New Orleans

She’s With Me

I voted early. Being 9 months pregnant, I didn’t want to miss my opportunity and I didn’t want to risk standing in long lines that I physically might not be able to handle. I also didn’t want to risk them running out of our Blue Dog “I Voted” stickers.screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-9-32-12-am

I voted for Hillary. Being a female liberal, about to have a baby, in my 30s this shouldn’t surprise or upset anyone. It was a given. I’m an independent so I don’t align myself with the Democratic party (and have never been prouder than that given this election cycle) but the republicans really don’t even try to talk to liberal independents, so presidential cycles are thus far automatically a democratic vote for me.

This election cycle has been the most brutal and most disappointing of any that I have been aware/a part of. It’s left me unable to use the hashtag “#ImWithHer” with my vote.

I’m not. I do think that she is the best option for president in our current candidate field, I do feel awed that I was able to vote for a female presidential candidate who has a real shot at winning, and there are pieces of her that I feel proud of and aligned with.

But there are also a lot of things that I feel disappointed by and can’t dismiss. I’m not going to get into them because seriously, we’re almost out of this shit, why bother? But I’m not with her.

However, she’s with me. And that is actually a lot more important to me in a presidential nominee. I don’t donate money to presidential candidates, I don’t think I should pay to have someone be president, I’d rather my money went to providing help to people in a more direct way and not to bloated egos and hateful political ads. I want candidates to prove to me that they’re good enough for my vote.

Hillary is with me personally because she supports Obamacare and wants to improve it. I’m a woman so I benefit in a lot of ways from Obamacare for my healthcare. I’m also a young cancer survivor so I have a preexisting condition that insurance providers are not a fan of. I’m also about to have a baby so I use my insurance often between the cancer and baby check-ups, and Obamacare provides longterm healthcare coverage for my kid.

I’m also a female professional. I work in an industry where there is no wage equality or consistency or transparency and is often structured with lots of women working under all male management. Equal pay is important to me, and when I live in a state where it just voted down, I look to Hillary as someone who may be able to help.

I’m also about to take maternity leave in a state where FMLA is the only available option unless businesses choose to offer more. This means that there are lots of women who don’t get FMLA based on the size of the business they work at or can’t afford it because it’s unpaid. It’s a real issue of inequality and honestly it would be nice to see some of those pro-life motherfuckers spend some of those millions of dollars in services to help women post birth instead of giving me fetuses on billboards.

There are a lot of other reasons that I think Hillary is the best choice for president in this election cycle, but these are the main reasons that she’s with me.

capture

Nasty Woman as evidenced by the pirate cat, alt necklace, guns hanging from my ears, and you can just tell from my eyes that I’m opinionated…

Advertisements

Why Nice People Can’t Hang Out With Me

I was going to title this “Why We Can’t Have Anything Nice”, but I’m going to save that one because that’s really a whole separate tangent. I’m going to change some names/facts to protect the innocent in this post, aka try and make sure these people might hang out with me again in spite of myself… Also unrelated, but you know how everyone has those words that they just can’t spell correctly for the life of them? (Unless you’re one of those copy editor types), “separate” is one of those for me. It is a deep seeded belief of mine that it should be spelled “seperate”.

Anyways, a few years ago A. and I were hanging out with a group of friends and one of our friends had a new significant other. Everyone else hanging out had known us for years and had a pretty solid comfort level with each other. So we were acting naturally. AKA not necessarily in a manner that’s fit for public or new people. (more…)

Adventures In House Buying

Those of you that have gone through the process of buying your first house are going to smugly nod through this, while those of you that haven’t are going to try and convince yourself that this is a special case and it’s totally not that bad. You are wrong, but enjoy your ignorant optimism while you can for the rest of us.

One of the main goals in moving down to New Orleans and leaving our San Francisco life behind was to buy a house that costs significantly less than $1million dollars (something that’s challenging in the bay area). Another major thing on our list was to get a dog and that was super easy to check off the list and has been all that we’ve dreamed of and more.

First on the list was finding a mortgage broker. Or a better way to put that would be ‘selecting a mortgage broker’. It’s totally easy to find one, selecting one is a bit stressful. First there are like a gazillion line items they can try and charge you for, down to courier fees for them to file your paperwork. Luckily our good friend is a realtor so we didn’t have to go through the selection process for that and he recommended a mortgage broker who is solid. We did comparison shop and were relieved that this guy was the clear choice. I did have to fight the urge to make a comment to A. during our meeting about how we weren’t going to be able to run away and travel the world after this, but didn’t think the dude with the money would be amused. It’s kind of like making comments about security while walking through TSA.

Mortgages are complicated, or rather, all the fees that comes with your mortgage are complicated. Luckily A is smarter than your average bear with this due to some work he’s done in the lawyering world, because I felt a bit like a noob. I was able to talk about mortgage insurance, pros/cons of of 15 yr vs 30yr mortgages, and adjustable rate mortgages. I forgot what points are, but was able to ask about them like I knew so that it wasn’t obvious. All thanks to some internet research and some SF digital library loans. I think one of the tough things about a mortgage is thinking about the future long-term and what you want to be held to. A. and I are both secure in our reasonably paying jobs, but do we want to commit to them for 15 years? What if one of us wants to quit and write the next great america novel or be a stay at home Dad (either of us right?) or a teacher or something that pays significantly less than what we’re doing right now but would make us really happy in 8 or 9 years? It’s a big unknown. What if we decide we need 5 dogs? I mean obedience school, doggy daycare, and boarding isn’t free.

Then there is the house shopping itself. So I’ve been compiling a list and checking it twice on realtor.com for months because that’s how I do. We of course decided to get serious about this once our good friend and realtor was set to go off to the arctic for vacation. But anyways, now he’s back and we’re looking at places. So something that never occurred to me in scenarios of house searching is that the people have to get back to you about looking at the house. SERIOUSLY!? So I have to look through all these houses, make sure that they’re not too close to anything bad on the murder map, make sure they have the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, make sure there’s a decent yard, make sure they cost the right amountish, make sure it’s not a disaster inside, hope that no one buys it before we can schedule it, and now I also have to worry about hearing back from the realtor/owner? I just. I can’t even. Cut me a break here.

I Took the Pirate Flag Down

I took the pirate flag down today. I’ve been meaning to do it for a week or two. One day I just looked at it and realized I didn’t need it up any more and didn’t want it up anymore. It was very large and black on my bedroom wall and dominating my space. When I needed to feel more like a badass, more like “fuck the world, I’m still here” it was there. Now life is starting to seem gentler and I’m finding a new way in it and the flag seemed very harsh on my wall.

My birthday was last week and it was weird. Part of the weirdness was I felt like I should feel like it was an accomplishment getting there, but I didn’t, and was annoyed to even feel that way. The after effects of this rough ride are annoying. Now that I’m not putting poison in my body every other week or recovering from surgery I feel like I should be able to be back to B.C. But that’s not the way it works and it’s really annoying/frustrating.

I had a bit of a wakeup call a couple of days ago when I saw this video:

It was hard to watch, but it is also inspiring and a kick in the ass. For most of us, when we hear we need to make lifestyle changes for longterm benefits, we put it off. Or we say “fuck it” and just don’t worry about it. But if I get cancer again in the near future I am going to feel like the worlds biggest asshole for not taking care of myself. I’ve already played the “it can’t happen to me” game and lost big. It would just be supremely stupid for me to go through all this and then not do what I need to do to give myself my best shot.

However it sucks having to make major lifestyle changes. It’s hard. As someone who doesn’t love eating right, exercising, or being the sober friend at happy hour (I have had a year of experience with that off and on now), it’s freaking tough. Then we can add the fact that I’m 31 so this isn’t a lifestyle many friends are sharing and then add the fact I moved somewhere that loves bad for you food and delicious drinks. It just makes me want to burry my head into a pile of pillows and not come out.

Kate Moss once said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” She was unfortunately wrong. Try Commander’s Palace’s bread pudding soufflé. Or Drago’s chargrilled oysters. Or a glass of good wine after a stressful day at work. I could go on and on…

I gave myself a free pass that got too comfortable while I was going through treatment and the immediate time after because I needed something good. When your bones ache, you’re exhausted constantly, having hot flashes, etc, food was the only good thing I had going because nothing else felt good. Now I’ve got to close the book on indulging myself and accept the fact that I got dealt a bad hand and I’ve got to work with what I’ve got. Folding would be stupid with stakes this high. So the pirate flag has come down.

IMG_3429

Just to show it’s not all hard times.

IMG_3397

Gratuitous Wally photo, i.e. how he spends most of his time at my job

Guess Who’s Employed?

Obviously it’s me, because it would be pretty weird if I were writing this post about someone else. I’m sure you’d all be polite about it, but secretly you’d be thinking “what the fuck do I care?” but since you take the time to read my blog about me, you presumably care that I am employed. So yay!

Normally I try and keep my social media and work separate, like church and state. And it’s totally like church and state in the United States because it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where I’ve worked and on what brands because I occasionally support stuff via social media and I have a LinkedIn profile. Kind of like how our elected politicians like to spend so much of their salaried time arguing about gay marriage and abortions, totally has nothing to do with their religious views, because they’re totally separate. On a related note, A. told me this weekend that I have to warn him when I’m going to start talking politics at things like rehearsal dinners so he can bail. I told him our secret word can be “republicans.” It actually wasn’t my fault, I was just curious if the woman I was talking to had insight on the Republican Senators voting to sell off our National Forests because she is a National Park employee.

Anyways, so this is a bit of an anomaly to post about a job, but it’s obviously pertinent due to the craziness that my life has gone through in the last year. My normal life starts tomorrow. And once I get things settled, Wally gets to come too. It’s somewhere I was hoping to work before all of this insanity happened and am very excited that it’s worked out. Anyone thinking I should have taken more time off before starting, My last day at my last job was March 18th or so. I’ve had plenty of time off. It’s going to be a little rough on Wally pup until I can start taking him, but I bought him a new squeaky toy and some treats to distract him.

And now some stories of applying for a job when you need a job rather than have the luxury of looking for a job you want. (Details have been altered to protect the innocent).

1. I applied to at least 20 places/job postings. I think it was more, but that’s the amount I can actually confirm. These ranged from actual postings to informational interview requests at agencies and in-house at companies. I’ve had five places I’ve been talking to over the last three weeks. There were a lot of exciting sounding jobs that then turned into “we don’t know when we’re hiring” scenarios upon meeting. I also got a lot of people that wanted to help me find a job but couldn’t hire me, crazy nice, but not a job. Even with the economy doing pretty well right now, it’s tough out there.

2. I took at least 6 different online personality quizzes and only two of those were for a corporate position. I think online quizzes for a role that I’m qualified for indicate a lack of confidence in hiring. Trust yourself, you’ll make a better judgement than a robot will. Plus, the two quizzes I have taken and seen my results for (one was last year for something different) I fell right in the middle of the results. Which means that the very specific descriptions are often totally off about me, such as “Even as a child you were likely quite industrious and showed respect for your parents and other authority figures…. Supervisors (my category) typically wish nothing more than to do what they’re supposed to do. As a result, your type is not one to question teachers’ assignments, methods of instruction, standards, or authority.” That noise you hear right now is all of my teachers laughing out loud at this. I did tell one company that I would not be able to finish their fourth online test because one of the questions asked me to rate in order of importance “Our taxes should be spent on…” and “faith-based initiatives, military spending, and balancing the budget” were three of the five options. No dice. To their credit though, they scheduled me for a second interview that I later turned down for the job I accepted.

3. The fun game of talking to people and never hearing from them again. I interviewed at one place for over an hour and half with the guy at a very well known place and he told me they were going to make a decision the next week. That was the beginning of February. Still waiting to hear. Another place I interviewed on the phone and was told they’d be setting up another interview in two days with me. That was two weeks ago. This is my biggest pet peeve about the hiring process. It take two minutes to send an email, just send one. To me it’s a black mark against that company down the road should I ever be looking again. Be professional, once we’ve talked you owe me an email. We’re both adults, I promise I’m not going to cry or key your car, I’m just going to move on with my job search knowing your company is no longer in the running. I also had a guy respond to my informational interview email request asking what brought me to New Orleans and then never responded to me again after that. That one was especially weird.

I’ve applied to over 100 jobs since graduating college in ’06. I’ve interviewed at one agency three different times and then they tried to recruit me for a fourth go a couple of years ago. My last agency I interviewed for a junior role in ’09 and then came back and started as an account executive in ’12. My first ad agency job I started the application process in October and had my first day the end of May. I’ve been interviewed many many times and I’ve lost track of all of the ‘thank you’ card and emails I’ve sent. But so it goes with the hustle.

First Checkup Report

So I had my first post-op appointment a week after surgery (yesterday). It was actually with my surgeon and not a minion (unlike my first surgery experience). My Mom came too which I’m sure was a treat for her (only partially being sarcastic here).

Everything is looking good per him (I think I look like frankenstein’s monster personally, if frankenstein had a boob and butt fetish).  In case that’s not clear, bruising has started with a vengeance. Even having done this once before, it’s been a rough road. A. said the first time was still much harder, but it’s hard to have that perspective when it’s happening to you. Having four drains that require twice a day maintenance is really stressful. It’s painful too, but mostly it’s overwhelming. The first at home shower was a horrifying experience. I took an anti-anxiety med afterwards and A. had a big drink.

The good news is that yesterday I had 3 out of 4 drains removed which takes the stress and care waaaaaaaay down. I know because I had a shower last night and didn’t need to medicate afterwards to recover. I’ve still got my slutty super hero costume on (still taking name suggestions), and will for another week. Then I can stop wearing the top part and just have the bottom. The last drain is in my hip which can stay for a month or so, hoping to be a fast healer on this one because that sounds really lame. I’d also really like to attend my friend’s wedding without having that fun accessory.

Mom is here and being a huge help. She feeds me and helps with my dressing stuff. She’s also Cinderellaing the laundry, dishes, and animals. We occasionally have to discuss puppy raising techniques, but Wally is over the moon with the walks and attention he’s getting. It’s hard for me to be so limited with him, he’s got a big part of my heart. The cats staged another song protest in the middle of the night last night, but we’ve got a broom in the bedroom now so we win.

IMG_2954

Mom and Wally hanging out on the porch with me

On The Road To Recovery

I’m out of my fancy hospital and back at home. I was welcomed back by an hourish-long songs of protest from the kitties around 5am in response to their banishment from the bedroom. Mostly Nero. We will now be sleeping with the broom by the door.

I received excellent care at the hospital. It was as good as it could be. It was also mostly a blur due to the pain meds and recovering from that much physical trauma at once. Thursday was Wednesday to me all day. It felt less like torture this time since I’ve done this before, when they were making me get up and walk the day after surgery and urging me to sit in the chair. I get it, blood clots are bad.

I did have some rough spots because that’s just the way it goes. Thursday and Friday I had migraines and nausea and ended up throwing up a bit which was lame and led to an IV of fluids to help bring my blood pressure up. I was initially concerned that throwing up would suck due to the abdominal surgery, well good news, that actually wasn’t so bad. What was bad was the feeling that my head was going to split open from the migraine. oof.

Fortunately the staff got me fixed up and Saturday I was doing ok and was able to go home. My surgeon came to see me every day I was there, even Saturday. I go back and see him on Wednesday to check in on how I’m healing and if any of my drains can come out. I’ve got four of those suckers this time, hoping to narrow it downs to two on Weds if at all possible. Funny how they leave drains out of Grey’s Anatomy or any TV/Movie dealing with surgery and recovery. You can google to see what these fun things are if you’re curious, I’m living with them and that’s enough detail for me.

Thus far I think I’m in less pain than I was from the original surgery. Basing this on the pain pills I have. Early to tell of course, but hopefully I can get through this with less pain this time. The biggest challenge in this so far is stress. Having four drains that need to be cared for a couple of times today (painting iodine on them, changing bandages, etc), getting up to walk, showering every other day, and feeling so damn fragile is very stressful. I get overwhelmed easily right now and shake sometimes. It’s tough.

Having seen myself the first go around, I was prepared when they moved the bandages back and I saw the not so pretty side of this, but it’s still stressful. There’s that voice in the back of your head “does that look normal?”. Luckily I’ve got a pretty strong stomach when it’s my own injury I’m looking at so that’s not the issue, but it’s still stunning to see yourself so banged up and know you have so far to go before you can be in the clear of healing properly.

Some of the new things this go around are a sports like bra that clasps in the front and basically spanx. Fortunately they’re both in black so I just pretend that they’re part of my super hero costume, taking name suggestions. I’m a slutty superhero though because they’re crotchless spanx because I’m supposed to leave them on at all times other than showering. They’re actually pretty comfy and I applaud whomever chose black over tan, black is always sexier. It also helps that my scary parts are covered all the time except for the drains themselves and when we clean/change bandages. Unfortunately due to the tubing, I’ve got a bit more in common with Bane than Poison Ivy.

My Mom is on her way here and will be staying here until I’m good to be on my own while A. is at work. A lot of that will be taking care of Wally. Since I have drains hanging off of me, he’s a bit of a liability so someone has to make sure he’s getting out and in when he needs to and taking him for walks. A. brings him over to me in the bed so I can get a kiss every now and then from my adorable puppy. It’s a mild form of torture not getting to interact with him.

I got some lovely flowers while I was in the hospital that are decorating the room. Since the cats are banished for the time being, they can be up without any fear of getting knocked over. A lot of my pirate gear and get well stuff is in VT because my Dad is going to drive it down in the spring, but I do have my pirate flag up and my get well card from BSSP hanging by my bed.

Today I start getting better.

IMG_2953