Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Gift

Over a week ago, I ran into my little brother and his wife on one of the days that I took off work to 'deal with things'. I was venting about Jeff and was obviously not handling any of it all that well.

This past week, my brother called to say that they'd be in town and had a gift for me. My sister-in-law crochets and made me a pillow cover. It was dark blue with a large brown cross crocheted on one side. (I don't have a picture of MY pillow, but this is one from Erin's Etsy site.)

This gift is doubly wonderful and I'll tell you why. First, it was really nice that they were thinking about me and my struggles this past couple of weeks. Second, my sister-in-law isn't a Christian. But she made me a Christian gift because she knew that it would comfort me.

And it has. I love it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Gift

If you've been keeping up, I'm sure you understand that I'm just not having a great week. Knowing that, a friend of mine sent me this picture with the title, "He Shares in Your Prayers". It's just so beautiful. I had to share it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Okay Though

Okay, I get it.
It's time to move on.
I'm separating myself from this entire situation...
this train wreck.
It's okay though.

You don't need me anyway;
you don't know how.
Immediate gratification is all you need.
I know it won't bring you ultimate happiness.
It won't even bring you temporary success.
But you don't care to rely on what I know.
I don't know when you lost that much faith in me.
It's okay though.

I'm learning that things of this world aren't important.
Even what I want for you.
I cried about this all day, cleansing myself mind, body, and soul.
Letting go of the bad memories and anger,
...the years of struggle, patience, and devotion to guiding you to adulthood.
And on a Wednesday, while "letting go and letting God", strangers step in on my behalf and give you an immediate gratification that I can't stomach.
I assure you, they only care about you for a few short months.
I have cared about you and your entire life since the very first day I knew you.
Believe it or not.
You probably can't believe it.
Because you've never felt that way about anyone.
It's okay though.

Hopefully one day you'll understand.
I'll always be here for you.
I'll just be a little further away.
You'll have to seek me out.
I'm not holding my breath that you'll do that any time soon.
That's not your way.
It's okay though.

If we were to meet in heaven,
I'm pretty sure it would be all better.
I just pray that we're both invited to that party.

Into God's hands, I return you.
(But just so you know, God doesn't have an office in the high school.)

Having the Rug Pulled Out From Under Me

I met with the principal and the guidance counselor at Jeff's high school today. I let them know that there were two things that I was unhappy about.

One, that they took it upon themselves to make a major decision about my son's life without even consulting me.

Two, that they're more concerned with making Jeff "happy" instead of giving him an "education".

I wanted an apology from them for coming up with such a bad plan for MY son and leaving me out of the discussion. They wanted praise from me for finding a way (at any cost) to keep him from quitting school. Neither of us got what we wanted.

In fact, there was NO agreement anywhere in that meeting.

I no longer intend to be part of the mix. When I left, I told Jeff 'whatever you want'. I told the principal, 'whatever you think'. Apparently they don't need me. And I have NO DESIRE to be associated with this train wreck.

All the years (YEARS) of prayer and frustration and tears and trying, probably gone. Maybe he'll remember and appreciate it some day. Probably not until he has his own teenager.

Hopefully something very much like this situation happens to both the principal and the guidance counselor so that they understand how devastating it is to have the rug pulled out from under them as parents. I hope they are treated with the same smug, condescending attitude that I received today, completely belittling their role as a parent in front of their child. I just hope it happens soon. It'll make for much more effective irony. (Yes, sometimes I have vengeful thoughts.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

THIS is Plan B?!

I'm going to be as vague as possible here because (and this is where I drip with sarcasm) apparently I AGREED that this is to be kept quite. So, shhhh, this is "the exception and not the rule". The fact is, I agreed to NOTHING. I wasn't even consulted.

In an effort to keep Jeff in school, his schedule has been adjusted. There, was that vague enough? Don't worry. For those of you that are curious, keep reading.

I can only imagine that Jeff either completely manipulated the meeting by totally breaking down emotionally or he simply threatened to quit school right then and there. He's not above it and I've seen it before. But without even a phone call to me (by either Jeff OR the school), Plan B has been drafted and scheduled for implementation.

Let me stop right here to say that I wholeheartedly believe that the principal (maybe the whole administration) truly cares for Jeff and wants to do good by him. Really, I do. I just disagree with their way of going about it. And I don't appreciate being left out of the process. But truth be told, Jeff will be a legal adult in four months and four days. So, in no time at all, he'll be able to make this decision on his own. But this is not January 22, 2009.

To the best of my knowledge, and that's sketchy at best, Jeff hates it at LHS because some of the kids that used to be his friends are now picking on him, calling him names. My response to this is, "so what?!" Welcome to the world. Not everyone in the world is going to like you. You're going to have to learn to deal with it. Not everyone that USED to be your friend will ALWAYS be your friend.

So if the problem is that he's being picked on by other students, then how can THIS be the solution. Either correct those students' behavior or adjust Jeff's reaction to it. And since we don't know who the other students are because Jeff won't tell us, Jeff is the one that has to adjust.

If he was physically or emotionally unable to be at school for seven hours a day, I could understand shortening his day. If he was academically or intellectually unable to pass his classes, I could understand giving him a lighter load. But the way I see it, this shortening his day and letting him take easier classes, making his senior year practically cursory, is SO NOT the solution to this problem. This is doing NOTHING to prepare him for life after high school.

But hey, that's just me. I'm just the mom. And the kid is just a minor. (Ouch, the word 'just' in three sentences in a row. None of my writing teachers would be impressed.)

Okay, granted, it's better than him quitting school. But on a scale of 1-10, this still hits at about a 3 for me.

I wonder what would have happened if we'd simply called his bluff. If he was threatening to quit, make him go through the motions. Okay, that solution would have been really hard on me too.

I still wish Jeff would tell me what the problem really is. Usually he eventually comes around and tells me these things. But not this time. That makes me think it's not nearly as big of a deal as he's making it out to be. OR it's a heck of a lot worse than I've been imagining. But I lean towards the former.

Personally, I think he's struggling with his classes because he simply chooses not to do the work. And it's stressing him out, which makes him feel overwhelmed. Being the drama KING, Jeff goes BIG in trying to get out of this situation. And it works. Once again, he gets his way. He does less than what's expected of him and still gets exactly what he wants. What lesson does that teach?

The fact is, he's had kidney stone pain and strong pain medication for the last four weeks. That alone would diminish the average person's ability to make an intelligent decision, especially one that could potentially affect their future. So, imagine what it might do to a 17-year-old. Two weeks before his senior year started as well as the first week of classes, he was also enrolled in driver's ed...out of town. That's 2 1/2 hours of class in a neighboring city four nights a week for three weeks PLUS six hours of driving time, also out of town. AND he spent the entire first weekend after school started at a retreat. So, he started this school year with a crazy busy schedule and he's been trying to catch up ever since. Marry that to his disinterest in doing homework, his aversion to authority, and his desire to hang with his friends and talk (argue) on the phone with his girlfriend in KY for hours, and you have a kid that will struggle with his schedule. Oh, and I might add, this is Jeff's first year back at LHS after being away for two years. So, he's kind of the new kid again.

Those are the facts. To the best of my knowledge.

And I haven't even TOUCHED on how bad things were when Jeff was 12-15 years of age and HOW FAR we've come in the last couple of years with his attitude and behavior. Ask almost anyone! And now, without even TALKING to me, without even considering that I MIGHT have some thoughts on this subject, others (who DON'T even know what I'm talking about in this paragraph) can make a decision on my behalf that could possibly wipe all of that away.

Oh, geez, it just crossed my mind. WHO is going to tell Jeff's dad? Holy crap, here come the "I told you so's." I'M not telling him! Perhaps I'll just have him call the school. (That's the first time I've smiled in about 48 hours.)

Monday, September 15, 2008


You need to say that title a little loud and with your teeth clenched. That's where I am right now.

I don't want to go into a lot of detail here. Partly because I'm tired. Mostly because I'm trying to focus on 'letting go and letting God' with respect to all things Jeff.

In talking with my mom about it quite a bit yesterday (and the COGs at bible study tonight), I was reminded that there comes a time when all I can do is pray.

So, I prayed last night for Jeff and his faith and his future. And I have to admit, I slept much, MUCH better than the night before. So much so that after my very frustrating day at work today, I intended to pray for THAT tonight and see if I got the same result. But no, back to my first priority...

Sitting down?

Jeff has told me TWICE since I got home from my bible study less than two hours ago that he has put some serious thought into it and he thinks that he wants to drop out of school and get his GED.

Okay, so forget praying for a smooth productive day at the office tomorrow. I'm back to praying that God grab this kid by the scruff and maybe whack him in the head and WAKE HIM UP!

I'm dying to know what happened today that brought Jeff to this conclusion. I'll try calling the school tomorrow to find out. When I ask Jeff, he says that he hates it there and is ready to join the workforce. Uhhh, yeah right. I'm not buying it.

I can't even talk about this anymore tonight. I'm going to go to bed, cry for a bit, pray for awhile, and try to fall asleep before the sun comes up.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It was a cold and windy day...

Okay, it wasn't at all cold. But HOLY WOW, was it windy! This tree was standing tall in my yard this morning. Early this afternoon, it fell, ripping up the ground and displaying its roots.

Here's another view. The tree doesn't look all that big, but I assure you, it's been there for years. The building next to it is my garage. There are only a few feet between the tree and the garage. I got VERY lucky today.

Here is the top end of that same tree. The wind appeared to be blowing from the west. That means that in this picture, the wind would have been blowing into THIS side of my garage. Yet, the tree fell so that it's pointing northwest...TOWARD the wind mostly. I know that obstacles can make wind do strange things. But I'm still surprised that the tree didn't fall into the street to the east.

Here is another picture in our neighborhood. Jeff was standing in our yard pointing the camera into my neighbor's backyard. Their wooden swing was tipped over (far left) and they had a couple of large branches/limbs down.

I don't have pictures, but one of the annual Arbor Day trees in the school yard split right down the trunk and is now lying on the ground. And another neighbor has a branch/limb the size of a small tree lying in their yard as well.

Just a year ago, I had a very large portion of an old, dying tree fall between my home and my neighbors home. I spent several hundred dollars having three trees taken down. Since then, we haven't had any tree issues...until now.

We lost power this afternoon for a few hours. Most of the Colts game actually. Lucky for us, power was restored with less than two minutes left of the game...which was tied. This was an amazing revelation since the last time we checked, the Colts were down 15-0. (We'd been keeping tabs on the score via my son's cell phone.) So this 15-15 score, ball in the hands of the Colts, was a very pleasant surprise. We only got to watch a very short portion of the game, but it ended very well for Colts fans. Colts beat the Vikings, 18-15!

I'm not sure if it's due to the power outages or the downed trees, but Jeff's school has a two-hour delay tomorrow. Best news he's heard all weekend. I on the other hand, have to get up early and get to work. I'll deal with the tree another day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

40 X 40 - #38 Visit 5 more states, bringing me to 33.

I have been to 28 different states (highlighted in green). I served in the Air Force, which got me around to a few of them. And in my current employment, I've traveled to several locations. And then there are a couple/few vacations that got me to a state I'd never been to before.

I have to admit, in my list, I am not discerning between states where I actually had an address, states where I at least spent a night, and states where I only had a layover at the airport. If I set foot (literally feet on the ground) in a state, I'm counting it. Here's the list of where I've been, fairly close to the order in which I visited them.
  1. Indiana - born and raised
  2. Kentucky - many times
  3. Illinois - many times
  4. Ohio - many times
  5. Missouri - just passing through to other locations
  6. Texas - AF basic training
  7. Louisiana - just passing through, on my way to my AF tech school
  8. Mississippi - AF tech school
  9. Tennessee - just passing through to other locations
  10. Kansas - just passing through to other locations
  11. Colorado - stationed at the AF Academy
  12. Wyoming - visited an AF buddy
  13. Alabama - once on vacation, once for the AF
  14. Oklahoma - AF training
  15. Georgia - traveled to client site for work
  16. New Mexico - just passing through, traveling to my sister's
  17. Arizona - visiting my sister
  18. Maryland - traveled to client sites for work
  19. West Virginia - just passing through to other locations
  20. Virginia - traveled to client site for work
  21. New York - airport layover, traveling for work
  22. Rhode Island - traveled to client site for work
  23. Pennsylvania - just passing through on my way home from travel
  24. North Carolina - visiting my sister
  25. South Carolina - traveled for work
  26. Minnesota - airport layover, traveling for work
  27. Washington - traveled to client site for work
  28. Michigan - airport layover, traveling for work

I've also been to Washington DC, both for work and on vacation with Jeff.

I have the following states yet to visit: Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Television Shows I'll Never Watch

There are several programs on television right now that I'd never watch...based solely on the title! I know, I have a very closed-minded opinion on this topic. I should at the very least watch an episode and give them the benefit of the doubt. But no, I have NO interest in watching some shows because I don't want to have to refer to them by their titles. Here's a list to name a few.
  1. Bridezillas - It's HER day. Why portray her as the monster? And even if some women are 'difficult' about their weddings, why memorialize it in film? Justifying such behavior with a television show makes it look like most women would act that way.

  2. Wife Swap - Yeah...I don't think so. Even if the premise of the show doesn't reflect exactly what the title insinuations, it just totally turns me off.

  3. Lipstick Jungle and...

  4. Cashmere Mafia and...

  5. Desperate Housewives - I don't have any idea what the plots of these three shows are. But all I can picture are inappropriately dressed women pitted against other women. Not interested.

  6. Gossip Girl - WAY too high school. But that's probably what they're going for.

  7. Californication - WHAT?!
I know that not everything on television is tailored for my personal viewing, that networks have to appeal to a wide cross-section of viewers. I'm just saying, I think the makers of these shows (and others) could have done better to label their programs to NOT turn people off before they even hit the airwaves. But it's possible that it's just me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kidney Stones, Take 2

What's worse than a hormonal teenager with an attitude?

A hormonal teenager with an attitude that happens to be in a lot of pain.

Jeff had his first bout of kidney stones in June. The doctor thinks he had two at that time, one in each kidney. But by the time he had his CT scan, there was only one. He ultimately passed them on his own.

Nearly three weeks ago, he was feeling pain again. If you've ever had a kidney stone, you know it's a very distinct pain. So, he knew exactly what the problem was. Because of the time of day and the amount of pain, we went to the QuickCare clinic instead of waiting to make an appointment. They confirmed that he had blood in his urine and agreed that he probably had another stone. They scheduled another CT scan for the following week. Sure enough, another stone.

That CT scan was exactly two weeks ago. Jeff has NOT passed that stone yet...OR he has ANOTHER one. Today he was in quite a bit of pain. So, I made a doctor's appointment for him. The doctor was surprised about his appointment two weeks ago. One, because his medical record wasn't updated. Two, because there was only about ten weeks since his previous bout of stones.

Ultimately, the doctor upped his pain medication...which makes me a little nervous. Jeff is not that big. The dose that he took previously made him loopy. But when Jeff indicated that it only killed the pain for about 3-4 hours, the doctor gave him a higher dosage. He also gave him an antibiotic to fight any infection he may have acquired. And he told him to take off school today and tomorrow so that he could really push the liquids in order to pass this stone as soon as possible.

Then he told us...Jeff has ONE WEEK to pass this stone. He has a follow-up appointment next Tuesday. If he hasn't passed this stone, they're going in after it. After the doctor explained the process by which they would do that, Jeff practically passed out...and said, 'pass the water.'

I don't know if it's the pain or the meds, but he's been a COMPLETE BEAR all day long. I wish there was something I could do to make him feel better. But I assure you, until I figure out what that is, I intend to stay as far away from him as possible in order to avoid the next barrage of loud, ugly, mean words.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

oh and one

There's still nearly five minutes left of this game. But I have absolutely no confidence in the Colts' ability to win this one...or even score again, really. They're down by 16 points! 16!! Our defense has been lacking. Our offense hasn't been remotely sharp. And Chicago has totally had their way with us in every aspect of the game. It's just been ugly. A disappointing end to my wonderfully positive football weekend.

I wonder if it's the lack of playing time during the pre-season for so many of our big names. I wonder if it's all the injuries that we're still nursing. I wonder if it's the new stadium. I wonder if we're simply not as good as I'd like us to be. Maybe it's just the Bears getting vengeance after we beat them in the Super Bowl...18 months ago.

But it's not just me. On ESPN's football web page, eight different 'experts' picked the Colts to win this one. Uhhh, that is NOT going to happen. Then again, those same experts picked San Diego to win too...and were wrong. Most of them picked Detroit...and were wrong. Most of them picked Jacksonville...and were wrong. Most of them picked Cincinnati...and were wrong. So, I guess the experts are just as fallible as the rest of us.

And to think I was excited earlier to see Jacksonville lose. I've read a couple of headlines about how they're poised to knock us off of our AFC South Champion streak. I'll bet they were THRILLED to see us lose tonight. Man, looking at the day's results, it was a rough weekend for some of the AFC's big teams.

But my point is, it makes me a little nervous to see our Colts get beat by the Bears, who are supposed to be a weaker team...AT our home stadium...SO handily. This is pretty sad. And shocking!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hello, FOOTBALL!!!

I LOVE football season! Fall is my favorite time of year and football has a lot to do with that.

I mostly watch the NFL on Sunday. Go COLTS!!! But I also follow the NCAA on Saturday. I don't really have a favorite college football team. Pretty much, I cheer for everyone in the Big Ten and the Air Force Falcons. I never watched football until I was in the Air Force stationed at the Air Force Academy. And even though I've been out of the service for nearly 13 years (wow, time flies!), I still like to see them do well.

EVERY Big Ten team won today. All 11 of them. Some more convincingly than others. But nevertheless, all victories. That's pretty amazing. And Air Force won...AT Wyoming. Very cool!

Bonus: Navy lost to Ball State, an Indiana team. Don't get me wrong, I like to see all of the service academies do well. There's just something about their graduation rates being so high and their sacrifice to serve our country and defend freedom...I'm a sucker for all that. But I LOVE to see those Indiana teams win too.

I had so much I wanted to do today. I accomplished about 1/3 of my plans. And I have no real reason for being such a lazy bum. I stayed up too late last night and slept in as late as I wanted today. Not a good start to a productive weekend. I mowed half the lawn. Didn't finish because I'm so out of shape, it just took too much out of me. My plan is to finish it tomorrow morning... barring any rain. I did read. And I've blogged. And I did A LOT of reading about writing. Too much really.

I'd love to say that tomorrow will be better, but I'm not all that hopeful. I will go to church and finish mowing the lawn. Then Jeff and I are supposed to go to Holiday World. I want to hear Steven sing...finally! Colts game tomorrow night!!! And I need to do laundry in there somewhere.
Then I need to do what I can to get to bed at a decent hour. Monday comes SO quickly.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


All I want to blog today is complaints about work. And I hate that. Suffice it to say, work is not very enjoyable right now.

Just as an example...

During a one-hour training session that I was providing via phone and a Net Meeting type program, I was interrupted THREE TIMES by co-workers that just HAD to speak to me RIGHT NOW. Okay, one of them was letting me know that it was raining and my windows were down. I told her where my keys were and she rolled up my windows. And I thanked her.

Another one made arrangements for me to meet with someone else to get five monitors delivered. I'm like, 'handle it! I'm in the middle of something here. And don't obligate my time without looking at my calendar first.' But he wouldn't stop. He wanted to know where I wanted each one of the monitors delivered. Like I personally ordered them. I'm a non-supervisory contractor, for heaven's sake! I just put in the paperwork because someone told me to. If you want to know where they really go, ask the boss. And let me get back to my training course! Not only was this now getting disruptive, it was embarrassing in front of our trainees.

The third one wanted to know if I'd finished a document that goes out with our monthly sub-release. No, I haven't! And do you have to know this second?! Apparently, they wanted to push the sub-release 24 hours early. On whose authority? No, I don't have the document done. And if you want me (need me) to have this document done one whole day early, you're going to have to tell me at least one day before I normally start the darn thing...and preferably NOT while I'm trying to provide training. It takes me a good five days (with regular interruptions) to finish this document. This week is already short because of the holiday. No, even if I worked until midnight tonight, there was no possible way I was going to get it done 24 hours early. (BTW, I worked 11+ hours today and didn't get home until close to 9pm.)

And that was just one hour of my day.

I also found out for the SECOND time this week, that paperwork that I was ASKED/TOLD to do for high-dollar purchases wasn't necessary and that I now need to do a different detailed document in order for those orders to go through. AND I need to do them right now! I'm like, you've got to be kidding me. I worked six hours on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago just to get all of the sole source justifications and non-compete requests and 508 compliance worksheets done for these orders. And now, I find out it's all somewhat useless and they need a statement of work for these two orders. And with the end of the fiscal year only 27 days away, they want it all done post haste. Lovely.

So, which comes first? The sub-release document or the statements of work?

I also had one of my customers call me and tell me that one of their invoices didn't get paid because they need a tax ID number from the vendor that's supposed to receive the payment. She wanted to know why our application didn't send the TIN along with the rest of the info. I told her...when the vendor information was entered, someone failed to include the TIN. She asked how she should go about getting that TIN so that she could enter it. I'm like, 'you need to call the vendor and ask them for it.' She said, 'but they are located in England.' Uhhh, I don't care. If they want to receive payment, I assure you, they'll provide it. She insisted she couldn't make an international call to find out what this number is. I'm like, I don't know what you want me to do about it. (no I didn't say it like that.)

Let me clarify something here...I support the application...JUST the application. I have no control over any of the sites' business practices or their data. By the way, this customer is in Maryland. I don't have any idea what their policy is on making international business calls. And honestly, I don't even care that they do their jobs. (I mean, I do...but it's not my responsibility to ensure they do.) I just have to ensure that the application is available to them in working order. If our application didn't send the TIN that WAS entered, I can fix that. If our application wouldn't allow her to ENTER the TIN, I can fix that. But the fact that she didn't know what to enter for the TIN, I can't fix that. Call the vendor and ask them for it. But what she wanted me to do was akin to me calling directory assistance and asking for a phone number for Bob. Any Bob. I don't care which Bob. You decide. I told her the closest that I personally could get to helping her was to make up a 9-digit number...of course that wouldn't get the vendor paid any faster. She was simply going to have to find a way to contact the vendor to get that piece of information.

I'm venting. I know I'm venting. But I had one of those days. And after spending more than 11 hours at the office, I get home to find that I have a letter from the school. Jeff is failing two classes. Why? Because he's not doing his homework. So, I got to have THAT conversation with him again. I'm feeling like a broken record there. I should really get some sleep as I'm going to need all the rest I can get in order for tomorrow to be more positive (and productive) than today. But here it is after midnight and my brain is still running a mile a minute. I wonder how many calories that burns.

Tomorrow, I don't care what I have to do...I'm working on the sub-release document ALL DAY LONG. I'll probably have to find an office WITH A DOOR THAT LOCKS and let everyone think I've called in sick just to keep from being interrupted. This is definitely something that I wish I could do from home, but dialing in (which is what I'd have to do in order to get through the firewall), would be WAY too slow to allow me to make good time. I'll find some place to work tomorrow that will allow me to make some uninterrupted progress. I will. I have no training to provide. No meetings to attend. I probably have a statement of work (or two) to write, but I'm going to try to put those off until Friday. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the whole reorg and changing branch managers and the feeling of uncertainty throughout the office. The mood there right now is less than ideal for productive work. I know, this too shall pass. I just hope it passes quickly. Change is inevitable. It's just that being in the midst of the transition is a bit painful.