Monday, January 28, 2008

Manther grows up

It's Monday am and I really should be doing work, but I am having a little trouble getting motivated. Thank you all for your support on my last post. Things haven't improved, but I have just a little bit more acceptance this week than I did last week. We'll see what next week brings
Today I am posting about Manther because I miss her on Monday mornings. I enjoy my time with her over the weekend and she's on my mind when I go back to work. She was more challenging than the average toddler from the age of 18 months until about 2 1/2. At first I thought I had a skewed perspective on the situation because I was her mother. I knew all toddlers were defiant and she just 'felt' more defiant than average because I was so close to the situation. But, I started getting notes from daycare and they confirmed that what I was experiencing was outside of the norm. Well, we heightened discipline and that seemed to improve the situation. Now that some life rules have been established (you may not answer 'no' to everything, you do have to follow instructions, you may not climb or leap from or onto furniture, humans, or animals, AND you do have to wear clothes or at least a diaper and appropriate winter clothing outside because we live in Michigan), we can actually do stuff together rather than engage in a series of behaviors and reprimands. The bonus of having a 'challenging' kid is they seem to have an extra dose of personality and that makes for a lot of fun when they get older. Of course, it can also lead to attention-seeking criminal behavior when they get even older, but we have a few years.
Manther has still loves Elmo and her Sesame Street friends ('all the boys' as Daddy calls thems), but she has developed a second love that was unexpected given her tomboy personality. She loves ballerinas and ballet. I know this is common for a lot of little girls, but she refused to wear a dress for 12 months and I never anticipated an obsession with the pink tutu and tights. She has a couple of ballet cartoons that she adores and she desperately tries to imitate them with clumsy awkward toddler movements. I watch with mommy pride and congratulate and tell her how she looks just like a ballerina.
Last week was a rough one for her and I'm not sure she's recovered. She caught Mom and Dad in a compromising position. We didn't even know we were caught until we finished and walked into the hallway. She was sitting silently in the middle of the hallway, staring at the wall and anxiously sucking on her pacifier. My husband and I gasped and went back into the bedroom and wondered what to do. What did we do? Nothing. How do you explain that to a 2 yr 8 month old? Mommy and Daddy are playing. No you can't play, too. Because it's a game for adults. I don't know why. Do you want candy and an Elmo video? So, rather than have this stupid discussion I totally ignored the situation. She was really mad at Daddy that morning and wouldn't let him touch her, but she seems to have recovered. I wonder what version of the story they heard at daycare.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Prayers for Hubby

The title of this post sounds terrible and, no, my husband does not have a deadly disease. I am feeling so sad because he has the worst boss I have ever seen and I am watching it change him. He is becoming agitated and insomnia is creeping in. His self-esteem is being chipped away despite the fact that I am desperately trying to hug, kiss, and complement at every turn.
My husband works in flooring sales is employed at a small, family-owned company. The owner is an alcoholic ( I don't care if it's inappropriate for me to make this statement, I'm calling a spade a spade today) and has two adult sons who also have chemical dependency issues that have landed them in jail several times. Of course, their lifestyle is costly with the car accidents, lawyer fees, and the price of liquor/drugs and, it seems to be my husband's responsibility to support their habits. Every employee except for my husband and the warehouse manager have quit. I wish Hubby could quit, too, but I am not sure what is worse for your self esteem, permanent unemployment and bankruptcy or lunatic bosses? We look EVERY day for a new job. Occasionally, an opening appears and we jump on it. No calls yet.
Hubby has not missed a day of work in two years. He is scheduled for a 45 hr week with no sick time, paid time off, benefits or commission. His hourly pay is ~ $14 and hour. He does not get reimbursed for the gas or the cell phone that is used constantly in his sales position. He typically works 10 hours more a week than he is scheduled. He got no Christmas bonus this year despite the fact that he was promised one (he is a salesman who laid a floor for free in the new expanded showroom and was told "Thanks buddy, I'll get ya at Christmas). He was informed of an unpaid lay-off over Christmas and then was called back for 4 days during the middle of the lay-off. He was only compensated for 3 of the 4 days. His paycheck for the first full week of work after Christmas was $150 short. There is no real reason given for the cuts in pay. Sometimes the owner indicates sales are down, but my husband and the warehouse manager both see the books and are quite aware that this is a lie. Sometimes the owner just promises to make up the difference later. This never happens.
The one thing the owner does do is make sure you feel like you aren't worthy of the check you are getting and, despite the craziness of it all, I think Hubby is starting to believe it. I know it's a lie. On top of the professionalism and responsibility Hubby has displayed during his employment, he is averaging $30,000 a month in sales. This is the equivalent of the owner's sales and the owner makes sure to take the best sales leads and cuts prices beyond the stated parameters to make his quota. I keep assuring my husband that he is a wonderful husband, father, and employee with a terrible job. My words cannot reverse the effect of the abusive relationship and Hubby's behaviors are starting to scare me.
About two weeks ago, he told me he was wearing sweats to work one Sunday. I tried to insist this was a bad idea and I can't remember if he went through with it or not. On Saturday, he decided to shut and lock the door of the store 15 minutes early. The boss stopped by and confronted him. Hubby didn't really defend himself, but just mentioned he had another job scheduled and was in a hurry (this is the truth, he works on the side installing because his pay is crap). The owner said they would discuss it later. If this discussion would occur in a professional format, Hubby would invite it as an opportunity to vent some frustration. However, the owner likes to humiliate his employees and will wait until several family members and the warehouse manager are present and loudly point out that Hubby was trying to steal hours from him.
I love Hubby and he has grown so much in the past two and half years. I am terrified that this job will eventually enrage him to the point that he beats the hell out of his boss or relapses or both. I am praying, praying, praying every morning. Usually, I am praying out loud in the car. I am asking for your prayers,also. Apparently, God has a little trouble HEARING when I am praying alone (yes, that is my frustration speaking). Please give Hubby a better job option before the abusive relationship destroys him.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Today are the presidential primaries in Michigan. I avoid the news for weeks before the elections because I become a nervous wreck after I study the candidates, realize that they are all dishonest puppets with purely selfish motives, and then further realize that one of them is going to lead this country at a time when we really need a leader.
However, I am an adult and I am supposed to vote for the candidate that I think will do the best job. So, I started reading some newpaper articles this morning and I am no longer nervous. I am terrified. I read an article in the LA times (can you imagine LA actually talking about Detroit? there's a first) that honestly outlined the economic state of Michigan. This is something the Detroit newspapers avoid. Michigan is not experiencing a recession but rather a 1930's style depression. 30,000 people left the state in the past 6 months and that number is growing. Unemployment is at 7.5% and climbing. I can't see any hope for a turnaround in the next several decades.
As I look at the grim picture, I realize for the first time how living in this highly industrialized state has molded my view of the economy. I grew up in a factory town and, when I was about 6-7, an announcement was made that the plant would shut down. It was devastating news. Thousands of people lost their jobs, packed up, and moved to Texas. I have no idea why Texas was the place to move, but everyone seemed to know they needed to go there to survive. It was sad to see family and friends move away, but the ghost town depression that remained with those of us who were left behind was worse. It was very clear to me that the ECONOMY was this big, huge thing that had all the power and it could whimsically decide to crush you and your friends and neighbors. It was very important to pay close attention to the ECONOMY so you could predict it's next move and possibly avoid that slaughter. I tried to pay attention.
So, I watched the news and managed to grasp that a recession was occurring and the dollar was weak (what??) so the government couldn't just print more money and increase spending to save us from the recession. It took a year of news and a lot of questions to my father to assemble this concept. I grew nervous because the more I watched the news the more it seemed there were no answers. I lost focus on the news and adjusted to being a kid in a ghost town. Then, the ECONOMY changed when I wasn't looking. The recession went away and a Japanese automaker bought the empty factory and the empty houses were filled. Since I had been ignoring the news, I asked my father if the situation was fixed. No, he replied. It may look better for now, but corrupt and demanding unions will continue to force the production of cars at prices that cannot compete in an increasingly global economy (what??). My father has several degrees and liked to read. The translation: the ECONOMY will attack again.
So, here it is. Another slaughter by the ECONOMY. It feels quite familiar for those of us who are lifetime residents of southeast Michigan. I am not surprised, but I am saddened and scared. And little confused. When Senator McCain suggested that we do what we should have done 25 years ago and try to recruit other types of jobs and industry to Michigan to replace the dying automotive industry (aka build stronger ECONOMY through education and diversity), why did my friends and neighbors freak out? I guess I'm not as scared by the ECONOMY as I am by the MENTALITY.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

No good reason

Hello everyone, or anyone who might still be stopping by to see if I will ever post again. Thank you for the care and concern expressed in the comments after I went MIA. I suppose I owe an explanation. Maybe I don't. I guess I'll give one anyway. I don't think there is one specific reason I stopped posting. I did not relapse and I have actually gotten quite comfortable as part of the AA community in the suburbs. This is something I thought would never happen. My husband and I are still married, employed, and sober. Given the current state of the economy, the unemployment rate in Michigan, and the fact that we are both recovering addicts, these are all miracles.
I did ponder whether the blog was a good investment of my time. It certainly hasn't been a windfall financially and, if I spent my blog time researching investments and playing with small sums of money, I could probably be more successful. I opened a Sharebuilder account and I am working on learning a bit about the world of stocks and trading. I have a brother-in-law and sister-in-law who do a lot of this stuff and, don't worry, I won't invest more than I can afford to lose.
I have certainly been moody. I haven't been able to get pregnant again after a year plus of trying. We had some visits to the fertility doc and there is nothing really wrong, although some of the numbers aren't optimal. I am on meds, but they don't appear to be enhancing the process. The reality is this: Our chances of a second child are slipping away. I certainly realize that we could drive ourselves thousands of dollars into debt and try to force a pregnancy. I am terrified by debt and the cost of a second would be enough of a burden without starting out $15,000 in the hole. Not to mention, we could have multiples and where would that leave us? $2400 a month for double infant daycare? I quit my job and eliminate all our benefits? More than any of this, I won't seek invasive fertility treatments because I don't want the theories of western medicine to become my God. I believe in the power of the Almighty, if I am supposed to have a second child, it will happen with or without pills, injections, and implants.
I am sad and more than little bit angry at times, but I know that this is part of acceptance and healing. Many bloggers write to work through their pain. Not me. When the pain is great, I get busy. I clean, sort, organize, do home repairs, attend social events, and create a frenzied life that doesn't allow me time to mourn. There are many who would say this isn't healthy. I don't care whether it is or not. It is a better coping skill than getting high. I have been doing that for a few months and I am ready to slow down now. Does this mean I will actively blog again? I haven't decided yet.
Thank you all for listening. If anyone reads this and thinks about leaving a comment suggesting that I will get pregnant and I need to 'relax' or 'be patient' or, worse yet, tell me some other infertile woman's success story, please don't leave the comment. I do know that there is a chance of pregnancy, however, I am 38 and my husband is 52 and our time is limited. I really feel that focusing on acceptance is healthier than creating false hope.