My director is amazing. I talked to our director on Monday and she said they would rather have me 10 hrs a week than someone else at 30. She put in a schedule change request and now I only work 8-noon M,W,F.
She also agreed that I should move my office (OMG YAY). This Friday I am moving back to the cubicle in the basement that I loved -- actually to a similar but bigger one right next to the people who do work for me.
My immediate supervisor was pissed that I "went over her head" and that I left her out of the conversation, in her opinion, because she is childfree. I've asked her to move my office three times before though, and told her I was stressed, which she aknowledged but just told me to deal with. She'll get over it, and I'm keeping my job. :)
The director even suggested in our conversation that I not change A's daycare schedule for a couple weeks and nap in the afternoon instead of picking her up. This is a great idea. My new schedule will be temporary until I can get A sleeping (or me sleeping), but won't have a specific end date yet. Also, we worked to better define my role so that it will primarily be project management and not data management.
In other news, A knows her name now and recognizes words. She can scoot forwards and backwards. And she had another growth spurt and is huge.
Also, the Lilac Festival art show was a success. Many people asked to buy my painting and were told it will be for sale at a coffeehouse in a week. Here's hoping that people buy my work. I'm dropping the paintings off today. My Etsy shop and website are up and now I'm proofing prints to put up for sale and designing artist business postcards.
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- Current Location:US, New York, Brighton, Monroe, Murlin Dr
Merlot has had health issues from the start. We battled severe allergies that broke out her belly in purple, itchy welts and made her suck her paws and gnaw hotspots onto her rump. A side effect of the allergies was that her ears were itchy so she'd shake her head hard. In the process of shaking, she broke blood vessels in her ears and had misshapen, painful hematomas. She had two different surgeries where they would drain the hematoma and give her stitches on the inside and outside of her ears. Her ear recovered after the first surgery, but a year later she had to have the same surgery on the other ear and it didn't recover. Instead of her tall, beautiful bunny ear she had a flappy, scarred ear that never stood up again. At one point she turned dull and listless, and then I noticed her skin looked yellow through her fur. They suspected she had hepatitis and it was touch and go for a while. She recovered with liver pills and lots of love. I had to keep a closer eye on her from there on...
A while back, I noticed she'd lost some weight. I wasn't surprised - I'd launched a two-pronged campaign to control her food intake. First, after Shawn moved out she no longer got French fries and Skittles and anything else he was eating at the time. Second, I got the neighbors to quit feeding her. I finally had ENOUGH when she came bounding inside one night with a hunk of foccachia bread the size of her head. I got it away from her and she snapped at me, caught the side of my hand. As soon as she did, she dropped her head and tail, hid in the basement the rest of the night. I put out flyers in the neighborhood asking people to please stop feeding my dog for health reasons. I know which neighbor was the culprit, but she is a strange & awkward woman and I didn't want to single her out and make her feel uncomfortable. Instead, I put flyers inside front doors up & down my street. After the back yard gravy train stopped, she dropped more weight. I thought it was just adjusting to the end of ridiculous snacks (a entire package of hot dogs. Bread. Whole carrots, like she was a goat or something). She went off her food a little, then a lot. I supplemented with people food and one night, I realized she wouldn't eat that either. The same night, she started pacing and drooling, wedging herself behind doors and inside closets. She wouldn't lay down, wouldn't acknowledge anyone else was there. She did this for 12 hours straight. First thing the next morning, I called into work and drove to my vet to wait for them to open. They put her on an IV and catheter, kept her overnight.
I don't have a lot of money. I make okay money, but I pay the mortgage and all the bills by myself. Merlot has needed a lot of care this last year and it has eaten deeply into my monthly budget. I talked to my vet about that, so he is working with on costs. He has an intern do a lot of the work (with the head vet overseeing) so it costs less, there are some visits he doesn't charge me aside from the cost of pills. Part of this financial constraint is that I can't afford really probing, extensive testing. We are working with some testing, working symptomatically.
At first, he suspected encephalitis - brain lesions that could cause some of her behavior, her rapid weight loss. We started her on steroids and she responded immediately. We went back in a week and the vet sadly pointed out (after an ultrasound) that she was carrying about a gallon of fluid around her stomach. He tested it and speculated that her body was not binding proteins to fluid - it looks like either liver disease or intestinal lymphoma. She is on a high protein diet and steroids but other than that, we are looking at comfort measures. The vet said that I should expect to have her around for weeks or months, rather than months or years.
So, she gets a small amount of wet food twice a day. She gets boiled chicken livers and peanut butter dog bones as treats, she gets loads of attention. I moved some couch cushions into the floor in the cool basement so she could readily lounge with ease. She has some increasing difficulty moving around as she is still carrying a lot of water weight, and has developed a touch of arthritis in her back & hips. Her appetite has increased, her coat looks great and her eyes are bright and attentive again. She still has interest in barking at passing children and the mailman, and even managed to bust out of the backyard and dance merrily down the sidewalk until I caught up with her.
I have encouraged my ex to spend as much time as possible with her but he doesn't come around much anymore. I get him updated with everything that the vet says. I tell him when Merlot has bad days, what I am doing for her. He is grateful that I am taking good care of our girl, and I think he is too sad to come around. Shawn doesn't deal well with declining health or chronic illness of loved ones.
I am trying to enjoy every minute I have with her, for what short time I have left. She isn't quite five - I never expected to have such a short time with her. The vet & I have talked about end of life measures for her. I'm trying to do right by my sweet-natured girl - I'm doing the best I know how to do.
On Thursday I decided to have an A day and to try and focus on her for the whole day. My new plan is to try to stop trying to do everything simultaneously, which just causes feelings of failure, and to try to break things down. So, working M, W, F -- drawing and blogging etc. on Tues. (A can tag along), then just fun day with A on Thurs. and painting/art Saturday and cleaning and chores on Sunday. Yesterday was my first day trying this (minus the morning coffee with my old boss, although A came with) and it was good. We went to the library and played in the garden and danced to music and had a great time. We were watching P. Allen Smith on TV and he was visiting a person who keeps bees in his backyard. I was showing A how to make buzz noises with my mouth and she laughed and laughed trying to make a buzz noise herself and then grabbed my face with both her hands and then kissed me big fat kisses, first on one cheek and then on the other cheek. It was very startling, but I should have expected it since I constantly kiss her peach fuzz cheeks myself. It was so nice though and so sweet that I started to cry a little.
Also, I went to an Icarus Session on Wednesday night. It was very interesting. I met a number of local artists here and a gallery owner. I plan to blog about it next Tuesday on my art blog. At the session I presented a recent painting, spoke about the challenges of artmaking with a baby, and showed my revamped website. The group was really encouraging and gave me some very useful feedback.
Okay. Now I have to stop blogging and pumping and go back to work. A virtual meeting and then back to the Access table grind and then preparing for a series of meetings on Monday, starting first thing in the morning with the director.
A good friend sent me flowers yesterday. Today I am painting them.
Last night we had our first date out with a babysitter. I interviewed candidates this past week and found a college girl I really like that got on well with A. I ran around showing her the same things over and over. You're sure you know my cell? You know where the thermometer is? The IP address for the monitor? The whole way to the play (Le Mis) I kept feeling as if we were doing something naughty. You mean I really can just pay some strange girl to feed and rock my baby to sleep? That hardly seems legal. But it is and it turned out great and we'll be hiring her again I'm sure.
A did have another UTI. It was caused by E-Coli which her old anibiotic was resistant to, so we are on a new antibiotic and waiting for her urologist to call us back when he returns from vacation. The insurance didn't cover the medication and it was $500. We'll be eating in for a little while. It's worth it to see her happy and healthy again this weekend.
I made a list of all our chores from bottle sanitizing to raking leaves, asked D if the list was accurate (anything to add etc.), then wrote my name D's or both next to them based on what we do now. 14 both, 23 A's, 8 D's and 4 nobodies. And I was generous with the boths. Anyhow, we don't like to keep score, but I needed to see it for myself and to have D. understand why I'm so overwhelmed lately. We talked about how that having him do more would affect his job and whether that would be worth it, or whether it would make more sense to lower the expectations for my paid work for awhile. In the end, we agreed that if I want to work a 10 hr a week job or go to on-call that makes sense. It allows me to have more time for art, and D doesn't have to give up his things that make him happy (which he would to do more chores).
I'm still mad about the midwife visit, but overall I feel more optimistic. I talked with my old boss who said I could consult or teach for the council as needed, and I took Friday off and set up a meeting with my boss to talk about an exit strategy.
Oh! And my peonies painting was chosen as a finalist in the Highland Art Show and it's on display at the Lilac Festival!
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- Current Location:US, New York, Brighton, Monroe, Murlin Dr
Picked up baby from daycare on Weds and took her in and they gave her two intramuscular shots, drew blood, and tried to cath her. She squeezed her pee hole shut and was hyperventilating, so they put a plastic catch baggie in her diaper while we sat there trying to get her to nurse and drink water and pee in the baggie instead. After an hour there was nothing, so they tried to cath her again. This time when her diaper came off she began bellowing and lifted herself up on her haunches and power pissed in the nurses face -- I mean like an arc of golden piss so high and full I don't even think I could match it as an adult. I just stood there guffawing while D tried to hold her down and the nurse sputtered and ran for a cup to catch the flying liquid in.
The shot antibiotics seemed to help, but we have to go back in every day for more shots and blood tests until the final urine culture comes through. She cries for an hour when she gets shots and freaks out now when nurses and doctors try to even get her heart beat. Yesterday, for shots part 2, and blood draw two, they had the nerve to ask me to squeeze the blood from her finger while the nurse caught it because they were short staffed. I did it. I used to think my job was to protect her and make her feel safe. I guess now my job is just to torture her enough to keep on living. Nature red in tooth and claw. Her blood stained my shirt sleeve.
In the morning I had a midwife follow-up. So nothing is wrong they say. I was asked about our sex life and was candid. Big mistake. If you aren't doing it the way people think you should, if you're too vanilla, or if you say you want your husband to enjoy sex again too, then apparently that means we need marital counseling and my husband is a sex-demanding brute. Bullshit. That midwife has some fucking balls. She said some mumbo jumbo about A changing things and I was angry. Is A a sore spot by my cervix that is in pain when you touch it? I began crying hysterically and saying that A is out of my body and not in my vagina causing pain, and we've been having successful non-painful sex for 9 years, so acting like I don't know what I'm talking about is insulting. Then the woman tried to calm me be offering a hug and saying at least A was healthy when I blew up, because how presumptuous. Did she even ask? My baby is not okay either. Fuck the midwives. I don't have to go back to them anyhow.
anyhow, that's why I went into the back yard yesterday and broke what was left of our drinking glasses. We only had 2 tall ones and four short ones left. I'd been meaning to buy new ones anyhow.
Last year, a teacher did snow white rearrangements and then watched Snow White and the Huntsman. I am looking to do Red Riding Hood Rearrangements and then watch Hoodwinked or Red Riding Hood (with Amanda Seyfried)
All suggestions appreciated!