Archive for May, 2008

Teaching Responsibility

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Teaching a child to take responsibility for their actions is really hard to do in this day and age. I remember when I was growing up I was told things like “Respect other people’s property” and how my actions effected others. I was taught to be considerate of others.

I started working part-time when I was 16. My parents either gave me a ride to work or I caught the bus. After I graduated, I was offered a full-time position which I took to help build up my college fund. I never did go to Boston University, I got married instead. After being married for a little while, I went back to work while still overseas. Upon returning stateside, I continued working within the Base Exchange system (now known as AAFES – well that could have changed too). I worked there until an Air Force recruiter got me to enlist.

But before I continue rattling on about my work ethic and work history, I need to mention something else that was instilled in me. I can’t really put my finger on when I first came to understand that borrowing money from or expecting my parents to financially help me was not something that would be tolerated. Maybe it was around the time I got married, but I carried that with me for almost 20 years. I remember it was dreadfully painful to ask my dad for a loan to help with the down payment on a house in Georgia. He did lend the money and it did get paid back. I have always felt that I’ve left the nest, it’s my responsibility to support myself.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s been a valuable lesson and has made me an independent, hard working person. That’s perhaps were some of my work ethic has come from.

I enjoyed being the Air Force, but when you have to sign paperwork stating that you have a guardian set up for your children in the event both you and your military spouse are deployed, I knew staying in the Air Force wasn’t in the best interest for our daughter.

I managed to remain a stay at home mom for a few years, but trying to live off of what the military pays isn’t easy. At one point, I had inquired about food stamps and the WIC program, my ex made about $20 a month over the limit. As the girls got older and their “needs” increased, I knew I would need to help contribute to the household income. The Air Force had taught some very usable skills, but I had been out of the work force for a few years, so I headed to the retail industry and also started working on my college degree when I was 28. An opportunity opened up that put me back doing what I did in the Air Force, as a civilian. The money was better than working retail and it was a Monday – Friday job, which made it “easier” to find daycare for the girls. It wasn’t any easier on me, but the income was needed.

When the time came for my ex to retire from the military and find a job in the civilian sector, I made my mind up that I wanted to be a stay at home mom. The skills my ex had could easily draw the kind of income that would allow me to do that, since it looked like any available job was going to require us to relocate and I would have to give up my new job with the VA. If I had been with them longer, I might have been able to work out a transfer, but 3 months doesn’t get you anything.

After nine months on the “outside” my ex lost his job, I probably should have tried to find work then but I felt my “job” was to help write resumes and get them out for him. Thanks to the generosity of my sister, her former husband and a few credit cards, we managed to pull through.

A side note here, I was pretty worn down from all the mental energy that I had expended supporting my ex during this time. I really didn’t feel like I wanted to remain married. I had even gone ahead and applied for a calibration job in Kansas (doing the same thing I had done before). I just wasn’t happy, I had given it my all and still felt empty.

I did make the move from Virginia to Georgia and I did try to continue being just a stay at home mom. I even had a job opportunity that had me building circuit boards for a company my ex worked at. It took a little convincing to get them to let me build the boards at home, but it was lot easier than driving almost an hour away to work for just a few hours, then come back to be home in time for the girls to get home from school. During the time, in Georgia I even worked at the local bowling center. That’s another story.

When I got divorced, I saw no way I could support my daughters and truly believed that my ex would make an attempt to spend more time and be a better father to his girls. In hindsight, I should have fought for child support because I think a judge would have awarded it to me (no matter what “evidence” my ex thought he had on me). But given what I have been through financially because of the divorce and his attitude on supporting Megan when she did live with me, I doubt I would have seen a dime for the girls unless his wages were garnished.

What was one of the first things I did after the divorce? I got a job – albeit, it was $5 an hour. But I was able to get my bills paid. And I continued to work, even taking on part-time work to supplement my full-time income. The part-time work covered the little “extras” and if I didn’t have part-time income, I didn’t get anything “extra”.

So I just don’t get it, when people out there expect others to support them…

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Happy Birthday to my oldest daughter. Remember, I will always love you no matter what.

Plans Change

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

It started out as Jeff suggesting Megan come spend Mother’s Day with us. Megan made the plans to come down that weekend. She then called me to tell me she was asked to work the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I told her I understood and that it was good opportunity for her to get in some additional hours towards her internship. We changed the plans to Memorial Day weekend. She would be able to come down Friday and not have to leave until Monday. So it was all set, or so we thought.

Megan calls me up, rather upset, and tells me that D2 called telling her she would have to pick her up from the airport Friday evening – the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Megan explained that D2 was coming in and that they were all going down to Georgia to see D1. As I tried to calm Megan down, I reminded her that she had seen D1 in almost 2 years and that she had barely spoken to her either. Megan was still a bit upset that others had made plans for her without even asking her if she had plans. I told her this would be a good opportunity to mend relationships. We had our usual conversation about being about to make her own decisions when she is on her own.

So we tried to figure out a good time for Megan to come down to visit and finally decided on the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. Megan would drive down Friday morning and leave Sunday. She calls me back later on to tell me she forgot she had her class on that Friday. She talked about skipping it, but I reminder her that wasn’t a good idea. She thought she might be able to leave early that day, so we kept the plans.

Megan did make it down last weekend, she didn’t get out of class as early as she wanted to. She made it here around 7:30PM. We watched a movie and then called it a night. We had plans to take Megan Geocaching on Saturday. First we had to stop off at Holiday Treasures, so I could set a couple computer. Megan got to spend time visiting with the owner. Pete hadn’t seen Megan in years and had tons of questions for her. Took me about 2 hours to get everything finished up and then we were off traipsing around looking for “buried treasure”.

We went all around the place, found a nice nature trail where we were able to show Megan what one type of cache looked like. We had problems not being able to find another, but she tried really hard to help find it. We pretty much wore ourselves out by 4PM.

Unfortunately, Megan needed to leave first thing Sunday morning, she had school work she still needed to do. I wasn’t able to resolve the problem with her laptop – she needed to update to a newer OS plus she really needed more RAM – she only has 256MB on her 800MHz machine. I felt bad that she didn’t get to stay longer.

As time went on this past week, the plans for the trip to Georgia started coming together. Both her aunt and her boyfriend were going to be able go too. I reminded her this will be a good opportunity to mend fences. Each day she started getting a little more excited. I was happy for her, she really needs this time with her sisters. Her relationship with me has put an unnecessary barrier between Megan and her sisters. I hope she has a great weekend.

As for us here, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Jeff had a string of minor mishaps and would come home a cut up from work. Then the hedge trimmer tried to take his finger off – lesson there, it’s better to let the thing cut the power cord than to let it chop off a finger. No, he didn’t lose a finger but it did bleed for quite a while. Then the windshield got popped by a rock. Maybe we should wrap him in bubblewrap.

We got out and did more Geocaching. Jeff needs to show me where the code is to link my Geocaching page to my blog. I really like the caches where the hider uses some imagination.

I’ve had to ramp up my manager mode since I manage a team of tele-commuters. I’m trying to put into place daily end of day reports in addition to assigning daily tasks every morning via email. It’s fun and frustrating at the same time. My day starts at 6AM Central time, but I have team members who are on the west coast so by the time they roll in I’ve been at work for 5 hours. In the grand scheme of things I am much happier in this job. I’m working from home working with the ecommerce platform that I have spent the past ten years using and even helping to develop. I was hired for this position because of the reputation I built in the application’s community.

So to answer that lingering question of “what for?” when I said I wanted to learn to build websites, I can proudly say, “this is why!”. I could not have done this without the support of my husband Jeff.

Stop And Smell The Roses

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

4041 Sometimes you just have to stop

Photo Gallery Link

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

While I wait for the developer to tell me what I did wrong when I upgrade the WPG2 plug-in that displays the thumbnails for the gallery on my blog, here’s the link for the gallery.