Tag Archive: Vacation


I Am At Peace

I’ve had many things happening of late that I want to write about, but it’s all so jumbled in my mind that I haven’t felt like it would be coherent to share with you.  I think I’m finally ready – but if it doesn’t seem rational, just know that I warned you!

Hun and I went on an honest-to-goodness vacation several weeks back.  It was wonderful, blissful, (mostly) non-stressful, and relaxing.  We went on a cruise with another couple, cousins from my side of the family, and just being the 4 of us, it was great.  We did what we wanted, when we wanted and with whom we wanted.

Before leaving on the vacation, I prepped my work and coworkers on what I needed them to do while I was away.  I actually left my job at “Inbox-0”.  I had NOTHING pending in my work email that needed my attention or would hold a mental distraction for me while I was away.  This is the first time I have ever left work without feeling like I was forgetting something or that my work would be more stressful when I returned due to unfinished business.  This added to my relaxed feeling while I was away.

When Hun and I returned from our trip, he came down sick – bronchitis with a vengeance.  And I received a text from a previous boss asking if I could meet with her.

She proceeded to tell me that she had a part-time job opening and she wanted me to be in the position, that I was the first and only person she considered hiring for the spot.  I was/am honored beyond belief that she feels this way.  I asked her for the chance to talk with Hun and to think about the offer.  She readily agreed.

The next day, I talked with HR – I suspected and it was confirmed by them – the new offer would affect my current position and there would have to be negotiations between the two departments for my time.  This wasn’t a surprise to me, but meant I needed to think through my options carefully and proceed with care – for my own mental health and well-being.

Before I could return home that evening, the start of a tickle on the back of my throat alerted me to the fact that now I was coming down ill.  My former boss is not one to wait and she texted the next day, while I was ill, wanting to know if I had an answer for her.  I let her know of my illness and asked to wait until after the weekend before speaking with her, hopefully I would be better by then.

Three days in bed allowed me time to think through my options.  There weren’t many that didn’t lead to increased stress on my part, in some cases enormous stress.  Hun’s one request of me regarding the job offer was that I not go back to the dark place I was in several years ago.  I’m just now coming back to “normal”; I don’t want to go back there either.

On Monday, I let her know of my “conundrum”.  We walked through all of the scenarios that I could potentially foresee.  I laid everything out, honestly, where the stress points would be and why and for how long.  She agreed, it was a conundrum and one that she could tell wouldn’t have an easily solved solution.

She finally commented, “So, if I want you to work for me, I have to be able to offer you at least what your current job is already giving you; so you would leave them and solely work for me, is that an accurate statement?”

I thought about it – yes, I guess so.

Without realizing it, I had negotiated my own terms into the job offer.

I had no intention of doing that – that isn’t me.  But it is something that brought me satisfaction once I realized that is what I did.

I’ve since found out that my old boss is unable to give me what I need to quit my current job and come back to working with her.  In the past, I would have moved heaven and earth to make a move like this happen, regardless of what my gut was telling me.  While I am disappointed (I love this boss!), I’m also relieved that it didn’t work out.  Not because I don’t want to move – I would in a heartbeat if the terms had been agreeable and met – but because I know the move isn’t going to bring on increased stress.

I am at peace with the entire process – so I know that this was the right decision for me at this time.  There are no worries, no wondering if I made the right choice, no wondering if I’m disappointing someone and what they think of me.  This is a new feeling for me.

I like it.

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Purpose

There is something wrong with someone like me.

I just finished with a week off of work.  I had no plans, no agenda and no direction for the week.  It was a week off just to take a week off.  I had plans, a list to make sure I didn’t forget about anything important that had to be done (scheduled events), but nothing earth-shattering.  One morning, I didn’t crawl out of bed until noon.

So….why do I not feel refreshed?

I spent time cheering my kids on at band competitions, shopping with my sister-in-law, cuddling with my Hun and working on Christmas gifts.  I worked on some craft projects, did a little house cleaning and caught up on my recorded shows.

By all accounts, the week should be counted as a complete success.

But I feel unfulfilled.

Why?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “Why do I feel unfulfilled?” question.

I started this post just to be posting something, but while I was typing, I discovered the answer to my own question.

I work best with a purpose.  I need a purpose in my life.  I want to know that what I’ve done (for the minute, day, week, life) has meaning and serves a purpose.

This week off had no “purpose” in my life – other than to use vacation time (my company has a “use it or lose it policy”).  I didn’t go into the week with any defined goals for myself for the week.

Yes….for me….defined goals do include “rest and relaxation” – when I purposely set my mind to that goal.

I had no set purpose or goals for the week – other than to use my vacation time before I lost it – I just took the time off to be taking the time off.

No wonder I feel so unfulfilled!

Going forward, I MUST set an expectation for myself for weeks like this:

  • Is the time off primarily for relaxation?
  • Is the time off primarily for organization/cleaning?
  • Is there a set agenda (vacation or other activity) dictating the time off?

While the time off may, at the core, be to use vacation time before I lose it, there must be a primary reason for my time to fill purposeful.

Hun thinks I’m too hard on myself.  He cannot understand why I don’t just relax and enjoy the week.

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I can relax and enjoy – I just have to mentally plan for it.  My mind will not allow me to relax if it has 20 different things constantly screaming in the background that I should be doing “X, Y or Z” instead.

After being at my company for over 20 years, I have a ton of vacation time to use.  I have decided to begin requesting time off at regular intervals.  So I’m already planning on my next week off in a few months.  Another week off to just have a week off to use up vacation time before I “lose it”.

I plan on feeling much more fulfilled on my next scheduled vacation thanks to the insight that typing this post has brought me.

Thanks for the help guys!

 

 

That Was Quick!

{Sigh}

I already have another job.

{SIGH}

I really wanted more time off.

{HUGE SIGH}

I realize that I don’t have to start right away…..but at the same time, I don’t want to look a gift horse in the eye either!

At least I’ll have a week off to rest…..

PS…..I realized too late that I mis-timed posting my last post about quitting.  I did resign, but I’m still working and TODAY is actually my last day at the super stressful job.

Interviewed on Wednesday, offered the job on Thursday and requested to start on Monday…..told them couldn’t happen!  I needed at least a week off!  Currently scheduled to begin working the new job on March 30…..

Apparently my reputation precedes me and the new boss couldn’t wait to give me the opportunity to start working for her.

{Sigh}

Time Out!

I resigned from my job today.

Is that a dramatic enough opening?

By the time this actually posts, I’ll probably already be unemployed (unless something drastic/amazing happens).

The stress from my job has gotten too extreme for me to deal with any more.  Something had to give.

The support and understanding that I have received from my boss and coworker is beyond anything I can explain.  They are behind me and my decision 100%.

It makes me feel guilty because I know what they’re about to go through.  I’ve been through it myself multiple times in the last several years.

But not guilty enough to agree to stay longer.

My boss even went so far as to extend the offer for my last day to be tomorrow – and she’d still make sure that HR paid me for a full two week’s notice.  I believe her too – I’ve been at the company for 20 years.  I know the players involved and I know that none of them want what is happening.  I may work for a company – but the company is made up of people who have been there for 20+ years.  We’re more like a family away from family.  I cannot walk through the hallways without someone saying hello or stories being exchanged about our kids.

Plus, I will not do that to either of them.  There is too much work that is still pending, not to mention training and making sure nothing is dropped – there is too much riding on the work not being done for me to just walk away.

It’s not all scary.

I have enough vacation time to cover my pay for around 10 weeks.  That will explain one angle of why I’m so stressed – no time away from work to use any of the vacation time up.  This vacation time will be paid out to me at resignation.

I’ve also put in a request to transfer/applied for a new position.  The transfer/hiring process can be slow.  It can take close to 3 months for a new hire to actually start from the moment an application is put in.  It can also take almost 2 months for an in-house transfer.

I don’t expect anything to happen too quickly – no matter what happens – it’ll happen slowly.

There is also the possibility that I won’t find a new job for a while.  It could take months, maybe longer!

Thank goodness!!  I need some time off.

I plan on using any time off that comes my way wisely.

If you need me – I’ll be sleeping late, watching Maury and eating bonbons.  Try not to disturb me before noon.

Whiny Wednesday

Normally, I try really, really hard in real life not to complain about life in general. I try, but I’m not always successful. And – if I haven’t seen you in a while, I’ll probably share everything that’s happened to me lately – and it might, probably, won’t all sound positive. I really am just sharing what’s happened – I’m not trying to be negative at all – it just comes out that way it seems like!

And because I really am just sharing, even on here, I have attempted to stray away from “stereo-typical” titles for my blog-posts. Like this one – Whiny Wednesday. About 2 months ago, I told a friend that I was declaring the day “Whiny Wednesday” and she negated my negativity and told me it wasn’t happening. She was right – I didn’t need to label the day at that point.

But, I’m labeling it today.

I’ve been informed that Merryweather – the last remaining employee from the trio Flora, Fauna and Merryweather – has resigned her position. Her last day will be September 12, 2014.  (Huh….I just realized I didn’t post about Fauna leaving a month ago – hence the reason for my new job – I’ll save that for the next post.)

I want to cry.

Not because she is leaving specifically – that’s her choice and I won’t hold her back. I want to cry because unless someone is hired and hired soon – I’ll be attempting to help juggle 2 and a half full-time jobs. I’m already juggling 2 jobs (new boss is helping all she can – that’s why I’ll only be juggling an extra half job) – throw this new one in and I’m liable to drop ALL the balls.

So….I’m going to whine. And cry. And somehow, some way, by some miracle – I’m going to get through this.

Yes please!

Perspectives

I’ve been meaning to write this post for several months now, but…well….see the previous post.  I’ve been busy!

We all know that everyone has their own perspectives on an event.  Even events where multiple people witness the same thing, often times they come away with different ideas, emotions and memories of the same shared experience.

This concept was hammered home to me just the other day with an event that happened at work.  I’m not going to go into details about it right now, but that event reminded me of this post that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now.  From the perspective of one friend, the event didn’t go as planned.  From my perspective, the event didn’t go as planned for me either…..in the beginning.

Recently, a fairly large group of friends took a short, 3 day trip together.  This trip had been in the planning stages for 2 years.  Hun and I went as well even though from our perspective, we never should have gone.  You see, we’re struggling money wise – considering filing for bankruptcy even.  We had no business going on a “fun” trip.  We debated, we waffled and we finally decided to do it – even though everything said we shouldn’t.  We did pay cash, but we cringed hitting the submit button because that was money we could have put towards a bill.  And then it happened – three weeks before the trip, Hun was laid off work.  If it wasn’t for the fact that we had already paid for the flight and hotel room, we would not have gone at all.

From my perspective, the closer the trip came on the calendar, the more wary I was.  Things I didn’t know about before were coming to light that would have had me cancel the trip on our side far sooner.  About a month before the trip, I found out one friend’s parents were coming.  Now, normally, that piece of information wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.  We’re all adults – I’m almost 40!  But, this particular mom is the equivalent of my boss in my industry.  I don’t report to her directly, but she works for my company, in my career field, and I see her at work functions.  I DO NOT, under any circumstances, mix work and play.  I don’t want my work peers knowing what a crazy person I can be when I’m drinking and having fun – I’m liable to say things I wouldn’t say sober.  And I’ve been known to say crazy things when I’m sober!!

I know my friend will say, “My mom isn’t like that!”  I know she will say that because she’s said it to be before on something different.  I just shook my head because she wasn’t seeing my concern from my perspective.  She sees her mom as her mom – and rightfully so!  She would be 100% correct in saying “Her mom isn’t like that!”  But I’m also 100% correct in saying I couldn’t have fun and be myself with her mom present.  Not because of her mom, but because of her job, my job and the fact that I don’t mix work and personal life because I don’t need any help in people questioning how sane I am!

Another perspective that came up was that the trip had an itinerary that was created by one person.  Granted, she took ideas from everyone and placed those ideas in the itinerary based on those suggestions, but the final schedule was hers and without input from the other 9 people about if it would work for them.  There was even walking time included on the schedule (from place to place).  When I first saw it – I commented that the schedule was a bit unrealistic, especially the walking times.  I was told that they were straight from Google Maps and it would be fine!  What finally happened, about 6 hours into landing at our location, is what I feared would happen.  Trying to herd 10 people through a place that half had never been to, with thousands of things to look at in every direction, on a schedule that leaves little room for error, you’re bound to upset someone!

That someone was me and I wasn’t happy at all.  From my perspective, I had been planning this trip for years before we ever started planning this one.  There were very few things on my list of “to-dos” while there – a total of 3 items with an extra “freebie” if we had time/money.  One of those “must-see” items was on the schedule the first day and because of walking, the crowds, not knowing where we were going and having 10 people all wanting to go in different directions – I missed out on one of the shows I wanted to see.  I was very upset!  I was even more upset when one of the group came up to me and said, “I saw it!  It was awesome – lets go to the next show.”  Hun and I didn’t miss the show because we were goofing off – we received a text from LaLa, back home, that needed to be responded to.  When we looked up from responding – everyone was gone and we had to figure out our own way out to the show, which had us arriving 15 minutes too late to see anything.

The next show the group went to, Hun and I were “meh” about.  It was okay – but not something we would have gone out of our way to see.  If we had happened across it on our own, we would have appreciated it for what it was, but to be specifically taken to it while bypassing other things that held our interest far more, we were starting to get frustrated with the trip.  After all, from our perspective, it was our vacation to enjoy, not to be told what we were doing when and where.  We didn’t sign up for that!

While the others were finishing up viewing the show, Hun asked me if I was okay.  NO!  I wasn’t okay!  A lifetime planning this trip and I’ve already missed one thing I really wanted to do and I was fearful I would miss another.  Hun grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s go – I’m not going to have you miss out on anything else on this trip!”  I hollered to one of the group where we were going so they wouldn’t worry about us while Hun and I ran hand in hand through the lobby.

From the moment we broke from the group and did what we wanted to do, on our schedule, we had a blast.  Before we broke from the group, from my perspective, it felt forced and constrained.  I didn’t feel free to act goofy because Mom was watching and she had made a comment about one of her employees back home that I certainly didn’t want made about me in future circumstances.  I didn’t want/need comments made like that about me.  But then we broke ranks and I loved sharing the experience with Hun and a few others of the group at different points.  From my perspective, it became organic and free.  The day was full of laughter and relaxation.  If something caught our eye, we stopped and soaked in the sights and experience.  If it didn’t, we kept walking without a second thought.  We did what made us happy and whoever happened to be in the group with us at the time.

I’m really sorry that from the perspective of one in the group that the trip didn’t turn out as planned.  I’m really sorry that it appears she’s taken it as a personal slap that the group didn’t stay together for the entire 3 days.  Just because a trip like this didn’t work for us as a group, doesn’t mean the friendship doesn’t work.

It’s all about perspective.

I had a totally different blog post almost ready to hit send and decided against it for now.  Probably a good thing!  Maybe I’ll post it later.

So….I have something else to bore you with instead – work.  Since I’ve never given them nick-names, I’m going to call my co-workers…..Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.  Flora will be my boss (who has been in the department over 20 years), Fauna will be my co-worker (who has also been in the department for 20+ years), and Merryweather will be our newest employee who just started a month ago.

Image courtesy of Wiki
From left to right: Fauna, Flora and Merryweather.
Co-workers may or may not actually look like these characters…..

After a very long year and almost 4 months, I have finally talked to my boss, Flora, about issues I’m struggling with at work.  When I asked if I could speak with her after everyone else had left for the day, she had a panicked look in her eyes and ask, “Is it bad?”  I laughed and told her no, just needed to talk with her alone.

In the last several months, I have come to realize exactly how stressful my job has become for me.  I’m usually pretty good at picking up duties and completing them with efficiency and in a timely manner.  Depending on the job, I can usually add in some major process improvements along the way.  I have been classified by my work as a “top performer” in my previous jobs as well for many years.  When learning I had transferred to this department, I know of two Vice-Presidents of the company who were emotionally tied to the transfer – one was upset I left her area and the other was gloating that she gained me in hers.

None of the above has been possible to any degree of success in my current position.  At least, not to the level that I am personally aware I can achieve.  This may sound like bragging, but please believe me, I know how “good” I can be – and I’m not anywhere near that point in this job.  What really frustrates me is how everyone thinks my work is so stellar.  I beg to differ with them because I know how much I’ve been struggling.  If they could know me with the skill set I should have at this point after a year in this position, I’m pretty sure they will be blown away with what I can accomplish, not just what I’ve been struggling to accomplish.

So, what are my issues that I’ve been struggling with?

As we sat down, Flora asked me if there was an issue with Merryweather’s training (which I am in charge of – which will be laughable to you in a moment, the blind leading the blind so to speak!).  I told her no, she’s doing really well; my issue is actually in regards to Fauna.  I commented to her that I’m surprised she didn’t think I was telling her I was quitting.  She laughed and said that was actually her first thought, she just didn’t want to jinx herself.

I went on – one of the biggest issues I have faced in the last year is the training I have not received in my job.  I point blank told Flora that my struggles are directly related to how Fauna has trained me, or more accurately, not trained me.  My training has consisted of being handed work by Fauna, told to do X, with no explanation as to the why, and no additional information other than exactly what she has handed me.  Other than the bare basics of how to do the job, which requires extensive knowledge of a very job specific computer program, I have been left to figure out things on my own.

Multiple times throughout the year, I have been asked by Fauna if I did Y.  When I asked what Y was, I was told that Y should have also happened when I did X job.  Never once was Y ever explained to me until after the fact when either Fauna would discover I hadn’t been doing it or I was asking what the heck Y was when I would accidentally stumble upon it.  I have gone so far as to say, “You have shown me how to do X, now I know about Y – is there a Z I should know about too?”  Only to be told, no, you know how to do this.

Ummm…..no, no I don’t.  That’s why it’s not being done!

Flora and I talked for well over an hour.  I included in our conversation how Merryweather has commented to me that she is struggling with the training she has received from Fauna as well.  We talked about the differing personalities that we are dealing with and how best to work through them.  We talked about comments made to me by Fauna and how Flora excuses them as Fauna’s attempt at humor (note: while I agree with this in theory, in reality, the comments are still hard to hear when they are directed at you).  We talked about my job “promotion” a few months ago and how best to complete the transition of duties from Fauna to me.  And we talked about what Flora can do for me to help.

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Flora will contact her counterparts at other entities to set up two separate training sessions for me with other “super-users” who are considered really great trainers as well.  One training session will be for the credentialing side of the work I do, the other training session will be for the computer technical and programming side.  Fauna is considered a “super-user”, but is very guarded with the knowledge she has – Flora believes Fauna doesn’t know HOW to explain what she knows, she just knows it.  I can see that….to a point.
  • Flora will give Fauna a “drop-dead date” of April 1st for when she can no longer be doing “my” job.  Fauna is turning more and more items over to me, but even Flora noticed the other day Fauna trying to hold on to something I was more than capable of handling.
  • I am to take some time off in the near future.  Seriously.  Other than having days off to handle issues with the kids or doctor’s appointments, I haven’t had a vacation in over a year.  Flora encouraged me to take a couple of days this next week since it is my kids’ Spring Break.  Because of timing of meetings I’m now responsible for at work, I don’t feel comfortable with that and explained why.  She appreciates my commitment, but is still encouraging me to take the mental break from the job that I desperately need.  I’ll be doing that soon.

So – hopefully, I’ll have some actual training under my belt in the near future.  Once I actually know what I’m doing – watch out world!  Here I come!

Funny Texts #2

It seems like everyone has been asking me for a Christmas list lately. Earlier, Hun asked once again for my list and once again I answered “idunno”. He let out an exasperated sigh, said “I love you” and hung up.

I guess getting that umteenth sigh was all it took for me to send this text to him:

Me:
Christmas list:
Robe- size xxl
Pot holders
Kitchen wash cloths
Bag less vacuum for hardwood floors
Housekeeper
Bathroom finished
Purchase and installation of stepping stones for shed
New refrigerator
Jewelry
New wedding ring
Perfectly behaved kids
Month long vacation
Lake house
Corvette

Hun: 4 of the fourteen are obtainable, haha

Morning everyone!! 

I have taken some much needed time off away from everything for the last week.  Doesn’t mean the drama that is my life has slowed down any though….

Dharma and Greg were married last weekend and are returning from their honeymoon today.  I have been so tempted to blog about the pre-wedding adventure – I even had their approval.  However, based on everything that happened between the players in my family, I figured it was best if I kept my mouth shut.  I still love everyone and it appears everyone is still talking to each other, so I’ll just leave it at that.

One thing that I am going to blog about – just because I find it so hilariously funny is Dharma’s comment about their destination choice for the honeymoon.  They went on a Carnival Cruise to the Caribbean – Greg has been before, but this was Dharma’s first experience.  Her biggest fear in getting on the boat/ship is that they would be hit by an iceberg.  An ICEBERG…..in The CARIBBEAN.  

She knows it is an irrational fear, but a fear none the less.  I guess she got enough flack from everyone about the iceberg that she changed her fear to being shwashbuckled by pirates – after all, Captain Jack Sparrow was in the Caribbean!  Hey!  It could happen!!

Subject Change:

Flotsam is still pulling his tricks.  A couple of weeks ago, he asked if we could change days for visitation due to the heat.  We’ve done this in past summers as it just gets too hot to visit outside so we move visitation indoors to the library.  The weekend he asked about changing was the weekend before the wedding and I was busy with preparation plans.  Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem, but he literally waited until the last minute to ask – Saturday morning at 10am for a 1pm start time.

Now, over the last 15+ years, I have learned with Flotsam that if you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile in what he can get away with.  My answer to him was the weekend was booked and I had planned on visitation being on Sunday, not Saturday and we needed to wait until the next visitation to change the date.  He said that was fine, he’d just visit with Buddy the next day like originally planned.  Until the next day that is…..he called at 11am and told Buddy he was too sick to come to visitation.  {Rolls eyes}  Yeah…I believe that….whatever – he probably had something else planned that he preferred to do other than spend the time with his son.

And then, this week he called to make a deal with me.  It seems he is wwwaaayyyy behind on his child support for Buddy (I’ve given up keeping track of it and turned it over to the state to keep track of).  The only thing is, Flotsam’s still under probation for domestic assault/violence so every aspect of his life is examined, which means being up-to-date on his child support.  I’m sure the probation officer is getting on to him about this little tidbit. 

What was his deal?  To paint my house for me since it so obviously needs it (which it does, but that’s beside the point).  This man supposedly cannot get a job because he’s in so much pain…..but he can paint my house for me?  Whatever.  He insisted I think about it before giving him an answer.  I told him I didn’t have to think about it – child support is now recorded by the state and doesn’t allow for easy reporting of bartering situations.  He wasn’t impressed by my logical reasoning, thanked me for my time and then hung up on me.

I’m heartbroken I tell you.

New Subject:

Jetsam provides all sorts of endless heartburn in various forms and fashions.  There are days I wonder if she does it on purpose…then there are the days that I can’t help but wonder if she really is as dense as she acts like.  This last week is no exception.

The kids spent 2 days at her house for visitation and Monkey came back with bites all over her legs and stomach.  The same type of bites that Rowdy came home with on his feet whenever he spent Memorial Day weekend with her – only at that point he insisted they were chigger bites.  Instead of arguing with him (as they didn’t look like chigger bites to me), I just let it go.  Now, Monkey insists that Jetsam’s house is infested with bedbugs! 

ACK!!!!

I set the kids down, explain how serious an infestation can be and what we have to do to protect our house from getting infested as well.  Nothing they take to their mom’s house can come back into our house until it’s been washed, cleaned or otherwise de-bugged to the best of our ability.  They should limit anything they take to things that we can clean easily until the problem is corrected – no blankets, no pillows, limited amounts of cloths, etc.  Monkey’s response was – Can you call my mom and tell her this, she doesn’t know what to do to take care of them.

Double ACK!!!!

Why oh why should I be the one that bails Jetsam out of her issue?  Oh, that’s right, because I care about my house not being infested.  Called Jetsam up to discuss the issue and she claimed she was taking steps to correct the problem.  Dousing the house in bleach was her solution.  She claimed that she got the suggestion from her sister and from checking the internet.

{Sigh}

Based on my own very quick search on the internet that brought back over 240 million hits – bleach is a poor solution to bedbugs and doesn’t address the main problem of getting rid of them.  I explained to Jetsam what she needed to be doing to get them out of her house.  After every suggestion, she responded with a comment of, “I had thought about wrapping the mattresses up in plastic, but didn’t know how effective that would be.”  Or, “I had thought about vacuuming the area, but there is no carpet, so I didn’t think that would work.”  Or, “I planned on bombing the house; I didn’t realize that just drives them deeper into the cracks.”

{Double Sigh}

Now I’m tempted to clean her house myself just to make sure my own house doesn’t get infested (if it isn’t already….).

(Begin whiney mode)  I don’t wanna clean her house!  I don’t wanna have to buy the correct items for her to ensure her things are taken care of to protect my house!!  I don’t wanna be the responsible one anymore!!!  I don’t wanna have to deal with issues like this in my life!!!!  I shouldn’t have to!!  This isn’t fair!!  I’ve got enough problems in my life without a dense ex-wife adding to them!!!  (End whiney mode)

Is it any wonder why I need a break from life?

Sorry everyone!!  With vacation ending a week away from a major holiday (Christmas), I’ve been swamped and have had no time to blog.  Let me finish my recount of vacation so we can get back to the present:

I forgot to mention my interaction with one of the natives after arriving back at the port after our tour in Belize.  As we’re exiting the tour van, we were immediately surrounded by people attempting to sell us things for cheap.  I had forgotten all about this “wonderful” tradition and was distracted trying to keep Monkey away from the more persistent ones since she was the first out of the van.  As I’m trying to herd her away from the group – I suddenly remember the other 3 kids still in the back of the van and turn to see Hun directly behind me as he’d forgotten about them as well.

I was livid – mostly at myself….and Hun – for leaving our kids like that!!  Granted, they were only 10-15 feet behind us, but it felt like the Grand Canyon to me since we’re not used to traveling with them in a different country.  As I’m pointing to the other kids and telling (yes, telling) Hun to help them (as they were surrounded by the same “sales people” as Monkey was) – this one lady was insisting on shoving cheap bracelets on Monkey’s wrist while my back was turned.  I turned to her and with a firm voice told her to get away from my daughter.  I must have had fire in my eyes because she suddenly didn’t want to sell us anything anymore….suddenly, no one wanted to sell us anything anymore….and we had a clear path back to the entrance of the port.  Don’t mess with a pissed off Momma.

Back to Honduras – while we were waiting to leave the beautiful country of Honduras (as you’ll recall – we spent the day on a private island), Hun and I decided to watch the life boats being loaded back on board.  Because of the shoreline and other ships in port that day, we had to tender in again using our own lifeboats.  That was an experience for Monkey – she commented that the boats were way bigger than Hun’s Mistress, so she felt better about not drowning (thank goodness!!).

As we’re watching the boats being loaded, again I get a strange sensation over me that something is not right.  Since I’m only with Hun and not the rest of the family, I didn’t say anything, but wondered why I had the same feeling again.  I finally convinced myself that I was just not used to traveling with so many people and attempted not to think about it again.  Once the boats were loaded, Hun and I went up to the top deck where the rest of the family usually met up after the day.  We found my Mom, Dad and Uncle D talking about the scuba adventure Dad and Uncle J went on.  Or attempted to go on…..

Uncle J ended up having to be treated at the diving resort’s medical facilities for unknown issues.  After the fact, it was decided that it was probably a combination of factors – seasick, nerves/panic attack and low blood sugar.  Thankfully – he was fine after a good rest and food.  Dad recounted the events and his fears of getting back to the ship on time.  They had just gotten back on board – the 3rd to the last tender boat – one of the ones we had watched being loaded.

That’s it!!  I’m not ignoring my feelings anymore!  It was funny – I had assumed my feelings were because of traveling with so many people, but in reflection – I didn’t have the same feelings in Costa Maya or Cozumel and there were people off on tours on both of those stops.  So…..

Our last stop was at Cozumel and was uneventful.  Shopping, relaxing, massages, swimming, and visiting with everyone was the extent of our day – real stressful huh?

When we finally got back to the states, we had a long drive back home.  We survived with minimal fighting from the kids – being cramped up in The Beast for 9 hours after 7 days of wild freedom will test even the best behaved child.  During the drive home is when we found out Jetsam had moved – Merry Christmas to us….not!

She’s moved something like 16-18 times in the last 10 years.  There have been more times than I can count where we’ve dropped the kids off at one home, only to pick them up at a new home 2 weeks later.  We would get no notice, no heads up, only a, “umm…yeah….you can pick the kids up….we’re not at the same address we were before….we’re living somewhere else now….”.  The frequency of her moves was probably the single biggest reason we received custody of the kids.  The court telling her that if she’ll stay in one place and show stability, there’s a good possibility she’ll get her kids back has not made a large enough impression on her for her to actually figure out a way to make it work.

We finally went to her new house Christmas morning to pick the kids up from her.  I hope the kids are safe while they are with her….I can’t help but worry after seeing the structure.  An old trailer – probably from the 70’s – smaller than the previous trailer she lived in and located less than 50 yards from a major road.  Hopefully I’m worrying for nothing…..