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Summertime is Here!

Summertime is magical to me. The greenage, the sunshine and heat, the smell of hay in the humidity, the thunderstorms all come together and seem to wake my spirit up, this year in particular.
I’ve finally been getting into the woods again, as seen in previous in my blog. What doesn’t seem like a big deal to most is a huge to me. I grew up exploring the woods. My grandpa would take me with him and I can remember being so small that he would climb up a hill and then wait for me to crawl up after him because I couldn’t climb them yet.

For me, going into the woods evokes the same cleansed feeling some people get from church. The physical exertion, the sweat, the beauty when you stop and look around, it calls to my bones and calms me. I always find the most interesting things to share with my girls on my trips, too. It’s fun to see their eyes light up and their interest rise.

With summer now in full swing, the berries are coming on. It’s a bumper crop year for raspberries with all the rain, heat, and humidity we’ve had here. Look at all these!

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Those are milk jugs, gallon and half-gallon pitchers, and a four quart cooking pot. All from one trip my mom and I made on one area of our berry route. Crazy, huh?

But man, it comes at a price!

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But if you want the good stuff, you’ve got to make sacrifices.

With the wedding just three short months away, money is of course a concern. Even a low-key like ours is expensive, and I’m worried that we won’t be able to have the wedding we really want.

So I decided to own a small, seasonal business selling blackberries to try to offset the costs of the wedding. We’re calling it BackForty Berries, and hopefully it’s received well. I’m so excited about it, but nervous as well. I just keep telling myself that I really don’t have anything to lose by trying.

So here’s hoping, once again!

Ch-Ch-Changes!

Change is the only constant in life. It’s been said a million times before, and it’s still the truest thing I’ve ever heard. I’ll even take it one step further: Even if nothing changes, your perspective on life doesn’t stay the same. You get bored. You get restless. Things work on your nerves more. You start to experience less meaning in your life and yearn for something to make you feel a spark of excitement again, something to break you open and make you feel new again. Something that gives you hope.

The future Mr. and I reached a point where we had to make some changes.

His job was no longer working out for him. Don’t get me wrong; It gave him a great opportunity when he really needed one. It got him back into the field he wanted to be in, where he needed to be. He is one of the few people who genuinely cares about the people he works with and will absolutely go the extra mile to make sure they know that. But where he was, well, they didn’t recognize what a potential resource he is and certainly didn’t pay him what he was worth. When his employment place began recruiting new workers with no experience for more pay than what he made, he was done. He has nearly fifteen years in his field and has a  management background as well. He deserved more.

So I helped him polish up his resume and he sent it out to a few companies he was interested in. He lands an interview, and kabam. He rocked their socks off. Not only did they offer him more money than he had been making, but two days into his training they gave him a raise and put him in a leadership position within a new unit opening up in his company.

Freaking awesome, right? And the benefit package they offer is amazing. He is happier than I’ve seen in a long time.

I’m so proud of him. He is absolutely determined to get to the top in this company and he has the tenacity and the talent to get there. He’s sure got my support all the way.

As for me, my car finally got to the point of no return. The transmission was just about shot in it and lord knows, it wasn’t worth putting that kind of money into. Never mind the fact that I didn’t have the money to do it.

Also, do you know how hard it is to find a car you can make payments on when you only have $500 to pay down and a dying car to trade in? I may as well of been trying to sell an ocean-view property in Iowa to a blind man.

But we managed. We found a needle in a haystack and we got us a car.

Financially, we have a lot going on. It’s kinda scary. But we’re managing that too.

Life is looking up.

Heavy Hearts

After a long process and weighing many options, we decided to take our dog back and let him go to a new home.

And it sucks. So bad.

We love him, plain and simple. He is sweet, funny, loyal. He is the best snuggler and proved to me that yes, dogs really can give hugs.

But he’s got some bad habits we just couldn’t change, no matter what we tried. You know how dogs refuse to relieve themselves whereever they lay down and sleep? Apparently ours never got that memo. That’s precisely what he would do. We could take him out twelve times a day and the moment we were in the other room, he would find a way to pee on the back of a chair, somewhere on thee floor, and a few times, on our bed. Not cool. We would take him out for a walk before putting him in his crate, and within ten minutes, he would pee in there, too.

As you can imagine, it caused a lot of stress and lord, have I gone through the cleaning products.

He also seemed to hate it when I cleaned the carpets. When I did, within a few hours he peed on it. It’s like the smell was comforting to him.

We ruled out any physical issues with him; this is a behavior issue. And it’s beyond us.

We’re heartbroken. We constantly go back and forth over whether we did the right thing. We explained the situation to the people we took him back to and told them he’s a great dog, but needs a home where he has constant access to the outdoors. I’m positive that would be a better situation for him and would go a long way toward working through his issues.

It hurts. It hurts to think of him sad and scared. Crying and whimpering and missing his family.

It hurts to think of him with a heavy heart, too.

I’m Alive! And Kicking Myself.

That’s right, I am still alive and still writing, albeit a lot less than I used to. Working full time, managing a household, and still trying to be a sane human being is really kicking me in the butt. It’s been quite an adjustment for me. I miss only working part-time and having the energy to make my apartment have that tidy, lived-in look instead of it looking like the lunatics have taken over the asylum. I miss having time to plan and fix a full meal instead of dinner hour being a hunt and find food in the cabinets that will work together.

But mama’s busy taking care of business and paying bills, so some things take precedence. Like having clean underwear. Always important, right? That way if my pants fall off from working my butt off, I at least have something pretty to show for it. Ha!

I no longer just put stickers on boxes, people. I’m still a temp, but at least someone recognized that I am smart and quick to learn, so they gave me a computer and are sending me the containers that have issues within their computer system. I figure out what went wrong, who’s responsible, document it all, and fix the issue. I’m also almost entirely self-taught, which is kind of a big, impressive deal to me. I’m proud of myself when the floor supervisor comes up to me because he isn’t sure how to fix something. I also spend a whole lot of time walking around making sure physical inventory matches what’s in the system. It’s only once in a blue moon that it matches up, so I tend to catch a lot of mistakes. It’s always a good feeling to catch a mistake, like shipments that were supposedly shipped two months ago, yet have never been documented as being received. I’m sure that saves accounting a ton of headaches when the invoices are rolling in.

But…it does suck still being a temp. What I do isn’t an official job (since no one high up wants to admit it’s an official issue), so I can’t be hired for it. Very frustrating. I know my job isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but I’d still like more stability in my life. I have a family depending on me.

Wedding-wise, not much has been planned. I’ve been pretty busy doing the above-mentioned things, but I’ve got to start putting in some major effort. Or make a plan to elope. That’s looking tempting 😉

Bye for now.

Why yes, I would love some cheese to go with my whine

I know I’m not the first person to go through this. I feel like that should be capitalized. THIS. This slump, this depression, this irritation boiling just under my skin and scratch, scratch, scratching. I’m so ready for a change, but stuck in the same loop of can’t-do-this-because-of-that and oh-that-sounds-great,-but…

It started with a change in my work hours. I used to be on the day shift, 6am-2:30pm, but then things went sideways when the other two temps got hired and I was left all by my lonesome. Because of the timeframe window of when certain shipments come in, the higher-ups decided to change my hours to 10-6:30, which is okay in theory, but it turns out really, really sucks for me. I’m up at six all the time anyways since my oldest munchkin is in school, and by the time she’s on the bus, my youngest is up and needing food and clothes for the day. I get her settled, take the dog out, and then scramble to get myself ready for work. I spend all day feeling completely worthless since I only get to do what no one else wants to do and just a handful of people who work with me directly even know my name. Then I get to come home, immediately launch into making dinner, checking homework, fixing plates, scarfing down my own food, feeding the dog, and making sure the kids are showered for bed, getting them into bed (always fun with a toddler), cleaning up what I can/have energy for, and then crawling into bed myself to start it over again a few hours later.

Rinse. Cycle. Repeat. Yep, that’s my life.

I’m not allowed to complain about work, since the future Mr. has a job that truly is worse than mine. However, he also has four to five days off per week. He often has hours where he can do whatever he wants. And does.

Do you know what I could do with four or five days off in a row?

Good Lord, I have dreams of it. I could read a book. I could write until an entire train of thought has reached its conclusion. I could clean the entire place. I could actually do those things I pin on Pinterest while I’m pooping and pretending the dog Isn’t scratching at the door, the kids aren’t arguing, and that no one else has changed the toilet paper roll yet again or told me that we’re down to two squares in the main bathroom and hey, maybe that should be added to the shopping list that only I ever seem to use or do.

I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t stressed, or anxious, or worried. That I didn’t have a knot in the bottom of my stomach or feel like my whole life was unraveling right before my eyes and I have no idea how to grab onto the stands and braid them back together before whole pieces of me are lost.

I love my family. I do. But entire weeks go by with me feeling like none of them see me as an actual person who might need something from them, too. And then the guilt of that thought sets in, and the shame of it.

I’m a mom. I’m a woman. That’s what we do. We make things better for everyone else and pretend we have no idea why we cry at sappy movies.

Maybe I just need to watch Rocky instead. You know…if I ever get the time.

Wanderlusting

All the signs are here. Feeling lost in life. Pointless at my job. Irritable. Insecure.

Actually, I’m getting irritated just making a list of all the ways I’ve been annoying over the last few months.

The point is, something needs to change. I need to change. Or my family may strangle me.

It’s scary to realize I’m going to put myself out there again in a way I haven’t in a long time. I’ve always kept within a certain comfort zone when it comes to employment…well, life in general.

That’s about to change. I’ve decided to look for a new job, one that isn’t temporary and can be over at any moment. It’s hard to feel any sense of security when you know you’re expendable at any moment and even though you’ve been there for months and put your resume in, you keep seeing new hires coming through and feel completely passed over.

So that’s the plan. Guess I better get busy and get things done, huh?

Wish me luck!

Still Not Interested In Dating

We were driving down the road in the van, him behind the wheel. I was nervous, but had buried it under an attitude of super-casualness. I’d flicked my sandals off my feet and sat Indian-style in the seat, letting the hot air muss up the already messy curls I’d tried to stuff into a decent ponytail.

This wasn’t a date. Absolutely not. Never mind that I’d actually asked him to a movie, but we’d missed the start and gave up that idea. He’d suggested the orchard with the small zoo, but the potential for a romantic moment made me squeamish. I’d just gone through a brutal break-up and was in no place for anything remotely romantic. I was simply tired of feeling like a third wheel around my couple friends, and so was this guy. Surprisingly, we had never met before even though we had a big overlap of friends.

So we settled for going to a nearby town to grab ice cream and eat at the park. Honestly, I think I did most of the talking, and it was about my ex and everything I had been through. He was a great listener and told me stories of his own. We spent a couple hours just killing time and cracking up, then headed back.

At one point, I mustered up enough nerve to ask him what he thought about a girl who already has two kids by two different fathers. I admit it now – I’ve got some cracks in the casual facade I put on most of the time. It was a very important question to me, and by now I knew him well enough to know he wouldn’t give me a line of crap.

He didn’t even hesitate to think about it. He just shrugged and said, “Well, it means you’ve had two failed relationships. It doesn’t mean anything bad about you, especially after talking to you and hearing how much you love your girls.”

And just like that, my heart thawed out a little. Seeing the world from his perspective…it’s amazing. It changed me, changed how I saw myself. I couldn’t ask for a better man in my life.

And in seven months, I get to marry him.

It turns out I’m still not interested in dating 😉

Resurrection Day

I’m alive, I swear! It has been a bit, I know. I’ve sat down a million times to write posts, but then this thing called exhaustion kicks in and I suddenly fall asleep. At nine o’clock. I’m like an old person and I’m barely thirty.

I got a job, sort of. It’s a temp job that started in the beginning of December and was supposed to last two weeks, but it’s still going. Of course, it was also supposed to be a data entry job….it isn’t. I literally wait around for someone to hand me stickers to put on boxes. Sometimes I do cycle counts and try to match serial numbers we actually have to those the fancy sheets of paper say we’re supposed to have.

It’s as exciting as it sounds. Lately, they’ve even let me scan boxes to help out the shipping people.

Guess I’m moving up in the world.

It isn’t a terrible job. I get paid well, especially for around my tiny hometown. I don’t stress out about it, and people generally leave me alone to do my own thing. It pays the bills.

I guess the problem is my old job. I miss it. I had a family there. We cared about each other. I felt like I mattered. Yes, I was technically replaceable, but I would be missed. Where I’m at now, it isn’t like that. I only talk to two or three guys there sporadically. Nobody really cares what I do as long as I get most of what I’m supposed to do done. It’s a little soul-crushing, to be honest. But it’s a job. It helps to support my family, which is what it’s all about. That’s the important thing.

Right?

My Big, Fat, Stupid Mistake

Today I had the day off,  so I figured I’d head over to my mom’s get some much needed mowing done. And then I promptly got distracted by all the pretty leaves from her trees since the mower had a dead battery anyway. I was trying to get some cool shots of my rings in the leaves and I thought maybe I could sneak in our wedding date and make the pictures into a homemade save-the-date kinda thing. So I was playing, and these are the result:

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And then I realized…um. I was writing the name of this month down and not the name of the month of our wedding.

Fail.

I also managed to fall down twice today on two different sets of steps. I think that’s a new personal record. Go me!

When You Go Job Hunting, Do You Take A Spear?

Since word has gotten out about the place closing, my work has been super busy. I made over $100 more last night than I made the same night last week. It’s bittersweet. It’s great that people are coming in and we’re making money, but where were all these people when we needed them, before the decision was made to close down?

So I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find a new job. Bills don’t wait for new employment.

After the craziness of work last night, I actually had a job interview at one of the local pizza places. Hopefully I cleaned up well enough in that ten minutes between places to make a good impression. Although on a side note, you probably shouldn’t start an interview out with “I swear I normally look more attractive than this” when the interviewers are both women. At least I got some chuckles, but I got some weird looks as well. Could go either way (the opening, not the women.)

So here’s hoping for a new job within the next week!

I’ve also gotten back to wedding plans for the first time since finding out I was losing my job. It made it hard to be excited about the wedding when I had no idea if I was going to be able to buy groceries next month, but this first interview has given me a little burst of much-needed hope.

I’m taking today to work on my resume and fill out some applications online, so here’s hoping for some more good things coming up. Wish me luck!