Category Archives: Family

There’s Change in the Air

Change Ahead


Well, it happened.

On Wednesday this week, I finally received the call from HR offering me the position. The recruiter asked if I knew my answer or needed time to think about it. I chose to think about it overnight and told her I would call her back the next day.

I talked things over with Social Diva at dinner that night. The new position will require that I work until 5 PM, which means I won’t get home until 6 most nights. I explained to her that she will have to do more around the house but that I would compensate her for it. She’s ok with my working later, was wary about having to do more (typical teenager!), but was happy to hear she could earn some money (she loves to shop!).

So Thursday morning, I talked with my current administrator to let him know that I received the offer and that I was going to accept it. He knows and respects the administrator in the new department and thinks it could be a good move for me. While it’s a bad time to abandon my current position, I’m close enough to help a replacement get through the approaching July 1st hecticness.

On Friday, I had to share my decision with one of the physicians I support. While he’s sad to lose me, he’s happy for my new position.  One doc down, three to go (those I support directly), and two other docs who I consider friends out of the office.

I gave three weeks’ notice, so I have a busy three weeks ahead! I need to make sure everything that needs to be done is done, get my filing done (I’m such a procrastinator!), and pack up the latest 15 years of personal crap that I’ve accumulated since I returned in 1999.

It’s hard to give up my 28+ years with my department (I thought I’d retire from here), but I look forward to new adventures with the new department!


Christmas Day

I slept in a bit this morning (7:30, yay!) but had enough time to turn on the coffee and put my breakfast casserole in the oven before grabbing a shower. Kids planned to wake by 10 AM so I could enjoy the peacefulness of the morning.

Once they both came downstairs around 10, it was time to pass out presents!



Presents for them and presents for me! In addition to the items in the picture, I also received a few gift cards (Amazon, Macy’s, and Starbucks!) and a nice gift check! I’m already researching ellipticals on Amazon and the gift check will get tucked away for my cruise in February. I’m looking forward to testing out the ice cream maker for my KitchenAid. Can you say Ice Cream Par-tay?!

I texted the ex to tell him that I’d like to watch Social Diva open her present since it was a joint gift. He was actually receptive to bringing it over here for her to open in front of both us. She was pleased (and I can’t wait to play with her new camera). Vampire Boy’s gift was an easy transfer of cash from my bank account to his. They also had a few things in their stockings as well.

After the kids left, I resumed my Christmas Day tradition of seeing a movie, American Hustle.  I made myself a nice Christmas dinner and have enjoyed a quiet house to myself.

There were no drinking plans for the evening, so it will be two Christmases in a row where I will wake up hangover free. I’m both happy and sad about this.

Now the question is do I want to go out shopping tomorrow morning? Hope you had an enjoyable day!

Are You Fucking Kidding Me? The Family Christmas Edition

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

Thanks to the summer birthday card fiasco involving a missing birthday card mailed to my nephew and the shit storm that resulted afterwards, I wasn’t planning on driving to my mom’s on Christmas Eve. I had already asked the kids about it, and they said they were ok with not making the visit.

Over the weekend, I made sure to send a package to my mom’s address with Christmas cards for her, my step dad, and my two nephews. To avoid any “we didn’t get anything” fiasco like the birthday card, I made sure to send it Priority Mail with tracking.

Package was delivered today and I get an email from my mother asking if I’m not coming up for Christmas Eve. Immediately followed by a text from the sister asking the same question. And here’s where the “Are you fucking kidding me?” comes into play.

Mother and sister said some shitty things back in the summer, and now they’re expecting me to show up for Christmas Eve? I really don’t think so.

Day 28: Thankful

Today, I am thankful for:

  • having two healthy and happy children
  • having a warm place to live
  • having a stable job
  • having food on the table
  • having a car that gets me where I need to go
  • having truly good friends who make me laugh

Today, I am wishing my father a happy birthday. He would have been 68 today.

Today, the kids and I are going to see a movie before they go to their dad’s for Thanksgiving dinner. I will return home, possibly bake some cookies, then meet those good friends for a few holiday drinks. I bought a turkey to bake, but I may wait until Saturday to throw him in the oven (need to coordinate around the baking cookies!).

So wherever you are reading from, Happy Thanksgiving Day!


Staycation 2013

It’s a good vacation if you feel like you’ve been away from work for a month, right?

Between high school graduation at the beginning of June through the arrival of my new faculty hires this July 1st, I’ve felt like a hamster on a never-ending wheel.  I needed this week off! I was looking forward to getting some things done around the house, hanging out at the pool, and enjoying a lazy week of staycation.

Mother Nature had other plans for me.

I only got one pool day in. My birthday was completely uneventful. While I should have disconnected from work, I did check emails every morning just to make sure everything was ok at work. I didn’t get ANYTHING done around the house like I wanted to. My basement had a little bit of water pooling, but fortunately nothing as bad as other areas of the city.

On the plus side:

* I went tubing on a river for the very first time. I lost my favorite hat and my sunglasses, but I didn’t drown. If you’re looking for a fun day trip, check out Coal Tubin’.

* I spent eight hours with my toes in the sand at Presque Isle.

* I did get to hang out with the kids, even with one working this summer and the other sleeping her summer vacation away.

*  Vampire Boy attended an Orientation Program at Cal U to finish registering for classes. It’s hard to believe that he only has one more month at home before he goes off to school.

On the down side:

* I didn’t win the Powerball, so I have to go back to work.

* I haven’t met a millionaire who wants to support me, so I have to go back to work.

* Tomorrow, I have to go back to work.

I’d much rather be here:

Beach 6

Presque Isle, Beach 6

Six more weeks until vacation at OBX. I’m really looking forward to getting away, really away, for a week at a real beach with some great people and what looks like an awesome house. I’ll need the trip after getting Vampire Boy off to college and Social Diva ready for her final year at middle school.

Six more weeks … I can do it, right?!

One Down … One to Go

Vampire Boy graduated from high school last Wednesday. The week brought both moments of joy and moments of sadness. Joy that he made it through high school. Joy that he didn’t get pulled in by the wrong crowd. Joy that he got accepted to a handful of colleges. Joy that he had done it. Sadness that my “little boy” is now an adult ready to venture off into the world. Sadness that I’m getting old (but that’s another post itself).

I held myself together pretty well at commencement, only tearing up (in public) twice. The first time as they were marching from the school to the football field. The second time as his name was announced and he received his diploma. Social Diva kept yelling at me to put down my sunglasses when she noticed my chin quivering. (She’s so supportive. /sarcasm)

He didn’t want a graduation party, but I was able to surprise him with a small get together with a few of my friends and his grandparents (my in-laws) and his aunt in from Boston. As I made sure everyone had enough to eat and drink, he came out of his shell and sat and talked with everyone.

He’ll start his summer job on Tuesday working with the school district as summer maintenance. I’m guessing that he’ll wish he went back to the zoo after eight hours of manual labor.

As the title says, one down, one more (Social Diva) to go. I’m guessing these next five years are going to fly by!

Summer 2000 (Age 5)

Summer 2000 (Age 5)

Graduation (June 2013)

Graduation (June 2013)

College Visit!

Holy crap!

If you’re a frequent visitor, you might know that Vampire Boy is a senior in high school. He is interested in continuing his education and has been working with his dad on college applications. Dad had a good idea — let him apply to colleges within a reasonable driving distance, see where he gets accepted, and then visit those campuses for him to decide where he wants to go.

We had our first college visit this past weekend! As a family unit!

Some background: Dad and I separated in March 2001 with our divorce being final in February 2006 (finally!). It was not a pretty separation thanks to child support issues. Things have been decent on and off over the past five years and I like that we finally seem to be able to have a decent divorced relationship.

Dad and Vampire Boy worked on applications and acceptances started coming in. OK, time to look at the Open House schedules and plan a campus visit.  Dad invited me to come along (I had planned on going whether I was invited or not and driving myself if I had to!) and offered for me to ride along with them. Other than the hours we spent sitting on separate sides of the Family Division waiting room, it would be the first time we spent such a substantial part of the day together with the kids.

First visit was this past weekend. Dad picked us up at 6:45 AM for our hour drive. I was worried things would be a little weird, but we got along just fine. We talked and joked around in the car as I presume a ‘normal’ family would. We sat as a family in each of the informational sessions. We went on a campus tour. We checked out the residence halls. We visited the Science building and spoke to one of the chemistry faculty. At one point, we both leaned around from our auditorium seats to look at Vampire Boy when they were explaining that all communication is sent to his University mailbox — his ID was included in his acceptance letter — a mailbox he NEVER looked at! (This makes more sense when I explain that we went to his Open House blindly. He had registered, but did not receive any email or postal mail confirmation of his attendance, and I didn’t think about it until he received a packet from another school confirming his attendance.)

We all loved the campus. We liked the fact that it’s a smaller campus within a reasonable driving distance. We liked the chemistry department and faculty. We liked the student to teacher ratio within the chemistry department (his interest for now). He came away from this Open House knowing that this is where he wants to go to school. I’m trying to encourage him to visit at least one more, but  the next Open House is at a larger campus and he is adamant he likes the smaller campus. I don’t think I’m going to win the battle to get him to look any other campuses. I’m ok with that since I did the same exact thing when visiting business schools for myself many (many, many) years ago.

Holy shit, my ‘baby’ is looking forward to going off to college in the Fall.

New Science Hall

Holy Crap!

Holy Crap!

At this time 18 years ago, I was at the hospital hooked up to Pitocin awaiting the arrival of my first bundle of joy. This weekend is similar to the weekend so many years ago — it’s cold, blustery, and snowing!

We’ve weathered a lot of changes over the years. While our “family” is not what I envisioned so many years ago, we have adjusted and compromised along the way. As a Mom, I’ve survived his transition through elementary school, middle school, and now high school. I’ve watched him grow from a quiet and shy child to one who is slowly emerging from his shell and deciding what he wants for his future. With only a little over four months to go of high school, he knows he wants to continue his education, which is a relief to both of his parents.

While his father and I have been fairly permissive parents, I am thankful that we made it through the teen years without any alcohol, drug, or defiance problems (which I think is outstanding for a split family). That’s not to say we haven’t butted heads along the way, but at the end of the day, I have been blessed with a very handsome, very polite young man.

So Happy 18th Birthday, Vampire Boy!

Happy Birthday!

Holy Crap! (aka First Day of School 2012)

From this (2000):

Vampire Boy’s first day of kindergarten (2000)

To this (2005):

Social Diva heading off to Kindergarten and Vampire Boy heading off to Fifth Grade (2005)

To this (2012):

Middle year of middle school/grade 7 for Social Diva and ::sniffle, sniffle:: Senior year for Vampire Boy (2012)

Holy crap, where have the years gone?!?!

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner whimpering and rocking myself! Does anyone have one of those white coats with the long sleeves that I could borrow?

Why I Love My “Staycations”

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the beach. Back in my married years and before the grandkids hit school age, my former in-laws used to treat their family to a week at Hilton Head. These trips typically required clearing up work responsibilities, cleaning house, packing for two adults and one child (no Social Diva at this time), coordinating dog care, and then driving for a long period of time.  We used to leave on Friday, drive to Rock Hill, stay overnight, then finish the trip to the Island on Saturday. We would spend the week with the in-laws and the sister with her husband and child. I was usually ready to head home by Thursday. The return trip home would start by 5 AM Saturday morning, putting us back in town between 5 and 6 PM, depending on the number of potty breaks. I usually came back more exhausted than when I left, and it used up so many vacation days!

Since my separation/divorce, I haven’t had the funds to take the kids away to the beach for a week. Instead, I typically take off the week bordering my birthday in July and the week prior to the start of the school year. During these “staycations,” we have taken day trips to Erie, visited Kennywood, worked on projects around the house (well, I did; not so much the kids), shopped for back to school supplies, and have just enjoyed a relaxed, no itinerary type week.

There are a few reasons I love my staycations:

* I can wake up on my own (still as early as 6:30), but not be in a rush to be anywhere. I can enjoy my coffee while catching up on the news of the world and my Facebook and Twitter timelines.

* Live with Kelly! I watch this show anytime I am able to be home at 9 AM.

* The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Same as above. Regardless of whether it is a fresh run episode or a repeat, I still try to watch.

* I get a little slice of being a “stay at home mom.” I can run errands with the kids (otherwise known as #MomShuttle). I can keep up on household chores.

* This last week, I was able to do some serious cleaning/purging in my basement. I have boxes that haven’t been touched in the five years I’ve been here! I threw out so much crap, and I have a large stack of items going to the Vietnam Veterans of America on Monday.

* I was able to spend two days with Flawed Memory, who was released early of his two weeks’ notice. We hung out at the pool and saw a Blackberry Smoke show.

So I’m at the end of my last summer staycation week. The kids go back to school on Monday, and I go back to work. I love hanging at the pool over the summer, but I am looking forward to the cool temps of my favorite season. The Fall has much in store for me as well. Vampire Boy is a senior in high school. Two friends have their weddings scheduled in October and December. Then there’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This year seems to have flown by so quickly. And, of course, I’m looking forward to my grown up vacation on The Rock Boat at the end of February.

I guess I should now seriously start that diet / eating more healthy / working out regularly. Now where’s that post I wrote about resolutions?