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Back From An Unexpected Hiatus

I didn’t plan on taking a break. So what have I been up to during my break? Hmmm, lets see, I left my job, decided to go back to school and hope to eventually find another job. Sounds like a lot right? And it was.

So lets start with the job. It hasn’t been a secret that I have not been happy with my job. I love the patients, and they will be what I miss the most, but what I won’t miss is the stress and lack of advancement opportunities. For me, the decision to leave my job was not one that was made easily or quickly. In fact, I realize that I stayed much longer than I should have, but that is on me. It is hard to walk away from a job that I helped to create and develop for my department. But when your husband tells you in a very frank and honest conversation that your job is making you a B@t&h, well you have to really take notice. And I did. And he was right.

What my husband saw was that I would begin withdrawing on Sunday evening. He said that it was like I was putting on my gear to go into battle and from Monday to Friday, I was withdrawn, sad and would come home and just curl up on the couch. He said the only time I would smile was on the weekends. But most of all, he said that he wanted his wife back. So when that conversation happens, you have to take notice and believe me I did.

The question then became what did I want to do? Did I want to stay in my job and hope things will change? Well, honestly, I have been hoping for that for more than two years and it still hasn’t happened. Or did I leave? And what did I want to do when I leave? More conversations with my husband and more conversations with myself led me to the decision to go back to school. And that is rather scary, but now is the time to make it happen. I resigned. Worked my final two weeks and left for career progression. And it felt absolutely wonderful!!!

Now if only I can decide what I want to be when I grow up.

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Time Flies

I was reminded by JP that I haven’t posted in a while. Truth is, while I’ve started many posts, life seems to move by too quickly at time. My office came down with the flu bug despite everyone getting a flu shot. Truth is people began getting respiratory infections around Thanksgiving and just kept spreading them throughout the office. It took until about mid-January before it was my time. I am glad that my flu shot worked, but the severe cold wasn’t fun. I’m waiting for my time to come again as most of the original people who were sick previously are now getting sick again. It seems to be working on a 5 week cycle, so I have a feeling it is just a matter of time.

Work has also been the main cause for my disappearance. The job has continued to be an issue. The turmoil continues despite changes that at first seemed for the better, but have once again deteriorated. I am now at the point of trying to decide if I want to start taking college classes again to better my chances of moving up. My husband wants me to look at school. He asked if I wanted to work on my Master’s while he works on his. It will mean moving out of my current job and into something that is part time or PRN (as needed). I know that I would not be able to do school and work full time. I just don’t have the energy for that.

Add to that I am trying to get to eat healthier. I have been researching clean eating and reading up on different programs. (I will write more about the reasons behind this soon.) I am all for cooking with fresh ingredients as long as I can get them to taste good. I have purchased more seasonings than I have ever used in the past and so far, it hasn’t been too bad. I have made two recipes that were actually yummy and my husband thought so too. He said I can make them again, so that is a good thing.

As for now, I am convinced that the biggest struggle that I will have is not having coffee with flavored creamers. As someone who was never a coffee person, I am not sure about drinking coffee without creamers. I have tried several “healthier” creamers and so far it is a no-go as to taste. So that will go into the work in progress folder. My husband is on board with whatever I do, but he doesn’t add anything to his coffee, so he will be fine.

Crock Pot, Meal Prep, Sheet Pan…Oh My

So my hours at work changed and I am getting home later. This means that it is later when I put together dinner. One of the great things about cooler weather is that I am one step closer to pulling out the crock pot to cook soup and stews for dinner. It also means that I have been looking for meals that would allow me to save time cooking, but are also healthy and yummy too. One of the things I came across was a number of websites that were encouraging the idea of meal prep. The idea is that you get ingredients for several meals, usually 4-6, and cook them one day on the weekend, storing the meals into containers to be frozen to eat later or kept in the fridge to eat that week. Sounds good right? Hmmm, hold that thought.

I found a website that allowed you to sign up for a meal prep challenge. The blogger would put together meals, send out the shopping list of ingredients needed and even include how many containers and what types were needed to store each meal in. Sounds even better, right? It did until I received the email with the list of meals that were to be prepped. There was not one meal that we would eat as listed. Most contained exotic vegetables or seasonings that would be extremely hard to get in my local stores. Or they contained items that were just not something that we would eat (hello brussel sprouts). As someone who only recently discovered the yumminess of roasted sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts are not in my immediate plans.

So to prep meals in advance, I would have to substitute a lot of things, which would mean guessing at the amounts to buy. One of the nice ideas about meal prepping is that you are told how much of each item you need. To replace those meant I would now risk getting to much or too little and the prep would fail. I then came across several blogs where they discuss the idea that meal prep takes nutrients away from the food, so if you are trying to eat healthier like we are, losing nutrients would not be something that we want to do.

I then came across the idea of sheet pan meals. The concept here is that you cook the entire meal at once on a sheet pan from start to finish in 45 minutes or less. Take a protein, such as chicken, and add vegetables. Season or marinade the chicken and roast the vegetables.at the same time. There were even sheet pan ideas for breakfast and dessert. I have several recipes bookmarked and I tried my first sheet pan meal last week and it worked out great. I made Asiago chicken and roasted vegetables at the same time. We added a salad and the whole thing took about 40 minutes from start to finish. Not bad for a week night meal. And of course you can make it as healthy as you want.

Now I just have to figure out what to try next? Any ideas?

Cross One Off and Add Another

My husband is a list maker. He has a list of things he needs to do. There are those that are on the list for the week, such as mow the lawn and weed the flowers. And those that are on the list for the month and even long term. When he completes something, he crosses it off the list. He also doesn’t add something to his list if he started it and forgot to put it on it. I will sometimes race to his list and add something he is doing just so he can mark it off.

Me, I am not a list person. I know what I need to do. I keep that in my head, but I don’t need a visual reminder of things that I might not get to. That would  be too depressing to keep seeing things I need to get to, but would rather do something else instead. So as we put the last piece of furniture back in place in the man cave/media room, I reminded my husband that he could cross the project off of his list. He reminded me that we still needed to get the paint off the door hinges, but that wouldn’t take long, so he crossed the project off his list. He then began to see what other projects were on his list that he would focus on next. I hoped he would just relax for a little while. The DIY project reminded us both that we are both getting older and at times the project kicked our a$%. But as luck would have it, or in our case, bad luck. Another DIY project fell into our laps.

On Monday morning, I heard my husband yell from the bedroom. The dog and I hurried upstairs where I found my husband in his t-shirt and undies. “Why were you yelling?” I asked him.

He pointed to the closet door. “Open the door,” he replied.

I opened the closet and saw that the shelves had pulled away from one wall and there were clothes and blankets and pillows and shoes piled three feet high on the floor. I looked at him and back at the closet. I took a step into the mess on the floor and reached my clothes for work and backed out of the closet. “Hmmm…looks like all of your clothes are on the floor.”

Not our closet, but you get the idea.

“Really? I didn’t notice,” he said. “Oh right, I did because I saw you step in them to get to yours.”

I reached back in and pulled up a pile of clothes and laid them on the bed. “I’ll be right back,” I told him as I raced back down the stairs. I found his “To Do” list and wrote, “Closet Makeover.” He’ll be able to cross that off as soon as we finish.

Going back upstairs I found suits and dress shirts laying over the banister and the bed was covered with blankets and pillows. “Get dressed. We can finish clearing this out after work,” I told him. My husband was staring at the wall where the shelves had fallen. “He didn’t put them into the studs. Who doesn’t put up shelves in the studs?”

I assumed he was talking about the previous home owner. “Don’t worry. You’ll find all the studs when you fix the closet.”

Buttoning his shirt he looked at me and asked, “Where did you run off to?”

Handing him his belt, “I was putting the closet makeover on your to-do list so you can cross it off when we finish.”

“Thank you,” he said as he kissed me and walked out of the bedroom. “We’ll start designing the new closet tonight. I don’t want to look at my suits hanging over the banister for too long. We should be able to do it this weekend.”

“Wonderful,” I replied trying to sound cheery and feeling my body ache at the thought of another DIY project. Oh well, at least I’ll be getting a new closet.

 

Chiffon Has Been Banned

We have a new dress code at work. For those of us who work for the medical center, we were directed to go to our learning page where we were assigned the dress code policy. We were given a date that we had to complete the assignment which consisted of reading the policy and taking a test. The test asks if you have reviewed the policy. You answer yes and you pass the test. You are given a certificate and are now expected to follow the new policy. The new policy states that it also applies to those employees that are considered to be contractors. Unfortunately, the contractors were not given a copy of the policy, so they are not aware when they are violating the policy.

Some of the new dress code policies make you go hmm and wonder what they were thinking. Some of those are:

No Wrinkled Scrubs–Let’s see, you are a nurse in the middle of a 12 hour shift. How are your scrubs not going to be wrinkled?

If a male employee wears a sweater, he must wear a shirt and tie–He can’t wear a turtle neck or tee underneath. Really?

If a female employee wears a v-neck sweater, she must wear a shirt underneath–If I wear a v-neck, the shirt I’m going to wear underneath is probably going to also have a v-neck, so I’d be showing the exact same thing right? So is the problem the sweater or the v-neck?

No chiffon–I’m not sure I own anything made of chiffon, but I have made sure to cut the tags off of anything remotely silky. I can deny it is chiffon if I don’t have a tag that says that’s what it is right?

No clingy clothing–items listed were pants, leggings, tights, dresses, shirts. In other words, don’t wear anything that might be considered revealing. So you can’t wear tights under a non-clingy dress, but you can wear nylons under a regular dress. Are nylons made out of chiffon? If so, that’s banned.

Dresses and skirts must be no more than 3 inches above the knee. This is a good thing since tights and leggings have been banned. Short-short dresses definitely need something underneath when at work. Some people have no idea that they flash the patients when they bend over. Several women in my office, that are also contractors, violate this policy daily. They have yet to meet a short skirt or dress that they didn’t think was okay to wear to the office. They are wrong of course, but they don’t know it. When the patients see them we usually get the comments asking if they are coming back from the club, dressed in the dark and my personal favorite from a very elderly husband of a patient, are those girls working here or are they working girls out there? He pointed to the outside.

No Flip flops–really? This had to be made a policy? We work in a medical facility. There are not to be any open toed shoes of any kind. Including flip-flops. But apparently people have been wearing flip-flops in their offices and their argument is that they don’t deal directly with patients. And besides, they only wear blinged  out flip-flops so those should be okay. Hmmm, no. Not okay and now banned.

No crop pants more than 3 inches above the ankle–really? So not 3 1/2 or 4 inches because that is moving into capri territory. And does anyone really know the difference between crop pants and capri pants? I don’t but apparently it is more than 3 inches.

So what about you? Do you have a dress code where you work? Do you follow it? Or are you a rebel and do your own thing?

Work Has Become Disheartening

new-job-2So…work….I said earlier that I would post one last time about work and then not say anything more until I have a new job. I used to enjoy my job and looked forward to going in to work. I still enjoy some parts of my job, mainly those involved with taking care of the patients, but the other things have taken a toll, not just on me, but on the whole department and it is a struggle to just go into work each day.

Late last year I wrote about my former manager telling me I should look outside the department for other job opportunities. At the time, we didn’t know that she was doing the same thing. The search began for a new operations manager and I hoped that the new manager would come in and work to get things back on track. Ummm, no. In fact, it’s been seven months and things are worse than they ever were. We aren’t being managed because it has become apparent that she is in over her head and doesn’t know what to do. So as a result, she isn’t focusing on the main issues, but is taking small things and working on those while the bigger issues remain unresolved. We have staff being written up, staff being terminated and others, like me, looking for other jobs.

I knew that things would be different when the new manager didn’t meet with the individual sections to learn what they do and understand what a typical day is for them. She cut the weekly staff meetings to once a month and for the meeting agenda, she completely eliminated my section as well as others. We were no longer given time to discuss changes that were coming down or concerns that we might have. I still had a weekly meeting with her and during our first one, she told me that the previous manager had “spoken very highly of you and told me that you are the one to go to when I need help because you have been here from the beginning.” I quickly learned that meant I was there to dump all the things on that she didn’t know what to do or didn’t have time for. The first time your manager says they appreciate you, it feels good. The twentieth time they say it to you it means nothing. They are just meaningless words being said to pacify you.

The turning point for me came just before the holidays. One of my employees went to cover the morning meeting and came back extremely angry because she had basically been made to look as being totally incompetent at her job in front of other employees. She was told that if she couldn’t do her job in 40 hours “you will need to look at being retrained because apparently you have problems with time management.” Really? So it doesn’t have anything to do with our clinic increasing from 2 doctors to 4 which meant the workload increased while staffing didn’t? The answer is no. It doesn’t matter to the manager. That employee began looking for a job that night after work.

A few days later, my manager made the comment that “I don’t understand why your section is struggling with the workload. You did this job for a year by yourself.” Hmmm, yes, I did the job by myself for a year. But I had 2 doctors that were only there a total of 4 clinic days. I now have 4 doctors, each with 3 clinic days, so I have a total of 12 clinic days a week to cover.  I also didn’t have any of the Administrative Assistant duties that were passed on to me when that person quit and they decided not to fill the job. I also didn’t have to complete so many meaningless reports, most of which were repetitive, but have to be done separately to keep other people happy. We also weren’t required by the government to capture all of the Meaningful Use data in order to meet the guidelines for insurance reimbursement. So yes, I was able to keep up with the workload. It was much smaller then.

Going home that day I told my husband that it is easy for her to say what she did because she has never taken the time to sit with us to see what we do. She hasn’t even asked to see the spreadsheet that breaks down my sections tasks for daily, weekly and monthly. She hasn’t done that for the other sections either. So I began looking for another position. I have started with internal job openings and will eventually look outside the organization. Last week I was called for an interview. The job I applied for and the description of it from the director were completely different, so that wasn’t for me. But fingers crossed that I will find something soon.

If not, I can always hope to win the lottery.

Laughing About the Little Things

laugh

I recently read a blog post on The Adventures of Travel Penguin and one of the things that stood out to me was a question of when was the last time you laughed. I admit that I had to stop to think about it for a few minutes. I mean we probably laugh several times a day, but I would say that most of them fall into the category of nervous laughter or laughing along with others regardless of whether we think something is funny or not. But when was the last time that you really laughed at something that was just stop you in the tracks funny?

I have to admit that it took me a few minutes to think back to when I truly laughed and it didn’t have to do with memory and age :), but had more to do with the fact that we really don’t have enough laughter in our lives. For me, I have been focused on dealing with work lately and that hasn’t been a fun situation. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. I should be able to put things aside that do not bring me joy and focus on those things that do.

So to answer Travel Penguin’s question of when was the last time I laughed, I  will tell you that it was about two weeks ago and it involved our new car. I had a job interview after work so when I came home, my husband said that he wanted to go out to dinner. He said I could tell him about the interview and didn’t have to worry about dinner. One thing about our new car is that it is synced with our phones and it will read the texts out to you.We have chuckled once or twice when it reads a text that has words misspelled because it reads them exactly how they are written and the text will make no sense at all. On our way home, we were stopped at a red light and the car gave the notification that my husband had received a text message from a friend. He pressed “Read Text” and the car read off the text which was “Hahahahahahahahahahahah!” Hearing the car try to read a message of ha ha’s was just so weird and she sounded too funny and we laughed. We laughed for several minutes and I even texted him the same thing just to hear it again.

As we were driving, my husband looked at me and said, “Should we be worried that we are laughing at something so silly?” I looked over at him and said, “You’ve been making me laugh for 25 years, nothing is too silly to laugh about.”

So when was the last time that you truly laughed? If you can’t think of something and your car can read your texts, get someone to text you a bunch of hahahahahahahahaha’s and you’ll be laughing soon enough.

 

Wishes For This Year

wish-lstI am not one for New Year resolutions. I feel that resolutions are things that I never complete. The intention is there, but they always seem to fall by the wayside and then I feel like a failure. Instead, I have put together my Wishes for the New Year. After all, wishes can come true.

I Wish to Find a Healthier Me

I have tried to adopt a healthier way of eating. This year I want to continue making better choices and maybe reach a point of doing it without having to think about it. Vegetables are still my biggest struggle, so I will continue to try to find ways to prepare them and hopefully they will get easier to eat.

I Wish to Say No to Dunkin

Okay, I love Dunkin Donut’s coffee. The only problem is that it is hard to stop at ordering just a coffee when you are presented with all the delicious donuts that just go so good with the coffee. So, I have decided to stop visiting Dunkin. I will take my coffee from home and just keep on driving. It’s the only way I’m going to do this.

I Wish to Drink Less Coffee and More Tea

It is hard to believe that I didn’t used to like coffee. That changed when my husband would leave for work. He would fill up his thermos and take a travel mug with him, but there was always enough coffee left in the pot for a cup. So I began to drink coffee. Unfortunately, I have never been able to drink coffee without sweetening it and adding yummy, flavored creamers to it. I have decided that I need to find more flavored teas and replace my second or third daily cup of coffee with the teas. So far, I haven’t been doing too bad. I found a tea by Stash called Christmas in Paris and it smells like Andes Candies Mint Chocolate and it tastes good too. It is a special edition for the holidays, but I am going to try other brands and hopefully will find others that I like as well. I don’t have to add all of the added sugar and flavored creamers, so I am saving calories, which is a good thing. And is should be pretty easy to do if I succeed at the one above, stop going to Dunkin :).

I Wish I Can Drink More Lemon Water

I recently read an article where it said that drinking lemon water has many health benefits. The first was that it works to ease inflammation. If it can ease the pain in my joints that I have it will be worth it. It is also supposed to help with digestion and keep you hydrated. More positives in my opinion.

I Wish I Can Find Exercises That Don’t Hurt

Two years ago I fractured my hip. Don’t ask me how. Neither I or the many doctors that I saw could tell me how or why. Some said I could have sneezed or coughed too hard. Another said I could have bumped it several years ago. Regardless of how I did it, the goal is not to do it again. So I have had to limit the way I exercise, which means not doing anything that can cause a break again. I want to find something that allows me to exercise without a big impact on my bones and joints. It is a work in progress.

I Wish to Learn How to Crochet Left-Handed

I have always wanted to learn how to crochet. My mom and grandma tried to teach me, but as they were right-handed and I was left-handed, they always became frustrated that I couldn’t learn from them. I have done simple crocheting in the past, but I want to learn how to do more complex patterns and maybe make something. I found a website that teaches how to crochet left-handed, so I am going to find time to watch and learn. First, I have to see if I still have my crochet hooks and then pick out yarn. I’m looking forward to that.

I Wish I Can Find a New Job

I have decided that it is time to look for another job. I had hopes that things at my current job would get better, but they have not, so it is time to find something else. I want to be happy at work and that is something I am not any longer. I will write about what has happened recently and then I will not write about work until I have something new to tell.

I Wish my Family and Friends Continued Good Health and Happiness

Man Your Battle Stations

churchillThis is going to be a work update. Our new manager started in August and while she has been settling into the job the office has been in chaos. It has been interesting to see how people are trying to make themselves seem wonderful in her eyes, as if they are the perfect example of “Employee of the Year.” Oops, maybe they are trying so hard because the new manager actually was selected as “Employee of the Year” at her previous job. Anyway, it has been more of let the backstabbing begin and then the mudslinging starts.

Our office has been in transition for a while. We had the old manager leaving and the new manager coming on board. The plan was for the old manager to continue to come to our office for two days a week to help the new manager learn her position. That idea, while great in theory, lasted about two weeks. The old manager has done much of the training by phone and teleconference. Another area of transition is with our doctors. One is leaving to work at another community site. His replacement, while we know who it will be, has not been fully credentialed at our facility or with the insurance companies, so that has caused a delay. The physician leaving wants us to slow down on giving him new patients and our other physician is taking on the majority of the patients and is feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Our head nurse doesn’t like our new manager and has already complained about her to the director of the center. Added to this are rumors of cutting staff and people are worried about their jobs.

Employees are trying to get the attention of our new manager and they don’t necessarily care if they throw another employee under the bus in order to do so. Tension and animosity is growing in the office. I had one employee straight out lie to try to get out of doing a task that she was given more than a year ago by telling our manager that she “volunteered” to do it because my section was too busy and it is time we took it back. Of course, I was called into the office and questioned about this. I explained to my manager that the task the employee was given had never been my sections to do and that she was given the task because she didn’t have enough work to do and they were trying to justify keeping her position full-time. I also let the manager know that there had been a nasty, hostile confrontation with the former manager and the employee in June during my weekly meeting and to please verify it with her. She did and now she knows the truth. As for the lying, co-worker, I discuss work and only in front of witnesses. Any further conversation doesn’t happen. I keep our interaction limited and the door to my office closed.

I had high hopes that things would be different and sort themselves out once the new manager came on board, but that isn’t the case. A number of co-workers are looking for other jobs. They used to hide that fact, but now it is being discussed out in the open. Their feelings are if the manager knows, maybe something will change. I’m getting tired of waiting for the change to come. In my opinion, the wrong people are looking for other jobs. The one’s causing the problems are the ones that should be looking elsewhere. I spoke to my husband and he knows that I have set a date in my head of when I will have enough. Either things get better or I start the search for a new job. As always, he is supportive. And I love him for that. It makes it easier to go into work every day. Until then, I have made the quote below my new motto and have put it on the bottom of my computer monitor where I can look at it each day. I also have it written it Italian, which makes it harder for people to know what it says:

“Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”

 “A volte e meglio reagire con nessuna reasione.”
 

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