Ryan and I had a row last weekend. To the point that I actually took off my ring and told him that since I could not do or say anything to make him happy I was packing an overnight bag (I had to work a Direct Support shift last week on Sunday due to stupid drama one of the individuals I support caused) and getting a room for the night. I'd be back tomorrow and if he still wanted to be together, we could work it out. I was done.
I ended up bawling because evidently the only time I cry now is after an extreme burst of anger. We made up and I did come home after I worked my shift, but was kinda crabby still and still am despite really trying to work on it.
I know all of it is because of how overwhelmed I am at work. I talked to my supervisors about it and they know I just want one program to run. And that I do not want to be the roving relief manager because that's too many people for me to be in charge of. Rather, I want one house (granted it's a larger house with 4 residents) and a smaller staff (8 regular, full time staff and about 6-8 relief) so that I can really focus on becoming a good manager with a strong program where I can focus on catching all the details and really get a chance to work with the individuals we serve in the home and be able to work with them to make change.
As it is, I'm burning out fast because I'm trying to balance everything on a very full plate and more stuff keeps getting added. Yes, I know, life of a manager. But I've only been doing it 5 months. I let my supervisors know I do not want to fail but that I'm feeling like things are dropping that I should be able to catch and be proactive about rather than reactive.
Evidently they had 3 manager interviews this week. Sounds as if one of them went well. If so, we're looking at me only having to hold on for 6 weeks more for a new person to step in, get trained and me to train them to the program before I can transition out and get back to the one program I want to be running. And the director of that program told me I'm doing excellent and that she can tell that I have been working hard to make changes in small ways that are having bigger impacts.
So I'm trying to give myself a break and just let the pieces fall where they may and look to God to help me handle this mess. Because I seriously cannot do it all alone.
So to be good to myself, I'm baking the cookies for my Miche party. I do very few things for myself and while I do not consider myself very "girly," I do have things I like that make me feel for lack of a better term, pretty. Purses are one of them. I do try to limit myself to one purse at a time, almost always bought second-hand and use it until it wears out. My current one is close to wearing out and I do have a replacement, but then my best friend invited me to her Miche party. Yeah, ok, this is the kind of thing I want. I have one purse and can change out the cover (magnets, how do those work?) to designs I like. So I bought one and a cover and am hosting my own party (a cookie swap!) to get more. If anyone wants to take a look, the link is here: jeannewundrow.miche.com My name is the one on the bottom of the box on the left side should anyone feel so inclined for a purse themselves. I moved everything over into that purse today and it feels nice to have downsized into a purse that doesn't feel like another bag I have to lug around.
Other than that, not a lot going on in my life. I'm looking forward to the company rafting trip we have coming up at the end of the month. I do need to get a new bathing suit and a pair of water proof pants although. The McKenzie is fed by the snow-capped mountains that are not all that far away and needless to say, that water is frigid. I need a new bathing suit because the one I have is about 2 sizes too big and I feel frumpy in it. I was looking online at bathing suits and holy crap they are expensive. I'm hoping I can score one on clearance somewhere tomorrow when I plan to do a bit of shopping between planned events.
My in-laws are in town from Vietnam for a month and we had a birthday party tonight and another one tomorrow night because we have round two of Birthday-Geddon.
Basically, I am managing the two programs until the second program moves over to the new home we're acquiring and the two at my second program will move in with three other individuals. That home will be managed by a yet to be determined Program Manager. Could be a new manager, could be a restructuring of what we already have on staff. When that happens, I'll be back to managing my first program full-time and I'm sure some other tasks that have yet to be determined.
With this change comes a temporary raise. Which is a blessing as Ryan and I had to replace the alternator in my car this week. An unexpected hit that leaves us a bit tight on cash until pay days.
Other than that I've been missing my lack of structured work-out routine and the lack of a social life. I come home late each evening and seems like I go to work early 3 out of 5 days of the week. I'm accomplishing tasks but I've got an awful lot I'm trying to wrap my head around each day. The irony is that I have lost weight. Presumably because I am so busy going back and forth between programs. Also probably because the change in income has helped me be able to buy fresh fruits and veggies instead of canned/frozen.
Ryan and I went out on a date on Friday. We saw Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. It was fun. We both really want to see Brave but I want to do it when I'm less tired.
I've been fighting a summer cold. I thought it was getting better but then tonight after working in the yard battling the sprouting blackberry bushes, my throat felt sore again. I just drank a glass of water with grapefruit seed extract and hopefully that will help.
The yard is so frustrating. Ryan and I are going to be using that extra income I'll be getting likely to get the backyard into usable space. We need to lay garden sheeting down in the backyard in all the areas that are supposed to be garden, walk areas and either put down bark or rock to keep the blackberries at bay. The neighbor next to us actually has no grass in their backyard and instead has 4 or so large raised beds with plants in them. In my head, we add two raised beds in the backyard and turn one area into a pumpkin patch. Of course it's much to late in the season to be planting most things now so we'll have to wait until next year, but we at least can work on getting the prep done for next spring. Eventually I'll have a yard that doesn't look like a jungle.
Speaking of which, the grape leaves are in full bloom. I need to go out and pick them one day next week so I can can them for dolmas later on.
But he's been moody, which is making me moody and I've been dealing with stuff too. Nothing like having a client that swings in moods faster than you can blink. And I have two like that. Luckily I've been able to build good relationships with both of them. One of them has been giving me hugs the last two days and today I was even earning pats on the head and being told, "You're a good kitty." The other has been swinging between the world is going end, everyone hates me, I should eat worms to ZOMG, I'M GOING TO FLORIDA!!! Meanwhile our other two clients are much more relaxed and have gotten told that I'm good at knowing what they want because I have learned their routines really fast.
Also, I've learned that you can make an impact as a manager by doing such menial tasks as baking cookies with a client (yesterday) and unloading, reloading the dishwasher and wiping down the stove and counter tops (today).
So far tonight I've tried jogging to relieve stress and now I'm baking. I have GF lemon yogurt bread with blueberries and poppy seeds baking. I'm still frustrated though. I think I'll go stick my nose in a book.
That being said, working with adult clients who often see things from the perspective of children is trying in some ways. On the other end of the spectrum, we also have clients who most of the public right off as unintelligble or "retarded" (regardless of diagnosis as such) who I'm pretty sure mentally surpass me in more than one area. Needless to say, work is never dull and even when it's a "routine" day, there is almost always something new that I am learning, be it from a client or the computer system.
This week has certainly been interesting. Monday, I started off training at a new house so I can work there unassisted. Of course, it's not going to happen by the end of this week seeing as how this week is going. When I first got there, the door was flung open by a client who shook my hand and asked me how I was and what my name was. Within minutes though, they also threatened to kill me. I think this was mainly because the client likes to be the center of attention and when not, has learned some very negative attention getting behaviors. Verbal threats and posturing are just two of them. The staff is excited to have me be there as they like that I was able to remain calm, laugh it off (as I was told by more than one staff, "Death threats usually mean x you're part of the family around here."), and discuss the clients triggers and ask them to tell me what they have tried and what works and what does not with the client. My goal when I'm there over the next week, when not doing manager stuff is to work with the client more and see if I can observe or suggest anything that might be being missed by staff that see them all the time. I'm good with details, challenges and predicting behavior based off small indicators, so I look forward to trying to work out the puzzle.
I have also been faith healed by the same client three times while I've been at the home. The client comes over, places their hands on my head and pronounces me healed in Jesus' name. I take healing where I can get it and I've needed it this week. I pinched a nerve in my back during the course of exercising and have been stiff, tender and sore the last two days.
Yesterday was an all staff meeting. First one I've been to. We do them quarterly. We got to watch some video clips, and the more I learn about Autism and what we're learning about the disorder just makes me want to study it more in depth. I am hoping that through this job, I can do that, and use the educational courses I take to 1) get paid for by my employer and 2) help keep me current on the School Counselor license. One of the goals for the agency is to begin working with schools on creating transition programs for students with developmental and physical disabilities from the world of school to the real world of either higher education or work. I want to be instrumental in bridging the gap and I'm looking forward to being able to advance the field of counseling into an area that most counselors are not comfortable working with-our exceptional learners.
And then we come to today. I was woken up by head-butts from my cat. I was sleeping on the couch because my hip was so sore that despite the vicodin and muscle relaxant (which only serves to make me feel lethargic and dizzy, even in dream-state) I needed to sleep on a firm surface. So I took my blankets to the couch where I slept off and on until the cat head-butted me awake. As soon as I sat up, she jumped onto the arm of the couch and poked her head between the curtains. I got enough of a glimpse of fluffy white that I knew it was snowing.
Ryan heard me get up and came out to check on me. It was almost 5am at this point and we had nearly 3 inches of snow on the ground. Now, while this doesn't seem like much to the midwesterners on my list, let me tell you that in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, that much snow is just about unheard of. Especially not in March when we are starting to see warmer weather and lots and lots of rain. By the time we got up at 6am, another inch had fallen.
And this was snow more like what you see in the midwest, meaning that it was not melting very quickly. Ryan actually took a broom to our cars to get the snow off. More snow was still falling too. So by the time I left for work an hour later, I had another inch on my windshield. As it was, I was attempting to get to the house in Eugene. I barely made it out of the driveway and had to hit the gas to get the all wheel drive to engage so I could get over the snow hump. Then I made it around the block before I came back home and called my supervisors to tell them it was not safe for me to travel anywhere.
At least by car. I called On-call and the one house that I am now clear to work at without supervision needed a staff person to go over and relieve the person who'd been on shift for almost 8 hours. This house is much closer to me. So I bundled back up and walked over to the house. On a good day, this walk would take 15 minutes at most. It took 25 and I never knew if I was walking on the sidewalks for most of the time. All of the clients were home as all of their jobs were closed for the day. Well, except for one, who works around the corner and had walked there, worked and walked back. That client was giving us all a hard time for not toughing it out.
I at least got a ride home from the person I covered for today. I peeled off my wet clothes and stuck them in to wash with the rest of the clothes that needed washing and got warmed up before being brave enough to go to the store, as we were in need of more soy/almond milk. We should now be suitably stocked up for a few days. Which is good since we're apparently in store for another wave of Oregon Blizzard action.
Next week is their monthly New Employee Orientation, where I will learn all about the Direct Service side of things. Hopefully I will like that as well because I will be required to occasionally step in and fill those shifts if there isn't enough relief staff or if someone is sick. And right now we have an employee shortage, so we're trying to get quality new hires in the door as soon as possible. I know I have a tough job ahead of me but I think I can do it.
Also, I told Ryan if I'm assigned a house, I'm totally using my ideas for gamifying education (and that future Ph.D thesis) to test it out on my staff and clients to implement learning in a cooperative and socially positive atmosphere. Of course I also have to make this fit into the "motivating employees" and "minimalizing overtime" boxes so I'm still working out ideas in my brain and some of it will come in to play after I know exactly what I'll be doing.
Which is funny because usually most program managers know where they will tentatively be when they come in. I am up for one of two, possibly three openings, so right now it's seeing how I like the different programs and getting through training and then sitting down to see where I would be a best fit.
Meanwhile I will just go along trying to learn and work cooperatively with staff as best as possible.
And for now, PJ's, pie and some LOTRO before bed.
She will do well though. She took the reigns yesterday and did stuff with me sitting by her while she bumbled through. Today I actually left the room several times doing other tidying up, clean up things while she worked and she did just fine. She'll have the flow down in no time.
I didn't cry. I think I'm still sort of numb actually. I have my last checks and I'm hesitant to deposit them. Then it will be real. I mean, it's not like I don't have a new job to go to on Monday, and won't have income coming in, but there's just something so final about the final checks.
So the plan is to enjoy the weekend as much as possible and resume the real world on Monday. And with that, I'm leaving to go have dinner with a friend and her hubby. I'm dragging Ryan too so it's a double date, lol.
So tomorrow begins my last week of work at the Satellite Company. I'm nervous and excited for my new job. I need to call the HR manager at the new job and let her know I'm still on track and confirm the time she wanted me to come in on the 13th. I can't remember if it is 9am or 9:30am. I think it was 9 but don't want to be there too early on the 13th and look like a goober.
This next week is going to be weird for me. This will be the first time I'm leaving a job for another that wasn't due to graduating from undergrad. I have had this job for almost 6 years. A lot has happened in that 6 years.
Actually start working on posting to this journal.
At least I figured out how to get it to cross post to my LJ!
Having a very relaxing Christmas Eve. I have a beef roast in the crock pot to make into shredded BBQ beef later. Sweet potatoes are baking in the oven so I can a twice baked casserole dish with them. I have sausage, date (because I couldn't find figs) and cranberry stuffing to make along with green beans and feta cheese.
So she goes back next week to get the results and treatment. She also has to schedule another surgery in December to remove her bad kidney. Luckily she won't be on dialysis because she has one functioning and healthy kidney.
I'm just scared about how far it may have progressed though. Ryan was just holding me while I cried this out. When my grandpa got cancer he died within 6 months because of how far it progressed.
This was not how I needed to end my day. I need chocolate and carbs.
Day Two: Favorite supporting female character
Although she doesn't have as large of a role in the book series, on Trueblood I really like Tara's character. She's strong, been through lot of crap and lived to tell about it. I'm not really keen on the idea of making her become a lesbian though. I'm sure that was done for ratings and nothing to do with plot cohesion.
Uni or sea urchin. I can't say it was bad, because it didn't have a very distinct flavor. But it wasn't good either. I liken the texture to being sort of a chewy balloon. I tried it with my now SIL on a dinner out together.
I even managed to get a couple packages of instant pectin for freezer jam. I'm sitting here, reading my book, squeeing inside with delight. Now I just need to get something that will fit in my big stock pot (Thank you Emeril Stainless Steel Cookware from saving me from another big purchase) to raise up the jars for the sterilizing process. Perhaps I can find a steamer basket . That way it would serve more than one purpose. I like stuff that can multi-task.
Now all I need is fruit. I also really need to remove the weeds from the containers on either side of the gazebo in the backyard. If I could get those weeded and some better quality potting soil, I can replant something in those boxes. Noe sure what though. Ryan really wants me to plant some blueberries, but I don't think those are quite right for those small boxes.
I'll have to take a look through the container gardening book I got from my MIL and see if there is something that is calling out to me. When in doubt, I can always plant some flowers. Hmmm, I bet some lavender would grow nicely on either side of the gazebo. :p
Tonight was the first of four classes. I got to learn about jams and jellies and see several different demonstrations. I was easily the youngest person in the class. Apparently, making homemade jam and jelly is not popular with the 20-somethings on a Friday night. Go figure.
I came home with a small sample of strawberry rhubarb jam and no-sugar added blueberry jam. I now need to go on a quest to find Pomona's Fruit Pectin because it is the kind that can be made with sugar or splenda. I want to use that kind the most, but also plan on making some freezer jam from the Ball/Ker brand pectin and they have directions on the pack for both. I also learned that you can make jam without fruit pectin, but you have to use sugar, as it binds the liquid all together, but you have to simmer the heck out of the fruit, until it reaches 220 on a candy thermometer.
Then I need to get some fruit to actually make the jam. Once my strawberries start ripening I will use some of those. Though not sure I'll have enough off my two smaller plants to make 4 cups needed for one recipe. But if I get one of the Flex Batch bottles of pectin I should be ok for smaller batches.
Either way, this will keep me busy until next month's class; Pickling. Hopefully my zucchini will be on by then so I can make relish. :D