Monday, April 27, 2009

A Job and a Half

Life is exhausting these days. Every workday I get up, drive across town to my Census job, put in 8 hours there, race across town to my second job (scoring tests at Pearson), put in 4 hours there, and then I hurry myself home (before I collapse) and unwind for about one hour before going to bed. This schedule has made me so tired that I spent 12 hours in bed on Saturday night.

Don't get me wrong, I like what I'm doing at Pearson. I'm just not as young as I was the last time I worked a string of 12 hour shifts. But scoring tests is fun and I feel like I might be making a difference in a child's education. The pay isn't bad either. It's temporary work. This project is till mid May, so about 4 weeks.

When I originally agreed to take a night shift at Pearson I was told 2 weeks. That changed on the first day of training. For a while I thought about only doing the 2 weeks I'd agreed to, we have that option, but then I heard from HR at the Census job that we may be down sizing the office where I work in a month. So when I told Sandi not to let me talk myself out of the 4 weeks of extra pay, I guess God was listening in. Four weeks working 12 hours sounds pretty good right now. It also means that I'll have possible day projects to fall back on if the Census job lays me off for a bit.

Because all my weekday evenings are filled I've missed 1 choir practice and will miss several more. That bums me out because I like having something social and vocal to do once a week. The choir director just added in several new pieces to our notebooks. I don't know when they are going to be performed and we move through them really quick. Hope I have several weeks to practice on them but probably not.

Sunday I did the bare minimum at church. Usually I go early to see if I'm needed for anything at the early service, have breakfast in the fellowship hall, make choir practice prior to service, and then church and home, after a short stop in to coffee hour. This time I cut the early service out. I've also asked for a sub for this Wednesday night when I'm on the schedule to be Lay Minister at the Healing Eucharist. No can do when income calls. I wish it were the other way around as I get much more from church, but I really think God has put this job in my life for a reason, so maybe it's time to learn a bit of time management.

When my friend, JS, sent me a blank time schedule out of some book she was reading it had something called "sharpening the saw" on it. She explained that was for rest or training. What ever it took to get you back on track and working better than the long hours had dragged you down to. Sunday could have been such a day and to a certain extent it was, but not as much as I wanted it to be. When I entered the sanctuary for choir practice I looked out the back windows. There were two guys walking around the labyrinth towards the gardens. That was when I noticed that they were in full bloom. Suddenly I no longer wanted to be inside. Instead I yearned to be outside getting down close and personal with those flowers. Sigh! I elected to be responsible and stayed inside for choir. Then I went home to call Mom and do the house keeping chores. What a loss! I won't have time to go back there till this weekend. I'm going to have to remember to pack my camera in whatever I use to haul a journal and purse around in because I definitely want to capture those blossoms. Last year I took some pics of the garden at the back of the church. I think it has expanded and someone has planted different flowers this year. If I'm supposed to learn something from all this more than busy time, maybe one of the things I need to learn is how to take those moments when they happen and also keep a fast and furious pace when necessary. That makes me look forward with joy and also the feeling of being challenged. All prayers gratefully accepted.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

3rd Sandi Update

Sandi went home this weekend. She was supposed to spend the time resting and had her family arrive to give her comfort and support on Sunday. If I know Sandi, she over estimated the amount of energy she was going to have...which might explain why she hasn't put up a post about being gone for so long. Her doctor told her to rest for 3 weeks, no gardening. You gotta know that's gonna be hard for her to follow. I'm working two jobs this week and the next so I'm going to be hard pressed to read blogs much less write a post. But if I don't hear from her shortly I'm going to call between jobs or on a break and find out how things are going.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sandi Update #2

Don't get me wrong, I'll never wish anyone ill! Certainly not a hospital stay! But Sandi ending up in the hospital has me calling her every day and I feel so good about the way our friendship is growing through this that I've labeled it a blessing! And I've missed our internet chatter so I'm doubly glad for the reason to call and talk.

I just got off the phone with her. Her doctor wants to keep her till the end of the week. It seems that when she walked in to the ER under her own power she was in critical condition from that infection and they didn't know how she was able to stand, much less walk. So now that the infection is healing they want to hold onto her till her white blood count, and I presume energy, returns to a more normal state. When she told me what her doctor had said I told her she had a new nickname, "Tankette!" She laughed!

The book I sent her, "The Whole Truth" by Baldacci, will hopefully keep her a bit busy, but if she reads as fast as I do when I'm bored and in bed the whole day probably not. Feel free to leave messages and comments if you know her or even think you might want to. I'll deliver them. Or you can leave one on her blog, Holding Patterns. There's a link to it on my left sidebar. She said to tell you all how much she appreciates the prayers and messages of care she's received so far.

Hope everyone had a good holy week! Peace! Hope! & Joy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Puzzle Share

Click to Mix and Solve

Today's puzzle made me think of David's pictures over at Authorblog. I loved the color and the way the glass stems aligned up to make an interesting pattern. Hope you have fun with this one. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sandi Update

Just got off the phone with Sandi! She's doing fine and ate her first meal since Monday. The surgery went much better than even the doctors expected. They didn't have to cut anything much and successfully inserted a tube which is draining the infection. She says she will probably be home Monday and will post as soon as she can after her return. I think there is supposed to be a post on her blog, put there by her son, which gives some news too. She's got a great family! She said, "Thanks for all the prayers!"

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sandi is on Hiatus

For those of you who are also readers of Sandi McBride at Holding Patterns, I want to announce that Sandi is in the hospital. I spoke to her this evening. She has diverticulitis and they are doing surgery tomorrow morning. She asks you to please forgive her not being around and also please pray for healing. I'll call her tomorrow when I get home from work to get an update and will try to let you know how things are going.

Peace! Hope! & Prayers ascending!

Work Mishap

Monday started out good. I got two people to train on a certain function and found out that my Census job would last into 2010. Yay! I love the thought of long term work at this job.

Monday afternoon ended rather badly. A filing cabinet fell over onto me and bruised my right forearm and left knee. In many ways I was blessed when it happened. Two folk were with me, saw it happening and jumped under it to stop its fall. Then the HR manager jumped in as well to get it since all the 4 drawers were trying to fall down and were absolutely full of files. It took 3 or 4 people to stop that cabinet from hitting the ground, one of them was me since it landed on me first. It took 3 strong men to get it back upright from its over 45 degrees tilt towards being face down on the ground. And in the process they shoved it too far back so it took off that black rubber wall base trip that lines many offices. But get it upright they did, Thank God!

Then came the process of checking me out. My right wrist and forearm were dinged by the corner of a drawer and also scraped. That is ugly looking but not very bad. The knee which stopped a heavy drawer though is rather badly bruised and somewhat swollen. Every one was asking me if I was okay, including the HR manager. I said I thought so but wasn't sure. I was very shook up. HR Mgr asked me if I wanted to go to the doctor and I said I didn't know but wanted to fill out an incident report. He got me some paperwork to start on and called Dallas for advice. They said send me to my doctor or the ER. My Doc would have taken several days so the ER at the nearby VA hospital it was.

They asked me if I could drive. My leg could have handled it but when the Office Supervisor cracked a joke to make me laugh I lost control of my emotions and laughed and cried at the same time right on his shoulder. Ouch! I felt totally unprofessional but really grateful for his grabbing me and hugging me cause I needed that comfort. Then he made me laugh again and I had the same reaction so I got hugged twice. Based on that lack of emotional control I asked if someone could drive me in my car and another person followed in theirs to drive that employee back since it wasn't the end of the work day. What a great bunch of people!

When I got to Audey Murphy VA Hospital we used valet parking and they handed me my backpack. One of the gentlemen wanted me in a wheel chair but I said I could walk in. So I did and they headed back to work. This was about 3:30. That's a mere 40 minutes after the accident. I was "triaged" by the nurses and set at a fairly high priority based on my knee and possibly my blood pressure which had shot up due to stress, adrenolyn and anxiety. Even then I sat in the VA waiting area for 3 hours before being seen and sent home.

When I did get seen the doctor didn't have me unrobe, he just prodded my knee some through my slacks and asked where it hurt. He offered to x-ray my patella. I asked if I'd be able to walk if the knee cap was broken and he didn't offer again. He did say that if I wanted to come back and get it x-rayed later I could. His prescription was Motrin or Aleeve twice a day at a higher than usual dose. He also gave me an ace bandage for support and a return to work chit after asking me if I did lots of climbing. And that was it. I went to the front, got my car key, located my car, and drove myself home.

A good hot soak in the bath that night plus 2 Aleeve helped me relax. I took a pillow to bed to support the knee with and hit the sack about 8:30. When I woke up that morning I felt much better. I took myself to work and also the Aleeve and a cane just incase I felt the need of knee support later in the day. Everyone at work was asking me how I was and I'm really grateful for all the concern shown. One person told me that in the middle of the accident I cried out, "Don't worry about me, get the cabinet!" Everyone laughed and said that was dedication. I blushed, cause I didn't even remember saying that but it sounds just like me so I'm pretty sure I did. Heck, we had 4 drawers falling out with all their files, why wouldn't I have been concerned?

Today I'm going to work again. I'm doing better than yesterday when I felt a little tired and wanted to basically take things easy. Last night on the way home I stopped by Walgreens and bought an elastic knee brace and am wearing that today so I think I'm doing the right things. When I opened my door last night there was a Fedex envelope that had been slid under my door which has paperwork to fill out for my claim. I get mileage to the hospital, the hours I left work and maybe the extra time I spent in the waiting room. I'll get help filling that out at work today. On my way home tonight I want to get some lotion with arnica in it because that will accelerate the healing of the ugly bruise on my knee. Now I'm getting ready for work. Have a good day everyone!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Crying Purse, Smiling Car

Because I needed to get a safety inspection done for my car, and it also was time for an oil change, I scheduled a service appointment for this morning. Yes, you now have to make an appointment to get your car repaired. That amazed me the first time they asked me to do it but, in retrospect, it makes sense. No more waiting for hours and your car is ready when you want it. Plus, you set it by your schedule so you don't get as frustrated with things.

I'd requested 9 AM but they set me at 8:30. That's okay, first in first out! My dealership uses a web page to schedule these things and it has a comments area, so I asked for what I needed and included a request for a "tune up". This car maintenance procedure apparently no longer exists. When I described the problem, "It vibrates when sitting in traffic while in gear with my foot on the brake," they said they'd look into it. Turns out I needed more than a typical tune up. If such a procedure exists for a fuel injection engine, my dealership charges about $150 for it. That wasn't what I ended up paying. My car had a bigger problem. It had a gasket leak on the oil tank. This leak had dripped oil right onto a spark plug which had now been sitting in oil and not firing. So they needed to replace the gasket, the tubes for the spark plugs, and of course the spark plugs. There was also some carbon buildup on the throttle body and my air filter was nasty. So in addition to the oil change and safety inspection charge they added another $450. Ouch!

That's actually better than I'd expected. When they mention gaskets and cars I immediately think of head gaskets and replacing those pretty much rebuilds an engine. Thank goodness they didn't need to do that. It's happened to me twice over the life of times I've owned cars and I never want it to happen again. So I'm breathing a tentative, "Whew." And I think they actually took off the oil change price because the bill was about that much less than the near $600 I'd been told.

My car now drives very nicely. No vibrations and it picks up speed much, much better. Thank you Universal Toyota! For all the bad rep that dealerships get, Universal is really a good one. I base this opinion on 3 things:1) when I bought the car they actually listened to me; 2) when I took it back for a check oil light the day I bought it they went beyond the usual level of investigation on the car and I ended up with a better than purchase loaner and a new short block free of charge; 3) a couple of years later when a check engine light kept coming on within a week of being investigated and repaired, they completed the last 3 investigations free of charge and did a $500+ dollar repair gratis too. Yeah, I could have gotten a cheaper oil change at Wal-Mart, but I wouldn't have gotten the level of service this dealership gives to its customers. So, if you live in the San Antonio area and need work on your Toyota I highly recommend them.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Puzzle Share

Click to Mix and Solve

The puzzle I worked this morning, and forwarded to my folks, is rather lovely. I enjoyed working it and thought you might too. Don't want to sound like I'm bragging but so many of you share your times with me that I guess maybe you want to know mine. Please don't rate yourselves against me, I do this kind of puzzle daily and I'm not the fastest person at it. Someone out there did it in 1.27 minutes. It took me over twice that, 3.57. Hope you do as well or better. Hey, if you beat my time tell me! I'll celebrate with you. Enjoy!