Monday, November 28, 2011

When Size Matters

Four more days. Four. And then I move on professionally.


To say that it's a mixed bag of emotions is an understatement. I've worked for the same non-profit for going on fourteen years. During that time, I've always given it 150% of everything I have including my blood, sweat and tears. This won't change as I return to disaster relief and Emergency Services management. Mr. Thompson is going on fifteen years with the same organization so it became a family affair as we met and married. It's more than just a job to us - helping people is who we are and what we do.

Despite the ulcers. (He had one when we met).

Which is what led me to see my general practitioner last Wednesday for the first time in almost five years. Holy Cow, I didn't realize that little detail until this trusty old (dare I say "grandfatherly") family doctor was reviewing my medical chart out loud. He gave me the original diagnoses of infertility and referred me to my OB/GYN in early there was a lot to catch up on. The infant loss that eventually resulted...the 3 1/2 years of continued infertility that followed still...and everything in between.

He asked a lot of questions, made a lot of notes, eventually got up to feel my angry belly...and said, "it's no wonder you have an ulcer" and then proceeded to lecture me on stress management. He poked holes into my "just put your big girl panties on and deal with it" self management theory.

Seems that theory isn't working too well for me now days.

And I must say, this return to basic medical concepts brought some much needed perspective (not to mention cholesterol and blood sugar tests no thanks to my trusty comfort foods). I've seen some of the best OB/GYN, High Risk Pregnancy Specialist and Reproductive Endocrinologists in the last five years. I've had A LOT of very expensive procedures and treatments. But this old-school doctor (who still uses a wooden tongue depressor and flashlight thingy to look down your throat) reminded me that sometimes you just need to take a break to pause and reevaluate the size of your "big girl panties".

Seems mine got all stretched out and became bigger than I ever wanted...with the extra baggage that quietly crept on over the years (like all extra weight does).

I bought into his advice even more today as I was explaining to my boss during our transition meeting what the last three weeks have been like. At first, I had a hard time letting go and the pressure stayed. But gradually, I learned to relax little-by-little as I'd force myself to pause and release.  I very literally had to keep reminding myself at every point that these headaches aren't mine to carry any more....which has "Wallah!" made the headaches magically go away (novel concept - eh?!)!  My shoulders have learned to relax again, my mind has learned to not take it on and let it all go, and my spirit is very literally breaking free.

Amazing as it sounds, I've physically felt a serious change happening to me (which feels oh so good!). This has been such a good exercise for me in how to re-balance your life.  Not five minutes after I left that meeting, a staff member from another department saw me walking across our warehouse with a smile on my face and put his arms in the air for a touchdown and shouted really loud "Yay - [Mrs. Thompson] is back!". Funny, I honestly hadn't realized that I'd been gone.

No wonder I've been infertile.

My "big girl panties" got stretched out without me even realizing it.  Time for a new (dare I say, more sexy) pair.

Four. More. Days.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

When I met Mr. Thompson...he had an ulcer.  A bad ulcer.  We lovingly called it "Trevor"...and he (Trevor) frequently got in the way of our courtship with "his" aggravating behavior.  Trevor was definitely a third-wheel in our budding relationship.

Fast forward to today.  I have an ulcer.  A bad ulcer.  An ulcer that Mr. Thompson and I, not-so lovingly, call the name of someone who is causing me a lot of grief right now.  A lot of grief.  Without conscience or integrity.  Without ethics, maturity or a moral compass to navigate them into doing what's right.  My ulcer (we'll call "it" for now) back-bites, smiles at my face while stabbing me in the back, doesn't assume the best and continually tries to undermine and turn people against me.  "It" is hard to manage, because frankly, who can manage someone without ethics? 

I can't. 

Which is why I was laying in bed at 4:00am this morning with tears running down my face.  "It" hurts my stomach so darn much... and is really getting in my way with it's aggravating behavior.

Hopefully the doctor will fix me up really nice today.  Along with the shoulder that I jacked up two months ago when I fell down the stairs. (note to self: when you tear doesn't just go away).

If I feel brave...I'll ask the Doctor if he can also fix the fact that I'm spending Thanksgiving with two newly pregnant women who just announced that they have "lapped" me again. I love these women dearly...

"It" just doesn't like being lapped.

"It" sucks. 

The Grinch.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why I Dislike Bon-Bons

I wish that you could have seen me last night. Working in the dark like a mad woman. For three months I have been putting off the whole "winterization" idea. What can I say? Weather has been abnormally nice.

When it wants to be.

For over a month it has been blue skies and nice temps Monday - Friday...but come Saturday the weather conspires against me with rain. Since I knew it was going to be nice again on Monday morning I kept putting off my backyard projects.

Dig up gladiolus
Uproot dead veggies
Clean up garden
Dump flower pots
Take down $350 hammock before it gets ruined
Take down umbrella
Put away patio furniture
Move BBQ into garage
Put away all the terra-cotta
Clean out garage.
Plant tulips


You catch my drift. A lot to do. And every Saturday since the beginning of October has come and gone. Making me really mad about my unplanted tulips because I'm on a quest to be a Master Gardner. (If you would have seen my beautiful Zenias which sat in a vase on my table from September 19 - November 10 you would understand. I proved worthy because what cut flowers last two months without drooping or dying?!)

Anyway. I digress.

During blue skies (and there have been a lot of them), I have neglected my chores because it is too dark by the time I get home. Weekend projects don't get done because of stormy skies.

So last night as the little GPS lady in my car said, "Warning - winter alert in your area!" I knew it was time. There would be no more Saturdays. I rushed to arrive home by 5:30pm, put on my U.S. Marine sweat suit and went to work.

In the dark. Off of 2 hours of sleep from the night morning before thanks to Breaking Dawn.

Dig up gladiolus. Check.
Uproot dead veggies. Check.
Clean up garden area. Check.
Dump flower pots. Check.
Take down $350 hammock before it gets ruined. Check (barely).
Spill Mr. Thompson's ratchets toolset on the lawn, in the dark. Check.
Spend 1/2 hour trying to find all the little pieces with a $3 flashlight. Double check.
Move Drag 5,000 pound packaged hammock box to garage. Check.
Break back while doing it. Check.
Take down umbrella. Check.
Put away patio furniture. Check.
Move Drag BBQ to garage. Check.
Move Drag 5,000 pound big terra-cotta pots to the garden area. Check.
Struggle to empty them. Check.
Break back while doing it. Check.
Struggle to move drag lightened 1,000 pound huge terra-cotta pots to garage. Check.
Crack one because it was too heavy and dropped. Check.
Try to figure out how everything is going to fit in garage. Check.
Be sure not to breath on scratch the blessed motorcycle while doing it. Double check.

Plant tuplips.....


The one job I needed to do...wanted to do...HAD to do.....I couldn't do. It was 9:00pm and my $3 flashlight was dying. So there I stood, frozen, in the dark, with a broken back and all of my winterization projects complete (minus the tulips) when Mr. Thompson finally arrived home for the day. By this time snow was falling and as he got out of the car he looked at me in my Marine sweat suit and said...

"I see you're all relaxed. What have you been doing all night?"

My reply?

"Eating Bon-Bons of course."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bite Me

Confession: I'm going to see Breaking Dawn at midnight.

I know - I know...but hear me out on this....

I've never experienced a movie premier before. Ever. After 37 years, it's time. Doncha' think?

I'm also going with new friends which is exciting. Neighbors actually and since they are younger and definitely more hip, I'm just grateful to be invited.

It's actually a big step for me as I'm trying to be more social. And since I'm usually in bed and asleep by 9:30 each night, I just hope that I'll be awake long enough to see Edward break the marriage bed.

That's the part of the movie preview that stood out to me and I'll be honest - it looked cheesy. But these younger..definately more hip... friendly neighbors of mine have promised that it will be anything but cheesy.

They promised clapping at the end.

Clapping I say. Perhaps my own? We'll see.

I might be clapping at 2am but I can guarantee I won't be clapping at 8am...I find that a resignation makes me want to occasionally say what every good manager can't.

In the words of Bella, "bite me!".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sigh of Relief

Someone asked me how my career change is going to impact our family planning.  An interesting question...

And the exact reason why I have turned down this same position three times over the last six years.  I don't have the answers and I don't know how it is going to work out (hense the leap).

But it's time to find out.

With all the unknowns this is what I do know... I do know that my shoulders felt a lot lighter this last week.  I do know that I smiled a lot more.  I do know that Mr. Thompson was a lot less worried and concerned about me.  I do know that when someone cried in my office I  fondly remembered that emergency responders don't cry.  Except out of empathy for others and then they go to work.  I do know that there's no use going through IVF like we have, only to become a big stress ball (or bawl) because of exterior factors.  I am a big believer in the theory that stress plays a role in infertility.  It may not be the main reason, but it's a contributing factor.  (Otherwise we wouldn't all be getting advice to "just relax" or "take a vacation".)  I do know that it's time to "cut the fat" with stress and frustration in my life.

Don't get me wrong - there will be plenty of challenges in my new role.  But it will be manageable.  It's focused on a situation and not people.  Put me in a disaster and I can manage it.  Put me in a room full of people creating their own disaster and that is where I want to lose my mind.

And crazy as it sounds  (I hope Mr. Thompson isn't reading this...), I am also a little relieved about the pay cut.  We've been D.I.N.K (double income no kids) and have enjoyed my higher salary for our entire marriage.  But in the back of my mind I've always wondered how we would adjust when a baby comes along.  Now we get to test the waters a little bit with Mr. Thompson as the breadwinner.  I get to prove to him that we can survive on a tighter we would if I was a mom.  Because that's ultimately what I still want - to become a mom.

A mom who helps people and chases fire trucks.  Like my mom did.  I just get to do it officially... not of out of curiosity.

Viva la vida and a job change.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leap and the Net will Appear

I have some framed art in my office that I look at each day.  It looks like this...

 ..and although smaller in size, this same picture is on my refrigerator as a magnet.  Between home and office I must look at this quote at least 10 times a day.  It's one of my mantras..

Because I've done a lot of leaping in my life.

It started when I was a kid.  As a hobby I would leap off of haystacks.  When I grew a little bit older, I started leaping off of the house onto the trampoline with my brother.  With a little more time, I discovered railroad bridges over rivers and 50 foot cliffs at Lake Powell.

I guess I learned to really love the leap!

When I was 18 I took a "leap" out of Idaho. When I was 21 I took a "leap" into New York City.  When I was 31 I took another "leap" back to the west coast with the caution that I just might be committing career suicide.  But I had three years of 9/11 disaster fatigue and made the leap anyway with the decision that if I was going to keep jumping, I might as well strap skis to my feet and do it in Utah where I'd be within 400 miles of my family. 

Turns out "career suicide" wasn't too far off the mark. What does a Red.Cross/F.EMA Disaster Specialist do in Utah?!  Not I made the most out my jump and adjusted into another management direction with Blood.Services.  Something lower key that pays more.  Something comfortable that, for the most part, has served me well these last six years.

Which is why I took a long look at my framed quote this week and I turned in my resignation.

Turns out "for the most part" isn't enough for me.  I'm ready for change and it's time to go back to doing what I love and loving what I do.  For less pay, more hours, double the commute time, a different kind of job stress, no more carpool lanes with Mr. Thompson each day, three weeks of disaster deployment at a time....

Another leap.  With the reminder that....

"When you have come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be a net to catch you or you will be taught to fly."
~ Patrick Overton

Viva la vida.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Reason x 2

In my humble opinion...there are only two reasons to love snow. 

This is one of them:

This is the other:

And that my dear peeps, are the two reasons why I currently live in Utah.  Greatest snow on earth.

(and the real reason why Alaska and Utah have the highest birthrates in the nation!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The 11th Hour


I have a lot to do before the end of the year.  Annual check up.  Wrist surgery.  Eye check.  New glasses.  Lady's doctor.  Lose weight.  

Get ready for IVF.

Double crap.

I better get started...

(p.s. I'm also thinking of a mammogram thanks to Guilianna Rancic.  I don't know, maybe I'm being paranoid....but do you ever wonder if all of these infertility drugs jack us up?!)