The random ramblings of a perpetual procrastinator. These are the life & times of a nursing home CNA navigating the ups & downs of living with someone who's living with a disability. A sometimes amusing, sometimes bittersweet look at my journey into real adulthood.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Come on Thursday!

Why am I so excited for Thursday?  Two reasons -

First & foremost, I have the day off!  Yay!  I work this weekend, so I have off.  Although that seems normal enough you must remember I used to work for slave drivers, so I haven't had a whole day off for working the weekend in over a year.  At the old job I got to leave a few hours early one afternoon when I worked a full day on the weekend.  Bleh.  Thankfully, those days are over.

Tomorrow I plan to enjoy the gorgeous weather we're having right now.  It's supposed to be 78 & sunny with no humidity.  If it's anything like today, the dog & I aren't coming inside at all!  I've got weeds to whack & an earwig problem to fix.  The little buggers better run because I've got some repellent & I'm spraying the perimeter of my whole damn house!

Second, we're wrapping up DJ's birthday festivities tomorrow night.  We're having dinner with some friends of ours.  DJ's birthday was Tuesday - but in our house birthdays last all week!  We started on Saturday when my parents & sister came over.  We had Chinese take-out & ice cream cake. 

Unfortunately, I had to work last night on his actual birthday, but his family & a few friends took him out...for Chinese.  He would eat Chinese every day if he could.

In case you were wondering, we will not be keeping up with the Chinese tradition.  Tomorrow night we're going for seafood.  A seafood buffet - with 3 hungry boys.  What am I getting myself into??  It'll be fun though, & that's all that matters.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Heart Faces challenge. Wish me luck!

At Jane's suggestion, I'm going to enter my picture in the cutest pet photo contest at IHeartFaces.  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Feline Friday

I just stumbled upon Feline Friday, hosted by the Thought Bubble.  Anyone who knows me knows I never miss a chance to show off my animals!  I'm the happy mama of two cats & a dog, who you can read about here.  I know this is Feline Friday, but I may have to sneak in a photo of my puppy too!  Here are some of my favorite photos:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spunk & Sass Giveaway

My sis-in-law is hosting a jewelry giveaway from Spunk & Sass!

The giveaway runs through 7/2.  Please click here to enter & check out Jenn's blog, South of Sheridan.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I love Christina Aguilera, & I am not ashamed to say it!

 Here's why...

"I Am"

I am timid and
I am oversensitive
I am a lioness
I am tired and defensive
You take me in your arms
And I fall into you
I have insecurities
You show me I am beautiful

Love me or leave me
Just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy
Just need you to see me

Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental and
I have imperfections and
I am emotional
I am unpredictable
I am naked
I am vulnerable
I am a woman
I am opening up to you

Love me or leave me
Just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy
Just need you to see me

Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

Now I stand before you with my heart in my hands
I'm asking you to take me just the way that I am
Please lay down your arms, do you know me?
Make me feel safe from harm

Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental and
I have imperfections and
I am emotional
There'll be no more pretending

I downloaded her new album on iTunes last week.  While she was promoting it she talked about being in an "Electronica" phase.  And let me tell you, she was not kidding about it.  The first time I listened to it I was cleaning.  I wasn't paying particular attention to the music, & I wasn't really sure how I felt about it.  Then suddenly, I found myself singing little hooks from the chorus of some of the songs.  It's not the kind of thing you'll listen to with a good book & a glass of wine, but it's cute & catchy.

More importantly, it's just "her."  Pop culture be damned, she does her own thing; be it crazy hair, weird make-up, revealing outfits, etc.  Even after all these years, & endless comparisons to a certain "Lady" we're all a little goo-goo for, she's true to herself.

Amidst all the upbeat, techno "Electronica" songs there are a few traditional "Listen to me sign my mother effin' heart out!" ballads.  And there, nestled somewhere between "Sex for Breakfast" & "I Hate Boys" is the song I mentioned in the beginning.  I was captivated when I heard it, just like I was the first time I heard "Beautiful."

I think we all have days where we feel like we're not good enough & nothing goes the way we want it to.   It's comforting to know that someone so beautiful, so powerful & so in control feels the same way too.  For me, it puts a lot in perspective.  It reminds me I'm not alone in feeling that way, & I can't let that feeling rule my life.

So call me silly if you must, I've been hearing it since I was 14 (when "Genie in a Bottle" was released).  But, as my good friend Mel always says, "There's no shame in my game."  I will continue to be X-Tina's biggest fan, no matter what phase comes next.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The good, the bad & the smelly.

Last night went better than I expected - sort of.

My prayers were answered, & I was placed on the same unit as DJ's aunt.  Hallelujah!  She introduced me to everyone so they didn't just ignore me & watch me wondering around with no idea what to do.  That was the good - & it was really, really good.

Now to the bad:  women in the workplace are freaking lazy!!  I got placed with a CNA who is on light duty because of an "injury."  She had me do a lot of errands for her, which I didn't mind.  I found out that 2nd shift is way more mellow than 1st, so I was in desperate need of things to do.  And that brings me back to my point:  women in the workplace are freaking lazy!! 

One of my jobs was to "refill" ice water containers.  Since the units are usually short staffed, the evening crew will just add new ice to the water pitchers.  Personally, I think that's lazy, but I went with it.  My "injured" helping was getting me organized with my cart & the ice buckets when she said, "You can just do one hallway now & finish the rest later.  You don't want to get too tired for no reason."

I'd like to point out that there are only 2 hallways on the unit...& I WAS PUTTING ICE IN WATER PITCHERS!  How could that have possibly made me tired?  I'll tell you what made me tired - I'm an overachiever.  I passed out all that ice right then & there...then I was left with nothing to do after the residents had eaten. 

I aimlessly wandered around emptying laundry bags, even if they weren't full.  When that got old, I started to clean up the room where they eat dinner.  Once everyone was in bed & I was completely out of things to do the charge nurse tells me I can "straighten the day room."  Great!  My next task is one that I've already done.  Woo hoo!

I cannot wait to get into the CNA class so I can help with showers, putting people to bed & all the other patient care.  Otherwise there's just not enough for me to do.

Oh!  I forgot to tell you about the smelly part.  The smelly part was me.  I got about half way home when I realized I smelled like pee.  I think it must have been from emptying all the soiled linens & laundry.

I know it's a glamorous job, but somebody's got to do it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back to the grind.

This weekend went on forever - which is a good thing!

Saturday was spent cleaning & doing errands.  My sister spent the night at our house.  On Sunday the family came over for a Father's Day picnic.  It was really nice to be with them.  My aunt has been having some health issues, & although we don't have the answers we would like just yet, it was nice to talk about it with the group.

After the party it was time for True Blood!!!!  This week's episode was significantly better than last week, & I'm very exciting to see where this season goes!  I'm such a TV junkie...

Today is my first day working 2nd shift at the nursing home.  Friday was great - but I'm me, so now I have nerves about tonight.  I'm going to be on my own, but I don't know anyone on that shift & I have no idea what the normal routine is.  I'm afraid I'm going to be lost.  I was talking it over with DJ last night, & his suggestion was, "You need to remember it's only your 4th day!" 

I know he's right.  I just wish that was enough to shake this feeling.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My feet hurt.

I've been out of touch for a few days because waking up at 4:45 AM is really kicking my ass!

I started my new job yesterday.  There were a lot of videos about subjects ranging from how not to injure your back to how to identify potentially dangerous chemicals in the workplace.  FUN!  Other than a building tour, we really had no interaction with the residents, so I couldn't form an opinion.

Today started out on the floor passing out breakfast trays.  It was quickly followed by collecting trays, figuring out the percentage of food each resident ate, making beds, collecting laundry bags, collecting/redistributing ice water pitchers, etc.  Then before I knew it, it was time to get the residents ready for lunch!

It wasn't until the ride home after work that I had a chance to reflect on the day.  Amidst all the morning chaos, I had an opportunity to feed one of the residents.  That was a pretty big deal because we hadn't gone over all the procedures for feeding yet.  The trainer made sure I was comfortable, & I decided to just go for it.  And I am absolutely glad I did.

It didn't go perfectly.  I was a little unsure of myself, & I'm not entirely sure how to communicate best with this particular person yet.  But I learned one very, very important thing:  I can do this.  Not only can I do this, I want to do it.  It's not glamorous.  It's fast-paced & exhausting - but it is worth it a hundred times over.

I'm going to take a second to toot my own horn, which is not something I do very often.  However, I think I deserve it.  It finally sunk in today that there aren't a whole lot of people in this world who could do a job like this.  And of the people who could do it, not many of them want to.  I'm one of those people.  And even though I might play a minor role in the grand scheme of things, it's a necessary role.  It's an important role.  These residents need help with these simple things, & I'm so happy to do it.

This is it.  This is what I'm meant for.  This is what my life is going to be about, & I'm over the moon at the thought!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I think I'll open a perfume shop.

Last night DJ & I watched Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell & cleaned out some boxes that have been sitting in our spare bedroom since we moved in - in January.

(As a side note, that movie was hilarious!  I was  very pleasantly surprised.  You should check it out when you have some time to waste.)

One of the boxes I emptied was full of every kind of perfume/body spray/body wash/lotion/smelly substance known to man.  There was a bunch of stuff  I received as gifts, most that were never opened, that I just threw away.  It's all been sitting (unopened!) in a box since at least January.  I think I can live without it.

Even after throwing half of it away, there's still a butt-load of it left.  I'm gonna smell really, really good for the nursing home!

Speaking of which, can anyone else believe I start tomorrow??  When I gave notice to my old job 5 weeks ago it felt like this day would never get here.  But here it is!  I'm nervous & excited, but mostly excited!  I've got high hopes for myself.  I think I'm going to be good at this.

Think of me tomorrow morning at 4:45 AM when I have to get up for work! 

On second thought, do me a solid & don't be up at 4:45 AM - unless you're still awake from the night before.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Now what am I supposed to do?

Well, I'm awake...with no job to go to.


Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm frustrated, but I can't tell you that because then you'll be frustrated too.

Anyone who has read my blog even once knows that today was my last day at my current job.


It was a good day.  I went in early for a meeting, & my boss said some lovely things.  He cried.  I cried.  Several of my coworkers cried.  And then, there were no more tears the rest of the day.  I couldn't have asked for anything better.

A few coworkers & I made plans to go out to celebrate tomorrow night.  We're going to grab dinner at a diner, & then we're gonna get our drink on.  Sounds super fun, right?  Right.

So why am I frustrated?

Because I want DJ to come with too, and he can't.  There are too many concerns about where we could go that's cheap to drink and handicap accessible.  Where we live that combo is far to much to ask.  Sure, we can drink at a restaurant.  But we're young people on budgets, we can't afford $8 cocktails.  We weighed the options of all the places we're considering for tomorrow night, & for some reason or another none of them makes logistical sense for DJ.

Even if there's a place that's easy for him to get into, we still have to be concerned.  Case in point:  we went to a place that was "easy for DJ to get into" with a friend of his who has a complete understanding of his limitations.  She assured us this would be great.  And it was...until she remembered that she didn't consider the bathroom.  Oops.  A handicap stall is great, but it doesn't do any good when a wheelchair can't fit through the bathroom door.


I don't mean to sound like a brat, but it's not fair.   DJ's disability was not a secret to me when we started dating, so I knew what that would mean.  And I will never, not even for a fraction of a second, regret being with him.  But he didn't deserve this.  No one does.  No one should have to miss out on activities with family & friends, even something as insignificant as this.

And maybe I do sound like a brat, but this is a big moment in my life (the career change, not the drinking) & is it too much to want the love of my life to share in the fun?  God knows he's had to share in all the not-so-fun leading up to this.

We talked over the options this afternoon, & I told him that it's his decision whether or not he wants to come.  I offered to make any necessary arrangements, from directing everyone to a place where he feels safe to enlisting some boys in case he needs physical help.  In the end, he decided not to go, & I completely understand why.  So I put a smile on my face, & told him it was ok.

But it hurts, & I'm sad.  I'm just not going to tell him that, because I don't want him to feel that way too.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time to say goodbye

Yesterday I had to start saying goodbye to part time coworkers who don't work for the rest of the week. 

One was a girl that I've work very closely with over the years.  When I started learning to supervise people, she was the first agent who reported to me.

She's come a long way in the time we worked together.  I don't think that it's because of me.  She made the decision to do better, & she did.

What I do take credit for is standing by her when she struggled.  This person has had a difficult personal life, from health issues to an "unusual" mother.  As a result, she's a quirky girl.  And when  everyone else said, "She's crazy.  She's just not going to be able to do it,"  I refused to believe that.

Then she went & proved them all wrong, & I couldn't have been more proud.

I'm confident in the choice I've made to change careers, but hers is one of the stories that makes this job hard to leave.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Is it Sunday already?

It creeps up on you quickly when you work on Saturday...again.  Bitter much?

Today is going to be a (sort of) Lazy Sunday.  HALLELUJAH!

Here's the list:

  • Light cleaning.  Amazingly, this week hasn't taken it's usual harsh toll on my house.
  • I have to find cat food.  My Walmart excursion last night didn't pan out, but it wasn't a total loss.  I was able to pick up a baby shower gift for next weekend.
  • My hair looks tragic & must be dyed.  Since it's summer, I'm going back to my natural color as close to my natural color as I could find in a box.  I'm bored with the dark hair for now.
  • And then, there's the laundry.  There's always laundry in this house.
Just out of curiosity, does anyone else HATE putting laundry away?  I'm sort of ashamed to admit that most weeks, DJ & I live out of hampers.  I get as far as folding, but I just don't put it in drawers.

Anyway...enough about my bad habits.

The only other big project for today is detachment.  Tomorrow starts my last week at my current job.  I've decided that I don't care what happens this week.  They can say & do whatever they want, because it won't matter after Friday.  Since we all know I tend to swing from calm & collected to complete psychotic mess very quickly, the goal for the day (& the rest of the week) is to maintain that attitude.

When I told my good friend (one who shares my very sarcastic sense of humor) when my last day was she said, "I shall call it, Independence Day."

That's my mantra for the week.  Whenever I feel myself starting to get crazy, I plan to use that to talk myself down from the ledge.  Let's hope it works!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Is the devil you know really better than the one you don't?

I haven't been posting a lot lately because I am an emotional trainwreck.  I have a self-diagnosed case of some hybrid mix of OCD & Social Anxiety Disorder, with a dash of know, for flavor.  The stress of finishing out my time at my current job & the new beginning looming on the horizon are getting the best of me.  Rather than continuing to be a lump on my sofa, I'm trying to deal with my feelings.  My hope is that putting them out there is what I need.

Here's the situation....

Shortly after DJ & I started dating I was offered a promotion at my job.  Up until that point I didn't think I had anything to be proud of.  I squandered my potential by not going to college, I couldn't manage to have a successful relationship, I couldn't move beyond the stupid mistakes I made when I was younger & I didn't feel at all good about myself.  However, I had my job.  I poured all my energy into it & put it on a pedestool.  It was the thing in my life.  I couldn't tell you what my hobbies were, because I didn't do anything other than work.  It was a monster I created.

When I was offered the promotion, DJ told me to be very cautious.  As an unbiased 3rd party, he didn't think that it was as great as I was envisioning.  (It turns out he was right, but don't tell him that!)  He was worried that I would be used & abused...& I absolutely was.  The promotion was to a salary position, & I had to work overtime the first week - and probably every week after that.

I am in charge of Quality Control & Training.  I trained all the new employees, as well as mainted existing/developed new training manuals & everything that went along with them (testing, worksheets, follow-up sessions, etc).  This means I'm at the mercy of an employee's schedule.  If they only work nights & weekends, that's when they have to be trained.  

In addition to that, I perform monthly evaluations on a radmon sampling of everyone's calls.  The total number of calls evaluated is based on the number of skills an agent has.  Since the company I work for does everything cheaply, we're very understaffed & everyone is trained in just about every area.  That makes for some very lengthy evaluations.

But that's not all...

I also:  maintain the system that records all the calls, organize a monthly meeting to discuss evaluation scores & identify opportunities for more training,  publish almost all Call Center emails, & am direct supervisor to 7 agents.  My direct reports are a mix of full & part time employees.  I'm responsible to handle all their personnel issues, from schedule requests to disciplinary issues.  The full time agents are easy to deal with, but getting together with the part timers means staying late at the end of the day a few nights a week.

All those extra nights & weekends I work don't get me off the hook.  I'm still part of a weekend rotation with the other managers & supervisors.  Every fifth weekend is my weekend on duty.  I work 9-3 on Saturday & am on call for the rest of the weekend.  The icing on the cake is, when I work on Saturday (whether for training or because I'm on duty) I don't get a day of during the week.  If it's my Saturday on duty I get to leave at 1:00 on Friday theory - but it usually doesn't pan out because I'm behind in my regular work.

Christmas is definitely the worst time of year.  We hire full & part time employees in October & November.  So on top of all my regular responsibilities, I have to teach a four session training course twice a day in both October & November.  During this holiday season I built up so many extra hours that I was able to take four days off in January.

The schedule is definitely the worst part of the job.  Although the fact that I wasn't being compensated for the extra hours was a huge problem, that wasn't the only issue.  I didn't start out in this position.  When I started, I was just another cattle in a cubicle answering the phones.  After about 2 1/2 years, I took the QC/training position.  At that time, there was a manager in charge of QC/training.  I was her assistant.  My job was supposed to be to perform the evaluations each month.  I fell in love with training, & quickly inhereted that responsibility as well.  It was managable because I had no one reporting to me & my manager did all the background stuff.

I loved that position.  I thoroughly enjoyed the work I did, & I had a great relationship with my boss.  But that is something that also changed when I got promoted.  Last year one of the managers left.  My boss took her position.  I was promoted - to my current job, with all her extra responsibilities.  Essentially, I was one person expected to do the job two people had done up until that point.

While my head was still spinning from the change, the great relationship I had with my former boss quickly deteriorated.  Even though I really liked her, she is a mega-bitch.  That never got directed at me until I made the switch from working for her to working with her.  Nothing I have done in the last year has been right.  She would always do things different & (of course!) better.  It seems to me that when she took a new position, she forgot what it was like to be in the old one.  I get that business is business, & I should have just developed a thick skin, but I'm not that person.  I am emotional by nature, & I don't want to change that.  She made the job so uncomfortable for me. 

That, coupled with all the extra work for virtually no extra money finally woke me up.  I had fought DJ for so long about getting a new job.  I told him this was such a great company, & the people were so loyal.  But I was finally in a situation where I allowed myself to ask the hard question...

What the fuck are you thinking?

How have they been "loyal" to me?  Everything they did for me was deserved ten times over.  Why should I have virtually no personal life for this company, especially when I wasn't being fairly paid?  The proverbial bump on the head made me realize that the work I was doing isn't even remotely important in the grand scheme of things, & that's not what I want my life to be about.

So, I found a new job in a new field, & I've got BIG plans!  I want to be a comfort to people when they need it, & I'm starting a job that will allow me to do just that.  As silly as it may sound, I think that, in my own way, I'm making my mark on the world. 

I should be over the moon about the new phase in my life...but lately, I'm not feeling that way.  Instead I'm still working my fingers to the bone at a job I'm leaving in a week.  I've worked four out of the last five weekends, stayed late several times & am still getting treated like a red-headed step child.  I'm so sick of it that I could SCREAM!!!!  I'm not sad about leaving anymore, I just want it to be over.

And it will be over soon - very, very soon.  However, that causes another issue:  my terror about my new job.  What if I can't handle it?  What if I'm not good at it?  What if I can't learn fast enough?  I've toyed with the idea of entering the nursing field since I graduated from high school, & until now I've always talked myself out of it.  I told myself for all these years that I'm far too emotional to work in nursing. 

The gross stuff doesn't bother me.  Poop is poop, whether it's yours or someone else's.  It's the emotional aspect that scares ms.  I finally convinced myself that if someone I loved was in a nursing home, I'm exactly the kind of person I'd want taking care of them.  Emotional is good, right?  But what if I'm being nieve?  What if this job requires an impenetrable skin that I clearly don't have?

And now we've come full circle - to the self-diagnosed (yet to be officially named) OCD/anxiety/depression monkey on my back.  Logically, I know that the stress is probably what's keeping the emotional roller coaster I'm on moving.  However, I'm having a really hard time convinsing my inner sensy of that.

I'm a mess, & that's the long & short of it.  I've dug myself out of every hole I've ever been in, & I hoping this situation turns out the same way.  Because if it doesn't, I'm totally fucked.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Twice a day I'm going to piss myself, for you.

That was the offer my boss made me yesterday, in his words, "to help prepare you for your new job."

Thanks, but no thanks.