Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tomorrow is the First Day of the Rest of My Life

Snow....why snow? (Image via)

Now I've done it. I've left my cozy, cocoon-like comfort zone. The windows have been shut, the curtains drawn and the door locked, nailed shut and wallpapered over.  There might even be a slightly askew bookcase in front of it that makes you feel that there's it, making you back away uncomfortably, not wanting to be near it yet not wanting to look away...whoa, sorry, went a little horror-novel there for a second...moving on...  I posted for a new position at work and I got it...I start tomorrow. It is scary and exciting. You get in a rut, you know? Some people choose to call it a groove, but it's all semantics. Rut, groove, all means that potentially your entire life consists of what happens between two distinct, never changing points, A and B. It's comforting because it's expected. When you're always on the same train going to and from the same place, things seem calm and relaxed but then you start to wonder what else it out there.

I've always had a job, ever since I was 16, with the exception of a few months I tried my hand at being a stay at home mom when the boy was a baby. From Target cashier to bank proofing operator to industrial engineering tech to senior claims representative, I've worn many different hats, professionally speaking. One common theme that presents itself in my adult life is that I've never changed jobs unless it was forced upon me. “Change is stupid,” said the me between the ages of 18 and 36. Whether I was working in a job that I loved or not, I envisioned myself retiring from that position with no want or aspiration to ever change or evolve.

It all started with the foundry that shall remain nameless, where I was slated to be the third generation to retire from there. My dad would have been the second and his dad was the first. Notice that conditional “would have been” qualifier for Dad? Grandpa's legacy never went beyond his retirement from that dirty, lung-blackening place because they closed down even before Dad could retire. I was comfortable there. Over the course of seven years, I went from part-time payroll clerk to full-time industrial engineer tech running my own department (albeit a department of one – me). I had friends there and was very good at my job. When it happened, it wasn't a surprise that they were closing down. It happened in stages, changing ownership, reorganizing, bankruptcy, downsizing here and there. I was lucky enough to be among the last few to have to move on, leaving only a handful of friends behind to complete the business of shutting down in the weeks after I left.

Moving into the first job offered to me post-foundry, I found myself thrust into the world of insurance, specifically health and life. It was a national, yet small company and the office I worked in was one of the last remaining satellite locations (should have been a clue...). I quickly learned everything one could want to know about health insurance and more. I even took advantage of the free industry-centric education offered there and earned the illustrious ACS designation from LOMA. If that means nothing to you, don't feel left out, it is a very specific program for the insurance industry and means very little outside of those walls. I quickly became, once again, comfortable in my role and good at my job. When the company was purchased by a larger one, I started having deja vu, feeling that the writing was on the wall. We were assured that it would continue on, business as usual, which it did..for a while. Then, it happened again. I was out on medical leave when I got the call to tell me that the decision was made to close that location, essentially downsizing the entire staff there. We were free, no, encouraged to apply for a new position at the location a couple of miles away however it would be in a totally new division and no one was guaranteed a spot. I was lucky that when my leave was over, I applied for and was offered a position in one of the other division and my “time served” came with me so it was less like starting over than it could have been, and I was grateful for that.

Having been through the drama of the dreaded office closing twice, I made a silent vow to myself that I would do whatever it took to make sure that this was the last job I would ever have. Once again, I worked at becoming very good at my job. After seven-ish years, I found myself curious about what I might be capable of beyond my current role. The company is huge with too many divisions to think about with a myriad of opportunities to move around in all directions. Having the advantage of being granted the luxury to work from home, all it took was to narrow my job search down to a few key words along with specifying a telecommuting environment and **poof** look at all the choices! I would throw my hat in the ring here and there, secretly terrified that I may actually get a call of interest in my resume and cover letter. My inner child was constantly arguing with my inner responsible adult between “not fixing what ain't broke” and “why limit your opportunities”.

So, here I am, at the escarpment of my new adventure. I've achieved the new position. I know I am capable of this new role. Why am I scared? I'm distracting myself with the minutiae. Changing the time on my recurring alarm on my phone. Spending way too much time selecting the perfect song to rouse me from my slumber on that first day of the rest of my life. Blogging about being nervous to start a new position...wait, where was I going with this...

Tomorrow I will wake up two hours later than I had been rising on workdays. I will do my morning routine and settle in to log onto my work computer. The same computer that I had been so proficient in using just a few days ago. Logging on to the lesser known, the uncomfortable, the challenging. I read once that you can't move forward without taking that first step. I thought at the time, “How asinine, who thinks this shit up?” Well, I get it now. I am solicitous to start my day tomorrow. I am appreciative to have earned this chance at transformation. It isn't nearly as intimidating as starting anew at a completely different company (shout out to my courageous cousin and friend Steph for bravely exiting her comfort zone for new exploits on new grounds!) but I'm sanguine going into my new post. The first step is upon me, I'm moving choice for the first time in a very long time...and it feels pretty wonderful (but still slightly terrifying).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

5 Reasons Why Sunday is the Worst Day of the Week

I think a pretty common philosophy in America is that weekends are the best thing about being a member of the working community (or a student).  Traditionally, one considers the weekend to start at the close of their workday on Friday and end when they go to sleep on Sunday.  I recognize that there are people who work a job where these are not guaranteed days off (thank you for your dedicated service, grocery store clerk, et al).  But for me, I have that traditional weekend.  And here are five reasons why Sunday is a million times worse than Monday in my book.

1.  You have good intentions to get things done over the weekend.  You make lists.  Laundry, grocery shopping, yard work, give the dog a bath, vacuuming, cleaning out the gutters.  You really mean to get them done.  And now it's Sunday and you've done one or two of those chores, if any.  Do you buckle down and get them done, thereby rushing through your last day of would-be rest and relaxation?  If not, you'll go to bed kicking yourself for not getting your shit done.

2.  Sports.  You either love them or you don't.  Racing, football, fencing... whatever... there always seems to be one sport or another on television on Sundays.  If you're totally into it, you're stressing about your team and your fantasy league.  You have to remember, were these the socks you wore the last two times they won?  If you're not into them, good luck finding something to watch.  And if you're of the unluckiest of the bunch, you couldn't care less about sports but live with a fanatic.  Restful Sunday is an oxymoron in your household as small bits of life are startled out of you everytime their team misses, or scores, or almost scores, or... anything.  The shouts and incomprehensible guttural noises made in support or scorn of one's team is something I will never understand.

3.  It's always too early or too late.  Facing work Monday morning leaves you to bargain with yourself between turning in early so you're fresh and well rested for work in the morning or squeezing every last drop off R&R out of your weekend before resigning yourself to start all over again in the morning.  Seems whichever you decide, it's always the wrong choice when the alarm sounds.

4.  Is it the beginning of a new week or the end of one?  I look at a calendar and it tells me that Sunday is the start of the week.  But it's always included when someone talks about the weekend.  Is it my chance to start anew or my last hurrah before a life-changing new week?  Perpetual dieters or anyone wishing to quit smoking, you know what I'm talking about.

5.  You never know what to expect from a Sunday.  At least you know, it's Monday, I have to work today.  But Sunday, depending on how you have spent your Friday and Saturday, you may be up with the sunrise on Sunday morning or you may not roll out of bed until noon-ish.  And if you're someone who has an active social life and choose to party on a Saturday (not my thing but I see plenty of social media comments and posts) then you may have no choice but to use Sunday as a recuperation day, possibly spending your first hour or so having quality time in front of the toilet.

Whatever direction your Sunday takes and however it shapes up, it never seems to live up to expectations.  There are never enough hours to get everything done while still taking that final day to wind down before returning to the grind the next morning.  Sunday is an inevitable concept, even if it isn't on Sunday.  There will always be that last day before you have to get back to being a contributing member of society, and that day will always be disappointing.
(Images Via, Via, Via, Via, Via)

Monday, October 6, 2014

....I Now Pronounce You Mrs. and Mrs.....

Wonder Wo...whoever you wanna be! (image via)

If recent history has shown anything it's that times, they are a-changin'.  Marriage equality has seen its fair share of media attention with more and more states finding the ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional.  Every time I see a Facebook post or tweet about a recent development in a state's stance on marriage equality, I find the comments section to be the textual equivalent of a fatal car crash scene; I don't want to keep reading the horribly insensitive and judgmental opinions but I just can't look away.  I have completely shied away from joining the fray, restraining my support of marriage equality to a like or a favorite.  But I've had enough of the hate, pious percipience and discrimination.  So here are my two cents.

The focus in social media's response to marriage equality seems to be on the religious and social aspects of marriage, gay or otherwise.  Please don't forget that many financial and environmental aspects of people's lives can be impacted by the right to enter into a legally recognized marriage.

Joint tax returns, joint adoption of a child, life insurance beneficiary rights, being on a health insurance plan as a family...these are all examples of things that opposite sex married couples take for granted as entitlements, yet these same rights are often denied (based on state/local laws, company policy or legal intervention by a family member) to same sex couples.  Yes, there are many corporations that have broadened their benefit language to include "domestic partner", enabling you to opt for family insurance coverage....but that choice is currently left up to each individual company.  However, it needs to be duly noted that the "domestic partner clause" wasn't necessarily designed with same sex couples in mind.  It is fairly common for the definition of a "domestic partner" to include someone who is either the same -OR- the opposite sex.  What's the big deal, you ask?  Well, now opposite sex couples who don't want to be married can also have the benefit of a family insurance plan, provided they meet the defined criteria (typically defined as a person who shares a residence with a sexual partner, especially without a legally recognized union, residency must be proven and can often be challenged by the insurer, compromising eligibility).  So, to recap that business, it still winds up benefitting the heterosexual population.  And even with Health Care Reform, the tax laws governing the taxation of health care benefits paid by an employer for non-tax qualified partners is complicated, costly and discouraging.  This can lead to higher premiums for covering a "domestic partner" as opposed to a legal spouse.

These things have nothing to do with God or how someone personally feels about people who aren't heterosexual.  If two people wish to commit to one another for life, in making that vow, they should be afforded the same entitlements as anyone else making that same commitment....gender should not be a condition.

And for those who say the government should "stay out of it", please remember that it's the government that issues that piece of paper that makes a union between two people something that is legally recognized.  Even those who choose to marry in a church and "in the eyes of God" are required to apply for and obtain a marriage license from their local court clerk if they wish for their marriage to be legal.  If someone can interpret the legal definition of marriage to mean "only between a man and a woman", and in doing so create or uphold a ban on same sex marriage, then the only way to remove the ambiguity leaving it open to that interpretation is for the government to amend its definition once and for all.  Please spare me the "what's next, marrying your dog" rhetoric....simply defining marriage as a union between TWO PEOPLE will be sufficient to satisfy those who insist same sex marriage can only lead to people marrying their pets, trees or cars.

I try to live my life without judgment.  I do not consider myself a particularly religious person, baptized Catholic but never practicing.  I do not admonish or wish ill toward anyone who has rich religious or spiritual beliefs!  I do not subscribe to one particular political party, politics is not something that I find all that interesting in and of itself.  If something sparks my fancy, I'll read about it, maybe chat about it with Mom or the boy....but I shy away from political debates at all cost because frankly, I am quite ignorant in the differentiations between Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green.....are there more?  If politics is your thing, carry on, someone has to keep watch and hold the government officials accountable!  I was married and divorced, so I must have believed in the premise of marriage yet I have no interest in ever entering that union again.  If you are married, I wish you a long and happy marriage and if you are single and want nothing more than to take that walk down the aisle, I think that's great!  I generally fall somewhere between a 1 and 3 on the Kinsey Scale, meaning that typically associate as being a heterosexual person.  If your Kinsey Scale number trends more toward a 5 or 6, where you identify as mostly or exclusively attracted to people of the same sex, I truly hope you find your soul mate, whomever that is!

To each their own.  If your beliefs, lifestyle, values and actions don't infringe on my life, I wish you well in whatever you want out of life.  I only ask that you don't try and push your agenda on me....and I will grant you the same courtesy.  To each their own is easy to say but to truly live and want equality for everyone....that is a lofty goal that seems insurmountable but if people would just remember that we are all HUMAN and leave it at that...I think that would go a long way toward that goal.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

An Ode to Incontinence

Seriously, I JUST laid down (via)

A passing thought
The suggestion of an urge
I'll just finish this chapter
Next commercial
I just went but an hour ago
Only had a sip of water
Better let the dogs out first
Then I'll go
The running water of the aquarium filter
The rain trickling through the downspout
Stand up
Where did that come from
Zero to full pressure in one simple motion
Can't sit back down
Move carefully
You have ruined humor for me
Laughter restrained
Cold and flu season is twice as cruel
Sneezing and coughing
No more sleeping through the night
I'm not even that old yet
Fuck you, bladder