About Me

I am an insane human being. I have been a wife for 15 plus years, and a mom for almost as long. I had 3 children early on...then struggled with life and IF and loss for 8 years. Thought our family was complete, so I compensated by adopting all the shelter pets. Then we were surprised that our luck changed. Our running total is Parents: 2, Kids: 5, Pets:4. My life is far from perfect, and much of our happiness was hard fought and won, from the death of a parent, job loss and marriage troubles, miscarriage and IF, we have been through it all, and dare I say we made it, with a lot of love and laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

This is my favorite time of year...the fall leading into Thanksgiving and Christmas. I thought after my Dad passed away that I would dread the holidays, but because it's the one time of year I get spend with my sister and her family, I long for Thanksgiving week to come. She is usually in town by Tuesday the week of Thanksgiving and I soak up as much togetherness as possible during those days, even if we are all just lounging around watching the endless stream of bad lifetime Christmas movies that start playing. We also get out Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We always get a real tree, but this year I am super excited this year because we are actually getting a tree you can replant. I want to fill the perimeter of my yard with Christmas trees.

in between the days of awesome food we somehow started a new tradition of Black Friday Shopping. I was never into it at all, but my sister always went out in the madness. Usually on a few separate trips spaced out through the day. One year I took all the younger kids to the movies, which was just insane. Sometimes I would going her later in the day but I never actually bought anything. Except the one year I managed to completely run out of diapers and laundry detergent and found my dumb self at Target.

The past few years we have gone out and I actually shopped for things, although it was all very specific. The one store I like to buy my jeans from had a ridiculously awesome sale, and then as I have previously written about the pay 2 years we have gone and gotten TVs. I was joking with my sister this year about who needed a new TV when we decided no one and we weren't doing that again. And then the sale paper came out, and one of the major gifts Santa is bringing my kids for Christmas is on major sale, like half price. Normally I would weigh the hassle vs how much I would actually save, but this is the one big thing, so it's not like I would be saving $20...it's much more than that. God Bless my sister because she agreed to go with me after Thanksgiving dinner. In all I found 5 things on my shopping list that I am going to try and pick up, and then I am out the door. If it were any other year and I wasn't on a reduced pay leave it wouldn't be such a big deal, but if successful this will make my holiday shopping less tight. Normally I would have done my shopping early, and intended to when I was still working, but I had a feeling I would be able to save some money if I waited until Black Friday. One thing I hate is buying something I could wait to get and then having it go on sale.

There is a chance I might be able to order everything online;the ad mentions the deals will also be online. But sometimes the in-store prices are lower, so I will just have to wait and see. If I an order online it will be so helpful, I much prefer online shopping anyway.

And let me just say that I am not completely crazy..I would NEVER in a million years go to a mall for Black Friday. I don't do the mall anyway ever. There are about 4 specific stores I have ever gone to. Because one particular store is close by and we have enough people where someone can drop us off/pick us up and we can go after we eat Thanksgiving dinner is the only reason this is even somewhat doable for me. Otherwise I would never attempt this at all.

So is anyone else planning to go out shopping? What are you shopping for or what have you found that's a really great price?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hoop-Jumping

So I wrote several posts back about how I ended up getting sick and needing to use my PTO when I had been saving it for my maternity leave, and how I was going to come up short for the week I had to cover before my paid leave kicked in. Well...the best laid plans, indeed.

Let me start by saying I work for a major hospital in a busy city, one complete with an entire Women's Health building and countless awards and Top of The lists and all that jazz. So imagine my surprise when I researched the maternity leave policy, which isn't even maternity leave as it falls under short term disability, and find that it's rather...lacking. 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery, 8 weeks for a C-section, both at 66 2/3% pay, and you have to cover your first 7 days and benefits kick in on day 8. Go America. Anyway...

I started researching this early so I would know exactly what I was getting, as the policy is a blanket one and has a lot of nonsense that doesn't apply if you are pregnant vs. injured or otherwise unable to work. Plus a coworker had warned me that due to the unclear policy, she got paid for far less time than she thought she would and advised me to look into it. I filled out the forms in August, my doctor filled out his part (which wrote me out for 12 weeks due to it being my 5th C-section, which they promptly rejected/neglected to take into account) and I spoke on the phone with the 3rd party who handles the paperwork and approvals of claims. I went over my plan of my last date of work, date of delivery, ect and had them confirm the first date I would start being paid, and that yes I could use my PTO time to cover those first 7 days no problem. As long as I didn't try and use PTO to make up the 33% difference to receive full pay stating on day 8 I was fine. I asked about the 12 weeks my doctor wrote me out for but was told that was not something they would approve ahead of time and that closer to 8 weeks post-pardum my doctor would have to submit a statement and medical records to back up this request and it would still need approval.

So back to me getting sick a few weeks before baby...I thought I was going to be short on PTO time, but due to our ridiculous system it is super hard to decipher how much time you actual have in the middle of a pay period. What you have earned isn't updated and any time off-either requested or used- may or may not be deducted from your shown available balance. The projection calculator is useless as well for the for the same reasons. I was able to figure out that I did in fact just have enough PTO left to cover those first 7 days after all, even after being sick. Plus, it looked like I would still get my Thanksgiving holiday time and could use that as well. Before I worked my last shift, I filled out the paperwork you have to do when you are off work for any reason, even though it's all done through the computer as well. But my supervisors won't actually manually put in your vacation hours if you don't fill out the forms.

The day I had the baby my mom called and reported it to Short Term Disability, since I was too drugged up to do so. Even though my last day of work was the week before and all my claims paperwork stated that date, she answered that my first day out was delivery day. So the following week I get a letter with my approval...only everything is approved for a week later, so now I was going to need another entire week of PTO to cover myself, which I didn't have. I was able to log in look at my time card and it was all sorts of wrong. Despite filling out the forms and following up with my supervisors via email the night before I went in to have the baby, they still didn't have my time card correct. I emailed them and was told because I was on leave now, HR fixes my time card not them. Okay, fine. So I spend 2 days leaving messages but never get a hold of the lady. Which is funny because 3 days before this-exactly ONE WEEK-after I gave birth, I was getting emailed asking about my return date to work my these same 2 people.

I ended up calling every branch of HR trying to figure out who can help me, as it's now Friday and the pay period closes Saturday and time cards are sent first thing Monday morning. Someone calls me back and tells me the 3 people who work in the department I need to help me and that I can talk to any of them. I leave more messages and 4 hours later call back. I talk to one pretty unhelpful person who advises me to call the Short Term Disability company to get them to adjust my date back (pregnant employees can take up to 2 weeks off before delivery/due date) and my pay would be retroactive on the following pay cycle. But I would still be short/screwed for this one. I asked about my holiday leave, and was given a stupid non-answer that didn't apply to me and made no sense.

I called Disability and they put in a request for an adjusted date, but advised that it was still subject to investigation/approval, but since my employer has a policy stating I could be out 2 weeks before delivery it should be fine. So I call HR back to let them know this but also to see if they can do anything about my screwed up time card, as I should have some PTO I can put in to cover missing days. I finally talk to someone smart, who researched everything and not only put my holiday PTO in, but also put my short term disability pay in so I wouldn't miss any paid time. And before all of that when she was getting all the info about dates taken off/date baby was born, ect she asked how everything went and how everything was going, which was a first in all this mess! I was so thankful she fixed everything for me like it wasn't an issue when the lady before her acted like she couldn't help me at all. I told her Disability was working on getting the date updated so they would have correct paperwork at some point.

So today, disability calls to ask me about the dates. The woman gave me the third degree about why I didn't work my 20 hours before going to the hospital at 6am Monday morning to have a C-Section. I basically had to justify/defend why I didn't work. That is wasn't official like my doctor said I couldn't work, but that it was common sense as there is no light duty at my job and I am on my feet and lifting patients, and it being my 5th C-section going into labor isn't an option for me, and in fact very dangerous. I also told her I had already worked it out with my HR department, and that my original claim paperwork clearly laid all this out. But no one is looking at that. I don't get it...why have a policy stating you can do X, then make it so hard for someone to actually utilize it??

It's really annoying to have done so much legwork beforehand when I sort of had the time, and to still be dealing with and straightening this out now while I am taking care of a newborn and don't really have the time, just so I am properly paid my reduced disability pay. I am really jealous of you friends in Canada who I know get an entire year!

Monday, November 16, 2015

MicroBlog Monday-Reflecting

Mel wrote a post a couple weeks ago about searching the Internet for something she read years prior. It reminded me of something I had recently found after years of periodically searching google. It was a poem (I guess you would call it a poem) about growing up in the 1980's. I first came across it 20 years ago and it became this neat reflection we used in our senior year of highschool. I don't even know how I first came across it, as it was in the early days of the Internet back then, and I didn't yet have an email address or even a computer that could access the Internet at home. But it was light and nostalgic and a feel-good piece. Although I wasn't born in the 80's, all of my childhood memories happened then, and this piece touched on that. In an effort to keep this blog Micro, here is the link to read this annomyous poem

Finding this and reading it again, coupled with the news coming out of Paris this weekend made me think: what is this generation going to have to remember fondly? It seems like there is more violence than ever. Maybe it is the instant access we have now; every news website has more horrific stories and headlines than any one person needs to read in a day. Maybe these awful things happened but we didn't hear about them with the frequency that we do now, when war is reported in real time. Maybe the 1980's really were as idealistic as people remember them to be. And sure there is a lot of good in the world still today, that I would like to believe overshadows the bad. But when the news out of Paris and shootings on school campuses around the US become more commonplace vs. a rare occurrence, it really makes me wonder. What poem about the 20-10s are going to be written? What are the children of this generation...my kids, my nieces and nephews, my friend's children-what are they going to remember?

Monday, November 9, 2015

HE's Here!!

Bonus Baby Boy is one week old already! Everything regarding his delivery and hospital stay was completely flawless. He's perfect and thriving, breast feeding is going smoothly, although he started out as a lazy nurser and I worked hard in the hospital to make sure we came home with no feeding issues, and he is proving to be a pretty chill and easy baby so far. I feel so beyond lucky. There is so much I want to say but I really have no brain power to write a post that does any of this justice.

Transitioning home after 4.5 days away has been a challenge. Toddler Baby Boy had a super hard time with my absence, as he had grandmothers caring for him and it's just not the same. So I have some mommy guilt going on. The first day home was really hard on my heart, but it's getting better. Today is the first day it's just me and the little guys, and it is nice to get back to some semblance of normal. It is definitely helping toddler baby boy, for sure, to realize mommy is back and everything is ok in his little world. He is very unsure of the baby and cries when baby cries as if it scares him. I am not pushing and letting him slowly warm up to him. He is just old enough at 21 months to make this a harder transition then when I had a 15 month old and a new baby a decade ago.

So we are all adjusting. Physically I am doing ok but I am pushing myself, but I really have no choice. I haven't had anything stronger than Motrin since I left the hospital. Not that I couldn't use it, but I can't afford to be doped up, either. I go for my post-op visit later today and I am sure I will hear about it from my doctor but he also knows me well enough to expect this.

Then there is that whole business of "are we done" having kids people have been asking me for months. After going through 8 years of IF, I am not so inclined to want to prevent anything and to rather let nature take its course. I still feel like I have it in me to have another child, as crazy as that may seem. I know how blessed and lucky I am. And I don't take for granted the fact that I got to do this as many times as I have, despite not being able to for so many years in between. I prayed on it before, and I will continue to pray and let God lead me. There was a reason He made me wait 8 years. I am going to continue to trust in Him.

On another note, I can't wait for my hormones to regulate some. I alternate between freezing cold and breaking out sweating all day long, and all night, too. Right now I am ice cold but my house is holding steady at 70 degrees.