2018 In Review Part 2: …And, well, I say Goodbye too.

I have good news and I have bad news.

The good news is that if you’ve read Part One then you’ve made halfway through my Year in Review for 2018 and most of the “big events” happened there. The bad news is that we still have six months to go and in there are a few noteworthy events, plus the emotional fallout of a lot of Part One’s events, plus the year-end finale in December. If that doesn’t get you jazzed for Part Two I don’t know what would.

July

The shit-storm of stress at my job quadrupled when my Team Lead left for maternity leave on the 3rd, and it was assumed that since I was the only person who knew how to do most of her job, that I would be taking on all of her responsibilities even if I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. Plus, given that the Director of Finance had only joined the practice in February, she had been relying heavily on my coworker for things like practice analysis reports, so I got the privilege of doing executive level work for menial level pay. I was already overwhelmed and I refused to continue doing overtime because the money was not worth the stress, particularly when the company informed us that our yearly reviews, which were always done in July, would not include a salary increase this year.

My mother bought a sectional in fairly good shape that she found at the Good Will store. (This might not seem like much, but it’s important later.)

I had to fix the retaining wall that I had built for the first of what would be three times that year thanks to people running it over.

August

We celebrated Bella’s first birthday as part of our family. She was quite spoiled with ice cream cake and many toys.

During my search for another job, I came across a position that looked like a great fit for my mother. I knew that it would be difficult for me to leave our company knowing that she was stuck there in the phones department, so I was really happy that she agreed to interview for the new job, and then I was even happier when she accepted their offer for the position. I, on the other hand, continued to strike out on the job hunt, so I began to explore the idea of going back to school.

My Lupus began manifesting itself in crippling stomach spasms. I’m honestly surprised that something like that didn’t happen sooner given all of the stress, but it made up for the delay in spades. I like to think that I have a high tolerance for pain so when I say that the spasms were crippling, they were truly excruciating.

September

I heard about a position with a book publicity company, and even though I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell of being called, I gave them my resume

My mother officially completed her last day at her old job on the 7th. It did feel a little depressing driving into work myself the following Monday after four years of working together.

My friend who had lost her brother-in-law in January, lost her daughter-in-law to sudden complications with her Lupus. She was only 36 years old and left behind an 11 year old daughter.

At the end of the month, to my utter shock, I did get a call from the book publicity company. Even more shocking is that they said that they would call me again to come in for an interview about two weeks later…

October

…and most shocking of all is that about a week after my interview, I was offered the position. Accepting it was both huge and terrifying for a number of reasons, but I knew that I had to take it and I’m just thankful that God had presented me with the opportunity, and that I had the support of my family to pursue it.

November

My last day at my old company was the first week of November. In the five years I had been there I had seen many people leave, and nearly everyone who left sent their final “Thank you” email specifying that they were “not saying “goodbye but ‘I’ll see you later'”. I always found this a little melodramatic because if we’re being honest, when you leave a job, it really is the last time you will ever see the majority – if not all – of your coworkers. So I decided that I would say “goodbye” in my final email. This was partly to be ironic because unlike everyone who promised “I’ll see you later” and then disappeared, I actually would keep in contact with the people that I cared about. (And since I’m writing about this long after the fact, I can tell you that I did keep my promise.) But the other reason is that I really did want to bid goodbye to that company and the atmosphere of stress and anxiety that it created and to the people who exploited that to their benefit. Also, there was a bit of satisfaction in the defiant act of saying the word that everyone expect you to avoid.

I started my new job, and also the process of cultivating new relationships and a new routine.

Remember back in July when I said that my mother found a new couch at Good Will? Well it became the catalyst to tackle the other half of the first floor in the Massive House-Wise Renovation Project because it was supposed to go into the living room which was still the subject of wretched carpeting and that bloody popcorn ceiling. Rather than move the couch twice, we ripped up the carpet and scraped the ceiling in the living room…

Which is connected to the dining room…

So that meant ripping and scraping the dining room too.

And that’s how we reached the HUGE milestone of scraping off the last of the popcorn ceiling in the house.

That was the week before Thanksgiving and I thought that I pretty much kicked ass over the past three weeks between leaving a job after five years, starting a new job, beginning classes, and ripping apart two full rooms, in fact I expected to be finished enough to start decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. (Unlike the previous year but that’s another story.)

Then it was Thanksgiving and I was suddenly holy shit I left my job of five years, started a new job in a completely new field, I’m starting classes but I don’t remember shit about school, and am in agony after ripping apart two full rooms with uncontrolled Lupus! What the f*** was I thinking?!?!  I ironically had just talked myself down from a meltdown on Sunday when I received a call from the friend who had lost her brother-in-law and daughter-in-law this year to tell me that her sister had found their mother on the floor of her bedroom and that she was gone.

December

There were four weekend before Christmas in December and every single one of mine were booked. This would be exhausting for a normal person but, when you’re an introvert who need ten hours to recoup for every one of being social, it’s a nightmare – especially when said introvert is already stressed out of her mind.

One nice things though was that I was able to actually do one of the things I had written down to do this year back in January and that was seeing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. But in addition to this I had a gender reveal party, a holiday happy hour, and an ugly Christmas sweater themed first birthday party so that by the time Christmas Eve and my annual Feast of Seven Fishes came around I was ready to pass out. And that’s exactly what I did.

This should probably be an entry of its own, but given that I can’t give a full firsthand account I’m going to drop it here as the finale to 2018.

On Christmas Eve, two hours before the party was supposed to start, my stomach started spasming. Despite medication it continued to get worse so I went upstairs to lie down and try to get the pain under control. However when I heard the first guest arrive, I decided to try to muster through, but did not even make it out of my bedroom before I dropped to the floor. I don’t know how many of you have passed out but it’s a very disorientating experience. When I started to come to there was a strange man crouching over me, grabbing my shoulder, so my oxygen starved brain went to its default defense mode and I slammed the heel of my palm into his arm and sent it flailing away from me. I vaguely remember his look of shocked alarm before I drifted back into an oblivious sea of pain and nausea, and thankfully the man did not shoot me or arrest me, but let an ambulance take me to the hospital, because as it turns out, he was a police officer. I did convince the hospital to release me almost as soon as I got there, but unfortunately the party was a bust. I suppose it was a fitting end for the kind of year 2018 was.

But on the bright side I can now tell the story of that time I assaulted a police officer on Christmas Eve.

2018 in Review Part 1: You Say Goodbye, and I Say…

I had grand plans for 2018.

You know those “On this day” memories that pop up on Facebook, Amazon Photos, ect? I really enjoy seeing them pop up, and it occurred to me last year that there were hardly any memories for the last few years. That’s when I decided that for 2018 I was going to find at least one fun thing to do every month of that year so that I could begin to change that. But then the year started with a personal struggle and I had not even reconciled myself to that when a huge bomb dropped at the company where my mother and I worked, and after that 2018 turned into a struggle to just keep my head above water, much less trying to swim around for fun.

I don’t want to say that 2018 was a “bad” year because God knows that I’ve had years that completely destroyed me, and I’m so thankful that it wasn’t one of those, but it was a very…let’s say it was a very tiring year. There were not a lot of notable events, but each one had so much impact and emotion attached to it that there was rarely a moment in the year that I did not feel completely drained. To be honest nearly every moment of 2018 deserves its own entry instead of being crammed into just one “Year in the Review” entry.

So I’m going to do two “Year in Review” entries for 2018.

HAAAA!

Okay, seriously, I will most likely elaborate on a few of these events in forthcoming entries — which is the reverse of how I used to do things back when I wrote about events and feelings at the time they occurred and then did a recap at the end of the year but you didn’t hear me say that —  but in the mean time I did my best to keep each month’s summary as succinct as possible. That said the entry was still getting too long for one post so that’s why I’m affording 2018 the dubious honor of being reviewed in two parts. Another dubious honor is that both entries talk a lot about my mundane day job, the details of which I usually keep separate from my writing world, in fact I noted this in the first Year in Review I did following my return to the medical field. Unfortunately the day job impacted everything this year, particularly my writing which I’ll get to in one of the above mentioned future entries, but in the meantime I present Part One of 2018 In Review.

January

A very dear friend lost her brother-in-law a few days after New Year’s, and because of how close she and I are it was painful for me as well, particularly since it was an unexpected passing.

Despite all my efforts to mentally prepare myself to turn forty (I started preparing on my birthday last year) I still had a difficult time accepting the reality of it and that it meant that the time when I could have carried a child was over. (This is one of those “future entry events”.)

February

I’ll do my best to keep this month’s summary as brief as possible, but this was a truly nightmarish month, and while the events were definitely “future entry” worthy, I don’t know that I want to relive them enough to write them, so I’m getting it out here. On February 13 my place of employment called nearly every department into the auditorium and told us that our manager had just been let go and our departments were being dissolved. Long story short, the third party vendor who had taken the outsourcing contract in November was now a partner in the company and they were taking over. We were assured that no one else would be losing their job, but our jobs would be changing. The department which dealt directly with patients had been divided into four teams and we could apply for which team we wanted to transition to in that department at the end of the month. Translation: The only thing that you people can do that this other company can’t is to speak to a patient with an American accent. Thus started two weeks of bullshit where everyone in my department waited to see if we really would have jobs, and if we did, then which level of Hell would we be assigned to in the patient care department. None of us wanted to be forced into handling patient calls, but the waiting and not knowing what was going to happen was worse.

On February 24 my brother’s quest to adopt a dog ended when a tiny bundle from a hoarding rescue in Texas became part of our family. Bella was understandably exhausted after her long trip, but she was also very underweight and I could see that she was not feeling well. We went back to the rescue group’s vet the next day, but we were assured that she would recover with the medication he had already given her.

On the 27th I learned that during the previous two weeks of hell and uncertainty at my job, when I thought that no one in my department knew what was going to happen, actually only half of us had been struggling in the dark. It turned out that my department was not dissolving completely and my supervisor had been allowed to pick her favorite members of the team to stay as part of it. She had informed those members before the end of the first week that they were safe from transitioning to the phones, but it was to be kept secret so that only the people she had chosen would know to apply to stay in the revenue department. The rest of the team only found out about this when we sitting at our desks and happened to noticed that half of our team had suddenly disappeared from their desks. Some people thought that they had gone to lunch but when I pointed out that three of the people missing were ones that I always went to lunch with we realized that they were all attending a meeting that we had not been privy to. I had not been surprised at my supervisor’s sneaky, shady behavior because she had always showed ridiculous favoritism, but I was extremely hurt by the people who I considered to be close friends who had not said anything at all to me. (Side note here: This is an extremely simplified version of the situation and by reading just those few sentences where I explained it, I know that I sound childish, petulant, and petty but trust me that there’s a lot I’m not detailing and I was justified for feeling as hurt and manipulated as I did.)

That same day, as I was still reeling from the turn of events at my job, I got a call from my mother that she was taking Bella to the emergency vet because she was getting worse. The only positive of this event was that it helped to give me perspective about being upset about what was happening at a job. I immediately left work and met my mother and Bella at the vet where they did an x-ray and told us what I had feared: Bella had massive double pneumonia and would need to be admitted. I was in pulmonology for years and never saw an infiltrate as bad as Bella had. It was a miracle that she was able to breath at all.

March

On March 1st we received a call from the vet that despite antibiotics, oxygen, and nebulizer treatments he did not know if Bella would make it. I completely broke down. I can’t even go into everything I was feeling and why I was feeling it, but I did the only thing I could do which was to fall my knees and sob to God that He promised to not give us more than we could bear, and this was more than I could bear. And this is my testimony because Bella made it. That was a Thursday night and Bella came home on Sunday. She was on massive antibiotics and needed home nebulization (running the hot shower for 20 minutes twice a day), but the prayers had been answered. As tiring as 2018 was I will always be thankful it was the year God performed a miracle to keep our Bella here.

Back at work though, the overall situation was worse. I talked to my coworkers about how betrayed I felt and I tried to understand the situation from their point of view, but I couldn’t completely forgive and forget especially since I still didn’t know what was happening. I did learn that I would be transferring to the phones department along with six other members of our former team (which included my mother), but unlike those members who would be transferring immediately, myself and another team member were still needed in what was left of my old department and would transition within the next two weeks or later. Again I was left dangling, except now it was with the knowledge that I was being used for as long as it was convenient for them, and that during that time I’d be working under the supervisor who had finally revealed just how much she was running the department as if it was a high school lunchroom and resented that her favorites were friends with me, who she did not want as part of her group of “cool” kids. I immediately updated my resume and started looking for another job though it killed me a little to have to again look for a job in a field I’d come to despise. The only good news was that the stress of work eased a bit when the supervisor realized that she had showed her true self to too many people and gave her two week notice for the end of March. On the last week of the March, after six weeks of limbo hell, I was informed that my supervisor’s leaving meant that there was space for me on the new revenue team and I was offered the position to stay there. It was not an easy decision, and to be honest I’m not sure how much “choice” I truly had, but I decided to stay on the team. I figured that I would at least be doing a job I was familiar with while I looked for something else, and it also meant that I could take advantage of the overtime that was offered in the department because it was dismally behind due to losing half of the team members and the inability of the new outsourcing company to do our former jobs correctly. I worked 61 hours the last week of March.

April

My grandmother had a minor surgery on April 2 to remove a cyst from her ovary, however during the surgery the doctor decided to not remove the cyst because he thought that it might be cancerous. This was a scare that was thankfully resolved quickly because my grandmother was able to see an oncologist within days and had the second surgery exactly a week later during which the surgeon determined that it was not cancer.

On the job front things were a little better with the supervisor gone, and the sting of hurt began to subside a little, but I still wanted to leave. Unfortunately my lack of formal education had become a sticking point in the job hunt, mostly because I decided that I could not stand to continue in the medical field.

May

I had a plant sale on Mother’s Day which is the traditional start of gardening season, and despite a half-assed effort on my part to do any advertising, I sold fifteen plants — which sounds like a sad amount but this was the most plants I had ever sold so I was thrilled.

I also started the next part of the The Massive House-wide Renovation Project — which should be called The Massive Property-wide Renovation Project because the yard needed attention too — and that was removing the rotting pieces of lumber that were making a pathetic attempt at being a retaining walls in the front yard, and to replace them with retaining wall stones.

I had hoped to be gone from my job by this time, particularly since I was forced to interact with my ex-supervisor at the end of the month for a coworker’s baby shower, but the job hunt continued to produce nothing. I had even re-resigned myself to continuing in healthcare and sent resumes to jobs in that field, but none of them called me. I began to think that I might have to make a drastic move, like go back to school, if I was ever going to be considered as anything more than garbage by an employer.

June

When plans I had for the first weekend on June got cancelled, I decided to do another plant sale. I put more effort into advertising this time, though it wasn’t much more since my plans had been cancelled at the last minute so I’d only decided to have the sale the night before. I am still in of awe of this but I sold about 150 plants. Not only was it brilliant to finally see a return on my investment in the business, but it gave me a bit of hope for a direction I could take to create income. The only problem was that I had a massive Lupus flare after the sale was over. To be honest I was surprised that I hadn’t had a flare sooner considering all of the stress I had been under on top of working an average of 55 hours a week for over three months at work, but I still didn’t appreciate being out of commission for two days. I just hoped that once I left the stress of the job that my body would be able to handle more time in my plants. I had to hold on to that hope because the success of the plant sale had been the only thing to make me feel less than worthless in a long time.

End Part One

Read Part Two Here