Saturday, October 22, 2016

Grandma, what big eyes you have!

My mom made this year's Halloween costume. Grover is playing the wolf/grandma. I bought him a granny wig but the jerk won't wear it.  It took about 43,000 treats just to get these photos.

Happy Halloween, ya'll.


Sometimes I see parents huddled on the sidelines of a soccer field on a blustery Saturday morning and I think, "Oh, thank God my kid doesn't play soccer." My girl doesn't play soccer or volleyball or basketball. Nope. She sings. And sings and sings and sings.  She sings so long in the shower that she sets off the smoke alarms with the volume of steam cascading out of the bathroom.

Lately, I feel like I spend all of my time driving her to rehearsals, driving her to performances, keeping track of rehearsal/performance schedules, and making sure she's wearing the right stuff to the right performance. She's in two choirs - a girls' touring choir (representing our city) and a show choir at school. For the past six weeks, the show choir has been rehearsing four days a week. Fortunately, the touring choir only rehearses on Sundays, but the duration will increase a bit as we get closer to the big concert in December.  My mom is flying in for that show - she is going to bawl her ever-loving eyes out when she hears these girls sing.

Earlier this week, we attended performances for both choirs. On Monday night, she participated in a women's choral festival. Six or seven choirs performed, most of which were from high schools around the state. So, needless to say, my kid was the youngest/shortest one there. See if you can spot her:

On Tuesday night, we attended the show choir performance at the middle school. It was combined with a jazz band concert (which was not nearly as brutal as the beginning band concerts I attended at the elementary school last year). Her dad and I sat close to the front so that we had a good view. The fun thing about show choir is that they sing and dance. The choir sang three or four songs. During one song, the choir members started whistling. Her dad and I looked at each other and laughed under our breath: our kid can't whistle. She later told us that she was instructed to fake it. She wasn't in the front this time, but it was still pretty easy to spot her.

She has a show choir field trip on Monday and she is SO excited. The choir is visiting six local elementary schools and will perform the same songs they sang at Tuesday's concert. She told me, "Mom, when we are at each school, the choir members who went to that school get to say their name at the end." She can't wait to show off at her old school. I'm picturing her proudly announcing her name at the end of the show but in her head, she will be thinking something more like, "That's what's up, bitches!"  

Next month, she's trying out for a musical at school. I don't know if she'll get a part, but if so, I'll drive to those rehearsals, too. I warned her that the big parts will probably go to eight graders, since they are more experienced. But still, I think she has as good a shot as anyone. Sometimes I do start to wonder if she will be able to pursue a career in music someday. As she develops as a singer, it's starting to feel more feasible, anyway. I would be so happy for her if she is one of those lucky souls who gets to do what she loves and make a living at it. She's asked for guitar lessons for Christmas. Who knows - maybe she'll be playing gigs at the farmers' market before we know it! 

#choirmom out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's good to be . . . employed

When I arrived at work last Wednesday, I saw a meeting request from my boss as soon as I logged in. Mandatory company meeting at 8:30 AM. The new guy in my department asked me, "What usually happens at these company meetings?"

"I wouldn't know," I said, "Because we've never had one."

At that point, I basically knew what was happening - the company was being sold. All the signs had been there - closed-door meetings, sudden changes in routine and policy.  As I sat at my desk and waited for the meeting to start, I felt rattled. I'd been through this sort of thing before and it's scary. I remembered a friend telling me about a local insurance company that hauled everyone into a meeting and then packed up their desks while they were in there. I nervously IMed back and forth with a co-worker: "Do you think we'll have to pack up our own desks?" I asked.

When the meeting started, we all sat in the conference room and stared at a PowerPoint that was projected in front of us. "We've been sold," my boss said. He then flipped through a bunch of slides that described the new company and what would happen next. He said that his last day would be Friday. He thanked us for doing our jobs and whatnot. After he was done talking, the management team from the new company came in, introduced themselves, and gave us an overview. They had flown in from the corporate office in a neighboring state.

A lot of thoughts passed through my head as I sat there. Selfishly, I waited for a slide addressed specifically to me: "Don't worry, Claudia. You still have a job." My next thought was, perhaps, also a bit selfish. At my annual performance review in the spring, my boss told me that he wanted to move me into a management position and have the members of our small development team report to me instead of to him. I realized that I'd been duped - the company was being prepared for sale all the while.

By the end of the day, I was mostly convinced that I still had a job. I kept having "Office Space" flashbacks - I pictured the Bobs sitting me down and asking me, "What would you say you DO here." My next thought was one of concern for my friend in accounting. I knew that the new company probably had its own accounting people and that her job might be redundant. I tentatively approached her office and asked her if she was coming along for the ride. She shook her head. "No." I felt awful.

So yeah, it was a rough day. I don't think it helps that I've been sick for nearly three weeks. I did see a doctor last week, but recovery is slow. I cough professionally now - I should add that to my resume.

Once the shock wore off, I started to look for the bright side.  The transition is nerve-wracking because I'm going from a company of 18 people to a company of 1300 people. But who knows - maybe it will represent new opportunities for me. If I were 20 years older and had an acquisition looming, I'm sure I'd say, "I was done, anyway - talk atcha later!" But, as it is, I have a solid two decades of working ahead of me. So, I may as well make the best of it.

I was full of nerves over the weekend as Monday (under the new regime) loomed. I read the massive packet of paper that had been handed to me, and filled out form after form. I read the employee manual. No more jeans in the office. Artwork hung in one's cubicle has to be pre-approved. No piles of paper on one's desk (not that I have piles of paper on my desk, anyway - ya'll know how I feel about clutter). Whole new world.

Monday was a blur. The management people from the new company have been very hand-on as they help us get used to new systems.  They really seem determined to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Everyone I've met so far has been pretty darned nice. It's just a whole different world so it will take some time to get used to it. Honestly, working for a company with more resources might end up being a good thing. Someone swung by my desk yesterday to inform me I'd be getting a brand new laptop. New phones were installed over the weekend (I don't know how old our old phones were, but I felt like Fred Flintstone would have felt pretty comfortable using them).

So, I'm still stressed out, but I'm getting there. I think I'll feel better by the weekend. I've been sitting here at my desk (at home) since 3:30 AM because I cannot sleep. Also, my roommate was snoring loudly enough to beat the band and I could not shove my ear plugs any deeper into my ear holes. I wish I was a little more agile when it comes to adapting to change, but I doubt I can rewire my brain at this point.

I guess I'll go feed my doggies now. I can't say that they've been very sympathetic about what I'm going through. Jerks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Looking up

AAAAB+.  Those are my daughter's current grades. I felt it was only right to post that update because she is not too happy with me for telling people that she had missing assignments.  One of her friends mentioned it at school and I guess she was pretty embarrassed. I realized that I do need to be more careful about the information I share about my child. She is getting older now and is more aware of these things. I do like to reach out to other moms for support sometimes, though. I have known the same group of May 2005 Babycenter moms since, well, 2005.  These are the same moms with whom I compared notes about when to start my infant on cereal. As parents, we often experience the same challenges at roughly the same time. The good news is that my daughter is not the only one who has struggled with the transition into middle school.

Now that I know she needs more hands-on help with keeping her organized, I am trying to do just that. She is caught up on missing assignments now. I am keeping a close eye on the ol' campus portal now. She either loves or hates the increased attention - I'll keep you posted.

Speaking of my kid, who do I talk to about stopping her from flipping water bottles? If that isn't the weirdest use of one's time I've ever seen . . .

Let's see . . . what else is new?  I fasted for World Farm Animals Day last Sunday. It was a challenge, but I just remind myself that the movement helps to bring awareness to the plight of animals on factory farms. Obviously it didn't hurt me to miss a few meals.

We had our roof replaced earlier this week. We knew we'd need to do it eventually so we bit the bullet.  We took out a home equity line of credit so that we can get a few things done around the house (we're replacing some of the fencing next). I'm sort of surprised that my husband actually took the initiative to take out the line of credit. Normally he resists all attempts at home maintenance because, and I quote, "it'll just get that way again."

I've been visiting a dog in boarding for the past couple of weeks. He came in as wild child. Practically feral. I was supposed to foster him but he wouldn't even come in the house. So, the founder of the rescue decided to board him instead. I'm still hopeful that maybe we can foster Rio. Several volunteers are working with him on socialization. I've spent some time just sitting in the kennel with him, giving him yummy treats. Last time I visited, I was actually able to take him on a walk (getting a leash/collar on him was a miracle in itself). He's getting a lot better, though he still seems bewildered about doggie behavior sometimes.

Anyway, that's about all the news I've got. I'm getting a mammogram in the morning (don't get jelly, now!) I've had a cough for two weeks. I keep picturing that I'll have a coughing fit while they have me strapped in and will inadvertently tear my left boob off from the violence of my hacking. Here's hoping I come out of it with two boobs, though.

Until next time, mes amis . . .