Monday, March 31, 2014

In all honesty, I should be packing instead of blogging.

But somehow it feels more important to write instead of work. I need to pause to write down the past few days so that I won't forget them and the emotions that came.

Wednesday I was sitting in my recliner writing the post about my dad.  The week had been hard, physically the emotions were wearing on me and I was tired.  I was sitting there, thinking of him and how the last day I saw him I said "I love you" and to not hear it in return.

When my phone rang, I wasn't sure if I had the emotional capacity to handle what she would tell me either way.

From the previous post, you know the news was good news.  And from the previous post, you know that one of the first things I did was to run to my bed and hide my head under the covers.

Honestly, it took me a few days to completely process this.  At first I thought I had a month. Which wasn't what really made my head spin.  What made my head spin was that this was actually happening.  That my dreams were becoming a reality and the work I put into it was paying off.  I was feeling shock and disbelief that it was really true.

Thursdays news of 'we need you in 2 weeks' was what sent my head spinning.  That took a moment to process.

One friend asked how I felt.  'Numb' was the only word I could think of.  Definitely excited.  But the shock of 'I'll be living in Connecticut in 2 weeks' took a little bit to process.

I'm a organizer my nature.  All the things that needed to be planned were being tossed around in my head.

That night a friend came over.  Bonnie told me that 'don't even try to be just won't have time'.

Bonnie: 2 weeks??  ALL THE MORE REASON TO BE ORGANIZED.  hahahahaha. 

Friday night at work I kept checking my pulse on the little handheld machine.  At first it was pushing 110, then I calmed myself down and kept steady in the mid-nineties.  All the constant thoughts rolling around in my head had to slow down before my heart raced right out of my chest.

I am trying to plan a solution for every possible problem so that when any possible problem arises, I already have a solution in my notes to take care of it.

I need to stop trying to do that.   :-)

After a few phone calls this weekend and some planning, my heart slowed down, and my thoughts quit racing.

I came up with a plan and if everything goes as planned, it will all work out.

With my plan in action, I can finally enjoy the moments that I have been waiting on for so long.

EEEKKK! I'  In.two.weeks!! 

I thought about the past three years.  I thought about all that has transpired and how much I have grown emotionally.  I am a completely different person than I was a few years ago, and that transformation is what will allow success.  If I had moved a few years ago, I would have failed.

I thought about the timing.  I heard about the offer on March 26th.  I received the official letter on March 27th.  Two days out of the year that are the hardest for me.

Thinking back to those days, I am always reminded of the sentence my dad left for me.

"Get your head on straight"

I've always questioned if he would think that I did get my head on straight.

And even though I've made better choices in the past few years, deep down I knew he would know that I wasn't performing to my greatest potential.

But now?  After the past year of so many changes?  Now I feel like he would say he was proud of me.  The words every daughter desires to hear from her parents...especially her father.  Now I finally feel that he would be so proud of me.  And that makes me happy.

Do I think my dad had a hand in this?  No.  I don't believe that someone who had died can change the course of time and influence people.  But I do believe that God knew I needed this.  I needed to be able to let go of that note.  He knew that to succeed in all aspects of my life, I needed to put that to rest.  To really know that my dad would be proud of me and loved me no matter what.

I wouldn't change the timing of this for anything.  It was worth the fight.  It was worth the battle. It was worth all of it.

There is a lot that needs done.  A lot that needs to happen in a very short amount of time.  There are a lot of things that need to line up perfectly for this to go smoothly.

Please pray that the bumps in the road be minimal.

I plan on leaving Ohio on Saturday the 12th and starting work on the 14th.  I'll head back to Ohio on Thursday (they are generously giving me a few days off to get things moved and kids settled...this is seriously an amazing place I get to work!)  Friday and Saturday I'll pack up the trailer and then spend Easter with my family.  Monday morning early we will head East with the trailer.  Kids start school Tuesday and I go back to work Wednesday.

It will be a whirlwind and exhausting 5 days.

Please pray that they adjust well and it all goes smoothly.

Now, back to packing!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Job Offer

Right now I can only write the facts.  I haven't sorted out my emotions.  They are all spinning into a tangled mess and I need to sort them out, process them before writing them down.

I feel like this post has been in the works for years.  Many of you have told me how you read and waiting with me, holding your breath, waiting to hear if I got the job and then crying with me as you heard I lost the offer last summer.   I am so excited to finally get to write this post.


Wednesday, the 26th, I was finishing writing up my post about missing my dad.  To be honest, I was sitting in my recliner sobbing, thinking about him.  My phone rang and the caller ID had the 860 number on it.  I knew it was Insurance Co. A tell me something.

Its funny how fast the brain can process a thought.  My first thought was 'I'm not sure if I can handle bad news right now.  The second thought was 'I'm not sure I can handle good news right now'.

I thought both thoughts while the phone rang once.

I picked up, not sure what I was going to hear.

She chit chatted for a moment, while I held my breath.

Then she said it. "We would like to extend a formal job offer to you".

I wasn't sure I heard correctly.

I had her repeat it.

She told me that because I am replacing someone who is retiring, they need me there the first week of May.

I gulped.

One month.  That's fast.  Doable.  But fast.

Then she went through the stuff.  The healthcare options I'll have, the 401k, the vacation time, etc.

I hope they have it written down somewhere because I didn't hear any of it.  My brain was full speed at this point.

She told me I have to do the drug screen and they had an 800 number to call with a list of places that were near me.  I had three days to do it, Wednesday being one of the days.  I had to have it done by Friday.

After we hung up, I called the necessary, close friends, etc.

Then I crawled into bed and covered my head with blankets.

This is what I have wanted for so long.  And I'm so excited.  But I just dread the process of the change.

I laid there for 10 minutes and then decided to grow up and get up.

I told the kids one at a time.  Rhianna and I had to make Swiss Bread that night for a school project, so we chatted a lot while mixing, kneading, and baking it.  At the time I was inwardly groaning that I had to do another school project.  Honestly?  I think it worked out for the best.  It gave us some time to talk while focusing on something else.

Riley said he would move if I got him a dog.  After I said "um. No" he changed it to he would move only if we flew out when we moved.  (Cost effective, right?)  He tried others ways to manipulate.  I'm sure its not the last attempt.  I'll just hug him when he needs hugged, listen when he needs to talk, but I'll have to keep saying no to dogs and moving our stuff via United Airlines.

Reagan?  Reagan didn't really say much.  He has told me "No.  He's not going."  But other than that, just follows Riley's lead.

I know they will be okay.  I know they will adjust.  I know this will be best for them.  But knowing they have to break friendships is hard for me to watch.

Thursday came and I was getting ready to go to the school for Riley's DARE graduation.  The recruiter called again, to go over a few more things.

We chatted for a minute and I told her that I could be there by April 28th.  She said "that's what I need to talk to you about.  Because the woman is retiring the first week of May, we need you to spend as much time with her as possible.  We would prefer if you could come by April 14th."


They need me there in two weeks.

I know I could tell them 'No. I need more time.'  And rightfully so.  However, this is the opportunity I've been waiting on.  The job of my dreams, if you will.

I told her I needed to make a few phone calls to see if I can make this happen and I would get back with her.

Honestly, that has been my biggest change over the years.  Creating boundaries.  The old me would have said "Yes. No problem" and then just figured it out only to cause stress on myself and more stress on my kids.

I talked to a few people and then I called back and told her I could make it by April 14th, but I needed a few days off within a week to come back and move the trailer, get kids settled in school, etc. This was big for me.  Stating my needs, justifiably, and not being scared to admit I need something.

Later that morning the 2VP called me to welcome me personally and tell me how excited they are.  She said that if I need anything, ever, to let her know...and not just professionally.  She is there to help me succeed.  It was then that I mentioned hoping to have a few days off a week after I start, to go back to Ohio, load a trailer, spend Easter with my family, move the trailer, and start kids in school.  (Phew!)  She said "Absolutely.  And take Tuesday as well.  We are asking so much of you, we are more than understanding that you need some time."

That is where I am right now.

Packing and planning.

There is a lot to do in a short amount of time.

But I think its for the best.  Lets get moved and get settled.  I think if we had 6 or 8 weeks to sit and think about it, it would be harder on the kids.  Not to mention I don't get things done until last minute anyhow, so the rush of packing isn't any different than if I had 2 months :-)

There are so many thoughts rolling in my head.

So much to process.

More on that... last thing.  What is Insurance Co A?

I am so excited to be a part of the family at Travelers!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Success Is

Over the past five years or so, I've been trying to map my way to find success.  

I've done a lot of thinking as to what will happen before I consider myself successful...successful in life and successful in achieving my dreams.  

I thought a lot about what success is and what success looks like.  

As moments come and go, conversations with people happen, achievements are made, and battles won; I realize that success doesn't always look like the VP in the corner office.  It doesn't look wealthy and it doesn't wear a suit.  

Success is changing peoples lives.  Success is being remembered for being kind.  Success is making a difference. 

I had an encounter with a man a few years ago.  He had worked for my dad when he was in his early 20's.  He told me that he learned so much from my dad.  How to manage a successful business.  How to work with people.  How to interact with others.  He said that he would not be the man he was today if it wasn't for the things my dad taught him. 

I reconnected with a man in the hospital.  He greeted me with tears.  My dad was his friend.  My dad made him smile and laugh.  My dad changed his life. 

That is what I want my success to be known as.  I have my dreams that I am shooting for.  But my final goal is to be known as someone who changed people for the good just by their interactions and relationships with me.  

I want to mirror my dad's success. 

Dad taught me how to talk to people.  He taught me how to interact with people.  How to make them feel important.  How to make them smile, just by having a conversation with them.  He showed me how important it was to get to know them as a person and not just another person you have to interact with.  He taught me that you can get so much accomplished if you respect others. He taught me that a smile goes a long way. 

I haven't made the tracks my dad made by my age.  I'm hoping to catch up.  I know I'm not as good at it as my dad was.   He had this knack of making everyone feel important.  He had this ability to draw people in and get them to follow his leadership with trust.   

My ideal success is someday having my children hear the words I have heard about my father.  To have them see the smile on people's faces when they say who their mother hear the stories of how I changed the outlook in their life just because I was kind and encouraging.  

Everyone who knows me knows I have a long way to go.  I have a lot to learn.  I'm a spitfire, tell-it-like-it-is, kind of girl.  But hopefully, my story counts for something and I can find success in similar places my dad did.    

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not over him yet...

In my post 'Sifted', I wrote that I didn't know why I was feeling what I was feeling.

In truth, I do know why.

No, its not the weather like so many want to throw out.  No, its not my wild work schedule.  No, its not raising kids alone.

The weather is what it is and the work schedule and my kids keep me going.

Its that its March.

I hate March.

I hate the third week of March most of all.

Every year I tell myself that this year will be different.  That the blackness won't swallow me up.

Then the third week comes.

March 27th I lost my dad.

It was horrible.  And traumatic.

And every year I scold myself and tell myself to grow up and get over it.

But I can't.

I can't get over him.

I loved him too much.

March 26, 2001 was the last day I told my dad I loved him.  At times I wonder if he really knew how much.  And if he really did know how much, why did he do what he did?

Wasn't I enough? 

That is the thought that haunts me the most.

That I wasn't enough.

The latter part of March I feel like I digress to a little girl again, the little girl who needs her daddy to come back and fix it all.  I go back to being the vulnerable 21 year old who was trying to figure out who she was and where she was going when her life was ripped apart at the news of her dad's death.

The latter part of March brings back the memories of those days following..the days leading up to and through his funeral.  I remember I didn't want anyone to touch me.  I screamed at anyone who did.  My physical nerves hurt and I wanted to crawl into a hole to die alone.  I didn't want to have to put on a show and behave for the people who came to see us.  I wanted them to all go away.

I used to wake up frequently with night terrors.  I would wake up screaming while thrashing uncontrollably.  That is one thing I have to give Randy credit for.  No matter what a jerk he was and no matter how horribly he treated me; when I would wake up with a night terror he was always kind.  He always comforted me and helped me through it.  I have to say that much about him.  But now when I wake up sobbing from a dream, I wake up alone.   I get through it, but it takes a moment longer to get myself awake and back to reality.

While the emotion isn't as intense as it was that day 13 years ago, there is still some lingering memory of it.  But I need to mourn in privacy without being reminded of his failures.  I want to memorize all that was good about him.  Because even though he made his mistakes, his qualities still out numbered his failure.

I think that is why this past week has been hard.  I think that is why the constant whining and begging to be snuggled a little longer was grating to my nerves.  Even though I went through the motions of real life, inwardly I was subconsciously going back to that week.

I reminded my kids of Mama's sad day and that I needed a minute.  I needed a few days to get through this and then they would get their Mama back.  I gave myself permission to set boundaries. I give all that I have to give 51 weeks out of the year.  I need this week to myself.  I don't mean that I won't take care of them, I'm not implying that I'm leaving my kids to fend for themselves. I'm just asking that the neediness, the clinging, halt for one week.

I'll get through this week.  Like someone reminds me every year "April is coming..." 

I'll get through this week, but this year I'm going to let myself miss him.  I'm going to cry for him, unashamedly.  I'm not going to feel guilty that I'm not over him yet, because honestly, I don't ever want to get over him.

I'm not going to let the emotions control me the rest of the year, but this week?

This week I'll let the memories wash over me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm okay.

After writing spewing out my frustrations last night, I almost immediately felt better.  It just feels good to get it out.

The kids let me sleep in a few extra minutes this morning and got themselves ready.  They woke me up when it was time to go and I think I only had to say 'get your shoes on' to one child, once.

After the kiddos were dropped off, I came home with full intentions of crawling back in bed.  After all, doesn't hiding under the covers fix all of life's complicated problems?

Instead, I flung open the curtains to let the sun shine in, made a pot of coffee and an egg omelette.  I had laundry to tackle, dishes to clean up, floors to vacuum, and things to do.

Then I went to my computer.

What I found gave me more hope.  I found out from many women that I am not alone.  Some of these women are single moms, some are not.  Some are still in the thick of toddler years, some have children the same age as my children, and some of the women are done raising their children and have wisdom to share.

What I found is that my feelings are normal.

My favorite part in a comment was this:

But I frequently fantasize of putting my dog Rocky in the car and he and I driving off into the sunset together. Maybe we could live near a beach and play frisbey every evening? In the mornings we could jog along this beach while the sun is rising... You get it? I have thought.this out. Sometimes I go so far that I begin to plan my great escape mentally. I will never do it. I can't.They NEED me. So I will keep going doing what I do for them. Even when they cant see that what I'm doing IS FOR THEM.

The woman who wrote this is an amazing woman.  She has conquered a lot in life and I know loves her children with all that she has.  Yet, she has the feelings of wanting to run into the sunset away from it all just like I do.  And, I can guess, but if we ever were to run away from the noise and chaos of raising children, once we got to that place we would miss our kids and soon come running back. 

I need to give myself permission to not be perfect. Its okay to mess move forward and keep trying.  Its okay for my kids to have bad days.  Its okay to show them tough love. Its okay to tell them I need a little bit of space. Its okay that I need a few minutes each day to be alone.

The past few weeks have brought school projects.  I used to love to work on projects with my kids.  Now it feels like school projects just highlight my inability to do juggle it all.

A fun project of "dress like a famous historical American" had me almost in tears.  Reagan was to dress like Wilbur Wright.  I had tons of fun ideas running in my head.  But working 11 days in a row that week made me short on time.  Instead I threw something together hoping it would suffice. Parents were invited in to walk through and see the kids.  As I walked in the classroom and saw what the other kids were dressed like compared to Reagan, it made me want to run from the room.  It was almost like it was a showcase of 'lets show everyone how pathetic Julie is'.  I talked to him a minute and then made the excuse I had to get to work. I hugged and kissed him with tears burning in my eyes.  I left the building as fast as I could.  Sad for him.  Aching that he didn't have a nice costume.  Sad that he didn't have a mom who could sew something fun or even if she could find the time to do it.  I hope he didn't look around too much and see how bad his costume was compared to everyone else in the room.

Rhianna has an economics project she had to make something to sell.  She wanted to do cookies.  I mixed the dough up and then she cut them out herself.  The next day we decorated them together. Well.  She did most of the work.  They were cute, but not like I would have normally sent to school.  I saw pictures of other projects that moms did with their kids all over Facebook.  Again, a reminder of how inadequate I am.  All I kept telling myself was that I taught my daughter to just go for it.  She wanted to make the cookies herself, and she did. And they turned out great.   I kept telling myself that was more important than how perfect they look.  I hope that she looks at her cookies and sees her accomplishment of making sugar cut-outs alone (with minimal assistance).  I hope that she doesn't compare to others, but sees that she did something most little girls couldn't do.

Tomorrow night we have to make Swiss bread and get an outfit together like a Swiss immigrant.  I'm hoping that the old red plaid apron I have will work with her blond hair in braids....

Even though I don't know how to be a mom, I need to stop trying to be perfect.  I need to realize that my kids aren't going to grow up and remember all the times I didn't pull it off 100%.  I want them to grow up and remember that I gave them all that I had to give and then gave a little more.  That I maybe wasn't the greatest at getting a Wilbur Wright costume thrown together at 2 am after working a long shift, but that I did let them try things and pushed them to accomplish things.  I hope that even though I'm not perfect, they can just know that I love them.

And that as often as I wanted to run away, into the sunset, I didn't.  I stayed.  And gave them a little more of me.

Monday, March 24, 2014


If you don't like to read real life, don't read this.  This is my reality right now.  I'm not whining. I'm not complaining.  I'm simply writing to get it off my chest.  When I am fighting hard things that life throws at me, it helps me to write it down.  It almost always takes care of the emotions I am feeling and I can face it head on again.  So if you don't want to read real life right now...if you only want to read about flowery blessings and happy've been fairly warned: Skip this post. 


I was trying to think of a word that described how I feel.


None of them seemed to accurately describe how I felt.

Then the word 'sifted' came to me last night.

I imagined flour being sifted.  I imagined the screen toys in the sandbox that you would sift sand through and I thought 'that's it'.

I feel like the flour or the sand...I feel like I am being slowly sifted and all of me is being sent in different directions.

I don't know why.

I don't know why I feel like running away from everything and everyone to just hide in a hole.

I've been through worse.

And quite frankly, there isn't anything wrong. 


All the emotions came crashing in on me the other night.  I had worked 3rd shift Saturday night and the kids went to church with mom on Sunday so I could sleep.  She dropped them off after church and we had a great evening together.

Rhianna and I decorated cookies for a school project, we played fox and chicks, gave each other quick back rubs, and then I snuggled them on the couch to read a chapter from the Bible and a chapter from Ramona.

I thought we were having a good time just being together.

Then the whining escalated.

And the tears.

The 'snuggle me more'...'you snuggled her longer than me'...'you love him more because you let him on the computer 2 minutes extra'...

Things like that drain me.

I just don't have the patience or energy for whiny, bickering nonsense.

It had been going on sporadically through the night, but started to get worse.  I was trying to stay patient and calmly work through it with them.  I know the past few weeks have been difficult with me working so much and the unknown of the job offer.  Not to mention that they were tired and needed to get to bed.

It was after 9pm and I was trying to get them out the door to my moms to get them to bed.  And they kept whining and crying.  Mostly whining about 'SNUGGLE ME MORE'! and 'WHY DO YOU HAVE TO WORK'?.

Now, to be honest, I am not a snuggler.  I need personal space and get irritated really quickly when someone is too close.  So having three kids be squished up on me for the past half hour while I read to them wasn't putting me in the best of moods.

I know what you are thinking.  I know you are thinking I must be the worst kind of mother to not want to snuggle her kids.  I do get over myself and snuggle them...for their sake.  Its just not something that comes naturally to me.

I finally got them to moms and then put each one to bed.  I tucked the first one in and we chatted for a minute.

Then I told her it was time for me to go.  I had to be at work in less than an hour and I still had to run home and get ready.

That's when the tears started again.  "You are always in a never spend time with NEVER snuggle me."


Instead. I calmly reminded them of all we did that night together.  I reminded them of the cookies.  Reminded them of playing the game.  Reminded them of snuggling on the couch.  I wanted to be able to talk through this with them.

Their response?

"You sure know how to make a kid feel guilty!"

Inwardly I was screaming.  I was so frustrated at this point.  I realized then I am so tired of pouring all that I have in to everything I do and get nothing but it thrown back in my face...(and not just with the kids (kids are supposed to do that:)  its in other areas of my life that this is happening.)  

After getting that child to calm down I pulled my emotions together to go tuck the other two in.

Only to be met with similar responses.

"You spent more time with her.  You snuggled her.  You are just sitting on my bed.  You are always rushing off."

Somewhere I found the strength to stay calm and talk them through it, even though I really just wanted the whining to stop.

But they kept it up.

I want/try to be the mom who stays calm and will talk things through with her kids.  I want/try to be the mom who is patient and listens to them when they are upset.  I want to be compassionate.

Calm, patient, and compassionate are my 3 greatest weaknesses.  Three things I will go to my grave trying to master.

I feel guilty because I'm not the mom who wants to pour her entire identity into her children.  I have dreams and goals for myself that I want to achieve.  I want to save a little of myself for me.  I know that sounds horribly selfish, but to be a better mom, I need to keep a little of me for me.  Just like a couple needs to keep a little of themselves for each a single mom I need to keep a little of me for me.  

I hope some of you can relate and read between the lines.

I'm torn.

I have to be the mom.

I have to be the dad.  I have to be the male role model in their life.

I have to work to support us.

I'm working on getting a better job to better our life.

I want to save a little for me and leave some for my dreams.

I have to give 100% in all of these areas to make it all happen.

And I feel sifted because of it.
As I was trying to explain to them that not only did I have to get to work, but they needed to get to bed, (it was almost 10pm at this point) I got a text from the secretary who is new to the position...her first weekend off orientation.  It said "We just called an RRT.  My first.  Is there anything I need to do other than call the code phone?"

I sent a quick response and then told my kids I needed to go.  There was an emergency at work.


It was NOT urgent I get there.  I'm not needed at all.  There was nothing they needed me for.  But I needed a reason to get away from the whining.  (I really did need to go...I did have to get to work anyhow..just not because of the RRT).

I made it to work, in a fairly rotten mood. Ask my co-workers just how rotten...they'll vouch for me.  I must have looked really bad, because one nurse offered to buy my breakfast the next morning during our bi-monthly "we -survived- the- weekend -together- Monday- morning- breakfast".

Our night started out crazy and just went downhill from there.  We made it through.  Only because I have amazing co-workers who know how to laugh through the worst of things.

At 7a, I ran to moms to get the kids up and ready for school before heading back to Wadsworth to meet my co-workers for breakfast.

After the bad night, I was hoping that the kids had only been tired the night before and snapped out of their whiny-ness.  I really didn't have the energy to deal with whining.

I woke them up and the first thing that came out of their mouth was whining.

I kept calm and dealt with them.  But inwardly I wanted to crumble.  I felt a little more of me being sent through a sifter.  I'm afraid soon there won't be anything left.
Is this normal?  Is it normal to look at your kids as nothing but one more thing for you to deal with? Is it normal to look at them and see a mountain that you know you can't climb?

I'll be fine.  I'm just blaming the weather.  And the time of year.  March and I don't get along so I tend to get slightly really grumpy towards the end of March.
My co-workers let me sit at the same table as them even though I was grumpy.  The nurse still bought my breakfast even though I was quiet and a little snappy.  By the time the breakfast was over and we had our share of laughs talking about the night before, I felt like I could get through another day.

Tonight we made soft pretzels together and listening to Odyssey, then we read some while all cuddling on the couch.

Tonight was good.

I told the kids I needed a few weeks to get through this funk.  I asked them to be patient and give Mama some time to get through March and soon we can get back to good.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

To: Riley, Rhianna, and Reagan,

To: Riley, Rhianna, and Reagan,

I want to tell the three of you how much I love you.  I want to tell you how proud I am of you. But most of all, I want to tell you I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for so many things.

I'm sorry I haven't been the mom you need me to be.  I'm sorry I have been working so much extra.  I'm sorry I've expected you to pick up the slack where I have left off.  

I'm sorry I get snappy over dirty clothes all over the floor and the homework isn't done on time. I'm sorry I am grouchy and grump about the Legos all over the basement floor and the books left lying on the bathroom floor. I'm sorry that I rush you in the mornings.  I'm sorry I snap when you rub dirty foody hands down your clean shirts.

I'm sorry I haven't let you be little kids.

I'm not going to make excuses.  I could give you a long list, but they are rather empty in reality.  It is not your responsibility to listen to my reasons, its my responsibility to toughen up and not let my tiredness control my emotions.

You deserve a better mom.  I am becoming the mom I never wanted my children to have; critical and a nag.  And I'm sorry.  I can't promise I won't ever snap at you again; it would be an unreasonable promise.  But I will promise I will try harder everyday to keep calm.

You three are the most amazing people I have ever met.  You have conquered so much in your short little lives and I am so proud of you.  I want you to know that.  I want you to know that I think you are incredible and I know you will go far in life. I want you to know that I adore each of you.  I love the differences in you, each of your unique strengths and talents.  I love you all so much.

Thank you for last night.

I came home from a rotten night at work and found an immaculate kitchen.

I wanted to cry.  A simple gesture the three of you worked on together, made my night end with a smile.

Thank you for taking care of me.  Thank you for worrying about me and making sure I take care of myself.

I don't know why God gave you three to me.  I don't deserve such amazing children. You are incredible and I love you.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Three Weeks

I heard from them on Friday.

She said that the team is still very interested in me.  That there are two BA roles open and I am definitely up for one of them.

She also said that the 2VP I had interviewed with had just started the Monday before my Wednesday interviews.  She told the talent acquisition rep that she needs three weeks to settle in to her new position, get acclimated, get things structured how she wants before offering someone a position.

I can understand that.


This could mean one of two things.

It could mean that she really just needs three weeks.  It could mean that within the next three weeks I will get an offer.  That she trust the opinion of the 2VP she is taking over for (the woman who originally recruited me).  It could mean that she really did like me and want to hire me.

It could also mean that she wants to pick her own team.  That she doesn't want to take the person the person who had the position prior to her had recruited.  It could mean that this is the beginning of them taking back the verbal offer.

I was told that it will be three weeks before I hear anything.


Originally I wasn't going to post anything about this interview process.  I was going to stay completely silent about the trip in the first place.  I didn't want to go through the embarrassment of having another verbal offer taken back.

But then I remembered a letter a reader sent me.  She said that she held her breath with every post (from last summer) and prayed and prayed that something would come through.

I started looking at it from a different angle.  No one is mocking me or going to condemn me if they pull the offer back.  All I will gain is prayerful support.  And I feel it. And I appreciate it.


I have stayed in contact with the other VP from Insurance Co. B.  She said she would love to get me in there and she is working on somethings to get me in, but it could take awhile.

All is not lost.  Its just acting out the patience that I have been taught to have over the past few years.  It's not a race, its life and we need to enjoy the process taking in all we can while we ride through life.

Thanks again for your love and support.  I'll update as I hear :-)

Friday, March 14, 2014

His Buddy

Most people who know me know that I despise the month of March with all that is in me.

Its a terrible month that should be ripped from the calendar year, thrown away, never to be heard from again.

Every year I tell myself I'll get through it.  That this year will be better.  This year I won't be affected by the memories that haunt me.  But every year it creeps up on me and an inky blackness takes over.

I hate March.

Its dreary.

Its cold.

Its windy.

Its muddy.

Its the month I lost my dad.

I didn't realize how much the awakening of spring awakened my senses of sorrow.

The other day, when the snow was melting and you could smell the earth begin to soften, I found myself suddenly crying on the way to work.  The smells in the air, the familiar feel of the weather slowly warming up subconsciously strikes me and reminds me that it is once again March.

Once again I have to add another year that I have lived without my dad.

I'm ready for winter to be over.  But I secretly welcomed the snowstorm that hit yesterday.  It took away the familiarity of the season change that reminds me what time of year it is.  I'm ready for spring, I'm ready for flowers, I'm ready for green grass.  I just despise the transition between winter into spring.

Tonight at work I was hit with an unexpected memory.  A name.  Of someone very dear to my dad.

I can't say too much..privacy laws and such.  If I give too many details, many of my readers (family members) will know who this person is.

I'm just going to say that he was special to my dad.

I was filling the sticker box (identification stickers for paperwork and such) and I came across a name.

I saw the age and I figured it could be the same person.

I ran to  his room...and it was him.

My dad's buddy.

I wasn't sure if he would remember me after 13 years.

But he did.

He put out both arms and reached for me to hold his hand.

I asked him if he knew who I was.  And told him: "I'm Dale's daughter."

He smiled through his tears and said "I know...I saw you walk by earlier and knew it was you."

That felt good.  That I was remembered.  That I'm still known as Dale's daughter.  There is nothing more special to me than to be remembered as his girl.

We talked a little bit and I stood there choking back tears.

He said "I haven't forgotten your dad.  I think about him  I don't know what happened. I still can't figure it out.  He was such a great person.  He was my friend.  I just miss him."

I couldn't hold them back. Tears then streamed down my cheeks.  This man got it.  This man knew what I felt.  This man knew that my dad was the greatest.  This man knew my pain.  This man asked the same questions I ask everyday.

I had to get back to my desk.  I hated to leave, but needed to.  The phones would be ringing.

I waited until my shift was over and then took in pictures of my kids and some pictures I have of my nieces and nephew.  I know most people inwardly groan when someone pulls out pictures of their kids, but somehow I knew he would want to see them.

I showed them one by one, saying their names and their ages.  He kept smiling, with tears in his eyes, saying that he couldn't believe Dale had so many grandchildren and that he would have loved them.  He loved the boy's football pictures, knowing how much my dad loved the sport.  He would've been their greatest fan.

Even though I already knew that Grandpa Dale would adore his grandchildren, to hear his friend say it made it come alive.

Most likely his friend will be discharged by the time I work next.

It makes me sad I won't get to see him again.

But I'm so thankful I was able to see him.  I'm so thankful he remembered us.  It somehow lessens the pain to know that he hasn't forgotten him.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fox and Chicks

I'm embarrassed to admit that the nights that I'm off I prefer to sit in my recliner with a cozy blankie and just...sit.

Especially last night.

It was an unexpected evening off and even though it stressed me to take the few hours off work, it was needed.

We have a trio of school projects going on right now and we needed some time to work on them. (One done...two to finish!)

After dinner and working on the poster, I wanted to curl up in my blankie and just be.  I didn't even want to read a book.  I just wanted to sit and think.

The kids were begging me to play Fox and Chicks and to be bluntly honest I didn't feel like it.  I didn't have the energy to hide, seek, and run through the house.

Riley brought me a few Advil with a glass of water and said "take this, wait a few minutes, and then lets play".

And I did.

I'm glad I did.

I'm glad I forced myself up out of the chair and played.

Rules of the game are: One person is the fox.  While he/she goes and hides, the remaining 'chicks' sit on the couch and count to 15 while closing their eyes.

I found myself being rather childish and peeked. Every time.

They soon picked up on this and the job of the 'chicks' on the couch with me was to cover my eyes so I couldn't see.  :-)

Soon it was my turn to be fox.  I did the typical hiding spots but soon that started to become boring.

One turn, I snuck into the garage....waited until they hit 15 and then snuck out of the garage (outside through the snow!) and snuck in the front door.  My plan was to cut them off in front of the couch, but they heard me sneak in and my plan didn't work like I thought.

But we laughed together.

There wasn't the worry of tomorrow.

There wasn't the stress of our unknown future.

There wasn't the concern that I still haven't been presented with a formal contract.

There was only laughter.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Haven't Heard

During our phone conversation Thursday, she said that they were hoping to get the contract finished by Friday.

I told myself it would be Tuesday at the earliest. 

That way I'm not disappointed when I don't hear on Friday.  

But if I did hear, I would be excited. 

It's now Monday and I haven't heard. 


Now I'm telling myself it might be Thursday.  

Just so I don't stress myself out :-) 


Friday, March 7, 2014

Not worried at all...

Thursday night after the phone call my stomach went back to knots.  Chest squashing, painful, heart pounding out of my chest.


This was progressing much faster than I ever expected.

I've been wanting to move for years and have worked through so much to get this far.  But still, I was stressing.  Stressing about how I could possibly find a house in a few weeks, how I would break the news to my kids, agonizing over how I was going to pack everything up, worrying about things I shouldn't worry about.

I told a friend, who is due to have her baby any day, that this is like the idea of having a child.  You can't wait to hold that baby in your arms, but still are dreading labor.  If you could, you would skip the labor and go right to the good parts.

I want to skip the boxing things up.  I want to skip the adjustment period.  I want to take away the stress and anxiety from my children.  I want to click my heels and go from here to there without any pain.

But I can't.  And I have learned that sometimes the times we grow most in life is during times like this.

I didn't tell the kids right away.  I waited a few days and slowly let hints drop.  Just to prepare them.  I still had thoughts spinning in my head and didn't want my stress about the speed of it to pour into them.  I wanted to wait until I could think clearly.

I went to bed Thursday night, still with the hows and whens rolling in my head.  I had wild dreams and crazy nightmares.  I actually woke up in the night to the sound of my heart beating in my ears. I could hear the swishing of the blood and I thought my heart was going to pound out of my ribs.  (Thankfully it stayed where it belongs and settled down ;-)

I'm not sure what clicked during the night, but I woke up Friday with a calmness, a peace, a feeling of strength.  That this is the right thing to do and my kids will adjust...quickly.  I can only say that God gave me that peace.  He has led me gently this far and won't drop me now.

I went to clean a house that afternoon and saw a map laying on the shelf.  I told myself that if I saw 'Hartford' on the map then I would know  without a doubt that this is the place for me.  At a glance I saw that it was Eastern Indiana and Western Ohio, kinda disappointed that it wasn't a map of Conn.  Then I took a closer look and my eyes fell on...'Hartford City'.

I laughed.

Hartford, it is then. :-)

This isn't the first time I've had signs like this.  God has shown me over and over and over.  I wish I had them all written down.  

Ever since waking up a week ago with calmness flooding my soul, I haven't been worried about moving.  I'm ready to hear about the final job offer...and hoping that it doesn't fall through.  But worried about finding a house?  Worried about the adjustment time?  Worried about how this will all work out?  I'm not worried at all.  I just know that it will be fine.  I know we will have our bumps along the way, but in the end, it will be good that we went. 

My anxieties have turned into excited butterflies.  I have applied for thousands and thousands of jobs.  None compare to the opportunity that this one is.  And God put people in my life to help me network into this position.  This job opportunity is so far out of what I could have ever dreamed. I'm just giving everything else to God.  He will provide housing and all the energy that moving 600 miles entails.  I'm not going to worry at all.


I received a phone call from the Talent Acquisition rep tonight.  She said that the 2VP, VP, and HR are still in discussions working on the contract.  Which is good news...the job offer hasn't been dropped as of now. She said she hopes that it will be finished up later today and will give me a call when she hears something.

I'm telling myself that means Tuesday.  Then if I hear something earlier, I'll be surprised :-)

I want to be open with everyone and very clear.  I technically do not have a job offer yet.  Things look really, really promising, but it isn't my job to claim until everyone signs on the dotted line. If that happens I'll tell you and announce what insurance company it is and when my start date is!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chocolate Bear

Taking a break from writing about the interview-going/job process...partly because I have no other news (getting rather impatient:-) and also because I need to step away from it for a minute.  I need to take a breath and pause.


A few weeks ago we celebrated a co-workers and my birthday at work.  We have become good friends and our birthdays are a few weeks apart, but because of both of our travel schedules we had to settle on a day a week before his birthday.  I told him I would bring the cake for our party.

I have a friend who makes a-MA-zing shaped cakes.  I will never be to her caliber of cake shaping/decorating, but wanted to at least attempt something simple.

I thought a chocolate bear would be a good starting point.

I made a double batch of chocolate cake.  I poured the batter into a round cake pan (9") reserving a little for a small round pan (4").  I did 2 of each of this size.

After letting them cool, I stacked the two large ones using chocolate frosting.  I cut one of the smaller cakes into an even smaller circle for the nose/mouth of the bear to look 3-D.  I cut the 2nd smaller cake in half and then attached to the head for ears.  

I put it in the freezer to let it set and went to making the eyes.  I could have used royal icing, but I already had black icing ready for the mouth and pupils of the eyes.  I was too tired to make a batch of icing for white, so I scrounged my cupboards and decided to melt white chocolate and make circles for the eyes.  It was simple and went on the cake easily.  

I made a lighter colored chocolate frosting and then went to work on making the 'fur' of the bear.  I was happy with how it turned out.  In the past when making layered cakes, I always end up with a disaster.  This one actually held together so I was happy with how it came out. 

Why a chocolate bear cake?  Well...David's nickname is Chocolate Bear.  

David...aka Chocolate Bear...reads my blog.  He asked me one night what I would write if I wrote about him.  

David:  Here is your answer: 

I would write that I am thankful you are my friend.  I'm thankful I was given the chance to work with you.  I would write how much you have taught me and made me a better person. 

He told me one night at work that he believes God puts people in our lives for a reason and I couldn't agree more.  David moved to Ohio (Ohio, in return, welcomed him with open arms by showing him how brutal her winters can be) from warm/sunny New Mexico to be with the love of his life.  He taught me that there are people still out there who are willing to sacrifice everything to simply be with the person they love.  I didn't know that existed.  I had only experienced narcissism in my marriage.      

David is different than me.  We grew up in different places in the country (New Mexico vs. Ohio), we grew up in different circumstances (He was adopted),  We look different (He is Indian...I am blech white) and have different personalities. (He is calm and nice while I am a loud spitfire/firecracker).  

During my interviews I was asked about working with diversity...people who are different than myself and how I handle it.  I had to chuckle.  I told them about a certain group of us and how we could not be more different than each other; but how because we are so different we are a strong team.  I told them how I love getting to know people who are completely different than myself because I can learn so much about myself through them.  

David is the one that I often catch going above and beyond to take care of our patients.  I'll often catch him holding one of their hands or tucking them in.  He was recently accepted to start classes to work towards his P.A. and I know he will be great.  He has taught me to not give up on my dreams...even if the road ahead looks difficult. I know why God put David in my life.  I told him (David) that he had life experiences that I will never have and he can teach me a lot through those...And he has.  He was raised by a single mom and has given me advice on how to raise my boys and tells me its okay to show them tough love.  It won't hurt them...its good for them.    He has encouraged me to be a better mom and a better person.  And I'm thankful for that. 

Chocolate Bear...I hope that this says it all.  It was hard to put into words how much I appreciate our friendship.  I'll miss you when I move on :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Part 3: Thursday

The 3rd installment of my week in Conn.  I'll try and keep it short, but can't promise anything :-)

I had my alarm set for 4 am.  I needed to be at the airport by 5/5:30 for my 6:30 flight.

I woke up in a black panic around 3:45am.  Everything was hitting me and I don't remember my dreams exactly, but I know that they were stress filled.  I can usually take just about anything in stride, but trying to take in everything that happened the day before while trying to solve every issue that would come up while relocating the kids and starting a new job.  

Attempting to mentally digest of this on at 3:45 am did nothing but cause me to freeze. 

I decided to use the 15 minutes before I had to get up to lay in bed and self-talk myself out of the panic.  I haven't had to deal with it in years and I didn't like the feeling.  

After what seemed like a veerry long 15 minutes, I decided to just get up and face the day.  Laying in bed was not doing me any good so I might as well get up. 

I unplugged my phone and the backlight lit up the clock...4:30am.  No wonder the 15 minutes seemed so was really 45 minutes. And my alarm that was set, and triple checked, didn't go off.  Realizing that I should be pulling out of the drive now did very little for my anxiety.  

I threw on the clothes I had laid out, threw up my hair, brushed my teeth, shoved the rest of my clothes in my bag and ran out the door.  

I didn't have time to stop for coffee (oh, the horror) and raced down 84 towards the connecting interstates to the airport.  

I needed to return my rental car and I wasn't exactly sure where I was going.  I like to plan maps and have a general idea of where I am going.  So not knowing exactly where I was to go and how long it would take me added to my stress.  I kept telling myself that I would be fine...I probably wouldn't die if I missed my flight so why freak out?  

I pulled in to the airport, finally seeing a car rental return sign at the very last moment.  I pulled in and thankfully it was as easy as handing my keys over to the attendant while she scanned the barcode on the window.  There was a shuttle waiting and he grabbed my luggage and off we went.  
I finally started to relax at this point.  

I had been told that the security at Bradley opens at 5am so by 5:30 the lines should still be rather short. 

Well... maybe they are short on a typical day, but not when Julie is in a hurry. 

I seriously think the entire state of Conn and parts of Mass were flying out of state.

Thankfully, the line moved quickly and I made it through security without any problems.  

I threw my boots back on and raced to my gate.  Once I was there I realized I had 20 minutes to spare and I needed  There was a Dunkin Donuts close to the gate and I jumped in line.  Again, a very, very long line.  Which is fine...there were a lot of people at the airport that morning.  What wasn't fine was the girl working behind the counter messing around on her phone that had me irritated :-)  

There was a middle-aged man standing in line in front of me and he asked me where I was going, etc.  I think he could tell I was ready to jump out of my skin.  My adrenaline was kicking in and when that happens, I move constantly.  If I don't, my heart will explode. 

We spent our time in line, 10 minutes or so, chatting.  He was from the area flying to somewhere warm for a golf outing and I told him about my week and how I was really excited, but nervous to go home and tell my kids.  My kids are a little nervous/slightly against moving.  And I knew that the news wouldn't be welcomed with open arms.  He asked their ages and I told him.  He said "oh, they'll be fine...I moved twice when I was a kid..when I was older than they are."  

Sometimes I think God sends people in mysterious places to calm our fears.  New Englanders don't exactly have the reputation of being overly warm and friendly (which I love...I'm not warm and fuzzy either :-)  but here was this obviously wealthy New Englander striking up a conversation with me saying exactly what I need to hear. 

I grabbed my coffee, not thinking to grab a bagel, and ran to the gate.  They were just boarding and my group was last.  I waited a few minutes before getting on.  I checked and double checked to make sure I had my boarding pass and the boarding pass for the next flight out of Charlotte.  

I got on the plane and settled in.  They had needed to check my luggage because the flight was full, which was great.  I didn't need to worry about lugging it around in Charlotte.  I sat down and shoved my bag under the seat.  Once we took off, I grabbed my bag to get a book and realized my boarding pass was missing.  

Times like this, I wish I didn't have an imagination.  I immediately figured a terrorist pick pocketed me and was going to board the plane in my name.  I told myself to chill out, that was ridiculous...then went on to thinking that they wouldn't let me on the next plane and I would be stranded in Charlotte forever.  *Sigh*  I wish I didn't over exaggerate.  I drive myself crazy.  

After completely digging through my bag and not coming up with anything, I decided to just read my book and figure it out later.  There was nothing I could do so why stress?  A few minutes later the sound system comes on: "Is there a Julie Bauman on this flight?  If so, please press the steward call button."  

They found my pass on the all was good.  No terrorist and no being stranded in NC.  

I made it to Charlotte with a 20 minute layover, not enough time to grab more coffee and some food, before I headed on to Cleveland to where we heard it was snowing.  Ugh.  

My sister picked me up at the airport and we had a treacherous drive home.  I walked in the door and went straight to bed.  

I was exhausted. And famished. The ice cream I ate the night before wasn't keeping me full :-) 

The kids came home from school and we had a great time.  I had missed them terribly and it was great to be with them again.  

I didn't tell them anything.  I just didn't want to have them worry about things that didn't need to be worried about.  I didn't have (and still don't) a start date or even a guarantee that this job would go through.  All I had was a very good suspicion that things could be changing drastically for us in the next month or so.  

About 5pm I was still too tired to even think.  I told the kids I needed a few minutes and crawled in bed.  I'm not sure if I was more tired from lack of sleep or just the thoughts rolling in my head.  

I must have dozed off because when the phone rang at 5:30 it startled me awake.  

Caller ID said: Madelyne. 

I froze.  Then answered. 

She was calling to tell me a few things.  First that they typically interview a selection of candidates.  But with the history of my relationship with them, that everyone on the team agreed they wanted me, and that they need someone soon, they were going to request HR to see if they could skip interviewing anyone else.  

**EEKKK** How exciting...but I still wanted to say: "I'm not that special...I'm simply me!!

We talked salary, relocation reimbursements, etc.  I told her I needed to crunch some numbers and would get back with her ASAP. 

I called Madelyne right back.  I told her what my needs/requirements were and she said she would present them to the team.  We also discussed start dates and she said they were all aware I had three children and are not expecting me to be able to start in 2 weeks, but would give me time if needed.  She would get back with me next week to let me know what was next.  

That was last Thursday.  

I'm still waiting to hear.  

She told me that Monday could be a lost day depending on the snowstorm and then needed to meet with the entire team and go between them and HR.  It could take a few days. 

I know I'm being horribly impatient.  

But I'm ready to hear what is next. 

I was doing okay on Monday.  I did good on Tuesday.  

But today?  I'm done with waiting.  

I'm ready to hear.  

Even if the news is bad.  I'm just ready to hear. 

I did tell my kids.  I told them that I'm in the waiting process.  I told them that there is a good chance we will be moved before the end of the school year. 

They reacted...just not like I thought.  

Riley painted his and Reagan's face red and black (Rittman colors) and ran around shouting "GO INDIANS" all evening. 

I just ignored him.   And tried not to laugh.  

They are starting to settle in to the idea.  I know they will be fine.  I know this is what is best for them.  I know in the end they will thank me for it.  

But they are kids. They are scared of the unknown.  I'M scared of the unknown.  

Rhianna told me that night "Mom..I know it will be better for us, but I don't even know where the bathroom is at the new school!!!"  I think it gave her new perspective when I said "I don't know where the bathroom is at my new job!  But I think they'll show us on the first day"  :-) 
As of right now, I'm waiting.  Trying to be patient.

I was only verbally offered this job.  There isn't a written contract.  Anything could still happen.  I could still lose out on this position.  In the meantime I'm trying not to think about how this will all work out.  I know that God's hand is in it and that things will be great.  

And trying to plan for the unknown is useless. 
To be cont'....

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Part 2: Wednesday

...cont' from Part 1: (again, terribly long and perhaps a little boring...)

Tuesday night we went back to my friends' house around 8:30.  I crawled in bed by 9 with a good book, ready for a night of no sleep.  With the combination of nerves and my body still on night-shift sleep schedule, I wasn't sure I could go to sleep at 9.  (If I am sleeping at 9 pm at home its only because I'm taking a quick nap before work :-)

I fell asleep by 9:30 and woke up at 8am to my phone kids back in Ohio calling to say good-morning/good bye before they left for school.  I was so thankful I was able to get a good night's sleep.  It was desperately needed.

I crawled out of bed and threw on enough clothes to make me presentable enough to drive through Dunkin Donuts for a LARGE caramel coffee.  I may have a slight addiction to coffee and needed something to jumpstart me that morning.

I hung around the house with Ann, gathering my thoughts for the day.  I received an email from a co-worker who had sent a letter of recommendation to the Talent Acquisition rep at Insurance Co A, where I was interviewing later that afternoon.  I almost cried.  The letter was so kind and full of good things.  I didn't realize that I was perceived in the way he described me.

I showered and got dressed before noon and was ready to leave by 12:15.  I made it into the city and to my reserved parking spot by  12:45.  I parked there last is in an interesting spot. There is a small driveway snuggled between two large buildings.  As soon as you pull up there is a gate with a security speaker system.  You have to push the button and give them your name.  If you are approved, they lift the gate for you to pull forward where you go down an incline to a metal door where you wait for it to open.  It feels slightly intimidating.  :-)

I easily found a place to park on the first level and walked to the elevators.  Last year I took the elevators up to the lobby where someone met me.  This year I had to walk out of the plaza deck and across the street and around the corner to the main entrance.  It was freezing.  Because I overthink things and totally stress out about the stupidest things, I didn't take my coat.  I wasn't sure what I would do with it while I was in the meetings, so I opted to tough it out and not wear one at all.  Not my smartest move.

I was almost 25 minutes early, so I ducked into a Dunkin Donuts and grabbed another cup of caramel swirl coffee.  Thinking ahead, I only bought a small one.  I sat in the coffee shop thinking of what was up ahead and wondering how it would go.  I was oddly calm at this point.

Leaving the coffee shop, I heard sirens and all sorts of commotion.  Looking ahead to the crosswalk, I noticed a group of people standing around/kneeling over someone.  It looked like someone had been hit by a car.  It took my mind off my stress as I said a quick prayer...but the noise of the sirens didn't do much to help my adrenaline.

I easily found the door I was to go in and went inside to the security desk.  I gave them my name and time of appointment.  He couldn't find my name on the list...I glanced down and saw that they had it listed as 1:15am, not pm.  I had to laugh to myself...I would probably do better doing interviews at 1:15 AM.

I signed in and sat in a little waiting room in the Talent Acquisition area.  I heard/read somewhere that often they will watch you on cameras to see how you act or what magazines you read in a waiting room.  I found something that looked 'smart' and pretended to read it, occasionally stopping to stare at nothing and act like I was intently reading an article.  I have no clue what the magazine was about and hopefully I wasn't holding it upside down.  The  last thing on my mind was reading those articles.  haha.

Madelyne came out and introduced herself.  She walked me upstairs to the conference room I would be meeting in.  We spoke for about 15 minutes and she told me what the job was like and different things like that.  She was so sweet and I really enjoyed getting to know her.

The first woman came in.  She is the 2VP of the one particular department in Business Insurance.  We seemed to connect and the interview went well.  She said she always asks one question to potential BA's to see if they have the natural aptitude to be a BA.  "I want to build a house and am hiring you to do it...where would you start?"  I was taken aback...not sure how to answer it, so I guessed.  I just started asking her questions that I thought were totally stupid sounding and irrelevant.  But she smiled and said " nailed have no idea how many people only ask one or two questions."

After 30 minutes with her, the Director of this department of Business Insurance came in.  I was meeting with her for an hour.  This woman was new to the company and I was really excited to meet her and hear of her perspective of things there.  I was nervous to have to interview for an hour straight.  In half hour interviews (even if there are many back to back) if they start to go downhill, it won't be long until someone else comes in.  But with an hour?  If I blew it in the first 10 minutes, it would be a loong time trying to recover.

I shouldn't have worried.  Brandy was in.cred.i.ble.  I felt like I was meeting an old friend for coffee.  She was so professional and knows so much, but it was comfortable and so easy to talk to her.

Next was the consultant for the group.  I met with her for 30 minutes, hearing some repeat questions and getting some new ones to attempt to hit out of the park.  Again, she was so easy to talk with.

The final woman would be the manager I would report to directly if the job was offered to me.  I met with her last year (the other three were new women I just met).  We hit if off last year and I remember being told she wouldn't be my direct manager (at last year's interview) and I was terribly disappointed.  So when she walked in during these sessions, I could hardly contain my excitement.  She is the type that will be patient with me, but will also encourage me to succeed in all that I can.

We talked a little about the job and I almost fell off my chair laughing.. (not really...I just snorted laughing in my head while maintaining composure) I'll be doing BA work, but the line of insurance will be Agriculture.  I guess growing up in Wayne Co, Ohio will be a benefit to the big city job after all. ;-)

We went through her list of questions in half the time so the second half of the interview (proof of my listed strength of 'efficient' hehe) we just talked and she answered the list of questions that I had about the job, the company, the city, etc.    She explained that if I was offered the position, I would be replacing someone who was retiring.

Last year when I was offered this position it was because the team wanted to stay pro-active.  There were potentially 5-10 employees in that BA/PM group that were planning to retire over the next year or two.  The team didn't want to be left without any senior talent and all newbies. However, HR looked at it like there wasn't a current position open for another BA or PM.  This year there is an actual opening because someone is leaving in May and they want someone in there soon so they can train with her...hopefully for about 3 months.

I quickly did the math and figured out that I should have started 2 weeks ago  This could potentially move really, really fast.  Which is great, but also kinda frightening.  I found out there was an opening on Feb 11.  I got the email with the job description on the 17th.  I had the interviews on the 26th.  This was fast...this is too good to be true.

 When we finished up, it seemed very promising. But I wasn't going to celebrate until everyone signed on the dotted line.  (I'm still waiting on the official word)

Madelyne was waiting for me outside the door to finish up so she could walk me to the door.  On our way over we spoke and she told me of the next steps.  She kept hinting that I had a good chance, but kept stopping herself.  I was trying hard not to read into it, but still it made me excited!  She said that if the team approved, typically the next step would be another round of interviews with the next higher up management.  But because it was them who first met me and requested I be brought in, those interviews would be skipped.  She went on to say she would meet with the team and call me next week.

Instead of having me walk outside and in the way I came out,  she took me across the link to the interior elevators that take you down through the parking deck.  I wasn't sure which level I parked on, so I asked the security guard which level was level with the ground.  Seems like a dumb question, but this parking deck is odd and isn't normal.

She told me that if I pulled in right off Prospect, that level is G1.  Sounded like it made sense, so I hopped in the elevator.  I went to G1 and I knew immediately, it was NOT the right level.  I jumped back in the elevator and went up a level.  I looked at that one.  Again, it was NOT the right level.  I looked around and realized that there are 2 sections per level.  So I went through the doors to the other side.  Again, not on G1 or G2.

At this point I was very frustrated.  My feet hurt from the heels, and I was cold ( coat ;-)  I went back up to the lobby and asked the woman again and was very clear..."I drove in right off of Prospect, did not go up or down...which level is that?"  She said "It has to be G1." Back to the elevator I go.  Back to G1.  I look in every place I can and the car is not there.

I was getting so mad.  I have a decent sense of direction and have never been lost in my life.  I might be unsure of where I am exactly, but I can usually stop, think, and figure it out rather quickly.  I've never known the fear of being lost.  And I was starting to get concerned.  This is a secure lot, so I couldn't just walk outside and walk in to the parking lot the way I drove.  Not to mention a large number of employees were starting to leave at this point.  What on earth would I do if I ran into someone I interviewed with?  I didn't want them to think I was completely incompetent.  I did what I always do when I don't know what to do.  I faked confidence.

Then, with confidence*, I walked in every level that the parking deck had.  Except for G5...because she told me it most likely was not on G5.  Irritated, cold, mad, and walking with pinched toes, I didn't know what to do.

Going back inside was not an option and the only thing I could think to do was to wait until was gone so I find mine faster.  Then I gained some sensibility and decided to stop and pray.  Cry/whine to God is more what I actually did than pray... it was then I decided to check out G5.  It was my last resort.  Sure enough...there was my car.

Rethinking my steps and the path I took, I realized that the lot was built into the ground.  So while 5 was the ground-level, it was also the top.  Sweet little security guard must have never been in the parking garage ;-)  I was never so excited to see that plain, gray rental car.  Then I realized that too much of this pilgrimage to move East I've held tightly in my hands and haven't always asked God to help me through the small details.  I realized that without Him, I would still be cold and my car would still be lost.  I guess I'm not as self-sufficient as I let myself think I am :-)

However, so far on this trip, I took on a four-lane highway with my luggage in tow and then took on a parking garage in very high heels and no coat.  I can proudly say I won both battles :-)  I was afraid to think what other adventure I would find myself on.

We went out to Chinese that night for dinner and then went to church.  My mind was racing at top speeds until I sat in church.  The warmth, the security, the familiar hymns made me relax enough that my brain turned to scrambled eggs.

After church, I went out to ice cream with a friend and we chatted for quite awhile.  I'm so excited to be getting to know her better...I'm sure I was a terrible 'date', but I know she is understanding that my day was quite challenging and full!!

I made it back to Ann's around midnight and quick packed for my flight home the next morning.  I had to leave their place by 4:30 am and wanted to be as ready as possible.

I laid down and mind racing, fell asleep.

Next up: Part 3: Thursday.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Part 1: Mon-Tues

I wasn't going to write about this until I knew more.  But then decided it is all part of the story and I want to write it down.

Here goes: (This might be long...and boring...just a heads up :-)

Towards the end of last year I was introduced to a VP at an insurance company in Hartford.  Different from the one I interviewed with last year (Insurance Co. A) so we will call it Insurance Co B :-)

I emailed a few times and then had the opportunity to speak with her on the phone.  We hit it off and I felt a great connection with her.  I know that I do better in person and felt that meeting her face to face would bring better results.  So I planned a trip to Hartford in mid-Feb.   She agreed that we could meet to chat over coffee or lunch.

Backtracking: There was a VP at Insurance Co A that shared a birthday with me.  The first time we met, June of '13, we realized this and she made a huge deal about it...we were lucky enough to be born on the best day of the year so of course we would be excited. ;-)  I emailed her and told her that I would be in town mid-Feb and would love to take her out to coffee to celebrate our birthday.  That was in mid-January.

I didn't hear back from her.

I know she is busy and sometimes doesn't respond right away and almost forgot about it, but was still rather disappointed because we had seemed to hit it off.

February 11th I finally got an email: "Are you coming to Conn anytime soon??  There is an open position I would like to talk to you about....and Happy Day Before Our Birthday Day"

I was ecstatic.  An opening?  I emailed back my travel plans and told her that I would be available any time on Wed to meet with her.  She said she would let me know what she could do.

February 17th I get another email from a Talent Acquisition person that I had contact with from last summer.  It was a list of interviewers and the posting of the job opening.

The list of people I had to interview with seemed rather daunting, but I was up for the challenge.

Monday the 24th I flew into Hartford early.  I got my rental car, with only a small blip.  I hopped on the wrong rental company shuttle bus.  I was dropped off at the wrong place and had to WALK a 1/4 mile down a FOUR lane road toting my wheeled suitcase.  I kept telling myself that I was DETERMINED to make this trip a success and if walking through puddles down a busy road was part of the test to see how tough I was I would do it...and I did :-)

I drove into the city to see where I was going to visit the following day.  I had been to Insurance Co A a couple times already, but hadn't been to Insurance Co B before.  I wanted to stake out the place.

After finding the parking lot, I drove south to the beach.

On the way back to Ellington, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a much needed cup of coffee.  I checked my emails and noticed I still hadn't gotten a confirmation on a schedule for my Wednesday interview marathon.  I quickly sent Madelyn an email letting her know that I needed the time to be there.

About a half hour later a panicked Madelyn calls me: "You still haven't heard from the scheduling team??  We HAVE to get this scheduled.  The team REALLY needs to speak with you."  I told her I was free all day Wednesday, so she could fit me in to their schedule as needed.   I hung up thinking..."What is the big deal?  I'm just me."  20 minutes later another gentleman calls and tells me that I am on the schedule.  He would send me an email with the parking instructions and place to meet.

Five interviews from 1-4:30.

Looked like Wednesday was going to be a busy day :-)


Monday evening I went to some friends' house for dinner and stayed until one a.m. catching up on life.  I hate to simply label them as 'friends' because they are more like family than just friends.  They are the friends that I can be myself and know that they will love me for it...they are the friends who will attempt to make coffee in the trunk of my Jetta (using an electrical adapter) during the snowstorm of the century because what else would you do when you a dying for coffee and you have no electricity?  These are the supportive friends who helped me bury a squirrel.  (These are just select few of the hilarious memories we already have) They are the friends who have cheered me on through so much and have been brave enough to stick by me through so much :-) I can't wait to make more memories!

I spent Monday night with another friend and then spent Tuesday morning with her.  I left to go to Insurance Co B around noon.

I met with one woman from HR and it went well.  She introduced me to a woman who knew of an opening.  It went great as well.  Then I was walked over to meet with 'N' the VP I had spoke with on the phone.

It was a bit intimidating to think about who I was about to meet.  Who am I to be taking up her time?  I'm just a girl from Wayne Co., OH.  I'm not anyone special.

The escort who was walking me over to her office wasn't exactly sure where she was going.  (This place is HUGE).  We walked up an old open staircase and around the corner to an open doorway walking into a second story balcony/rotunda.  This place was amazingly grand.  I could've spent hours just looking around and thinking of the centuries of amazing people who walked in these halls.

We went down another long hallway with marble walls to a HUGE office at the back corner of the building.  I was almost panicked at this point.  Seriously...I'm just a girl from Ohio who is clueless about things.  Instead of freaking out, I did what I always do when I find myself in situations like this...I faked it.  I faked like I was confident.  I faked that I was calm about meeting this woman.  I faked it and acted like this was an everyday occurrence meeting with people of this stature.

We spent a little over an hour visiting.  It was amazingly well.  Could not have went better.  I soon went from faking confidence, to feeling comfortable.  I felt an instant connection with her and know that over time we will build a friendship someday.  She is almost 2 decades older than myself and has so much knowledge and experience that she is willing to share.  I'm so thankful that I have this woman as a mentor.

We spoke about life, we spoke about professional moves, we spoke about the interviews the next day and she gave me some pointers.  We even talked about shoes!!!

Over an hour later she walked me to the door that led me to my car.  Faking professionalism, I stuck out my hand to thank her for her time.  She said "Oh, give me a was great meeting you!!"

Tuesday night we went to my friend's parents house for dinner.  We had a great time, even though I was a terrible guest and just sat like a bump on a log.  My mind was full with everything I took in that afternoon and my heart was racing with the thoughts of what was to come the following day.

To be continued...