RLTW

My oldest has another mother. I don’t care. He’s active and I was so happy to hear his voice today. I miss him so much. I worry beyond words and can’t wait for him to be stateside to sleep at night.

Advertisements

It’s been a while…

I haven’t been on here in a while. Life got in the way and sharing it proved difficult. Hindsight can be brutally clear sometimes. Maybe over the next months I can artfully articulate my thoughts. Today, my thoughts are as messy as a brain in a blender.

Stress eater!

It’s been pretty stressful the last couple months. I have not been handling it well at all. I have been pretty proud of losing about 60 pounds and how much better it made me feel not lugging the extra weight around. But over the last couple weeks I was almost up 10 pounds!

It’s so simple why I gained. I bought my stress food love affair snacks. Licorice. I love that junk. Not only did I buy licorice…. I bought that huge ass tub of licorice. Yep. Bad bad bad decision because if it is here I will eat it. Add stress and I will eat a lot of it.

Will power – pffft. I have will power for a lot of things. Just in case there is anyone reading this who wants to be judgmental, don’t. Save it. I do just fine on my own.

Anyway, I woke up the other day and was in the hell no to the gaining weight mood. Off to the store I went to get my keto test strips. I had already been eating keto-ish and wanted to see where I was. I was negative, of course. But, that little negative strip helped spark my desire to get back on track. So here I am a couple of days later and the scale is moving down again. Thank goodness.

The keto style diet is actually pretty easy since this is how I ate growing up. It wasn’t until I actually started dieting and calorie restriction that I started gaining more and smite weight. I never really thought about it much. I just looked at it like I was always dieting.

So now, goal is to reduce stress which is my Number 1 issue for breaking good eating habits. Number 2 issue is not making enough time for relax and enjoy many aspects of my life.

Cancer

A good friend has been in the hospital for a few days to get stabilized. Yesterday, he was diagnosed with cancer. They had found a huge mass in his colon. Today, he’s being tested for everything under the sun.

My kindergarten brain is racing through my memories. All of the times we went to Tahoe, so many festivals I am sure I’ve forgotten some, road trips with destination unknown, the drinking, the gambling, basketball games and most important – laughter. No matter what the laughter and joyous time are memories I hold dear. He was a part of my life in a time I really started living life for myself. Good stuff. Good times.

Let’s call my friend Eastwood. He is Japanese and has always reminded me of Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid. I don’t think I ever told him but it’s what I still think of today. He’s always been more edgy. I never worried about being messed with or my safety around him. I always knew I was safe. When he spoke of his career working as a tax collector it just never surprised me the stories he’d tell. When we’d go to Tahoe, sometimes my ex boyfriend and I would stay with him and his parents at their condo. His parents were amazing. His Mom was soft, kind and sweet. Always put out a ton of snacks. LOL His Dad was a huge baseball fan. He was loosing his hearing so it was a hoot when his Dad would get loud at the game because he was usually soft spoken and gentle. You could tell Eastwood was similar to his Dad in many ways though. Ultimately, I can’t say enough good things about them. Good people. Good times. Good memories.

His daughter. We will call her Blossom. It took a little while before I got to meet Blossom. His weekends with her were more important than anything in life. When we didn’t see Eastwood we knew why. My boyfriend at the time had met his daughter as they had been friends long before I came along. When I did finally meet her I was not surprised to see the beautiful, smart, talented and edgy girl who called Eastwood, Daddy. Today, she is still the same. She lost her Mom young and struggled with that. Some things parents just can’t fix. Eastwood tried but she had to do her own thing for a while. A couple years ago Blossom moved back to the home town. Now she is getting ready to have her first baby. Blossom is Eastwood’s only daughter so this will be his first grand baby too. Everyone is excited for this next chapter.

As I am recalling the memories of his loving but stubborn disposition along with his love of women… I think these things:

Well, the nurses are going to get a run for their money.

He didn’t have to go get a lump in his colon to get that intimate with the lady doctors.

He is going to get bored.

What is going to happen when he wants to drink.

How is Blossom. Her baby.

Did his sister come to see him.

Just a bunch of stuff serious and funny all mixed up in my ball of emotions.

I haven’t seen Eastwood in years. We keep in touch through text mainly. I really wish I would have made more of an effort to see him before now.

The pay gap…

Does the pay gap exist? Yes. However, there are many places of employment it does not exist by their own design. And, there are many women who negotiated well to get their pay.

Women entered the workforce when the need arose. Many women had no idea what they were showing up for, no prior experience in work or negotiations. Then, consider the time women started working…. was it equal? No. Many women have blazed the trails for equality and without their impact who knows where we’d be.

Today, as many women speak about wage gaps and equality I feel the balance is not there. When I say balance I am talking about both men and women. In the group of people I know, whether we are true friends or not, many are not with the other parent of some of their children. Take into consideration all separations are different just as much as places of employment too. Then, state to state there are differences.

In California we have a thing called FMLA. Family medical leave act where family can take paid and unpaid time off to care for a sick family member or themselves. In the instance I am going to use maternity leave. Almost everyone expects a women will take time off after having a child. In California the father is entitled to take 6 weeks paid time after the birth and 6 more unpaid weeks for bonding during the first year. The unpaid weeks you can use sick or vacation time if you have it. Now, this is where it gets tricky. I work for a great company who told me to take as long as I want/need. I took nearly a year off. Mostly unpaid and while financially it sucked I would do it again. My husband was able to take the first 6 weeks without a problem because he had told me about stories about what was happening to the fathers at his work who were throng to take the rest of the paid initial 6 weeks and unpaid time. I got his paperwork in order and told the doctor we needed it filled out for the full 6 weeks because he would get the time otherwise but we already had 3 children. All of which were in their own activities, schools, etc. So, the first 6 weeks was not a problem. However, any time he put in a request for a week of the remaining 12 week total for “bonding” it was denied. Not once was it ever approved. I haven’t heard of any male getting that time approved from his place of employment yet. It’s been 9 years he has worked there. Fathers are entitled to the time by the state of California but the employer can deny it. This, in and of itself, is wrong.

Time off in general for school functions of any kind. I never have trouble getting the time. In all places of employment I have never had an issue. I may have made to make accommodations but nothing really out of the ordinary. My husband, ex husband both were/are heavily frowned upon for asking to take time. They don’t even dare call in sick for a child. If the school called either my ex husband or my husbands work there would be hell to pay for having to leave to get a sick or in trouble child. I have had to take plenty of unpaid time off to cover our sick children and myself. Sometimes it has been at the most inconvenient times and my work figured it out and covered me. I know I am lucky. Shouldn’t time off for our children be equal for both parents?

Let’s talk about coming in early or staying late. Daycare starts at 6 or 7 am and ends at 6pm for most of us. I am usually the one who is unwilling to come in early. Nothing to do with child care. I say no and I’d rather just take a short lunch and stay after if need be. Guess what? It’s not frowned upon. Where my current husband works he is expected to communicate during shift change which required him to be ready at the machine before his actual shift starts or ends. This is not paid. (Another story there altogether) his place of employment regularly schedules him for 12 hour shifts and Saturdays without regard to “family”. If we have something for our Son he gets the their eye if he tries to work it out to attend. It’s really crazy. And everyone knows when I have to leave to make it in time to pick up my child and actively works to make sure I get out on time. Do we do the same thing for men? Nope, but we should.

Our male/female expectations in the work impact parents differently. Whether it be from active participation in our children’s lives at home, school, dr appointments or activities there is an impact. Usually, mothers Are the ones who attend school, doctor or activities because dad had to work. Does that mean they are bad fathers? Of course not. Should both parents be able to make accommodations with our employment to be active in our children’s lives? Of course.

Now, here is my harsh viewpoint on the pay gap. I support equal pay when and only when the position is the same, work output are equal, time and attendance are equal. So on and so forth. I really don’t care if you are male or female. If you are constantly taking unplanned time off and making the department cover for you, you deserve less than the rest who are there making “it” happen. It does not matter what your gender is. Typically, in my 30 years of working…. it’s been me fellow woman, absent, unplanned, regularly interfering with consistent workflow and causing the rest of the team to work harder and expecting to be paid the same!? Nope. This is where I, as a manager, was grateful for reviews to include time and attendance. It means so much more than if you get paid for that time. I am all for taking time off as a parent. Schedule it. Plan it. Get paid for your contribution. If everyone did this maybe the workplace and life balance would head in the right direction for everyone.

I don’t believe everyone’s situation is the same. I think some men are underpaid and some some women are overpaid. What I do know is that until the work-life balance for men and women are the same in he workplace and in the family the harmony will not exist.

The other piece to this is negotiation. As a hiring manager in comparing negotiations between men and women. This is a man area of improvement. You get what you ask for. If you don’t ask you won’t get. Don’t be ridiculous in what you ask for but the worst you can get is a no for an answer.

Where is all of this leading…. family court. Until the expectations, allowances, perceptions and many other things really truly change the balance will not be there. All too often we hear in family court that the Mother has been the “sole” provider for the child. The Mother May or may not have worked but still attends the school functions/appointments, Doctor appointments and activities is a common statement being tossed around family court like we are the only parent capable of caring for our child. In reality, our workplace expectations dictate this to some degree. Social acceptance to some degree? I think so.

In my opinion, women, if you want equal pay then you must support equal rights for parents. This means shared custody. This means eliminating the expectation his money is still your in the form of child support.

Equal pay is dependent upon equal rights as parents.

Should anyone read this whole thing…. please do not go all FB on me. Their are certainly some situations that do not fall into this very limited scope of dialogue.

Boys and farting!

My little guy seems to love the sound of farts. I just don’t get it. He beebops all over the house making farting noises day in and day out. The rest of the time it’s monster jam or car noises. Hahaha

Today, he had a balloon partially blown up and let the air out into an empty water bottle. He cracks himself up and does this several times. Each time is funnier than the last.

I missed the memo where fart noises are quite this funny. Granted, he just turned 4 but where did he learn this!? Lol

Time to breathe… reflection of the past few weeks

It’s been a while. I missed this. Work, holidays, family and general demands of life have been all too overwhelming. Today has been the first day in weeks I don’t feel completely filled with anxiety.

My Christmas tree is glaring at me though. It’s gotta get out of my house today and the decoration boxes put away. Then I will have my messy house back.

My little guy got ultimate parking garage for Christmas so there are cars everywhere in this house. I will admit, the gorilla going up the side of the toy is pretty cool. He loves it too so it’s a win.

So, as I sit here and blabber on and on… I am enjoying a nice hot cup of foo foo coffee and thoroughly enjoying it. I am recalling the conversations had with family during their recent visit over New Years. Thinking about it gives me mixed emotions.

First, let me say having my husbands step brother, wife and son here was amazing. We truly had a great time. We will call the step brother D, the wife K and the teenage son TK. First off, this family is beyond intelligent. I can’t really say enough there. Beyond that they are kind, funny, charitable and they actually seem to like me.

Background on the in laws: they told D and K that they should not like me. Long story short is we have rules and expectations they think they should be able to override, alienate and undermine without consequence. In the end, they paid a horrible consequence. They are no longer allowed in our home and we refuse anything sent from them. The largest consequence has been the loss of the relationship between my husband and his mom and step dad. They never liked me for whatever reason so I didn’t really have a loss.

Leading up to the holidays work was beyond stressful. Working long hours dealing with companies and people who don’t take care of their books properly is insane. December 22nd and I had not yet purchased a single gift. I get off work and between the 22nd and 23rd I did some of my best marathon shopping ever! Wrapped and went to my sisters and we had a great time. I was feeling the love.

Christmas rolls around and my little man was happy. Our oldest Son has been getting an earful from his grandparents so my relationship with him that has always been good is now starting to suffer. Being a step mom isn’t always easy but I believe he will see through the bullshit eventually. My daughter came home and we all enjoyed a Christmas brunch style breakfast. My heart was full.

The 28th gets here and D, K and TK Get here. We spent Saturday as a family doing our thing in he foothills. D and K set up some crazy camera stuff to capture our adventure. I am looking forward to seeing that! Sunday we spent time at home BBQ, movies and playing with the kids until adult time. It was then they told us they had to endure breakfasts where my in laws told them they should not like me. They were chastised for bringing D’s Mom to see his Dads Mom as she was dying. In my opinion, the in laws are huge hypocrites. I left the conversation because they have stolen too much of my happiness, caused all to many fights between my husband and I, continue to try and alienate his children against us and it really just does not make any sense to me. We moved into sharing adult beverages, turned up the music and rang in the new year.

As the new year fireworks, gunshots, pots and pans started off we shared a new year toast. It was one of the best New Years I have had in many years.

I usually make a New Years resolution. Usually something weight related. I haven’t made one this year. Being healthy is a lifestyle not a resolution. Choosing to be happy is not a resolution.

Last year I made a resolution to determine who was moving forward with me in my life. Abandoning relationships determined to be carcinogenic. It sounds callous but it is t really. Sometimes we can truly love someone who is not good for us. We can still love them without letting them have a carcinogenic impact. It was hard. I still struggle. I am blocking/blinking away the hot tears that want to fall from my eye but I refuse! Because, you know, if a year falls it will make me mad. Lol

This year, I still need to continue my resolution to share my life with people who aren’t carcinogenic. At the same time, contribute to people who may need some encouragement to get going in the right direction, kindness and a willingness to be open to something new. Can we make resolutions for other people? I am so tired of seeing my husband hurt. He is a good man. We all fall short of the glory of God. (Insert whoever is your God here) he struggles with what his parents have done and are doing and he still loves them. Of everything they’ve done… he still loves hem. I get it. It’s hard because I don’t love them. I don’t even respect them at this point. My best word for how I feel about them may be pity. To be people who are not dumb, claim to be God fearing, charitable, loving everyday people… it makes no sense. I don’t get it. I am not sure I ever will. I am not even sure that if we sat at a table to try and mend ways that I would be able to.

If you’ve read all of this…. lol thank you. I jumped all over with my kindergarten brain sharing what was heavy on my heart today.

May your new year be filled with an undeniable happiness.