On the Other Side….Finally!! — March 21, 2015

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Athenegraduation
I finished my training for my job on Friday! Yay for that! We were in class for 9 weeks, and we are finally finally finished! I almost can’t believe we’re done, but moving into our cubicles made it feel more real. After being squashed in our classroom setting for so long my cubicle is absolutely enormous to me. (And my name is on it, so I can’t lose it!)
I learned so much during this training. The recruiters talk to you about the training class even during the phone pre-screening interview. You are warned from the onset that the class is a full 8-hours a day every day, and that you are not allowed to miss any days during training. This was repeated again during my face-to-face interview, and they talked a lot then about how much we would learn and about the rapid pace of the class. Boy, no lies there! I can’t count the number of days that I got off from work, stumbled into the door at home, and crawled straight to bed for a nap because my brain simply could not think anymore! The learning curve was really steep, for sure, and I am thankful that I did not have to miss work at all – I would have been so lost!

When I was getting ready to start training, I was telling anyone who cared that I really hoped I was getting into a “brainy” job, where I could really think and apply knowledge and feel smart about it. Yes, be careful what you wish for! :) It’s been good though. I had been living on auto-pilot for too long — time to actually use those neurons!

So here’s one of the most interesting side-features about this job – we eat cake A LOT.

Our building loves to celebrate everything. It’s pleasant and people really get into all the morale boosters and celebrations. Our unit has embraced this philosophy, and somehow cake is always involved. I have eaten more cake since I started this job than any time I can think of in recent memory.

I was recounting this fact to David the other night, and how we ate cake at work two days in a row for two different occasions. His response? “Oh, you have found your dream job!”

Yes, I really love cake.

And here’s the best part about this place: there’s NO SUCH THING as a little dainty slice of cake there!! You get a full-on SLAB of cake, every single time. They hand you your cake and you can’t even see your plate because the cake is hanging over the edges.

What can you do? Just grab your fork and say, “Challenge Accepted!” (in your best Barney voice from HIMYM)

And that dizzy feeling you get as you walk back to the classroom? It’s just your blood sugar congratulating you on a job well done. :)

Needed: GPS System for Cubicles… — January 21, 2015

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I started my new job on Monday!  I am now working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas as a Claims Examiner.  I have 10 weeks of training ahead of me, so I can’t even pretend like I can describe my future daily activities right now!  Today was Day 3, so right now everything is still pretty easy.

There are tons of people who work in our building.  (I’ve never had so many co-workers before!)  The funny thing is how many of them I already know.  We, the newbies, haven’t spent very much time out of our training room, but just between trips to the restroom or the break room have given me a lot of chances to see familiar faces.  Most of the people I know are due to me waiting on them either at the cinema or at CVS.  We had to go around and introduce ourselves, and as soon as I mentioned Marshall Cinema, everyone in the room was like, “I KNEW I knew you from somewhere!”  So, that’s been fun.  I surely hope they never saw me at “those moments” when I’m running around like a crazy person because everything’s going haywire all at once!

Once I get out of training I will be assigned my own cubicle.  I’ve never had a space to be like “my own” before, so I’m super overly excited about this.  :)  They already told us that we would not have to share our cubicles, so that really makes me happy.

SmallCube

None of this!!

Our trainers have been taking us around the building here and there to show us around.  The office is in an old K-Mart building, so you can imagine the amount of space that is covered with cubicles.  I felt like we were on parade when we toured the office because everyone was standing up in their cubicles to see all of us new people pass by.  hehe!

They told us we could decorate our space as well.  I heard one person say she was going to get on Pinterest to find something cute for her cubicle.  I’m not really big on moving my entire life into my workspace, but maybe I’ll go out on a limb for this one time…hey, new job, new chance to start over right?

PRINCESS CUBICLE FTW!!!!

PRINCESS CUBICLE FTW!!!!

um….nah.

I’m still the same old me.  :)

But I do have one new irrational fear, and this is serious.  I truly believe that I am going to lose my cubicle and never find it again.  What if they assign me a cubicle out in the middle of everything…all the rows look the same to me right now…what if I can’t find it?!

I don’t want to be like a little old lady who parks her car at Walmart and then can’t find it when she comes out!  I don’t want to wander the aisles aimlessly with a slight panic in my eyes…..crossing back and forth…have I been down this aisle yet?….what if I came out of the wrong side of the store?

Cubicle GPS.  I need it.  :)

Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now? — January 12, 2015

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I quit my job today.

The bank and I have broken up.

“The time has come,
The time is now,
Just go, go, go!
I don’t care how.”

This breakup was a very long time coming. I have been with the bank for more than 8 years, and there was a long time period within those years where I really thought I would be there forever. There was a lot of contentment in that job for me, and I got to do a lot of things that really appealed to my detailed-oriented, let’s-get-this-right nature.

Then 2014 happened.

“Marvin K. Mooney,
I don’t care how,
Marvin K. Mooney,
Will you please go now?

The entire bank culture shifted. Phrases like, “manage out the under-performers” and “with increased terminations, stay in close contact with your branch recruiter so someone is ready in the pipeline at all times in case of an opening,” became commonplace.

Our environment became unstable. We started to lose a lot of longtime co-workers, friends. They left quickly and en masse. All of the rest of us felt that our remaining time was limited.

“Marvin K. Mooney!
Don’t you know
the time has come,
so GO, GO, GO!”

I had somewhat hoped that things would pass and we could try to carry on, but it was futile. Gone were the easy days, only to be replaced with fear — will this be the day to get sent to the house? I spent many days where I could not even take a deep breath. There was too much panic lurking beneath the surface and I felt like I was only seconds away from giving in.

“You can get yourself a Ga-Zoom.
You can go with a…BOOM!
Marvin, Marvin, Marvin,
Will you leave this room!”

Then the day came. I had found another job and I could finally be finished. Time to hand in my notice. David had been supportive the entire time of my quitting, but we wanted to be sure I wasn’t premature about my timing. My other jobs…my managers could not have been any more helpful to me. Both of the managers at Marshall Cinema and CVS were ready to help me — extra hours, more shifts, whatever they could do. I was lucky.

I delivered my notice to my bank manager. After I finished, I walked back to my computer and the area I had called home for several years. I wasn’t nervous. In fact, the feeling was incredible! Suddenly, my shoulders no longer hurt. I couldn’t believe how free they felt! That was a tension I had carried so long that I wasn’t even noticing it anymore. I took a deep breath – no more panic. Everything changed in that moment – all I had to do from there was carry on a few more days, and then move forward into something new.

So I did.

“I said GO and GO I meant,
The time had come.
SO….Marvin went.”

The Time Had Come…

SO….Athene Went.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

marvin

Text of entire book.

Peanut’s (Totally G-Rated) Shower Scene — December 30, 2014

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Peanut’s video from one day (earlier in the year) when he was really enjoying the water spigot outside.  He had so much fun!

(Ironically, he is not really a huge fan of the water when we are inside the house.  He gets his drink and then he’s done and hops out.  Cashew is the one who will sit and soak in the water bowl (aka, his bathtub) in the mornings.)

On Following the Shells Around the Yard — December 27, 2014

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The weather has been too chilly to take the turtles outside lately, but considering that Cashew has spent almost the entire day today walking around the house, I figure he’s getting good exercise anyway.  (He loves to come check on me when he doesn’t see me for awhile.  I was making pizza a little bit ago, and he kept coming around the corner and into the kitchen to take a peek.)  Peanut, of course, is spending his time wrapped up in his towel.  He likes to be warm and cuddled.  He’s got his head out and is looking around, but is making no effort to run around with Cashew.  He does watch Cashew go past every so often.

I got some pictures of them recently when we were outdoors.  Cashew is the adventurous one. (Cashew, the Ninja Turtle) He’ll go over, under, and around anything.  And, everything is fair game when it comes to food.  He loves to pick up acorns and move them across the yard, and if a small bug or snail shell comes into his path – down the hatch!  He loves to go outside.  If I am by myself, I usually just take him and leave Peanut inside because Cashew is such a handful to keep up with.

CashewOutsideonWall

He was trying to climb the wall here.  There was also a broken piece of pottery nearby that he carried around from place to place almost the whole time we were outside.

Peanut, my clingy turtle, ….never wants to leave my hand!

PeanutinHand

He had no intention of ever getting down.  (And note how huge he’s gotten – he hangs off either side of my hand now!) Cashew gets squirmy just as soon as he smells the outside, but Peanut starts trying to burrow closer and closer to me so he doesn’t have to get down.  Put Cashew down and he’s off running!  Put Peanut down and you get this:

PeanutbyFeet

Pitiful turtle who won’t stray very far.  :)  He’s so cute though.  In this pic, he was seconds away from running over and pressing his shell against the arch in my shoe.  He leans against my shoe so hard that if I move my foot he stumbles to regain his balance.  Poor little thing.  (And he loves it when my pants are long enough to cover him up completely when he’s against my shoe.)

There is only one thing that Peanut loves about being outdoors — our water spigot.

We have a water spigot that sits a few inches from the house.  We turn it on when the turtles get close to it so they can get a drink if they want one.  Peanut just loves it!

PeanutWater1

Peanut takes a full shower when he water is running.  He lets it beat down onto his back and he gets into this little pool and drinks and drinks.  He was putting his head under and really enjoying it…..

PeanutWater2

…until he looked up and realized I was standing nearby.  Then he ran out of the water and stood up against my shoe again.  Enough outdoors for today!

Cashew, though, is really never ready to come inside,

I always make him get a drink when he comes in,

2014-12-27 14.54.24

but his longing looks outside tell me where he’d really rather be still…

2014-12-27 14.53.37

Two turtles, but completely different little creatures!

Confirmation of Crazy — December 16, 2014

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Well that was quick.

We got brand new next door neighbors a couple of weeks ago.  They are a young married couple with a few dogs, but I have only met the guy so far.  We have had maybe two very fast hellos and introductions in our front yards.  Our house thrives on its wacky schedule and it seems that they work a lot as well, so our paths just never cross.

Earlier this week I was outside with Cashew.  It was nearly dusk, but the day was so pretty for a December day that I decided to take him out just for a second to let him roam around.  I was following behind him and I also was sporadically scrolling through my Instagram feed.  (I lurk there very well.)

Our neighbor comes home from work.  I wave to him and he says hi and asks about our trash pickup schedule.  I am chatting with him in between staring at the ground as Cashew crunches around in the leaves.  He says bye and walks toward his house.

Suddenly, I hear him walking back over.

Neighbor:  “Um, I hate to intrude, but are you all right?”

Me: “hehe, yes, I am fine!”

Neighbor:  “Well, I just realized that you’re just standing here in your yard.  I wanted to be sure you’re okay.”

Me: “Yes, funny story…”  (and went on to explain the turtle following ritual.)

Neighbor: “Oh!  Okay!  Just checking.  One time I came home and my parents were standing out in their yard.  Turns out they saw a snake inside the house.  I had to go get it out for them.”

:)

Dear New Neighbor: I promise we’re not going to be “those weird people” next door!  Please give us another chance!  :)

My Journey with Contacts — December 9, 2014

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I have finally converted (back) to contact lenses! Yes, after 5 years of wearing glasses, I decided it was time to experiment with something new.

I got my glasses (bifocals, yes) for my 30th birthday. My eye doctor at the time steered me away from contacts, so I went with glasses and they were okay. (Yes, I am having a “oooh, you are old” moment when I realized that I am talking about my 30th birthday like it was far in the past.)  One thing about glasses that has always been a hindrance to me — I like to let myself “hide” behind them.  Between the glasses and the fact that my hair is pretty long right now, I am finding that hiding is pretty easy nowadays.

So, I was thinking about a month ago that my plan year is almost up on my vision insurance, and I haven’t used a drop of my benefits all year.  What a waste, hehe!  I decided that I should at least get back some of the money I’ve spent all year on that insurance, so off I went to the eye doctor.  (Great reason, right?!)

Mind you, remember these glasses are bifocals, and even though I’ve had them a long time, every eye doctor I go to acts really surprised that I am wearing bifocals “already.”  (groan!)  This doctor was no exception.  But she put me in “multi-focal” contacts anyway, and let me have some trials of the daily use ones.  You toss the contacts in the trash at the end of the day and start with new ones every morning.  (I felt really luxurious and rich for being able to do that!)

She did not have me “try on” the contacts in the office, which rather surprised me since I haven’t worn contacts in forever, but apparently inserting contacts is like riding a bike, and I had them in my eyes in no time.

“Oh gosh, where is the floor??!!”

This was like starting over with bifocal glasses all over again.  Glad I was home.  When I did have to leave, those two steps down from the house to the sidewalk were a real challenge!  (Our neighbors, poor things, I hope they weren’t watching.  They probably already think we’re super weird because we are always outside with the turtles.  They can’t see that we’re walking around behind the turtles, so to them we’re just staring intently at the ground and occasionally talking to it.)  But I made it down the steps intact, so bonus for me.

Bonus for the rest of the world: David drove, hehe.  I really don’t think I could have passed a driving test in those contacts.  Definitely the wrong prescription!

I got another round of trial contacts this time in a “less severe” bifocal correction.  My closeup vision was great — it really doesn’t need much correction — but my distance vision still wasn’t what I wanted.  Good enough, but not great, you know?

I carried on with the multi-focal contacts for a few weeks.  I was gasping wildly at the idea of paying full price for them when my insurance benefit allowance ran out (ridiculously expensive!), but otherwise, I was pretty happy about the switch.

Finally, I decided I needed to give something else a try: monovision!  This is where one eye gets corrected for close up, and the other eye gets corrected for distance.  This also translates into cheaper contacts because they are just regular contacts and not the fancy multi-focal ones.  The kind I got are Alcon Air Optix Night & Day contacts.  You get to wear them for 30 days straight!  You even get to sleep in them!  Crazy!!

Day 1 with Air Optix:  I put the correct contacts in the correct eyes.  Left eye was correcting for close; right eye was correcting for distance.  I could immediately feel my left eye “dragging” along. It was a weird sensation – like it was overworking immediately to try to correct itself.  Right eye – AMAZING!  I had the best distance vision of all time.  So, lefty was being a problem, but I decided to carry on through the day to see if it would adjust.

Day 1, a couple hours later:  I was THISCLOSE to giving up on life.  Working at the bank obviously requires a lot of reading and a lot of reading of numbers that really look alike, and lefty just wasn’t having it.  Worse, my eye was so miserable with that contact in there that it was tearing up both my eyes!  Right eye: still amazing!

Day 1, several hours more:  I started texting Shane that I was preparing to remove the contacts and stab them with knives.

I started developing this strategy for throwing away the left contact and just using the right one.  I really felt like I only needed the distance correction anyway, so why not?  Guilt began at the thought of throwing away a month’s worth of contact after Day 1, even though it was a free trial to me.  (You can’t put these back in once you take them out unless you disinfect, and I didn’t have anything to disinfect with, so if it came out, it was going in the trash.)

Day 1, after work:  I drove home as a menace to society.  Lefty had truly given up on life, so I mainly drove with that eye closed.  Right eye was super joyful and happy as it was all day long.

I got home, and I wanted to run my contact-throwing-away scheme past David before I actually did it (I don’t know why) but he was asleep.  So, I took the left contact out.  I held it on my finger for a minute, trying to decide if I was making the right decision.  Left eye suddenly woke up from its coma and breathed a sigh of relief, and at that, I threw the contact away.

So, here we are, a week later, and I am still only wearing one contact.  I think I like it.  I returned my multi-focal ones yesterday for an insurance refund and will be ordering more (right-eye only) contacts.  This has actually turned out to be a cheap project!  The Air Optix are a lot cheaper than what I had before, and now that I only need one….even better!!

We shall see what we shall see.  :)

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