Friday, October 24, 2014

Theory 53: This only child loves attention. And appreciates her readers.

I wore a bra for the first time today. Whoa, let me rephrase that. I wore a bra for the first time in 1984 at the ripe old age of 9. I wore a bra for the first time today since my surgery, October 1. Today is October 24. I’m not going to lie. I’m actually going to be cliché and say the same two sentences that EVERY woman I have EVER met who has had breast reduction has uttered with total certainty:

1. “It is the best decision I have ever made.”
2. “I should have done it ten years ago.”

In last week’s post, I stressfully summarized my state of mind/blog ability for the day by writing, “See Theory 52.” I literally (no pun intended) had time to type two words and one number. As I explained in Theory 52, I have BIG things happening now and in the near future. Let me recap and update you readers who are probably already sick of hearing me write about me (thanks, by the way, because your attention and comments and emails truly help me):

ISSUE 1:                Breast reduction surgery.
STATUS:               Completed! Whooooooooooooop!
That/they is/are out of the way. Yay! I honestly believe that getting Atlantic and Pacific reduced and out of my way has changed the speed at which I operate. Burdens were lifted. I can mop faster, reach higher, high five without bumping boobs with the other high-fiver, lie on my back and read. Heck, I can even cross my arms! My buddy Digits is working up the nerve. She took one look at me and emailed my surgeon. Go girl! Get rid of those girls!

My surgeon


ISSUE 2:               MASTER’S DEGREE
STATUS:               Lucky me!
I have earned the privilege of sitting in one spot for four straight hours tomorrow (Saturday) to take a comprehensive exam. I must articulate my teaching philosophy. That’ll be fun. Oh, and did you all know that tomorrow is game day, Tennessee vs. Alabama? Buck Fama. Sorry. Had to. #VolForLife#GBO

Pimp that ride

#VolsForLife

ISSUE 3:                STUDENT ANTHOLOGY PROJECT
STATUS:                Yee. Freakin. Haw.
Delicious, Red Hot Backspace, and I edited, formatted, proofed, and labored through the impossible: inserting footers to finish the manuscript. I uploaded the big         fancy final project to my publisher/distributor yesterday and ordered a hard copy proof. Even the cover looks good!  Next, I get students to collect orders from family and friends. We are planning a book launch with the Scone-Ad’s Teen Living and Family & Consumer Science classes. I can’t wait to launch this book with my students. I am unbelievably proud of my students. I can’t wait!!!



ISSUE 4:                FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT WITH BIRTH FAMILY
STATUS:                 I feel some major adoptive mother guilt here. 
While I barely have time to come up for air (though I am breathing more easily thanks to ISSUE 1), I still desire to do anything and everything Tinkerbelle (Gnome’s birthmother) desires. She is more than reasonable and very sweet and respectful. Even my subconscious is stressed about this issue. Two nights ago, I dreamed that she was pregnant again. We were at a party together and all my cousins were there to meet Tinkerbelle. (No one in my family has met Tinkerbelle). Anyway, she and I had on long, layered, neon dresses. The dresses were designed to burn one layer at a time, from the bottom up. HUH? Once our dresses were mini-skirts, we got tattoos together. Say what?!? Ideas? Suggested prescriptions for me?

MOST FAVORITE PICTURE EVER IN MY WORLD


ISSUE 5:                POTENTIAL CAREER CHANGE 
STATUS:                SAFE, BUT INSECURE, BUT SECURE, BUT UNSURE

I'll just say this. Look, insurance is the name of the game. The moment Tall Child and I left the safe harbor of my banking career and all its benefits, Sharky tripped and broke his two front teeth in half. Then, I had a female “issue”---nothing shameful, just aggravating. Then, we adopted Gnome. All under the fake-pathetic-rip-off whatever coverage of a BCBS (BS) self-employment policy. Needless to say, we paid premiums AND all medical expenses. As Tall Child put it, “The only way that insurance policy was going to pay off was if one of us got cancer.” Well, I guess that’s why they call it catastrophic coverage. It’s catastrophic alright. Let me think of all the C words that apply:

Catastrophic
Costly
Con
Credit goes to crap
Corrupt industry
Can’t go to the doctor when you are sick unless you won the TN State Lottery
Continuous anxiety and expense
Certainty that your “self-employed” rear will leave that comfy house-wife sofa to land on a teacher stool

Okay, I’m off the insurance soap box. Anyway, my job and health insurance status are safe, but I’ve gone and applied to a fantastic former employer. I am waiting to hear if they have an offer, and for how much. And then I’ll do the math. The mental math. 

Here are the variables in this equation:
Income
Time off
Stress level
Opportunities to be creative
Opportunities to make even more money
Opportunities to help my family and help others
Further education/training

Here are the constants:
Sharky
Gnome
Tall Child
Delicious
TIME I NEED to party in Townsend, which brings us to ISSUE 6



ISSUE 6:                RIVERDANCE
I told you that Delicious (a retired school teacher who knows exactly how much it costs in gas to get from Sevierville to Knoxville and back) and I, a fledgling school teacher/possibly banker/unsure really, are trying to buy a second home in Townsend, TN. Look. We dream big!!! We do not factor money into our dreams. Why would we? Sometimes we have it. Sometimes we don’t. We are still here. When we dream, we work. And, despite what we lack in the beginning, we usually see our dreams come to fruition.

When Pooh passed away, Delicious made about $25,000 a year and I was a freshman in                 college. I took my pitiful self to IHOP and worked. Hard. I helped her pay bills. I high school, I busted (burst) my behind to secure scholarships. I worked. Hard. I graduated early with no debt.

When I met Tall Child, I knew I wanted to marry him. I was a perfect girlfriend. No ultimatums. No pressure. I never did one stick of his laundry. We didn’t live together. Heck, I bought my own house when I was 25. I worked. Hard. Many years later, he fell               prey to my predatory ways. Happily ever after…sort of…you know the drill. Poor guy.

After Sharky, we wanted another baby. For the next eight years, Tall Child and I struggled through the misery of infertility and its treatments, then the   mental/financial/emotion test from Heaven and helk: the adoption process. I worked. Hard. When we applied for adoption, I had $100. Two years later, we brought home our Gnome. I worked hard and was blessed beyond measure to meet Tinkerbelle.

I dreamed of becoming a published author. I dreamed of writing something that would minister to the adoption community. Tall Child said I was crazy and didn’t have time. I woke up at 5 a.m. for a solid year. I worked. Hard. I published The Eye of Adoption in March 2013. Since then, I’ve published a small collection of essays, a short story, and I’ve written countless articles and blog posts.

So Delicious and I want a second home, a dumpy little cabin that’s more like a box-shaped tent, close to the Little River. Why? Because that was Delicious and Pooh’s dream. Just looking for a place has given her new life! We act in faith, ya’ll. So should you. I bought diapers and baby blankets in the eight years I waited for Gnome. Delicious and I scavenge through Goodwill and thrift shops for river house furniture. We aren’t greedy. We aren’t even materialistic. Once, I did a spreadsheet and showed Tall Child my figures. I spend around $1500 on myself per year. (That amount even included two Dollywood Gold Passes and two Knoxville zoo passes)! I’m frugal from day to day. I’m conservative.

In The Eye of Adoption, I quote an acquaintance who said, “If what you are doing is right with God, the money will show up.”

Delicious and I are dreamers. And, we share the spoils of our dreams with those we love. We don’t buy stuff. We buy experiences and memories!

Do I come across as self-involved lately? If so I apologize. And, at least I admit it. Hey, I’m a stereotypical only child. I like attention, I may communicate in an odd fashion from time to time, I need my mama, and I see the world through a focused view (from me outward). Not sure about all that grammar right there. I’ll get mama to proof. Anyway, thanks for listening/tolerating. Once I get all these big things wrapped up and finalized and over with, I’ll get back to being funny. I promise! I warned you, readers, waaaaaay back in Theory 1: People write diaries hoping someone else will read them.

Readers, what are your dreams? Do people laugh at them, only to respect you later for having the intestinal fortitude to bring those dreams into reality?

Hey, thanks for hanging with me and being this lonely only’s online friends. I value your insight and love you more than you’ll ever know. I wish I could hug you. Though I’m not sure the hug would be as enjoyable as it would have been a month ago.

If you need me, I'll be here (eventually):

Don't let people laugh at your dreams. If they do, don't invite them to the second home you can't afford.

  

See you next post. Until then, DREAM BIG and think outside the barn, no matter how big it is!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Busy Busy Busy

See Theory 52. Ha!

TGIF! (Except that I have class all day tomorrow). Ugh.

Happy weekend, readers!

Bug

Friday, October 10, 2014

Theory 52. Working mothers are “the man.”

Way back in Theory 4: Don’t judge a woman by her accent or breast size, I expounded on the myth that big breasted women are wild and loose. I further explained the burdensome load of being well-endowed in Theory 38: Orthopedic bras aren't sexy. Part DDDD, then H, then J. At the end of that post, I told you that I had scheduled breast reduction surgery. I planned to do it at Christmas time, for two reasons. 1. I’d have plenty of teacher time off to recover, and 2. Last Christmas break was marred by theft, exhausting work, annoying obligations, and, to be honest, grotesque, gag-me-with-a-dead-Smurf shopping that I dread and despise. I figured doing the surgery at Christmas would be par for the yucky pressure-filled seasonal course.

As all working mothers know, plans are pointless. Right? JUST when you think you have everything figured out, all helk breaks lose. And, doesn’t it seem like EVERYTHING happens at once? I am coping with so many “big” things right now, that I had to make a list and tape it to my computer so I wouldn’t neglect a life event. The bullet (not to be confused with bucket) list:

  • Breast reduction surgery (four hours “under” and 2-3 week recuperation time)
  • Finish master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (December comprehensive exams and graduation date)
  • HUGE student anthology project with 470 author-freshmen (Red Hot Backspace and I will edit, format, upload, proof, order, proof, revise, proof, order, ship, etc. by December 9)
  • Gnome’s birth mother wants to do a family photo shoot with ALL of us in October so she can take an album on her trip to visit Gnome’s birth father the first week of November.
  • My principal informed me that I may not have a teaching position at my (the best ever) junior high school next school year. I teach vocational courses and the district is changing the vocational offerings at the high school, which trickles down changes at the freshman level. I have no tenure. Last in, first out. So glad I took accounting so I’d understanding my situation. My dear principal, with whom I have a great relationship, promises to try to find me another position in my district, but she has little to no control over that. And, no one leaves M.C. Schools. I drive 40 minutes one way to work in that prestigious district because the students are ideal, my colleagues are outstanding, and the pay scale is one of the highest in the state. Why, even with a master’s degree (see bullet # 2), I’d take a $7,000 pay cut to work in the county where I live. I’m not sure my attitude would adjust. Plus, Sharky is in a new, pricey school and we still pay daycare. So, that settles that. My options are: get lucky and find some spot (any spot will do) in my perfect district or leave teaching.
  • WHICH MEANS I am job hunting. At the perfect age of 40.
  • The whole family must adjust. Not only may I end up changing jobs, I may end up changing industries, which affects Gnome and Sharky the most (think summer, Christmas, spring break, fall break --- what do I do with them?). And, quite honestly, leaving the education profession will break my heart because I love the creative, dynamic, fulfilling experience that teaching provides.
  • If I change jobs, my new employer may ask that I tone down my blog. I'll keep readers posted if the tone of Theories: Size 12 must change. We'll see. Oh, and, if I change industries, I'll have less time to write. So many goodbyes, potentially, coming my way. But, good things, too!
  • Did I tell ya’ll that Delicious and I are trying to buy an old house near the Little River in Townsend, TN. Sure, why the helk not? Subtract paycheck. Add mortgage. Makes sense to us. HA!
Or, as Gnome would ponder aloud, “Seriouslessness?”

But, I BOUNCE BACK! I've been through much tougher times. Haven’t we all?
Working mothers, these are the reasons I write so often about our toil and triumph! We are so strong! My sweet colleague, Tech Savvy, tried to make me feel better. She suggested, “Bug, why don’t you just hang in there with the district and do some interim work like cover maternity leave for other teachers until [so-and-so] retires at the high school?"

I appreciated her advice, and she is trying really hard to help me by asking around the area about potential openings as well as sincerely praying for me. But, unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of taking interim, short-term, mixed assignments because, as I told her, and as I told my principal, “I am basically the man.” Not “the man” as in a stud, but “the man” as in “the woman” whose job must not only provide a good income, but must also provide health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and retirement benefits.

Please note that I honor and respect my husband. Tall Child is the man, too. He works very hard, loves his job, employers, and clients. He is a good daddy and spends lots of time with Gnome and Sharky. Helk, he even went to the grocery store last week. But, the insurance burden is on me. Even though I sport a uterus, I provide for my family. Just like the traditional, proverbial, bread-winning man.

I figure I'll get some housewife panties in a wad over this post. Yes, it is tiring taking care of children all day. I know. I was a housewife for a bit. But, and I only speak from my personal experience, there is NO comparing the difficulty in being a working mother and being a stay-at-home mother.

Once, in an unwise moment when I was a full-time bank executive working from 8 to 5:30 Monday through Friday (Fridays til 6), with customer call nights every other Thursday til 8 and working every fourth Saturday, 49 weeks a year, Tall Child smarted off, "Wow, this house is a wreck. [Friend's stay-at-home wife] keeps her house clean and smelling good all the time." That was the time I threw my underwear drawer across the bedroom. It shattered. Of course, I had to buy wood glue and fix it.

Sorry, but this is my truth. As my hard-working, single-parenting, dynamo sister-in-law Dogwood Debutante recently said, "Wow, my house would be clean, too, if I had an extra 50 hours a week at home instead of work!"

We've/I've hustled at different levels. A was the hardest. E was the easiest.

Level A: Bank executive
Level B: Teacher and author running small publishing company
Level C: Teacher
Level D: Part-time worker (substitute teacher)
Level E: Housewife

I am not afraid to say that being a housewife (Level E for Excellent) was profoundly easier than being a working mother. Tall Child worked very hard to give me those years with Sharky and I will be forever grateful. Unfortunately, the recession changed things for us. BUT, but, but, I LIKE working, and don't think I'd go back to housewifery again, even if I had the choice. Who knows? And, I may be headed back to Level A, but I'm okay (actually a little excited) to do so. The important thing is that I adapt. That's what working mamas do, right? 

So, friends, forgive my woe-is-me diatribe, but I write from my core, and my core is sore. Oh, yes. Sore from stress, but also, ding!-ding!-ding!, sore from surgery!  Because of the possible mid-year job change, my surgeon agreed to move my surgery up to my fall break (last week). YEE-HAW!

On the morning of October 1, I checked into the hospital a whopping, strap-straining, back-aching size 34J. Late that night, I checked out of the hospital at least 2.7 lbs lighter in the bra and potentially (once the swelling subsides and I can take the bondage-bandages off) 8, yes, E-I-G-H-T cup sizes smaller. YAAAAAAAAAY!

If I weren't looking for a respectable job, I’d post pictures. This is the best I can do. And, it’s not too far off the real deals.

before

after


So, one bullet down (or should I say two bullets down?) and a few to go.

Friends, thanks for listening. I feel like I got a lot off my chest (sorry, couldn't resist). I appreciate you. 

Working mamas, this post is dedicated to you. Keep taking care of business!


Oh, and I DO have a funny post in progress. Stay tuned and think outside the barn!

Love,
Bug


Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!