Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Ring

Ever since the early days of our honeymoon, whenever he entered water, M would clutch his wedding ring. Ball his left hand up in a fist. Contort his fingers in a way that made swimming difficult, snorkeling nearly impossible. He was terrified of losing his ring in the sea, the pool, the ocean, the lake. And I would laugh, and say he was being overly cautious. And that rings don't just slip off fingers into the depths.

 And then last Friday, it did. F me. It did.

 D was under the umbrella, playing in the sand. M was in the water. I was in the surf, attempting to catch baby horseshoe crabs so I could run up and show D since we've been reading this book. It was a perfect, perfect late afternoon at the beach.

 M thought I was ridiculous. So of course I gloated and cheered when I finally got one. He raised his hands to echo my cheer, and then realized his ring was gone.

 Waist-deep. Low tide. I ran out to help but no way any amount of feeling around with toes was going to surface our wedding band. But then D disappeared behind the umbrella and out of my sight line, so given the choice between animate and inanimate object, I chose to go find D, who, for the record, was not nearly as impressed with the horseshoe crab as I wanted him to be.

 M was/is distraught. In his mind, he failed us. Failed me. Losing the ring was tantamount to cheating and how would I ever forgive him. How would he forgive himself? He was inconsolable. To the point where I felt really, really badly about not caring.

 In my mind. It's a ring. Simply a ring. No more. No less. One of many objects that can possibly and most likely be lost. I offered to throw mine into the sea as well. He balked. We'd need mine to find his replacement. Ok. fine. But I just couldn't muster up the kind of sympathy M was needing (I usually can't) and was getting annoyed at his "I knew this would happen"s.

 So I turned to the practical. It's lost. What can be done? I posted on FB and started googling to see if I could find a local metal detector club. I posted on Craigslist. I went up to the police station to file a lost/missing item report in case we needed it for insurance. I removed the FB post bc M said he was embarrassed and ashamed. I deleted the craigslist post after talking with the secretary at the police station, also an avid metal detector user. "Ain't nobody turning anything in; we're all looking for our million dollar ring."

 Well, this is nowhere near a million dollar ring, but M was carrying a weight as if it was. A few days after the loss, he's mellowed a little. Each day seems to make it a little easier for him to stomach. After it happened, I was seriously worried that he'd never want to go to the beach again, but we managed to salvage the weekend. D would see us eying the sand and the surf hoping to catch sight of it and ask us what we were looking for. "More hermit crabs?"

"Horseshoe crabs, D. And no. Daddy lost his ring."

"Oh. I lost my bagel this morning, too."

 Oh D. You sweet, sweet thing. Yes, you did. (it fell in the sand.)


 So tell me, dear readers. What would you do if you lost your wedding band? Are you more of an M or a me here? And how and how soon would you fill that missing and untanned space on your finger?

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Week two = better than week one.

I'm getting into the hang of the new office. New people. New personalities. New responsibilities. A lot more responsibility. It's kind of exciting. And I'm feeling like this is doable, and perhaps even long term, if I can put some things into play. 

By some things I mean more flexibility, a greater ability to work remotely - for everyone, not just me. It feels as if that's possible and pretty consistent with the office vibe, but it is only my second week. I don't want to push too hard too fast. And I've already put a number of things on the table for consideration. 

The boys are getting into a routine and damn if m hasn't made life easier for me when I am home. He's inserted some gentle discipline where maybe some had been lacking before. Or maybe mommy is just a full on pushover when it comes to some things. I am in awe of his parenting. 

I've been camping out in hotel rooms two nights a week, and you know what? That's totally ok. More than ok. Hotels have gyms and cable and internet....things I'd have to set up and pay for in a new apartment. Plus, pricelining a hotel + keeping our super cheap place in this other city = still cheaper than any place we would get in new city. So there's that. 

Two good things about a few days away: 1. When I am there, I am there completely (at least this week. Last week I was a basket case. See previous post) I work from morning until I crash at night. I've been trying to connect with new coworkers for dinner and then studying up on docs and work plans when I get to bed. It's time well spent. 2. When I am home, I am home completely. Hugs are amazing. Dinners taste better. And the weekends are bliss. Everything we do together feels great. 

Again, this is all how this is feeling right now. Let's check back in a few weeks, shall we?

Thank you for your encouraging words. Thank you for your emails checking in. Today, it feels like we are in an ok place. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

That Moment When You Start to Second Guess Everything

And start to lose sleep,
And feel like you want to throw up at every moment
And just want to cry and crawl back in bed (even though you can't sleep)

That's happening. Right about now.

First day on the new job is Tuesday (Monday's a holiday). The plan today was to rent a van, load some of our extra stuff from the apartment here, stop at the Ik*a on the way down to get anything else we might need, sign a lease, move me into an apartment a few blocks away from my new office.

Sometime earlier this week the reality of all of that hit me and M. Hard. Hit M so hard he was home sick in bed yesterday. Paralyzed with anxiety. We were banking on some flex from his work that would enable us all to spend as much time together as possible. Work some weekends? Work remotely a day or two? That's not happening. In fact, he's feeling some clear signals that if can't be present, maybe there's someone else that could be.

That means two to three nights a week I will be sleeping in a different place. Alone. Without my boys. I think I'll be ok. But I don't know for how long. D will be fine. I know M will not be. I don't know how sustainable this really is. And I don't know if I'm ready to furnish a new setting in the hopes of them coming to be with me when I don't know when that's going to be.

I'm wondering if I've made a horrible mistake....

Can I even DO this job? Will I like this job? Will I be in the right frame of mind to even try to tackle this job? I have to try, right?

I don't regret leaving the old job. Because it was time. But I have to confess, with all of this up in the air and this feeling in the pit of my stomach, inertia and boredom are starting to look pretty good. 

So we cancelled everything for today. I got a hotel room for the first few nights. And probably will for the next few weeks until I get my head around all of this. If I even can. Not the best frame of mind to start a new role, but there you have it.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Every week should be Last Week.

I've had lunches with old colleagues, had a chance to have completely personal and not work-related conversations with people I really like and respect. Emails and notes keep coming from unexpected places. And my boss is throwing me a happy hour tomorrow. I think people might even show up.

Gosh dudes, sniff, I didn't know you cared.

But amid the love fest, there are some reoccurring themes that I'm trying to process.

My new job comes with a title. One with a C in the front. And when I say it out loud, you can actually see some folks pause, recalculate and look at me in a totally different light. Never mind it is essentially the Exact. Same. Thing that I'm doing and have been doing for the last handful of years. Never mind that I am the exact same person with the exact same skill set that you already know.  In fact, when I met with my Board last week after they heard the news, the Chair actually said, out loud, "Wow, your stock has really risen."

a.) who says that?
b.) what does that tell me about my stock now?

One of the lunches I had this week was with a friend who just transitioned from an executive assistant to an executive. And she sadly affirmed that the exact same thing happened to her. Same person. Same skills. New title. People reassess. I think that's kind of shitty.

The new job is based in a different city than where we are now and will require me to be apart from the boys a few days a week, at least temporarily. We're keeping our place here (because we love it and its cheap) and getting a much smaller place to perch in the new city, which is about 2 hours away. M will get D to and from daycare or grandparents the days I'm away. Primary daycare will be here, for now. We'll decide where we want to spend the weekends as they come. We think we have the logistics sorted out. But of course, we won't know until we try.

I feel like I've given this explanation at least 2 dozen times in the last week. At least. It's what everyone wants to know. But what about D? How will D feel about all this? Have you thought about D?

This week, the state House and Senate are in session and I've spent a good part of my mornings just going up and saying goodbye and thank you to some of my favorites.  Several of the younger (male) members have new babies at home. At home. As in, not here. As in not in the same place they are spending 2-3 days a week in. Weekly.

Why is no one asking them these questions? When one legislator showed me a picture of his 4-month old, I didn't even think to say, "but did you keep him in mind when you were deciding to run for re-election this session? What about the baby? Who's going to take care of the baby" Yet, if I were talking to one of the (sadly, very few) women in the building, I bet they would have been asked that at every single campaign stop.

And every time I go on to explain our moving plan, it gives me an opportunity to question it. To judge myself, in anticipation of the listener judging me. I'm pro-active like that. And I remind myself that kids are amazingly resilient and adaptable. That there are plenty of families who live and work in different places and make it work. That this is all temporary....

All I know is that I have at least 25-30 more years in my career. And I'm done where I am. And I'm excited about where I'm going. And if it works, awesome. And if it doesn't, I've proven to myself that I can make a change. I'm ready for this change.

Monday, January 19, 2015

#Microblog Mondays - What's Home? What's Comfortable?

Have you read this yet? The NY Times Magazine doesn't always get the ALI stuff right, but I thought this was a very thoughtful piece, particularly since its written by an adoptive parent who herself a mom via open domestic adoption and has also adopted internationally.

One quote from an adoptee who's returned to South Korea is really resonating with me: “Korea is home....But it’s not one I’m completely comfortable in.” But she's sticking with it. As are hundreds of other adults from America and Europe who were adopted away from their homeland and have moved back to South Korea to reclaim it as their home.

Strangely enough, one of D's favorite library books deals with this subject (more or less) and comes to the opposite conclusion. He loves this book, loves it. Mostly because fifi, foo foo and ooh la la bear a striking resemblance to his favorite white poodle Sophie. But me, I've got issues. There's just something about it that's really forced, and tries too hard to convince that where you are is exactly where you should be, even if you look and act differently than everyone around you, and that trying out the alternative (your birth family) will only confirm that.

To be fair, the more I read it, and we read it a LOT, I mean, both doggie families do hang out with each other in the park every day after they meet and learn from each other, so I guess that's kind of an open arrangement? But argh, again, forced, and something sitting not quite right. Not all all like Muppets in Space, my favorite muppets movie ever.

Have you read/interpreted ALI plots or subplots in unexpected places lately?

#Microblog Mondays! What's it about? Learn more and read more here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Back Story

A few months ago my co-worker and I decided we'd had enough of where we are. Done. Finished. Over it. I've been there 16 years (give or take some sabbaticals); she's been there nearly as long. We've each had opportunities to grow and expand out skills sets and knowledge base, but lately, all of that feels like its come to a screeching halt. It started to feel like we'd be stuck in this rut forever. And neither of us really remember how we got here in the first place.

We decided to get pro-active about it.

We made a plan. We stuck to it. We dedicated time to it. Yelled at each other for slacking. Tidied up resumes and cover letters. Got real about networking. Dreamt a beautiful dream of being able to give notice at the same time, and move on to jobs that we value and that value us and what we can offer.

And we did it! More or less. Within a couple of weeks of each other. We did it! It can be done!

I'm not going to go into much more detail, because then you won't buy our book #kiddingnotkidding. We are totally writing a book.

See what I did there? I just put that in writing, L. Now we're committed.

But here's a takeaway: if you are job searching now and putting yourself out there, please please please let one of your good friends and/or colleagues see your resume and cover letters and edit freely. Because very few of us do a good job at talking about how awesome we really are. We sell ourselves short. You are awesome! You really are! Have someone that knows you help you get that in writing.

This time next month, L and I will both be starting the next chapter in our careers. She'll be working hard to combat sexual and domestic violence (because she is bad ass like that) and I'll be doing what I do now, but on a national level, with a title to match it, and a sane (and very, very cool) boss, and staff! I get staff!

Lots and lots of logistics to still work out. But I know it will all come together. Because this did.