why does it always feel like my family thinks the absolute worst of me?  What the hell do I have to do to prove to these people that I’m not a fuck up?  I may screw up here and there, but overall… I’m more often than not on a solid positive track in the right direction.

I came home, pouted and cried a little… paced and stewed a little… and figured I’d let some of it out here.  I don’t know, maybe this is my dad’s form of tough love, but honestly, between him and my mom – I’ve had all the tough love I can possibly stand.  I’d just like some real, genuine love for a little bit.  Is that too much to ask?  Some support, a kind word of encouragement and the faith to know that I’ve got this handled… ok so yea, maybe there’s a small blip in things thanks to our government right now… but damn it… I’ve got this.  Ok?!

Goodnight Neverland.  🙂

Parenting is tough business

It’s friday and I am beyond grateful. Truthfully tho, even the coming weekend has me stressed.  Yesterday, I got into a huge argument with my daughter.  It started out ok, we were working through everything and I was holding my patience fairly well.  But after dealing with a stubborn tween for a few hours… I lost it.  I yelled.  I cried.  I’m not proud of myself.  Yes, everything I said needed to be said, but I hate that my own child could push me to a point where I was THAT upset.

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I think what I hate about fighting with my own child is that in the end… both of us are hurting.  I know she’s shaken off yesterday, she’s been bouncing around this morning, her usual chipper self.  She even made me coffee while I started my workday. And I know that I need to do the same thing… but I’m struggling with it.  After we got home yesterday, after the huge blow out, I sat outside thinking about how maybe I’m not qualified to do this.  That maybe my own mental health is too shaky to try and handle guiding a pre-teen who’s having some very serious mental health issues herself?  I don’t know… I know I do a good job.  I know that my kids know that they are loved and that their mom is their biggest advocate for their happiness and overall success… BUT… I also know that I’m the queen at putting on a mask and sticking my head in the sand.  I’ve never had a healthy relationship.  The coping skills that I have and use on a regular basis aren’t working for my teenage girl… maybe that means they aren’t the best.

I’ve also been thinking about the fact that I will no longer get breaks.  Before all of this happened, I’d get 3 weekends a month to myself, where I could plan outtings with friends, dates, and take care of projects that work more smoothly when little one aren’t around.  Now, those plans and schedules are all changed.  I’m now 100% mom – all the time.  And I don’t mind… but there is a part of me that is sad to lose those breaks and the “me” time.  And while I realize that having time for me is important, and that ultimately, I should probably find a way to still get at least a couple hours a week to myself… for my own health and well-being… I’m just not sure how to go about it.  It feels selfish.

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I think something that really hit home yesterday for me, was that this wasn’t the dream.

Don’t misunderstand… I’m over the ex.  Completely.  But I think I’m still mourning the dream of what was to be.   If that makes any sense.  When we got married, I had visions of our family.  I dreamed of the children we’d have, the life we’d create.  Of course, NONE of those dreams could be a reality while he was lost in his own world of alcohol addiction… but I can say, I never dreamed of raising my children essentially by myself.

On Tuesday, we all went to an award ceremony for an art competition my daughter had entered at school.  It was across many schools in the district.  She won 2nd place.  I’d called the grandparents and the ex a week ago to let them know when the ceremony would be and how much it would mean to my daughter if they came out and showed their support.  I was surprised when grandma and grandpa showed up .. as it’s a long drive for them, in some of the worst rush hour traffic.  But the ex… he didn’t show.  He called me the next morning apologizing and saying how he felt like garbage that he completely forgot about it.  I told him not to fret.. it is what it is… but after I hung up, I couldn’t help but feel very sad about it all.  My daughter needs her village right now… she needs the strong loving support of family and friends to show her that she’s not alone.  That we are all here for her, and rooting for her, and that she has absolutely no reason to harm herself or feel lost.  But I think what’s hit me pretty hard in the last couple of days… maybe it’s not just my daughter who needs that.  Maybe I do too.

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Between bills, work, my daughter’s safety and happiness, the house… I’ve got a lot of pressure to measure up on my shoulders.  And damn it but I’m going to figure out the right way to take care of my responsibilities and do what I need to do to make it in this big bad world… but sometimes, I close my eyes and feel disappointed and heart broken that it all ended up this way.  And I’m not entirely sure how to go about it all without falling down myself.  I guess… if I trip… I just have to get back up.  Keep plugging along.  I’ll get there.

Off to get on with my day – much love to you Neverland.  Smile today.

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My family… and funerals.

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Today was strange.  Truthfully, I don’t have a lot of experience with funerals.  My daughter insisted on going, and although I had my misgivings, in the end, I was happy she’d come along.  I love that she and I are buddies.  I keep waiting for the terrible teen to show up, but so far (knock on wood!) it really hasn’t hit all that much.  She’s a good kid.  And it was her and I who stood with and for our side of the family today.  We were there to support Dad and my step mom and brother and sister.  But a funny thing happened…

In the end… big picture… we stood as one family together.  It’s the first time that has happened on my dad’s side of the family since I was a teenager.  I hadn’t seen my uncles or aunts or cousins since.  That side of the family has always had it’s issues.  They could never figure out how to just come together.  I was surprised so many of my younger cousins remembered me.  I really didn’t think they would.  Us “kids”, today, we all said enough was enough.  We’re going to get together and screw the old folks, if that’s what it takes.  The idea of it makes me very happy.

I am still processing all of what happened today.  So I apologize if this post comes out in spurts. When I write – I just let my thoughts just come out and then I hit post before I chicken out.  Very rarely will I edit my thoughts, so sometimes, my punctuation and flow might be a little bit raw.

I had a range of emotions when I saw my aunt and her daughters today, and truthfully, I’d done my best to prepare for it.  My aunt is/was addicted to plastic surgery.  And at least one of her daughters seems to be following suit.  I had to remind my daughter not to stare impolitely.  My aunt used to be so very beautiful.  Super model-like.  I cannot quite fathom how bad a person’s self image must be to get to where she is.  So frail and oddly proportioned in places that weren’t quite natural.  She’s not old by any means, I’d wager, she’s in her her early 50’s.  But she looked aged in a different way.  It made me feel incredibly sad for her.  I know nothing of her life, so I cannot judge or begin to understand.  But it still made me feel very sad.

She didn’t know it, but her and I have a common bond.  Grandpa wasn’t happy with either of us.  Her, for her problems with her addiction, and me, because of Ben and a few misunderstandings.

I always felt a bit strange around that side of the family.  I can remember as a kid, feeling both a part of them… and yet.. an outsider looking in.  There was a song by Mariah Carey called Looking In.  As a younger teen, I related to it in how I feel about that family.  I can remember never quite feeling like I mattered with them.  It hurt as a kid, and as an adult, for the most part, I’ve worked my way through it.  Until today, when they listed Grandpa’s grandchildren and forgot me.  Dad had to jump in and say something.  And while I’m grateful and happy that he did… it still stung an old wound I’d forgotten that I’d had.

I learned some things about Grandpa today that I never knew.  He helped build the space needle.  He and Grandma did some interesting entrepreneurial things together (owned a snack bar, a restaurant and something else but I’m not remembering it).  He was 83.  And he had MANY girlfriends.  It was quite funny.  The first girlfriend he ever had was there, along with a few others.  Many had become family to all of us.  🙂

At one point, they invited people to speak.  I don’t know what came over me, but I spoke.  I said how Grandpa was always the one who prized courage.  You might not feel it, but just take a step.  Then take another.  That doing that.. the courage would come.  You might start off in the wrong direction, but you have to start… then you can course correct.  I also said how Grandpa was always there for us.  It didn’t matter if a year had gone by, we could always just call him or come to him.  He’d listen.

Then later, everyone was reminiscing about the last things they told him.  Here, I stayed quiet.  I didn’t need to share my last words.  I felt shame.  I cried.  And it’s ok.

My daughter and I ended up wandering the cemetery a little bit.  We found my great grandmother and great grandfather on my dad’s side.  We put a rock on each one and cleared some of the moss that was growing.  I didn’t know they were there.  We promised each other that at some point, we’ll come back and leave everyone a flower.

It was strange to see my Dad cry.  I don’t think I’ve seen it before.  Maybe during Ben – but truthfully, I don’t recall.  It hurt to see him hurt.  He and I hugged often today.  I tried to give him whatever courage and strength that I could.  He commented on how today was the worst day ever… that he’s sad that he won’t be able to talk to his Dad anymore.  I reminded him that he can still talk to his Dad anytime he wants to.  As I do with Ben.

Grandpa was jewish, as were his adopted parents.  The ceremony was really quite interesting.  Of course, because I don’t speak hebrew, understanding all of it was a bit of a challenge.  We all helped to shovel dirt on top of his casket.  The sound of the first couple shovels was oddly an uncomfortable sound.

RIP Grandpa

My grandfather passed away last night.  He’s not the one who helped raise me, it was the grandfather on my dad’s side.  I spent a lot of summers at his house, helping out in my grandmother’s nursery (this is where my love of plants and gardening comes from).  I have many fond memories of my grandfather.  He’s been battling cancer and his death was one we’ve all been preparing for.  Last night, my dad called to give me the news.  He’d passed.  After I hung up, I sat there and thought about things… and the tears just started flowing.  I loved my grandfather.  He will be missed.

However…I’m feeling a bit of guilt.

He and I didn’t always get along.  He was a very blunt, very honest man.  If he thought you needed to lose weight, he’d call you fat.  Didn’t matter if there were other people around, or if the timing of his comments weren’t appropriate… he’d speak his mind when and where he wanted to.  There were many moments in those awkward growing up years where Grandpa hurt my feelings.  But all of that aside, grandpa was always there for me when I needed him.

The last couple of times that I saw him, he didn’t really remember me much.  He had an oxygen tank that he had to carry with him.  I think the reason I’m so upset about this is that the last time he and I talked… when he wasn’t sick… the last time we were together privately…the last thing I said was “Fuck You.”

I can feel it – your eyebrows just went up.  I know – it’s not like me to be so disrespectful.  it was maybe 5 years ago… After Ben died.  Grandpa was angry with me for putting the family through everything.  I had just started working at Microsoft and had called him to invite him out to dinner – my treat – and to share the news of my new job and just generally catch up.  He told me no.  He said that I wasn’t his granddaughter anymore.  He said that I was too fat, too ugly, and not worth it.  That I’d let the family down, that I’d let Ben down.  That the grief that I’d caused everyone for my own selfishness was more than he could take.  That I deserved to go to hell for bringing Ben into the world.  I was furious.  And shocked.  I managed to get a “Fuck you.” out before he hung up on me.

The contrast that life throws at us at times is interesting.  If I compare that last encounter to the fond memories I have of him and my summers as a child… they are DRAMATICALLY different.  Polar opposites.  And I don’t regret what I said that day.  He had no right to say even HALF of the things he said.  What I do regret however, is not circling back when I had the time.  Not trying to push past his anger and his grief to the grandpa that I loved.  Not getting the chance to really show him that he had every reason to be proud of who I am and who I have become.

I’ll never get to hear his version of the first time he saw me as a baby.  I’ll never again get to taste his cooking, or watch him sketch, or talk about cars or trucks or gardens.  I think I’d convinced myself that there was still plenty of time to come back and repair what had been broken.  I’m sad today.  There is a lesson here, it’s staring me in the face.  I’ve learned it.  Love your loved ones.  Always.  Make sure to hug them and tell them you care when they’re here.. because tomorrow, they might not be.

Hope you all are well Neverland.  Much love to you.

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Couch surfing…

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Ok , this title is a bit misleading… but only sort of.  I talked to my Dad tonight.  I asked if it would be possible, on weekends when I don’t have the kids, if I could come stay with him and the family.  I was nervous, as I wasn’t entirely sure what he would say.  But he was kind and sweet and caring and said that I am always welcome.  He asked me what was going on and I shared.  To sum it up – I need some space.  The energy in the house, when the kids aren’t around has been negative and depressing lately and I honestly can’t stand it.  I find it to be making me anxious and since I’m not typically an anxious kind of person, it helps me realize just how much I need a break from it.

I may go check into a hotel somewhere, I may go stay at a friends, and now, if I need to, I have the option of staying with my dad.  Having those options makes me feel better about things.

My housemates and I sat down and discussed budgets and plans.  I am planning on being out of here and into a new place by April 1st.  And no, that’s no fools joke.  I feel better now that we all sat down and planned things out.  Everyone is on the same page.  I know what I have to contribute to the house, and worked out a very detailed budget for myself in order to meet the savings goals I have set.  All of that, plus my tax return and my bonus, I will be more than capable of buying a home and covering the moving costs and having a small cushion for those home owner surprises that are bound to come up.  I’m proud of myself.  I’m not always very good at speaking up.  I’m far too often “the nice one” who ends up being a doormat.  And I’m not doing that now.  I’m taking care of me and the kids first – everyone else comes after that.  It’s a first for me.  And oddly – it feels good.

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Today was day 1 of 3 of a very intense review session of the work I’ve been doing since October.  So far, things are going very well.  I’m proud, and relieved, and nervous as there are still 2 more days of this.  Everything I’ve been building and documenting and testing is being analyzed and picked apart.  I have to have reasoning and data to support every decision I’ve made and have to have contingency plans already prepped and ready in case something isn’t approved.  It’s been a very long few months with a ton of hours, even travel to get this far.  In roughly 2 weeks, my part of this project will be complete.  Another check in the box, another project to add to my portfolio – but this one is a bit different.  It’s the first time I’ve looked at this industry (TV and cable) and in the past, I’d probably pass on it.  It wasn’t glamorous or exciting enough.  But I’m trying to build the start of something to re-shape and re-think the way we think about our TV’s.  It’s not there yet – but it will be…and it’s kind of cool. 🙂

Well – I better get some sleep.  Another long day tomorrow.  Thankfully, no reviews tomorrow, just a day full of meetings with all my direct reports.  Goodnight neverland.

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