Randoms…again

Hey y’all! *blows dust off the blog*

So much has been going on. I’ll try to summarize.

  • Lailah is 9 months old. What the heck? How did we get here? Her personality is feisty. She got my hangry gene. Poor baby. She’s trying to crawl now. Her bottom teeth are pushing through. At her doctor’s appointment yesterday, the doctor noted that her top front teeth are trying to erupt. We were so focused on the bottoms, we didn’t even see the tops!
  • I got a promotion at work. However, with us being down people, I really can’t enjoy it. 4 people just came back from a mandatory home office visit, so hopefully they can start receiving claims.
  • because it’s so crazy, I am on stay-cation next week. I could feel myself about to go DEFCON on someone, so I knew I had to take the days. I just need to make it through this week.
  • emotional eating has been kicking my azz. We will not discuss the amount of Ben & Jerry’s, cookies, or anything else I’ve eaten over the past few weeks. Just know that that’s why I look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow (Wo)Man in all my pics.
  • One of my eFriends is on a challenge, issued by her doc. In addition to specific food choices, she has to try to get 30 minutes of exercise every day for the next 7 days. Given the bullet point above, I decided to join her. I need this weight loss to happen.
  • I know cold turkey won’t work well for me, so I’m not following her diet plan to a T (read: I’mma still eat occasional cookies. But I did change my Sbux order from grande to tall). I am trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies. I won’t even tell you how much I spent at Harris Teeter on fruits, veggies and frozen fruits for smoothies. But WalMart veggies leave something to be desired.
  • The Boy is back. He is currently known as The Boy because of some shullbit he pulled before his return, costing US $212 for a new plane ticket. I’m mad just thinking about it. One of my eFriends said we should make him move cinder blocks back and forth like the Jacksons had to do. So tempting. As she is fond of saying, “blended families ain’t for the faint of heart.” She ain’t neva lied.
  • Lailah is really attached right now. I read that is common at this age. She screamed bloody murder when the doctor took her from HH yesterday. When we’re at home, she’s more attached to me. She could spend the whole day with HH, but the minute I come in from work, she wants me and if I don’t get her she has a breakdown. I think this hurts HH’s feelings a bit. He looks a little sad as he’s handing her over. I’ve assured him that in a couple of years she will be a Daddy’s Girl and then my feelings will be hurt. LOL
  • As far as my weight loss, I have to do it carefully, because Lailah is still breast feeding. I’m excited that we’ve made it to the 9 month mark. When she bit me a few weeks ago, in my head I heard New Edition singing “Is This The End.” I sent a frantic text to a fellow breast feeding mommy, and she told me what to do to correct that behavior. So far, we are back on track.
  • HH gets an extra week of vacation starting in 2015. Yay! Maybe we can go on a trip.

What’s new with you?

Randoms

Howdy, peeps? How are you? I know I’m super sporadic. Hang in there with me.

This weekend Lailah and I had quite a busy Saturday. One of my friends had a luncheon get together for a bunch of us who used to work together. This was the job where I met Serenity_23. The reason for the luncheon was that one of our old coworkers passed away a few weeks ago. She wasn’t sick that we know of. Her grandson (whom she had primary custody of) found her. So sad. So we figured we shouldn’t wait so long to get together. It was nice to see everyone. Everyone loved Lailah, and kept saying what a good baby she was.

After that, we went to a birthday party for a 1 year old. Lailah fell asleep on the way to the party, but she woke up when we got inside. It was such a nice celebration. I remember when my friend announced that she was pregnant, and now her daughter is 1.

It’s so nice to get out and about when we can. Most of my friends live way on the other side of town, where we used to live. It’s hard to get together. Lots of times, baby and I are at home chillin, and our biggest adventure is a trek to Tarjay. And that’s oh so bad for the budget. LOL

On Sunday, everyone was tired. HH slept in because he took allergy meds the night before. Lailah woke up early, but then she took a cat nap. I tried, but as soon as I got sleepy, she woke up. HH came out into the living room and then she fell asleep for like two hours. So I took a siesta as well. When we woke up, it was time for HH to leave for work. We took our obligatory Sunday visit to Tarjay, and someone fell back asleep in the cart.

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That doesn’t even look comfortable, but I guess it worked for her.

How was your weekend? Did you get any good naps in?

Good Timing

Today, after I went to get Baby L from daycare, I decided to run by Healthy Home Market to pick up some things (more about one of those things in another blog). It was a spur of the moment thing.

I got what I needed and we came back to the car. I was buckling L in and then as I ducked back out of the car, this young woman was standing there, timidly.

She explained that she was with her baby son, and her car wouldn’t start. She had the jumper cables and just wanted to know if I could give her a jump.

It’s 2014. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look around like, “is somebody about to come from around a corner and try to jump me/take my vehicle/etc.? But it was broad daylight in front of a whole strip of stores, with people coming in and out.

None of which stopped to help her.

So, I pulled around to where she was parked and faced her car. When we tried to get the hood up, it wouldn’t budge. I felt really girly at that moment…why can’t we get this hood open? LOL! A young man driving by asked if we needed help, and she told him yes. He parked and put his flashers on.

Turns out she didn’t have the hood release pulled out all the way. D’oh! He hooked the cables up, and her car started right up. We both thanked him for stopping, and he thanked me for being gracious enough to stop. That caught me by surprise.

I asked her where she was headed, and it wasn’t too far from where we were. Alas, it was in the opposite direction of where I was going. Otherwise, I probably would have followed her to make sure she was ok.
I have AAA Gold and if push came to shove, we could’ve called them.

I wondered about her as a drove home. Her car was older. It had all these leaves and things around the hood by the windshield, and cobwebs on the bottom right front bumper, as if she didn’t drive it much, or it had been sitting for a while. I hope she and her son made it home ok.

Just glad I decided to go to the store after all. Perfect timing so that I could help someone in need.

Enough Already

I’ve been in the insurance industry since 1997. I’ve worked at different companies handling different kinds of claims. I’ve been exposed to all kinds of management processes and styles. Every few years, these companies want to “reinvent the wheel” in terms of customer service. We are currently going through this right now.

A few months ago, we implemented a new management system. I don’t want to get into too many specifics (for obvious reasons), but one aspect of this is that each team has a dry erase board that sits out in the open. Like a huge one that you’d see in a football locker room. On these boards is the name of each team member, and then next to it certain metrics. We have to keep track of how many new claims we get each day, how many we close, set targets for different things like negotiations and how many claims we want to evaluate. In addition, we have to indicate how we feel about that work day, by using a colored dot – either red, yellow or green. The board also contains important news and announcements. Every day we meet at the same time for 15 minutes to discuss this board. If you need help from teammates you can ask for it, etc.

Needless to say, people are tired of this. All this info is up there in the spirit of “transparency,” but half the time people are lying. I walk by boards and see green and I know for a fact that the person is miserable. People are scared to say how they really feel, even though they are told there are no repercussions.

Right now everyone is stressed and overworked. We are getting slammed with new claims. One coworker just went out on leave starting today. We don’t know how long she’ll be out. Another is transferring within the company and has two weeks left. Their files have to go somewhere…which means they will be split between the rest of us. More work. Yay! On top of that, they’ve started this initiative that no matter what you’re doing, is the phone rings you need to stop and answer it. Right. Is this a call center or are we handling claims? When you’re in the midst of something difficult, stopping to take a call can totally jack up your concentration. But whatevs.

I’ve had enough already. I’ve spent the months since I returned from maternity leave busting my azz to go above and beyond, and I’m tired. I value work-life balance, and I wasn’t getting it.

On Tuesday, my unit leader made me so mad, I was feeling like this:

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Her shenanigans are a WHOLE OTHER BLOG POST. I told her that I am done. Ain’t no extras. During my scheduled work hours I will work my azz off, but I’m leaving on time every day, I don’t care who doesn’t get called (this all stemmed from her IM-ing me in an accusatory tone about not taking someone’s phone call when she knew we had been in a bullsh*t meeting for an HOUR and then I was in the mother’s room pumping for the next half hour). I have left on time every day since and I love it.

I take pride in my work, but you’re not going to take advantage of that and treat me like a slave.

I hope at some point, they will realize that it’s enough already. People are wearing thin. We can’t afford to have anyone else quit. But I guarantee you that almost everyone is looking for new employment.

On Having Kids

This morning, a twitter friend was talking about how she decided at a young age that she did not want to have kids. But no matter how she insisted, she couldn’t find any doctors who would give her a tubal. She now has one child, and went on to say that people think she’s being funny when she says she doesn’t recommend kids to friends.

That started me thinking about how much my life has shifted in the last 2 years. For the first 15 years of my adult life I was child-less and husband-less. I’m counting from 22, when I got out of college. I spent that time doing pretty much whatever I wanted to do, without having to answer to someone or make elaborate plans. If you have kids early, then you don’t have all that time to get into that independent routine.

HH has been a father since he was 17. 17. So, his whole adult life there has been a child to raise. I honestly cannot imagine my 17 year old self having a child, not even my 22 year old self.

So, while I love our little Toots to the moon and beyond, when I found out I was pregnant, I kind of saw that as the end of “my” life for a few years. I spent so much time coming and going and doing whatever, and I knew that was coming to a swift end.

The simplest things need “a plan” now. You cannot be spontaneous with a child. You just can’t. Babysitters must be arranged. Schedules must be coordinated. I don’t know about every other mother, but for me with a child under 1, sleep is at a premium. Lemme say that again: sleep is at a premium. There have honestly been times where I had to decide to sleep or eat, and I have chosen sleep. And that over the top sex drive that’s supposed to kick in for us women when we get around 40? Non-existent for me. (I’m sure much to HH’s chagrin, LOL). I just want to sleep.

I mean, if I want to stop and do something after work I’ve got to go home first, because I’m carting around breast milk that I pumped during the day at work. Forget that mac & cheese commercial talking about liquid gold. Breast milk is liquid gold, and it absolutely cannot be wasted!

They say when you become a parent, you become less selfish. Maybe most folks do. But I still want my “me” time and often feel guilty about taking it, which is crazy. I’ve got to take care of myself to be there for HH and the kids. And yet, the thought of coordinating breast feeding, pumping and schedules just to take one yoga class makes me feel like, “just forget it.”

I’m just being honest here.

And I still don’t necessarily like everyone’s babies just because I have one now. LOL! I don’t envision a future where I spend my entire weekend wrapped up in my child’s sports activities. But who knows – that could very well be my future, and I’ll deal with it. My coworker’s son plays baseball and she was saying how the parents of the kids on the team become your main friends. Uh, I don’t want to lose my old friends.

Parenting is hard. Everybody knows that. It is physically draining. Some nights I’m pissed that my kid loves my b00bs so much that she wants to breast feed at 2:45am. I’m frustrated with HH’s work schedule which leaves me solely on baby duty every afternoon and evening on the weekends. He has days off during the week, so he can go freely because she’s at daycare. I miss being able to just decide to go to ATL or to VA on short notice. Matter of fact, we had a come to Jesus convo about this, because I really don’t think he understood how things were from my point of view. Again, he’s been at this since 17. Also, neither of my stepsons was breast fed, so he didn’t have that either. I think in his mind, it should’ve just fallen into place for me.

Uh, no.

Lemme tell you, when my sisters and brother started having their kids, I was not jumping up talking about, “I can’t wait to babysit!” Nope. Matter of fact, when my sisters kids used to visit in the summer time and play with my better’s kids, it was nothing but a cacophony of aggravation, in my book. I used to chuck the deuces, go to my room and close the door. LOL!

I’ve never had that internal ticking clock. Not at any time in my 20s or early 30s. Matter of fact, I tried my hardest to date men WITHOUT kids, although as I got older that got harder to do.

At the end of the day, parenting is not for everyone. I respect the people who can say without a doubt that they DON’T want to have kids. It’s smart that they know this. And if you want them, have them. If you’re healthy, don’t let that “advanced maternal age” speech from the doctor scare you away completely.

Just know that sometimes it may not feel like candy canes and rainbows.

And you may not feel like every other parent feels about parenting – I know I don’t always feel the same as my peers.

And that’s ok. You won’t get sent to parenting hell for that.

Transparency

Transparency:
openness, accountability, straightforwardness, candor
“the new government aims for better transparency”

On Saturday, my friend Steph babysat Lailah (a whole other blog post, lol) while I attended my friend Tinesha’s seminar. It’s part of a series of seminars entitled “Spread Love.” This one was about living a life of transparency.

The seminar was co-facilitated by Tarsha (pronounced Tar-Shay) Hamilton, who is the wife of An.thony Hamil.ton. Both ladies are phenomenal. They opened up by talking about their life struggles earlier on, and how they’ve both learned to be transparent in discussing the issues. Tinesha talked about her battle with depression, and how she has to learn how to process anger and deal with emotions. Tarsha talked about having lost family members to AIDS, the stigma attached, and how they did not discuss it openly when she was younger.

As an ice breaker, we each had to fill out a “Hello, My Name Is _______” page in our booklets. You have your name, how you found out about the seminar, what you hoped to take away from the seminar, and one thing you wanted everyone there to know about you. We switched papers with our neighbor, and we had to introduce each other. Several people mentioned that they wanted to find the balance between being transparent and just revealing everything.

I took a ton of notes while Tinesha and Tarsha were speaking, but I don’t have them with me right now. I also sent out some “live tweets” on statements and ideas that resonated with me.

The portion of the seminar that had the biggest impact with me was when we all shared a secret. I had flipped ahead in our packet (I can’t help it, it’s who I am, LOL) and saw the page entitled “Shhhhh…it’s a secret.” The directions were to write down something about you that was a secret. Everyone did, and then they were placed in a box. You did not have to write your name.

I don’t know about everyone else in the room, but that exercise was scary, humbling and freeing all at the same time. First and foremost, I know that putting things in writing make them real for me. And then I have no choice but to deal with them. Secondly, whenever you reveal something about yourself, you don’t know whether or not you will be judged. However, I obliged and wrote a secret on the paper, folded it up, put it in the box, and waited.

Once everyone was done, Tinesha passed took the box around to different people in the room, and each one pulled out a slip and read it. At first, there was mostly silence, and some gasps or sounds of sympathy.

And then it happened. One of the women was brave enough to speak up and say, “that one you just read, that was MY secret.”

And then another woman. And another. And each time they stepped up in the spirit of transparency to reveal themselves, great dialogue ensued. Offers of help and support were made. They were brave. There was no scorn or judging, just nods of sympathy and SUPPORT.

What I realized was:

  • We all have a story
  • A lot of us have THE SAME story…we just don’t know it
  • Transparency can lead to getting the help/support you need
  • Our stories are often the reason behind our decision making, in all areas of life
  • I have a few awesome friends

I don’t think that the point was to share everything with everyone. Of course, you have to be discerning regarding who you share your life with. But I think a good first step is being more transparent with the ones you love.

Are you transparent in your life? Do you think you could’ve written down your secret and then claimed it during the seminar? How do you think being more transparent would help you?

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Want more information on the Spread Love Seminars? Check out the following:

Tinesha’s website/blog

Follow her on Twitter: @roc_star

Follow her on Instagram: roc_star

She’s also a great loctician/natural hair stylist: Revolution EGO Salon

I Guess We’re the Village

CH has a friend. We’ll call him S. S is in the ROTC with him, and doesn’t live too far from us, now that his family has moved. I feel some kind of way about his family and his home situation.

A few weeks ago, he came to spend the night. They had an ROTC event, and he was going to ride with CH. This was a Friday night. Saturday I went to pick them up, and CH asks can he spend the night again. Sure, if that’s ok with his aunt and/or grandmother. He stays. The next day, HH heads to work and tells them to wrap their weekend up by 5:00.

At 4:55, CH comes to me wanting to know if I can give S a ride home. Something about his aunt didn’t want to drive in the rain. And? I’m supposed to drag my 4 month old out in the rain? No! Make arrangements to get your kid. Or, as an ADULT, you call me to square the situation away. Don’t send messages through the kids. As you can tell, I was a bit perturbed. We don’t send CH anywhere without arrangements to pick him up, or prior agreement with other parents to drop him off.

Long story short, these trifling azzed people his family do not come and pick him up or make arrangements for him to be picked up. HH has to take him home at 11:30pm.

Who does this?!?

He’s been over another night since then, but now that they live closer it’s walking distance. One day I asked CH what’s the deal. This was a day that I was nice enough to drop him at home, since I was running errands. To my chagrin, we pull up and there’s two cars in their driveway (grrrrrrr – you got 2 cars but can’t give your kid rides anywhere?!?) Anywho, CH says he lives with his aunt and grandmother, and from the little interaction he had with them, he even felt that they were trifling. He said that S always calls or texts him on the weekends wanting to know what he’s doing, and saying he’s trying to get away from the house. I asked him what does S plan to do after HS. He said he’s going into the military.

I don’t know where his mother is…but it appears his aunt/grandmother took him in, and they act like it was done under duress. Why would you take him in if you didn’t want to be involved in his life?

I feel bad for him, but I am not about to entertain and feed him every weekend. He looks to be well clothed. When they’re not paying attention, I check for signs of any physical abuse, and I haven’t seen any.

Yesterday morning he walked to our house so he could get a ride to ROTC. He came back with CH in the afternoon and stayed here until CH sent me a text asking if he could stay the night. I said no, maybe next weekend before we head to NY. I wasn’t feeling well, and Lailah was on one. I felt kind of bad, but I just wasn’t in the mood.

I’m trying not to make too many assumptions. Maybe he’s trouble when he’s home. Although I don’t think so, because he’s super polite when he’s here. If I go grocery shopping, he’s trying to beat CH to the car to get the bags. They made breakfast for everyone last weekend and cleaned the kitchen. He clearly knows the rules here. LOL

On the one hand, I feel good that our home is an environment that he feels comfortable in, but on the other, you’re not going to hand your kid off to me and I’ve never even met or talked to you. It takes a village to raise a child, but my goodness. I just really wonder what goes on at his house, that he always wants to escape…