A Day in the Life

Homeschooling and Medieval Living

Rush Week

I apologize for my brief absence. Several things have happened. First there was holiday recovery. Then,  my whole family had the flu (thanks to the holiday gatherings). And finally, there was (or rather is) Rush Week.

My husband works for a local college bookstore. He does this for one week every semester. This week is called Rush Week. It is the first week of classes when the main bulk of the student body comes into the one bookstore on campus to purchase books. Last week, I asked the manager if she needed more help this semester. She said that they did. So, here I am working 9-10 hour days at the bookstore. Classes began on Monday. It wasn’t so bad. Then, yesterday hit. It was the second day of class. As I looked at the long line of students, I came to some very thoughtful conclusions.

First of all, parents are way ruder than youth. Every young person of college age who came through my checkout line was very polite and patient. They were full of “Thank you” and “yes, ma’am”. They waited patiently when the register froze. They had forms already filled out and knew (for the most part) their student ID. The parents were completely different. Not one of them said thank you. They did not have forms filled out (for ordering/renting books) and they had no patience. I even had one particular customer who talked on her cell phone through the entire transaction. I was very tempted to overcharge her (or confiscate her phone). Other parents yelled when a certain textbook was not in.They cursed when they were told that it takes 48 hours for financial aid to post to their bookstore account. “My son just registered an hour ago. What do you mean you have no record of his financial aid yet?”

Secondly, students come in all ages. I had so many students come through the line who were over thirty. In fact, one student even asked if we offered AARP/Senior Citizen discounts. He was auditing a Spanish class. One woman said she was a single mom with two children at home. She was entering our nursing program. I am so proud of her. I wished her lots of luck this term.

Lastly, misery loves company. At first, I thought that it would be difficult working with my husband. It hasn’t been. He usually works the register next to me. Whenever I start having a bad day, he looks at me and says “Just a couple more hours. You can do it.” Even though he is not a people person, he is very polite to everyone. He even took the flirty college girl in stride. (Even though I teased him afterwards. She was kinda cute.) Because of him, I have been able to laugh and smile all day (even when my feet ache and my back just can’t take it any more). He offered quite a bit of bantering. At times, he would lean over and finish my return policy spiel for me. I have loved working with him. In fact I only have one complaint. I am tired of vacuuming. Today, he will be the one to vacuum the whole store. I would much rather stock.

Rush Week ends on Friday – our last day. So you should see more of me on the blogosphere. I have some articles that I really need to edit and post. I hope to get that done this weekend. So, you should see some homeschool/education posts next week. I also have a writer’s group meeting next week. So I should have some stuff ready from that. There is always so much to do these days. Which is a good thing. I love to stay busy. 🙂

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The Abyss

“And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”

 – Friedrich Nietzsche

There is an abyss before me. It is full of darkness and all manner of scary things. I stand upon its precipice. I teeter and I am very afraid but there is nothing I can do. I am so full of sadness and despair.

This is a glimpse into the mind of depression. It is something that I live with. I try to ward it off with determination and good ol’ positive thinking. Most of the time it works. Sometimes it does not.  My husband’s grandmother passed away last Friday. The viewing is tonight and the funeral is tomorrow. My husband and I have been holding up rather well. Then something awful happened. He got his grant money from school. We had a good amount left after school was paid. Now this should have been a good – even a great  – thing, but it wasn’t. You see, I hate money. When we don’t have it, we desperately need it (for bills and food and such). When we get a small amount (like the grant money) we have to pay all our bills and it is gone in a heartbeat. “Where did it all go?” I wonder. Well, we spent it on bills that we haven’t been able to pay in months. We got caught up and that takes a lot of money. But we have internet now. We have a phone. We have food in our tummies and we have gas in the car. That is where it went. My husband thinks I am so silly for stressing over such things. He retreats into video games. I lose him for hours in the computer. I usually just go to bed. I sleep about 10 hours a day. I have all of the symptoms below. So many people want to sweep this under the rug. Some of my family members don’t even think I have a problem. They don’t see me on a daily basis. They certainly don’t see me at home with stress up to my eyeballs and tears all over my pillow. This is not a once-in-a-while thing. This is a daily occurrence. It has been going on for some time. So far, I have been able to function at work. But, lately, I have been arriving later and later. The bad thing is, I just don’t care. Nothing interests me. I just don’t want to do anything. It was even hard for me to write this blog and I normally LOVE writing.

Here are some facts about Depression, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI):

– Women experience twice the rate of depression as men, regardless of race or ethnic background.

– Nearly 18 million Americans—one in ten adults—experience depression each year, and about two-thirds don’t get the help they need.

– An estimated one in eight women will suffer from major depression in their lifetimes.

To meet the criteria for major depression, most of the following symptoms must be present for at least two weeks, or interfere with work or family life:
• Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
• Loss of interest or pleasure in regular activities.
• Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying.
• Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, low self-esteem,
or guilt.
• Inability to concentrate, remember things, and make decisions.
• Changes in sleep and appetite (too much or too little).
• Loss of energy and feeling “slowed down.”

More on this issue can be found in the brochure at the NAMI website.

Do you know someone who has the above symptoms? Do they interfere with work or family life? Have they been present for two or more weeks? If so, there is hope. NAMI offers many resources on this problem. Once the person has been diagnosed, a treatment plan will be discussed. Need medication but cannot afford it? No problem. Pharmaceutical companies offer financial assistance programs. Pfizer even offers a Connection to Care Program (among many other resources).

About me? I have an appointment with my doctor. Through her, I will get the prescription I need and I can get the medicine through Pfizer for $4 a month. See, there is a happy ending.:)

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Light the Way

Although the winter solstice falls in December (for those in the Northern Hemisphere), it never really feels like the days grow longer and the light brighter until well into the new year. As winter wears on it becomes ever more important to notice the places of brightness, and to create those places where we can.

How will you find or shed a little extra light today?

I have recently been moved to a different delivery route (that I love). I was overjoyed at the new route. We got a new girl (Sheila) who took over my old route. She is lovely. We get along great and now I am not the only female route driver. Yay! I have helped her out as much as I can. Today, in order to spread the light of love, I am going to help her out even more. All the boxes that we will deliver are put onto one pallet. They are all mixed up. So, I usually sort them and put them in order from first stop to last stop. Today, I will stand by while she sorts and loads up. I will teach her but let her do it herself. “If you teach a gal to fish…” and so on. I think she can do it. She has been on the route for almost two weeks. Plus, I will be right there. Also, she has my number. Yesterday, she called me when she arrived at a new stop. I kept her on the line until she made the delivery. It was at a ranch with many barns and roads. It is the easiest place to lose yourself. So I wanted to make sure that she made it and that she was OK. When I started that route, the previous driver had already moved away. So, I did not have a mentor. I was “thrown to the wolves” so to speak. I was scared to death. I had no maps or anything. It is a hard route with many ranches and farms in the country. Many of them are hard to find. So, I decided that I would mentor anyone who had to take over the route in the future. I also made up a folder with every possible stop listed. Each stop has a map, directions, address, and phone number. I also made sure that she had my phone number and I told her to call me with any questions (which she has). I always try to be there for the newcomer. I love training people. This is how I spread the light of love. I education and mentor those who really need it. And I absolutely adore doing it.

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You’ve Got Mail

Rural mailbox

– From The Daily Compass:

This mailbox looks as if it’s been waiting for the mail to come for some time, with deliveries, perhaps, few and far between.

What have you waited and hoped for the longest?

For the longest time, I have waited to be financially stable. My husband has tried many things to help out. He is now going to college in the hopes of better himself and our family’s situation. Several family members have been upset with the amount of time he has spent in school. It will take him three years to get his Associate. He is working on his Associate in Applied Science degree. He is majoring in computer science (Game Design and Development). In the meantime, I am working as a courier. I have very little at the end of every month. I would do better to work at McDonald’s and I have thought about it several times. But I have so many skills. I can code html and CSS. I have created webpages from scratch (using only WordPad). And I still cannot find any work. I want something that will allow me to work from home so that I can homeschool my children and take care of my mother. It is so hard to wait sometimes. I know (hope) that my husband will find work eventually. He won’t graduate until Spring 2014. He wanted to transfer to UT Dallas because they have a wonderful game design program. But none of his Weatherford College courses will transfer. He would have to start all over. So he is stuck. He can boast his AAS I guess. That will help some, right? I was listening to Freakanomics the other day. They were discussing whether college was a good or bad thing. For some jobs (such as those in the technical field), it is a requirement. Everyone in that field already has a Bachelor’s degree, that to not have one would be detrimental. But if you are looking for a job that does not require a degree, why get one? I think the reason so many members of my family are frustrated is that none of them went to college. My husband and I are the only ones who have (and I dropped out to raise a family). What they don’t understand is that if he does not have a degree, he cannot hope to compete with anyone else in the computer science field. So, I am stuck in a dead end job making less than minimum wage (after I take out the $1000 in gas that I spend every month). I am just waiting for either him to finish school or me to find a better job – one I can do from home. I am so hoping I can. I even created a LinkedIn account. I have put in an application with Automattic. That should help. But I am still looking and waiting for things to get better. I have waited my whole life. I cannot remember a time when I was financially stable. Even as a child, my family was constantly broke. OK, this is becoming a real downer. I am so sorry about that, but those are my feelings.

In other news…I will be posting a story I am working on. I will try to post it in the next day or two. I am entering it into a Flash Fiction contest.

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Unlikely Friends

– From The Daily Compass:

There’s nothing so cute as a picture of a dog that’s befriended a rabbit, or a moose that is best friends with a cow. It warms the heart to think of love flourishing in unlikely places. But sometimes it is worth celebrating the ways in which we simply manage to peacefully share space with those who are near us: the neighbors or co-workers who we may not enjoy, but who have as much right to the rock as we.

How do you make space for people you don’t care for, or with whom you disagree?

There is a co-worker of mine (let’s call him Bob). He is well over his retirement age (in his mid to late 70’s). He is crotchety to say the least. He has a very set way of doing things. He works with me in the warehouse of a local vet supply company. Boxes full of supplies come down the line. They are tagged with address labels and sent out to the couriers. We go to the line and pick them up. Then, we place them onto the corresponding route’s pallet. We all help each other. I distribute whatever boxes come down the line – we all do. Then, twenty minutes before the packers go to lunch, we all load up our vehicles. Now no one has a special loading bay. We do not have assigned parking. It is first come, first serve. My boss has stated this to all of us on many occasions.

Anyway… Bob gets his own boxes off the line. He hates having help. He also gets upset if someone parks in “his” spot. He does not want anyone to get in his way. Unfortunately, I have done all of the above. As the “new guy” I did not know what Bob was like. I was not warned. So, I parked where I wanted and I helped out everyone. Bob quickly set me straight and really upset me. Since that day, I have gotten many glares from him. What do I do? I greet him with a smile and a hello every morning. I park where I can, and I am civil to him. But, I DON’T help him with his boxes. He prefers that. I also keep my distance as much as possible. In this manner, I keep the peace. After all, we all have to work together. And besides, he HAS to retire some day, right?:)

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The New Year for Trees

From The Daily Compass:

Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for trees, begins this evening. You might not think that late January makes sense as a time of beginning for trees, since in many places they are still dormant and leafless. But in a climate like that of Israel, you can see buds starting to form this time of year. It’s still a considerable wait until leaves are out, let alone until harvest, but all of that is implicit in the first little buds.

What buds do you see in your life that might lead to a harvest down the road?

In the past, I have always thought of Erin as being the breadwinner. He would be the one working. I wanted to be a SAHM. That is all that I have ever wanted. I want to homeschool my kids, take care of the house and do SCA stuff. Then, he started school. He looked at all the jobs he wanted and saw that he needed a degree. So, he is now going for his Associates in Computer Science. He will then transfer to a four year college and get his Bachelor’s in Comp. Sci. OK. I can deal with that. In fact, I had decided that I would do what I could so that he could go to school. That has meant me going back to work. I have not worked in years. I thought I had no profitable skills. Then I looked at what I was doing in my spare time (as a hobby). I was creating and editing websites, writing handbooks, creating and editing policies, managing youth officers, creating Excel and Word documents, creating Moodle classrooms, and training youth officers. It seems like I should be able to pull something workable out of that. Now, just to find something I can do in the DFW area. I would like to work from home if possible. But those kinds of jobs are few and far between (or they are scams/pyramid schemes).

Anyway… all this background is really leading somewhere. I promise. So, I looked at all my skills and I set up a LinkedIn account and sent out a resume to Automattic. I started looking for other fallback positions, just in case. I am so scared I won’t get the work. But, I have at least had the chance to see that I have skills. I can see my skills get better as I practice and work. I have done a lot of work these past couple of weeks. I have brushed up on skills that I haven’t used in a while and I have learned new ones. I hope these budding qualities will turn into something great. I can finally deal with the idea of working. I am sad that I have to, but I can do it. I just keep thinking of my husband walking across that stage with his diploma. I really hope there will be flowers that bloom.

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Martin Luther King Day

-From the Daily Compass:

“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, what will you do that is creatively maladjusted?

I must admit, I had to look this one up. I even attended church services this morning that centered around this very topic and I still had to look it up. According to wiki.answers.com, it means “Those who are different, step forward, and think in creative ways, make a difference in the world. If we had no creatively maladjusted people, we would never move forward in the world.” As one church member put it “be the change you want to see in the world”. Everyone was asked what they were going to do today that was “creatively maladjusted”.  I really could not think of anything. Many were saying that they were going to do things such as help the poor or work for social injustice. Sadly, I had nothing like that. The only thing I did today was to treat everyone fairly. I do not look at a person’s race, creed, or sexual orientation. I only see a person. I work with all types of people. They all have one thing in common.  All the couriers who work with me are men. I am the only female courier. Now, guys will be guys. Some are gentlemen and some are not. I have tried so hard to fit in. I do more work than them and I always say “I can get that.” A couple of the guys try to carry my boxes for me. I let them. It is hard. I am different. I try to think creatively but it is difficult. My mother says that she would want to be treated differently. She would want them to treat her with respect. OK, I get the respect part. I really do. But, I don’t want them to have to change their ways just because there is a woman present. They all hang out and talk about politics and football. That is fine. I am not going to make them talk about family and “girl stuff”. I don’t want them to change. They do nothing that offends me. I once told my boss that I just wanted to be one of the guys. He said “But you’re not a guy. You’re a girl.” He wasn’t being snotty or anything. He was just stating a fact. I wear a uniform. I don’t wear makeup. I wear my hair in a pony tail. I work hard. I am not frilly. I am rarely offended by anything. These are traditional “guy” traits I guess. I love the guys at work and I would not change them for anything. I figure if you want a job with a bunch of guys, learn to work with a bunch of guys. Sure, it should be a safe and welcoming environment. It should be free of harassment and anger. But, you should not have to change the people you work with. Some people will totally disagree with me but that is how I see it. I think this is why some people have a tough time being open and accepting. They hate change. I am all for change that corrects a damaging attitude. But why change things that harm no one. Talking sports and “guy stuff” is not hurting anyone. That is just my two cents. Take it or leave it.

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No Parking

– From the Daily Compass:

NoParking-MHD-150x150

Who, do you suppose, really wants to park alongside this ramshackle building? And don’t they have larger concerns to worry about? And yet, so many of us expend energy defending ourselves against the remote chance of intruders when

we might more profitably give that time and energy to reinforcing our own structural integrity.

What worry might you give up in order to give that energy to your own health and wholeness?

I have recently applied for a job. I have been worrying and stressing over it. I have decided to give up worrying. Either I will get it or I won’t. If I don’t, it isn’t the end of the world. It just means that there is something else out there meant for me. I tend to worry over EVERYTHNG! I worry that I am not a good mom. I worry over finances. I worry about my husband’s schoolwork. I worry over my cats. I am a worrier. So, when I give up one worry, it is huge. It is still hard though. I still check email constantly, hoping for word of an interview. I take my phone everywhere. Well, I did that before. You never know when I might have an emergency need of Angry Birds or something. Funny, I don’t even play that game…

OK, so I won’t freak out. I won’t check my email and I won’t worry. I won’t check my email…I won’t…. Dang! I checked it anyway. Oh well, I can’t ALWAYS not worry. It is just part of my nature. But I will try. I will try to go without checking email for an hour. Yeah right. Let’s see where that gets me.:)

 

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Sunset

Scene at a Whitesboro ranch.

Scene at a Whitesboro ranch.

– From The Daily Compass:

One of the most beautiful moments of the day comes as the sun goes down, and the light is lost. We know the dark is coming, but for this brief time the sky is at its most glorious.

When have you found beauty in the presence of loss?

I am a courier for MWI Vet Supply. I pick up goods in Grand Prairie and deliver them to vets and ranchers in the Gainesville/Whitesboro area. The last stop on my route brings me almost two hours from home (75 miles). I usually arrive home around seven in the evening. I drive over 250 miles per day. I am utterly exhausted when I get home. Despite all of this, I like the route. The people on it are great. I have gotten to know many ranchers and vets. I see beautiful landscapes and animals. I received word last week that the Granbury route has opened up. I took it. Even though I will dearly miss my Gainesville/Whitesboro customers, I will enjoy the new route more. Granbury is only 45 minutes (40 miles) from home. It will mean less gas, less time on the road, and less time away from my family. This is my silver lining. It is my beauty in the presence of loss. I will lose a great route but I will gain so much more.

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Picking Up Trash

From The Daily Compass:

Wouldn’t it be great if each of our lives came equipped with a truck with a giant suction hose to suck up the garbage that collects around us and ship it out of town? Resentments—slurp! Fretting over things we can’t change—slurp!  Petty frustrations—slurp! And off they would go, leaving clean streets for us to drive down.

What would you like this spiritual garbage truck to vacuum up and take away from your life?

My biggest problem is worry. I stress over everything. I worry over making ends meet. I worry about being a good mother (especially over that one), my parents’ health, my volunteer obligations, my job…. And did I mention bills? I really try not to but it is very hard. I have stomach aches a lot. I work every weekday. I drive over 1000 miles a week. I am away from my kids all the time. I want to home school but I am not able to teach as I would like. I am never home. This is my biggest worry. I worry that I am not doing right by my children. I hate not being home. I really hate making only $1800 a month and putting $1000 in the gas tank. I could do better at McDonald’s. I really want to find a job I can do at home. So many of those jobs are scams though. I have tried being a secret shopper and I have tried doing freelance work online. Neither of those jobs pays enough or uses my skills to the fullest. I love to create websites, write, and organize. I also love people and socializing.  But I just can’t find a job that will let me shine. That is, until recently.

Whenever I find a product/service/company I really like, I check out their website. Then, I see if they are hiring. Granted, I am usually looking for a job for my husband, Erin. He is better at coding and the like. But he is rubbish at customer service. His social skills leave a lot to be desired.  I am the opposite. I have great customer service skills but only HTML/CSS experience.

Anyway… as part of my New Year’s resolution, I have started a blog and kept it going. I found WordPress through my freelance work. Plus, I had used them before and liked them. So, I started a blog and all was well. After a week or so, I looked at their site (www.wordpress.com) and saw that their parent company, Automattic, was hiring. I thought about Erin and how he needed a job. (He is going to school right now and is trying to find work that will fit his schedule.) I saw a position that caught my eye – Happiness Engineer. I looked more at this position. It looked a lot like this:

 

Happiness Engineer

Our software and services are far from perfect. When things go wrong people are not shy about asking for help. As a Happiness Engineer helping those people is your passion. The position is a mix of education, bug-hunting, and feature testing. Every day you’ll help make our products more understandable to the people who use them.

Being a Happiness Engineer requires:

  • Patience and grace.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Working knowledge of WordPress, HTML, and CSS.
  • A knack for taking technical language and making it understandable.
  • A passion for solving tough problems and proposing elegant solutions.

The WordPress.com and WordPress.org forums are fantastic places to gain the experience required for this position. If you are already active there, let us know! Send a link to your forum profile and we’ll check it out.

Transforming publishing on the web is no small task. We are looking for people with the right mix of compassion, writing skills, and technical knowledge to get the job done. If that describes you, then we would love to chat.

 

WOW! This really made my day. It sounded like the job was created just for me. I have all the skills and then some. So, I wrote out my resume and sent it off today. I really hope I can at least make it to the interview stage. That would be so wonderful. *fingers crossed*

OK, so I would like a garbage truck to come and take away my stress and worry. That would be awesome. I do mean that in the way the word should mean (full of awe). I don’t mean hot dog awesome. I found a blog post while searching for a quote. I read it and I shed tears of “I know what you mean”. In it, Lori Deschene describes an incident that occurred with a friend of hers. Her friend sounds exactly like me. (I won’t spoil the blog for you. Go over and read it.)  I wish I could be more like Lori. Maybe we could all use a bit of her wisdom. I leave you with a quote from her blog.

“Every time we use the present to stress about the future, we’re choosing to sacrifice joy today to mourn joy we might not have tomorrow.”

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