Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to say Happy New Year, and thank you to everyone who's read my blog and/or posted comments since I started it! I appreciate everyone's comments, and look forward to reading them. I am continually amazed by the beautiful crochet work of so many of my fellow bloggers, like Lesa of Lesalicious Style & Life, and Christina of Crafty Christina, and so many others. I hope to be as good as all of you someday.

I was hoping to get a lot of crocheting done during my time off from work, but unfortunately things didn't work out that way. My daughter has had a cold for the past week, and I caught it from her, and felt terrible for the past two days. I've also been feeling kind of down in the dumps lately, and so haven't felt like doing much of anything. I tend to get sad around Christmas and New Years'. It's a combination of things. I hate winter, and the short freezing days, snow, and early nightfall makes me feel gloomy. My dad passed away a few years ago in the winter (his funeral actually fell on my daughter's 7th birthday), and I miss him a lot around Christmas. I also find this time of year financially stressful with Christmas presents, and my kids' birthdays looming in January.

I've also been feeling lonely lately because my husband was put on night shift at his job recently, and so it seems like we hardly see each other anymore. He leaves for work around the time I'm putting the kids to bed, then when he gets home, it's time for me to go to work, and he's sleeping during the day while the kids are at school/daycare, so I can't talk to him during the day. He's still getting used to working night shift, and the schedule has him all out of whack physically, so when I get home from work, he's still tired, and is usually lying down, so between that and my evenings being so busy with taking care of the kids, homework, baths, bedtimes, etc., it seems like we barely even have time to talk. I've also been feeling lonely, because my youngest sister, who I've always been very close to, and who's always been a favorite aunt of my kids, moved across town when she and her fiancée got engaged, and so between her living so far away, and being busy with her fiancée, I don't hear from her very often any more.

Overall, I didn't have a particularly spectacular New Year. The whole year has just been tough for me and my husband, and so I can't help but worry about what the next year will hold. My husband was laid off from his job last September, when his company downsized, and gave him and his coworkers a measly week's notice. He ended up being out of work for 7 months, despite going on so many interviews I lost count. After hiring a reference checking service, we found out that a supervisor he disliked, from a job he held a few years ago (not the job he was laid off from), was giving out unfounded negative references about him. We talked to a lawyer, who thought we had cause for a possible defamation lawsuit, but with my husband being unemployed, we couldn't afford to pursue it. My husband found out later on that this supervisor had done the same thing to other employees. It makes me so angry for the grief this man caused for me and my husband, but I figure what goes around comes around. A person can't go through life treating people badly without it catching up to them eventually.

My husband finally got a job through a temp agency, but at a much lower rate of pay than what he was making. The company where he was assigned hired him permanently after a few months, and it's a great company to work for, but he's still not making as much money as he was at his last job. I'm thankful that he has a job now, but between the pay cut, and being put on night shift, things have been very stressful for us.

To make matters worse, this past February, I broke my right wrist when I fell on a patch of ice in downtown Cleveland after work. I ended up spending 3 weeks out of work, at only partial pay, while my husband was also out of work and only getting unemployment pay. Then in May I got pregnant unexpectedly, but miscarried the baby at the end of August. I had been bleeding off and on (more on than off) throughout the pregnancy, and, despite two ultrasounds that showed the baby developing normally, I found out when I was 16 weeks along that the baby had died at 13 weeks. I had a D&C a week later because my body wouldn't miscarry normally. My husband and I weren't planning on having any more kids, but it was a very hard thing to deal with nevertheless.

My husband and I have been renting for far longer than we ever planned, and while we love the house that we're renting, and have a wonderful landlord, we want so badly to buy a house of our own, but every time it seems like we'll be able to start paying down our bills so we can buy a house, something happens to throw us off track, like all the medical bills that keep rolling in from my accident and the miscarriage.

About two weeks after we found out the baby had died, my husband's 23 year old niece was killed in a car accident. The accident happened right around the corner from her house, while she was driving home from work one evening. She left behind a husband and two little boys. Her older son was the same age as my son (4) and her youngest was 6 months old. My husband took it really hard, because he also lost one of his brothers at nearly the same age - his youngest brother was murdered when he was 24 - he was a year older than me. We had just seen his niece a week before she died, and I never would have imagined then that she would dead a week later.

Needless to say, 2007 was not a good year for us. I'm praying that 2008 goes better. I have to go back to work tomorrow, and am not looking forward to it. January through about March or April is an extremely busy, stressful time at my job, due to a major project that's in full swing at the time every year, and I have a mountain of work waiting for me when I get back. I'm also currently enrolled in a grad school program - I'm working on my MPA (Master of Public Administration) through an online program with the University of Texas at Arlington (the state university system in Texas), and my spring semester classes are going to be starting up in a few weeks, so I'm going to be swamped with that too.

I was on a hiatus from classes, between my broken wrist and the miscarriage, and I enjoyed the break, but I need to get going with my classes again. Barring anything else going wrong, I may be done with the program by this coming fall, or next spring (2009). It just seems like every time I get going with the classes, something happens to throw me off course. I have mixed feelings about graduating though. It will be a big accomplishment for me, as I dropped out of high school in the 11th grade (I got my GED), and at one point in my life earning a college degree seemed like an impossible dream. I am also only the second person in my family to graduate from college (an older sister was the first), but at the same time, I feel discouraged that I'm not doing better in my life for all the education I have, and for how old I am (34).

I work as a research assistant for the national offices of a church. On paper, my position required a degree, but in reality I don't do much that actually requires a degree. Since I work for a nonprofit organization, the pay is terrible (although the benefits are excellent), but I feel stuck staying there because this is the first job I've had where I actually have flexibility as a working mom. I have a lot of paid time off - a lot of vacation time, sick time, personal days, and holidays, not to mention the week off at Christmas time. My boss, despite not having any kids, is very understanding when I need to take time off from work when my kids are sick or I have to attend school events, meetings, etc. It's definitely a relief to not to have to worry about being fired if I call off when one of my kids get sick, and with both of them having asthma and numerous allergies, it seems like they get sick a lot. At the same time though, I feel so frustrated about not having a real career, and not making enough money to not to have to worry about bills all the time. I don't know, maybe 2008 will bring me a real career with flexibility and good pay. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

I did manage to get one small crochet project done over the weekend though. I had a bunch of Lily Sugar N' Cream and Lion Cotton left over from various projects, that I wanted to use up, so I crocheted these dishcloths. I really like how the granny square with each round in a different color came out, but it was tedious weaving in all those ends.

Well, happy (belated!) New Year everyone, and thanks for reading my blog!

P.S. A huge thank you to "My Best Friend Calls Me Martha" for the vest pattern for my son - it's exactly what I was looking for!


Christina said...

Happy New Year!

It sounds like you've had a rough year but you made it through!! May this year be wonderful for you and your family!!

I love the granny squares!!

ChelleC said...

I found your blog through the crafter's blog ring. Anyway, it sounds like you've had a rotten year.

I'm not an attorney by any means, but I believe that the previous supervisor slamming your husband on references is illegal. All they are legally allowed to say (to the negative), are your dates of employment.

Is he giving that specific supervisor as a reference? As the simplest (and perhaps least expensive solution) try listing another manager and NOT using him as a reference. The HR manager for instance, if used for a reference, usually just divulges the dates of employment. They won't give a positive/negative commentary because they work more within the law and are aware of the employment laws.