March 9 2018

Today my son has been 4 for a whole month. Dude.

Today my daughter decided that she could sit up on her own whenever she pleases. She is not a prisoner to being horizontal anymore.

And she’s got her army crawl in full development mode. She’s done it 3 times this week.

The world is about to be overtaken by my tiny yet powerful baby.

And now I don’t have to feel so guilty for not having a baby book to speak for either of my babies.

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i’m doing something right, right?

One of our smoke alarms has started chirping. New batteries for all are in order.

After the chirping and discussion about new batteries and out of my earshot, our son asked his father something and got some kind of response that involved fire. So he came to find me to ask if our house was on fire.

No, it’s not. The smoke alarm is there to warn us that there is a fire, which tells us that we need to get out of our house.

Will we go live in another house?

Well, it depends on how bad the fire is, I guess. We might have to stay somewhere else while our house gets fixed.

Oh, okay. We should call Fixer Upper then.

You want to call Chip and Joanna to come fix our house if it catches on fire?

Yeah, let’s call them. What’s their phone number?

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June 30 2003

It was a Monday.

I know it was a Monday not because of my super-human calendar skills but because it was my first day of work at the Office of Historical Trust Accounting.

Today is my last day at OHTA.

Starting on Monday, I will be working for the Interior Business Center, reporting to the Chief of Staff.

I never imagined that I would be a career federal employee. Not that I ever had a good idea of what kind of career I would have or if I would even have a career. I’m very “take things as they come” on the job front.

But here I am. Almost 15 years later.

When I started my federal career, my office’s internet access was cut off by order of a District Court Judge. My first project was to do research about how the government could collect Indian trust-related documents from private companies and individuals in order to fully respond to a Court order for the collection and preservation of Indian trust-related documents. So for the first few days of my job, I actually worked at home where I could get on a computer that could access the internet, which was necessary for me to pretend to do any research. I never could have known those first few days that I would spend the last (almost) 9 years working primarily from home. Funny.

At OHTA, I traveled across the country. San Jacinto and Hemet (via the Ontario airport and the most terrifying freeway driving I’ve ever done). Spokane. Portland. Reno. and Boulder City. Provo. Albuquerque and Santa Fe and all around that part of New Mexico. Denver. Bismarck (in the middle of April 2013 and was amazed at the snow piled over my head and realized I didn’t know what winter was). Tulsa, Bartlesville, Pawhuska, Tonkawa, and all the Oklahoma back roads in between. Houston. Lenexa and Kansas City. Shepherdstown. NYC and Nedrow (<– that’s just south of Syracuse if you didn’t know). Boston.

think that’s everywhere. But I could have forgotten one or two places.

Albuquerque and Denver and Pawhuska were my most frequent destinations. I spent four straight months flying back and forth to Albuquerque in 2004. All that travel bought the plane tickets for my trip to London and Paris with my husband and mom in 2010.

I am baffled that I never made it to Arizona. So many Native American Tribes. How did I not go there?

At OHTA, I met with government leaders from dozens of Tribes. And enough attorneys for the government and for Plaintiffs to last me a lifetime.

I was deposed in two cases, both of which settled soon after. You’re welcome. Haha.

I was good at my job. People liked me AND I got stuff done.

I actually got my new job because I am able to get stuff done. Hard stuff. Gnarly stuff. Stuff no one else wants to do. Not sure if that sounds like my new job is a good job, but I’m hopeful. At a minimum, I will be doing different hard stuff.

On Monday, I turn in my laptop, my phone, a bunch of cords. I get a new laptop, a new phone (and phone number), a new email address.

I still get to work from home most of the time. I will go into the office a couple of times every two weeks. And as long as I keep getting stuff done, that huge benefit of my job will continue. Being able to work from home is a real motivator for staying productive.

I have worked with some great people. The list of annoying people is super short, and I’m glad about that.

Today would probably be more emotional for me if I were transferring to a job at a different government agency or at a different company. But I’ll still be at the Department of the Interior.

And I’ll still have a job that’s a pain to explain if someone asks what I do. So not much is really changing.

 

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mark it down

It only took us until December 19 to get the pumpkins from Halloween off of our front porch.

We are clearly not keeping up with the Joneses around these parts.

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What it’s like

I went back to work after giving birth to my second child a little over three months ago. About a week later a good friend of mine asked me if I would like to write an article for her about my experience going back to work. Sure, I said. I could do that, I said. I have something to say that’s worth saying, I said.

I still haven’t written the article.

And that, dear reader of my blog, is what going back to work after having your second child is like.

I could do and say a lot of things.

But I don’t. Because when am I going to do and say them?

Let’s establish from the outset that I have a pretty sweet gig as a working mother.

  1. I am incredibly blessed to be able to work from home.
  2. I also have a stay-at-home husband who shoulders the parenting responsibilities during my work day. Another huge blessing.
  3. My six-month-old daughter who was born six weeks early started sleeping for stretches that qualify as “sleeping through the night” by the time I was back on the clock.
  4. My daughter is also the happiest baby. Maybe ever.

I’m sure the list could go on.

However.

Even with all that I have going for me, I’m still going to play the overwhelmed card.

I work from 7 am to 4:30 pm each day. My daughter wakes me up somewhere between 5:45 and 6:45 every morning. I give her her first dose of Zantac and then get myself and my things together to get my work day started while waiting the obligatory 30 minutes before feeding her.

My work day consists of emails and conference calls and research and writing and thinking and figuring and more writing and rewriting and deleting and refiguring and more conference calls. Somewhere in there I pump and feed my daughter and grab some food here and there for myself.

I usually finish work on time. Usually. Except for a day like today when I needed to get something out the door before signing off and ended up working until 5:22 pm.

So. I close up shop at about 4:30. While that might seem early (and is certainly earlier than a mom who has to drive home after finishing her day), it feels to me like my day has already gotten away from me. Because I have a baby who likes to go to bed right around 6:30 pm.

That leaves me a two-hour window during which I try to

  1. make dinner for and eat dinner with my family.
  2. spend time with my oft-neglected (at least by me) three-year-old son.
  3. think about taking a shower.
  4. think about the fact that I’m not exercising but should.
  5. get my daughter ready for bed and otherwise get things situated for her bedtime.
  6. get myself ready for my daughter’s bedtime.
  7. the list could go on.

I hardly ever do most of those things. So I should add telling myself I’m a bit of a slug to the list of things I do during my two-hour window.

Then I take my daughter to bed. Some night she eats and goes to bed quickly. Sometimes she takes her time. Sometimes I let her take her time.

Occasionally, I will put my son to bed. Typically, though, my husband does it.

After both kids are in bed, we sometimes talk a little. We sometimes watch TV a little. But usually, I go to bed not long after my daughter does.

Except for a night like tonight. Tonight, I am writing. Reporting. Recording.

I do not wish these days away. Someday, my kids won’t be small. Someday, I won’t be working at home; I will be going to D.C. again.

But tonight I am wishing I had time to write that article, time to capture on the page how it feels to be a working mom, to be the breadwinner, to be the only food source for my daughter, to be who I am.

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Hospital Highlights 1991

The scariest part of my hospital stay happened when they brought me back to my room after the surgery. It’s another thing I don’t remember. But my mom wrote a poem about it. Read it here.

I actually walked with the aid of a walker the day after my surgery. Rods in legs are pretty amazing. However. Something felt funny in my left knee when I walked, I said. They took a look and decided I needed to take my recovery more slowly. I would be using a wheelchair instead of a walker.

My right leg was in traction. I can show you the scar from it if you’re interested.

My hair was matted with blood.

My forehead was covered in stitches.

I was on a morphine drip. I really liked morphine. It made everything better.

My hospital gown was at times revealing. I got very concerned that I might be revealing a little too much up top when one group of visitors arrived. My inquiry to my mom of “Am I covered?!” was frantic. Desperate. How mortifying to be accidentally showing a bare breast to someone.

The Rutter family came to visit on Saturday. Paul was an upperclassman. Swoon. He asked me if I would be back at school on Monday. I, under the influence of morphine, told him I would be. He, not under the influence of morphine, believed me. And thus began the rumor that I would be attending Capital High. You know, since Capital was the only high school with an elevator and I clearly wouldn’t be walking anytime soon. So I must be transferring schools.

Some guy friends from my year also came to visit. Four of them. And I really only remember for sure that one of them was Justin Curtis. I was chit-chatting away and asking about this and that when suddenly Justin disappeared. This time, he was the one who swooned. Well, maybe not swooned. He passed out. Hit his head on the sink. Bonk. A really funny story now. But I felt so bad for him at the time. Poor Justin.

I am sure that Lisa and Jessy came to visit. Probably more than once.

I got wheeled down to see John in his hospital room. Can’t remember if I saw him, though. I feel like maybe I arrived just in time to learn he had been discharged. Not sure if that memory is right.

I was in the hospital for 8 days. 8 days. And I have just shared with you the extent of my memories.

Well, I have two other memories.

The first is a memory I have of my dad. It’s the first memory I have after rolling down the hallways and watching the lights on the ceiling. He was wearing a suit and sitting next to my bed. It was bright. He was taking care of me. That’s what I remember.

The other memory is this. I was going home just in time for all the Halloween parties the next weekend. I had a serious conversation with my mom about would she please let me go to the party I had been invited to. You should not be surprised to learn that I did not go to the party.

 

 

 

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October 24 1991

I was a sophomore at Boise High School. Almost 16 years old. Currently enrolled in a driver’s ed course that met in the classroom where I would take algebra 3/trigonometry from Mr. Stubblefield the next year.

John Weatherby already had his license. And he had a car and could drive places.

I have no clue how it came to be that John Weatherby, Josh Jaynes, Bryndi Joyce and I were all wanting to go to the mall together after school that day. (It was a Thursday, btw.) Suffice it to say that we were teenagers with a car. Doesn’t that usually mean you end up at the mall?

I have no memory of how I would normally get home from school. I guess I rode the bus. It is incredible to me that I can’t remember how I got to and from school my sophomore year in high school. Before or after October 24.

Whatever the case, I called my parents to ask if I could go with John and Josh and Bryndi and then have John drive me home. Note: I either got permission to use a phone in the office or I used a pay phone to make this call. Who had heard of cell phones then? But I note it because even as I write this story, my mind automatically pictures myself using a cell phone to call my parents.

I can’t remember if I told my mom we were going to the mall or if I told her we were going somewhere else. But I do remember that I lied to her about some part of it — either our destination or the reason that we NEEDED to go wherever I told her we were going. There was a lie in there somewhere. I’m sorry about that.

This is a lame story so far because I keep saying I can’t remember things.

Something else I don’t recall at all:  driving to the mall. Or being at the mall. Or leaving the mall.

It’s not like I even remember calling my mom.

I just know that all this stuff happened before the part that I actually do remember.

What I remember:  I am sitting behind John Weatherby in his station wagon. We are heading south on Leadville Avenue. We are not going particularly fast. I look up and see a stop sign up ahead. I have this odd sensation of knowing we should be slowing down as we approach the stop sign. But we are not slowing down. We are driving through the intersection without stopping. I look to the left as we enter the intersection and see the grill of a Ford Bronco.

End of memory.

More things I know but don’t remember.

The intersection where we got hit was the second stop sign we ran that day.

I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The station wagon was old. It only had lap belts, which were buried and unreachable in the crevice between the seat and the seat back.

The impact of the Bronco sent me flying toward Bryndi.

 

Bryndi cracked some vertebrae in her neck.

Josh was basically unharmed and got out of the car and sat on the ground and waited.

John broke some ribs and punctured a lung.

I broke my right femur, right humerus, and right clavicle.

Many, many pieces of glass ended up embedded in the left side of my face.

I was taken by ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

I was wearing my favorite blue v-neck sweater. It — and my other clothes — had to be cut off me in the ER.

I did not lose consciousness. I was screaming/crying in the car after it came to rest against a telephone pole on the southwest corner of the intersection. I was also awake and talking to people — including my parents, who had been urgently summoned to the hospital — in the ER.

My next memory:  I am lying on my back and can see the lights pass by as I roll down a hallway.

I was on my way to the OR to have a plate fastened to my humerus with 11 screws and a rod inserted into my femur. No casts for my broken bones.

I believe the surgery happened on October 24. But I can’t really be sure because, well, you know… I don’t remember.

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