Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Thoughts on Virginina So Far

I have officially lived in Virginia for over two months now. People have been emailing me and asking how things are going. To sum it up:

Richmond (where I work) – I don’t like the city. I’m sorry. It’s not pretty, comfortable, or interesting to me at all. I keep trying to find reasons to like the city, but I haven’t found any yet. At first I was very interested in all the historical museums and sites, but after a while even that was no interest to me. They don’t have the sense of fun and community like Indianapolis has. Maybe that will change as summer comes. I certainly hope so.

Mechanicsville (where I live) – It’s tolerable. Once again, there is no sense of community or friendliness. Maybe it is bad luck, but the only people I have met so far are rude people. We had an especially bad experience with the greeter at Walmart, who refused my Dad once of those riding carts because “He doesn’t look like he needs one.” We wrote an official complaint about that one.

The Apartment – Terrible. If I could afford to break my lease, I would. We have maintenance out at least once a week, but they never really fix anything. It’s “half-assed” as my Dad would put it. The latest issues – the ceiling light in the kitchen is falling down, the dishwasher still doesn’t work, the dryer tube is plugged (fire hazard anyone?), the screen in the master bedroom has holes in it, bugs everywhere (spiders, ants, beetles, wood roaches, stink bugs), and the list goes on. I have to check the bathroom floor every morning before going in to pee or I may step on bugs. I can’t stand this place. We asked the apartment manager if she would call pest control and she refused. We finally went out and bought bug spray. It has helped some. I am starting to save money in the hopes of eventually breaking the lease. I don’t know if I will make it though. It’s a hefty fee to leave early. 

My job – I love it so far. This is good because it is the only thing keeping me from packing up and running away. There is definitely more responsibility. I am learning a lot about making decisions and leading in certain areas. The only thing that worries me is that I haven’t yet done any official revenue management training. I assume that will come with time since they probably think I am still ramping up on the supervisor end of things. If training doesn’t start by mid-summer I may say something. I’ve been doing group housing for about 3 years now, and I am ready to learn new job skills. Overall though, I do see this as being a good move for my career.

One of the hardest things for me to get used to was my new work schedule. It isn’t like Indy at all! I go in at 7am, but I may not go home until 6pm or after. It depends on the groups in house and what tasks need to be done. They have approved overtime for me, so I basically go home when I reach a stopping point. Sometimes I get to leave on time. Most of the time there is way too much to do, and I end up working 9 or 10 hour days. I didn’t realize it before, but the Richmond property gets a lot more business than Indy. We would get one massive 550 room group in Indy and be pretty busy. One huge resume and VIP list to work with. In Richmond, we may have smaller groups, but we have more of them. 10-15 smaller groups at one time – all of which needs resumes and VIP lists. It’s a much larger volume of work. Quite the challenge! I haven’t had a slow week since I got here, and I like that. They have also put me in charge of some of the small wedding blocks, which is fun. I love weddings.

Church – Dad and I joined a church last Sunday. Those of you who know me understand what a big deal that is. I vowed to never join a church again. However, I made a promise to God that if he helped me get a promotion, I would go back to church. He kept his end of the bargain, so it looks like I will need to keep mine. There are a ton of activities to get involved in. I think this may help both my father and I. We don’t like the area, but maybe if we meet new friends it can help make things more tolerable in the meantime.

Weight Loss – I haven’t been focusing like crazy on weight loss these last few months. With my long hours, I have gotten in the habit of eating vending machine snacks and eating dinner out. I have also started buying coffee in the morning, which is usually full of sugar and cream. Not good! My current weight is 325.8 lbs. Last week I went out and bought some healthy snacks to stash in my desk at work. This way I am not eating chocolate all day. Instead I have things like almonds, whole wheat crackers, and stuff like that. I also bought veggies and fruits, lean meats, and things that can be pre-cooked or cooked fast for dinner. Our goal is to eat at home all week. I also found out that my new church has a recreation center with a fitness club. The exercise center is free to church members. I am definitely going to look into using this. It would be a big step. Plus, Dad can go hang out in the cafĂ© or game room while I exercise if he wants to. That will give him a chance to socialize a little more.  I’m trying to get back on track. I was actually all the way back up to 335.6 in March, so I have lost a good 10 lbs. thus far.

Writing – I have once again started writing. Something different about Virginia is they have many more writing conferences than Indy. Some are in other states, but are in driving distance. I have already signed up for one in September. I’m looking forward to learning more and hopefully getting some short stories published later this year and early next year.

How are all of you doing? I’m sorry I don’t make the rounds and comment on everyone’s blogs anymore. I’ll try to get better at that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Heart Is Broken

On Tuesday, one of my best friends lost her son. He was hit by a train while walking home from school.

My first reaction was complete disbelief. I thought... well he can't be dead. He's probably just hurt or something. Turns out the worst was true.

Then I read an article (here) of what happened. My reaction turned to anger.

Stupid, stupid kid! What were you thinking? 

But then I thought, "You were a stupid kid once too." I can't count the number of times I would play or walk along the railroad tracks. If you live in northwest Indiana, they are everywhere. Most kids walking home in my neighborhood alone, no matter which direction from school you walked, had to cross railroad tracks. We took life for granted. My sister and I would even climb in between the train cars. How completely stupid that was!

I can't be angry with Jeff. He was a your typical kid doing what a typical kid would do. Even the headphone thing. How many kids these days do we see running around with head phones on all the time?

My biggest concern is Jessica. She is a single mother. Jeffery was her entire world.

How do you console a person who has lost their entire world? I don't have the words to even attempt making sense of this for her. It doesn't make sense, and a large part of me is wondering how God could be so cruel.

I still remember when Jessica found out she was pregnant. She was terrified. She was young, single, broke, and absolutely scared shitless. But you know what? She turned into a terrific mother. I watched her work two and three jobs at a time to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table. 

The proof was in Jeffery. 

He was kind and loving. When he was younger, he always had a hug or a cuddle for everyone.

He was funny - always telling jokes and being silly. You couldn't be in the room very long without him making you laugh. Jessica and I would take him all kinds of places, and we would have a blast. He especially loved the beach and could spend all day there if you let him.

He was compassionate. We would do the Cancer Walk every year, and Jeff "got it." He may have been young, but he understood. He truly cared about other people. 

After moving to Indianapolis and now Virginia, I didn't get to see Jessica and Jeffery very much in person. We stayed in touch over Facebook and the phone. Jeff hit the teenage years and started to display the fun teenage tendencies we all love to hate. Even so, he never lost all those qualities we loved so much about him. You would want to strangle him one minute and give him a bear hug the next. I'm proud to say that he was turning into a very fine young man. There was so much potential, and I knew he was going to do great things.

It's hard to imaging that's all gone. The potential is gone. The great things will never happen. 13 years is all he got, and I can't help but think how unfair that is.

I really wish I would have taken the time to tell that kid how much I loved him. He would have had the normal 13 year old boy response - "Eww! That's gross" - but at least the words would have been said.

Rest in peace, Jeff. We're all going to miss you down here.

If you have a dollar or two to spare, please consider donating to this GoFundMe account for Jessica. She did not have any life insurance for her son and will need all the help she can get.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Great Move of 2015

The move is over. Dad and I are officially living in Virginia. I apologize for not giving everyone updates sooner, but the first week was absolutely insane. This is the first time I have been able to sit down and really collect my thoughts.

Moving Day - 1

Our first day of moving did not start out well. I rented a U-Haul, but hired movers to load and unload the truck. Our first moving company started off poorly. They were 45 minutes late. I appreciated them calling to let me know they were stuck in traffic, but them being late already started us off behind schedule. To make matters worse, the two hour job that was quoted to me took four hours. Four hours!!! We hired the movers to arrive at 8 and be finished by 10. We didn't end up making it on the road until 1:30pm. Keep in mind that we had an almost 11 hour drive.

If you want to drive to Virginia without many mountains, I highly recommend taking I-70 out. The easiest way from Indianapolis is taking I-64. However, this route is very mountainous. You go through the major high mountains in West Virginia. Dad's defibrillator is set very sensitively, so he can't have many elevation changes. Because of this, a friend recommended 70 all the way over to Washington, D.C and cutting down to Virginia from there. Except for the really expensive tolls, it is a wonderful drive. You still go through mountains, but it isn't that terrible.

Unfortunately for us, we hit a snow storm in Pennsylvania. It was absolutely terrifying! They had complete whiteout conditions and the road was a skating rink. Our goal was to make it to Somerset, PA. The snow was so terrible, that Dad and I ended up pulling off in Washington, PA for the night. Instead of getting about 6.5 hours in the first day, we only got 5 hours.

Moving Day - 2

I don't think either one of us slept that night. We were so worried about making it to Richmond in time for the movers we had scheduled. I know I was pretty bleary eyed and living off coffee. Thank goodness the hotel had free breakfast in the morning.

When we woke the next morning, it had snowed about 4-5 inches, and it was still coming down. We hit the road at 7am and ended up driving in more snow for a good 3-4 hours. The good news was that the roads were treated at this point, so we made it mostly ok. The rest of the way was rain, and it was sunny by the time we hit Washington, D.C. and on into Virginia.

We got to the apartment complex around 3 and the movers came around 4. These movers were excellent. They got the entire truck unloaded in an hour. Plus, the asked which room to set things. They set up the beds for us. Top notch movers! I highly recommend them.

Overall, the drive was pretty terrible. I think it would be decent in the summer. 

The Apartment

I'm sad to say this, but I hate my apartment. I can do this for a year, but I will not renew a lease here.

To start off, the building manager lied to me. She went on this big speech about how they are an awesome place to live. They are easy because you can pay your rent online...blah blah. We arrived at 3:00. She handed us a checklist to mark off things that are wrong with the apartment, and we were told we had about 15 minutes to finish the checklist. Umm... ok. That's not enough time. Then when we returned to sign the lease, she informs me that they do not take credit cards. What? It's advertised on your website and in the emails yous sent me. I ended up on a wild hunt in Virginia trying to find someone who would give me a money order (long story).

Looking back, we should not have signed the lease. The problem is that we were essentially homeless at this point. If we didn't take the apartment, we had no roof over our heads... so we signed. Big mistake!!!

The apartment was absolutely filthy when we arrived. I didn't realize how filthy until I actually started unpacking. There was dried food in the refrigerator. The cabinets were dusty. The place smelled stuffy, like it had been closed up for a long time. There was hair in the bathroom sink and the tub actually had a dirty ring around it. The nastiest one -  a bug trapper in the bathroom cabinet filled with dead bugs. I am disgusted. They didn't clean a thing. There I am at 3:45, with movers arriving any minute, and my apartment is filthy. I did a mad dash through the apartment and cleaned what I could. The first night was spent scrubbing everything.

In the days after we have found one thing after another that is wrong. The hood fan doesn't work. The towel holders are falling down in both bathrooms. The windows and patio door leak air really bad. (I cringe to see our electric bill.) We found live bugs, which the maintenance man informed us were stink bugs and not roaches. Thank God! The heater is making a knocking noise. I tried to hang a picture on the wall and the whole freaking wall came peeling down. Apparently it's cheap dry wall.

The place is a nightmare!

The Job

I like my job so far, but it's a little overwhelming. They do things a lot differently at this hotel than they did in Indianapolis. The processes are similar, but different. I also need to get used to making decisions on my own. I'm used to asking permission to add rooms to a block - things like that. I sent an email to my revenue manager asking to change a room block and he responded with, "Well what do you think?" It shocked me for a minute until I realized it was my decision now. It really comes down to learning the new way of doing things. I think it will be a huge learning curve for me.

My coworkers are great and there are plenty of opportunities to grow and move up. I'm just hoping I catch on fast enough to not get in any trouble. That is my biggest fear. 

Richmond in General 

Richmond is starting to grow on me a little. I am enjoying the warmer weather and not having much snow. I have a slightly shorter commute to work, but only because I go in so early - 7am. If I go during the height of rush hour, it ends up being slightly longer.

There is a lot to do around here. Lots of historical spots and museums. Plus, we are only about an hour and forty-five minutes from Washington, D.C. I definitely want to see all the monuments and museums there as well.

Dad and I went to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art on Saturday. It's free! I was seriously amazed at how much stuff they have there. It makes Indy's museum look small. I want to go back for sure. Dad pooped out, so I didn't get to spend a lot of time. We sort of did a quick run through. I would actually like to go back and do the tour guide visit. I think it would be very beneficial.

I still miss Indiana. Virgina is fun, but it isn't home. It will do for a few years until I can move up and back home (corporate office is in Indiana). That's the goal!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Big News for 2015!

I promised myself to be more diligent about posting on my blog this year. Of course, I've already started off poorly. I would apologize, but I have a totally legit reason for ignoring you all. 

So you remember that big promotion I was hoping for? I got it!

My faith in the company completely paid off. The week before Christmas I interviewed for a group housing supervisor position and found out the Monday after Christmas that I got it. 

That's the good news. Along with an almost $2 raise an hour. This is going to help tremendously. 

The bad news is that the new position is in Richmond, Virginia. 

At first I was a little worried. I've never even visited Virginia before. I know absolutely nothing about it. Luckily I have several friends who lived in the area and even worked at the hotel I'm going to. They were great about explaining the city to me, recommending apartments to consider, and being honest about where we should move to (high crime areas v. safer areas). I ended up deciding on a a suburb of Richmond that will be about the same commute as what I already have. It's close to a really good hospital (about 5 mins) that will be perfect for my Dad to receive his healthcare. We picked out his doctors and everything. 

It will be slightly warmer weather, which I believe will be good for my Dad. He doesn't do well in the cold. I am also really excited about my new apartment complex. They have a swimming pool (SCORE!) and a really nice walking path through a sort of wooded area. They also have a big exercise room. I think it will be easier to stay active with so many choices and with weather be a little warmer. 

This has been my life the last few weeks. 

Minus the water. LOL! It was just sitting up there. 

I took the time to go through everything before packing. If it hasn't been used in the last 4 years we have lived in Indianapolis, then it isn't going to Virginia with us. I got rid of a lot of stuff. I even went through my Mom's cedar chest and finally split things between my sister and I. 

I really don't need this many doilies and pot holders. 

Nor do I need every single card or picture we ever drew Mom and Dad. I did keep a few of the favorite ones though.

I've done great at packing. It helped that I had a full month before moving. There are still a few last minute things to pack, but the majority of everything is done. I'm taking some things down to my sister this weekend that she wants. Plus, Goodwill is getting a bunch of stuff.

I will admit that I have this irrational fear that everything won't fit in our moving truck. My Dad keeps teasing me about it. The fear stems from our original move to Indy. Instead of hiring movers, we had friends help. They didn't know how to pack a truck correctly and were packing things in the clearly labeled Goodwill pile. We ended up with a huge mess and needed two trucks. All of that just to get to Indy and have to get rid of a bunch of stuff. 

I know that things will be different. For one, I'm being much more careful about what we pack. Secondly, I hired movers to load and unload. I'm pretty sure everything will be fine, but I will not be comfortable until the door is closed and everything is in.

We are taking a trip out to the cemetery on Sunday to say goodbye to Mom. Even though I know Mom isn't "in" the grave, I still sort of feel like I am abandoning her here. I never thought I would leave Indiana, so this is bittersweet.

I work until Wednesday, and the movers come at 8:00 AM Thursday morning.

On a side note, I started Weight Watchers again and am already down 5 lbs. When things calm down a little, I will update you on more. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

I can't believe 2014 is almost over. I also can't believe Christmas is done. This is my favorite holiday, and I'm a little sad that I have to wait another year for it to come around again.

My favorite thing about Christmas is putting up the tree. All of our ornaments are homemade and were given to us by family. I can pick out each one and remember when it was given to me. Or I remember the stories my mother told me about her ornaments. On the entire tree, I think only 2 or 3 are store bought. 

We never keep presents under the tree. I don't know why. We never have. Even Santa left his presents by the tree, but not under it. This year, I put my mother's Christmas village under the tree. It looked really pretty. 

On top of the tree is our beloved Christmas angel. My sister and I used to joke about who was going to inherit the topper after Mom passed away. I solved it by making her one for Christmas a few years ago. So glad I paid attention to my Grandma when she taught me to needlepoint.

We have a ton of decorations, but a few are my favorite. This is the elf I made my Mom for Christmas in 7th grade. We took sewing for home economics that period, and this was the project I chose. I remember having my Dad take me before school for a few weeks just so I could get it done in time. My Mom loved him and would talk about what a good job I did every time she set it out for holiday season.

I decided to make homemade gifts for everyone this year. The new thing I learned was crochet. My grandma, and her friend Audrey, taught me the basic stitches when I was little, but this was my first time doing several projects for people. Before I had only done scarves and blankets.

Mad crochet skills! I know you all are jealous. LOL! 
I also bought little stocking stuffer items to go with each one. For instance, the purse was for my niece and I put several flavored chap sticks inside. She's at the age where they love those. 

This was the last year of ornaments from Grandma to the grandchildren. When she started getting sick and losing her eyesight, she made presents ahead of time for the kids. Even after she died, we had enough ornaments for a few years. I will admit that I cried while wrapping them. With the ornament, I gave each child a framed picture of my Mom holding them as babies. We wanted happy pictures of Mom, and in all the more recent pictures she looked ill. This is why we chose baby pictures. 

The last ornament.
Christmas dinner was hosted by my sister. She literally did everything on her own and didn't ask for any help. Crazy woman! She did a great job, and I enjoyed spending the day with her. 

The best part was watching the kids when they opened presents. They were making me laugh. Santa presents were already open, so I got to see the presents from the grandparents and myself. 

Look at that face! She has been wanting that toy for months now.
Bub was excited to see what he got. Their faces were so animated. I love it!

Bub did a happy dance!
Overall it was a great holiday.

How did Christmas go for you?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Update on the Meds

I have officially been on Metformin for about three weeks now (almost four). Here are a few things I notice:

1. Lots of  gastrointestinal problems. The constant sickness has gone away, but I will always have at least one diarrhea attack each day. They are always at the same time too, which confirms for me they are due to medicine. Not a major problem. Just more of an annoyance. Especially since it tends to happen during work hours.

2. Weight gain, which surprises me. This was supposed to cause weight loss, but I have gained three pounds. I wonder if this is due to the constant bloating problem I have? Bloating is another side effect of the meds. Not too worried at this point, but I'm keeping an eye on it.

3. No more headaches and blood sugar dropping out. I have had this issue for years where my sugar drops out and I get really sick. I used to carry snacks in my purse because it would happen so often. Not anymore since I started this medicine. I guess it's because my blood sugar is normalized now.

4. I'm never hungry. I have to remind myself to eat. This is another reason the weight gain surprises me. I hardly ever eat. I can go the entire work day and not feel hungry or sick from not eating. It isn't normal for me, so that has been an interesting change.

5. Just overall feeling better. More energy and less grouchy. Even my family has noticed the difference. The only time I feel really bad is that hour or so when the gastrointestinal problems hit.

I'm not saying I'm 100% and this medicine is perfect, but I do notice a difference. I'm glad I started the meds, but the bloating and weight gain is upsetting me. If this didn't change by my follow up appointment, I will mention it to the doctor. Overall I am happy with the choice. I hope the test results reflect something better.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone who celebrates has a great day!!!