One week on the job

Last week on Monday, I drove across town to start a new job.  As I got into the car and headed out, I was elated to be back in the workforce.  Back in the traffic.  Back in the hustle and bustle of daily life.  So very grateful to have found a brand new job at the age of 64.  I count that as nothing short of miraculous.  

I like the job.  They like me and told me over and over how happy they were that I am there.  I went through a new employee orientation on Tuesday and discovered that I now have some pretty astounding benefits.  I will be getting some much needed and very expensive dental work!  I will see if I can get my right hand fixed after the bungled surgery of last June.  

It is a small agency.  In a big system.  We have a subset of a huge population.  Our population is manageable.  Sorry if I sound nutty.  I am talking about statistical analysis and I am excited to have a small population to deal with.  For some reason, I had imagined huge databases, and had become very intimidated by that.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  

Emotionally, I feel very happy.  I am so happy to be gainfully employed.  I have a plan for paying off my debt by the end of 2016.  Not the house, and a couple of other things (like student loans which I will take to the grave), but all of my credit cards.  At the end of this year, I should be able to really retire, without needed additional income.  But my hope is that I will be able to stay on the job for 2 or more years.  

I have felt that God had this job for me at the end of the rainbow.  When I let go of the old job and my brilliant plans and timelines.  I let go.  It looked insane.  But it turns out it wasn’t.  I am so grateful.  I feel that I am bringing just the perfect experience to this job.  

Deliberately vague about any details of the job because I SO don’t want anyone finding my blog.  Maybe I have made this post incomprehensible for my poor writing and vagueness.  I hope not.  

The bottom line is:

  • I love my new job
  • It looks like it will be the answer to my financial problems
  • They are happy to have me
  • I feel appreciated for the first time in a very long time
  • I am bringing valuable knowledge, skills, and abilities to the table.

It is up to me to keep the good attitude which is crucial in enjoying any job.  It is up to me to not let people get on my nerves.  It is up to me to not let my brain sabotage me by thinking no one likes me or someone is out to get me, even if someone is!

The only drawback I have found is the commute.  32 miles each way across town on one of the most congested interstate highways.  And it is snowing this morning, so I will find out what that is like!  

Thank you Lord for all of your many blessings.  

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Lessons Learned: 4 months of Retirement

  

This is really a journal entry, but this is as close to being my journal as anything, so I will just put it here.  

I learned some things from taking four months of retirement.  I loved it for the most part, but it could have been so much better.  That is largely due to the fact that I thought I would be back to work by November, so I didn’t make many  commitments or plans, thinking I would be back to work soon.  I think some of it is also due to weather because I was in heaven in September and October, but November and December were not as good – at all.  

  • Have enough money to retire.  Once you are retired, there is no more money coming in.  Just your pension.  Make sure it is enough to cover a decent lifestyle.  (Not extravagant, but not miserly)
  • Make plans for at least 3 days a week.  
  • Do something productive, like volunteer somewhere.  
  • Get up early every morning and get dressed and out of the house (go to a meeting or Mass or both).
  • Have a fitness plan and follow it.
  • Don’t get cheap with groceries, keep it healthy.
  • Reach out to people, particularly people who might need to hear from someone.  
  • Be able to take a trip or two to someplace warm in the winter.  Seasonal Affective Disorder is your enemy!  
  • Take every chance to see the grandkids, even if it means that you travel often.  It is possible to find cheap airfare.  
  • Enjoy yourself every day.  Retirement is a luxury, even though you “earned it” by working and saving and contributing all those years, plenty of people work and save and contribute and still end up working for the rest of their lives – out of necessity.  
  • Be grateful every day.  Not many people get to stay sober for most of their lives.  You have this tremendous blessing, don’t ever take it for normal.  It is not normal.  It is a miracle.  

Oh, when I retire for reals it is going to be great!  I never ever had any idea what retirement is like.  I thought it was like a cliff you got to at the end of your career and then your life ended.  It  feels more like a beginning than an end.  It is really wonderful.  The idea of getting up in the morning and doing what you WANT to do is the ultimate freedom.  

Why am I going back to work you may ask.  I retired over a year earlier than I had planned.  I thought I had one more year to get my debt paid off.  But I didn’t.  I will now.  

When I did my budget this month, I looked at my “debt snowball” (courtesy of Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University (FPU) – thank you Jeanne!), and realized not only how manageable this is going to be, but I was amazed when I saw the budgets from 2 and a half years ago, when I started FPU.  I have paid off an amazing amount of debt.  I should be able to pay off the majority of the remainder by the end of 2016.  Wow.  

It is so good.  I am so grateful.  Jumping off that cliff in September was the among the hardest and most wonderful things I have ever done!  

God is so good.  

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The Good and the Bad and the Looking Forward and B

No photo today because the photo would be of my beautiful Niya.  She is no more.  She had probably been ill for a very long time, but she didn’t show it until the last couple of weeks.  So, after daily trips to the veterinarian for a few days, he did blood tests which revealed that my kitty was very ill.  Kitty chemo is not something I would consider for an 11 year old cat.  So on Monday morning, I loaded her into her carrier and took her for one last trip to the vet.  So sad, I thought I might fall apart.  But I didn’t.

I got the call last Monday, Dec. 28, with the job offer.  THE job.  Yay.  I got the job.  Thank God.  I start on Monday, Jan. 11.

I am very excited about the job.  And I am marveling at the fact that I was able to get a job (a good job) at the age of 64.  It is a miracle.

This morning I am taking a trial drive at rush hour to make sure I can get there in an hour.  It is 32 miles away, most of them on the most ridiculously traffic-y interstate highway.  One of those roads built in the 60s, with very little work since then.  Crumbling bridges, etc.

 

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When I’m 64

  
That would be this day, my 64th birthday.  I had grand plans for the day, but a blizzard has put a stop to at least the morning plans.  I baked cookies to take to the meeting I had signed up to chair.  I found someone to chair for me this morning, because it is crazy out there!  I still have lunch plans, which I hope will come to pass.  And tonight, my daughter has invited me for dinner at her house.  And she is making chicken paprikash!  One of my faves!  And lemon cheesecake!  

This morning I am sitting before the fireplace, admiring the Christmas tree, and feeling very very happy about my life.  Happy enough to find it a little disconcerting!  I am very leery of self-satisfaction, it is usually followed by self-loathing, so I try to avoid it at all costs.  

I have had plenty of time for introspection over my four months of retirement.  The thing that amazes me is that somehow I was able to keep a job with the same employer for 21 years.  That means I showed up every day with the exception of sick days and vacation.  How on earth did I do that?  It feels so natural to be at home with no where in particular to go.  I love this feeling.  

My family situation is not ideal.  It seldom is when alcoholism and drug addiction is involved.  My alcoholism and my daughter’s drug addiction have caused damage, it seems like all these years later, it ought to just go away, but when you hurt people, it leaves a mark that lasts a long long time.  

When I visited my son and his family last weekend, I was completely blown away by the fact – fact! – that I am the real grandmother.  With the other grandchildren, I mostly feel like some weird “biological” grandmother since they are being raised by their grandfather (my ex) and his wife, who is the “real” grandmother?  I don’t know.  I just know it is weird, and I never feel 100% comfortable in my role in that family.  

But my son, my son, has always treated me like I am his mother.  No hyphens, no qualifiers, just his mother.  When that has been problematic to his dad, he stayed loyal to me.  Always.  

So, as I sat on the sofa with his babies cuddled on either side of me, in front of the fire, along the Christmas tree, watching Christmas movies, I wanted to cry.  I wanted to, but I didn’t.  It was just a wonderful “normal” moment, in a life that has most often not felt very normal.  

I am so grateful.  

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Later:  As I was writing this, an old sponsee called.  We haven’t seen either other much over the last couple of years.  She remembered it was my birthday and wanted to take me out for breakfast.  What a treat.  She drives a huge SUV, and even that could barely get around in this snow.  But to see her was the best birthday present ever.

AND when I got home, the young neighbor who has been a thorn in my side for the last 15 years said hello.  We chatted a bit and I mentioned it being my birthday.  He wished me a happy birthday.  When I looked outside later, I saw that he had shoveled my sidewalk.  An absolute miracle.  Seriously.

What a great gift time is.  Time may not heal all wounds, but it sure goes a long way towards healing.  

Thank you Jesus for your Divine Mercy, which is unfailing.  

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Heading out

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Walking one day in Denver, I took photos of random sights.  This old church was one.

WordPress is acting up so this will be short.

I am leaving this afternoon to go to Montana to visit my son and his family.  I will have children in my arms by this time tomorrow!  I have lovingly hand-knit their Christmas presents and will pack them in my bag.

It will be so good to see them and to have someone else cook for me!  I don’t know why I am thinking about that so much, but I am.  My son is an excellent cook and my daughter-in-law is a world-class baker.

Baby arms will be around me.

Is there anything better?

 

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First Sunday of Advent

  
These are the stained glass windows in the Adoration Chapel, where I spent each Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m.

I love Advent.  I came fully back into the fold 23 years ago when I went to confession for the first time in 25 years.  So many years.   I thank God for the years he has allowed me.  I see people “get it” when they are still basically in their youth, but I feel that with each year, I learn and understand a little more.  The knowledge makes that 12″ trip from my head to my heart.  Slowly.  Very slowly.

Yesterday, I arranged my entire day so that confession was the focal point.  I had to be at church by 4.  When I got to church, I was amazed by the length of the line for confession.  I stood in line and thought surely I would make it before the priest needed to say mass.  

For the first time in my life, the person in front of me was the last confession heard that day.  The priest came out of the confessional and just gave me a sort of look, like “too bad.”  I actually went to the pew and knelt down and cried.   I wanted to run out of the church and weep hysterically, but I didn’t.  I checked my purse for Kleenex and realized that I could not “afford” to get out of control because I would be wiping my snot on my sleeves!  It took nearly an hour to calm myself.  And having stood in line for confession in front of the whole church, I thought it would be extremely tacky to receive communion, so I didn’t.  I would not want to give scandal to another.  (or as I was told in AA three thousand years ago, it is not only important that I DO the right thing, but that I am SEEN to be doing the right thing.  Because like it or not, I am an example.)

I will go on Tuesday morning.  It will be OK.  It is good to know how much it means to me, because I truly did not realize it.  

On Thursday, I will be heading to Montana to see my son and family.  I have been knitting like crazy for them.  My son mentioned last week “Mom, the kids hats are so small on them now, they look like yarmulkes.”  Yikes.  More yarn has been purchased and hats are being knit!   I am sure I will be posting photos of mittens in the days to come.

The human being we are must realize that he is a wayfarer, a scout, hungering and restless.  He is dependent upon an angel approaching and touching him with the wing stroke reminder of a higher message.  — Father Alfred Delp, S.J.  (a German Jesuit priest condemned to death by the Nazies in Berlin, Germany)

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A Great Interview

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The kitty has nothing to do with anything, except isn’t she sweet?

I had a great job interview today.  I feel so happy about it.  I actually do want the job now that I have been to their offices and met with them.  We had a fairly jovial interview, with some intense moments.  They had a list of 10 questions, most of which I answered easily.  They frequently said “well, you just covered this in the last question, but….”  I think I was on the right page with them.  Their eyes lit up several times as I was talking.

I won’t know until mid-December.  I may not get the job.  One of the three interviewers was not quite as impressed with me.  And they had others to interview this afternoon.  So, we shall see.

I can feel good about an interview that went well.  And if God wants me to have the job, I will get it.  If not, something else will happen.

Thanksgiving is coming soon.  I will have both of my daughters with me which is a great blessing.  We are going to see the Hunger Games movie at an AMC theater (with the red leather recliners), in the morning, then will come home and quickly assemble dinner.

My menu this year is semi-healthy.  Except I decided to have a ham instead of turkey.  And I will probably bake a pie.  I am actually selling a couple of pies to a friend for Thanksgiving!  We will have roasted brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, and a salad.

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I tried to write this yesterday and got so frustrated with WordPress I left it and decided to try find the draft this morning.

Last night I could not sleep.  All night a couple of uncomfortable moments from the interview kept playing in my mind.  At 3:00 a.m., I threw in the towel on getting any sleep and just got up.

After being in their offices I really want the job.  I need to let go of it in the next couple of weeks until I hear whether I got it or not.  Yesterday I thought I definitely had it.   In the night, that all changed and I felt that I will never ever get another job in my life.  And I will be destitute and lonely and life will be horrible forever.  My mind is my enemy from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Must let it go.  God is all or he is nothing.  In my life I can decide which I believe.  I definitely believe he is all, and it follows that I will have faith that all is as it should be.

Say a prayer if you are so inclined?  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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