Monday, October 05, 2015

[I Hope This Isn't a Preview of 32....]

Today has been a doozy. Oh, yeah, hi. It's been awhile. And yes, I did find a job, finally, though I do still hope to find something in my field that pays a little better, but I like my coworkers, and I seem to be pretty good at it most days, so we'll take it one day at a time.

But yeah, today. Now, before I list the events of the past 24 hours, keep in mind that I'm not saying I had a worse day than you or some of my friends--I know for a fact that a couple of my friends have had days that only my worst ever can compare to being. One friend told me she'd miscarried, and another announced she'd lost her best friend quite suddenly. My heart aches for both of them.

So, hugs all around.

That, however, hasn't meant that today was any less frustrating than it was. "Bad Day Comparing" is a bad habit. I still had a Murphy's Law day, and how.

First off, about 24 hours ago, the frustrations began mildly. I tried to upgrade my Office 365 2013 to 2016, and it didn't seem to be working. I couldn't find it anywhere, despite the computer's claim that it had been successfully installed. It's only within the past half hour that I realized it's a glitch--Office is there, it's just apparently invisible to the Start menu and Cortana. Oy. But it's there, so *whew*.

While this was going on, I opened my mail and discovered a letter from my dental insurance group who claimed that, since they'd never received the proof they requested that I needed my tooth filled last December, they'd decided not to pay my bill. Of course, this is at 6-6:30 at night on Sunday, so forget calling my dentist or the insurance until after work today. Lots of anger at the end of a migrainy day. Good times.

Then I got hooked into taking a phone survey about my auto insurance. I was feeling a bit peeved about how they'd jacked up my rates for no reason, so I thought it might be good to give my input. Unfortunately, I'd taken my allergy meds and was getting sleepy and ready for bed (I get up insanely early for work these days), and it took over 30 minutes. Keep this survey in mind, though, in a few minutes...

Then, this morning, two of our data entry people were absent (both with very good reasons, by the way), so there was a lot packed into a short time period. Additionally, I did two weeks in a row of overtime last week (I really need the money, and apparently more than I realized at the time, because I need it even more now that the day has progressed and some of the later events have unfolded that you're about to read about) and the week before, and apparently I was more tired than I realized on Friday, because I'd made some stupid errors that I don't usually make with my accounts, and now I get to check in with the auditor for that account before starting to make sure I've sorted them correctly, despite doing so for the past 2-and-a-half months (except, apparently, Friday), for the next couple of weeks until I can prove that, yes, I do know which invoices go in which account. I felt stupid and embarrassed.

After work, I decided to take my letter to the dentist's office to get it sorted out. As I pulled into a spot, I put on my brakes, put the car in park, and as I let my foot off the brake... my car kept rolling! I slammed on the brakes before I'd run into the person in front of me, turned off my car.... and it wouldn't turn back on. It also wouldn't shift out of Park. So, I got to wait for an hour while I called my parents and my insurance, taking advantage of roadside assistance on my account, and I'm now driving a rental that should be fun, since it's a JEEP!!!!, but the windows and locks are all manual. It's like driving my 1989 Jeep Comanche. A worthy car, but definitely missing some key bells and whistles that are usually standard these days. Funny, though, that just last night I was saying that I'd never made use of my insurance in the phone survey...

By the time I got home, I'd been gone for almost 13 hours. Poor Sassy had to pee like nobody's business, but she had a hard time stopping from kissing me and rubbing against my legs long enough to go outside and pee.

Oh, and my 32nd birthday is Friday... what a birthday week, eh?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

[I Know the Traditional 20th Wedding Anniversary Gift is Fine China... So What's Traditional for a 20th Surgery?]

My body rejects your prime numbers and laughs in the face of them--at its own expense! A few months ago, it looked like I'd finally had my last surgery--number 19--when I went in to have my tubes tied but could only get an endometrial ablation. Because I've had so many surgeries and have such a small airway, my windpipe has accumulated too much scar tissue, making intubation for a full surgery too risky in most situations.

Then, Saturday night/Sunday morning, I couldn't sleep, which sucked, because I'd planned to get up and drive to my parents' house for Mother's Day, and I ended up sleeping much later than planned (I'd only managed to doze off after 6 a.m.). Instead of leisurely grabbing some overnight items and leaving the house with Sassy in a relaxed way, I ended up rushing around frantically, trying to figure out what I could take with me to make up for lost job-hunting and grading time. I got to my parents' house just in time to go out for Chinese.

That evening, I started having stomach pains. I attributed it to cheese from dinner, and I tried to ignore it so I could working on grades, because I quite simply didn't have time to be sick. At 7 p.m., it felt like really painful gas bubbles were trapped in my colon. Major pain, yes, but nothing to worry about.

However, as the evening wore on, so too did my pain levels. Soon, I couldn't find a comfortable position to save my life, and by 9 or 10, I was nearly passing out from the pain, often actually crying from its relentless nature. At midnight, as much as I hated to wake Mom up for the last hours of Mother's Day, I knew we had to do something. It took awhile to wake her up because she was so deeply asleep, but before I knew it, we were in Branson at the ER. By 2 a.m., I had a diagnosis: appendicitis.

Great timing, indeed.

On top of this, with my breathing issues, I couldn't have a laparoscopic surgery, because that would require being put all the way under. Instead, the anesthesiologist arranged for a shot to my spine and some sedation. Because I started vomiting right before the surgery, I had to remain completely alert the whole time to prevent drowning in my own sick. Yes, really. And because I was wide awake the whole time, I know firsthand how close we came on the timing. Apparently, my appendix was minutes away from bursting when they pulled it out.

By the time I came out of surgery, I'd been awake for over 24 hours, and as the numbness wore off, so, too, did my potential for sleep. If you know my medical history at all, you'll know that I have chronically low blood pressure. As in, my normal BP is 90/60. Hospitals are quite hesitant to give someone with that low of a blood pressure pain medicine, so instead of getting something to take the edge off of my pain, I was being asked to tough it out until my upper number went above 100, and the pain, as a result, just kept compounding. Soon, there was no break from the pain of any sort. It was constant, intense pain. Finally, I had a nurse who knows what it means to have low blood pressure by nature, so she put her foot down to make sure I could get enough pain meds break the cycle, and I finally got enough relief to sleep for 10 minute spurts beginning at 10 p.m.

Now, I'm back home with my parents until my doctor releases me. My recovery is going to be longer than normal because I had to have a full incision, and on top of all this, I'm still frantically trying to find a job before the end of next week lest I have to sell my house, and final grades are due by Sunday at midnight.

Needless to say, I've had better weeks.

Still, for all the frustration (and drowsiness--apologies for any typos I happen to miss because I am just that loopy), there have been some positives:

Sassy has been amazing throughout this. It's the first time she spent the night away from me overnight for over five years, and she's been incredibly gentle with me from the moment I got out of the car. If you know Sassy, you know that's quite a feat for her. She's also been very gentle with Mom and Dad since she somehow knows that I can't take her out myself (I have the most control over her when it comes to walks, and she usually gets too frisky when they try to take her out).

Also, for the first time this semester, I'm actually glad I only had one class to teach. I still have to grade 32 final drafts before Saturday afternoon--can you imagine me having to do that for two, three, or four times as many students in my current condition?

So thank you, everyone, for your prayers and well-wishes. Keep them coming, please, because I still have some recovering to do. Also, if you know anyone who's hiring for someone with my skillset, please send them over to http://www.designedbyniki.com, where they can find my portfolio and online resume. Better yet.... if YOU'RE hiring for a legitimate, non-phone-oriented job, let me know! :)

And so I end this more awkwardly than I've ended a blog entry for several years now, thanks to a healthy dose of Norco. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

[The Situation]

On Facebook, I'm posting the short version, so here's the long version for those who want to know the situation. So, for those who fall into said group, here's the low-down:

The job hunt, for me, is becoming quite urgent. I have one freelance project that I hope to finish by end of next week, and I'm teaching one class online until May. After that, I have nothing. I may get more work from the education publishing company I contract with (hence the current freelance project), but it's not a steady job, as it varies by season. I'm not on the list to teach any other classes for the rest of the year, and I doubt I'll be getting added on at the last minute unless someone quits and no one else is available (not likely). I do want to get out of teaching, because it's not steady enough, and I do not have a teaching certificate (nor can I afford to go to school to get one, and I would prefer not to teach K-12, really).

I've sent out dozens (hundreds if you include the entire past year and a half) of résumés and applications, and the responses have all fallen under the same categories:

  • I have a strong résumé, but I lack business experience. 
  • I'm a good candidate, but they have applicants with more experience.
  • I'm a good artist, but I didn't finish my graphic design degree (nor could I, since I was paying for it out of pocket). 
  • I have the wrong type of writing and/or editing experience (they want business or tech writing/editing experience, or an established journalism audience (if I want to work for a newspaper--they want me to already have a tangible following)). 
  • They have an applicant who already knows someone in the company or already works in the company, so it's "who you know" striking again. 
  • I don't have reception experience, or advising experience, etc., even though I'd be able to learn the job quickly and do it well, since I'm quite comfortable with computers.
  • They found someone that fit the bill a little better than I did. 
To be clear, I haven't limited myself all that much. I've applied to work retail (clothing, several businesses downtown), do data entry, work as a copy editor, work as a tutor, work as an administrative assistant, and so many more. I've looked into (and have been turned down for jobs due to their having plenty of applicants that already have experience in that field with) Mercy and Cox Hospitals, state government, city government, federal government, the Greene County library system, MSU, Hallmark, the News-Leader, etc. I'm waiting to hear back from Bass Pro, but I couldn't gauge anything from the phone interview (which was mostly just a résumé clarification session) as to whether or not they're considering something for me right now or just keeping me in mind down the line. 

I have some limitations. I can't easily do a job where I'm on my feet all day because it's torment for my back due to scoliosis and my migraines. I can answer a phone and make some phone calls, but with a hearing impairment, I cannot do a job where it's 50% or more time spent on the phone, so that rules out a lot of the big hiring companies in Springfield, like Chase, most of which hire everyone initially as customer service reps on the phone before moving them on to jobs that I probably could do. 

My fallback plan was to sell the house and move back into my parents' house. They offered to pay for me to go back to get an AAS in computers, but having looked at which classes are offered at the Table Rock campus, it's not financially doable, as all of the classes except for about four are only offered at the Springfield campus, and we can't afford to pay for classes and an hour's commute every day with only Dad's retirement/social security income and my spotty freelance work to pay for gas and tuition. Taking out a loan isn't an option. So the pressure's back on that I have to find a job, and nothing's really panning out. 

It's all even more stressful because, as many of you know, my dad has pulmonary fibrosis. It's been really progressing this past year, and things don't look promising for the next year or two. I feel horribly guilty because I know he's worrying (a lot, believe me, because it seems half our conversations end up being about how I need to be doing "more" to find a job and me in tears) about me finding a job before, well... I feel like my situation is making him sicker and more quickly so, and it kills me to see this happening, as there's plenty of evidence that this is the case. Plus, my own stress and worry is making it so that I literally get no relief from my headaches. 

I hate having to do this. I'm a fiercely independent person who values her ability to be self-sufficient. Heck, just five minutes before I left to have a conference with a student on campus, I was on a ladder with a screwdriver fixing my back screen door, as an example, and I want to be able to handle this, too, myself, but I can't do this on my own, it seems. I feel like I'm begging and complaining, and I don't want to be that person. I'm out of ideas, though, and I don't know what else to do. 

So please, if you are or if you know for sure of anyone who is hiring for full-time work beginning in mid-April (or at the latest, mid-May) and you know I would be a strong candidate for that position (as in, a specific position), please let me know. If I can use you as a reference, please let me know. And, because I know that too many jobs out there really do hinge upon who you know, if you have any pull anywhere, I'd be grateful for any help. If you know of a position where the company might be willing to do some training, let me know, I know I can learn it quickly, if someone gives me the chance. I'll be happy to send you my résumé if you need a better idea of my background, experience, and skills.

I just need it to be full-time, not constantly on my feet, not completely phone-oriented, and legitimate. If it's out of the area, I need to have enough income to possibly be paying two house payments for a few months until I'm able to sell my house here (the market in my neighborhood is not great--houses do not sell very quickly on my street). I've got to finish my project over the next week, so I'll be devoting all of my time to that for the next seven days, but after that, I have to find something, and fast.

Monday, January 12, 2015

[In the Words of Kip Dynamite... "I Still Love Technology"]


I know the "thing" to do these days is to bash technology, and while I do find myself rolling my eyes when I'm the only one in the room not buried in my smartphone with earbuds in my ears, I can't find quite as much fault with it when I consider a few things. This evening, while eating dinner, I watched an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos from 11 years ago--half the time between now and when my mom passed away in 1993. I was kind of blown away how much further along in technological advances we were in 2004 from 1993, and then again how much further along we are now since 2004. 

I have to wonder what she would've thought about all of this if she were still here, especially if she were still a quadriplegic. I have a copy of her journal from around 1991, and she talks about how she feels so bad that she's going to have to drop her psychology course she's taking remotely because she's tired from the medications she's on and from working around her limited ability to use her hands. How much easier on her would it be today? We have tablets (iPads, etc.) that do not require using a pen or having precise hand-eye coordination like typing; we have voice recognition with programs like Dragon... she'd be able to write a paper without having to hold a pen or have perfect typing form. And she also talks in a tape-letter she recorded for someone but never mailed that she hated having to write letters--how much easier would it be for her to type (slowly, but legibly) or use Skype to catch up with her friends from high school? She talked about how lonely she was, with it being hard to keep in touch with childhood friends. Well, most of them are on Facebook now and many are even on my friends list. It's not as good as getting to hang out, but she'd be connected.

I know it can be a pain sometimes, and it can sometimes create social barriers, but think what a blessing this new technology is for so many people with various physical limitations. Even for me--I can work from home (for not much money, granted) even when my migraines make it difficult to focus and my hearing can make it difficult to talk to some who are soft-spoken in the classroom. 

I'd love to see how technology would have made Mom's life easier. She was so limited by her paralysis, but, boy, she came to life when she got that motorized wheelchair! That gave her movement she'd not had for years. Imagine what a touchscreen computer could have done for her, even when she was just barely able to move her arms and not much of her fingers--a simple tap instead of having to control her hands enough to write letters or use a rotary phone. 

And think of all the advances we've made with stem cell research over the past 22 years--she could be walking (or at least able to get out of bed into her wheelchair on her own) by now. 

Yeah... I miss her. And I hate cancer and lung diseases, so much.