Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2010 in Review

Happy New Year to all. As we ring in the new year, I remembered a few events of the past year that somehow missed the blog. Here's what you've been missing:

1. A year-long battle with a medical equipment company.
Remember that awful apnea monitor? I had a love/hate relationship with it: I loved that it reminded us to coax Phoebe to breathe. I hated that it had several loud false alarms every night and I had to lug it everywhere for a few months. I was happy to get rid of it in February, but unhappy to get a big invoice from them a few months later. The insurance company paid up to the benefit limit, which the medical equipment company exceeded because they sent us new electrodes every week (which we didn't need). I returned 43 unopened packages of electrodes when they picked up the monitor in February. Apparently that was never accounted for. It took all year, three letters, and several threats to clear that one up.

2. Scott's awesome iPod.
I got Scott an iPod Touch for his birthday. I had big expectations of this little gadget: I wanted him to message me updates throughout the day, especially to let me know what random time he'd be rolling in that night. It hasn't quite worked out the way I'd planned, but it's still been a good investment: the iPod is Scott's new study buddy.

3. Turning into my mother.
Yes, it's happening. I'm getting so over-protective of my kids that every once in awhile, I blow a circuit and actually do something. When Phoebe was in the hospital for awhile, the nurses thought they would make my Halloween a little nicer by dressing Phoebe in a cowgirl costume and taking pictures of her to give to me. Other NICU parents were into it, but not me. I was furious. First, they used the same costume for all the babies (and the kid two beds down had whooping cough!). Second, dressing up my baby reminded me of Paris Hilton dressing up her little lap dog. Ugh. Nurses should stick to nursing. I wrote a letter this year complaining about the practice of dressing up NICU babies on holidays. The hospital called and said they'd "investigate."

4. Call me President.
I was elected as the President of our condo association. A few weeks into the job, someone decided to tag our garage door with some awesome graffiti. Cute, but it's going to take $400 to remove this baby:
It's become my mission to clean up my 'hood. I'm bugging our neighboring residents and businesses to clean up their junk and make our 'hood less like a 'Hood.

5. Bruce's brain expansion.
Kindergarten is amazing. Really. Bruce loves reading and learning. A few weeks ago, he asked me what the highest number was. I said there was no highest number because you could always add one to it and make it higher. "What about sixty-hundred-thousand?" he asked. "Sixty-hundred-thousand-and-one." He still has more to learn, but he's really thinking hard about these things.

6. The fiasco with work.
I purposely avoided blogging about this one, thinking that some future employer would google my name, come across this blog, read all my complaints about the job hunt, and get spooked. But it's the year-end review, so here's the story.

My old employer decided to just stop paying me on a regular basis. They would lead me on - "a paycheck is coming" and "I just couldn't get to the office to write the check today" - but after way too long of that, I started hunting for other jobs. Here are a few snippets from that experience:

There was the time when I got an offer for a full-time web editor job, but I would have had to commute an hour each way and it started at 6:30 a.m. Daycares don't open at 5:30 (and sometimes Scott isn't home at that hour), so that was out.

Then there was the three-hour-long interview for a corporate communications position. Five different people interviewed me, and one sent me home with an assignment to create a writing sample due in 48 hours. I went home and worked my tail off to get it done. I couldn't sleep that night because I was so worked up about it, so I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it. The next morning, HR called to say to not bother sending in the sample because I didn't have enough marketing experience. Ugh.

The final straw was interviewing at a tech magazine's web site, which offered a part-time editing position from home (with insurance too - perfect). They interviewed me over the phone twice and then asked me to "try out" by editing a story on deadline. The story they sent me had factual errors, grammatical errors, and part of it was plagiarized from another web site. I wondered if this was some kind of test, but this was a real story submitted by one of the magazine's writers to be posted that day. I hacked at it and practically rewrote the whole thing so it was ready to post. When I checked the site later, they posted the version that I wrote so I felt confident they would hire me. They called back and said they went with someone else "with more technical expertise." Thus, I am embracing freelance writing. I write while Phoebe takes her 2-3-hour daily nap, and then I get to be a full-time mom during her waking hours. Like motherhood, freelance writing does not pay well but the benefits are unbeatable.

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