Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time Away


I know. It's been a while, huh.

Here, allow me to distract you with this adorable side-eye from my kid:

Esscuse me? Where you been, guuurl?

So the job transition is consuming a lot of my time, obviously. I was away for a week and now I'm settling into the new role, new office, and new (much longer and more soul-sucking) commute. It's a lot. I haven't had a chance to browse any of my regular blogs, nevermind actually update my own.

Being away earlier this month was :gasp: not as bad as I expected. The build up was much worse than the trip itself. I nearly gave myself a panic attack the night before. The kind of anxiety when you can't feel your hands and one of them contorts into a claw? Maybe my sister's the only one who would understand the claw thing. Anyway, it was rough.

But then I got there. And I was like, "Okay, I'm here. For 5 days. Let's do this and then go home." I dove head first into the trainings (yawn) and networking events (ugh) and team dinners (meh) like my life depended on it. I was so distracted I didn't have time to dwell on how much I missed home.

I'd talk to Des on speaker phone every morning and get frequent updates from Tony. Apparently Des was a superstar all week, not a tear or tantrum in sight. Ahem. God bless my husband for knowing exactly what to keep secret.

This is me on the window sill of my hotel room, all, "Ok. So. What do I do now?" Solo traveler extraordinaire, I am not.

I should have taken a picture of the hotel bed. Holy ess, it was like a cloud in heaven and the comforter was like a hug from angels. That bed made the whole thing worth it.

There were even moments of the trip when I actually had... :looks around:... fun. SHH! Don't tell.

Like when we had a lovely low key dinner here:

Prior to which I attempted a field goal, threw footballs through tires, and generally one-upped the alpha males as I tend do in these type situations. It happens sometimes. Ask Tony.

Then there was that one night when I hung out with this guy:

You don't need details. But it was basically a flashback to my early 20's. A fabulous, hilarious horror show. Unfortunately I'm actually in my early 30's and I don't bounce back as easily from mechanical bulls. Ow.

So that trip is over. I have another coming up in November. And potentially more work travel in the future for both me and Tony. So please pardon me as we all get settled into this new life. I will not abandon this blog entirely, but udpates may come in spurts. Time is of the essence these days. And the precious free moments I get are usually spent like this:

He's a great lap cuddler. And god did I miss him.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Job Front

As I've touched upon in the past, my career hit a bit of a speed bump recently. To put it briefly, my company was acquired by another larger firm. It was not guaranteed that there would be a position for me (or for anyone, really). Most of us had to interview for positions. Luckily, there was a match for me. And after hours upon hours of internal debate and family discussion, I accepted the offer with the new firm.

So yay for having a job!

While I am staying in the same department, my job responsibilities will be changing drastically. Also, I will now be commuting into the city. Can I get a collective 'UGGGH'? Yeah. This was one of the major sticking points for me. My commute will basically triple in duration, and instead of a congested highway, I'll be dealing with the woes of public transportation. Sigh.

However, the new company offers flexible work hours and the ability to work from home a great deal more than my current company. So I may only need to actually go into the office 2-3 days a week (if that!). They put a lot of emphasis on pursuing a positive work life balance, very family oriented, blah-dee-blah. So the days I have to go into the office will kinda suck, but on the days I'm home I'll get to drop Des off and pick him up from daycare, which I don't even get to do now! Major MAJOR plus.

On a semi side note... next house project = Home Office. Working at the dining room table is okay when it's once a week, but after that I imagine it will get old. IKEA here we come!

Next week I am traveling to a 5-day event for the merge of the 2 companies. 5 days. Away from home. From my husband, from my baby. I need a paper bag. To breathe in.. and out.. in.. and out. Obviously I'm having a bit of anxiety about this. And knowing that this event was in my future was even one of the negatives in taking the job. I do not part easily from my family, especially for 5 days... God I even hate typing that out loud. BREATHE DAMMIT.

But for some reason, the closer it gets to the event the less nervous I feel. Time is flying, and I hope it flies while I'm there too. I leave on Monday, back on Friday. I won't miss a weekend. Undoubtedly there will be tears. But I'm hoping I'll be plenty distracted so it'll be over before I know it.

There's an episode of the Simpsons in which Homer is having a particularly tough time at his miserable job. If you've ever watched that show for 5 minutes, you know this is one of the overarching themes: Working Man vs. Rich Greedy Old Boss. There's a sign hanging in Homer's office with a photo of crotchety Mr. Burns saying, "DON'T FORGET, YOU'RE HERE FOREVER." Homer tapes photos of his daughter Maggie on the sign so that instead it reads:

I think about this a lot lately. I'll think about it on the plane. And at the conference. And during those seemingly endless commutes.

I do it for him.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Long Time Coming

Since we've lived in this house, the outdoor stairs have been the bane of my existence. I fear for my life every time I set foot on them. Okay... that's an exaggeration. But perhaps not totally out of the realm, considering the minor slip I had on our interior stairs... when I was 7 months pregnant... that resulted in a fractured elbow.


I'm a klutz, is what it is. And these stairs are not klutz friendly. Especially when the klutz is carrying a 30-pound squirming toddler up and down them.

See for yourselves:

They were built on a diagonal to compensate for... something. I don't know. Also, no balusters. The wood was splintering with age. And the concrete block of a bottom step was chipping away.

To give you some spacial perspective, the main entry is not at the front of the house. It's off to the side. The door at the front of the house is actually the entrance to the in-law apartment downstairs. This proves to be a bit confusing for first-time visitors and pizza delivery guys.

Dizzy yet?

So when we talked about re-doing the stairs, all those many years ago, we wanted to make them safer, nicer, and look more prominent.

To get the job done we called our boys from Choice Woodworking, who happen to include our brother-in-law Nick and good friend Paul, and who basically did our entire interior remodel (so far). Despite our obvious bias, these guys are skilled artists. And I want to marry them. Or have my sister marry one of them, either way.

Tony tore the stairs down the day before, and The Boys spent a couple days building the new stairs. Needless to say, I was giddy with excitement with the whole shebang. It only took a few days, but it was quite a journey.

Day 1: Demo and wood delivery

Des supervised the demo.

Which went fairly quick.

Then the supplies came... Another job for Supervisor Des. There was a big truck, a cool forklift, and huge planks of wood involved. He was all over this.

Look at the size of that truck.

If toddlers could say "OMG!"

Here he comes!

This'll do.

Get back to work!

Day 2: There was a jackhammer. And some framing. And some ass kicking.

New dad, Nick, hard at work.

Mhmm, mhmm. Lookin' good.

It came together fast!

Remnants of their art.

Day 3: Finished product




Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So there's our new stairway!

I leave the front door open so I can stare at it all day. The first night I pulled a sleeping bag out there and slept on the deck. Not really. But I thought about it. Tony's really excited about putting a pumpkin out there. Which, obviously yeah. There will be pumpkins. It's just so cute that he said that.

A final side by side, before/after comparison:

Our new stairway survived its first hurricane unscathed. Obviously. I mean, looka that thing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Cape

Although we haven't been able to take a real vacation this summer due to work schedules and that little trip we took in May, we were able to get away for a long weekend to the Cape. My sister and her family graciously invited us down to their rental house and we eagerly accepted.

My mom and more of our family were also renting a house in the area.

We relaxed on the beach, took walks, breathed the clean ocean air, ate amazing food, and spent time with the people we love most. We couldn't ask for a better time.

We also stopped to see the legendary Mr. Wagner, the man who found my rings on the beach 3 years ago (a story I hold close to my heart and will share some day soon). He and his wife are so lovely. We got to share our new story of finding a ring, which they were amazed by. Mr. Wagner even buffed Tony's ring for him. We said we wanted to leave the little nicks in the fine metal for nostalgia, but there's no way we could deny Mr. W when he offered. And what a perfect way to come full circle in our ring sagas.

He and his beautiful wife made us promise we'd visit again. Since we're already planning our Cape vacation for next year, that shouldn't be a problem. I don't think I can go another summer without taking a week off. We will be back next year for certain.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lesson Learned

On a whim Tony and I decided to take Des to the New England Aquarium today. It was cloudy and rainy out, so we were looking for a fun indoor activity.

The fact that it was the first icky weekend day all month should have tipped us off to stay away from any 'fun indoor activity,' unless it was in our own home. Ahh hindsight...

We found cheap parking in the city and walked around the waterfront. We don't venture to that part of the city often, so we took our time watching the boats and seagulls and tourists.

By the time we arrived at the aquarium there was a massive, snaking line from the entrance alllll the way back to the street. This can't be the ticket line, can it? No, it's probably for a duck tour or whale watch or I dunno, is Harry Potter himself here?? No such luck. It was the ticket line. We thought we planned it so we would miss the rush!

There was no way Des was going to sit still in this line. So we pushed the stroller over to the exterior seal exhibit, trying to decide what to do. Des LOVED the seals. Well, at first he was scared. He nearly jumped out of his skin when one of them swam by. It was really funny. We are the kind of parents who find our child's initial terror of harmless situations side-splittingly hilarious. But after that, he was pointing and yelling at them, like, "HI THERE, I SEE YOU SEAL, YOU ARE SWIMMING AND I LOVE YOU," kind of yelling. Aww, look he loves them!

Despite the fact that we were thinking of nixing the aquarium idea and walking around the city for the afternoon, Des's adoration of the seals made me want to take him inside. How much would he love the penguins and turtles and shiny fish as far as the eye can see? But that line. No effin way, is what I said to that line.

"Damn, we coulda bought tickets online and printed them at home," Tony said. "I wish I thought of it."

"What if we went to Kinkos?" I am truly brilliant sometimes. FedEx/Kinkos was just a couple blocks away. We'd be there and back before most of these people even make it halfway to the ticket window.

So that's what we did. And I was so proud of myself for coming up with that plan. All those people waiting in line are clearly not as smart as we are. But as we made our way back to the aquarium, printed tickets in hand, I had a thought. All those people waiting. Those hundreds of people... they're going to be inside eventually. Every one of them, in those dark aisles and along the edges of tanks, congested and crowded. The wind went out of my sail. Ohhh crap.

See, I'm not so good in those situations. I like bright, under-populated, wide open spaces where me and my kid can run around. So umm.. what was I thinking again?

Welp, we paid $50 for this, we might as well go in at this point. And as soon as we walked in the doors, my fears were justified. Wall-to-wall people. The last time I had been here I was in elementary school. I recalled it being A LOT bigger. But maybe that's the claustrophobia talking.

Despite the crowds, it wasn't all bad. Des actually enjoyed himself for the most part, and that's what it's all about, right folks? Unfortunately I had a minor anxiety attack in the middle of the starfish exhibit where it felt like the walls were closing in on me and I was going to be sucked spinning into the tile floor. So for the most part Tony handled Des, and I handled the stroller and the arduous task of keeping my shit together.

When I was breathing at a normal pace, it was so fun to see Des's reactions to all the surroundings. The penguins were his buddies. The shark scared him to death at first, as it did ME, and the turtles were as a big as cars. But he loved it all. And it's always an amazing experience to see this world from a fresh set of eyes. Especially when my old eyes are polluted with stupid anxiety.

Check out these ooh's and aah's (if you listen past the crowd noise):

These pics are a bit blurry due to poor lighting, constantly moving subjects, and my piss-poor photography skills. But you get the gist.

Penguin buddies!

Just like St. John

Puffer fish

I love coral

Also, turtles

"Oh Holy Jesus!" was my very loud reaction amongst the crowd of young children.
"Rawr!" was Des's.


Sweet, sweet fresh air

Moving freely is awesome

Me and my turtle boy

Side note: Best of luck to Auntie Jaclyn on her trip back east from California!! We can't wait to see her. And her 'lovie' is going to give her the biggest most excited smiles and hugs ever. She has no idea.
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