Vacationing with a Toddler

It was a bit of a doozy. I’m not saying I regret the trip, but there are things I would have done differently knowing what I know now.

It started off bad from the start. Sunday night as we were packing up to leave Charlie woke up four times in a two hour period crying. I thought maybe she was just having a hard time settling in, but after the fourth time I gave her tylenol just in case something was feeling bad. She slept through after that.

It was an auspicious sign.

We had planned to leave around 10:00 am the next morning with the goal of making it to St. Louis (where we were staying overnight with my uncle) by 3:00 pm. Unfortunately our doctor couldn’t see us until 10:30. and it was a Monday, so that quickly turned into 11:30. The verdict was that the ear infection she had just finished up amoxic.illin for the Friday before had rebounded with a vengeance. This is exactly what happened the last time she had an ear infection.

Unfortunately this left us with some tough choices. Our doc doesn’t typically prescribe any other oral antibiotics after amox fails because she says it has the highest success rate. Once it fails she goes straight to a 1-3 day course of rocephin IM shots. The problem of course was that we weren’t going to be around for the second and third shot. At that point I was on the side of staying home. I didn’t like the prospects of traveling with a sick child because a) what if she got worse and we were far from home? and b) even if she didn’t get worse, she was guaranteed to be pretty unhappy for at least a day or so. But Chief was hellbent on going if we could manage at all. My doctor administered the one shot and then wrote out the closest oral equivalent to rocephin for her to take for the next ten days, but she said that the better thing to do would be to find a clinic where we were going to do the last two shots.

So we left after getting the shot. If you’ve never seen a baby get a rocephin shot I hope you never have to-it’s a horribly painful shot. You can see it all over their faces. It’s not just the typical angry face of getting a shot-it really hurts. Doing it three days in a row is absolutely awful. We had to stop a lot along the way to check diapers and let her walk a bit, but we finally made it to St. Louis by dinner time. She played and ate dinner and went to bed tired, and the next day we got the second shot at a very nice urgent care in St. Louis before heading out on our way. We made it to Chicago by 3:00 pm the next day and checked into our hotel. Charlie was visibly looking better and I was cheered thinking that maybe the trip was a good choice.

After that it was sort of a mixed bag. The thing about being in a big, foreign city, is that I couldn’t let my anxious self let my kid have much freedom. Everywhere we went she was in a stroller or a baby carrier, and that’s just not making her happy these days. She wants to get down and RUN everywhere. And the streets of Chicago were not the place to experiment with her freedom and limits. We had more than one meltdown. Here’s the places Charlie melted down in Chicago:

1. Nordstroms
2. The Shedd Aquarium
3. Wrigley Field
4. The Lincoln Park Zoo
5. A patisserie near the zoo (though she was bribed with a cookie by the proprietor and they were basically best friends after that).
6. The hotel lobby
7. The hotel room (always at night so I could be really paranoid about other guests complaining about us)

By Friday it was very apparent that Charlie was done having fun-and don’t get me wrong, we did have some fun. Usually after the meltdowns she could find it in herself to find something good in the experience. The problem was she was tired and the rocephin, just like before, gave her a horrific yeast diaper rash. Seriously these shots are awful. They do the job like nothing else-but the side effects are the worst. Diarrhea for days. Every time we had to change her diaper Thursday and Friday she would scream her head off because putting the lotrimin cream on (our travel substitute for nystatin) stung the rash so bad. We were supposed to leave Saturday morning and go to St. Louis again and go to the zoo and maybe Grant Farms with my aunt and uncle, but I felt strongly like getting home that day-nine hour drive and all. So that’s what we did. We made the nine hour drive all in one day. We relied heavily on Charlie’s favorite movies on our laptops, plus snacks and frequent stops, and we made it home by 5:00 that day which was such a relief.

Of course, once we got home we discovered that one of our cats had been really sick while we were gone and had thrown up in every room of the house at least once, and had diarrhea on the couch and in Charlie’s room. We had people come to check on them every day so how no one chose to tell me this is beyond me. Luckily it wasn’t anything life threatening because we haven’t had any problems since. Everything we had to clean up was dried so they had probably been better for a few days by the time we got home, but the first 24 hours I was on a paranoid lookout for a really sick cat.

So what would I do differently? Well, I’m not sure I would have gone at all after we found out she was sick. That part of it was okay-we did find good clinics in both locations, but it would have been easier on all of us to deal with it at home. Secondly, I would pick a location that isn’t so big and busy so Charlie could have some more freedom. Maybe a small, Stars Hollowish town. We loved Chicago. i loved riding the subway anywhere I needed to go and being right on the water, but in hindsight it wasn’t a toddler friendly vacation.

Hiding in the Forest

Hi there.

I’ve had a lot to write about that I haven’t been writing about because to be honest, i’ve been deep in the forest lately.

I didn’t take my antidepressants for over a week. And not for any particular reason. It’s like I forgot to take it one day. No big. Then the next day I thought about it but it wasn’t handy and I thought “oh well, I missed one day with no problem so I’m sure one more won’t be an issue.” and then it turned into something like nine days.

Charlie has been sick for over a week. This isn’t unusual-she picks up every little thing that gets passed around at MDO, but Saturday things started to get pretty rough. She acted irrationally angry a lot of the morning and then absolutely refused to nap. I’m ashamed to say I let her cry in her bed longer than I should have because I kept expecting her to calm down. By the end of the cry I was so frustrated at her and mad at myself that I spoke more harshly with her than I should have when I went to get her (we gave up on the nap after about twenty minutes). Her poor face was covered in tears and red. She was obviously exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I felt like a monster. I apologized immediately and we cuddled in bed, but that was strike one for my emotional state.

The next day was much of the same. Chief had drill all weekend by the way, so I was handling this a lot on my own. Sunday she was not only cranky and mad, she was also destructive and unapologetic about it. I lost my temper and shouted at her. She didn’t cry, but I could tell she was frightened. I cried though. I picked her up and cuddled her on the couch and apologized again. I was so relieved when she went down for a nap that day because I felt so awful about my mothering and that she would be better off away from me. I was never worried about physically harming her, but I was afraid I was damaging our relationship with every raise of my voice or expression of frustration.

Sunday afternoon I took my antidepressant for the first time in over a week. I know now that I can’t be without it like that. Not at this point in my life anyway.

Yesterday Charlie was so mad and upset. We called the doctors office during her nap to try and get a spot but they said her pediatrician was out for the day. When she woke up she seemed better so we thought it must just be a phase, but then she was much the same today. Had a bad day at school and everything. Her doctor was still out so we ended up taking her to a really nice urgent care.

Double ear infection and an upper respiratory infection was the diagnosis. Cue the various guilts:

1. How could I be so angry and awful to my obviously sick daughter?
2. How could my intuition not have told me on Saturday that something wasn’t right and she needed to go to the doctor?
3. How could I let it get this bad?
4. How could I be so lazy about my antidepressants

I’m trying to let myself push this guilt away-it’s done. I can’t take it back. I made it through today and yesterday without yelling at her, though I was frustrated yesterday. I’ve tweaked my shoulder somehow and right now she just wants to be held. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but I can’t hold her on my right because of the shoulder, so my left is taking the brunt and it’s brutal-and it’s just me. No Chief, no grandparents-she just wants me to hold her. All the time. When I’m eating. When I’m using the bathroom. Always. I don’t blame her of course because she feels so awful, but it’s very hard to do all on my own when I’m down one shoulder (I am going to the doctor, reluctantly, tomorrow), so by the end of yesterday I was tired, and hurting, and feeling guilty, and frustrated. But I didn’t yell.

I can feel myself slowly and gradually getting back under control with every dose of bu.propion. But I’m sad with myself. I’m afraid that this weekend will be one of Charlie’s earliest memories of her mother. How awful would that be?

Tonight after she had her dinner, and her bath, and her nursing, and her facetime call with daddo, she just wanted me to hold her and rock, and I did with tears rolling down my face. She has of course forgiven me. Hopefully she’s forgotten what a rotten mother I was for 48 hours. It’s just so much harder to forgive myself.

The good, the bad, the in-between.

I’m just going to say it: I didn’t get the school job.

I was pretty devastated from the moment I answered the phone call and heard the principal’s voice. Then he said “I’m afraid I don’t have good news” and I knew. I was proud of myself for staying strong on the phone and remaining professional-it was hard. I had talked myself into believing I was going to get it, and it doesn’t take much to make me cry these days.

The other thing is that while I got the on base job I just wasn’t sure that it was going to work out. I had read some tricky things online about the contracting firm I’d be working through. I also had some rough feelings about starting so soon and losing the last summer with Charlie and Chief that I’ll have before I definitely go back to work in 2018. Chief and I talked about it and we decided that if it didn’t feel right right now then we could afford to wait. So i turned them down. In the email I wrote that if the job had a work from home component or was starting in the fall I would feel better about accepting, but I felt like I needed to spend this summer with my family.

The hiring manager wrote back immediately telling me how sorry he was because he felt that I would be great for the job. I instantly had regrets-he is SO. NICE. I thought about emailing to tell him I had changed my mind but I hadn’t really. I want to work, but I want a few more months. That’s just one of the reasons the school job was going to be so great.

Anyway, I was really depressed all day. I thought I was going to get that school job, but also, I just really am ready to have a plan for my future. A few hours later I got an email from the contracting firm hiring manager, requesting that I call him. When I did he offered to hold the job until the end of August for me. He said he can’t technically do that, but he can draw out the recruitment process and have me sign on in July with a start date in August-they’ll let him do that. He said he wanted me to think about it and talk about it with my husband, but that he really felt strongly that I was the right person for this job even though he had other people who could do it.

I think I’m going to take him up on it. It’s only four months before I have to go back to work so I’m not shaving so much of my time at home off. I’m ready to have the financial security that comes with steady work, and the work will be fulfilling. It also gives me all summer to get my affairs in order at the law firm. And I can’t lie-it’s really nice to be so strongly valued and pursued. The school made me really jump through hoops to prove that I was worthy and still decided I wasn’t. I get that that’s part of the process and people don’t get jobs all the time, but this time it feels worse because it’s the most exacting interview process I’ve ever been through. But this guy wants me to have this job because he genuinely believes in me and my qualifications and my passion for public service. It’s not a librarian job-but it’s a job that matters.

I think I’m going to take it.

Fucking. House.

We close on the house on Tuesday. It was supposed to be this past Friday but the title company couldn’t get everything done in time so it for postponed.

Tonight we had a freaking monsoon come through. I woke up at 2:30 in a panic and drove to the old house.

Basement room at least two inches under water. Our sump pump is in storage and the facility isn’t open until Monday, so Chief has to go to Lowes as soon as they open to buy a new one and get the water out. And by the way, it’s still raining. Heavily. For hours to come.

I swear to god if this messes up the deal I’m probably going to lose it. I hate that god damn house.

Well Crap

I had my final job interview for the on base position working with the families of deployed soldiers. I was offered the job.

And I really, really liked how the interview went. Let’s review the pros and cons with some revisions after what I’ve learned today:

1. Incredibly flexible schedule. I was told that if Charlie gets sick I can work from home, I can move things around to go to the doctor-as long as the mission is being accomplished, I can basically do what I need to do. I need to hit my hours and get my job done. That’s what they care about.

2. I wouldn’t have to start until June-no rush.

3. Good pay and benefits

4. Fulfilling work (this shouldn’t be number four, but these aren’t in any particular order) and a chance to make a real world impact in a way that is near and dear to my heart.

5. My supervisor is in another state and he seems incredibly nice. I’d be really independent a lot of the time and that’s….appealing. Really appealing.

6. There’d be some travel, but not a lot. I like traveling, but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time. So in this way, I think it would help scratch an itch without rubbing me raw.

Cons:

1. The occasional weekend-like one every 3-4 months. This isn’t bad at all considering coming from a public library background

2. Not a library job. This shouldn’t matter, but I have a masters degree and a shit ton of student loan debt that says it does.

3. Travel that, while scratching an itch, would take me away from my baby girl. My first trip would be in June-five days in Minnesota. That’s a long time to be away from my daughter when I’ve never even been away from her for more than five hours.

My day long interview with the school is tomorrow. IF they offer me the job (a big IF) I have a huge, life altering decision to make. If they don’t, well, I guess problem solved. I hated telling the guy on the phone today that I would have to let him know in a few days. I could tell he was disappointed. I was literally called and offered the position by the recruiter ten minutes after I finished talking with the supervisor. Luckily they were understanding but it feels like being asked out on a date and telling the guy you have to think about it. I don’t know why it feels that way, but it does.

So…awkward. Wish me luck tomorrow. They changed the schedule around so now teaching the lesson is one of the last things on the agenda ugghhh. I wanted to get it out of the way early. And I changed my lesson topic to Computer Error Detection. we’re going to talk about parity bits and ISBN and UPC check digits, and then I have a fun activity where they’re going to play “Who’s the Fastest Computer?” I’m also going to throw in some Hidden Figures talk 🙂

I know you guys are probably tired of this, but it’s just such a huge decision. At least I know that no matter what happens tomorrow, I have a rewarding job waiting for me and hopefully a positive future for my family.

Until the Very End

On Friday the lady at the title company seemed perplexed with the title search, saying something about a third mortgage on it. We only have two mortgages on the property so this had me worried, but honestly I just thought she was confused because this company hasn’t shown themselves to be terribly competent.

But then today I got to thinking about it and felt like I’d feel better if I ran a title search. So I paid $20.00 for a title search that did indeed come up with something that was very, very wrong.

We purchased the house in April of 2012. Here’s the timeline:

April 2012: purchased
August 2012: HELOC acquired for remodel (so second mortgage)
April 2013: SOMEONE ELSE GOT A SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED ON OUR HOUSE?!

Yeah, that’s what it says. Some random lady that I’ve never heard of is coming up on our title search with a special warranty deed from US Bank for $10,000. Because of course.

So, here’s how I handled it:

Step 1: I panicked
Step 2: I cried a little
Step 3: I called Chief, my mom, my dad, my cousin Elaine who did our first title on the house, my realtor. Of course the last two didn’t answer and the first three sounded almost as alarmed as I did.
Step 4: I did some research on what a special warranty deed is which did nothing to reassure me.
Step 5: I called my friend J who is a realtor who said that it did sound like a clerical error, but without seeing our original loan to know whether we have title insurance he couldn’t really advise us on what’s going to happen for sure.
Step 6: Continue panicking. Talk to husband and parents a bit more.
Step 7: Go to the assessors office page and look at our records. It just shows us as the owners, not this other lady.
Step 8: Resolve that I’m not going to be able to figure anything out until tomorrow.

But of course I couldn’t just let it go. OF COURSE I COULDN’T JUST LET IT GO. I started thinking that if this lady owned our home she should show up on the assessors page. So I typed her name in. There are a bunch of people with her name but about the fourth one down I found the issue.

This lady did indeed get a special warranty deed for $10,000 from US Bank on the day in question…..in a neighborhood in the neighboring town with the exact same name as our neighborhood.

A fucking. clerical. error.

I was flooded with relief and did some karate kicks while shouting that I had librarianed the CRAP out of this problem. But now we have to get it fixed and hopefully PLEASE GOD still close on time.

I have no idea how long something like that will take. But I sent my realtor an email (my realtor who NEVER CALLED ME TODAY LIKE I ASKED HER TO UGGGHHHHHH) and I’m hoping this doesn’t foul everything up.

This house is going to fight me until the very last. I’m so ready to be rid of it.

High Stress, High Reward?

This week has all the chips on the table. Let’s review:

Tuesday: Final phone interview with the air base.

Wednesday: All day spent at the private school. SEVEN interviews scheduled that day with everyone from the headmaster to the head of athletics, plus teaching a lesson, plus attending chapel and a school tour AND lunch.

Friday: Allegedly closing on the old house. The appraisal came back today $600 higher than the selling price, so we made it by the skin of our teeth. There are three minor things we need to do tomorrow for FHA to fund the loan, but it won’t be expensive or time consuming.

Of course the thing I am the most stressed about is Wednesday. I’ve prepared a pretty thorough lesson on information theory that’s both informative and fun (I think). I have three different game like activities I’m using to help demonstrate the theory. It’s for sixth graders so I can’t get terribly deep into it (which is good) but we are going to discuss entropy and high levels of entropy vs low levels of entropy.  My biggest fear is not being able to fill the time and getting done too early. I have to teach for an hour and five minutes, though I imagine the regular teacher will probably take a few minutes for her own announcements and introducing me and stuff. I’m trying not to overthink. I’ve lead tons of programs at the library, but this is so much more formal.

A major source of stress for Wednesday is my wardrobe. Basically I’m throwing money at the problem and not taking tags off of anything until I come to a final decision on what I’m wearing, which will probably happen Wednesday morning. I bought a pair of trousers last night, another pair today with a flowy top and matching jewelry, and then a few dresses on Amazon that’ll be here Tuesday night. The pants from today needed to be hemmed in a major way so the tags will have to come off of those, but I like them well enough that even if I don’t wear them on Wednesday I don’t mind keeping them.

I also bought a professional looking satchel bag to stash the extra three pairs of pantyhose I’m bringing and my lunch in. I don’t know if they’re providing me with lunch and it would sure be embarrassing to not be prepared, so this way I can hide it in there just in case. Plus a bottle of water or two, spare deoderant, bandaids in case of blisters, my lesson plan….Oy. I’m starting to sweat just thinking about it.

By next Friday I could have a new job and one less house. I really want both of those things to happen.

I’m really, really struggling with my self esteem. I keep having to repeat things in my head on a loop “you can do this, you had a career before and you’ll have one again, you were a great student, you have all the right credentials.” It’s starting to take on a monotone. I’ve loved being home with Charlie, but something about the SAHM life has really put a dent in my already fairly dented self esteem. Trying on clothes the last two days was like slamming a semi truck into it. I haven’t had to buy professional clothing since I was pregnant and back then it was totally okay for stuff to cling to my belly. Now I’m having to buy sizes I never bought before to get stuff to skim over my belly comfortably, and it’s hit me hard. I wish it didn’t, but it does. That’s who I am. That’s how I was raised to be.

I just want to show up on Wednesday and feel qualified, smart, beautiful, fashionable, and also comfortable in my own skin. I was hoping to get my hair colored on Tuesday because my grey is coming through but my stylist is out on Tuesday and I’ve never done it myself before. It’s just my natural color so it’s not like I’d have to bleach it or anything, but it makes me nervous to try something so big before a job interview, so probably I’m just going to hope they don’t notice some bits of grey here and there.

Qualified, smart, beautiful, fashionable, comfortable-I’ve been there before. I hope I can get there again.