Continuing Saga of work/life

Work!

Well.  I love my new job!

After two weeks of being there, even in some pretty bad pain from my disc situation, I think I really love it.  There is a lot of politics, but the odd “lateral violence”  that I experienced with my old boss is not present.  I feel myself relaxing and actually being myself as I work on things.

I have an office, which is a bit unusual, it is a cube, but it has an actual door.  It is right by the elevator which for a lot of people would be annoying but for me is perfect, because I’m a little social, and a little nosy and I love seeing the comings and goings of everyone.

We are in a small older building separate from the hospital, which is also nice because that means when ones goes down the hall for a drink or the bathroom, one is not going to run into patients, lost visitors or anything.  So the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed.

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Not quite to this standard, but a few people have been there for years and have amassed some interesting decorations!

The floor I am on contains Infection prevention and Regulatory people (People who help us all stay in line for various regulatory bodies).  One guy dropped by my office and after I said, well…I’m kind of a nerd, he laughed and said… “Didn’t you notice we are ALL nerds in this building, it’s Nerd Haven”  And indeed it is rather a place full of “my people”

On Thursday I had the surprise of my life as we all got Dual screens for our work.  because of the way I do my job the dual screens are really important.  I had assumed that this was my loss when moving from one hospital to the next, but it looks like I didn’t have to give that up.  My desk though has now shrunk to very small proportions since most is taken up with computer screens.  In a month or two I may have to rearrange the office, but I want to wait and see how I work.

Some surprises.

I was told a long time ago that it is easier to work with the “Criteria” as a sole practitioner.  I kind of brushed that off.  This past week I did discover that it can be a bit frustrating to work with others as some people work very quickly and make errors which have to be pointed out.  (I’m new…pointing out errors is not that fantastic).  Extremely animated discussions of “the criteria” are often to be heard.  This is frustrating, but also challenging because if I feel I’m right…I have to really be sure and have all the pieces to back myself up.  I like and don’t like it all at the same time.

The Commute: Not that bad.

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I want to tweak it a bit actually to cut down on tolls paid.  Now that I have an E-pass the money is kind of invisible, but I know I am paying a lot in tolls- since Florida has no income tax it’s like paying taxes a little bit at a time. I can probably reduce my toll paying by about 2.00 a day if I get on at a different exchange etc, but so far with my back issues and everything, well, I have not really had all the energy in the world to think about it.

Disorganization:  The office since the Director has left is in a bit of disarray.  Generally when one orients they get a little calendar with names dates places.  This time around I’ve been left a bit on my own which is alright because I’ve needed some time to deal with physician appointments etc and the surveillance I still do for my old hospital.  But, they have not decided on my units yet, so I am kind of not quite able to start to work on how I fit in the organization yet.  This bothers me but at the same time, I think the current supervisor is feeling that she does not want to step on toes by making decisions, and she is also concerned that I may need to go out for surgery on my back.  Both valid.

More on the Back situation in my less visited training blog.

On Friday I got a text from my old Quality Officer.  She informed me that as part of the agreement made between my old and new bosses that I was to WORK AT MY OLD JOB 2 days a week.  She wanted to know which days I might be coming. At that I choked.  I reported this immediately to my supervisor. She was actually disappointingly waffling.  She said, “Well we have not assigned you any units yet so you could…”  I kind of said that I’d rather drink antifreeze…She clarified it with our big boss and several phone calls were put out to clarify that this actually was in fact NOT the agreement.

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Not really sure what I would do if I had to essentially go back to that job part time, but…I have a feeling on Monday I may discover that I do have to do something physically over there.  The quality officer has been having to do a few things for my job and I suppose she didn’t really love it.

This week was also Operation Christmas Child Drop off Week!

I did not plan well this year. I paid for 5 shoeboxes and found that the lady from the church had only given me 4 “Go-Boxes”  the pre-printed OCC boxes that are so easy to use.

Go-Box

So…I could have wrapped a shoe box, but when the time came I discovered I had only collected enough “stuff” for 3 boxes.  I had a box for a teen girl, a box for a toddler boy, and a box for a Pre-teen girl.  Then I had some bits and bobs but not enough to really fill a box. So.  I went shopping and got enough items to fill another box for a pre-teen girl. I just could not bear the idea of trying to wrap a shoe box.  It is really really hard to wrap a box with a flip top lid.  I have an idea to use contact paper for the shoe boxes next year, but…This year too much for me.

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I intended to drop them off on my way home from work on Friday but again I was just really really tired on Friday morning even and did not want to load the boxes into the car.

Saturday I finally took them over to the church and was really glad I did at that time.  I had a very large and gorgeous Vera Bradley paper bag from my shopping a while ago that fit the boxes perfectly. The ladies collecting the boxes were immediately in love with the bag and were shocked when I said I did not want it back.  (It’s a paper bag folks…yes it says Vera and is very pretty but REALLY…)

I then produced the extra printable tracking code and explained how I never built the last box and they immediately understood.  So someone who forgot the $7 fee to send the box will have that box sponsored by me!  I was really glad that it could be used!

The lady also explained why my tracking may not have worked last year. She stated she had been up at the Atlanta Warehouse on Thanksgiving weekend and the scanners had all broken down and were not really working properly.  So…one more mystery solved.  I hope this year I do get emails about where my boxes went.  The lady apologized but we both had a “bonding moment” when I smiled and said, “I know the boxes went where they were supposed to go because…God” So I am glad I got a chance to meet and interact with these ladies.  Even before I left I saw one hurrying to her car with my Vera shopping tote.  So I am pleased she will use it with more interest than I would have.

So neat stuff.

Life isn’t perfect but there is some good things in it.

 

 

It is Operation Christmas Child Time AGAIN!!!!

So, Actually in the UK it has been Operation Christmas Child time for a week.  In the USA, our collection week starts Monday November 17th.

This is one thing I really like to do. It kicks off the holiday season with a moment of giving.  I do wish indeed that we had a summer OCC collection time as well to remind us in July that we really should be giving.

It is quite inexpensive, and I collect things all year round for the boxes I plan to pack.

This year, given my back injury, it’s been a bit more challenging, but I found I was able to pack three boxes easily.  I have 2 more that I paid for with the online tracking option.   I have one of the two half filled.  If I am able to get a few items I will fill it and send it.  If not, I will give those bar codes to the collection center, because every year people fill boxes and then do not want to pay the small 7.00 USD fee to ship them.

Here are some highlights from my boxes.  I did use the Go-Box- the pre-printed box from the church.  It is so much easier and more attractive. Some people go all out and use a tupperware style box that is reusable.  I’m just not quite there yet, as those boxes are kind of expensive, and I still feel as if I am on an budget.

As always, hygiene supplies and school supplies are high on the list.

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So you can see, I stocked up on pencils/crayons/erasers during the back to school sales in August.

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I also always include Soap. I volunteered at several RunDisney events that were rainy this year and Ponchos were issued.  I never used my Ponchos, but decided that they might be really useful for a child, so the white packet labelled “Condor” is actually a plastic poncho for rain.

This year, a fellow runner generously send me Mountains of String backpacks from races he had participated in!

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So every child got one (or two) of these in their box this year.  Thank YOU Greg!

Beyond that I actually did use many race freebies to stock my boxes. Let’s see..

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The water bottle came from a race in the Florida Keys….I also has running caps, shoe laces, other water bottles, and some other odd little items that were in race packets.

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While not from a race, I do get these freebie stickers regularly from a Disney mailer, so I always save them.  Everyone seems to love stickers, and they don’t take up a lot of room!

Beyond the essentials….

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Hello Kitty is an International Sensation – especially with the 3-12 yr old set. I was able to get some “play packs” on sale for about 1.00 USD a piece.  Crayons again, from the back to school sales.

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Tennis balls go on sale at varying intervals through the year.  The small doll was perfect for a shoebox, and I was happy to find her for 2.00 USD.  I bought several to go into several different boxes.  The small ambulance toy was in the Target 1.00 bin, it fit nicely with the box I planned out for a 2-4 yr old boy!

 

 

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Of course…no box is complete without some sweets.  Most candies are not permitted as the boxes are actually stored and distributed year round…but hard candies like the ones above are fine.  One tip- if sending hand candies, poke a hole in the bag with a needle and let the air out of the bag. The bag packs better that way.  Also if sending a solid water bottle or a rolled up coloring book, slip the candy into the space and you have a good “filler” for the box.

I obviously put more things in the boxes than what I’ve shown.  I have found that race goodies…like caps, water bottles, and bags make excellent starters for boxes.  Work freebies also help a lot- if you work at a large institution there are often give-a-ways through the year. (or if you go to Home shows, Grand Openings etc)  A lot of fun promotional items are given out like keychains, badge holders, pencils, pens, Stress balls, small tote bags, or cups.  Often we kind of toss these items into a pile in our offices….this year I spied a cute little keychain in the shape of a green pig.  It was about to be tossed, but…I have safely stored it into one of my boxes.  I hope whomever sees the little green piggy will find it as cute as I did.

I think it is really fun to pack boxes, and imagine how the child who receives the box will enjoy the items sent.  It is a great activity for kids and small enough that it can be done in an afternoon…unless you become one of those ShoeBox Ladies. Then it’s kind of a mission project. I do find the best way to create a box is to shop year round and shop the sales, but it could all be done in one afternoon as well.

I’ll be continuing to try to fill my last box as time and my back permit.  Would love to hear about your shoe box adventures as well!!!

 

 

 

Life’s Little Updates

So….

I suppose after all the Lighthouse Loop Aftermath, I should probably post a little bit of an update.

My life has really changed somewhat from lots of running and swimming and biking and work to…. lots of couch and work and planning activities that require movement VERY carefully.

I did have an Epidural Injection early on this week. I detailed that over on my training blog.

I have been pleasantly surprised that with each passing day I am seeing some slight improvement so that my activity tolerance has improved each day.  The pain has decreased and while it is still quite present, it is manageable.  Now, I would not like to live my life like this for forever but it is managable.  I do think if I get similar improvements with my next two injections I might actually heal myself of what every physician has agreed was a really rather large injury to my spine.

The only exercise I am allowed is walking in the pool.  This is two things: a bit boring, and VERY COLD.  I am not walking very fast and thus don’t generate heat, and while it’s Florida…it’s still cold in the evenings.

I have signed up to do a virtual race – in the pool.  It’s an odd concept, but it has motived me to get in when I didn’t want to.

The other amazing thing this week is that I started my new job on Wednesday.

I was quite concerned given my back is not great.  It has worked out so far fairly magically.  I arrived. My NAME is on the door to my OFFICE.  Yes folks I have an office with a door that shuts and locks.  We discussed getting business cards, something I was flat out denied at the other place, immediately.  I was then issued a destop and a laptop, as well as a myriad of office supplies.  Then I was told to manage my time appropriately and not to worry too much about it.  I tested that today accidently by arriving at 0811 am.  I left the house late and true to form my leg doesn’t cooperate that well in the morning hours.  Everyone has understood entirely about my back and has not expected me to go jaunting about the hospitals.  Yahooeey. This relaxed introduction indeed had something to do with them not being entirely prepared, but…that also worked in my favor as I adjusted, spent some moments simply laying on the floor to take pressure off my back, and fooled around.

I realized on my way home that I really had been unhappy at the old job.  I felt so much freedom in one day, and it was just entirely such a better atmosphere.  NON-toxic.

SO breath of fresh fresh air in the employment field.

It is also a good distraction to have while dealing with injury…so many new things keep my mind off the fact that my running season is rather done. I know nothing is going to rescue it, but having to learn about parking, cafeterias, figuring out which units are my units, managing some obligations at the old hospital…well, I have less time to dwell on it.

My second distraction is of course it is Operation Christmas Child time….whoo Hooo!  I enjoy doing this so so much!  this year I had some extra finances so I will be doing 5 boxes.  I’ve made some photos and will be posting a new OCC post. My old post form 2011 still gets a lot of web traffic. Drop Off is this weekend.

I’m thinking very carefully on the running and I know I’m pretty upset….there are a lot of races I have not enjoyed that I want to in the future, so…wishing good healing thoughts to me. 

 

Still that said, the odd horizontal work place “violence” is gone, replaced with normal co-workers and new challenges…so at least I’ve got something to dig into.

My biggest frustration is that I have no good reading material. Given my new tolerance for some activity, I may be able to remedy that this weekend at the Library.

Give this Christmas Away

Whew it’s almost Christmas.

I managed to have a conversation with the coach about the person I want to provide some Disney Passes for, and he thought that was a good idea.  I could see he was thinking, Disney Passes?  This family needs…food, shelter, etc…but when I explained to him my philosophy that sometimes kids need a day to be kids, he seemed to warm to the idea.  So I am watching the Disney Sports Enthusiast Site to sign up for the Princess as well as a great Track and Field event in March.

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Here is a photo we got from Afghanistan.  I wanted especially to share with Carol and her Husband Mike donated to help all those packages get where they got to!  I only sent the one card from the Ap store, and I don’t see it there, but of course it was just in a little envelope.

I dropped off all the toys and goodies for Operation Christmas Child  and our local toy drive.

The only thing I really have left…is to shop for my family.

I feel pretty good about making others holiday a bit brighter.  My own holiday…well, if my back gets straight, well, life will be better.

Give this Christmas Away

Today My back feels somewhat improved.  It’s no longer spasming, but just sore and it feels, if you will, fragile.

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That said, I think I can manage to haul in the goodies I have acquired for the local kids toy drive…

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I managed to accumulate quite a bit here and there. Mostly small stuff, but some good videos, the ever loved Hot Wheels cars and Barbie.  The stuffed doggies were on sale and I had originally intended them for the Operation Christmas Child Boxes.  They did not fit.  Instead of saving them through the year, I decided to just donate them locally…So…I’ll be dropping them off today at the local toy drive collection box at our gym.  I was thinking of getting more stuff yesterday, but then I remembered, December has been a very expensive month for me.

In December, I always have to pay for car insurance.  I also just bought a plane ticket for Christmas which was of course, outrageously expensive.  (We couldn’t decide where Christmas would happen this year, so I had to wait until we made up our minds.)  In addition, there have been several expenses associated with my low back injury.  Some very overt (extra massage session, prescriptions, lost work time) and some covert (Having to buy the smaller item for things like dog food and laundry detergent because I can’t carry the large one).  And of course the gifting of people I actually know. Plus it seems to be the month of purchasing new clothing for work (desperately needed), new running shoes, and such.  While that was all obtained via sale, it still is an expense.  So as much as I’d really like to fill that toy drive box with basketballs, and softballs, I am going to refrain from going crazy.

The only things left that I have for Give this Christmas away are my VISA gift card and the pass for Disney.  Going to give that over to my coach, for his family that is grieving, unless he wants me to wait until I get the second pass in February.

Next up, New Years Resolutions.  All this couch time with my back has surely given me time to reflect and ponder!

Let’s do some updates.

December is starting out kinda rough for me.

To begin with…I have no holiday plans.  I really want to go home and see my family, but I part of me is holding back from making the effort, it can be so rushed and tiring.  I usually enjoy it though. So I need to think on that. I felt like I really wanted to be at home at Thanksgiving, but of course that was after viewing cute family photos.  I know my sister was sick, and I would have ended up parenting her kids…and I would not have enjoyed that.  

Work is going well.

I need to start studying in ernest for the Certification exam.  I had kind of put it off because I wanted to run the Marathon December 29th and then start during recovery.  Now, with the injuries: No Marathon.  No Recovery.  I do still have to study though.

Also have end of year stuff coming up that isn’t that fun, so Nose to grindstone.

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At least I am less stressed out about work compared to last year.  This year at work has actually had a lot more challenges than last year.  Luckily I’ve figured out how to deal with them a bit better.  

 

Training.  Well.  My adductor is HEALED.  WAHOO.

It’s pretty awesome to be able to move and do stuff like put on pants without having to debate it or end up in agony.

The down side.   I gained about 5 pounds.  AND…I lost quite a bit of running fitness.  I still have endurance, but I really can not seem to accelerate when running.  I can plod along, but try to accelerate….and I feel the pain. And I actually don’t get much faster.  Not looking forward to building the 800’s speed work again.

I have a meeting with the coach man this week.  He told me not to think about racing, but of course I kind of am looking.  Every time I get an email telling me that race entry is open on a web site, I want to run that race.  It’s taking a bit of an effort to hold back.  I actually do not want to run half of what I think I do. 

Even though it isn’t on the “plan” I am doing a plank challenge with some friends.  Here we are all at the Space Coast Marathon on December 1, Starting our plank challenge….SO theres that.  I’m the one in the yellow that is a girl there on the far left.  Very proud to say we are a very ethnic and international group of Plankers.  Several countries represented (USA, England, Brasil)

1450172_10202137026054525_2091970124_nSo we’ll see.  I am eagerly awaiting 2014 season.  I think If we start slowly and rebuild strong, I might have the Halcyon Season that I was expecting this year.  It’s a lot of hard work, for a few little results.  We shall see.  I am antcy for a plan, and my coach, being the relaxed guy that he is, is more anxious to see me totally healed,.  And this is WHY I HAVE A COACH.  Because I am bull headed person who would, as he says, “wear the horns off a billy goat”  He has helped me see a bigger picture.  Today I totally skipped my 1 mile run.  My back is still kind of messed up from this weekend.  I had good massage, but it did not entirely fix it.  I do like the new massage therapist.  He’s so different and much easier to work with.  

“Give this Christmas Away”  is progressing.  My Mother is awesome and each year provides us with an electronic advent calendar.  As a child my sister and I had usually SEVERAL advent calendars in play, and we loved opening the little doors daily.  

papadventcalendars23-12b-okIt occurred to me yesterday that a friend’s child who is in hospital might also enjoy the electronic version.  With my Mom’s help, I was able to send the family one.  I hope they enjoy it. My bigger hope is that they have the time to get it activated, and that they can use it to entertain him.  Given circumstances I expect not to hear anything, and I would hope they would not feel stresssed to try to reply.  

The local kids toy drive drop off opened at the Gym today, I was SOOOO excited!!!!  

I have a bunch of things that have been collecting in the house.  A few Barbie Dolls, some clothes for said Barbie Dolls, an art set, and some tennis balls, and such.  So I will be dropping that off tomorrow!  

I think as soon as I get through some of this work at work, and get on a study schedule…as well as a focused training schedule, I’m going to start to feel great!

 

Give this Christmas Away….

So… How is this going for me?

Well…not quite as splendidly generously as I hoped, but it is getting rolling.

Today was one of the last days for drop off of an Operation Christmas Child Box.  I found myself scrambling all over the place to pay the 7.00 USD donation to go with the box, and get the boxes packed.  I didn’t have a theme this year so I feel like my boxes were less “fun”  but actually they contained good stuff.  I did a box for a teen girl and it had:

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  • Compact mirror in a flower case
  • a cool folding ruler
  • pens
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • candy
  • soft santa one size fits all slippers
  • calculator (solar)
  • note pads
  • toothbrush and paste and soap
  • a string backpack
  • a squeezey stress ball
  • a mini frisbee.

The other box was even more strange and for a 6-10 yr old girl.

  • toothbrush and paste and soap
  • heart theme flip flops
  • same santa socks
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • notepads
  • a ball game
  • a frisbee
  • a squeezy ball
  • a stuffed dog
  • a lunch tote

I admit I did very little of the hair bands, and bows and stuffed toys this year, I wanted to do more but it kind of snuck up on me.

I did get the two boxes paid for and dropped at the church, so that was FUN.

Admittedly, I tooled up in my little electric prius, not the biker look at all. I did the donation online, and I can not wait to find out where my boxes go this year.  Last year I just sent them from a packing party and I missed knowing where my “stuff” had ended up.

Moving right along I went into Office Depot to get a flash drive, because I lost mine and my work life is impossible without one.

I noted they have gift cards.

Apple Ap store gift card picked up.  It will go for the troops that are in Afghanistan.  Nope, I do not at all agree with military action, but…I do believe that there is that of God in everyone.  That includes the troops.

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So I am excited to send that directly off on Monday.  I intended to do handmade ornaments and such, but really time is of the essence for this sort of thing.

Tonight I am headed to church…and I have a fairly big bag of groceries for the food drive going on there.  It includes some of the overbought Operation Christmas Child stuff, some extra soaps, and candies.

So, how is it going?  well, it seems to be rolling right along.  and how do I feel?  well I had been quite sad.  I am starting to feel more human.

When in doubt, reach out.