Monday, February 27, 2006

Drowning in forms

OMG, I had totally forgotton what a PITA it is to get hired. Filling out all of those blasted forms, sheesh! And how the heck is this guy going to know if the copies of my identification items are really of me, seeing as he's never laid eyes on me? (I am completely virtual office and everything is being done through the mail; I will never see another soul I work with or for.) I also think I'm going to spend half my time trying to get paid; it is such a convoluted process, and it takes place *weekly.* I don't know who has to sign what, whether I only need to fax my time sheet in or if I also must send the originals, whether the person who signs off on them is supposed to fax it for me (yeah, because I should trust them to make sure I get paid, uh-huh, and what if that person is off that day?!)... the list goes on and on. This is what happens when the person who wants to hire you must go through a contracting company who uses a staffing service to manage its contractors (got all that?). And I have to fill out an application for the job, even though I've already been hired? What is that all about?

Oh, and many of my instructions are being sent to my business email account, but it's going to be another week or so before I can get access to that server, so I can't read my bloomin' email! "Well, I sent emailed that to you, did you get it?" Um, NO. And now I've had at least one kink present itself, and there there may be another (neither of which I can discuss right now), so it may not work out at all in the long run. We'll just have to "try it and see if we can get it all sorted out." Joy. It is such a mess, it's almost more trouble than it is worth.

Currently feeling: grumpy

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Baby Virus

by Blinkie Obsession

Oh, what I wouldn't have given for a fairy godmother this weekend. It was, in a word, hellacious. It was probably the second-worst three day stint in my entire life (the worst being the days immediately preceeding and following Luke's birth). I just wanted someone to wave a magic wand and make it all better.

Before proceeding, I feel the need to post a potential gross warning. This post discusses some of the things that happen when people have a stomach virus, and while not going into detail much at all, I know some have very weak stomachs and cannot even handle that much. You have been warned!

Let's set the stage. I had just received great news via email about being offered a job by a former boss (see previous post). This was slightly tempered by DH being quite sick (moderate fever, major fatigue, in bed 9:30-10 for two straight nights), but all in all, a good week. Luke was finally experiencing his first ever illness: a cold causing his nose to become a snot factory. Given that he's 16 months old and this is his first ever illness of any kind, I don't think we're doing too badly.

Friday, I wake up to Luke fussing, as usual. And I feel like total crap, which is rather unusual. Great, I think I have whatever DH had. But it's Friday. DH works from home on Fridays, which means he gets Luke up and manages breakfast. Friday is my day to sleep in. Yay! So I flip over and immediately go back to sleep. DH hadn't even left the room yet before I was unconscious again.

Which explains why he had to come all the way into our room to wake me up a few seconds later. "Luke threw up all in his bed. I'm going to take him downstairs to clean him up. Can you change the bedding while I do that?" Great, just great. And yes, it was a rather large spot (over a foot in diameter, roughly circular), though confined to the center of the mattress (not all over everywhere like I feared). I was most concerned that his two most important stuffed animals were compromised. They did not appear to have been, um, in the direct path, but there was some "collateral damage" (as my mother put it).

But the thing that upset me the most is this: it was almost completely dry. Why was this upsetting? On the surface of the issue, I was happy. It wasn't that bad to clean up when most of it had soaked into the mattress pad. But it also means that he had been sleeping in it for *hours* and I had no idea. I had heard him coughing a little in the night, but it was 3 AM and I was too tired and lazy to go check on him. But as long as it's just a little coughing, I don't usually check on him. That's standard procedure. Neither DH nor I heard anything that sounded bad enough to tip us off to go check on him, which means that he didn't fuss much (if any) about it when it happened, so how were we supposed to know? But I still felt like a terrible horrible rotten mother. I pretty much sat in the floor of his room and bawled for a few minutes, forgetting that the monitor was on so DH could hear me. He came up, thinking I was upset about having to change the bedding (which I wasn't).

So, Luke was all changed, the bedding was all changed and soaking in the washer, and I took to cleaning the stuffed animals (who are now just fine, BTW). He was running a very slight fever, but really seemed fine. We tried him on some grits for breakfast (something soft and gentle on the stomach), and would monitor him for the rest of the day. I will allow my emails to my mother (an RN) to tell the rest of the story for me. Keep in mind that during all of this, I am running a fever of 99-100 and am totally exhausted. DH pretty much managed the whole thing by himself (and did a marvelous job). My main job was bedding changes and laundry.


Friday, Feb 17, 2006 11:11 AM

He's now thrown up twice more since this morning, once (natch) right after we changed him from the second time. Have call into the nurse, but no return call yet. He's currently napping. And I have grits stuck in my carpet. Joy.

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 1:28 PM

Nurse called (around 12:15). There is a viral something going around, usually lasts around 48 hours. Also usually progresses from vomitting to abdominal cramps to diarrhea before it's finished (joy). Give as much fluids as he will take, mainly water, but any clear liquids fine (gatorade fine; no need for pedialyte), and feed him mostly dry things (toast, cheerios, crackers), but a small amount of applesauce or bananas, especially if the diarrhea starts, is fine. If he has no urine output for 8 hours, or if it is "very dark in color," I should call back.

And I think I am now running a fever. I'll check it in a bit. Luke is down for his nap. More news, if any, when I have it.

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 8:11 PM

Well, we made it from the beginning of nap #1 to the end of nap #2 without incident, and I was hopeful. He seemed hungry, though he didn't want graham crackers (that should have been a clue), but we let him have cheerios (#2 recommended by the nurse after toast). He threw up what few he ate within about 10 minutes. Nothing more after that until around 6:30 (a few short sips of water maybe, and he won't drink the gatorade, which is really odd for him). We gave him some water before putting him down to bed. He drank some (not as much as I would have liked, but more than the single short sip he had been taking). We were just getting ready to take him upstairs and put him down for the night just after 7 when even the water came back up, though I'm glad he did it before we put him down, and most of it landed on the changing pad, so no major clean up of the floor required. As we were changing him, we noticed that he is now hot to the touch (previously, he had simply been a little warm). Not in an "oh my goodness, you're burning up" kind of way, but definitely in a "no doubt about it, you really have a fever, and we should probably get an actual temp reading" way. And naturally, we can't find the thermometer. So we cleaned him up, changed him (outfit #6 for today; 1-5 currently in the washer), gave him some Tylenol, and put him to bed. I'll check on him before we go to bed (probably in the 11-12 range, since we both took long naps this afternoon), and I guess we'll set an alarm to check on him in the night. I don't know what else to do for him, but I guess there really isn't anything else. Think good thoughts for us.

Love, E (whose own thermometer is not working, so she doesn't know what her temp is either; Steve just walked in with new ones for all of us and dinner)

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 10:07 PM

Latest update: no throwing up today, but he is utterly exhausted. He ate really well this morning, with several handfuls of cheerios and half a piece of toast. After nap #1, he had a whole jar of carrots and a few bites of pears, and I think a few crackers. He's been a little warm all day, but not hot enough to prompt me to take his temp. Nap #2 came much earlier than normal (just after 1), and he woke up at 2. Steve brought him downstairs (I stayed up and took a nap; been running a fever of 99-99.5 for two days now, so I'm pretty drained), but said that he didn't want to eat anything and just sat in Steve's lap the whole time (very odd). He was really sleepy by 4, so Steve put him back down, thinking he would take another quick nap, getting up around 5. Instead, we unknowingly put him down for the night! He's still asleep, and we've hardly heard anything at all, not even him turning over. I know he needs his sleep to help recover, but it's still a little worrysome. I hope he will be more like his usual self tomorrow.

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 4:51 PM

We checked on him before we went to bed, but he was completely wrapped up in his blanket (head included), so there was no way to tell if he was hot due to fever or hot due to smothering himself. And trying to remove the blanket would only have woken him up, so we just let him be.

He completely pooped through his outfit in the night, which was oh so fun this morning. Not really messy (not on puppy or Eeyore), just his jammies and the sheet/mattress pad, but it smelled worse than anything I've ever smelled in my life. Got him cleaned up, got grits in him, but not much else. After nap #1, he didn't want to eat anything, but he did like the orange juice (cut about 25% with water), so I felt better getting some fluids and calories in him. He didn't want to be put down or to play; he only wanted Steve to hold him while sitting in the recliner. Once we turned on Finding Nemo, he was willing to be fed Cheerios between sips of juice (had 2/3 of a glass, probably), and eventually got to the point that he wanted to feed himself. He probably ate 1-2 handfuls of Cheerios, and it seems like a few crackers. Nap #2 was only 45 minutes long, and ended in another "poop through." (I am so tired of washing baby bedding.) Some drink and no food between naps 2 and 3, though there was a little bit of playing involved, and he seemed very happy to "help" Steve empty the dishwasher. I dashed out the door to get some more cheerios (we were *completely* out, and so was Target), another mattress pad (we only have 2, which might not be enough for just me home tomorrow), more laundry powder (washing 8 loads this weekend did us in), and some more baby Tylenol. Nap #3 was only about 30 minutes long. We are currently trying to get him to eat something (no joy yet), and we figure he'll go down for the night between 6 and 7.

No throwing up anymore, so I guess that's good, but I am definitely concerned about his lack of caloric intake. I just don't see how he can get better with no fuel for his body. His lips are also starting to peel and crack, so I know he is getting very dehydrated. He's crying off and on most of the time like he's in pain, so I guess I should just keep him doped up on Tylenol, but I don't want it to be hiding any other symptoms. He hasn't had any Tylenol today since his fever is pretty much gone. He's just so obviously miserable.

Oh, we have a winner in the food department!! Looks like Steve is getting some squash in him as we speak. He wouldn't even let the spoon come near him for lunch, so perhaps this is an improvement. Be thinking of me tomorrow as I try to manage all of this by myself. At least I seem to be mostly over whatever it is I had. Still a little sniffly, but no fever, and I'm feeling much better. Let's hope Luke makes a similar recovery, and soon.


Thus ends our saga; the virus seems to have passed. (And for the record, I have been feeling much better since late yesterday afternoon.) He ate 3/4 of a sheet of graham crackers, a large handful of cheerios, an entire jar of applesauce, and 2/3 of his oatmeal for breakfast this morning. That's almost as much food as he's eated in the last three days *combined.* Only got one jar of food in him for lunch (instead of his usual two) and one handful of Cheerios (instead of his usual 2-3 plus crackers), but it takes time to get your appetite back after being sick. He did have 8-10 crackers for snack when he got up from his second nap, and we'll be attempting dinner shortly. He was actually talkative and smiley this morning. It didn't occur to me until I heard him babbling this morning that he hasn't done that at all since Thursday. Other than whimpering and whining and crying, he's been virtually silent. He's obviously much happier today. Yay! I have my little boy back.

Currently feeling: relieved

Friday, February 17, 2006

Working Girl

by Amy's Blinkies

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have rejoined the ranks of the employed. It's all very unexpected (even for me), and really quite surreal.

Tuesday morning, I was checking my email while Luke was munching his morning Cheerios. I spot an email from a former boss, the woman who hired me to the only job I've had (besides mommy) since graduating from college in 1998. I haven't actually worked for her since 2000, but we've kept in touch. Anyway, the email is titled "Any interest in doing some IE work?" (IE: Industrial Engineering, which is what my degree is in) Hmmm, that seems curious. I haven't sent out any resumes, I haven't called any old contacts to check into work. In fact, except to a *very* tiny group of people, I've hardly mentioned even thinking of going back to work any time soon. What on earth prompted her to contact me?

Wait. Lots of her "old group" was laid off about the time I was. She pretty much hand-selected 6 of us straight out of Georgia Tech to come and work for her, and I know that she has a special place in her heart for all of us. I bet she had some work open up and is extending the offer to all of us. It is now about 9 AM, and if it is first come, first served, on the offer, then I'm out. Besides, unless the pay is *really* good, it's just not worth the added expense of daycare. I wouldn't net enough to make it worthwhile. I'll read it, I'll check it out, but I doubt it will work out.

The email's opening line is: Hey Momma Erin! Okay, now you have my undivided attention. The email has been send *specifically* to me, and she is acknowledging the fact that I am still at home, and I know she knows me well enough to know that it is most likely by my own choice. Where on earth can she possibly be going with this?

"I have taken over the [edit] project and I'm up to my eyeballs in work - I need some one who can maintain project schedule documents and do some arts and charts for my Leadership Reviews. The good news is that you could work out of your commute!! Let me know if you have any interest and I'll tell ya more. Hope to hear from you!!!"

You have got to be kidding me. Real work, in my field, working with someone I know and greatly enjoy working both with and for, completely from home, just falling out of the sky and into my lap (or my inbox). I'm trying desperately not to get excited. I absolutely cannot work from home if I am expected to work any kind of "normal" business hours and keep Luke home with me. He won't allow me to *type* if he's awake; he has to be under my feet pitching a fit or in my lap banging on the keyboard, neither of which is conducive to accomplishing work. I try to suppress the hope, but ask for more information, just in case. If nothing else, I consider it a great honor and compliment that she thinks highly enough of me and my work to seek me out and ask me to work for her, even though I haven't worked for her in over 5 years. At the very least, it should definitely mean that she'd give me a good recommendation/referral if and when I do decide to go back to work.

I express my interest, and receive a response. It boils down to this: they need someone to maintain documentation and schedules, and perform major data manipulation, including what she likes to call "arts and charts" (giggle) for presentations to upper muck-a-mucks. I would not actually be working for my old company; I would be hired by a contracting firm and then 100% assigned to her group. And being a contract position, while I get no benefits (fine, as I have medical through my husband's job, and I can handle retirement on my own), I would get paid overtime should the need arise (faint). She knew I had the skills, she knew I had the discipline necessary to work 100% virtual office (contract company providing computer, business phone, printer, etc), and she knew I was probably available. She just didn't know if I had any interest in working again right now.

When Luke went down for his nap, I called her with my concerns. Given the pay range she listed, it was not nearly enough to make it worthwhile for me to work and send Luke to daycare. My time at home with him is much more important than the small increase in monthly income this job plus daycare cost would provide, particularly when we are not hurting for money. (We don't have much spare, but we pay all our bills in full and on time, and we eat just fine.) What hours would she expect me to be available?

I simply could not believe her response. As long as I got in my 40 hours and I can meet her deadlines (which will be set, to a certain extent, with my limitations in mind), the time was almost completely flex time. She would expect me to return phone calls and some emails at least once or twice a day (can you say "Luke's nap time"?), but that she understood that the bulk of my work would be done during "business off hours." Again, that was part of what made her think of me, because she realized that it would be the perfect kind of job for someone who only had odd hours to work. As long as the documentation is kept current, and the data and/or charts arrive in her inbox the morning we agree on, she doesn't really care when I actually do it.

One last hurdle: Jacob's graduation. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my brother is graduating with his PhD from the University of Miami in May. I had literally just purchased my plane tickets the night before, and NO job is worth me missing that. There were also already plans to attend spring training again this year, but I was willing to cancel that if absolutely necessary (though I knew DH would not be happy about it in the slightest). "Not to worry, we can work around that."

So, let me get this straight. Without me even looking or asking or hinting, an old friend contacts me out of the blue, asking me if I would like a job, in my field, making somewhat close to my old salary, working completely from home for a boss I know and love, with total flex time to also stay at home and take care of my son during the day, and without affecting any vacation-type plans already in place. There is no interview, there are presently no other contenders for the job. I don't have to find a sitter, or a daycare service, or a new professional wardrobe, or drive in traffic, or pay for parking. I don't even have to send her a resume. All I have to do is say yes.

So I did. I start March 1. They say good goes around. I guess it was finally my turn to be on the receiving end.

Currently feeling: amazed

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Heart Day

Blinkies by: No credit required, no credit required, Black Hearted Wolf, and Amy's Blinkies

I do indeed hope that all of you were able to spend today in some kind of contact with those you love. Despite being the most emphasized, there is more to Valentine's Day than being "in love" with "the one." I like to think of Valentine's Day as a chance to show your love and appreciation for all people in my life, not just my significant other. I usually end up buying about 25 cards for various folks, and only 2 (well, 3 now; one is "from" Luke) are for DH.

With the exception of the first year we were married, when I received a ruby and diamond heart pendant (that he picked out *completely* by himself; I was as stunned by that as receiving jewelry (remember, I picked out my own engagement ring because he wanted to be sure I liked it)), we tend to keep Valentine's Day very low key. Cards, maybe some inexpensive chocolate (usually Reese's cups for him and Hershey Kisses or, in "big spending" years, Dove truffles for me), perhaps a stuffed animal, and usually dinner out (but nowhere "special;" pre-Luke it was usually Olive Garden). This year was no different. A stuffed Hershey bear dressed as a knight, holding a small bag of Kisses, cards, and dinner out at the mall food court (my choice, BTW, though it wouldn't have mattered since we didn't even leave the house before 5:30, meaning most anywhere else was busy, but we didn't have the money anyway for something nicer; the point was simply for me not to have to cook). Cards for DH, with an offer to pick up some mini-Reese's cups while at Target (a pre-agreed stop on the way home), since I never got around to getting some for him. (Card shopping with a toddler screaming in his stroller because I wouldn't let him touch anything at Hallmark nearly killed me, so candy shopping just never happened.) All in all, a nice, quiet, pleasant evening with the two men I love most: DH and my son. What more could a girl ask for?

Currently feeling: loved

Monday, February 13, 2006

Doing the wave

No credit required

I think Luke has finally, officially, learned to wave. He still won't do it every time (especially not if he's really tired), but he is doing it almost every time you do it to him, and he will do it to people besides DH and me now. Everyone seems to have been waiting for this moment, most especially my parents (though he was too tired to wave bye to them this afternoon when they left). Still not talking yet, not a single word (unless Yay counts), but he can snap and wave! I guess that's progress.

Currently feeling: proud

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Torino 2006

by Pinky Blinkie

No one get offended that I'm playing favorites; I love the Summer Olympics, too. I watch sports that I never watch under normal circumstances (like hockey), and I get to see sports that are virtually never on television at any other time (like speed skating). And there is something amazing about watching people at the peak of their capabilites doing something they love and are phenominally good at. It's just thrilling. Looking forward to the next two weeks.
Faster. Higher. Stronger.

Currently feeling: olympic

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


by Blinkie Obsession

I imagine anyone from the stitching community I frequent already knows about Laura's passing by now. I didn't know her well, but her death is having quite an impact on me for a multitude of reasons, not all of which I can list here, so I won't even try. Just a not-so-gentle reminder that life is short, and we need to remember that.

Remember to say "I love you" to those who matter. Remember that YOU *are* loved. Remember to do something for yourself every once in a while. Remember that other people have feelings, too. Remember to enjoy life. Remember the life lessons you have learned, but let go of the regrets. Remember those who have gone before. Remember those who have made a difference in your life. Remember to thank them if you can. Remember that you touch the lives of other people every day, whether you realize that or not. Make it count.

Currently feeling: sorrowful

Thursday, February 02, 2006

MythBusters and/or Star Wars fans

by Seren's Blinkies

I just read a very interesting article discussing the MythBusters and their work at ILM. Yes, you read that correctly, most of them worked for Lucas at some point, including the Star Wars prequels. The article is mostly aimed at fans of MythBusters (despite being found on, but it is very interesting. Enjoy!
Currently feeling: force-ful

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How low can you go?

No lower, in this case. We have dropped the mattress in Luke's crib to the lowest possible setting.

Next stop: toddler bed.
Currently feeling: not ready!