And She Lived…

Last year at the Bitter Ball I did a series of posts about doing Christmas on a budget. Well, with Christmas now just 3 months away, it is time to start thinking about all this again. Afterall, the best way to budget for those gifts is to start purchasing them as soon as possible. Spread the spending out over time rather than doing it all at once.

Again this year I will be posting ideas for making a wonderful Christmas on a tight budget. My plan is to post a frugal Christmas gift idea once a week until Christmas. (as my loyal reader know, my plans don’t always end up happening, but I will try) You won’t find they typical ideas like baking home made goodies or puting cocoa mix in a jar here. You can find those ideas anywhere, and besides… we all know those things already. I want to offer some ideas that might be unique and special.

Be sure to check back here each week for a new frugal Christmas idea. I will start off this week with a little shopping tip for you.

Shop Second-Hand


There’s no rule that says gifts have to be brand new. Scour thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and other second-hand stores for some great finds. You may be able to find some wonderful antiques, collectibles or vintage jewelry for a steal of a price. A few other possibilities are unburned candles, books, paintings or vintage clothing. Also be sure to check for vases and baskets that you can use with other items to make a great gift.


{September 28, 2008}   hockey was life

How many of us can say that we actually chose our careers as children? I know I certainly can’t. I’m 36 and I still haven’t figured out what the heck I want to be when I grow up. This, however, is the story of a man who is one of those rare people who knew what he wanted to do when he was a very young child and actually grew up and did it.

Did it. Not does it. A very big difference. And it was not his choice to stop.How does a man who decided what he wanted do in life when he was just 4 years old cope with losing his chosen career? In my experience, he doesn’t. He doesn’t deal with it at all. He acts as if it doesn’t matter. He acts as if he was going to make the choice to walk away from that life anyway. He acts as if there is nothing wrong. But an act is all it is.

Deep down he is angry. He is hurt. He questions everything he has ever done and what he could have done differently. He is resentful and bitter as well. He doesn’t show these things. At least not often. But for the one person who knows him better than anyone else, it all shows.

His wife can see all the emotions that he holds inside. She can see it in his eyes and hear it in words he doesn’t say. She can tell that when he doesn’t want to talk to an old friend that it is because that friend is a reminder of what’s gone. She knows that when he sits and reads books about hockey teams that it is because he misses the game.

I barely remember when I was 4 years old. I certainly don’t remember what I might have thought I wanted to be when I grew up. Not him though. He remembers. He remembers walking into a locker room and seeing the sticks and skates. The jerseys and helmets. He remembers being in awe of it all. And what’s more, he remember the man who let him help hang up all those jerseys. Each one hung just so in each players locker. He remembers because that is the day he knew what he wanted to do.

It may not have been a definite plan. He was too young to know exactly what he wanted in life. But he knew it involved hockey. He knew that he belonged in a locker room. He knew it as much as he knew he needed to breath. Hockey was life.

For years he played the game. Pee Wee hockey was more than just fun for him. It was the one thing he truly enjoyed. Afternoons he would play. At night he would return to the rink and work. Baseball has batboys and hockey has stickboys. Stickboy. He’d been one since he was 4. Helping with the equipment. Throwing pucks on the ice. Being around the players. It was a thrill. It made a kid feel connected. A part of the team. Hockey was life.

As he grew older he realized that any dreams he had of becoming a player would never come true. He’d stopped growing long before the other boys. He would never stand much more than five foot. Much too short to be a player. The game was still in his blood and in his lungs. If he couldn’t play he would still be a part of the game the only other way he knew how. He would work with the equipment. Still be a part of the locker room. Still a part of the team. He learned to sharpen skates and to repair equipment. All through high school he continued to work as a stick boy for the team. Until his senior year when he was officially made the assistant equipment manager. At 17 he was finally being paid to work the game he loved.

After high school he went to college with intentions of focusing his studies on athletics and management. One year into college he was offered a full time job with a team out of state as their equipment manager. Unable to resist the lure of travel and of working the game… he took the job.

Hockey truly was life now. He traveled with the team from city to city. And when a team would fold or a better opportunity would come along he would move on to another state, another team. Over the years he worked in almost every state in the country, including Alaska. There was always travel. There were always parties. Always fun and excitement. It was the life he had wanted. A life of hockey. It was a young man’s dream.

As he got older he still loved the game. Loved working a few hours a day while the team practised. Loved that two or three nights a week his work mostly involved sitting on the bench watching the game from the best seats in the house. The party’s didn’t matter anymore. The travel wasn’t as exciting as it had been. But he still loved the game and loved working it.

He had tried marriage once as a young man. The travel, the parties, it was too much for his young wife. It didn’t work. Now as he grew older and the partying was getting tiresome he was pleasantly surprised to find a woman he wanted to marry. He made sure she knew about all the travel. Made sure she could handle him being gone for days or weeks at a time. She could. They married and she became the one person in the world who truly knew him. She knew his heart. She knew she filled one part, her kids filled another and hockey, always hockey, would fill still another part.

It was a few years later they decided to make the decision that would change their lives. They decided to adopt. The process was long. Longer than they had anticipated. It was hard. Harder than they anticipated. It was expensive. More expensive than they had anticipated. At the end of the long, hard, expensive journey there was their son. He was worth it. Worth it all.

There would be one more price to pay for this journey of the heart they had taken together. That price would be hockey.

You see, when it came time to go get their son it was March. March meant playoffs. Playoffs meant the man was supposed to be busy with work. With travel for work. Instead he traveled for his son.

Now there are good people and bad people in the world. The good people would understand the importance of traveling to adopt a child. They would see it as a blessing and a wonderful thing to do. As more important than a game. The bad people would see the act of traveling to adopt a child, instead of working the game, as a betrayal. As failing to meet a commitment. They would fail to care that someone else was trained to do the job while the man was gone, so the work would indeed be done. They would fail to see the placement of an orphaned child with a loving family as more important than a game.

Unfortunately the man’s boss was one of the bad people of the world. Even more unfortunate, the someone the man trained to fill in for him while he was gone, the man who was supposed to be a close friend… well, that someone turned out to be a bad person too. The kind of person who would lie and say terrible things about someone in order to take their job away.

So when the man and his wife return home with their beautiful new son…. his career is gone. Stolen away. He is paid for the rest of his contract and then let go. For over 20 years hockey had been his life. It had been the air he breathed. Now, it was gone.

The chance to find a job with another team at his age was low, but it could be done. That meant moving. Moving his wife, new son and step children. Maybe the step children, because moving them meant a custody battle. Hockey had been life until he had a family. Now they were life. He had to make a choice. He could choose to do what he knew would be best for the family or he could choose hockey.

Hockey was no longer life.

He misses it though. His wife knows he does. Even when he says he was ready to walk away. Even when he says he didn’t want to travel anymore because he wanted more time with her and their son. Even when he tries to act like it hadn’t been stolen away from him. I KNOW.



“I know he won’t come to me”    and    “He doesn’t like me anyway”

Read those two statements above and think about them. They don’t sound good do they? Now imagine them being said by the person you have entrusted your 2 year old child to. And yes they are in regard to that precious child of yours. Makes the statements sound even worse don’t they?

I heard those statements in exactly that context yesterday. (insert huge sigh here) Because I wasn’t feeling well I had the babysitter come get Meechi for a couple of hours. Normally she watches him in our home because he is comfortable here and I felt better doing the “nanny” thing instead of taking him to a daycare. I don’t so much feel better now though! Anyway… she lives a few doors down from us so I asked if she could take him to her place for a couple of hours so I could get some rest. She came over to get him and of course he didn’t want to leave me so I had to pick him up hand him over to her. As I did she said, “I know he won’t come to me”. That didn’t really sit right with me but I was tired and sick and thought maybe I was making too much of it.

A couple of hours later she brought him home as planned. As she was leaving I told him to say goodbye to her which he didn’t do. He usually doesn’t say goodbye to anyone until after they are already out of the door. It’s just his way. Well, as she is going out and shutting the door she says “he doesn’t like me anyway”. Now that one really bothered me. First of all, he’s two. There are times he doesn’t seem to like me. That’s the way 2 year olds are. Second, why on earth would you say that to someone who is paying you to watch their child? 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on….   if he doesn’t like her, maybe there’s a reason. Shouldn’t I be concerned if he really doesn’t like her? Shouldn’t I be concerned that she has this whole “he doesn’t like me anyway” attitude instead of maybe, oh i don’t know, actually doing something to make him like her such as playing with him. Really, that’s all it takes to get this kid to like you. Play with him for 10 minutes… you’re his new best friend. I could go on and on with all the things that statement got me thinking. It’s disturbing.

I’ve been concerned that I believe all she is doing all day is letting him watch movies all day long. I come home and there is always one movie on in his room (and the dvd player is set on repeat) and another movie on in the living room (also on repeat). I’d say that’s a pretty good sign that there are movies going all day and if it’s on, he’s usually watching it.

Then there is the issue with lunch. I buy a variety of things for him to eat for lunch and yet we run out of one thing before the other stuff gets touched. It’s the easiest thing to make. So, is she being totally lazy and making him the same thing every day because it’s quick and easy to make? Or does she just think he really likes it and wants it everyday? Oh! and we also are going through snacks like freaking crazy. Is she letting him eat tons of snack all day long? Is she eating a lot of it herself? I don’t care if she has snacks here, that’s fine. But let’s not tear through a whole bag of chips in 2 days! A 2 yo and a 19yo don’t need to eat that much crap in a short time. Not at all.

And now for the real kicker. What happened to that $20 my 12yo son had in his wallet??? He went to get his money the other day so he could buy something and the 20 he got for his b-day was gone. I know I didn’t take it. I know his step dad didn’t take it. I believe his sister when she says she didn’t take it. I know the baby didn’t take it. Who does that leave? Who else had access to that wallet? That wallet that was left sitting on the TV in the boys room? The same Tv that plays movies all day long?

I hate this. I don’t want to work. I want to be home with my son. I don’t want to have someone come into my home that has no respect for us. Someone who doesn’t have the baby’s best interest at heart. I don’t want to have to send him to daycare either. I hate this.


Is it possible to make yourself sick? I don’t mean like an upset stomach or headache, because I know you can do that. I mean can your mental state knock down your immunity enough to cause you to get strep? Am I getting sick often because I don’t WANT to work. Am I making myself sick so I can be home???

Speaking of work… they want a doctor’s note for me missing work the last 2 days. Seriously? A doctor’s note? You’re a freaking ice cream shop for F’s sake! I had a real job for 3 years and they never once asked for a doctor’s note. A real job! Not some crappy little ice cream shop that the only requirement to work there is the ability to fill out an application and to be breathing! Not some stupid little job I only took because I only want to work part time and don’t want to stress myself out. Not some job that if I walked away from I could have another just like within three days. How do you people take yourselves so serious? You make freaking shakes all day long. You don’t save lives. You don’t build airplanes. You don’t make decisions that affect the world. You make freaking shakes!!!!

okay, I know having to get a doctor’s note is really not that big of a deal. I am really sick afterall. Not faking. Please! I am not one of your 16yo employees trying to play hooky. Give me a break. It is the principle of the thing here. Asking me for a doctor’s note is like saying to me that you think I am lying about being sick. Give me a break! I am a grown up for pete’s sake. Right now I hate the idea of leaving my baby with the crazy babysitter so much that I am ready to go shove a doctor’s note up their A$$!!!!!!

The topping on the whole this situation sucks sundae???? the babysitter is my nephew’s fiance!!!! How is that for a kick in the face?!?

{September 22, 2008}   and we continue

A couple of posts or more back I posted a “to be continued”. Well, I suppose this is the continuation.

I have continued to not have time to post. To not have time to think really. So there are no deep thoughts or wise comments in todays post. There is no well thought out plan to this post. It is what it is, because that is what I have time (and energy) for.

I am home from work today with strep throat. I feel like I swallowed a whole barrel full of glass. What makes it worse though is that this is my 2nd week of work and I had to call in sick. Oh, but it gets worse than that. I had to call in last Thursday as well because Meechi was sick. So I have a great record going so far. My 2nd week of work and I have already called in twice. Doesn’t that just make me look like a great employee?

Other than that the job is ok. It’s a job. That is pretty much it. It’s not fun but it’s not horrible either. In fact, a great deal of the time it is just boring. They are not busy except at certain times of day and the rest of the time I am looking around for something to do. I hate to stand around and do nothing, although there are a couple other people working there that don’t seem to mind doing nothing. Oh well. The whole thing is temporary anyway. I have decided that I need to take a class and get certified to do a job I can do online. (more on this later) That way I can work from home. I am having serious guilt about not being home with Meechi because his issues seem to be increasing or getting more severe. I am frustrated to say the least.

The poor Meech had a rash over about 80% of his body. Well, technically he had 3 rashes. Yep, that’s right, he had 3 different rashes going at the same time. Talk about craziness! Poor little guy. He was miserable. He’d had a fever for a few days and when it broke the first of the rashes appeared, quickly followed by the 2nd and then a couple of days later a 3rd. I took him to the Dr on Wed (which he HATES going to the Dr) and he kicked and screamed while his Dr calmly attempted to look at his various rashes. It amazes me how she can just keep so calm and be so down to business when she has an angry 2yo screaming like she’s killing him and trying to kick her teeth in. Anyway… she managed to get a good enough look to decide that there were 3 different rashes going on and she prescribed him 4 meds. 3 different ointments and an oral anitbiotic. It’s been tons of fun greasing him down with all those meds, let me tell ya. Of course the real fun comes in trying to analyze which patch of skin needs which type of ointment. It’s all clearing up, so I guess I have managed to guess right.

The 3rd rash is actually something he has done to himself. Due to the SPD (at least the oral part of it since he has several different sensory issues) he has started licking his hand a LOT. When he licks it he then runs it down his chin. So due to the saliva and constant rubbing on his chin… in comes impetigo. Yuck! If you’ve never seen this stuff, be thankful and pray you never do. Not pretty. Especially not on an adorable little face. One of his other rashes is excema (hopefully i spelled that right). His Dr says he has extremely sensitive skin and he is going to be very prone to rashes his whole life. Wonderful news! Ha!

So it’s tons of fun around our house right now. I wouldn’t let an outsider step into this germ ridden home for anything right now.

I talked to his Dr about his sensory issues and his speech delay while I was there. I told her how the early intervention program he is in doesn’t seem to be doing much for him at all. Half (probably more than half actually) of the things they said they would do, they still have not done. It has been more than 6 months now and they have done none of the testing they said they were going to do. He gets one visit from a… whatever the hell she is, I am not sure exactly what they call EI workers… anyway, he gets one visit a week and she plays with him for 15-20 minutes and then spends the next 15-20 minutes writing stuff down. He is gaining NOTHING from these visits. More frustration. So……… I told the Dr about all of this and she gave him a referral to go see a PT, OT, speech therapist and audiologist. Thank God! Finally we are going to get something productive done.

As far as my own issues of posting on this blog goes… I think I am just going to type up a ton of posts in Word that I want to write when I have some time and then just post one whenever I get a chance. My online time is seriously close to nothing right now. Of course if I decide to take that online course we will HAVE to get internet service again. hee hee hee!

{September 14, 2008}   The scoop

okay, so here’s the scoop on the job issue. I did not hear back from the place I interviewed with last week. She said she would get back to me by the end of the week about a 2nd interview if they were interested in hiring me. I guess they weren’t interested. My husband keeps telling me that they may not have called becuase they were probably closed on Friday due to the weather. (we were getting some effects from Ike even all the way up here. the whole west side of town flooded, it rained so much within 24 hours. of course we live on the west side. no damage here though, thank God.) He says I may still hear from them. I don’t know, maybe… but I’m not counting on it. I am not really worried about it though because like I said before, it was all just on a whim that I called them and it was total shock that they had anything open and even more of a shock that i got an interview at all. (i am thinking there was a reason for this whole thing that had nothing to do with a job, but i will post about that later)

So…. tomorrow I start work at the ice cream shop. I finally heard from the kid and he had re-arranged the schedule to get me the shift I really wanted. He had been going to give me 11-5. That would have been ok because i would have gotten mornings with Meechi. I hate working as late as 5 though because it makes it seem as though you have no time for yourself in the evenings. It would have been an ok shift though. But NOW, I am going to get to work 8-3. It’s an extra hour a day, so there will be another 5 hours of pay on my checks. So that is nice. But what is really great is that the ice cream shop is like 2 or 3 blocks from Bucky’s school. His school day is 8-3:10. So this means I can drop him off, go to work and then after school he can just walk over and meet me at the car and we can go home from there. Works out perfect. Oh! and the whole McWifi thing (i am still having to do that because we haven’t decided to fork over money for internet service again yet) is going to work well for me now too. The McD’s is right next to the ice cream shop. So I can just bring my laptop and check email and blogs while i wait for Buck to walk over from his school. See? Perfect!

While this isn’t my dream job, it just seems to work well for the family right now. And THAT is the most important thing!

{September 11, 2008}   Spirituality

I have been thinking a lot about faith lately. For long time readers of The Bitter Ball you may remember that I was doing a series of posts on Faith at one time. I never finished the series because I felt I was going off course on the subject with my last post on False Faith.

Now faith is on my mind again. It is more than that though. My heart is full of questions that my mind can not find the answers to. I feel as though I am at a crossroads. There is something going on within me that is looking for something more. I am searching for something. In this search I doing a lot of reading on various things concerning religion, spirituality and faith.

Over at Chel’s blog she posted the results fo a spiritual gifts test that she had done. I decided to do this myself. Perhaps it could provide me with a bit of insight into my own spirituality. I was stunned by the amount of questions I had to mark disagree or strongly disagree for. Anyway, I thought I would post my results here so I can look back on them easily.

Score Spiritual Gifts Scripture Reference
89% Hospitality Acts 16:14-15
78% Mercy Luke 10:30-37
78% Discernment Acts 5:3-6

Hospitality: This gift is the special ability that enables the Christian to provide open arms, an open house and warm welcome for those in need of friendship, a warm welcome, food or lodging.
Mercy: This gift enables certain Christians to feel exceptional empathy and compassion for those who are suffering so that they devote large amounts of time and energy to alleviate that suffering.
Discernment: This gift allows certain Christians to know through the power of God and with assurance whether some behavior is of God or of Satan.

{September 10, 2008}   Always an Excuse…. to be continued

I don’t normally do more than one post in a day. I just don’t like to do it, but I find it necessary today. This place is not just for me to ramble on about my job issues. I didn’t intend for this blog to be a place to do a rundown of what I am up to from day to day. I wanted it to be deeper than that. To be more a work of my heart and mind.

I have so many things that I want to post about and just haven’t found the time, energy or the right words. Things like how I don’t fit in at the mommy groups. Then there is the subject of honesty in blogging, how my daughter is so different from me and how my son is so much like me. There is how many see Meechi as a spoiled brat when the outbursts they see are really a part of the SPD. My life, my love, my fears and dreams. All of it I want to blog about and yet I seem to avoid the topics by finding excuses for not posting. Like right now… I sat down to post about how my husband losing his job, no his chosen career, more than a year ago has affected who he is and ultimately our marriage. BUT… now the baby is crying and I have to attend to him. There is always something that keeps me from getting out what truly lies within my heart and mind.

Soon! I hope I can do it soon.

Oh! Need to say thanks to Deb at Mom of 3 Girls for blessing me with this little award.

It’s great to know my blog is loved by someone other than just me.

I am passing this on to: Chel at Chasing Contentment and Sheila at My memories. There are many more blogs I love but I am going to keep this to just two.

{September 10, 2008}   Job Limbo

I am still not working. The kid (yes kid, because he is only in his 20’s and looks like he is about 16) that manages the ice cream shop hasn’t gotten me on the schedule yet. I thought he was going to get me on for this week. He didn’t. He made it sound like he was going to move things around and work me in. Okay, he didn’t just make it sound like he was going to do that, he said he was going to do that. Didn’t happen.

I am choosing to look at it as a positive and enjoying the extra week at home with the little one. Speaking of the little one… Meechi is extra clingly the last couple of days. I think he missed me for the week and a half that I worked and now he is attached like glue, worried I am leaving again. Sadly, I am. I just wish there was some way to assure him that it’s not permanant. That I will be back every day after just a few hours. I know somewhere deep down he knows mommy’s aren’t always forever. Someday he will know that this mommy is.

Honestly if I had known I wasn’t going to start work this week at the ice cream shop I would have stuck it out one more week at the job from hell. I would have hated it… but I also hate knowing that I am not making any money right now. Bills to pay!!!

The whole job thing is in limbo right now anyway. I got a call on Monday to come for an interview for a job that kind of… well, I don’t know how to put it really. I called this place on whim to see if they had openings, not really thinking they would. Well, they did. It’s really weird they did, especially this time of year. Sorry to be so vague but I am not wanting to jinx anything here. Annnnnnnnnnnyyyywaaaaayyyy…. I called them on a whim and left a message. I got a call back later that day saying they had an opening and could I come in the next day and fill out an application and leave a resume. So I did. That was last Wedensday. Monday they called for an interview and today I interviewed. I think it went well but they had a couple of other people left to interview. They are going to be calling at the end of the week for 2nd interviews. I HATE 2nd interviews, why isn’t one enough??? I will be thankful for a callback though if I get one. This would be sort of the dream job for me. Soooo… fingers crossed.

I would feel bad calling the kid at the ice cream shop and turning down the job AGAIN. But, this other job would be a good thing. Good hours and a great opportunity for me. We’ll see. I am not totally “qualified” as in no formal trainging but it’s something I know I can do (and have done to some degree) and would love the chance to prove myself.

Oh! I also got a call from W*endy’s today for an interview. I said I would go, but I’m not sure if i will or not. It’s not like I really want to work there. Flippin burgers is not my ideal job. BUT, the thing about w’s is that they offer their employees adoption benefits, which means they help cover some of the costs of adopting. That is the main reason I put in an application there. Just in case we decide to adopt again in a year or two. Tar*get also has adoption benefits. T offers $3000 and I can’t remember what W’s offers for sure. I know someone who is a manger at the T right down the street and could probably get a job there with his recommendation. I hate working retail though (especially with the holidays coming), but I will keep the idea in mind.

So, for now the whole job thing is in limbo. I really need something to fall in place soon. Of course i would really love to stay home with Meech all the time, but since I don’t think I’m gonna win the lottery anytime soon, that’s not a realistic option.

{September 5, 2008}   Getting On With My Life

Okay, so I quit the job from hell. Well, really it’s more like I just quit going. I didn’t bother to tell them I quit or anything… I am sure they were smart enough to figure it out. I called the guy from the ice cream shop. I am going to start there next week.


I am going to do some posts about the job from hell. I just posted the first one actually. I have no regrets about quitting the job but actually going through my days there in my mind really confirms to me that I did the right thing.

Another plus is that I have gotten the chance to unpack some of those boxes I’ve been staring at since I have had a couple of days at home. The living room looks great and my room is coming together pretty nicely. I really need to help the boys get their room together though. Yikes!

{September 5, 2008}   Day One at the Job From Hell

I woke up that morning at 6am ready to get an early start on the day. Having done the SAHM thing for the past 5 months it was kind of exciting to be going back to work. I had to be there at 8am and getting up 2 hours before I needed to be at work was not a usual habit of mine. At my old job I had to be there at 7:30 and I was doing really good to drag my carcass out of bed at 6:30. Some days it was closer to 7 and I had a 20 minute drive. Mornings are not my thing, especially not early mornings.

So there I was up at 6, and not just up but actually wide awake and excited. I also found it pretty darn nice to be getting dressed up a bit. The SAHM gig never really required me to dress up in anything more than jeans and a clean shirt in case I actually decided to brave the world with my hyperactive, antisocial 2yo in tow. Even my last job didn’t require any sort of fashion skills. I was able to wear those ugly ass scrubs to work. It’s kind of like going to work in pajamas. Comfy, but not real fashionable. So the idea of office casual was somewhat appealing to me. I put on a nice pair of pinstriped slacks and a pretty blouse, a blouse not a shirt but a blouse. Ha! I looked like a woman and not just a mom for the first time in awhile. I packed up a lunch for myself and a book to read at lunch just in case I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I would be grateful for the book later.

I drove to work excited about the new job and about my new coworkers. How nice it would be to talk to someone other than a 2yo with a vocabulary of about 20 words. You can only hear “more”, “ball” and “uh oh” so many times a day before it gets redundant. I walked into the office and was greeted with a big smile from the manager. She is one of those really, really, super friendly kind of people. The kind of super friendly that makes you wonder just how fake it is. Still, it was a nice greeting. This was going to be good. She showed me where my desk was and introduced me to everyone in the room. There were two managers and 6 employees not including myself. As I was introduced only two of them actually bothered to look up and smile or wave. The others didn’t even acknowledge the introduction. “Oh well,” I thought, they were all on the phones afterall. They were simply too busy for introductions.

I was told that I would be trained by the other manager but at that moment she was busy with something. So manager #1 told me to sit by SG#1 (SG stand for Snotty Girl which will be obvious why I refer to her as such later) and just listen for a little while.

The job was answering phones for about 10 different offices within the group of optometrists. So, I sat next to SG#1 and listened. She asked if I had any questions and I said that I didn’t really even know enough yet to know what to ask. I said it with a smile and she responded with a “humph” and a snarl. Okay then, this could be fun. (that is sarcasm by the way in case you missed it) I listened for a bit and then did have a couple of questions then which she answered quickly. I noticed she had a picture of a baby on her desk and asked her if he was hers, thinking I could start a conversation about kids and kind of get to know each other. “Yes,” was her only answer. “How old is he?” I asked, still thinking I could get her to talk. “Ten”, was all she said. “Ten months,” I said. “Ya,” with attitude like she was saying “duh, 10 months”. And I was thinking “ya, duh ten months! but that’s not what you said!”. I gave up on trying to talk to her and just sat and waited for another call so I could listen to her half of the call and learn absolutely nothing about the job.

SG#1 stared at me a bit and then asked, “so you get the desk in the back huh?” and there was obviously some bitterness in the question. “I guess so” I answered. I could tell this was a bit of a sore spot with her. She had a desk right inside the door with another desk and SG#2 right behind her. QG (quiet girl) sat directly behind SG#2 and right next to her was Manger #1. Manager #2’s desk was against the wall right inside the door so it was pretty close to SG#1’s desk. The 5 of them were in fairly tight quarters with each other and they didn’t have any cubicle walls to separate them or anything. Next to the 2 managers on the other side were cubicle walls with one desk behind each of those and then another cubicle wall with two more desks behind those. My desk was to be in the back corner behind one of the cubicle walls. This meant that I had my own space with some privacy. I could see why SG#1 might be bitter about me getting that space when she was crammed in with 4 other people. Still, it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t assign the seating arrangement so there was no reason to be snotty to me about it.

I was really glad to see Manger#2 walk in. This meant I got to go sit with her and actually learn something. Or so I thought. She went to the back where my desk was and got the chair and rolled it over to her desk. Then she looked at me and said “now you can give me my chair”.  And I was thinking “oh great, here we go again.” I got up and gave her the chair and then sat in mine.

I spent the next hour sitting and watching her go through a big binder that had the protocol for how each doctor liked their calls handled. Seriously, I just sat… and did nothing. She pulled some papers out and threw them away, she made copies of some papers from her own binder and put them in. She arranged and rearranged the binder. For an hour. I sat and watched and fought off sleep. I was suddenly regretting the decision to wake up at 6am. Finally she finished with the book and she told me to read through it. This thing was huge. It was one of those 4 or 5″ binders and I was supposed to read through it.

I started to read it but most of it made no sense. It’s one of those things that if you don’t know what the basic process of doing things actually is there is no point in knowing the specifics. Pointless. So for another hour I sat and read the stupid binder full of nonsense while she fidgeted with some other stuff and ran around the office a bit. Finally… FINALLY…. she gave me a headset so I could listen to her taking calls. So I sat and listened for the rest of the day. With the exception of my lunch break, which I spent by myself in an empty breakroom (now you know why i was grateful for having brought the book), I just sat and listened to her taking calls. She didn’t explain anything she did on the computer. She didn’t ever stop to say “this is how we handle this” or “this is why I did this” or anything at all helpful. It wasn’t so much training as it was torture. I learned absolutely nothing.

I had been so excited to go to work and it had been boring and miserable. I didn’t give up hope though. Surely tomorrow would be better!

et cetera