Wow! Things have been happening here and I don't even know where to start! Back in October we began a mini-remodel that included paint for the kids' rooms, dining room and the living room, new carpet throughout the house, new bathroom flooring for the master bath and finally getting the leaky skylight out of the front bathroom. I still have to paint the kitchen, sunroom, both baths and my bedroom, but we're getting there. I am also trying to squeeze new counter tops for my kitchen out of the budget, but Brian won't let go of a penny of his big screen TV money...what a meanie!! Basically, that takes us through Christmas, not to mention the events that were Gwen's 4th birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving feasting (which I hosted) and the general holiday hustle and bustle. Basically, everyone was lucky to have clean undies and food...I was a bit stressed. School became a sideshow that we visited occasionally and stared, in awe, at the schedule I had made WAY back in September. I was sure that the new year would bring about calm and a chance to "get back to normal" whatever that means. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...little did I know things were about to get even weirder!!!
Brian's job has been taking advantage of the fact that he will work, you know, cuz really, you're supposed to call in sick minutes before your shift begins, continually exhibit unethical behavior and just be an all around terrible team member. It all came to a head the first Saturday in January when he ended up working 24 hours straight...that's right, 24. Not at a desk, answering a phone or filling out paperwork, but making 100+ mile trips to and from the hospital for evaluations...in the middle of the night. When he finally reached his supervisor (um, his BACKUP) at 2:30am, he was faced with contempt and just plain disrespect. By this time I was LIVID. Everyone knew it, the neighbors, people in Arkansas, but most importantly, his supervisor(someone we considered a friend until that moment) knew it. The decision was made that Brian would resign. Brian has worked for this agency for the past 8 years, it is a state agency so pay is mediocre (pay raises come when the state is forced by lawmakers to give them, that would be ONCE in eight years), but everyone suffers through to get the unmatched benefits. I liken it to an abusive spouse, they tell you how lucky you are to have them, beat you, tell you no one else would want you, beat you and eventually kill your spirit and you take their abuse because you believe there's nothing better for you. I know, it sounds harsh, but it's the ugly truth. Mental Health professionals see the worst of the worst situations so burnout is extremely high. Brian was burning out. His obligation to us, his family, was more important to him than his sanity. I was burning out watching him suffer and I knew what number the checkbook held. It was time to drop this poisoned apple and run. He was a nervous wreck, but jobs landed on the table the day he decided to quit...literally. He had no idea of the opportunities that were available to him. I, on the other hand, knew that all the letters following his name (and the payment amount on his student loan!) would secure him a position immediately. There were agencies fighting over him. Professionally, he had never been so appreciated. The decision to move on was a good one.
The day after this harrowing 24 hour shift, Victor decided that his daddy needed to remember what life was really about and fell off the back steps and poked his teeth through his lip. The amount of blood was, quite frankly, amazing. Half way to the emergency room, he had stopped crying(Victor, not Brian, lol) and I had the bleeding stopped. I was covered in blood and my one year old's lip was 3 times the size it was just one hour before, however, the emergency room told us it would be a 2-5 hour wait. That would be waiting behind a man with a band aid on his finger, wanting pain medication, er, I mean stitches, a girl who apparently partied too hard the night before and a host of other people who simply had nothing else to do on a Sunday evening. I, on the other hand, decided I could do a better job at home. And I did. He's made a full recovery and likes to discuss the incident while acting out how he fell. Ahhh, one year olds are able to keep things in perspective...a great story I can tell to my friends and family, with demonstrations!!
Realizing that Brian's new job will require a good amount of driving I insisted that we get him a new car. He is currently driving a 1971 Baja VW Bug. Although this is a beloved car in our family, it's not exactly reliable transportation, therefore, a set of new wheels was necessary. Before Brian actually resigned from his position, I ran out and got pre-approved for a car loan through our bank, you know, so I wasn't actually lying when I said my husband had a job. I.Hate.Buying.A.Car. Anywhoo, I chose a 2008 Toyota Yaris and couldn't be happier...it's cute, reliable and best of all, cheap.
Alyssa has been wanting to take martial arts for some time now, but I limit the kids to one "sport" at a time, so as to make my days easier, and she was playing soccer. Now that soccer is on hiatus she chose Aiki Jitsu. Aiki Jitsu is a Japanese martial art founded during Japan's feudal period, it's focus is on controlling techniques for self defense (or controlling aggressive individuals), personal growth and confidence. I am very happy with the class so far and I think she is warming up to it. I think she thought she would come in like Jackie Chan and start kicking butt, but then realized that all movements have a purpose and there is no need to kick butt, only to control yourself and the other person. Great lessons. Gwen is still taking gymnastics, although she is considering dance classes. She loves to dance and sing, so it will be no surprise if she ends up eventually wanting to participate in the local community playhouse productions. She can be VERY dramatic!
Still reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and loving it! Alyssa has been pre-reading and is three chapters ahead of me. She is nice enough not to spoil anything for me, but I see the look on her face when she tries to keep it to herself. I am not sure what we'll read as a follow up, but I hope it lives up to our love of H.P. Now that Brian will have a regular schedule, school will return to normal. Whatever normal is! We will be focusing on the fact that this is an election year and what comes with all of that craziness. Other than that, my plans are still tentative. I hope to be blogging about our adventures soon!